Monday, September 17, 2012

One Sip: Stone Enjoy By 9.21.12

Posted By on 09.17.12 at 12:45 PM

Deadlines are useful things. Without them, I'm pretty sure I'd never get anything done—I'll even put off things I want to do, like trying beer that's been sent to me. With Stone's newest IPA, Enjoy By 9.21.12, I had a deadline: the brewery decided that freshness was so important to this beer that they made the expiration date part of the name.

While some beers age well, most will deteriorate over time—especially hoppy ones like IPAs. Since nearly all of Stone's beers are intensely hoppy, the brewery is especially interested in making sure that their beers are consumed while they're fresh. Last December, they ramped up their campaign against expired beer by releasing bottles of their IPA printed with an infographic that commanded people to check the expiration date and report any expired bottles.

Now Stone is making Enjoy By, which they describe as a "devastatingly fresh" double IPA. It was first released about a month ago in Chicago, southern California, and New Jersey; the next batch (Enjoy By 11.09.12) is currently fermenting and will be released October 8 in Colorado and Ohio. The brewery is also experimenting with social media to gauge the public's reaction to the beer, and those who want to see it come back to their area are being encouraged to "vote" by commenting on Facebook and tweeting (Chicago is solidly in the "Bring It Back!" zone on the "Enjoy-o-Meter").

Last week, with the beer's expiration date fast approaching, a few of us in the office tried it. Though it's unapologetically hoppy—"no effort was made to balance this beer," a coworker commented—the flavors are clean and bright, with herbal, piney notes and plenty of bitterness. It tastes—well, fresh. Below are notes from the brewer on the hopping process.

Hopping, as might be expected, was over the top. First, the brew was mash hopped with Calypso, a beautiful fruity hop that we also used in our Stone 16th Anniversary IPA, after which we kettle hopped with a very small dose of Super Galena hop extract for bittering. Then, using a technique . . . that some in homebrew circles call "hop bursting," we loaded up very heavily on the flavor hops at the end of the boil and in the whirlpool. Simcoe, Delta, Target and Amarillo were used in the late kettle hop. Motueka, Citra, and Cascade were used for the whirlpool hop. As you can clearly tell, this beer was super hoppy even before we dry-hopped it, but then we went for it . . . dry-hopping with 1lb per barrel EACH of New Zealand Nelson Sauvin and Australian Galaxy.

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