ESCONDIDO, CA – Stone Brewing’s 20th Anniversary celebration continues with the encore edition of Stone 6th Anniversary Porter. Beginning this week, this imperial smoked porter conditioned with American and French oak chips will arrive in 22-ounce bottles and on draft. True to the Stone 20th Anniversary Encore series, Stone maintained the original recipe and features artwork evocative of its first time on store shelves. Fans will find either the classic label or a new version with back-label text that pays homage to the beer’s history.
What unfolds on the new 2016 label is a tribute to the recipe experimentation and an oak chip fermenter mishap that occurred while attempting to amplify Stone Smoked Porter. Stone celebrated its first five anniversaries by increasingly intensifying the hop character of Stone 1st Anniversary IPA (aka Stone IPA). By 2002, we reached a point where additional hops could not realistically be added to the recipe. So instead, to keep up with the same “go big” philosophy, Stone cranked up its year-round mainstay porter not one…but three notches! More malt, more hops and the component of French and American oak were introduced to accentuate the smokiness, chocolate and roast coffee flavors along with adding subtle notes of toffee, dried berries and vanilla. To recap the mishap, oak chips jammed a fermenter valve that, when we attempted to clear the issue, resulted in this dark-as-night wonder shooting out of the fermenter like a fire hose…and sending a lot of beer down the drain. This resulted in significant losses, which made it one of our rarest anniversary releases.
“When it was first introduced in 2002, we released far less of Stone 6th Anniversary Porter than we had planned, making it a very limited release for craft beer enthusiasts,” said Stone President & co-founder Steve Wagner. “This time around, we made plenty more, without any oak chip disasters, and are excited to give our fans a fresh shot at enjoying this beer.”
Adding more to the backstory is the classic 2002 label, which was dubbed a “logophobic nightmare.” At the time, Team Stone was asked to submit words for Stone CEO & co-founder Greg Koch to incorporate into his notoriously verbose back bottle copy. Words like “lurpy” and “Huggy Bear” proved to create such nonsense that, well, this very short-lived anniversary tradition didn’t last a year longer. Consider this label an invitation to identify all the ludicrous offenders.
logophobia [law-guh-foh-bee-uh, log-uh-]
- Refers to the condition of having an abnormal, extreme, and persistent fear of words.
- Something Greg Koch never experienced prior to 2002, but has periodically since then.
The Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series lineup can be found online here. In addition to rebrewing fan-favorite beers this year, Stone is celebrating twenty years of true craft with a historical timeline chronicling the company’s two decades. Fans are encouraged to share their own personal Stone memories throughout the year using #Stone20.
Stone 6th Anniversary Porter is ready to be enjoyed fresh or stored for several years. With age and proper cellaring temperatures (55°F or lower), the smokiness may subside, resulting in a beer that further highlights sweet chocolate flavor.
- Name: 20th Anniversary Encore Series: Stone 6th Anniversary Porter
- URL: stonebrewing.com/encore6th
- Stats: 8% ABV, 60 IBUs
- Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning April 18
- Hop Varieties: Tomahawk
- National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico
- International Distribution: Australia; Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; Germany; Hong Kong; Japan; Korea; Mexico; Panama; the Philippines; Singapore; Sweden; Thailand; United Kingdom
- Find Beer: find.stonebrewing.com
Tasting Notes (provided by Brewmaster Mitch Steele)
- Appearance: Pours deep brown with a thick tan head of foam.
- Aroma: A nice blend of cocoa and smoke with hints of coffee and vanilla. Some fruity esters from the fermentation are present.
- Taste: Cocoa and coffee upfront, the smoke comes from the back of the palate, and hints of wood and vanilla from the oak addition finish off the flavor.
- Palate: Smooth, full but not sweet, with a balanced bitter end.
- Overall: I wasn’t around to taste the original 2002 release of this beer, so it was fun to try and re-create it by using only the basic recipe information that I had available. I’ve had this on file for years, but the brewlog I had said nothing about the use of American and French oak after fermentation. I learned that tidbit from the book “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance.” This is a cool version of our original Stone Smoked Porter. The malt and hops were amped up, and with the blend of oaks added, the result is a complex imperial porter that is wonderful fresh, but can also be aged for many years.
About Stone Brewing Co.
Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing is the 10th-largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 11 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multifaceted company will be the first American craft brewer to independently build, own and operate a brewery in Europe, and is also building a production brewery and destination restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. Brewing at both locations will be underway in summer 2016. Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone has earned a reputation for brewing outstanding, unique beers while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing. For more information on Stone Brewing, please visit StoneBrewing.com or the company’s social media sites: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and The Stone Blog.