OhHoppyDay (9) - USA - AUG 21, 2009 does not count
Opened May 2009, cellared four years.
APPEARANCE: Dark brown, nearly black, but with a very subtle burgundy hue. Very Clear. Noticeably tan head.
AROMA: A very malty, caramelly smell, with a slight coffee note and with some definite alcohol notes present.
FLAVOR: Malt, malt, more malt. Wonderfully smooth, rich, and somewhat sweet, but not cloyingly so. Subtle hints of caramel, chocolate, molasses, and (maybe) a slight coffee-ish note. Some noticeable bitterness of hops, but they were not overwhelming.
PALATE: Definitely leaning toward full-bodied, but extremely well balanced. There was a noticeable, but light, heat (of alcohol) about it. Would love to know where it was at ABV when we cracked it open.
NOTES: I could easily make this a session beer, but it would be a session beer that rendered me completely stupid drunk after two or three pints. It was full, but very enjoyable, and very rich.
ajm (1072) - Los Angeles, California, USA - NOV 26, 2009
Bottle courtesy of Shyam. Better than expected. Nose of sweet licorice, roast, raisin, bread crust and chocolate. Color is nearly black. Flavor is very thick and full: raisin dominates, then dark chocolate, bark, roasty malt and subtle Belgian spice. Thick as hell - maybe even a little char. VikingHammer (506) - Lynnfield, Massachusetts, USA - JUN 14, 2010
Aroma of chocolate,mollasses, and a light hop presents. Wonderful lacing. Pours a brownish red with a light brown head. Wonderful beer.
ericnixon (746) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAY 26, 2017
I bought this bottle back in 2005 and it’s moved with us from New Hampshire to Alabama to Massachusetts to another city in Massachusetts to Vermont to Oregon in the ensuing 12 years. Here we are, on the brink of yet another move and I decided, "Nope. I’m not moving all of my Vertical Epics yet again," so I decided to finally drink them. It poured a red so dark you’d swear you were trapped within the dankishly evil heart of an American politician. The head? Nonexistent. The aroma? Heavenly. Honey, earthy, yum yum yum. It was like liquid velvet silking across my tongue as the complex array of deeply-rooted flavors tagged along for the ride. Very easy to drink. Now I feel warm. 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.
beerguy101 (5360) - Newark, California, USA - MAY 15, 2005
Dark brown color. Small sized white foamy head. Aroma is banana, cherries and chocolate. A medium to full bodied Belgian Ale. Malts are fruity and sweet. Lots of fruit flavors, banana, cloves, and cherries dominate. Nice bright yeasts. Very smooth taste. A nice sipping beer. There are a lot of complex flavors going on in this one,some bottle aging will make this one awesome. It is very different for the rest of the verticals. Seems more in the ‘traditional’ Belgian style. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet. elektrogeist (158) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - JUN 16, 2005
Just picked this one up at the Lee’s, had to give it a whirl. Immediately from opening there is the belgian yeast scent, but the ale itself tastes a bit different. The only reason I didn’t give the flavor a 10 is because it’s brand new, and would probably taste more balanced upon further aging. I guess we’ll just have to wait to see how it changes though. Like all Stone’s brews, a must try. wnhay (722) - Princeton, New Jersey, USA - JUL 13, 2005
Pours dark ruby with a long lasting tan head. Really good appearance. Smell had toffee, lemon, banana, chocolate, orange and cranberry . The cranberry was very good in the flavor. The flavor was like a Tripel with cranberry added to it. This is really pleasing. I am raving because I like it so much better than the 04. I’m glad I have another one to age. robinvboyer (4677) - Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 10, 2009
dark amber pour with a nice beige head. aroma is loaded with dark roasted fruity malts. some nice ripe fruit, some cloves, and a touch of chocolate. really remins me of a very mild trappist type ale. flavor is very nice. more of he sweet bready fruity malts. again reminds me of a really nice dark and fruity trappist ale minus the strong alcohol presence. Really en excellent ale. Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 19, 2005
UPDATED: MAY 31, 2005 Rising from a thick espresso-like creamy head is an aroma of spiced banana bread, caramel, and a touch of allspice--definitely Belgian-like but not overly so thankfully. The color is dark cola with a tinge of garnet red. The extremely deep flavor profile is pleasantly overwhelming at first. This beer tastes strong with a substantial alcohol edge which may be a touch out of balance (which will most likely improve over the aging process) and a bit of sweetness with subtle dark fruit, bourbon vanilla, and perhaps some star anise flavors too. The finish is bitter from both hops and roasted malt. The amazing elusiveness of this beer adds a lot of interest. It will surely age superbly. This is one of the most complex beers I have ever had.