Stochasticity Project | Grapefruit Slam IPA
I was recently asked someone in passing what their favorite citrus fruit was. Is that an odd question? I guess that’s the kind of question you ask and can expect an honest-to-god answer. Why would anyone taradiddle on tangerines? I think you can tell a lot about a person by their taste in citrus fruit – I’d venture that a majority of replies will be “ummm, oranges?”. That’s fine, oranges are good, but in all honesty, they’re the Bud Light of the citrus world. I don’t have anything against oranges or the good people who grow them (I have a glass of OJ every morning when I wake up) but this answer is all too milquetoast. There are so many varieties of citrus fruit; it’s damn hard to get anything but excited about them. The lowly citron, the mandarin orange, the lemon, the Kumquat!, the possibilities are endless.
I’d venture to say at this point, dear reader, that you’re confused. You’ve tuned in to read about beer, and you’ve found but whimsical ramblings about citrus. It’s a calculated move – a look inside the writers head, as it were. The title of the post says it all, stochasticity, and that’s what Stochasticity Project’s Grapefruit Slam IPA claims in its genesis, however it is anything but.
A quick look at the bottle does not reveal a brewer. A closer search confidently describes Koochenvagner’s Brewing Company of Escondito, CA as the brewer. Interesting, never heard of these folks. I, however have been fortunate enough to make the pilgrimage to the Stone World Bistro and Gardens, which so happens to be in Escondito, CA. This is no concidence – it appears as if Koochenvagner’s Brewing Company is Greg Koch and Steve Wagner at Stone Brewing Company’s version of Tony Clifton or Chris Gaines. Don’t worry though, in this case, the Koochenvagner syllogism can sing.
This beer pours a light reddish brown, the color of toasted pecans. The head is light, the color of the white part of a Cadbury crème egg. The nose has a rich maltiness with a peppering of hops, clearly an IPA. The initial salvo is a short lasting light biscuty note, which is followed by a machine gun blast of lemony citrus and hops. This continues for a few seconds and fades into the searing dryness of grapefruit. They were not lying with the name, this beer is chock full of grapefruit. It works so well together, I can’t help but be impressed. The sweet maltiness is perfectly opposed by the bitter, dry grapefruit. The piquant hoppiness at the end is perfectly introduced by the forward citrus notes and perfectly punctuated by the grapefruit at the end. This is one kick ass IPA.
The best thing is that this brew is far from stochastic. It’s not a chance recipe that happened to be a winner – this one is good because of science. Stone’s Stochasticity project is a look into the science behind brewing. Check out their website, it’s cool. They dig deep into the chemistry of brewing which, for a chemistry geek like me, is fantastic. For those of you who are not fascinated by the description of their Anton Paar Alcolyzer, I’d advise skipping to the section covering the beers that have been released from this series. You may not be fascinated by lab equipment, but if you’ve tried Grapefruit Slam, you’ve been enraptured by this beer and are waiting for the next one to be released.
A grapefruit IPA is nothing new. Perrin and Abita both make one. They’re OK. Stone has made a deterministically good version with Grapefruit Slam IPA. I think this answers the “favorite citrus fruit” question for the folks at Stone, but for me, the answer will always be a Pomelo.