johnyvt (158) - West Hollywood, California, USA - MAY 13, 2005
Transparent brown/red pour with a big tan head that didn’t stick around too long. Spicy aroma of cloves and dark fruit. Nose is banannas and a little bit of alcohol, but that is quickly covered by a dark, roasted malt finish. Has a bit of Three Philosophers dark cherry taste. Other fruit, like plums. Yeasty. There’s chocolate, some detectable hops, and a lot of other subtle flavors that I imagine will come out more with age. Still, this is impressively drinkable now. jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - MAY 12, 2005
Nice looking beer. Clear mahogany with a dense tan head. The aroma is quite spicy, hints of Juicy Fruit chewing gum with some light dark fruit that is reminiscent of a dubbel. The flavor is quite salty, full of sweet malts, the spice is still here, and a decent hop bite in the middle. It really tastes like a lighter barley wine mixed with a dubbel and then mixed with an Anchor Our Special Ale. The palate is medium, lightly assertive, dry alcoholic finish. Interesting for sure. Seems much more American styled than Belgian styled. I find it rather enjoyable in the end. SDalkoholic (2386) - Linda Vista, California, USA - MAY 11, 2005
Bottle: Finally i got my hands on some this after anxiously waiting for the last few months. Beautiful dark mahogany color; once held against light turns to a amber hue that is clearly visible through. Head is a thin cushy foam thats a light tan but will eventually break up. Nose has an upfront clove aroma with some cinnamon as well, and I also can get a whiff of toffee and malt. The flavor has a moderate amount of malts used and has a undeniable hop spiceness. Found this VE much more darker and better in flavor than the 04. I will age and re-rate in a few months and see how much more it calms down and my ratings change. crazyvin (2026) - New York, USA - MAY 11, 2005
good, but really more of a barleywine then a belgain strong ale. A nice malty/yesty presence. A slight alcohol presence. Really nothing for me to make a comment on. This beer really didn’t have much to comment on. DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 11, 2005
smells like a cheap & generic american strain of belgian yeast, if that makes any sense..a lot of banana, chocolate, and clove with strong sweetness and styrofoam characteristics...quite evident to me, the same yeast used in the vertical epic 03..though I could be wrong..either way, i don’t really care.. Pours a clear dark amber/mohagany with a solid sheet of tan froth. THick and sweet with a lot of chewing tobacco characteristics. This yeast is just a muddled strain of crap, yet they keep using it. Jesus christ, find a new yeast for your belgian ales, or just give up already! Hot alcohol and plasticy yeast laid over too sweet malt and tobacco flavors. Seriously, Stone might make a hella-good IPA but I’ve brewed better belgians with extract than these fools. This is a cumbersome mess of sweet, hot, and crappy yeast. The majority of all the flavors in this beer come from the crappy yeast strain..i like how Stone claims that it’s the artistic brewer’s talent that is to thank. Ha. Talent. The vertical epic series has done nothing but show that STONE CANNOT BREW BELGIAN STYLED ALES TO SAVE THEIR SOCAL HIDE!
Schroppfy (2360) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - MAY 10, 2005
Salty and barleywine-ish, but dubble-y too. This is a strange brew - all sorts of pepper, salt, malt, very little in the way of hops or fruitiness to me. Lots of metallic flavors (9 volt battery time). Good. Better than the 04 IMO, and should mellow and change nicely (but watch for the creep of the sours...?). Obviously, a bit hot... fordest (2470) - Santee/San Diego, California, USA - MAY 10, 2005
22 oz. bottle from Mr. Liquor. Poured deep ruby with a decent tan head that lasted for most of the glass. Lacing throughout. Aromas of spice and dark fruit, caramel and roasted malt. Flavors were similar with alcohol worked in as well. Maybe a bit too carbonated, but I am sure that will mellow out by the time this is actually supposed to be consumed. A sweet and hoppy finish. I am looking forward to trying it again in a few years. BigBastard (668) - L.A., California, USA - MAY 10, 2005
I have been anxiously waiting for this one all year. I was a bit disapointed because I loved the past Verticals so much, but that’s not to say it’s bad at all.
This steps away a bit from the Belgian style of the past Verticals. This has an undeniable stout undertone. Tastes of coffee and bitter chocolate and alcohol dominated for me. This should really settle down into a great beer with age though. I look forward to it. SNOB (13) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAY 10, 2005
Pours nicely with a light brown head of substance. The beer is clear, and is redish with nearly a purple hue. You can easily smell the toasty grains (rye?) It has roasted sweet flavoer with faint citrusy tones. It is well carbonated, and has good mouthfeel. Excellent Brussels lacing, with every sip detectable. A solid beer, but I will be anxious to taste it in another 7 years to experience it at full potential. mdi (573) - Nebraska, USA - MAY 9, 2005
I stepped into this trepidaciously...the "no spices" claim on the lable helped ease my worries a bit...and I was pleasantly surprised...Its actually a passable, even better, dark strong made in America! Malt and yeast mix nicely for some fair complexity...I await the pouring of more of this brew.