Review - Stone Brewing Company's CaliBelgique IPA
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Pours a light to medium yellow color with a cloudy pour that clears quickly, producing a very healthy two-finger head with an off-white frothy appearance. Brilliant clarity, very sticky lacing, above a mostly diminishing head. Aroma is uniquely Belgian with moderate banana and clove notes, along with the characteristic Stone IPA light soapy hops with some apricots in the background. Initial taste is incredibly complex with pieces from the Belgian yeast providing some sweetness, and the hops give some delicate balance of bitterness and, as the taste matures, the balance shifts towards the bitter side with the assertive West Coast hops shining through. Medium bodied, it has a creamy texture with soft carbonation and a dry, slightly harsh hop finish. Bananas and cloves also come through with the warming alcohol feel that is indicative of higher alcohol beers.
This is one of the most unique and complex beers we\'ve ever reviewed, which is incredible since the only thing that changed was the yeast strain. This just goes to show you what an impact the choice of yeast strain can have on the outcome of the beer. The Belgian flavors mixed with the citrus hops create a unique complexity. It brings the best of both worlds together into a single bottle...Belgian smoothness and hop wallop.
Reviewed on March 15th, 2009.