California’s Stone Brewing sure knows how to market beer (they sure know how to brew it, too). When you see a beer on the shelf whose label reads “Götterdämmerung,” how can you not go in for a second look? Götterdämmerung is yet another Stone take on the super-hoppy, very strong IPA. This one has a rather interesting twist though. It’s essentially a German pilsner taken to the extreme (hence the epic, Wagnerian name), and fermented with ale yeast. The result is something really impressive and interesting.
Götterdämmerung pours a slightly hazy, brassy yellow color, tinged very slightly orange. It builds up a frothy white head that lingers throughout the drinking. Hops are the first thing to strike the nose, which is to be expected from a Stone beer. The brewery reports that this beer measures at 102 International Bitterness Units. It doesn’t taste like other hop-bombs, though. Some of the hop character is like Stone’s Ruination IPA. There are strong flavors of juicy fruit like peaches, clementines, pineapple and lemon. The German hops, however, provide some flavors that aren’t typical of a West Coast IPA. There are herbal and pine-resin flavors, peppery spice, and even a grassy bitterness in the finish. The malt (all Pilsner) is there primarily to back up the hops. It provides some dry cracker-like taste, a bit of whitebread, and some honey sweetness. The mix of this sweetness and the lemon from the hops is reminiscent of Lemonheads candy (but in a good way). The beer is 9.5% alcohol by volume, but it doesn’t seem hot or boozy at all. This one is dangerously drinkable, especially, since the puckering hops make you want to go back for another sip. There is a bit of the sticky mouthfeel that can affect strong beers, but overall its very smooth with mild carbonation.
Götterdämmerung is a limited release brew, so if you happen to see this one on your local beer store shelf, you should definitely give in to your instinct to check it out, especially if you’re a Pilsner or IPA fan with a bit of an experimental streak.