Total Score: 7.95/10
Next in the cavalcade of Stone beers: Ghost Hammer IPA. What’s a “ghost hammer”? Apparently the mischievous poltergeist companion of Stone’s overnight team. What’s an “overnight team”? Apparently the Stone brewery never sleeps and there is a team dedicated to monitoring the vital signs of fermentation at night. Ahh, the ghost hammer comes from the sounds of pipes knocking at night during fermentation… it all makes sense now, thank you Mr. Google! This beer is brewed with Loral hops which has been described as a “super noble hop” with its wonderful floral and herbal notes followed by a backdrop of citrus and earthy character – sounds rather tasty actually…
Poured from a 355ml can into a nonic pint.
A: Hop hazed golden body with a white cappuccino foam head that descends leaving lace scrawled on the side of the glass. Head retention is average but the lacing inside the glass looks alright. At this level, and a Stone beer, it could be better. 7/10.
S: Really floral! With candied orange and lemon providing a sugary note to the proceedings. Not much in the way of malt or other hop characters, but this nose is fairly unique so I give it props there – not everything has to be an out-and-out piney/citrus West Coast affair, the sea change is welcome here. 8/10.
T: Hello? A rather interesting turn, and I should point out the 18/05/17 brew date means this is 3 months old – right at the brink of hop fade, the flavour profile has that real underlying floral character but I’m also detecting a note of banana, along with candied orange/lemon/pear. Reminds me of those candy drops that mum kept in the glove box of the car and rewarded me with if the drive was pleasantly complaint free. Malt provides nothing more than a wafery biscuit touch towards the finish, which has a rather good balance in bitterness for an American IPA. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with a nice light carbonation – drinks like it isn’t even a challenge, which can be dangerous in a 6.7% ABV brew. 8/10.
D: Yet another brew that I would have loved to have tried sooner – this is really becoming a theme with my reviews lately. This is a brew however that will no doubt become notable in my mind for the intriguing flavour of those Loral hops – very floral with a candy drop character – it reminds me of specialty hops like Citra (pure lemon), Nelson Sauvin (white wine qualities) and Huell Melon (you guessed it: melon). PS: I love all these new hop varieties – viva hops! 8/10.
Food match: I would be interested in pairing this with a cheese platter for contrast.