The Stone Idolatrous IPA presents itself as a clear amber elixir when poured into a Nonic pint glass. The head, an extravagant creation fueled by copious hop oils, rises with a meringue-like consistency, showcasing the beer’s commitment to visual appeal. This limited release, part of Stone’s Hop Worship Seasonal IPA Series, maintains an enticing appearance, drawing the eyes with an impressive display of foam.


Anticipating a modern, clean IPA with a profusion of fruity notes, Idolatrous surprises from the first whiff. The expected delicate fruity touches of Mosaic hops are noticeably absent. Instead, the aroma offers a burst of citrus peel reminiscent of white grapefruit, lemon, and lime. As the beer warms up, subtle undertones of cake and bread rolls emerge, balancing the volatile hop aromas. Idolatrous deviates from the expected Mosaic profile, leaning heavily on the high alpha acid El Dorado hops for a bold and assertive olfactory experience.


Idolatrous delivers a blast of bitterness, with the presumed influence of El Dorado hops evident in the high IBU wallop. Drawing parallels with Stone’s Exalted IPA, it appears that the base beer remains unaltered, while the hop varieties have been swapped. This beer stays true to its old-school IPA roots, dominated by resinous hops that leave a lasting impression. The flavor profile, characterized by toasted bread, pine sap, walnuts, and pound cake, presents a burly and chewy experience. Bitterness, reaching a formidable 9 out of 10, leans towards tannic tea leaf flavors, creating an aggressively hop-forward composition. Despite its off-balance nature, the beer caters to Stone’s die-hard fans seeking an intense hop fix.


Idolatrous, though unabashedly bitter, manages to remain enjoyable and drinkable. The medium to almost heavy body, reminiscent of caramel-laden silk, offers a welcome respite from the resin overload. This silky mouthfeel contributes to the overall drinkability, softening the impact of the pronounced bitterness. The beer, while deviating from modern subtleties, provides a nostalgic journey to the era of chewy, ultra-bitter, amber IPAs, reminiscent of Stone’s flagship offerings.


In assessing Idolatrous, the overall sentiment leans towards a “meh” when compared to the previous allure of Exalted IPA. However, the beer earns its place in the fridge for hop enthusiasts seeking a predictable fix. Stone’s commitment to the aggressive, hop-forward category is evident, appealing to a specific audience that appreciates the brand’s legacy. For lovers of robust bitterness, Idolatrous proves a reliable choice. However, those expecting the finesse of clear Mosaic IPAs may find this offering stomping on their expectations, drowned out by the bold alpha acid punch of El Dorado.

In conclusion, Stone Idolatrous IPA stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of old-school, resinous IPAs, offering a familiar fix for hopheads but lacking the innovation that could elevate it to the heights of its predecessors in the Hop Worship series. Despite its shortcomings, critical reviews such as these serve as valuable feedback for breweries, providing a lens through which they can refine and adapt their offerings in an ever-evolving craft beer landscape. Cheers to the bold, but let’s not forget the nuances that elevate the craft.