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. Craft beer 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 craft beer 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.
1) Refers to the condition of having an abnormal, extreme, and persistent fear of words.
2) 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 beer 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.
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