It can be said that a comparison can be drawn between the proliferation of hot sauces that go overboard with the hot and don’t leave much in the room for flavor, and craft beers that go for the bitter bite of hops and sacrifice a balanced, well crafted beer in the process. Perusing the aisles and shelves at a local beverage shop I noticed how everything was advertising their accelerated and amped up hops content. Very few things however mentioned anything regarding flavor. All of the talker cards on the shelves described the type of hops in each of the beers and not much else. It was like being at a hot sauce shop, which is something else I very much enjoy, but only seeing how hot a sauce can actually be, without providing any sort of point of reference to what it may taste like, what it may be properly paired with, etc.
Maybe this is why Stone Brewing Co.’s Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA jumped out at me. The print on the bottle clearly stated that it was was Double IPA with grapefruit peel added. I liked this idea because, even though some of these hop killers tend to be in the citrusy/grapefruit side of things, this one goes right out and tells you what to expect from it. In addition I have liked pretty much everything I have tried from Stone from their signature IPA, Arrogant Bastard, the limited edition Enjoy By series, and their even more limited edition brews. So this slightly experimental offering piqued my interest when I read the label. It was a burning hot day in the middle of a heatwave in L.A. and an over the top citrus IPA brewed with Centennial, Chinook, and Magnum hops sounded exactly like what I needed. With the addition of an “immense dosing of fresh grapefruit peel” as stated on the bottle, I figured I was in for a wild, bittersweet ride. Here’s what I got from it.
Everything On Tap Review: Stone Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA 8.2% ABV
Bottle: Nice looking bottle. I had this in a 22oz. bomber which features a blue and white design that resembles a circuit board, and throwback computing font. Cool looking bottle.
Pour: Grapefruit Slam IPA poured into a pint glass, had about 1 finger of head. It’s a nice pale golden color. Slightly hazy. This left a lot of sticky lacing.
Aroma: Grapefruit obviously. Lots of Centennial hops providing that citrus smell. But there’s more. I detect sweet malt in here, and the malt and citrus colliding together in this one don’t exactly jive that well to me. Hoping that it doesn’t overpower the rest of what could be an extremely refreshing hoppy beer.
Flavor: Lots of grapefruit. The Centennial really shines here, but can sometimes be a little overpowering. At 90+ IBU this can be extremely bitter to the point of sometimes being a little harsh tasting. However, being that this bottle is about 4 months old, some of the hops may have mellowed out. I’m a little disappointed in that to be honest. I wanted that fresh bite. I don’t mind a beer that is over the top with hops, but they absolutely must be fresh. If I had noted the date on this before I pulled it off the shelf I would have tried to find a fresher bottle. Then there’s that maltiness somewhere in the back that kind of throws me off. Not sure if this is a product of it aging and the hops turning and weakening a bit, but I’d rather it not be there. The 8.2% ABV in this is undetectable.
Mouthfeel: This is crisp and carbonated. It’s creamy and smooth, and leaves with a very dry finish. Not as bitter and dry as Palette Wrecker, but it’s along those lines. It coats your mouth and abuses your senses a bit.
Structure: This could have been so much more, but I feel like the inclusion of grapefruit peel was a gimmick and just lent itself to an overly bitter brew that was a bit unbalanced in flavor. Also, that malt flavor threw me off a little bit. I know it’s supposed to be in there, but it didn’t balance well with the other flavors. Nonetheless this is still refreshing. I’d like to try this a bit fresher.
Food Pairing: I would eat this with Mexican food. Not sure if it’s because I’m in Southern California right now and everywhere I turn there’s a taqueria, but something about taking this down with a plate of fajitas or some carne asada tacos with fresh cilantro and lime sounds amazing.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Beer Mugs: