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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 775   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.68/5   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 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
GMCC2181 (1561) - Newark, Delaware, USA - AUG 14, 2008
Bottle. Soon as I opened the bottle I could smell the hops. A pleasent surprise. Yellow/orange in color. Decent head. Another twist was the taste. Very bready, yeast, banana, flower hops, spicy but all well balanced. Good light texture. Easy to drink. Kind of a hybrid beer. Very impressed and will have to buy some more. Sad to see the end of the bottle....

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SuperDave (1932) - Beautiful Sunny Mesa, Arizona, USA - AUG 14, 2008
Deep golden-orange pour with a small but lasting head. First impression of the aroma is a tripel. Very fruity, with pear, apricot, and apple, plus some sweet malt and yeast. The spicy hops come through in the aroma as well, they are just harder to find. Flavor is much the same, sweet, fruity and yeasty up front, with a spicy hop and alcohol bite near the end. Lightly carbonated and smooth on the palate. A good, interesting brew, but I would have enjoyed the hops to be a bit more prominent.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
TwoDudes (77) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - AUG 14, 2008
The first VE beer I have ever really loved. But, I am a huge fan of anything with Simcoe and Amarillo hops. Aroma jumps out of the glass. Light to medium body with a very dry finish. Lots of great apricot and peach flavors from the hops. Nice brew. Interested in trying on of these after some age.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
HogTownHarry (6371) - Toronto (Harbourfront), Ontario, CANADA - AUG 14, 2008
Bottle (220z). Shared with blankboy, GregClow and jerc. Pale gold pour, smallish white head, tiny floaties. Boozy tripel aroma - alcohol, hint of turpentine and pear, sharp yeast. The hopping comes through in the taste - dry, yeasty, spicy, the alcohol seems a little more subdued - nice bitter finish, a bit of lemon zest at the very end. Interesting - I think with a little cellaring this would soften and the fruit would emerge more.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
mwelsh13 (499) - Maryland, USA - AUG 14, 2008
22 oz bottle poured deep yellow and slightly orange with a small white head. Orange, pineapple, and mango aromas along with the bread-like yeast backbone. Wow, a grapefruit flavor sticks out at me along with some peaches and some herbal hops. My favorite VE by far! Nice job.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
GreatLibations (1854) - Last Supper, Arizona, USA - AUG 14, 2008
As I pour I can tell this brew is not just another Belgian Strong. The nectar is viscous with a pale yet deeply yellow color. The head rises to the occasion and sticks like a gymnast should. Bold aromatics waft forward filling the air with wild tropicals, apple, and banana aromas. The nectar is thick like a soupy mucous causing the user to swallow twice just to make sure. Flavors are fresh and clean yet rich and ripe. As the bus goes by I here the profile calling out to me. On banana, on peaches, now spicy clove, now bubblegum, and kiwi, and melon. Theres a mildly defined hop bittering component that just makes itself heard. Right before the chewy malt slide overcomes it that is. The finish is long with lingering sweetness. Overall: 888 is chewy, decadent, and very generous.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
chrisafari (100) - Orange, California, USA - AUG 14, 2008
Pours light amber/orange (dark golden) clear, with full white head. Sweet aroma of yeast, citrus and hops. Flavor begins with nice citrus on the palate. Flavor develops into herbs, spice and pepper. Finishes with a pleasant kick of hops. Throughout there seems to be hint of banana. Body is medium and smooth, head fades quickly. Easy to drink, very nice. Not sure how this will develop with age.

   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 (4045) - 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

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