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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 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
kujo9 (1095) - North Ridgeville, Ohio, USA - SEP 26, 2009
22 oz bottle: Very dark brown, almost black body w/ a lasting tan medium sized head. Aromas of chocolate, spicy yeast, caramelized sugar, wood, and other dark fruits. Hints of vanilla. Roasty (coffee) aroma comes out much more, early before it warms. Touches of alcohol. Flavor is much the same, however, the balance both when chilled and as it warms, is to bitter in the finish. Not harsh, but bitter. Aftertaste is roasty, chocolate, lingering bitterness, resiny, with light vanilla. Wood tannin may be adding to the bitterness and dryness. The finish is dry into the aftertaste. Yeasty character is muted by the chocolate and other flavors as it warms, but its there. Medium CO2, dry, almost astringent m/f from hop bittering, dark grains, and wood tannins; Well hidden alcohol in the mouth, and fuller medium body. Im still not a fan of Belgian style yeast with a dominant dark grain combination. While Im not disappointed with this beer, its not been one of my favorites in the series due to that fact. Id like to see how it ages!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
lamas (1555) - Washington DC, USA - SEP 26, 2009
22 oz. bottle. Pours a very deep mahogany with a thick mocha head. A rich aroma of roasted nuts, chocolate maltiness, peanut butter cups, some vanilla beans, and a touch of citrus. Full-bodied. The flavor starts off with some sweet caramel and milk chocolate. Unique toasty oak qualities and some vanilla follow. Some tangerines and rinds at the end. A bitter and drying finish that is full of coffee and a touch of smoke. A very unique beer. Id love to revisit this one in a couple years to see how its aged.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
rajendra82 (1048) - Alpharetta, Georgia, USA - SEP 25, 2009
Very dark pour, opaque body, and a khaki head were more reminiscent of a RIS than a BSDA. The smell was sweet dark fruits, like plums and cherries, and some lurking hops. The taste was quite a bit more hoppy than I was expecting it to be, but the dark fruits and milk chocolate sweetness made this a very balanced beer. There was some roast grain astringency, which was most apparent at the end of each sip. The aftertaste was a bit spicy. A soft feel in the mouth, and chewy body. Not much alcohol burn. Delicious, now, and will likely get more vinous and interesting with some age.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
LilBeerDoctor (3737) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 25, 2009
UPDATED: DEC 18, 2009 Bottle. Pours black with a pretty, small chocolate colored head. Aroma of rich roasted malt, smoke, bitter chocolate, roasted nuts, and a touch of Belgian yeast. Flavor of roasted and charred malt and wood/cedar with some roasted nuts/peanut butter notes. Subtle notes of citrus eventually make their presence. Very nice, great beer from Stone. 8/4/9/4/17 [4.2/5]

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Lagunitasfan (1323) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 25, 2009
On tap at Stone 9/14. Dark brown with solid tan head. Nose is sweet and malty. Roastiness, vanilla, and dark fruit. Taste is dark fruit and maly. Strong dark roast malt leftovers coat the mouth after the rich fruitiness takes its leave. Liked it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Rciesla (5500) - Exit 15W, New Jersey, USA - SEP 25, 2009
Draft. Pours a black brune body with a tan head. Licorice, chocolate, toffee, dark fruit. Hoppy but still bitter dry and roast y with a light coffee flavor. Nice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
juiceisloose (1318) - Windermere, Florida, USA - SEP 25, 2009
22 oz bomber. Deep black pour with mahogany highlights topped by a foamy, khaki colored head that fades away and leaves spots of lace behind. The aroma is of rich chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruits, and vanilla. The flavor follows with rich, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and spices. The flavor is pretty roasty with a good amount of piney hop bitterness in there as well. As it warms up the vanilla beans start to come through along with the toasted oak and mellow out the roasty flavors. I dont get much orange, but all the flavors compliment each other nicely. Full bodied mouthfeel, smooth and creamy with the right amount of carbonation. Really tasty brew. Id like to see what some time would do for this one.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
dmac (5599) - Toms River, New Jersey, USA - SEP 24, 2009
22 oz bomber from EZ Liquors. Pours a deep dark black with an average size to slightly smaller dark tan creamy head. Aroma on this one is roasty but did not have the chocolate aroma I was expecting, instead there was a good dose of citrus and slight wood with a faint touch of vanilla. The palate was nicely done with a full rich body and a creamy finish with rather lively carbonation that could be toned down just a touch but Im sure age will take care of that. The flavor is mostly roasty and burnt malts with slight touches of vanilla and wood. After reading the initial reviews I was expecting something much worse but this one is actually solid and Im suprised its listed as a Belgian Strong Ale and not a stout or porter.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
BNSLY (54) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - SEP 24, 2009
on tap sept.17th A nice dark color with a nice tan head. The aroma is of dark malts,wood,vanilla,chocolate, and hints of fruit. It has a really smooth taste, dark malt,wood,chocolate, and some spice. overall a really enjoyable beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Plamadude30k (122) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - SEP 24, 2009
Pours black with a good amount of tan head. The belgian character is readily evident in the nose, along with several varieties of fruits, a little chocolate, and some vanilla. This beer certainly improves as it warms, and the vanilla notes really enhance the chocolate. The tangerine is less present than some other flavors, but it is there. This is an excellent beer that will only improve with age.

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