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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic AleStone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

488 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 488
Hads: 846
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 13.82%
Wants: 43
Gots: 240 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA | 8.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: froghop on 08-04-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

The Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale is a Strong Golden Belgian style ale highly hopped with American hops (Ahtanum, Amarillo and Simcoe). The beer pours pale golden with a thick and creamy white head of foam. The aroma is full of depth: nuances of pepper, clove, and banana from the Belgian yeast strain, and the resiny citrus notes from the American hops blend together nicely to provide a complex aromatic character. The taste is spicy, hoppy and fruity, with a very dry and a pleasant bitter end. The bitterness lingers nicely, and provides a refreshing finish that leads you to want to drink more and more of this beer!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 488 | Hads: 846
Photo of canucklehead
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has been sitting in the cellar since late summer and so it seemed right to open one since I drank all my earlier versions and cannot do the vertical in 2012. This is a real nice Belgian style beer with some spice notes mixed in with the citrus notes found in Saisons. Kinda tasted like a combo of Duvel and Westmalle Triple. Lots of complexity and good balance made this very drinkable. Good Epic from these guys.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You all know what the bottle looks like so I won't bother. Pours out a copper yellow with almost no head at all. Smell is very sweet with hints of malt, lemon and earthy notes.

Taste is much milder than I expected. Very well integrated flavors of sugar, bread and grassy hops. Lovely drying bitterness in the middle and end. Aftertaste goes on and on. 20 plus seconds? Well balanced and easy drinking. The alcohol is so well hidden. A very "clean" beer.

A great VE in my opinion. I am not sure how this one will age as it is so well integrated now. Oh well, we will see.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alas, this is my first Vertical Epic. Hopefully I'll get to try a few of the previous ones on tap (if not bottled) one day. I'll be sure to get hold of the final four barring a major mishap.

A: A clear, pale golden color with a thick if minimal head. There is some retention and nice lacing.

S: At first there is pear and passion fruit on the nose. As it warms up a little you get a sense of the hops, some citrusy but mainly coniferous notes. Esters also make a welcome appearance.

T: Sweetness of the malts come through right off the bat. Tasty. Just as it threatens to keel over, the hops kick in and achieve a delicious balance. The best thing is that it then stays in ale equilibrium. There are few beers that manage this.

M: Very solid. No detectable hop oils, but there is a lingering bitterness that is not overpowering in the least. Sorry Stone, I had to write that...Nice and snappily crisp. Refreshing.

D: The 8.6% ABV is hardly noticeable at first. Eventually, there is a warming sensation. I believe I could drink two of these beauties. That's saying something for a brown bomber this potent.

To conclude, I love this beer. I'm not a huge tripel fan (though I like classic Belgian pale ales like Duvel and their US compadres Damnation and Horny Devil) nor am I a major hophead. Simply put, one of the more quaffable non-dark beers I've had the pleasure of drinking. I have no idea how this will age, but I plan on finding out. It's hard to imagine that it'll get much better.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Stumbled upon bombers of this while out for groceries and snatched it up at just $4.75- a good price for really ANY bomber in NYC.

Poured from 22oz bottle into 300ml Krusovice goblet.

Appearance: Pours golden-amber in color with a medium-sized, very slowly dissipating off-white head that leaves some large spots of lace behind.

Smell: Smells like a very well-aged beer- sweet grapes and apples with some yeast backed up by citric and floral hop notes.

Taste: The smell doesn't give away the hoppiness of this beer too well- It starts off with bready, yeasty flavors backed up by a hint of apple, finishing rather hoppy. The finish has herbal and earthy hop flavors and a somewhat intense, yet pleasant bitterness. More yeast is detectable in the finish. After you've drank a bit of this and gotten used to the flavor, it actually starts to taste like champagne.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body with balanced, very natural carbonation and a dry champagne-esque finish.

Drinkability: An older beer like this is meant to be savored, and it is a pleasure to drink. This is the first "vintage" beer I've had, yet I can detect a certain aged quality about this. Now I'm seriously considering buying some more bottles of this to cellar for longer. If you can find this beer, definitely grab it- whether it's for cellaring or for drinking.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Cork and Bottle after getting comics. I was pleasantly surprised to find it.

Appearance- golden color, little head

Smell- fruit, hops, malt

Taste- very nice and dry, hops, spice, fruit

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- very nice, i would love more

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Photo of drseamus
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice light amber body with a touch of white head.

S: Nice citrus aroma that blasts from the glass and almost completely masks the Belgian malt aroma.

T: Boy, the hops really pop out in this one. Right up front and super crisp. Right behind that after the shortest of pauses is the sweet malt. Great balance.

