jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - APR 21, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Clear golden body with nice lively carbonation that lasts for a good while. The head is made of fine white particles. The aroma is sweet and biscuity malt and yeast. The flavor is a blast of malt then followed by a good dose of hops and lots of yeast in the finish. There is a defeinte citrus component that I amhaving a hard tome quantifying. Body is medium, finish is dry and crisp. All and all a nice belgian style ale. Should age very nicely.
unclebleen (620) - California, USA - APR 20, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a nice gold/copper color with a small head that leaves excellent lacing. Nice lazy carbonation that slowly makes its way up to the surface. Aroma is sweet estery yeast with a nice light spiciness. Nice banana and pepper notes. Overall the aroma reminds me of Stone's Sawyers Triple. Flavor is a nice sweetness blended with some citrus hop notes. I actually do detect the lime notes from the lime leaf. One of the most unique aftertastes of any beer...a dry bitterness combined with a smooth (a hate using that term) finish. The body is very clean and refreshing. Overall another great offering from Stone.
FlacoAlto (4152) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - APR 20, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAY 19, 2005 Sampled May 2005
This beer pours with a prodigious pale tan head that is held up by a medium level of carbonation. The head sits atop a slightly hazy orange-gold beer. The aroma is softly spicy with notes of vanilla, ginger, soft yeasty notes, and a note that is unmistakably from the Kaffir Lime leaf (a mix of lime and woody lime pith). The taste is dominated by the lime leaf up front, it actually seems to have intensified in the past year. This beer has a soft creamy mouthfeel to it, which is accentuated by a hint of vanilla. There are some nice herbal notes here that finish off with a bit of balancing sharp astringency in the finish. This is my favorite vertical epic so far, I don’t see it lasting all that long, but it is pretty good now.
Sampled April 2004
Pours a clear gold-copper color that is topped by a cream to tan colored head. As I pour this beer I get some good solid Belgian yeast aromas (spicy, and peppery, with notes of orange and a soft creamy vanilla thing going on). This smells sweet and thick. The taste is a bit sweet, but not as much as the aroma suggested. I must admit that this is quite a bit better than I was expecting. Nice sharp Triple character with some light dusty character combined with a lemony spritzy character. There are lots of interesting herbal spice notes, and it finishes with a bit of an astringent note which balances the sweetness up front. This is quite good now and, once again, I have serious doubts that this will last until the end.
Zach Diesel (906) - Sisters, Oregon, USA - APR 20, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
creamy spritzy lemon and slight banana aroma, looks like a glass of honey, sticky and sweet with hints of cloves, alcoholic and big
DarkElf (3059) - La Jolla, California, USA - APR 19, 2004
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: MAY 16, 2004 Sweet and quite spicy, this release of the Vertical Epic is like a Belgian tripel, but more malty with a moderate and somewhat unpleasant bitterness toward the finish; The finish is also a bit tart and perhaps with a bit of lime contributing to the bitterness, but it's hard to say if this isn't just the power of suggestion at work; Nose is pretty much just sweet honey with perhaps a touch of spice; Golden apricot color and only very slightly cloudy; Off-white head is small on the pour and disappears into nothing soon thereafter, leaving absolutely no lacing
5000 (6862) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - APR 19, 2004
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bottle pours a slightly hazy golden, large frothy white head with so-so retention, and decent carbonation. Belgian yeast, flora, citrus, and banana in the nose. Detectable alcohol in the aroma as well. Slight fruity spiciness up front, but somewhat muttled. The Belgian yeast taste is quickly interupted with a bitter and acidic taste, result of the Kaffir Lime Leaf perhaps? By the time it finishes, I get a metallic tinge on the sides of my tongue. Respectable lacing tho. The 8.5% makes an appearance after the finish, slight warming of the throat. The aroma was unique, interesting, combining the Belgian yeastiness with a typical German Hefe, but the flavor was muttled with the Kaffir Lime Leaf (assuming). Too much going on here, each trying to battle each other, only resulting in a quasi Belgian Strong ale meets German Hefe meets tin can. Overall, I think the tin can won. Drinkable, but not all that enjoyable.
dolemike1 (1288) - Jeannette, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 19, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Very different... unique aroma of citrus, flavor is sweet ... yet some fruity bitterness... odd... yet enjoyable... powerful...raw... different than most anything else i have had... I like it but ... i think it needs time to age.
Kasteelfreak (341) - Fallbrook, California, USA - APR 18, 2004
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
I like this more than the '03 I just had at Obrien's. This is lighter in color, and more tripel like. It's also more crisp, and not as bready.
Spicy, limey, slightly sweet up front, then dries out at the end leaving a chalky, bitter aftertaste. Actually didn't think I was going to enjoy it this much. IMO, better than the '03.
NVBeer232 (467) - Reno, Nevada, USA - APR 18, 2004
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: MAY 7, 2005 Dark honey color. Very thick white head, almost looked like a nitro pour. Big time banana aroma. Lots of banana and citrus flavors mix it up with bisuity malts. Very sharp finish. Nice hoppy presence throughout. Would pair well with a variety of foods. Will probably be better with a little age, just to take some of the edge off the finish.
Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - APR 18, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
The beer as it jettisons from the 22 ounce brown bottle a somewhat hazy amber with a mountainous light tan and spumescent head, the lace a thick sealing sheet to conceal the glass. Nose is sweet malt with a nice hint of yeast, biscuit like, also a smidgeon of hop spiciness noted, quite crisp and clean to the senses, start is rich in malt, somewhat sweet and the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish has a stern acidity, and a pleasing hop bite, quite dry and lingering aftertaste, another great beer from a great brewery, having said that I do think like the 03 that it will benefit greatly from a few years in the cellar.