During my recent jaunts from place to place, shop to shop, I kept noticing the same newcomer nicely poised on the shelves. Stone’s Ripper San Diego Pale Ale. It was a relatively new release (Jan. ’17) and it really caught my eye.
According to the label, they brewed this beer according to the surf culture of southern California and Oz. (Whatever that means.) It’s a beer made with Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest and Galaxy hops from the land dan unduh. That sounded interesting. I’ve just recently learned of Galaxy ’s tropical characteristics and would enjoy tasting some its flavors in a beer.
This brings to mind the geographical isolation of craft beers according to the hops they’re brewed with. West coast IPAs (and pale ales, I’m sure) versus east coast beers. Read a discussion about the subject here.
Stone has packaged Ripper in cans and placed them nicely inside a cardboard carton making the product 100% recyclable.
More and more hops from New Zealand and Australia are making their way into craft beers up over here. And that’s exciting. The more new tastes to experience, the better.
Here’s hoping that the departure of Mitch Steele doesn’t affect the taste of the beers he had no hand in brewing. The Ripper included.
Let’s get going.
I smelled the hops when I popped the can open. The beer poured a nice orange color and had lots of bubbles rising. The head was a thick white of about 3/4 inch. The aroma was of hops with a bit of freshly dug soil combined. I’ll have to sort all this out with my tongue.
The first sip was a bit of a letdown. The hop notes and flavors were there but there was no backup support. The malt body was missing some moxie. All of this taste up front and then nothing at the swallow. They could have bumped up the grain bill by about 35%. Then it could possibly be a great beer.
The combination of the Cascade and Galaxy hops really work well together. Galaxy is great for IPAs and other ales when you wish to give the beer a tropically fruity taste. Ripper is just that. Nice and tropical. And thin. It may be a great session beer for some, but for this guy, I’m not getting enough character out of this beer.
I could venture a guess about how this beer got approved for sale as is. Maybe somebody called in sick on the first brew day. With all the hype and deeply ingrained tradition behind Stone’s hoppy beers, it’s disappointing that this beer could be so out of balance. It wouldn’t surprise me if they take this off the market in a few months.
Interestingly, it says “DRINK FRESH” on the can’s label. But there’s no bottled-on or best-by date anywhere as a reference. But when you think about it, that really doesn’t matter with this beer.
The beer is 11 bucks a sixer. If you’d like to try a couple, that’s up to you. But knowing what I now know, I’d wait until I get a single unit at a nice craft bar somewhere. I’ll bet this beer on tap won’t even redeem it’s lacking malt body. If they could just bump up the grain bill and the ABV a bit and call it an IPA. But alas.
Style: Pale Ale
Taste: Great fruity notes from the hops then nothing.
Smoothness: Easy enough to drink.
Bang for the buck: Questionable.
Amount paid: $10.99 for six 12-ounce cans.
Get it again? No, but I’d drink it again.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) Smells like citrus. Like they all do. (sip) Very bitter. Yeah. I don’t like that at all. Not even a two-sipper. (I must change styles. Her palate just can’t seem to assimilate hoppy flavors.)