While nearly every IPA on the planet should be drunk as fresh as possible, that is not the case with Stone Enjoy After 12.26.15 Brett IPA. Intended for aging until at least December 26, 2015, this unique IPA is inoculated with Brettanomyces (Brett), a wild yeast that will transform the beer over time in fascinatingly and deliciously unpredictable ways when stored under proper cellaring conditions. The Brett IPA is now arriving in 750-milliliter bottles at retail accounts in select states.
In 2012, Stone introduced a beer with an unprecedented, ultra-short shelf life: Stone Enjoy By IPA. That beer educated fans on the importance of drinking IPAs fresh by prominently displaying a revolutionarily short (35 days from bottling) “enjoy by” date of expiration on the front label. Always intent on challenging the status quo and elevating awareness of all things beer, the Stone Team had an idea that would counter the modern American craft-brewing concept of consuming IPAs fresh, and proposed developing an IPA intended for aging—one that would evolve and become a completely different beer.
Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele, the guy who wrote the book on IPAs, was up for the challenge and formulated a recipe. Steele decided to use hops and malt bills similar to Stone Enjoy By IPA’s recipe, but there the similarities end. The Belgian yeast strain Ardennes was used in the base beer and then Brett was added post-primary fermentation before the bottles were corked and caged. Over time, the Brett is anticipated to contribute fruity funkiness, earthiness and subtle tart characteristics to the beer.
“Over the course of a year, we anticipate the beer will have greater carbonation and a creamier body, with a dry finish, more complexity, and farmhouse characters,” explains Steele. “Each edition of Stone Enjoy After Brett IPA will be closely monitored and tasted once a month by our team in order to make sure the flavors are maturing appropriately. We are asking our fans to follow proper cellaring tips to ensure the most optimal results.”