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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

 (RETIRED)
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98
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RATINGS: 717   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.76   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 258   ABV: 8.6%
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
IrishBoy (3956) - Bakersfield, California, USA - OCT 1, 2009
22 oz bottle from GM Liquors. Nose is smoke, chocolate, light vanilla, and background caramel. Black with a medium, long lasting, lightly lacing, cinnamon tan head. Flavor is strong smoke, some oakiness, and chocolate. Finish is smoky, more smoke than I like and I like smoked meats, too much in beer overpowers the other complexities of the beer.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
GT2 (9347) - San Diego County, California, USA - OCT 2, 2009
Bomber into Unibroue tulip. Looks beautiful: pretty much pitch black with a towering dark, rocky, dense, tan head that has completely insane retention and leaves sheets of lacing. Aroma is a bit of dark chocolate, molasses, smoked bacon/ham moving to a vinous, candi sugar complexity. Taste is semi-sweet chocolates, cafe latte, some burnt toast. Very much like a smoked or stout. Huge bitter finish. Not sure how cellaring this would bring out any improvements.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
tokyogoat (1503) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 4, 2009
Poured a dark chocolate brown. Nose was a little weak, some chocolate, very little tangerine peel as promised, no vanilla, not much else. Taste was a little putrid at first, this beer needs to be served above cellar temps IMO. Chocolate became very smooth, there was a terrible metalic flavor when cold that went away, more tangerine, and flavors melded much better. In line with most stone vertical beers, interesting on paper, not so much in a glass.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
corby112 (2214) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 6, 2009
Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even th slight touch of amber edges when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger frothy tan head that slowly fades into a lasting ring that leaves sporadic chunks of dark lacing. Chocolate malt aroma with a peppery spiciness, dark fruit notes, chocolate and vanilla bean, citrus peel and subtle hops. There is a nice roasted character with some hints of burnt toast. Slightly minty with subtle earthy oak. Chewy fuller end of medium body with a slight roasty smokey maltiness and burnt toast. Lots of silky chocolate with hints of spicy peppery mint as well as some light citrus fruit and earthy oak. There are some subtle dark fruit notes as well with smooth vanilla beans. Slightly yeasty with some bread notes and subtle ripe banana. The tangerine citrus is very subtle are way overpowered by the dominant spice character as well as the darker fruits and roasted malt. Also a bit of alcohol burn warmth in the dry finish. This beer is unique and complex but they probably overreached on this one, adding too much to truly appreciate the chocolate covered citrus(tangerine) flavor they were going for. The spice character, especially is way overdone.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
502Che (999) - @, CAMBODIA - OCT 8, 2009
Great looking pour with a dark black body and a large mocha head that showed a great cascade effect. Aroma is a bit muddled bitter with some dark fruits and maybe some... coffee? Very nontraditional aroma for a belgian. The flavor is even more radical. Very bitter biting burnt coffee character. A bit of vanilla in the followthrough. Very confused beer, but not bad by any means. medium to full body with a nice silky mouthfeel and fine carbonation. Overall: bizarre and unexpected.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
cstuartj (1019) - Washington, USA - OCT 9, 2009
22oz bottle. Pours very deep brown, topped with a moderate sized tan head. Aroma is fairly spicy, with notes of orange, vanilla, chocolate, licorice and espresso. Flavor begins with orange and espresso, which are soon joined by roasted chocolate malt, vanilla, and earthy hops. Citrus, cocoa, and overripe fruit linger on the palate. Not bad, but not very exciting.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Dorwart (2439) - Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA - OCT 9, 2009
A good strong head of fine and dense bubles. Brown in color and lasting for quite a while. Rich roasty aroma with some light coffee, malted milk balls and some chocolate covered cherries. Color is a very dark brown. Medium bodied with lots of roasted grains, chocolate malt, burnt toast and some anise. I am not sure I would clasify this as any sort of belgain brew. Light alcohol presence and light bitterness. Finishes roasty and a bit grainy. Not my favorite of the vertical epic series.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
jblendy (519) - Hawthorne, New Jersey, USA - SEP 11, 2009
Somewhere in between guinness and youngs double chocolate. Not bad by any means, just a bit basic for Stone.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
Naven (1000) - Poway, California, USA - SEP 12, 2009
Surprisingly thick, dark pour. Aroma of clove, banana, coffee, chocolate. Flavor is similar. Lots of chocolate. It’s been awhile since I had Serpents stout, but this reminds me of it somewhat. Big, long alcohol burn. Kind of a mish mash of flavors, but this aint bad. This should age well.

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 it’s 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. It’s 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.


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