Looking like a Maui sunset, Stone Brewing’s R&R Coconut IPA is a mass of orange incandescent liquid. The carbonation flows like an upside-down tropical rainstorm, flooding the head like a freshly crashed wave. The froth begs to be inhaled and releases all tension upon doing so. This beer is a vacation in a glass. (click here for some relaxing ambient wave crashing noise)
The sun melts away the thick chill haze revealing a crystal clear golden beer. Duck-diving the top wave, I come up with big notes of bit-o-honey candy, some honey graham cracker, pink cotton candy and a touch of sweet herbal tea. Sadly, the coconut is lost on a deserted island. I climb every tree and come up empty, brah! Even as it warms, the hop aroma turns herbal masking any coconut.
The taste comes in waves; sets of sweet foamy crystal malt, then 90 IBU’s of juicy tropical hops, the next wave carries an ankle slapper of coconut, followed by a ten foot glassy bitter finish. Sip after sip, I go back out for another set looking for the perfect wave. As it warms, the coconut comes out, but by that time, the temp is washed out for the style of beer. The body is notably creamier than the standard “Stone mouthfeel”, making it deceivingly chuggable at 7.7%ABV.
Overall: This is a damn fine IPA. As a coconut fan, I was hoping to get socked in the nose and gut with coconut, yet walked away unscathed. If you hate coconut (aka you’re a total “Barney”), you’ll probably do just fine with this beer. Stone’s Brewmaster Mitch Steele quotes, “The primary flavor note is coconut, and its intensity was achieved by two additions, one in the whirlpool and the other post dry hop. The selected hop varieties add subtle tropical fruit and berry notes that blend well with the coconut.” I get the tropical thing, but I really have to dig for coconut…only getting a brief flash near the back end of the taste. I don’t necessarily want Malibu Rum in a beer either, just some nice toasted coconut to remind yourself to get outside and enjoy summer. Regardless, I’ll personally be on the lookout for it.
The chill haze burn off was one of the most intense I’ve ever seen with any beer. I actually prefer the chill haze look as it lends a more summery luau cocktail visual. As it clears, it gets boring like your grand-pappy’s IPA. Pictured left, before and after, ten minutes.
Stone R&R Coconut IPA is a homebrew competition winner re-brew collaboration (with Robert Masterson & Ryan Reschen/RIP Current at Stone Brewing Co.) and is well worth picking up. As with all IPA’s, drink it as fresh as possible. Share it with your mom. Shaka!
Food Pairings: Ahi Poke, SPAM musubi, aged gouda, pineapple cottage cheese, jalapeno/pineapple pizza, thai coconut curry, mango shrimp tacos.
UPDATE: I bought a few more bottles, and the later tastings have displayed more coconut aromatics, retronasal olfaction while swallowing, and coconut finish. Perhaps my initial bottle was served too cold.
Disclosure: Initial bottle courtesy Stone Brewing Co. Purchased three more for personal consumption and further review.