ansermadide (1526) - Kyle, Texas, USA - DEC 30, 2012
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
As little as I enjoy dark Belgians, this is really a gorgeous beer, with a pitch-black color and a beautiful, medium brown colored head that leaves some classy, thick, shimmering lacing. It has an incredibly unique, powerful aroma packed with cloves, ginger, and orange. What makes all of these spices alright: the heavy, roasted malts. This smells very much like many of the fall/winter seasonal pumpkin beers that have been coming out as of late (in particular, Saint Arnold Pumpkinator). Wow, what a nose. And thank you, Stone, for keeping the yeast out of it.
In the mouth you’re in for something a little wild and completely different from what the aroma lets on. It’s slightly thinner than you’d expect of its pitch black color, soft and creamy. What’s fantastic about the flavor is how they pulled off how to compliment the intense roasted flavor with the intense spices to not only make each of the parts easy to drink and unoffensive when tasted individually, but also combined to produce a fantastically well-balanced and complex beer that manages to feel smooth and almost creamy as a whole. Wow. The intense spice content and heavily roasted malts ball up in the center of the tongue and are so strong that they make your tongue curl up in fear… but then the beer lulls it back into submission with its smooth character. As crazy of a beer this is, it’s really very good. One thing, though: the warmer it gets, the harsher and more uncomfortable the roasted malt bitterness becomes, so drink it between 50-55 degrees. Now, Being the last of the Vertical Epic series, I’m putting a bottle of this away in the cellar for an indefinite amount of aging.
BeerIamBlog (20) - - DEC 30, 2012
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Smelled like a Belgian, looked like a stout, tasted like pumpkin. This was a really enjoyable beer to drink especially while the weather is cold. If you like Belgian beers or have been wanting to try one, give this a shot.
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andyhwcinc (1639) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 30, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Purchased at Binny’s in Chicago, IL; enjoyed on the last week of the NFL regular season watching the Bears play. Appearance is a thick pitch black with a robust dark tan head that is slightly bubbly. Aroma has a lot going on, notes of chocolate, cinnamon, Belgian ale yeast, flower pedals, ginger, roasted malt, and raisins. Smells outstanding and rich but delicate. Taste goes down nice and smooth and retains the complexity found in the aroma, with the addition of nutmeg. It also packs a punch without being abrasive. Really great brew to round out this great series.
tastybeer (1847) - Indiana, USA - DEC 30, 2012
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. Ink black pour, massive tan head, good retention/lace. Aroma is chocolate, fruity esters, cinnamon, clove, spice, roast. Taste is lightly sweet, chocolate, cinnamon, clove, roast. Palate is dry, soft, creamy, spicy finish. Odd beer; enjoyable.
Cavie (4013) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - DEC 29, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle from central market. Pours a dark dark brown color with a tan head. Aroma is sweet, syrupy, and sugar. Flavor is super brown sugar, sweet sugar and maple. Finishes dry and Christmas spice. Glad the world didn’t end.
cwsample (163) - Texas, USA - DEC 29, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle from Cavie. Dark color with a tan head. Looks and smells amazing. Roasted and delicious.
Fratto (2835) - Arlington, Texas, USA - DEC 29, 2012
2.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Bottle from Cavie. Dark pour with a small tan head. All sorts of baking spice and anger with a touch of booze.
BMan1113VR (7902) - Los Angeles, California, USA - DEC 29, 2012
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. Pours with a minute shade off of a black hued body with a nice, retentive medium brown head that leaved good lace. Aromas are of spices, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, raisins, toasted bread, mild Belgian yeast. Ginger bread, estery, vanilla, mildly floral. Pastries, a touch of chocolate, but no real roast character. Flavors are a bit ashy, wooden, roasty, cigarette butts. Dry, bitter, slightly vegetal and astringent spice (not quite as badly as I’m making it sound). Pretty dry, clove, raisins, dark fruit, leather. Medium allspice and low nutmeg. Earthy. Mildly warming, but the alcohol isn’t at all distracting. Slightly confused and a bit overly spiced. Medium carbonation (high 2.5s), slightly fuller body with a dry finish.
Hair6a11 (1426) - Illinois, USA - DEC 29, 2012
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle; Pour is murky dark brown with a fine bubbled moderate khaki head - retention is average / below average in this glass, with some sticky lacing present. Anyway - the last vertical epic - and it’s fairly interesting, not that it’s my favorite but I haven’t had them all either. The nose is spice dominant : ginger and cinnamon, the orange peel came through later in an obvious and surprising fashion for me. The flavor profile reveals more of the dark malts that the pour revealed, with caramel, cocoa, roast, dark fruits, coupled with the cinnamon, nutmeg, florals, and a hint of soapiness here. This is an interesting brew that finishes a little odd for me.
Sickboy282 (1115) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 29, 2012
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bootle- Poured cold- Pours a deep, deep brown hue with a tan head, that seems to be holding up. Aromas similar to Anchor Christmas ale, pine, spruce, cinnamon, nutmeg... Mouth feel is medium bodied with an initial hit of orange and clove on the palate. A little too much and might be over cloying as it warms. I get a slight sardine flavor from the brew. Not sure if it’s from the cap, but it’s still to young for the effect. Carbonation is very mellow and just as most vintages, this won’t age very well. It’s not well balance. The alcohol is very well hidden for what it is . I’d rather frink Trader Joe’s Vintage ale.