If I had my druthers, that description would be amended as follows:
It’s also one really cool name for a beer.
And of course, it now is the name of a beer, a special brew to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the Stone Brewing Company: Gotterdammerung IPA. Except, of course, this really isn’t an IPA, or doesn’t seem like one to me anyway. If it were an IPA, it would be an imperial IPA, or a double IPA, if you consider its strength: 9.5% by volume.
Now let’s look at the hop bill. All the hop varieties employed are German. From the painted bottle label: Herkules, Hersbrucker, Magnum, Merkur, Smaragd, Strisselspat. Dry hopped with Sterling, a U.S. hop with Saaz parentage….
Some of these hop varieties are rarely seen, or at least rarely advertised. Herkules is a new German varietal good for bittering thanks to its high alpha acid content. Smaragd are a Hallertau hybrid. And they use a lot of these hops, a lot for aroma and a lot for bittering. The end product packs a whopping 102 IBUs after all.
The malt isn’t what we’re used to for an IPA, either. Stone says Gotterdammerung IPA is made “entirely with pilsner malts”, and you’ll get that when you taste it. Between the malt and the hops, the beer doesn’t really taste anything like an IPA, as we’ll see.
It certainly doesn’t taste like the American IPAs we’re used to from Stone, and Gotterdammerung IPA is bereft of any resiny or citrusy American hop character. English hops can share some of the herbal, grassy, minty qualities of German hops, but not to the degree they appear here.
And to me, that makes this much more like an imperial pilsner fermented like an ale than an imperial IPA. All that Teutonic hoppiness and crisp pilsner malt simply blitzkriegs anything IPA-like here. Not that that this is a bad thing, because Gotterdammerung IPA is wonderful and truly unique. But it’s not the first imperial pilsner for sure, though it may be the best I’ve ever had.
I think another key to figuring this beer out lies in Stone’s own description:
An interesting twist on a Double IPA (a German IPA, perhaps?), brewed with malts and hops traditionally used to brew German lagers and European pilsners.
See? It’s like a Jever Pils on steroids.
Stone Gotterdammerung pours to a bright golden color with a moderate creamy head formation and a surprisingly fruity nose of cantaloupe melon. Some crisp, bready pilsner malt up front is followed by some more melon fruit and a decided peppery hoppiness.
You should catch all this while you can, because the hops kick in quickly, and when they do they steal the show. A big minty, grassy hop aroma emerges towards the finish, and then a massive long dry puckering lingering bitterness. That bitterness is sharp as a razor’s edge, and along with the grassy herbal aroma that permeates the beer simply screams German hops.
All that hop bitterness and flavor really crowd out the hint of alcohol warmth I get; Stone Gotterdammerung IPA does not seem as big a beer as it really is. And all this for a mere $6.72 a bottle at the growler shop? What a deal my friends on a beer of, literally, epic proportions. Just for fun try sipping it while listening to Wagner. Let’s hope that Stone repeats this one, because it’s much too good to be a one off.
And while you’re at it, Stone, would it be too much to ask for a Ragnarok Bock?
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.