Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 670 | Reviews: 471 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Pahn:
3.53/5 rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5
Picked up a bottle of this at Whole Foods at Union Square, NYC. Apparently, they ordered Vertical Epic and got sent the '08 instead of the '09 for some reason. There's probably still a few there if you're in the Manhattan area and missed this beer last year.
Anyway, 22oz bottle poured into a tulip.
Appearance: 1 inch head after a rather aggressive pour (was barely 1/2 inch at first careful try). Sparse horizontal streaks of lacing remain throughout. Pours a bright, lightish amber with numerous rising bubbles.
Smell: Sweet Belgian yeast and a strong citrus scent that's disturbingly reminiscent of orange soda.
Taste: The dominant flavor is apple, with some unexpectedly mild hops (knowing Stone and reading the "Here's a Belgian golden ale but aggressively hopped!" boast on the label, I expected a much stronger hop showing). Mild though they are, the hops do provide a nice bite at the start that at least differentiates this beer from a saison or usual strong golden ale. Unfortunately, the flavor is closer to the former than the latter, which is also unexpected.
The flavor is nice, but a little one note. While some complexity does indeed make itself known, it's rarely present in the same sip. I got the apple throughout and a little citrus was also steady, while there were more occasional notes of butterscotch. The finish often was a bit soapy. There's a strong sweetness throughout, but it was a lot more garish than what you generally get from a quality strong golden ale. There's also the hint of a flavor I can't name but that I associate with many of Stone's brews (particularly Arrogant Bastard and Oaked Arrogant Bastard). Near the end I strangely detected a smokiness, which was actually quite pleasant--if it was there the whole time, this review would probably be glowing, to be honest.
Mouthfeel: Pretty good. Despite the hop bite, the feel is very creamy and nicely carbonated. My only complaint would be that the finish gets a bit sticky.
Drinkability: While the alcohol (which I found warming and went to my head rather quickly) is not very masked, the lightness of the flavor coupled with the, on the whole, great mouthfeel makes this a very refreshing golden ale. I wouldn't want more than a bottle, but it's more drinkable than the average 8+% beer.
In all, I was rather unimpressed by this beer. However, I expected quite a lot from it; I'm a big fan of extremely hopped beer, a bigger fan of Belgian tripels, and a lover of numerous Stone offerings. While the flavor of this beer is decent, in my opinion it was too mild for what it was intended to be, and had a few too many small flaws to work exceptionally well as something other than a hopped up golden ale. It's by no means a bad beer; if it were the first Stone brew I'd had, or the first Belgian/California mashup I'd had, I'd be impressed. However, if I were at the store now and I saw another bottle of 08.08.08 standing next to Stone's Cali-Belgique or a bottle of Houblon Chouffe, I'd pick up either of the latter any day.
As a final note, while I may be speaking beyond my beer knowledge, I can't really see how this beer would benefit from aging. The flavor could round out a bit, and the alcohol could mellow, but the beer is already too mellow as it is. Then again, I'd guess that the guys at Stone know more about how long to age a beer than I do.
Serving type: bottle
12-15-2009 07:17:42 | More by Pahn
More User Reviews:
2.71/5 rDev -31.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
22 oz. purchased about a week ago poured into an Ommegang goblet. Not sure of how well this bottle was conditioned, but here we go.
A: Hazy, yellow and orange. Some visible sediment at the bottom of the glass. Not a problem. Being a home brewer, I am used to seeing sediment in my beer.
S: It smells like a year old IPA. Tons of stale malt and a slight hint of whatever hops remain.
T: Taste like it smells. It just taste like a really old IPA where the malts are dominant but stale and the hops are non-existent. Yeast flavor is prominent at the end. Brings up some fruit flavors at the very end to help alleviate the awful stale taste. Pretty bad.
M: Light to medium bodied; slight carbonation but pretty faded.
O: Overall, this beer has not aged well. I remember having an 08 vertical in the summer of 09 and it was phenomenal. Also had a fresh one in 08. This, however, has just turned to a stale, bitter, tasteless beer. I saw this for 9$ and figured what the hell. Glad to have tried it, but will never seek anything besides a 12 vertical at this point ever again.
Serving type: bottle
02-13-2014 23:07:36 | More by BoardwalkBock
3.38/5 rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
4oz draft pour into a tulip glass.
A: Copper colored with a thin head.
S: Apple and cinnamon smell.
T: Orange sweetness and slight bitterness from orange peel.
M: Creamy mouthfeel that is short lived and is dried about by bitterness of the peel.
O: Fell flat in the taste and mouthfeel departments.
Serving type: on-tap
01-22-2014 20:35:22 | More by blindtiger24
3.08/5 rDev -22.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25
Five year old Eight pours with a bright orange coloring and a sizeable foam cap.
This bottle was stored properly but it smells like plastic. Lots of phenolic and alcohol make it very off-putting.
The phenolic quality holds in the taste for the beginning but subsides quickly to give a nice fruity orange, tangerines and nectarines flavor.
The feel is sprite and bubbly but smooth and full.
Fresh this may be a fantastic rendition of a Belgian IPA but time seems to have been hard on this one.
Serving type: bottle
12-14-2013 21:12:16 | More by KYGunner
Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 670 ratings.