Periodically, I’m lead to believe I’ve seen everything that the IPA can be crafted into. From spices and chili peppers up through chocolate, the varieties and variants on this now standard drinkers style of beer seem to be endless. Yet in that same respect, I am still surprised for some reason or another, when I find one that steps even further outside of the norm, creating something that for all intents and purposes seems to just work.
That is pretty much the case with this, the latest release from Stone Brewing. A double IPA, this “Jindia Pale Ale” is brewed with, amongst other things, juniper. Odd, right? Not exactly the most common ingredient in beer, yet in this sense it pretty much works properly as an infusion for this, typically hop forward and bitter-centric style.
So naturally it is not juniper alone which creates the final form and function of this beer. Alongside it, two standards of brewing oddity – ginger and lemon peel – both lend their hands to creating the flavor profile on display here. But what exactly is it and what is it like?
To start, this beer poured far darker than I anticipated. Acknowledging that it is in fact a double IPA and by virtue of such will be naturally bigger and bolder in presentation, this beer pours with a dark copper color, causing it to appear more like an amber ale than an IPA. Next, the nearly overwhelming scent of ginger all but outright dominates the nose of this brew.
Beneath this ginger fragrance however, the hints of juniper seem to mix in with the lemon peel, creating in this a layered and altogether aromatic nose that almost smells a bit like potpourri. This though ought not to turn you off as beneath the entirety of scents here, the slightly malty, rather hoppy nature presents as well, reminding you that this is in fact a beer and not a bowl full of crushed up flower bits and other assorted…things. No, in this lovely perfumed brew we find, at least in the nose, a promising mix of flavor elements and solid, quality craft brewing.
So what about the sip? In this we find the beer’s real nature. Though the floral flavor of juniper, the biting arrival of ginger and even the slightly zesty sing of lemon peel all present in fine order, the underlying bitterness to this beer with its hop-laden crafting comes through as cleanly as one could hope. Here we find a very springtime-like beer that offers us a series of interesting and complementary flavor profiles, all of which work quite nicely between themselves.
At 8.7% ABV, this beer is beastly enough to warrant some caution to the casual drinker. Yet by virtue of the aggressive overall flavor profile, it remains the sort of thing one must sip slowly and with defined purpose. All in all, with this we have yet another well made and somewhat daring offering from one of my favorite breweries, Stone.
So to Stone, to the juniper plant and its welcomed arrival in the beer world and of course to you, I say as always…
While the brewery may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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