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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 725   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.76/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 258   ABV: 8.6%
This is quite a complex and layered beer. Bold and smooth chocolate malt flavors combine with a Belgian yeast lending tropical fruit/banana flavors and hints of spiciness, all complemented by citrus notes from an addition of tangerine peel. Rich vanilla beans add a nice counter to the chocolate malt - actually enhancing the chocolatiness. The finish is smooth, with additional traces of vanilla and toasted characters from French Oak. The goal for this edition of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series is to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
GMCC2181 (1591) - Newark, Delaware, USA - SEP 30, 2009
Bottle picked up at SL... Poured into a snifter, nice dark color with toffee colored head. Smells decent...Chocolate, roasted malts and some tangerine. Taste is kind of harsh. Lots of burnt malt, chocolate, coffee and some fruity notes in there. Texture is silky, easy to drink. Overall not a bad sipping beer on a cold night.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Sparky (2244) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - SEP 30, 2009
Bomber. Pours midnight black with a 2 finger foamy tan head that leaves delicate lacing. The nose is milk chocolate, sweet dark fruits, cocoa and roasted malt. The taste is ashy cocoa, burnt malt, a touch of spice, black coffee and bitter hops finishing it out. Medium creamy mouthfeel. Good brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
Block (2324) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - SEP 30, 2009
Black pour with a tan head. Aroma of chocolate, dark fruits, caramel and some coffee. Flavor isnít as strong as I expected and it does have a distinct Belgian finish. Medium body.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
hayduke (4948) - Eureka, California, USA - SEP 30, 2009
From a 22 oz bottle this latest version of this "epic" series really comes into its own with this one. It poured black with fat tan head that raised huge bubbles and left sticky lacing rings. Nose hits you at once with complex aromas - chocolate, vanilla, raisins, and ripe fruits. Mouthfeel is creamy. The flavor is really interesting and full of belgian yeast and vanilla. It will be really interesting to see how this ages, but it is a very nice beer right now. I purchased four and plan to get a few more to share with friends now, and of course to lay down for 121212,

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - SEP 29, 2009
22oz - Aroma is at first sharp spicy yeast and citrus, then it fades into vanilla and chocolate malt. Flavor is Belgian yeast, chocolate, tart citrus, and spice with a nice oaky finish. Palate is a little thin but lasting. A nice complex yet easy drinking brew.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
dionysus (1485) - Arizona, USA - SEP 29, 2009
Bottle pours black in color with a fluffy beige head w/ decent lacing. Two words come to mind when I smell it. Chocolate and Vanilla! Additional oak notes are there but you have to let it warm if you plan on finding any tangerine. Flavor is basically the same as the aroma with some peat. Hereís the bottom line. Itís pretty average at the moment but something tells me that the extreme subtleness of the belgian yeast is really going to shine after itís had some time to sit. Hereís hoping!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
zizzybalubba (1822) - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA - SEP 29, 2009
22 oz. bottle from Grape & Gourmet. Pours black with a beautiful beige head. Licorice dominates the nose with hints of oak, vanilla, and chocolate as well. Interesting flavor; peatmossy does come to mind. Some dark fruit as well. Iím not sure I can pinpoint all of the flavors and I donít think Iíve had anything quite like this. I expect this to be very different depending on when it is reviewed and I am excited about that. In the early stages of this beer I think it is good and I hope it becomes great. Itís certainly unique.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Snojerk321 (2960) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 29, 2009
Tap @ La Jolla Brew House. Pours a deep mocha brown with a wispy tan head. Nose held hints of vanilla, oak, citrus peel and some spice. Flavor was dominated by roasted chocolate malts with citrus zest and a touch of coffee and spice. A decent brew overall, nothing to write home about IMO.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
caresville (106) - Vernon, New Jersey, USA - SEP 29, 2009
pours black with basically no head. aroma is of chocolate, raisins, malts and some black licorice. the taste didnt knock me over either and i was expecting it to from what i had heard about this. mostly coffee, and hops but it was bitter and peatmossy. i was super excited to have this and kinda let down. stone makes great stuff, but im sorry i cant classify this one as topping the charts.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
poisoneddwarf (2297) - Coeur dí Alene, Idaho, USA - SEP 28, 2009
UPDATED: DEC 22, 2012

Rated first on 9/28/2009. 22 oz bottle into a Trappist glass. Aroma is of dark roasted malt, but not overbearing--something I like. Appearance: pitch black, even when held up to the light. Tastes of dark chocolate, black coffee, lots of hops leading to a nice bitter flavor which lingers on the back of the tongue. Tastes much more like an imperial stout than anything Belgian. Another great entry in the Vertical Epic series. I have enough of these to try every year until 12.12.12. I canít wait to see how it matures. 6, 5, 10, 5, 19 = 4.5

Second rating on 10/15/10. Got a bottle of the 10/10/10, so I want to rerank this one. Not looking at my above review from over a year ago. Aroma is amazing now, full of chocolate (think Whoppers), coffee. Smells very much like a Samuel Smith dark beer (not very Belgian!). Itís a not completely opaque black but itís close. Itís a dark brown around the edges when held up to the light. Has a thick tan head that dissipates in a few minutes, leaving some nice lacework and a thick collar. Taste is amazing--smoke and tobacco are very noticeable; some anise in the finish. Carbonation is low to medium; way full body; oily; perfect. An amazing beer that has definitely aged well. Iíll be ranking this one again next November. 9, 4, 10, 5, 19 = 4.7

12/22/12 re-rate: Pours pitch black with a thick tan head with great retention and lace. Aroma is doughy, toasted marshmallows, maybe a little vegetal. Taste starts out sweet, turns bitter, nice and roasty throughout. Looking back at my previous reviews, it seems I was really blown away by this both times, but especially the second time. This time around, it doesnít seem as impressive, but itís still the best so far after the í07 and the í08. 7/5/8/5/17

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