joohefner (380) - Isla Vista, California, USA - SEP 4, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
dark brown with a maroon tint. very sweet malty aroma with some chocolate and alcohol on the nose. a light spice note and some prunes. thick creamy body. strong chocolate flavor with roasted coffee in the background, and undertones of spicy cloves and more dark fruit. the beer finishes and leaves a sweet alcohol and licorice taste in the mouth. good but i thought a little heavy on the chocolate malts
RedHaze (371) - Where the hell am I?, Nebraska, USA - FEB 3, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a very deep dark brown with some faint ruby highlights. The head comes to a finger in height at it’s apex, but fades rapidly to a thin soapy head. The lacing is thin and tattered.
Smell; on the first couple of sniffs chocolate covered, rum soaked cherries come to mind. A little bit of vanilla and cloves are present as well, along with some hints of pepper. Very nice!
Taste; the chocolate is definitely present right away, along with a bit of coffee with touch of a chalky/yeasty flavor. Some dark fruits come out, with cherries and raisins mixed with a bit of alcohol. Even though I can taste a bit of alcohol, it doesn’t give any of the alcohol burn. The finish is sweet caramel and candied sugar.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability; the mouthfeel is a bit thin due to a fairly low carbonation, but it is very smooth. With the smoothness of the mouthfeel, and the flavor of this beer it is pretty darn drinkable.
Brad (364) - Berkley, Michigan, USA - MAY 27, 2005
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle: Amber fading into orange in color, bigger fuller foamy head, low carbonation. Spicy sweet aroma with pronounced cinnamon, bakery notes, and light milk chocolate. Flavors of spicy hops stand out with smaller flavors of alcohol and malts. Feels flat in the mouth, could be a bit more livelier.
SwedeDog (364) - Windsor, Connecticut, USA - AUG 14, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark, clear ruby with a good initial head that dissipates, but can be easily summoned with a little agitation. When chilled, the first aroma is somewhat metallic ... my bad! It shouldn’t be chilled. Very resinous, vinous and musty (almost dirty) aromas with a slight hint of hops and dark chocolate. As it warms, a great spiciness takes over and invites some dark fruits (mostly plum and raisin). Very full and satisfying mouthfeel. Like the aroma, the flavor is very vinous and winelike. This is very reminiscent of an abt. With warmth comes a surge of baker’s chocolate, spices and brown sugar. It finishes dry and bitter with an astringency (pretty much like all Stone brews)
mybrainhurts (352) - North Dakota, USA - JUL 4, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours deep brown with a short lasting tannish head. Aroma is yeasty, peppery, with hard fruits, dates and plums. Complex indeed. This is just from memory but it almost brings to mind HOTD Adam, only not as good. Molasses, coca, earth, tobacco, and peppery spiciness. Somewhat thin and chalky in the mouth. This is enjoyable now, but I question how it will age. Only time will tell.
footy (345) - scottsdale, Arizona, USA - OCT 20, 2007
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
5/27/05. Bomber. Mahogany with small tan head. Smoky aroma. Good carbonation. Dark fruits and some alcohol present.
Kasteelfreak (341) - Fallbrook, California, USA - MAY 7, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JUN 7, 2005 Best Vertical Epic yet. Creamy, smooth dark mahogony with an epic lingering head. Gingerbread and raisin make up most of the aggresive aroma. Plum, cinnamon, yeasty bread, nutmeg, and a little Coca Cola make up the flavor. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Aftertaste lingers with sweet Coca Cola malt and spice then blend with dry wood. Rerate 060705: This time I get a lot of semi-dried banana, like the chewy chunks you can get at Trader Joes.
bethmatt0421 (337) - Covington, Kentucky, USA - FEB 26, 2006
3.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours a dark brown, with an amber hue. A thick rocky head, that eventually thins out to a sheet, but leaving the glass still frothy. Extremely malty palate, thick mouthfeel, very smooth. Aroma is floral with a chocolate, and even roasty scents all mixed together, strangely. Flavor is difficult to dissect. Chocolates, lingering hop spice. In the end, it leaves you feeling warm in the chest, and throat, and the high alcohol content is balanced nicely throughout. A very enjoyable brew and, very impressive. Just another great brew from the boys at Stone.
stubby (334) - Santee, California, USA - FEB 5, 2007
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
So far my least favorite of the Vertical Epics. I suppose it is an interesting try at a porter crossed with a Belgian ale. I don’t like the roastiness combined with the yeast character. I don’t hate it either. Fruity aroma with dark malts.
Grandpa (327) - Verona, New York, USA - JUL 19, 2005
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
A dark ruby, translucent brewwith a small, tan head. A vague, earthy aroma as the glass approached the lips. The first sip had a mouth fulling, sheeting effect. The initial taste was that of a robust, roasted grain. This was followed by a slight sweetness which had fruity aspects but whose components were hard to identify. Then the hops came in to give the balance and leave an aftertaste. This lead to an immediate second sip to savor and try to identify the contributors to the complex flavor. Unsuccessful. I leaned back and just enjoyed the remainder of the big bottle.