Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Stone Beers — Go To IPA vs. Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA

Stone Brewing
ABV 4.5%

Stone Brewing
Stochasticity Project
Grapefruit Slam IPA 
(Ale with grapefruit peel added)
ABV 8.2%

I bought the Stochasticity Project thinking that it was a new brewery with a weird name. Plus we love citrusy IPAs so the addition of grapefruit peel peeked my interest. Further investigation revealed that the Stochasticity Project is actually a newly introduced second label of Stone Brewing used to showcase some experimental brews. We decided to pit the Stochasticity against another new release from Stone, the Go To IPA which is their attempt to make a big, flavorful IPA without a high alcohol content. Tasting was conducted blind as usual.

Beer #1 (Stochasticity Grapefruit Slam) was clear orange with pine, citrus and grain in the aroma. The flavor was pure, piney, hop candy, which is our way of describing a beer with a nice balance of malt and hops. It finished with an aggressive and long-lasting citrus rind bitterness.

Beer #2 (Go To IPA) was golden yellow with a pungent and funky, dank, cat pee aroma. The flavor was like concentrated citrus that bordered on cleaning solution. The finish was moderately bitter with lots of grapefruit and a musty dankness. 

We both assumed that Beer #2 with its pronounced grapefruity finish was the Grapefruit Slam IPA but that was not the case. Turns out that all that grapefruity goodness came from the Go To IPA. Normally this would be a good thing, as grapefruit is one of our favorite flavors in a beer. However, as is often the case with Stone, they may have pushed the boundaries a bit too far with the Go To IPA. The beer is so aggressively hopped that it borders on offensive. Ellen didn't drink any more after her first couple of sips. I finished the bottle but noted that it may have been the first "session" beer I've ever had that was so intense that I don't think I could drink more than one in a sitting. So, in one sense Stone accomplished its mission to create a boldly flavored beer with low alcohol, but they may have made it too boldly flavored for simple, summertime sipping.

To us the Grapefruit Slam, despite not being very grapefruity was the clear winner. It's also a bit misleading on the label as it says IPA on the front and Double IPA in the description on the back. Whatever it actually is, it was the winner in this battle and has us eager to try the next release in the Stochasticity Project. Say it aloud a few times, Stochasticity... Stochasticity... Stochasticity... . Fun word. Fun beer. 

Unanimous decision: Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA