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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 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
fistfull (30) - Halethorpe, Maryland, USA - NOV 29, 2009
Although a fan of the Stone ’stable’, this one came up a little short for me; alas, I am a Belgian Abbey/Duble/Triple/Strong Ale fanatic. The appearance was fine - nice bottle conditioned, tight-bubble structure with thick, foamy head. The aroma showcased coffee, chocolate, toast, orange, vanilla and the standard yeast produced banana notes. As taken in the nostrils repeated on the tongue. This brew had all the right makings to be ’da bomb’; however, as a whole, it came up short in the areas of balance and finish. Perhaps this will get better in the bottle as time goes by? That reminds me - I better go buy another to store away for a future rating....

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
bhightow (24) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 10, 2010
chocolate, coffee, roasty, citrus, banana, vanilla, black, minimal head, light sweetness, lightly bitter, medium body, creamy, average carbonation,

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
amarcero (24) - , Vermont, USA - OCT 24, 2009
Bottle. Damn good; another knock-out from a very trusted brewer. I believe they classified this as a Belgian Porter. I’m not knowledgeable enough of styles to tell, but it tasted like a sweet chocolate stout to me. My only complaint is the price. At $6.79 per 22oz bottle, it was worth it to try once, but I won’t pay that twice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
jbender (23) - Hatboro, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 10, 2009
Enjoying a bottle on the day of brewing an attempt at its clone. Pours a dark brown with a golden creamy head. No light gets through the glass. Has a vanilla and tangerine aroma. Large body...can taste the chocolate malt and the vanilla on the end along with the tangerine. Great beer...I can only hope ours is close.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
WhatNewinBooze (18) - Centennial, Colorado, USA - SEP 11, 2009
On 9-9-09 Stone brewery released the eighth edition of their Vertical Epic Series exactly 1 year, 1 month and 1 day from the previous years release. These beers are built and designed to be aged until sometime after 12-12-2012, but good luck keeping your hands off of it. This years release is a Belgium style ale brewed with spices and is in fact a complex and layered beer. This beer pours toasty brown color with a creamy caramel colored head. Aromas of vanilla, chocolate and citrus leap out of the glass and make the first sip intriguing. Smooth chocolate malts meld well with the Belgium yeast giving it slight banana flavor and hints of baking spice. The addition of tangerine peel balances the palate with notes citrus. The finish is smooth and lingering with additional flavors of vanilla and toasty french oak.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
Lakes (18) - post falls, Idaho, USA - SEP 28, 2009
Had some out of a 22oz bottle at a beer tasting. Beer has existed for a very long time so maybe there’s a reason for some (not all) of the established styles. Maybe there’s good reason that there are no (or precious few) Belgian spiced Porters. I found this beer to be just a bit “off”. There was just something about it that tasted and smelled incorrect. I was truly looking forward to it but it failed to deliver. I think the combination of the darker roasted malts with the Belgian yeast just didn’t mesh. I also question the logic behind pairing tangerine with vanilla, though either were barely noticeable. Stone makes some excellent beers. The 07/07/07 and the 08/08/08 are amoung my favorites. This one may become one of them with age but right now I don’t think it measures up.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
CaptainTitus (18) - Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 13, 2010
This is the first Vertical Epic that I have had the pleasure of tasting and I will say that from the first sip i knew this would be one of my favorite beers. I purchased this beer on a whim one day at my local beer store and could not believe how thick and complex, yet smooth and crisp it was. You are instantly able to taste all different kinds of spice notes in the beer and the pour is a beautiful dark body with an off-white head that sits like a crown at the top of your glass. Although it may resemble a heavy stout in appearance, the Vertical Epic 09’ is much lighter than it seems yet this does not take away at all from the flavor of the beer. This beer has brought me into the cult of the Vertical Epic and I can’t wait for the next one to come out from Stone.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Someister (17) - USA - FEB 8, 2011
Smells like alcohol, rotten fruit, chocolate, and light notes of coffee. I don’t get any of the tangerine or vanilla. Palate is thick, spicy, and slick due to the oak aging. High amounts of yeast character but finishes like a stout. Complex is a great word in describing this brew.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
bikeclj (17) - Virginia, USA - JAN 13, 2013
This is a great brew chocolate notes from a dark mahogany colored beverage. Slight hop nose and taste balance a maltiness that would be pronounced otherwise. Very complex and balanced. Very good over all. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
funkleshite (17) - California, USA - OCT 7, 2009
This is what I live for! Pours like a dark brown syrup with a medium tan head. Vanilla beans and banana spice all carried by the chocolate malts. Yeasty and spicy with the sweetness balanced by the bread and banana with no hops spared. Slight citrus notes can be found deep below the chocolate and vanilla. This is truly a special brew. Can’t wait to open the next one in 2012!

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