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As I’ve mentioned here previously, I have been a fan of Stone’s Enjoy By series from nearly the beginning.  Although I don’t see the need to review each and every installment (with most batches being rather similar), the Valentine’s Day release looked to be something a bit different and potentially rather delicious.

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Beer Name: Enjoy By 02.14.17

Brewer: Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, CA)

Style: DIPA

ABV: 9.4%

Description: Putting the meandering description and celebration of self loving printed on the bottle aside, this release put a twist on the series by adding coffee and chocolate to their IPA recipe.  More information and the aforementioned brewer’s “notes” can be found here.  The bomber cost $8.99 at my usual spot in Downtown Boston.

Appearance: Poured a murky light brown/orangish amber body through which I could just barely make out my fingers on the other side of the glass.  The head was a thin layer of just barely off-white foam.

Smell: Fruity sweetness mixed with dank, piney hops upfront.  Notes of coffee came through on the end.

Taste: Started out with a blend of sweet tropical fruits and dank pine resin before hints of bittersweet chocolate and coffee made an appearance about halfway into the beer.  The finish was a blend of subtle chocolate and mild tropical sweetness paired with a slightly more assertive coffee presence and the series’ characteristically aggressive piney hops.  There was a fairly surprising amount of heat as well, enough so that it stood out noticeably on the ending.

Mouthfeel: Medium almost but not quite creamy body with a consistently moderate amount of carbonation.

Hype: I was eager to try this.  I recall really enjoying a coffee IPA Stone released a while ago and couldn’t wait to see how this one turned out.

Overall: I had to think about this one.  I really loved the first two-thirds of the experience, in particular how the coffee stood out without being roasty, but the amount heat on the finish felt just a bit out of place and threw off the delicate balance of flavors right as they seemed poised to all come together.  As such, I’m considering this a good beer that was a tweak or two away from being an excellent one.  A worthy choice to either share with that special someone or enjoy all by yourself.

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