A rare treat for me: a quadruple review with three great pals, all of whom are friends of this blog (not to mention three of the four founding members of the best rock band you've probably never heard of, The Stormalongs). For the occasion, we chose to analyze Stack '72 Imperial I.P.A., a 9% alcohol bruiser from Sudbury, Ontario's Stack Brewing. Sold in 473mL cans, Stack '72 is named in honour of "The Superstack", which is apparently Canada's tallest smokestack. It's a murky, dull amber brew with a frothy off-white head.
My man Nick was our gracious host for the evening. so his thoughts go first. He found '72's aroma to be powerful and almost sweet, with hop and grapefruit notes. He found there to be a very fresh, clean taste with light citrus fruit notes. To the Rev's mind, this stuff tasted a bit under-powered for a 9% alcohol Imperial I.P.A. The mouthfeel delivered acceptable carbonation and the finish picks up steam. It sits in your mouth well.
Overall, Nick said he wanted the beer to have more punch. He called it a great Northern beer, but noted that he was surprised that it was as strong as 9%--he'd have guessed 7 or 8. Said Nick: "Blue collar. Not too snooty, but still craft." For him, '72'd be great after a hard day's work and he' be happy if it was more available.
The Rev: 7.0 out of 10.
Adam was our source for Stack beer. His parents live in Sudbury and he'd been hyping its new brewery to me for ages. Like Nick, Adam declared that this beer tasted less strong than it is. He characterized it as hoppy but not over the top, with a medium sweetness that left him craving something salty. He had a hard time describing the flavour, twice noting that "there's something I can't put my finger on", but he theorized that there might be some subtle smokiness combined with some sweetness, maybe some caramel, or maybe some resin. Said Adam: "I love this beer, but it's a mystery."
A super-enthusiast, Adam declared that "Stack '72 makes a lot of other beers feel inferior" and that "this is one of my favourite Ontario beers, despite my inability to articulate what's going on". It's strong but not damaging. Adam said that he could drink this stuff all day, as long as it's a short day.
Adam: 9.0 out of 10.
Colin, The Stormalongs' front man, is always great for a sound bite. Of Stack '72, he said that it's "a beer fit for a working man, but developed enough for a craft beer palate. A high alcohol content reflects the hard-scrabble origins as a Northern brew."
He found it to have a hoppy, dark, and vaguely spicy aroma, with lime notes. As for mouthfeel, it was simple, not foamy, direct, refreshing, layered, strong, and clean. He found the flavour to be sweet, playful, dark, and not overpowering. All told, Stack '72 was "a straightforwardly hoppy ale with enough complexity and balance of flavour to merit repeated experience."
Colin: 7.0 out of 10 compared to "normal beers"; 9.0 out of 10 for Northern Ontario.