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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 458   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.72/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
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.

   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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ernest (7118) - 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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Gachupines (1205) - USA - MAY 17, 2005
Dark brown color with a large head which dissolves a bit after drinking. Taste is spicy, some clove, but also a fairly roasted backbone. Alcohol is fairly hidden, pretty easy to drink actually.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
OldGrowth (3098) - the Containment Area, North Carolina, USA - MAY 16, 2005
Bottle, from Bauer wine and spirits. Good nose, sweet and spicy, molasses, clove,raisin/prune. Nice clean dark orangy/brown color, small head that faded quickly. Bittersweet flavors, same as aromas, the clove stands out, with the others right behind it. Medium body, lite oily creamy mouthfeel, bittersweet sour finish. Tasty brew, just enough of the clove thing for my preference. I think the ABV is hidden nicely trying to be patient and let it warm up...

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
GonZoBeeR (3025) - ste-catherine, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 16, 2005
Aroma:Caramel,raisins.... appearance:very dark brown,good head... Flavor:Caramel,raisin,apple,grassy,spicy. for an american beer but not better than a real belgian dark stong ale...

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
hopscotch (10522) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - MAY 16, 2005
Bottle... Very dark, crystal clear, ruby ale with a small, frothy, lightly tanned head. Spicy, fruity, yeasty aroma with notes of banana, milk chocolate and coriander. Malty sweet, spicy flavors take the early lead, but are followed closely behind by a calvary of hop bitterness which more than balances things out. Warming alcohol. Full-bodied and lightly oily with lively carbonation. Bittersweet, salty, grassy finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
FlacoAlto (4125) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 15, 2005

Sampled May 2005
Pours a deep, rich, amber color that shows ruby highlights when held up to the light. It is topped by a frothy light brown to amber colored head that dissapears after a couple of minutes. As I pour this beer I get a definite note of cloves. As I go in deeper I get notes of concentrated plum, raisins, figs, chocolate and alcohol. The taste is sweet and fruity up front, but then moves to a spicy slightly harsh note in the finish. The rich fruitiness is quite good and reminds me of raisins, and figs. The finish is astringent with notes of higher alcohols, spicy notes of pepper and clove, and hints of roasted malt and chocolate.

I will say this, this is the first one of these that I actually see lasting a couple of years, it is still a bit young and harsh around the edges. This should be quite nice once the harsh notes in the finish mellow out and the fruitiness comes to the fore.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
beerguy101 (5350) - Newark, California, USA - MAY 15, 2005
Dark brown color. Small sized white foamy head. Aroma is banana, cherries and chocolate. A medium to full bodied Belgian Ale. Malts are fruity and sweet. Lots of fruit flavors, banana, cloves, and cherries dominate. Nice bright yeasts. Very smooth taste. A nice sipping beer. There are a lot of complex flavors going on in this one,some bottle aging will make this one awesome. It is very different for the rest of the verticals. Seems more in the ‘traditional’ Belgian style. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Darkover (1534) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - MAY 14, 2005
Dark ruby/brown with a beige head. Aroma of spices, yeast and candy. Flavor of sweet malt, some spice, yeast and hoppiness. Doesn’t really taste very much like a belgian beer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
brentfeesh (1208) - Mansfield, Ohio, USA - MAY 14, 2005
UPDATED: JUL 8, 2006 Initially tried 5/2005....I really thought this was a good looking beer. Deep Bombay mahogany color, with some cherry looking hints. Wispy off white head. The aroma was hard to place but I’d describe it as spicy with Belgian hints of clove, yeast and candy. The body is medium and slick, though it ends with a very dry mouth feel (bitter). The flavor is two fold, and I think it’s good overall. There is some initial fruity sweetness that moves into spicy pepper and perhaps clover (or some such thing). These spicy flavors are pronounced. There is also some yeastiness and some burnt malt. Alcohol is present in a good way. Really gets bitter at the end with intensified pepper. While not great now I think this has some real potential! Can’t wait to do the 03-06 release tasting I’ve set for myself next year!

I was getting a bit tipsy by the time I re-rated this one. My color notes were the same but my coments on taste and aroma lacked any of the spice I spoke about before. Any spice left in the aroma or taste were much more subdued as this point and I foudn this to be a well balanced treat. I’ve improved by taste score by three points. This is aging well.

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