Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 532   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.59/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
A new Vertical Epic will be released every year, with the goal being to collect them all and have a Vertical Epic tasting once the final Epic is released on 12/12/12. Each new Stone Vertical Epic Ale will be release one YEAR, one MONTH and one DAY apart. This time around we used some unmalted wheat, just the right touch of Kaffir Lime Leaf, and a really cool Belgian yeast. The result is a bit like a strong Biere de Garde / Saison-esque influenced beer coupled with some aromatic Bavarian Hefeweizen style phenolic banana esters, and a backnote hint of lime from the lime leaf.

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   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
harlequinn (2744) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - MAY 2, 2004
Tasty, and completely not what I was expecting. A pale golden appearance, with a big puffy egg white head. Liquid buttery gold in a glass, aroma is a bit grassy with just a hint of lime. Some wheaty herbal astrigent notes, as well as ethanol, banana and clove with a sweetness and a bite at the same time, the lime is present and tame and also very subtle. Mouthfeel is soft and luxurious, and slightly thin, lacking ever so slightly in body, but overall, extremely easy to drink and unique.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
wunderbier (1434) - Tampere, FINLAND - MAY 2, 2004
UPDATED: SEP 20, 2005 22 oz bottle, snifter. Light bread, wheat malt (M); lime, herb, banana, clove, lots of phenolics. Deep gold body with a tall, creamy, white head. Moderately sweet, lightly acidic flavor becomes a moderately sweet, lightly bitter, lightly acidic finish. The german phenolics really stand out in the finish. Medium-full body, watery/creamy texture, soft carbonation. The bottom line is: all the esters and other aromas/flavors come together very well in this beer. Strong yet subtle, I like it.

