jasonp (1556) - Ashburn, Virginia, USA - NOV 14, 2004
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JUN 17, 2005 Beautiful deep clear crimson with a thick off-white head. Great hoppy, malty aroma with a hint of cherries. Taste is very sweet, malty and hoppy as hell. Pretty complex - has notes of pine, citrus/grapefruit, dark fruit/cherries, honey and toasty malts. Nice lingering bitter aftertaste. Has an alcohol presence on the back end with a big, thick chewy body. Very creamy with subtle carbonation. Has great lacing and head retention. Tastes more like a barleywine as it ages. Great stuff.
Gromit (479) - Port Orchard, Washington, USA - NOV 14, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Chalk this up to another "damn, Iíve had how many of these and I *still* havenít rated it yet" moments... And then "what can I add that hasnít been stated by the 300+ other ratings..."
So, um, itís light and refreshing, just a hint of hops and malt, kinda like some of the other low carb beers on the market...
Oh, wait. Wrong beer.
Okay, this is so vicious that it almost broke the glass as I poured it. Dark brown with a nice head and respectable lace.
Aroma is huge; malt, hops, dark fruits...
Flavor is a bit wimpy. < cough > Seriously, though, it kicks you in the jaw. Very well balanced. I donít know what it is about Browns and Ambers that I hate so much (too sweet/malty) yet this has as much of that and is great. Maybe itís the balance, maybe I just canít define it. Huge dark fruits, coffee, some natural spices, and maybe a hint of chocolate, but only a hint and Iím likely reaching for something else I canít quite put my finger on.
Palate... Yeah, I used to have one before this. Thick and bitingly crisp if I may coin a phrase. It has some minerals to it as well.
Overall, itís damn good, but the hype is real ("you probably wonít like this..."). This is an extreme beer and the *last* thing you want to give your PBR-loving friends unless you also like writing obsenities all over their faces when they pass out drunk and give them pure habanaro sauce when they think theyíre eating Pace. Use sparingly.
joshpiledean (315) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 13, 2004
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours clear reddish brown with a nice tan head. Aroma is very intensly bitter with sweet caramel, hops, and a little alcohol, which is covered suprisingly well. Suprizingly smooth feel with loads of flavor. Bittering hops dominate, but not with the what I expected. Some kind of chocolate/caramel/coffee blend going on but I canít pick out a dominant flavor. Slightly sweet flavor, alcohol is covered very well. Rich and thick feel with a wonderful aftertaste that lingers and lingers. Wams on the way down. Great beer, strong like bull. LIKE BULL!
brentfeesh (1208) - Mansfield, Ohio, USA - NOV 13, 2004
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: SEP 14, 2009 2003: Wow! An intense caramel nose with light citrus hops in the background. Very enjoyable. Great color, caramel with amber hints. The taste is BIG and complex. Malty caramel (I seem to think this had a great deal of caramel to it), smooth milk chocolate, and light bourbon or wood notes. The hops are there in the background at first (light pine resin) and the alcohol is noticeable but well incorporated. Nice pine resin and grapefruit hops and linger and intensify towards the end and finish long. This is GREAT! Far superior to its little bastard brother (who is no slouch himself).
Vertical of 2003-2005 (Enjoyed with friends the Weekend of May 13th Ė After the launch fiasco). I can not believe I last rated this in 2003. I love this beer.
2003: this has become a malty bomb! Lots of malty caramel flavors layered throughout finishing with a light bitterness. I did not notice any oxidization in the. The alcohol is very well hidden and I noticed a plum or date type of a flavor (definitely a fruitiness that I donít normally catch in this brew). Still aging well though itís loosing a lot of its hop punch.
2004: this is where itís at. A bit over a year old seems to be where I like this brew the best. Much bigger aroma than the 2003 (crisp and malty) and the body is lighter as well (due to more hop presence). At this point I think the hops and malts have integrated fully and this is an outstanding brew.
2005: The freshest of the lot. And itís definitely hotter. The hops are much more in your face and the mouth feel is a big more crushing, rather than the smoothness you discover after a year on the shelf. I may rate this years again, but Iím telling you. I really like this brew with about 1-1.5 years on it.
davidflores99 (225) - Long Beach, California, USA - NOV 12, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Poured an amber dark color with an off white creamy head. Aroma was hoppy and citrusy, very nice. Flavor was harshly hoppy but I loved it. It had a smooth finish and alcohol was hidden nicely as well. Iíll be getting more of these in the future.
SDalkoholic (2219) - Linda Vista, California, USA - NOV 11, 2004
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dense mahogany wirth reddish tint and a small head that looks like a cappucino froth. Aroma is very delightful and gives off a sweet berries with hops smell. Strong flavor that bursts bittering hops, woodchips,caramel syrup, earth and little grapefruit. Wish i had payed more attention to last years batch so i could of compared with this years.
jmuhops (669) - Winchester, Virginia, USA - NOV 11, 2004
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 18, 2006 Pours a very nice brown/dark ruby with a small but beautiful head. Very malty/caramel aroma. Surprisingly smooth, not too overpowering. Little alcohol burn. Very nice.
UPDATE: More alcohol flavor than I remember. -1 overall.
pineypower (2691) - Pine Barrens, New Jersey, USA - NOV 11, 2004
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours out a nice ruby color with tiny reminants of a lacing head. It has a malty aroma with noticible notes of alcohol on the nose. The taste is very complex but not overpowering like one might expect from the high gravity. Malty flavor at first with notes of fruit and a nice bitter hoppy finish. One huge beer!
giarcsr (103) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 8, 2004
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
2004 batch. This is like the best smelling beer ever. It is mellower on the apricot taste then AB with a sweet roasty malt, caramel flavor. At 10% the alcohol taste isnít too overpowering, definetly warms you up going down. Overall one of Stones better beers.
HopalotCassidy (12) - Indiana, USA - NOV 8, 2004
4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Grapes and Cherries over black coffee
Sweet warming middle. Full rich palate and a long crisp finish.
Certainly a beer to be savoured.
Am still a bigger fan of their 7th anniversary and Epic 03 (2003 was good year for Stone)