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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

 (RETIRED)
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98
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RATINGS: 701   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.76   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 258   ABV: 8.6%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
esjaygee (3903) - Oak Creek, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 16, 2009
Thanks to Jim for bringing the bottle. Dark brown with a medium creamy head. Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate with hints of citrus and coffee. Taste of roasted malt, chocolate, mild alcohol, and some light orange on the finish. Mild roasted bitterness and minor warming as it warmed.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 13/20
drjay44 (2566) - Salida, Colorado, USA - SEP 16, 2009
22 oz. bottle. 8.9% ABV per the bottle.. Pours a thin mocha head, with a bit of lacing over a clear, dark brown (SRM 40) body.....nose is dominated by coffee and chocolate, with a bit of vanilla and wood....taste initially is coffee bitterness, which evolves into mild sweet malt and finishes with further coffee/hop bitterness which lingers.....mouth feel is thick and creamy, and this is aided by the medium carbonation. I understand that this is young and needs some time to mature. I was still somewhat disappointed, because the kilned and heavily roasted malts really dominated more than I expected. It will be interesting to check its maturation. Also this is really on the absolute edge of the Belgian Strong category. How about calling it an Imperial Porter??

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
goldfish19 (50) - Long Island, New York, USA - SEP 16, 2009
UPDATED: OCT 7, 2009 ~Purchased this 22 oz bomber from Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. Wow! Does this beer have an identity crisis going on here or what? Itís a Belgian Strong Ale, but no wait, itís a porter, but wait again, itís a stout! Iím a little muddle-headed as to which way Stone wanted to go with this offering? Well, I checked out Stoneís website, and it is best described as a Belgian style Imperial Porter; so I guess Iíll go with that for now. A strong smokey aroma, almost as if someone snuck a charcoal briquette into my glass when I wasnít looking. Also, I detect hints of dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. The taste is absolutely mind-blowing! There is so much going on here that after the first few sips it almost doesnít make sense, so I let the beer sit for a while, and things started coming together. This beer reminded me a lot of Cazeau Tournay Noire, which just so happens to be a true Belgian Stout - go figure! ~

2.9
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
nerdrocker101 (102) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - SEP 16, 2009
Bottle. I love Stone as much as the next guy, but I did not enjoy this beer and I was so looking forward to it. We were pairing it up with some smores on a trip to a cabin and I thought it would be wonderful. I picked up on the notes of bitter chocolate, vanilla, and light hints of citrus from the peel, but I found it to be chalky and dry. I trust Stone and Iím giving them the benefit of doubt. They say not to drink it until 12-12-2012, so Iíll get another bottle and hold on to it and re-rate it in a few years

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
nightrider (754) - encinitas, California, USA - SEP 16, 2009
Pour from a bottle gave a dark black brown color with a rich mocha colored head. Aromas of Belgian yeast and bread. Kind of closed in actually. Flavor of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, toffee, caramel, and oak. The tangerine peal is nice. Very smooth on your palate.This beer certainly wonít get worse with a year or two.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
BleacherBum (177) - Blowing Rock, North Carolina, USA - SEP 16, 2009
The aroma and flavor mirror each other here. Too many flavors clashing with each other....yeast esters, citrus, chocolate, toastiness, oak, clove, molasses...etc. Too much going on, but itís a young beer. They should wait to release beers like this for at least a year. The finish is watery thin and has a slight alcoholic burn. Itís just too young to be "balanced" or "all together". Some time would obviously do it well, but the body is still very thin (probably thanks to very active Belgian yeast). The ingredients in this beer were obviously framed for the "beer nerd" but it falls short for those of us that actually like to drink beer ready on release. I could only purchase 1 bottle and refuse to wait 1-3 years to drink it. Muddled at the moment.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
daleharshman (882) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 16, 2009
Growler fill from brewery. Pours into tulip glass a pitch black. The big frothy light brown head has quite a bit of staying power and also leaves some great lacing -- a really beautiful beer. Smells a lot like a campfire with soot/ash/smoke, roasted marshmallows, cooked hot dogs along with some citrus notes. This may not sound like an appealing aroma, but I actually like it. Flavor is dark malts and dark coffee with some subtle hints of vanilla and fruit. The finish reveals bittersweet chocolate and a very noticeable burnt flavor. This one is rather unique, and to me seems that it should be categorized as a porter rather than a Belgian strong. I actually quite like it, but I think/hope it will get smoother and more complex over time. Hereís hoping that the bottle I also purchased will age well.

3.3
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - SEP 16, 2009
22oz from Samís, Durham. Nice dark pour, thick and graced by a big fluffy head. Strong yeasty nose at the start, but as the beer warms Iím distressed by an aroma of wet ash. Seriously, itís ashtray and Iím not even joking (nor am I even remotely a Stone hater). Roasted malts with mild chocolate flavors, and I suppose a faint trace of the advertised fruit. Full bodied, and a pleasant tea flavor seems to be the by-product of the hops and the other ingredients. Odd, and in some ways thatís good based on the last couple years of VE. But that nose, oof. Tough to tune that out.

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
Avengedpoet (326) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - SEP 15, 2009
Freshly picked up from Whole Foods Chandler. Pours a viscous black with restrained tan head. Aroma is malty, spicy (think nutmeg), and surprisingly hoppy. After it airs out a bit, hops and roasted malt are about all that I can smell. Taste is somewhat fruity - orange/tangerine, with notes of chocolate and belgian yeast spiciness. Tastes kind of dirty. A surprising amount of hop bitterness. Iím really hoping that this one ages out a bit smoother than this. Too hoppy/spicy for my tastes fresh.

3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20
yemenmocha (658) - Glendale, Arizona, USA - SEP 15, 2009
Pours black with tan head that is modest in size, and retains a thin layer. Nose is somewhat restrained & not so assertive as far as Stone beers go, even with allowing the ale to warm up to ideal drinking temps. Soft chocolate aromas dominate with some of the vanilla bean behind the chocolate. Palate offers a big chocolate flavor with some of the subtle fruits in the background, and a fair amount of bitterness towards the finish and through the long aftertaste. I see where theyíre going with the "artisanal chocolate orange" but itís just mostly chocolate and bitterness.


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