The latest new beer release from Stone Brewing Co. continues the brewery’s tradition of opposites. As if in response to its own Enjoy By IPA series, Stone now has Enjoy After 12.26.15 Brett IPA. The new release that is hitting store shelves now is reminiscent in approach to Stone’s recently released Golden Stout.
Stone still admits nearly every IPA should be consumed fresh, but Enjoy After 12.26.15 Brett IPA with the addition of Brettanomyces wild yeast, is meant to be cellared and–as seems to be mandatory for any vaguely pricier Belgian-inspired release–will be bottled in 750ml bottles. Of course, Brettanomyces spiked beers and even IPAs are not any kind of new thing; there are countless examples, one of the earliest being Ommegang’s Ommegeddon or, more recently, the 2013 Portland Beer Week beer from Gigantic and Breakside. Thankfully, Stone does not claim to have created the style like it did with Golden Stout, but does do a great job educating the public about the style, even including “Cellaring Tips” on the label. This should be a fun little project; I dare you to cellar it alongside an Enjoy By.
More from Stone’s official release info:
In 2012, Stone introduced a beer with an unprecedented, ultra-short shelf life: Stone Enjoy By IPA. That beer educated fans on the importance of drinking IPAs fresh by prominently displaying a revolutionarily short (35 days from bottling) “enjoy by” date of expiration on the front label. Always intent on challenging the status quo and elevating awareness of all things beer, the Stone Team had an idea that would counter the modern American craft-brewing concept of consuming IPAs fresh, and proposed developing an IPA intended for aging—one that would evolve and become a completely different beer.
Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele, the guy who wrote the book on IPAs, was up for the challenge and formulated a recipe. Steele decided to use hops and malt bills similar to Stone Enjoy By IPA’s recipe, but there the similarities end. The Belgian yeast strain Ardennes was used in the base beer and then Brett was added post-primary fermentation before the bottles were corked and caged. Over time, the Brett is anticipated to contribute fruity funkiness, earthiness and subtle tart characteristics to the beer.
“Over the course of a year, we anticipate the beer will have greater carbonation and a creamier body, with a dry finish, more complexity, and farmhouse characters,” explains Steele. “Each edition of Stone Enjoy After Brett IPA will be closely monitored and tasted once a month by our team in order to make sure the flavors are maturing appropriately. We are asking our fans to follow proper cellaring tips to ensure the most optimal results.”
Bottles of Stone Enjoy After 12.26.15 Brett IPA should be kept at 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit, because anything below 50 degrees will render Brettanomyces dormant, and anything above 70 degrees may lead to the development of off flavors. Additionally, beer meant for aging requires storage in a dark space, as bright light or sunlight can alter the hops, resulting in a skunky flavor. Stone encourages fans to wait until the “enjoy after” date before consuming to help the beer reach its full evolutionary potential.
Depending on how Stone Enjoy After 12.26.15 Brett IPA and future batches of the unique beer are stored over time, individual results may vary…and that’s both the beauty and the intent behind this beer.
Stats: 7% ABV, 70 IBUs
Availability: Limited 750ml bottles, beginning December 16
Hops bill: Super Galena, Simcoe, Delta, Target, Amarillo, Calypso and Cascade
Distribution: AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, TX and WA