While I generally enjoy them, Double/Imperial IPAs aren’t my favorite style. Stone SoCal Hop Salute Black Double IPA also embodies two trends in craft beer right now: Black IPA and Citra hops. I don’t have anything against Black IPAs as long as they’re enjoyable. Citra hops on the other hand aren’t my favorite. Many people love Citra, they’re just not for me.
Thankfully I looked past my biases because I really enjoy this beer. The Citra hops are kept in check, there’s a bit of citrus bitterness but it’s not overwhelming. SoCal Hop Salute Black Double IPA really blurs the line between Double Black IPA and Hoppy Imperial Stout, I don’t think I would object to it being classified in either style.
It’s as black as most Imperial Stouts with a citrus hop smell and just a hint of roasted malt. The taste starts hoppy with some citrus then transitions to a more roasty bitterness before a more earthy hop bitterness covers the taste buds and lasts quite a while after swallowing. The beer finishes dry leaving me reaching for drink after drink.
Stone SoCal Hop Salute Black Double IPA is listed as 9.9% ABV and 110 IBU but its surprisingly easy to drink. Sadly this is my first, and probably last time ever having this beer. It was one of three commemorative beers given away at the National Homebrewers Conference.
Later this summer Stone will release their 15th Anniversary beer, Stone Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, which reportedly will be similar but not the same beer.