Sampled:22 oz. bottle (Full disclosure: sample provided by brewery)
Description: "You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers - especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs - we've taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We've not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you're getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn't randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we've sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA." — Stone Brewing Co.
Random thoughts: Enjoy by 2.15.13 IPA is the 4th release of Stone's ultra-fresh IPA. Why all the fuss about freshness? Hop aroma and flavor compounds are volatile and lose their punch over time. While aging Barleywines and Imperial Stouts tends to improve the beer, this is not the case for IPAs. Given the self-imposed short shelf life, Stone changed the way they distribute it. Below is an excerpt from a message Stone sent to some of their accounts. I added the non-italicized text:
"The beer is bottled on day one, shipped on its own truck to Columbia (local distributor) on day 2 and by day 5 it needs to be in the accounts (1/15/13). Then 30 days later, on the day the label says the beer has expired, it is no longer fresh and must be pulled (and dumped) from all bars and retail spots if still around."
The tasting: Golden in color, clear, with a frothy white head that dissipates slowly. Plenty of lacing covers the glass. It has a very fragrant aroma that's full of tropical fruit. I noticed mango, guava, tangerine, as well as some pine. Flavor starts with caramel malt and an alcohol kick. Then the onslaught of hop bitterness ensues. It’s predominately grapefruit and the level of bitterness is quite high. If you're looking for balance, move along. Malt sweetness is low.Enjoy By IPA is light bodied, has an effervescent mouth feel, and finishes very dry with warming alcohol and (as you might expect) a long lingering hop bitterness. It was difficult to identify the hop flavors in the finish. Thirteen hop varieties were used in this beer. Let’s just say they unite to create a newly discovered form of bitterness.
Rating: 4 star. Really Good! I want this again!Even if you don't drink beer (which is doubtful since you're reading a beer blog), I suggest you smell Enjoy By IPA. Take a few long sniffs and then give it to a beer drinking friend. The hop aromas are incredible! I'm amazed by the wide variety of aromas that hops can produce.
From an educational standpoint, I'm very curious about how the hop aromas and flavors would degrade over time. Although it might make a good experiment, it's not worth angering the beer gods. So best to Enjoy By MM.DD.YY!