Though the calendar clearly affirms it, I can’t believe that Christmas is just over a week away. In my defense, 60s and 70s with zero snow so far here doesn’t make it feel like Christmas at all. But those temperatures do keep me craving IPAs, (Okay…when do I not?) and Stone has just the thing for that craving with the latest release in their Enjoy By series. Enjoy By 12.25.17 is definitely an early present for all of us hopheads.
Stone has left this one unfiltered which makes sense for a beer meant to be consumed within 37 days of packaging. The lack of filtration gives the golden-orange beer an opaqueness that I find quite pleasing and allows light to dance around inside the liquid. The head is off-white and thick. It slowly fades to around 3/8” sustained by the bubbles arising from the bottom of the glass. As the head fades and the beer is consumed, a nice layer of lacing is seen on the glass. The nose gets big aromas of pine, tart citrus, and sweet mandarin. A tropical fruit and peach aroma is also there.
The beer has a smooth, medium mouthfeel both thanks to the high ABV (9.4%) and being unfiltered. Seeing the bubbles in the pour, I expected a good carbonation burn on the tip of the tongue, but instead there was only a slight pepperiness and more pronounced flavors of sweet citrus, peach, and lemon. The lemon becomes just a bit more tart on the sides of the tongue before the hops kick in with pine being the dominate flavor. The aftertaste is long and dank but quite restrained, especially for Stone.
Though the malt flavors are subtle and not overpowering, the ABV predicts a hefty malt bill, and the overall balanced nature of this IPA is also a testament to the malt.
So don’t tarry. Get out there and find this IPA, and drink it fresh. It is available in six packs of cans meaning it’s great for spreading some holiday cheer among friends as well. Merry Christmas, Hopheads!
Outdoor Friendliness (a high ABV IPA in a can)…8/10
Appearance (opaque but shimmers beautifully in the light)…7/10
Aroma (big, hoppy, and fruity)…9/10
Flavor (nicely balanced without the malt being overbearing)…9/10