Stone 13th Anniversary Ale

One of the things I love about Stone is their labels.  One of the things I hate about Stone is their labels.  They are pretty funny and insulting at the same time.  The 13th Anniversary beer is no different, right of the bat they are telling me don’t cellar the beer.  I wasn’t planning on it, but since you told me not to, I think I will.  But when it comes down to it, I love labels but I don’t drink beer for the labels or name on the beer, I drink beer for the beer.  Quite frankly if you have a super cool or ballsy label, your beer better be that much better!  On to the review!

Stone 13th Anniversary

Stone 13th Anniversary


Deep mahogany red beer with a modest amber head with decent lacing.  Looks to be a fair amount of carbonation in the beer, as I see bubbles rising near the side of the glass.  Has a fairly transparent for such a deep color.


A very hoppy red ale,  the aroma is predominately orange, chocolate, and plum with a faint wisp of alcohol and a bit malty.  Not sure what I was expecting out of the aroma, while pleasant, it wasn’t what I thought it would be.   I think most Red ales I’ve had have always been fairly low in the aroma department.


Very malty and hoppy.  Highly carbonated, it really tickles the tip of your tongue.  After the tongue tickling, you left with a strong malt presence which quickly moves into a amped up hop bitterness.  The bitterness lingers for a long time and it really is touch and go if it is going to cross the line into a burnt flavor.  Thankfully it never did, but made it pretty interesting to drink as each sip flirted with that line.

Stone 13th Anniversary

Stone 13th Anniversary

Overall Impression:

For my palette, I’m just not in sync with this beer.  The bitterness in this beer was not well balanced with the malts, it played out more on the bitter side then on the malty side.  I did like the aroma and the color of the beer, but the unbalanced flavor really did it in for me.  I mentioned a slight alcohol aroma, but the 9.5% abv was masked fairly well.

Drinking Glass: A typical red would be a Pint glass, but with a hopped up imperial red, a big modified tulip works.

Calories: Stone lists the Plato of the beer so 22.5 plato to get 9.5 % abv, it had to finish around 5.7 plato giving this beer 325 cal per 12 oz, 600 cal for the 22 oz bottle.

Simply Beer Rating: 86


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7 Responses to “Stone 13th Anniversary Ale”

  1. Michael Reinhardt Says:

    I totally agree with your bitterness of the malts assertion. Nate & I reviewed this one not long ago. Just not what it should be.

  2. Mike - Says:

    I just can’t wait til we get this down here so I can try it.

  3. Simply Beer Says:

    You should try It. Stone did a great job Hyping this beer. I think it fell flat. Love to here what other people thought about this beer.

  4. Tim Says:

    First a technical question, if you are seeing bubbles it MAY be your glass not the beer, imperfections or improper cleaning cause bubbles as well.

    As to the beer, I seem to be on the rare side, in as much as I hated Stone when i first tried them. I came from the school of stouts and porters, malt, malt, malt, but as time has worn on I have come to appreciate a few things about what they do. As far as “balance”, I cannot agree that “balance” is a necessity, CERTAINLY some styles dictate it, but this is a specialty Ale, so downgrading it for something that it doesn’t have to have seems wrong.

    The suggestion that cellaring is a bad idea is a clue that fresh hop sharpness is the Brewmasters plan, not the balanced melding of flavors that aging can often bring.

    I am not impressed by the so-called San Diego scene, but on the other hand I have to defend the “Left Coast” or “Gonzo” styles when they seem ( imho ) to be drastically misunderstood by beer lovers in the Old Northwest and East. Stone is not Brooklyn or Boston, and it shouldn’t be downgraded for not being what it isn’t… No?

  5. Simply Beer Says:

    Tim, thanks for the post, keep them coming.

    As far as the glass, the bubbles were steady and from the bottom, not clinging to the side of the glass. I take great care in cleaning my glassware properly. To the point were my wife gets annoyed with my “anal retentiveness” about my glasses.

    As far as the beer goes, I understand about creative license and specialty ales, but if you are going to call it an imperial red shouldn’t it have the base character of a red ale, why not call it an American Strong ale? ( It really boils down to personal preferences and palates. The taste of the beer did not appeal to me, I didn’t like the way the flavors interacted.

    If you continue to read my beer reviews and listen to my podcasts, you’ll see that it isn’t an east coast vs west coast, who cares. I try to take a beer for what it is and what it claims to be.

  6. Pete Culos Says:

    Peter, I just picked a bottle up over the weekend but haven’t tried it yet. Your notes on the aroma are interesting to say the least. Not what I would have expected either. Can’t wait to give this a shot!

  7. Simply Beer Says:

    Pete, can wait to hear your thoughts, let us know what you thought of it.

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