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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale

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RATINGS: 446   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.73   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
A new Vertical Epic will be released every year, with the goal being to collect them all and have a Vertical Epic tasting once the final Epic is released on 12/12/12. Each new Stone Vertical Epic Ale will be release one YEAR, one MONTH and one DAY apart. This time around, we used no spices in the brewing of this beer. If you've tasted the beer before reading this, that may surprise you. The special Belgian yeast we used adds a distinctively spicy aroma and flavor. Roastiness, clove, hops, fruitiness, and those other great and funky phenols abound in the nose. What's in the flavor? You certainly get some dark roasted malts and alcohol overtones. What else? Hints of earthiness, chocolate/cocoa, hop spiciness, maybe even anise, and ... the incredible variety of complexities from the classic brewing ingredients of barley malt, hops, yeast and water, when applied with an artistic brewer's talent never ceases to amaze.


3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
MayorQuimby (100) - Santa Barbara, California, USA - MAY 21, 2005
Bottle. Dark ruby brown color, relatively opaque, thin white head that left no lacing behind. First pour had no head retention, but the head stuck around for the second glass. Aroma is dominated by some dark fruits, very phenolic, and a lot of alcohol in the nose. Maybe a hint of yeastiness hiding behind all of that, though it was difficult to pick up. Flavor is mostly dark malts (roasty and chocolatey) and frutiness, spicy, and a deep alcohol burn in the finish. Carbonation is a bit bubbly in the mouth, but that should fade with age, body isn’t too heavy but there’s enough to hold up the complexities in the flavor. This and the 04 VE are interesting brews (for lack of a more precise term, maybe curious is the word I’m looking for), this is a lot more complex than the 04 was in December (though both are still quite young). Nothing exceptional, but certainly unique. It needs time in the cellar, though I am looking forward to see how it melds with age.

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
MAP (1133) - Lakewood, Ohio, USA - MAY 21, 2005
Very dark body, looks black in the glass. Thin light cream head on top. Aroma is all about some serious dark fruity notes. Fig, grape and plum, yeah, they’re all there too. Spices, they seemed to make it to the party as well, anise and clove making a smaller, but well balanced presence. Alcohol is a bit heavy in the nose as well, masking the yeast and malt some. Flavor is very stone-like, aka, heavy hop handed. Flavor does indeed need some maturing.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
mjg74 (2491) - La Mesa, California, USA - MAY 21, 2005
Pours a dark ruby color. Aroma contains yeast, grains, apples, and a little bit of alcohol. Some roasty and grainy flavor. A bit of alcohol is present. A bit of maltiness as well. I would say that this is fairly tasty.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
ross (2078) - weddington, North Carolina, USA - MAY 19, 2005
very complex, cap almost blows off upon opening. pours out dark brown color with a brown head that goes away very slow. aroma is hoppy, malty, spicy, and fruity. there is also a hint of alcohol present. taste is very similar to an alagash brew (must use the same barley, or something). complex, fruity, spicy, and kind of sweet, this is a very good beer. this is my second epic that i have had, and i must say that it is not as good as the one from last year, but it is still good, and actually i would think this one is going to last the 7 years till 12/12/12 more so than the 4/4/4. damn fine beer, as i have come to expect from these guys.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 19, 2005
2005 bottle. Pours a very deep auburn/light mahogany color, clear, with just minimal amounts of yeast sediment remaining at the bottom. Head is moderate-sized, and has a dark beige color to it, receding slowly to cover with ample lacing. The aroma wastes no time in bringing forth the clove, with notes of tart raspberries, orange peel, black pepper and moderately dry caramel malt. Flavor begins with a mix of light roasted malts, quite grainy and then works its way in to the clove esters. Highly spicy, they are impossible to miss and linger on to the finish. There is some sweet toffee and light brown bread with a chewy sort of carob/sorghum-liquorice thing on the end. More raspberry/citrus tones throughout and a sweet-and-sour sauce sort of thing on the finish, which, when combined with the clove, gets to be rather fatiguing by the end of the bottle. Full body, moderate carbonation, no thinning. I will agree that it is a little bit like "fuel" and the yeast seems a bit crude, but people seem to forget that they are trying to make this thing peak 7 or so years from now, not right now. Still I could stand for it to be a whole lot more delicate. You arent going to mistake this one for a real Belgian, IMHO.

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 19, 2005
UPDATED: MAY 31, 2005 Rising from a thick espresso-like creamy head is an aroma of spiced banana bread, caramel, and a touch of allspice--definitely Belgian-like but not overly so thankfully. The color is dark cola with a tinge of garnet red. The extremely deep flavor profile is pleasantly overwhelming at first. This beer tastes strong with a substantial alcohol edge which may be a touch out of balance (which will most likely improve over the aging process) and a bit of sweetness with subtle dark fruit, bourbon vanilla, and perhaps some star anise flavors too. The finish is bitter from both hops and roasted malt. The amazing elusiveness of this beer adds a lot of interest. It will surely age superbly. This is one of the most complex beers I have ever had.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Steib (613) - Queen Creek, Arizona, USA - MAY 18, 2005
Smokey dark brown color. Fair malt and hoppy aroma, nice notes of raisins and dates. Semi-sweet flavor, almost a creamy mouhfeel. Taste like a young bourbon, needs some ageing but very drrinkable. A style I like to see, brings a plethora of different tastes and opinions.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Tmoney99 (10551) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAY 18, 2005
Bottle. Poured a dark brown hue with an average light brown head. Aroma was complex of heavy roasted malt, hops and molasses. Full body with small alcoholbite finish. Flavor was moderate sweet and light bitter which was long in duration. Very good brew.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 18, 2005
Burgundy-brown body with medium carbonation and a moderately frothy light tan head. Aroma of cocoa, dark candy sugar, and banana notes. Long dark malty flavor with an unexpected twangy astringency as if from burnt sugar. Has a tannic, peanut skin quality to it. Medium acidity with substantial, lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is like a decent medium-full strong Belgian ale. Not a great Stone beer and it still won’t be in 7 years, 7 months, and 7 days.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ernest (6187) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAY 17, 2005
Head is initially average sized, frothy, light brown, mostly diminishing. Body is dark orange-brown. Aroma is moderately malty (toasted/roasted grain, cooked caramel), lightly hoppy (apricot), lightly yeasty (cobwebs), with notes of clove, oregano, orange peel, cola. Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is lightly sweet, moderately acidic, moderately bitter. Medium to full body, velvety texture, lively carbonation, lightly alcoholic. Like an imitation Fantome Black Ghost, perhaps, but without the rustic farmhouse character. Reminds me of something Ommegang would make for some reason (just a tad harsh/edgy/unrefined in the finish). Surprisingly good overall, though. Finally seeing a little improvement in the head size/retention from Stone here, but still disappointing compared to most Belgian beers.


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