poisoneddwarf (1717) - Rathdrum, Idaho, USA - NOV 11, 2011
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: DEC 22, 2012 Bomber. Pours a beautiful almost ruby red with a medium beige head with good retention; leaves a little lace. The Belgian yeast imparts banana, bubblegum and clove in the nose; itís also a bit nutty with dark fruit and the cinnamon is prominent. The taste is a flavor-explosion of pure beer goodness. Itís meaty and sweet at first before a medium-level bitterness takes over. The cinnamon is high in the mix but itís not overbearing. I donít taste anything resembling a chili in here, but Iím not exactly sure what an Anaheim chili tastes like. This might be the best Vertical Epic yet. Itís definitely interesting. Addendum: the chilies made themselves known in the second glass, making a great beer even better.
12/22/12 re-rate: Pours hazy amber with a medium beige head with good retention and lace. Aroma is initially doughy; chilies (like the diced green ones you can find in a can) come out after sitting about a minute. Taste is sweet and spicy with a nice green chile flavor. Iím getting the feeling these Vertical beers are better after aging about a year or less; after that, the oxidation sets in and they depreciate. The more recent the vintage the better these beers seem to be. 8/4/8/5/19 = 4.4
brenn79 (1526) - Idaho, USA - NOV 11, 2011
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 22, 2012 22 oz. bottle- Pours dark autumn brown but ruby red when held up to the light, it has a thick creamy off white head, the lace looks like itís going to stick around as well. The aroma is chilies, very nice, I also detect subtle cinnamon but I am not sure If I would have detected that if not for the description on the bottle, man those chilies really resonate, love it. The flavor is definitely more cinnamon than the aroma, and the chilies are still there, there is a decent amount of heat burn after the swallow. I am detecting a grain off note mid palate, which is a little surprising. Overall I loved this beer, the aroma more than the taste, but this beer is very young, I can not wait to rate this again in the year to come. Rerate, 12-22-12- Aroma is still nice, green chilies, I love it, stays the same. Appearance stays the same too, taste is awesome, green chilies with a nice heat burn, it goes up by one point, from an 8 to a 9, nice! Palate remains the same,overall does too. Nice beer still, maybe better.
foundmd (210) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz bottle. Pours a gorgeous dark ruby red with a fluffy eggshell head. Big Belgian yeast aroma of banana and clove. Taste is very interesting. Alcohol warmth fills the palate on the first sip, then flavors of cinnamon, clove, and toast come through. Finish is sweet toasty malt, gingerbread, subtle chili heat, and floral hop bitterness. Thin to medium bodied with a slick mouthfeel. A great choice for the holidays and another unique beer from Stone.
MarinaMarket (211) - POULSBO, Washington, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Aroma of chilis, sugar, alcohol, spice. Pours well with beautiful head, red/brown reminiscent of Insanely Bad Elf. Unbalanced in flavor, with chilis, sharp vegetal hop flavor, Medium bodied, strong carbonation, and a bit of tropical note. Warming for sure, and needs a bit of time IMO. Tasted from the bottle @ 58F.
dcschiller (2207) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
(22oz bottle). Pours a clear, brilliant red-brown color khaki head. Awesome color! Aroma has chili, cinnamon and candied sugar. Taste is sweet with some earthy bitterness. Medium bodied with an oily texture. A bit of heat from the chilis. Not bad.
daknole (9127) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Brown pour. Tan head. Lots of caramel, spices, sunflower seeds, nuts. Sweet flavor, yeast, caramel, not much chili.
JohnC (3000) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured from a 22oz bottle, this beer was a clear amber/red with a small off white head. The taste is, interesting, some cinnamon, clove, and definitely pepper. This is a very different beer. If I were to have it again, Iíd definitely want to have it with food, not sure what food though.
LtDan (1784) - Los Angeles County, California, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Appearance: Pours a dark red. With a quick pour, you get a light tan foamy head that fades to nothing. Fairly clear after it settles.
Aroma: Big red(gum) from the Belgian yeast and cinnamon. At first I smelled straight up bubble gum, but as it warmed, the cinnamon intersected. A little bit of clove too.
Taste: Bitter earthy cinnamon, burnt crust and dominating fruity spicy belgian yeast. Very dry. Oily pepper essence in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Lively prickly bubbles. Full bodied.
Overall: Never had a beer like this beer before. I happened to have made a pan of gingerbread cake, and Iíll tell you, it was an accidental perfect pairing. Is this a beer you would want multiple glasses of? Probably not, but it is for sure a standout beer that will have you smelling, thinking and talking.
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
A solid pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a three finger thick, pale amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer isa a dark, concentrated amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, cranberry tinged, amber hue when held up to the light. The beer smells of caramelized cotton candy, bubblegum, lots of clove and ample pear and apple like fruit notes. This is backed by some toasted, whole grain, a touch of sweet tea like character (but only just a touch), . The beer is a bit unbalanced towards bubblegum, fruitiness and clove notes from the Belgian yeast, though not so much so that this is bad. Hmm, there it is in the far finish, the green chile comes through with a distinct vegetal, green chile like note as well as a some spiciness that smells of green and pepper.
The beer tastes extremely sweet, but most of this is perceived sweetness due to huge fruit, bubblegum and clove flavors that plays such a big role in the flavor. I donít notice any of the green chile in my first sip. This definitely tastes a bit like bubblegum flavored cotton candy and there is a huge, slightly tongue numbing, phenolic clove note in the finish. There is an apple cider note (slightly oxidized cider tasting, though this is not actually oxidized), perhaps a touch of caramelized pear. The phenolic character contributes some cured plastic like notes that can be a bit much when combined with the clove character. The malt contributes a sharp, sort of roasted, spicy toasted, whole grain character. The green-chile character from the nose is a lot more subtle in the flavor; there is perhaps a hint of pepper in the finish, but this could almost be attributable to the spiciness from the yeast character. The chile, during a sip, is more noticeable as an oral nasal note rather than a flavor. The texture is not overly heavy, but it is definitely has a certain chewiness to it.
This really is just a bit too unbalanced; somehow the yeast character runs rampant in this beer in a bit of a simplistic manner with its focus on bubblegum, clove, plastic and too expressive fruit character. There is a chance that this will mellow out a bit, so if you have the patience I would recommend that you let this beer sit for 6 months or perhaps better a year. If the green chile character was a bit more prominent in the flavor and the yeast character was toned down just a bit this would be quite a bit better.
J_man (707) - Tustin, California, USA - NOV 10, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a crystal clear medium amber with a slight ruby tinge and light tan head. The aroma has a candy sweetness to it with some grassy, vegetal notes and an alcoholic fullness. My first impression of the taste is that itís a holiday/Christmas beer due to the malty sweetness combined with a spicy, herbal flavor. Thereís some milk and bittersweet chocolate flavors as well as vanilla combined with a light vegetal, herb flavor with a slight spicy/peppery kick. Thereís a dry, earthy/woody bitterness underlying this along with a somewhat farmhouse style Saison yeastiness. The herbal/yeast flavors remind me a bit of the flavors in the Stone collaboration ale Saison du Buff (another excellent beer). Washes out with a nice alcohol bite while leaving a little of both the vanilla sweetness and the vegetal bitterness behind. I donít think this was necessarily intended to be a "holiday beer", but it makes an excellent one regardless. The Vertical Epic series has produced some great beers and this ranks high on that list.