Rerate: 9/20/05: Hazy peach-gold hue with a large, frothy, white head. Powerful biscuit and cookie aroma. Cream, sugar, lime, orange, anise, banana, mint, floral and mango aroma. Hard to believe this is the same beer. Moderately sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter flavor. Moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter finish. Lime leaf lends a light astringency. Tastes like...banana en slagroom pannenkoeken? Medium-full body, velvety texture, lively carbonation. Slight raw cocoa taste as it warms. Score remains the same.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Gromit (479) - Port Orchard, Washington, USA - MAY 2, 2004
...and two more of these to save for prosparity (I promise to come back with the spellcheck later). The first one I tried in passing, this second one was in celebration of finishing my exams. Anticdote: I brought one of these to a homebrew session with a classmate. A guy there *really* liked this and said he wanted to get a few to enjoy as they further improved. Well, three days later Im grocery shopping and I see him walk around the corner on his way to his GFs cart with at least five of them under his arms. We all got a good laugh. So, pours a nice amber/orange color with a decent head but not much lacing. Scent is definately Belgian; lots of bananas, cloves... but for style, I gotta say its just above average. Taste is par for style. Bananas and other fruits, a hint of hops... Damn, I want to rate this better, but I cant. Maybe I was expecting better, but its just good. The proclaimed lime is hinted at, but no more. It has some complexity, but nothing supurb yet. Palate is full and creamy, certainly. Overall this is good but not great, although it has promise. I have two more of these and I promise to update as these mature.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Silphium (3196) - Traverse City, Michigan, USA - MAY 2, 2004
Wow- the bottle mentions lime leaf and that flavor and aroma is certainly front-and-center in this beer. Pours disturbingly like a Budweiser, with a clear golden body and a minimal off-white head. Aroma of lime leaf (especially after pouring the beer in a glass), banana, and clove. Flavor is consistent with the aroma- beginning with a very strong lime flavor leading to banana and clove notes. Other than those three flavors, complexity is minimal at this time. A refreshing change from the usual Stone fare, but not something I would drink on a regular basis, as the lime aftertaste gets to be a bit much.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 1, 2004
UPDATED: JUN 7, 2005 Several hundred thousand minute suspended particulates decorate this bottle-conditioned metallic-orange beauty. Big fruity, estery aroma plus an interesting lime leaf quality, musk, and yeast. Very unique flavor of vanilla, herbs, lime, bananas, and bubble gum. Unique in style, but also suggestive of a tripel. Low to moderate acidity, some nice lightly toasted malts, and a decent bitter finish. This is a singularly unique beer experience. Has novel qualities that I happen to enjoy.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
frankR (146) - Davis, California, USA - MAY 1, 2004
UPDATED: JUN 14, 2004 Pours hazy brass colour with a white foamy head that mostly diminishes. Nose is banana, yeast and alcohol. Favor is banana, nutmeg, spicy and acidic, tropical fruity. Palate is kind of oily, can be described as having a light mouth feel. After taste is perhaps more complex than the body, which is what i find so unique about this one. Overall, this is a spectacular brew, dont let anyone else tell you otherwise.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Enniskillen (2046) - Salinas, California, USA - MAY 1, 2004
I thought this was a good Belgian Strong. Banana was very evident in the taste, and aroma, somewhat yeasty, with nutmeg, slight alcohol warmness.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
rajendra82 (1073) - Alpharetta, Georgia, USA - APR 30, 2004
The first pour out of the 24 oz bottle with vertical lettering was of deep golden color with slight chill haze and a tiny little head. The second pour, on the other hand, graced my goblet with a tall head, and oodles of yeast induced cloudiness. In both cases, the head died down to a thin ring of bubbles around the edge in a relatively short time. The carbonation in the underlying brew was minimal but steady. There was some fleeting lacing left around the glass. The aroma was dominated by the Belgian yeast, with banana, apples, and pears on the nose. The taste was sweet and spicy with the aforementioned fruits supplemented by snappy flavors of clove, cinnamon, and anise. The Kaffir Lime leaves also made themselves known on the palette in a tart-sour taste quite similar to lemon peel. The mouthfeel was quite creamy and a tad chalky, with some alcohol burn in the aftertaste. I will keep the remaining two bombers in the cool and dark place in my house, as this beer is supposed to get better over time. I would love for the flavors to sing together in a harmony, and cover the alcohol even more than they do now. Unlike the Old Guardian, this is still very drinkable when fresh. Stay tuned, as more opinions will come later. Praise is deserved once again to Liquid Solutions for shipping into Georgia.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
beerguy101 (5360) - Newark, California, USA - APR 30, 2004
Light orange gold color. Large head, white and foamy. Aroma is sweet, citrusy (mostly lime) and yeasty. A medium bodied Belgian ale. Yeasts are bright. Fruity and spicy and a touch funky. Apricot, peach and lime flavors are also evident. Nicely malty and fairly sweet. The start is sweet, the middle is spicy and it finishes sweet and fruity. It seems to be a little young and could stand some bottle aging. (DUH) Nice now, but will it mellow in a year or 5? Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Ernest (7596) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - APR 30, 2004
Head is small, frothy, off-white, mostly diminishing. Medium yellow, bottle conditioned. Aroma is moderately yeasty (cobwebs, mold), moderately malty (toasted grain, cookie), moderately hoppy (flowers, lemon, herbs), with notes of marshmallow, pineapple, banana, clove, lime leaf. Flavor is heavily sweet, moderately acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is moderately sweet, moderately acidic, moderately bitter. Medium to full body, creamy texture, lively carbonation, lightly alcoholic. As with Sawyers Triple, not the most attractive Belgian yeast strain, but its Belgian all right (hey, I dont like St. Bernardus yeast either, so Im not picking on Stone here). Smells as sweet as it tastes...and I mean that in the literal sense. Again, as with Sawyers, its too sweet to drink an entire bottle of (how odd, given the brewers penchant for overhopping). Kaffir leaves are definitely noticeable (just made some Tom Kha Kai soup last night, as it happens!), but not quite so obvious amongst the other elements that youd mention it (if you didnt know it was an ingredient). Typical small & quickly dying Stone head (why???).

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