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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 718   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 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

   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.

   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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
daleharshman (987) - 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.

   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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
Avengedpoet (329) - 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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20
yemenmocha (659) - 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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Gypsy19 (726) - California, USA - SEP 15, 2009
Pours an opaque black with a modest brown head. Aroma is of promised chocolate, sweet malt, a little alcohol way in the back. Flavor is very smooth, of chocolate, roasted malt. Not too complex, but nice. Smooth, velvety mouthfeel. This oneís ready to drink right now in my opinion. That is, if one desires. Overall, very good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
hopdog (10266) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 15, 2009
Poured a dark black color, with reddish/brown edges, and an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of chocolate, licorice, citrus, spices, some roastiness, fruity, and vanilla. Tastes of chocolate, vanilla, citrus, vanilla, spiciness, and some coffee in the finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
skmikeg (1471) - Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA - SEP 14, 2009
Pours a dark brown with a thick begie head. aroma of roasted malts, coco, vanilla, and some slighty burnt coffee. flavor is of dark roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, beligan yeast, and some citrus hops in the the background. finnish is smooth with a nice, creamy mouthfeel. overall, a tasty and interesting interpertation of a Belgian Strong Ale.

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