In early 2014, Escondido, Calif.-based Stone Brewing Co. decided to start up a new series of beers that basically gave the brewers almost total creative freedom to produce any beer they wanted, using any ingredients they wanted. Named the Stochasticity Project,1 the series started off with a “bourbon barrel-aged gold Belgian ale” and has included such styles as a “golden stout” and a Belgian quad brewed with triticale grain.2

A blog post on Stone’s website gives a little background to what the Stochasticity Project is supposed to be:

Stochasticity basically refers to the process of arriving at an endpoint after following a random path, poking holes in the theory of randomness by pointing at the end results of endeavors—even those of a seemingly random nature. Brewmaster Mitch Steele and the Brew Crew embraced it instantly, seeing it for the awesome creative outlet it has become. The Stochasticity Project has zero set parameters, allowing our brewers to experiment with styles that go outside Stone’s existing family of bread-and-butter beers and the styles we’re known for.

Stone Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity bottle

Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity is a Belgian-style ale that comes in at 7.4 percent ABV and 28 IBUs and is brewed with wheat, hibiscus flowers and orange peel as well as magnum and sterling hops. The beer is sold exclusively in 22-ounce bottles.

Hibiscusicity was the fourth beer released in the Stochasticity Project series, which also includes:

  • Stone Stochasticity Project Varna Necropolis (8.6 percent ABV) — bourbon barrel-aged gold Belgian ale
  • Stone Stochasticity Project Quadrotriticale (9.3 percent ABV) — Belgian quadrupel brewed with triticale grain
  • Stone Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA (8.2 percent ABV) —double IPA brewed with grapefruit peels
  • Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity (7.4 percent ABV) — Belgian-style ale brewed with hibiscus flowers and orange peel
  • Stone Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise (9.7 percent ABV) — imperial golden stout brewed with cocoa and coffee beans

The Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity pours an almost shocking dark pink color, with plenty of dense white head that sticks around for quite a while, leaving a thick lacing behind. Carbonation in the glass is above average and the aroma on the nose is a combination of funky yeast, cloves, cherries, flowers, oranges and malts.

Stone Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity

The flavors present in the profile of the Hibiscusicity follows the nose in terms of what is present, but not in terms of strength. The floral note easily takes center stage, with the funky Belgian yeast, sweet oranges, tart grapefruit, oak and pepper notes flitting in and out. There the yeast leaves a slight bitterness on the finish, where it completes with some sweetness from the fruit, causing a somewhat confusing combination of flavors. The carbonation is quite high, although not so high that it can be seen as a negative, and it retains its strength longer than I expected.

Stone Hibiscusicity
BREWERY: Stone Brewing Co
LOCATION: Escondido, Calif.
STYLE: Belgian-style ale
ABV: 7.4 percent
IBU: 28
PRICE: $8.99
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 15, 2014
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
In the end, the Stone Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity is a beer that definitely has a unique combination of flavors. Unfortunately, for the most part, those flavors do not play will with each other, and the end result is a somewhat indistinct mess of a profile that is sometimes quite good, and other times not so good. The beer overall never finds much balance, and while it is obviously well brewed, it is easily the weakest of the five Stochasticity Project releases so far.
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