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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 768   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.68   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 252   ABV: 8.4%
The Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale is a Strong Golden Belgian style ale highly hopped with American hops (Ahtanum, Amarillo and Simcoe). The beer pours pale golden with a thick and creamy white head of foam. The aroma is full of depth: nuances of pepper, clove, and banana from the Belgian yeast strain, and the resiny citrus notes from the American hops blend together nicely to provide a complex aromatic character. The taste is spicy, hoppy and fruity, with a very dry and a pleasant bitter end. The bitterness lingers nicely, and provides a refreshing finish that leads you to want to drink more and more of this beer!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
RunDWP (203) - San Jose, California, USA - AUG 14, 2008
UPDATED: SEP 29, 2008 I’ve had it on tap as a sampler and from a 22 oz bottle. Fruity, apricot aroma. A little malty, with an apricot flavor and some sourness. Some piney, grapefruity hops at the finish. Alcohol warmed me up a little going down.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
doubleo (1432) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 13, 2008
22oz bottle. Pours straw yellow with a moderate, sudsy white head, specks of lace. Smells bready malty and spicy with a mellow citrusy hop presence. Tastes spicy and then very bready malty and yeasty, with some hops of course. Not bitter, kind of citrusy and subdued. Medium body, vibrant but smooth carbonation.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
FlacoAlto (3881) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 13, 2008
Sampled August 2008
Pours into my 25cl tulip glass with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, copper hue as it sits in my glass but shows a brilliant, bright gold color when held up to the light. The aroma has an expressively fruity, sort of children’s aspirin like aroma to it that is magnified by a substantial sweetness. Weird is all I can really say, and not necessarily bad. Other aromas of juicy fruit gum, grassy grain, clean tropical fruit, ripe peach, just a hint of an herbal note, some phenolic clove. I think it is that there is a slight medicinal note in the aroma along with the clove phenolics and these, combined with how incredibly clean the hop character is (is it filtering that made the fruity hop aromas so clean?) is what gives this a children’ aspirin aroma.

Tastes like bubble gum with the juicy, fruity hop notes and a clean, almost cotton candy like sweetness. This is actually surprisingly sweet tasting given the terminal gravity; I think that the fruity hop flavors tend to accentuate what sweetness is here and the fact that the fermentation profile is so clean means that the noticed alcohol note also seems to contribute to the perceived sweetness. Some phenolics and a spiciness contribute a touch of spiciness towards the finish that seems a bit turpene like and definitely has an expressive clove flavor to it. The hops contribute flavors of tropical fruit, lychee, ripe peach, and when combined with the perceived sweetness, some notes of honey-suckle are evident. While the hop character is quite dominant, there is, especially as this beer warms, a significant phenolic character to this beer, especially in the finish.

Despite being perceived as sweet this does have a nice, light body for a beer of this strength; I wouldn’t call it a quaffing brew, but it does have a nice drinkability to it. It could use a bit more carbonation as I typically like my strong Golden Belgian’ish beers to be lively, though the lightish carbonation here really doesn’t detract too much.

This is somehow incredibly clean, despite the noticeable fermentation character and hop notes; the malt seems almost naked somehow as it is lacking that chewy, grain note that I like to find in a good, pale, Belgian ale. This is still a good beer, it just seems to be a bit too filtered (even if it wasn’t caused by the actual filtering process). I do like how this beer works as a whole, the entire experience is a bit more than a sum of its parts.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
beerinmarch (2830) - Washington, USA - AUG 13, 2008
Pours a lightly hazy yellow/gold with a soft white head. This beer is still to young, needs a bit to let the hops settle and the alcohol subside a bite. Still very nice though. Tropical fruit hops in the nose and flavor, sort of peach and pineapple flavors coming through. Still very bitter, but that will tame with age, this will really be nice in 6 months to a year.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
shigadeyo (3296) - Harrison, Ohio, USA - AUG 13, 2008

8/13/2008: Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ae has a juicy and sharp citrus aroma that also has some tropical fruity maltiness to it. As far as appearance goes, it is a transparent golden blonde color with a frothy average-size head. The flavor has a subtle Belgian Trippel-like malt (bready), fruit (tropical: pineapple, apricot, even hints of raspberry in the aftertaste), and spice (white pepper) to it followed by a juicy, citrusy hop flavor (orange, hints of mango) and mild bitterness to it in the finish. There is something a little weird toward the finish that I can’t put my finger on though. The body of this beer is medium-light with a crisp and refreshing palate. Overall this release is pretty good, but not great. It’s obvious that they were trying for something similar to Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel, but I don’t think this beer is nearly as good and is slightly disappointing. It definitely has the Belgian Tripel crossed with an IPA flavor, but it is a bit to disjointed. Maybe a year or two would actually help to harmonize the two styles together in this one bottle...

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle (8.6% Alc/Vol) from The Party Source in Bellevue, Kentucky. Rating #64 for this beer...

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ratman197 (11360) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - AUG 13, 2008
Bomber poured a hazy yellow with a small lingering off white head. Aromas of earthiness, skunk bud, pine, passion fruit and light citrus. Palate was medium bodied and smooth with a slightly dry finish. Flavors of straw, earthiness, grapefruit zest, light passion fruit and a hint of orange with a lightly dry moderatly bitter lingering finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
phishpond417 (2088) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 13, 2008
YEAH! Pours a cloudy orange colour with a fairly small white head. Aroma is alcohol infused, nice caramel malt, bananna and clove accents. Taste is sweet, creamy with vanilla, grapes and pear flavors. Finish is long, alcohol again with a soft spice bite at the end. Tastey brew overall.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
DrHomolka (761) - Portland, Oregon, USA - AUG 12, 2008
I’ve had the 07 and the 06 but rated neither. This year’s version pours clear golden with a medium sized fluffy white head with pretty good retention and great lacing. Little yeast particles float around - it’s nice seeing a bottle conditioned Stone beer, wish all their stuff was. Belgian yeast is the first noticeable aroma. Lots of esters - bubble gum, pear, cotton candy. Clove also noticeable. The yeast definitely overtake the hops. I was expecting more hoppiness. Simcoe is noticeable underneath the yeast qualities, I definitely get some pine but it’s certainly not huge. Flavor is smooth, hoppier in flavor than in the nose. Mildly but pleasantly bitter - a clean bitterness. Somewhat dry finish with a little bready malt character lingering and a touch of the estery yeast character. This is just fine though like the other two epic ales I’ve had not a big standout. I like this well enough but it’s certainly not something I’m going to miss when it’s off the shelves.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
BrewDad (5116) - Olympia, Washington, USA - AUG 12, 2008
22oz Bomber - Gravity Beer Market - Olympia, WA
Aroma – Great Belgian aroma with good malts . Nice Fruit like aroma quality.
Appearance – Golden in color, Thin head and hazy.
Flavor – Great malt and hops flavor the Belgian yeast was wonderful this might actually hold up for a few more years.
Palate – Great Mouthfeel, Nice texture with a Good dry finish.
Overall – A wonderful beer but will it hold up we will see I got my first few bottles to hold on to for the great 12-12-12.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
1FastSTi (3344) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 12, 2008
Tap. Pours to a clear pale 24k gold body with a thin creamy white head. The aroma is very fruity. Pineapple, apricots, some Leffe-like yeasts, peaches. The flavor is fruity and Belgian yeast estery. Yeasts meets west coast style hops. Nicely balanced bitterness. Apricots, plantains, and sweet mangoes. Very balanced and surprisingly non-alcoholic for 8.4%.

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