Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 22 (8/15/2011): Japanese Green Tea IPA by Stone Brewing Co.

I was really, really looking forward to this beer. As soon as I heard of this Stone collaboration, I knew I had to get a bottle as soon as it was released (more details about the collaboration and the beer itself here). It has so many things going for it: a. it's an IPA, b. Stone is brewing it, c. it has green tea in it, and d. it's for a good cause. Can't go wrong, right? Let's see about that.

The first thing you'll notice is that they are some mega floaties in these bottles. I have no idea if it is the tea or hops, but proceed with caution when pouring. Even with a careful pour, the beer is a murky, unfiltered orangish. It has a pretty frothy, though not large, head.

The smell is a hop extravaganza. The first thing that hits you is the scent of tropical fruit, followed by a blast of pine. There is some malt present, but it takes a backseat to the pungency of the hops. Sadly, any green tea smell that may have meant to be there is overwhelmed by this same great odor.

The hops in the nose are all present in the flavor, but balanced a bit better with a substantial malt backbone. It's not balanced by any means, but it's enough to keep it from being one dimensional. It has a nice hoppy dry finish without being overly bitter. The only thing that hurts the flavor for me is a strong booziness that is not particularly well hidden and an almost complete lack of green tea flavor. It's there, but just barely.

The mouthfeel is about typical for an IPA: medium body and carbonation. There is some alcohol burn from the 9.2%.

So what is the verdict? It is definitely an above average double IPA, but it is disappointing that the green tea flavor and smell were so overwhelmed. This had an opportunity to be a very, very creative beer, but the concept just didn't work out in execution. If this beer were 6-7% ABV instead of 9% the green tea might have shined through a bit better, but 9% it is. I'll probably never buy it again, not because it's a bad beer, but because it's $4 for a 12oz bottle. That's not much bag for your buck. I give the Stone-Baird-Ishii Japanese Green Tea IPA a B.

Style: American double/imperial IPA
ABV: 9.2%
IBU: 70
Beer Advocate: B
Ratebeer: 92/83

Picked up at Marty's Hops and Vines for $3.99 a 12oz bottle. Available pretty much everywhere Stone has distribution.

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