As we've touched on before, the aging of IPAs isn't necessarily a suggested practice for most hop heads and beer enthusiasts. The other school of thought is that the initial intention of making and IPA so hopped up was to preserve the beer for a long sea voyage and retain it's drinkability. Brewery anniversary beers are generally ones for aging, however this particular selection questions both of the previous observations. 8 year old anniversary brew that also happens to be a 10% Imperial IPA. So what does 8 years do to an IPA?

The beer pours a murky brown, slightly opaque, and earthy looking. Very little head that disappears immediately only to return upon aggravation of the beer in the glass. The lack of carbonation mellows out the mouthfeel and it almost tastes flat.

Smells of caramel and a big malt sweetness. There is a bit of fig and a hint of banana. Oxidation is pretty apparent as well. The hops have completely faded off the nose, but really let's not kid ourselves, this was to be expected. The alcohol almost seems to come through as the beer warms and opens up in the glass.

The taste is all malt. There is a slight twinge of hops in the front of the taste but it's over faster than you can count to one. There's a decent sign of oxidation and has a bit of cardboard flavor going on, but it's not enough to make me want to toss it. Ample amount of fig that is mixed with the sweetness of the malts to pretty much give this beer malt bomb status at this point. Again, this was to be expected.

It drinks like a barleywine. Honestly it wasn't awful, but not even close to what it had to have been like fresh. There is no IPA left in this beer at all. It wasn't undrinkable, but it wasn't what the initial intentions were shooting for. If you told me it was a barleywine, I would say it was pretty decent and not bad but lacking depth. If you're looking for an IPA, then you would have a better chance at predicting the second coming before finding an ounce of India Pale Ale.

I want to stress that this is no knock against Stone as this beer was never meant to be aged, let alone for 8 years. This was merely an experiment and a fun one at that. It was enjoyable and if nothing else, I feel bad for knowing that the people at Stone may be cringing thinking that we opened this beer after 8 years and didn't just enjoy it fresh.


Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.

Posted on June 6, 2014 .