johnyvt (158) - West Hollywood, California, USA - MAY 13, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Transparent brown/red pour with a big tan head that didnít stick around too long. Spicy aroma of cloves and dark fruit. Nose is banannas and a little bit of alcohol, but that is quickly covered by a dark, roasted malt finish. Has a bit of Three Philosophers dark cherry taste. Other fruit, like plums. Yeasty. Thereís chocolate, some detectable hops, and a lot of other subtle flavors that I imagine will come out more with age. Still, this is impressively drinkable now.
elektrogeist (158) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - JUN 16, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Just picked this one up at the Leeís, had to give it a whirl. Immediately from opening there is the belgian yeast scent, but the ale itself tastes a bit different. The only reason I didnít give the flavor a 10 is because itís brand new, and would probably taste more balanced upon further aging. I guess weíll just have to wait to see how it changes though. Like all Stoneís brews, a must try.
cigarsnbeer (146) - Valley City, North Dakota, USA - JUL 7, 2005
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Strange...I wouldnít expect this from Stone, I thinks an American take on the Belgian Strong Ale. Fruity and peppery through out, with a cigar tobacco aftertaste, REALLY complex!
3daddict (139) - Portland, Maine, USA - AUG 7, 2005
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Dark brown ruddy pour with quickly vanishing head. Has all the scents, looks and taste of a fine Belgium beer, minch meat with a graham cracker crust. But what really took me was the smoothness and lack of undue carbonation that most of these beers demonstrate. We are teased off the label about cellaring this release but it is an undue concern since they nailed it. This is perfect right off the shelf as is!
cvillebeer (134) - Charlottesville, Virginia, USA - JUN 7, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
I have been looking forward to this myself and I am glad that i am not dissapointed. Pours a deep crimson-brown with a tall head that dissipates to a thin bead. The aroma is strongly yeasty with scents of alcohol, chocolate, spice and citrus. Isnít it amazing what a yeast strain can do? the flavor is similar but with a hoppy-bitter undertone and finishes mostly dry. Since this is intentionally brewed to be aged, being a bit out of balance is expected and while the bitterness is not overpowering, it does seem out of place in a beer like this, but that should fade and mellow with age. There is a little alcohol burn as well that hopefully will blend in better as well. A fine ale with a promising future.
nahthan (129) - Oakland, California, USA - JUN 30, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I bought two when I saw this on the shelf last October. The first I remember being quite hoppy and very double-IPA like. Iím glad I waited to open the 2nd until now. A nice spicy marriage between the alcohol and hop flavors - a hint of clove, plum, toffee, dried apricot and slight mango. Very clean alcohol flavors. Nice citrusy and piney hop bitterness that has mellowed out and a bit in the background by now. I think it would taste even better a year from now. I should have bought three. Absolutely delicious.
chargerfanjess (124) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 10, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
The special Belgian yeast was the KEY It really did add a distinctively spicy aroma and flavor which was incredible. Roastiness, clove, hops, fruitiness, and those other great and funky phenols characterized this beer exactly like the description.Dark roasted malts and alcohol overtones, hints of earthiness, chocolate/cocoa, hop spiciness, describe the structure of this great cervesa!
giarcsr (103) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 9, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Iím thinking this probably isnít the best beer to be rating three or four days after itís release. I think this beer would be better off after a few years or so. Anyways, it is a decent darkish beer with a solid aroma, and very belgian like in a lot of ways. It is a lot better then last years release, which is good, but I would say that this is a step above the the regular releases from stone. Hopefully Iíll remember to rerate this in a few years when I crack open one of the few bottles I got.
MayorQuimby (100) - Santa Barbara, California, USA - MAY 21, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
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 isnít too heavy but thereís 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 Iím 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.
t4h2c0 (95) - seattle, Washington, USA - JUL 22, 2008
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
Man, maybe I aged my bottle poorly becasue it was not good in my opinion. After over two years of aging I was excitied to taste it after aging. What a disappointment. Poured dark redish brown with a thick white head. The poor balance of the beer threw my palate off right away, tasted like a funky belgian beer. I don’t understand why Stone is using a Belgian Yeast in beers that are supposed to age up to ten years. Well, i guess i’ll just have to let my next 05’ age even longer and see what happens.