Review: Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA

Review of Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA from Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, CA.

Beer Type: Double IPA  ABV: 8.7%  IBUs: 95  Tried from bottle.

Their Description: “Our 19th anniversary beer brings the boom, delivering it to the palate in a voluminous, hop-driven thunderclap backed by the power of our brewing passion and intensity. This double IPA owes its considerable oomph to a quartet of Australian hops—Topaz and Galaxy, plus newcomers Ella and Vic Secret. We also had Fairview malt shipped in from Australia just for this brew. The beer’s striking tropical fruit, citrus and peach hop flavors and slightly resinous and aromatically dank earthiness are sure to electrify your senses.”

The Reality: This beer starts with a strong piney hop scent and bright color. The flavor features a bitter hop blend with decent pine and resin notes. The bitterness is strong but not overwhelming. There is the faintest hint of malt in the finish that keeps the aftertaste from asserting itself too harshly on your palate. It drinks light for an 8.7% beer and has vibrant sharpness to its overall profile. I really didn’t get much of the “striking tropical fruit, citrus and peach hop flavors”, and believe me, I wish they were there. I would agree with the “resinous and aromatically dank earthiness” portion of their description.

Final Verdict: This was certainly and interesting experiment and well-crafted, but overall I thought it could’ve had more balance. It really could’ve used the tropical and citrus notes that they describe as “striking”, but that I would describe as “missing”. In some ways this is really a matter of taste, because if you’re an IPA die-hard that loves piney resinous IPAs, you may really enjoy this, and it’s not a hop bomb that will wreck your taste buds for 2 days either. It was certainly drinkable, and went down easy for an 8.7% ABV. Considering this beer pays homage to the Australian rock band AC/DC and their song “Thunderstruck“, I would say the best way to enjoy it is while having fun in Texas with some ladies that give a good time.