I was completely blown away by Stone's 15th Anniversary lack IPA so when I saw their 16th Anniversary I had to get it. I will admit that when I saw it was made with lemon verbena I got nervous. I have had a beer brewed with lemon verbena before and it tasted like a citronella candle. Not for me. But the Stone 16 was also made with 20% rye malt which I really enjoy and I trust Stone's brewing chops, especially with a Double IPA. The beer poured a bright amber with a thick and supple white head. The aroma had a citrus and floral hop aroma with a bit of the rye and a slight dank hop deep in the nose. I caught the rye immediately on the first taste which was great for me as I have been digging rye IPAs lately. The rye quickly faded to the bitter hops with some alcohol heat on the end. The lemony bitterness lingered on my tongue and punctuated the complexity in this brew. There are a lot of strong conflicting tastes that have been handled delicately by Stone. The lemon verbena is used very carefully and only highlights the citrus and floral hops rather than dominating. The sweet rye malt helps keep all these flavors at bay although it has a strong distinct taste of its own. While this beer is obviously expertly crafted it has too many flavor profiles competing for my attention. After having my taste buds blown away with their 15 I may have been expecting too much. This may not be my favorite IIPA, but I definitely appreciate what Stone was trying to accomplish and I continually applaud their ability and ambition. I am already looking forward to their 17th Anniversary brew!
Stone 16th Anniversary IPA