Review of Stone 13th Anniversary Ale

21 Oct
For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be tasting a Stone 13th Anniversary Ale produced by the Stone Brewing Company located in Escondido, California. 

This bottle was released in June of 2009, therefore it’s no longer “fresh” and the bottle clearly states “not for cellaring”, but I happened to find a bottle of this at my beer store, so I thought I would give it a try anyway.  How bad could it be really?  I mean it is Stone!!!

Here’s a description I found regarding this beer on the website,

Stone 13th Anniversary Ale pours brilliant deep red with a light tan foam.  Up front, the aroma is all piney resinous and citrus hops.  Upon tasting, the hops are still on the front, and they are balanced with the malty, toffee like flavors contributed from the blend of crystal and amber malts used in the brewhouse.  The finish is deliciously bitter, with a touch of warmth provided by the 9.5% alcohol.  Bitterness comes in at 90+ IBU.

Let’s see how it’s held up over the last couple of years.

This beer comes in a 22 oz. bottle and has an ABV of 9.5%.

The brew poured a very deep ruby red color.  It almost looked purple.  A slight shimmer of orange highlighted the bottom of the glass.  The body looked clear when held directly toward a light source.  The crown was very full, mostly smooth and creamy with a light tan color.  It had great size, very good retention and some nice lacing. 

Within the aroma, I still retrieved plenty of hops even though this beer is over 2 years old.  It’s obviously not as fresh as a new bottle would be, but a piny fragrance as well as some boozed drenched tropical fruits make up a nice portion of the smell.  It’s very malty and very sweet in the nose too.  Sugary caramel and baked breads.  This beer has an aroma very similar to what you might find in an American Barleywine.  More specifically, like the aroma of the Stone Old Guardian 2009 Limited Early Release.  I’ll tell ya.  This thing doesn’t smell bad at all!!!!

The taste brought forth a lot of malt.  Heavy caramel sweetness along with some toasted breads and nuts.  It had a medium range of bitterness influenced by some earthy and piny hops.  Hints of sugar, various fruits and touches of alcohol continued to make this brew taste very, very sweet.  It’s obvious that this brew has lost quite a bit of it’s luster, however it’s still quite good and tasty.

The mouthfeel was a solid medium.  Very chewy, smooth and dry.  It left a significant alcohol warmth as it crossed the palate, all the while leaving plenty of flavor behind for enjoyment.  It felt nice.

I realize that as this beer has aged it’s not nearly as good as it was when it was fresh.  With that being said, the Stone 13th Anniversary Ale has twisted and morphed into a very pleasant brew.  As I said before, it totally reminds me of an American Barleywine now with the slight hop bite and the very sweet, very heavy malt backbone coalesced with noticeable alcohol savors and warmth.  I found it to be quite enjoyable and fun to drink.  The drinkability was not all that great due to the heavy sweetness and commanding alcohol, but I finished it with no problem.  I would recommend that you give the 13th a try if you can find a bottle out there somewhere.  I would love to hear someone else’s opinion of it now that it has gotten some age on it.

Thanks for reading and commenting guys and gals.  I truly appreciate it.


Score:  4.1 out of 5
Grade:  A- 

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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Country: USA, Stone


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