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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 444   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.73   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
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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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JUN 29, 2005
Pours a dark mahogany with a thick, but short-lived and lightly-lacing tan head. Aroma has a nice heavy maltiness and bready Belgian yeasty character with some hints of dark fruits. Body starts with a pleasant sticky sweetness turning more dry and lightly peppery-spiced toward the bready, yeasty finish. Some mild warming notes are present, but overall it hides the alcohol fairly well. Has nice complexity, but the body and flavor seem to thin a bit toward the finish. Otherwise, one of the better Vertical Epics I’ve tried.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Ughsmash (7003) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 3, 2005
Deep ruby pour with a moderate beige head. Aroma was quite complex with spices (incl. cloves), dark fruits, Belgian yeast, plums, and some malty sweetness. Crisp mouthfeel from the hops, and white pepper, dark fruit, a medium sweet malt backbone, and cloves were in there. The sweetness dominated the flavor, but I think it may mellow out with time. Familiar Stone hoppy finish with some cloves and sweet malts. I enjoyed this, but the 04’s balance gives it my nod at this point in time.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
bb (6695) - Alamo, California, USA - JUL 9, 2005
Bottle. Very dark amber-mahogony beer with a nioce beige head. Rich malt aroma with some fruit and cola. Rich fruity/malty flavor - sweet malt, dates, raisins, yeasty spiciness. Full bodied. Easy to drink - hides alcohol well. Some cocoa and roastiness. What keeps this from being a great beer is that it misses the rich aftertaste. The flavor just sort of peters out without giving you enough satisfaction.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ibrew2or3 (6521) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - NOV 16, 2008
Huge thanks to Travis (of Dunedin Brewery) for bringing along a vertical of Stone’s Vertical Epic to the epic Florida kick off party at the Oldsmar Tap House. Pours murky fudgy brown with tiny off white head. The inviting aroma has notes of caramel, German dark bread, toffee, biscuit and faint rich nearly over ripe dark fruitiness. The taste was very nice but lacked the depth I was expecting. It had the smoothed with age notes noted in the nose such as caramel, biscuit malts, a bit of dark fruitiness and faint oxidation. Very nice treat.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Cletus (6329) - Connecticut, USA - SEP 14, 2008
Pours brown with a red tint. Smells of caramel, dark fruit, lots of clove. Tastes of sweet caramel and spicy, but the cardboard is creeping in. I have some doubts as to how much longer this beer should be cellared by anyone as it’s showing signs of oxidation.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
sebletitje (6326) - Enghien, BELGIUM - NOV 21, 2008
courtesy of Travis, you da’ man. Pours amber with beige head. Aroma is malty and grainy. Taste has plenty of nice chocolate malts and some hints of dark fruits. It aged quite well, loaded with nice flavors and a light hoppy finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Rastacouere (6107) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 25, 2005
Big fluffy off-white head lasts over the deep brown body. Complex yeast derived phenols and esters create a well rounded nose in which a foreground blend of floral and anise aromatic components work hands in hands. They welcome greedily the nutty, toasted dessert bread malts and pour a well disciplined candyish fruit syrup on top of it. The yeast doesn’t impart anything that shouldn’t be there, the alcohol warmth is perfectly integrated. Full bodied, gentle soft carbonation. Plenty of residual sugars in there (nice life ahead), though they bring flavors out (molasses, brown sugar, candi) rather than just lending the beer a heavier sweetness than it can handle. Okay, we’re not quite talking world-class here, but this is a very successful belgian stylish ale in which the ingredients, thanks to an efficient yeast strain, have brought out a result worthy of the sum of their parts. Good stuff, bold and efficient.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Emil (6067) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - OCT 9, 2006
Bottle. Dark red brown colour with a medium beige head. Dark fruits, caramel aroma and taste, light alcoholic. Medium to full body with a sweet light dry, light alcoholic finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ernest (6031) - 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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
5000 (6027) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - MAY 8, 2005
Bottle: Dark ruby, fairly clear, monsterous beige head, foamy, fantastic lacing, lively carbonation.   Very bready nose, cloves, subtle pepper.   Yeasty, light sweetness, cloves, subtle raisins on the tongue, a bit of anise as well.   Seems a quasi Belgian, Tripel/Dubbel combination.   Not as sweet or fruity as others in the same style, but certainly tasty.   Full to moderate body and mouthfeel.   Clean finish, lingering anise, cloves, and bready.   Somewhat earthy without being musty.   While Belgianesque, the sweetness and mustiness is missing.   Otherwise, tiz fairly good!

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