As a lukewarm fan of Stone Pale Ale, I was looking forward to the new version, assuming it would be hoppier, drier, and maybe lighter in color/abv. I was wrong on all counts. Anyway, here's how it would go down if I was judging this one in a homebrew comp.
Poured from bottle
Aroma - mild orange and grassy hops, sweet malt, lightly fruity (from hops or yeast) 5
Appearance - Deep gold/light amber, clear, thin head 3
Flavor - Biscuit and sweet malt upfront, then excessive bitterness. Not very hoppy, but there is a distracting slight orange and herbal hoppy quality reminiscent of orange juice from concentrate. Maltier and less aromatic than 1.0 and simultaneously too bitter and too sweet without striking a balance between the two. 6
Mouthfeel - Medium to full body, nice carbonation. A bit big for the style. 3
Overall impression - This doesn't taste like a more modern or updated pale ale, but like an amateurish attempt at showcasing Mandarina Bavaria. Fermentation character seems clean enough, but otherwise this beer is unbalanced. I suspect the malt base would make for a pleasant beer if it were much less bitter, but the bitterness combined with low hop aroma makes this very fresh bottle taste like it has spent the past two years in the back of the refrigerator. 4
This as a replacement for the overpriced-but-delicious Stone Pale Ale 1.0 is very disappointing. Yuck.