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RATINGS: 956   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.67/5   SEASONAL: Series   IBU: 45   EST. CALORIES: 267   ABV: 8.9%
In 2008, Stone Brewmasters Steve Wagner and Mitch Steele traveled to Belgium, where they enjoyed a number of hop-forward Belgian tripels, pale ales and IPAs—beers that had taken a cue from the U.S. craft brewing movement and inspired us in return. It’s a big reason 2008’s summer season came to be known at Stone as our “Summer of the Triple.” Upon their return, they crafted Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale, the seventh beer in the 11-beer Stone Vertical Epic Ale series. Packed with floral, spicy essence from Belgian yeast plus plenty of hoppy New World character, it’s our West Coast take on hop-driven Belgian beers.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
iowaherkeye (2703) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - AUG 26, 2008
22oz bottle from Steve’s Liquor and More in Madison. Clear light golden with a 3/4 finger white head, fair retention. Lots of candy sugar and banana Belgian yeastiness up front (too much sweetness!), though some citrus and grassy hops do keep it from getting cloying, at least in the aroma. Hooray, more bitterness in the flavor--I was afraid for a moment--with some added peppery notes and bitter earthiness I didn’t pick up on in the aroma. Still pretty sweet, but luckily they hopped this fool enough to keep from ruining it so far. Bitterness peaks around a 4 that lingers in the back corners of my tongue in the semi-dry finish. Burped almost what I’d call Bazooka Joe bubble gum notes. Light to moderate prickly carbonation with a full body. This isn’t too bad now, but I can’t see how age would help it a ton--it is bottle conditioned, so maybe some of those residual sugars can get fermented out a bit? Too bad the hops will die before that can happen.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - AUG 31, 2008
22oz from Liquormax - thanks, Nick! Frothy golden pour, very appetizing, and with a dry, hoppy aroma. Getting into the beer, there are a ton of fruit flavors, including pineapple, tangerine, and other similar flavors. Finish is not nearly as dry as I’d expect or like, but still fairly pleasant and peppery. Pleasant but nothing overwhelmingly good.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
TheBeerGod (6029) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - SEP 3, 2008
Bottle. Amber pour. Small foamy white head. Aroma smacks of strong West Coast hops, citrus fruits (grapefruit mainly), some pine sap and spices. Taste is equally hoppy and citrusy. Lots of hop oils, citrus juices, orange peel, grapefruit rind, pine cones, spices, caramel, and splashes of Belgian yeast. Body is medium with some hop astringency and bitterness, soft, dense carbonation, and a touch of dryness. There’s also some oily slickness to this as well. The finish has more hops and citrus notes but there is an herbal, almost minty like aftertaste at times. This is combined with Belgian yeast notes, orange juice, grapefruits, pine sap, and caramel.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
joshwilfong (1200) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - SEP 4, 2008
straw colored with mild white head. nose has some yeast bite in it, very uncharacteristic for stone. flavor of some light candi sugar with a ton of hop bitterness and a lot of flavor also. some yeast bite too. the style is the relatively new belgian pale ale or belgian easter seasonal. this version is too heavy on the hops, it ends up overshadowing the candi sugar and tastes like a american pale ale. very few american breweries attempt this style, so i will give them credit for it, but it is probably the weakest version of the style i have had and really doesn’t work all that well.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
arondee (601) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - SEP 6, 2008
Bottle from BevMo. Very thin head, copper color. Very interesting taste, not what I expected at all. Very fruity with figs, grapes, and spices. A good beer that would probably age well.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
DWestrick (657) - Ft Wayne, Indiana, USA - SEP 13, 2008
bottle 22oz. a smooth ale - great citrus flavors and balance of hops and yeast. a good beer - enjoyable

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
DragonStout (1410) - Pickerington, Ohio, USA - OCT 12, 2008
Pours a golden color with a small lacing white head. Nose is fruity and hoppy.Flavor shows the same with some sweetness in the mix.The finish had some hoppy bitterness to it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Enniskillen (2045) - Salinas, California, USA - OCT 16, 2008
Gold with a white head. Aroma is spicy, coriander, nutmeg, yeast, light maltiness. Much like 040404 fresh, taste is yeasty, light bitterness, clove, nutmeg.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
fiulijn (19347) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - OCT 19, 2008
Hazy golden color. There is a strong aroma at first, piney resins, interesting hop. It has a strong body, with malt and caramel flavor, strong hopping, the spicy character of a Triple, some alcohol perception. It just gets too much in the end, when it becomes clear that drinking half a bottle is too much. The fact is that Belgian Ales should be about style, not power.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - OCT 19, 2008
Drinking beer is all about good times and this beer is a good time. Watching Favre try to pull off a miracle in Oakland. Anyway, it’s almost a fine looking beer with an amlost resilient head and aromas of clove, pine and fresh breads. Flavor is plenty hoppy with a bit of bubble gum and banana and grapefruit zest. Better on draft than it is in the bottle surprisingly. Could use a bit more pale malts then hops but I think this ione is more suited to make it to 2012 than any of the others.

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