01 November 2017

Ghost, train

It was the distinctive branding that first attracted me to Stone's Ghost Hammer IPA, and a canned-on date showing under three months since it left San Diego sealed the deal. So it was a big disappointment to find it doesn't taste of very much. The ABV is a not-insignificant 6.7% and there's a sticky, sugary flavour and texture to go along with that. The main element is orange, of the boiled sweet and marmalade variety, turning to harsher pith towards the finish. A search for other facets came up mostly blank, with just the faintest hint of pine, mostly squashed under the weight of malt. I genuinely expected a bigger, more active, flavour profile from this, instead of this tiny quiet one. Ghost by name and ghost by nature.

There was more orange on the cards with Stone's Tangerine Express IPA, brewed at the Berlin satellite brewery also from headquarters* and arriving on keg to 57 The Headline. This one is much murkier than the Ghost Hammer, though a similar bright and cheery orange colour, and around the same strength too. There's a proper bitterness, much of which is down to the fruit I'm sure, but at least part of it is earthy and dreggy, suggesting it's coming from residual yeast suspended in the beer. In the middle there's a decent fresh and green hop flavour. Azacca and Mosaic are in the mix so I'm surprised how untropical this part is, suggesting more Cascade to me. And then there's a tiny tangerine fruit tang at the end, though none of the juice. If this were as sweet as the previous beer, with that citrus fruit flavour, it would work much better. Recipe design aside, my main criticism is the lack of cleanness: the yeast is definitely harming the quality here. It may have been a bit of a rush job.

A case of one beer I merely didn't like and one that seems to be poorly brewed. Time to drink something else.

*Thanks to Amy from Four Corners for the correction.