notalush (5955) - Lakewood, Colorado, USA - MAY 30, 2005
Deep ruby hue with medium head of large, foamy bubbles - aroma is mostly clove and the ever so familiar belgian yeast with hints of fruity esters - flavor is an odd mixture of chocolate, liquorice, light spice and lingering hoppiness - most of these flavors should work well together, but don’t - each struggles for dominance instead of existing in harmony - perhaps when 12.12.12. comes around this will be more balanced - for now it is just so so. iwantalambic (1478) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - MAY 31, 2005
22 oz bottle, fresh: thin off tan head quickly dies into a thin ring. Transparent yellow gold edges with a deep, clear mahogany body. Bready yeast aromatics with hints of banana, coconut, rye, and lightly charred toast. Sort of like a blackened triple…Clove phenols wrap the tongue and combine with a dull, yet strangely spicy bit of star anise. The palate is a little young, needs some development in the carbonation – it almost seems hollow…dark roasted malts and a dusty cocoa powder linger at the back of the throat, while an odd piney hop bitterness tingles the side of the mouth. This one seems to fall along the lines of (2) surpassing the usual or ordinary…we’ll see how it develops, but right now may be my least favourite. mephisto (1301) - TAIWAN - JUN 27, 2005
bottled, huge aroma of fruit and malt w/ belgian lace. full bodied, malty and tasty w/ a hint of alcohol, slightly hoppy in the after taste. DaSilky1 (2608) - 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! 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.
BierBauch (784) - Cape Coral Waterfront Wonderland, Florida, USA - MAY 13, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 21, 2005 What an amazing color this brew has. Almost cranberry in color with nothing of a head which can be common with some Belgian styles. Aroma is interesting. Some berries and cinnamon, weird yeast aroma, sulfur. Kind of like a Dubbel gone wrong. Overhopped maybe because it’s got a nasty bitter aftertaste. A bit medicinal.Body is smooth with a good carbonation fizz to it. Flavor is a major dissapointment in my opinion. The finish is like Vicks 44 cough syrup. I don’t know what to make of this. I don’t know why I get sucked into the seasonal Stone releases because for the most part they’ve been a dissapointment. When reading DaSilky1’s review I thought this guy was perhaps a bit harsh but after drinking this I can see his point. Stick to the styles you’ve mastered. The Impy Stout and IPA’s are what you brew best. RE-Rate 9/7/05Brilliantly clear cranberry color with a small dense head which diminishes quickly leaving a slight disorganized layer of film and some light lacing.. Aroma, slightly alcoholic, some dark fruit, caramel, dark malt and less prominently, yeast. Malt is really forthcoming with a lightly burnt caramel sensation. Second pour reveals a doughy yeasty bread aroma which is soon overtaken by the caramel like malt once again. Decidedly, this has improved in 3 months. Flavor is malt forward yet hops lace the walls of my mouth with bitterness. Dark fruit also contribute some flavor. The body is soft and full with a syrup like slickness which coats my mouth. Overall this has improved since I first tried it when released 3 months ago. I only wish they used a better yeast to give it that Belgian quality we all look for in this style.
erway (1004) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - JUN 20, 2005
Pours a thick deep brown with a deeply tanned head. Aromas of brown sugar, vanilla, clove and chocolate. Flavors are leaning on the alcohol and phenolics. Body is rather thick for any style belgian. Somewhat syrupy. The finish is somewehat lasting, but it’s the finish more of a way overpowered porter rather than any belgian style ale with secondary alcohols really playing a dominant role. This could benefit greatly from 10% unrefined sugar. This might be the first Stone beer that I think was made poorly. aracauna (3705) - Georgia, USA - JUL 10, 2005
Dark brown body glints ruby at its center. Large yellowish tan head lasts for a while. The aroma has a slightly sourish aspect. The fruitiness mixed with the phenols kind of reminds me of a refrigerator crisper in need of dumping. With the anise and nutmeg spicing the aroma is just a jumbled mess. The flavor improves with a good brown sugar maltiness and a bit of apple peel and most of the less desirable aspects of the aroma falling out. Still, it falls flat with an incongruous metallic bitterness that kind of ruins the effect. Marsiblursi (3083) - Göteborg, SWEDEN - FEB 10, 2007
(Bottle, thanks Rickgordon) Pours dark with red hints. Sweet caramel, light burned, over ripe fruits and hops in aroma with spices, madeira and raisins. Undertones of dark grainy bread, wood and shell fish. Sweet, spicy flavour with a bitter hops bitterness and caramel. Some dark fruits, raisins and a touch of salt. Hints of milk chocolate and alcohol. Soft mouthfeel with a syrupy sting. Medium body. GT (10017) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 15, 2012
Tap at CK for 12.12.12 VE night. Pours a deep brune looking black. Medium carbonation, spotty lacing. Nose is barleywine all the way- strawberry candies, toffee, caramel, mint. Taste is pine, spices, red candies, mint. Comes across a bit drained and bland though. Palate aerated, thinner than expected.