M: Nice and light initially with a touch more body when the malt hits.

D: Great, but I can't see how this will get better with age.

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Photo of vtfan77
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep amber with a small white head that, unfortunately, doesn't stick around very long.

S- Wow, nice melding of the American hops and Belgian yeast. The clove-like aromas from the yeast mingle nicely with the sweet citrus notes from the hops. I've found that in most beers brewed with Belgian yeast and American hops, the aromas don't seem to go well together. This beer does not have that problem. Very appealing.

T- The flavor follows in the aroma's footsteps with a bright, citrusy hop character that blends nicely with the spicy byproducts of the yeast. The malt adds a cracker-like character that keeps the beer dryer than I expected. The bitterness on the finish is actually quite light and not at all overwhelming. Once again, Stone succeeds in blending the hops and yeast where others (including Stone itself) have failed in the past.

M- Light in body with substantial carbonation. The mouthfeel is nearly perfect for this beer.

D- Yes, the alcohol is high at 8.4%, but it's masked extremely well. This, coupled with the beer's light body and crisp, refreshing character, increases the drinkability to a level that could be quite dangerous.

I really enjoyed this beer. After last year's lackluster VE offering (as well as the one the year before), I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but this was great. Up to this point, I hadn't found a beer that successfully blended the flavors of a Belgian yeast strain and American hops (at least, to my satisfaction). I've finally found one. I really don't see how this beer will get better in four years, due to the great hop character that will no doubt fade by then. I guess I'll just have to trust the masters on that one. Highly recommended.

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Photo of jamesm7485
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is a very golden hue with a lighty white frothy head.

The smell has some fruit notes, honestly i cant smell much because i have a sinus infection right now.

The smell is very good light on the fruit with a belgian yeast tone

The mouthfeel is very light not too carbonated

The drinkability even with the abv is very nice

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stone's Vertical Epic 08.08.08 pours a clear, deep golden body that resembles a slightly dark Pilsner-style beer. The frothy white head holds well and it leaves thick rings of craggy lace about the glass.

Hops appear in the nose: citrusy (lemony), freshly grassy, floral, and somewhat piney. I intitally thought Amarillo and Centennial. Then the fruitiness of Simcoe appeared. But apparently there's no Centennial at all, and the missing hop is Ahtanum.

Yeast also makes an appearance, and clearly indicates then what this beer is - a hoppy Belgian-style tripel that utilizes American hops. Not that that hasn't been done before, because of course the Belgians have been ahead of the curve and have been using American hops (as have the Japanese and Danish and...) for a while! Other American brewers have produced this style too. But the yeast is important. It changes it from an American ale into something else altogether... an American Belgian-style ale with American hops. ... ... ...Anyway, it's gently phenolic, fruity with an emphasis on apples and light notes of summer fruit (strawberries, melon), and just very slightly chalky, vanilla-ish, and a minor flick sulphury.

The malt base that supports it is straightforward pilsner malt (although I understand oats and sugar are used). It's clean and refined, and acts as the stage for the hops and yeast.

Overall, it's well-rounded, and more importantly, refined. In keeping this ale in check and not going overboard on any aspect of its composition, it offers a great drinkability. It's very smooth and easy to drink, but there's also a good deal of depth to it. You can almost drink it as if it was a stronger version of a Pilsner, just like you might a Duvel!!!! But beware, it does have a kick.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 picked up at the Coop today for about $6.75... poured into my New Belgium snifter... looks pretty already.

Big 2 finger foamy meringue like head... 1st pour is crystal clear gold... looks like a pilsner actually. very nice ribbons of lace.

The aroma has a really fruity quality along with some pine... I swear their have to be amarillos in there... they always remind me of Flintstone Vitamins.

Flavor is bananas and pink bubblegum.. very fruity.. not as much pine and citrus as expected... actually fairly balanced IMHO. Dry finish.. tropical fruit as it warms.. very very nice. I would seriously hesitate to call this a BSPA.. Right now, it is a Belgian IPA.. that said, I don't know how well these hops are going to be so bright.. but I am really liking this.

4.5/4.5/4.5/4/4.5

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Photo of brianh78
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At first I thought, "A Belgian Pale Ale? Interesting." Now I think, "Where can I get more?"

Appearance: 2 finger head, which was very slow to dissipate; translucent gold/honey color; lively carbonation

Smell: Floral and citrus hops dominated the initial smell, but there was some sweetness floating around on the back end

Taste: Hops came through first, but then the sweet malt came out. There was also some citrus and herbaceous flavor

Mouthfeel: light and effervescent

Drinkability: Definitely something I'd like to have again. It's a surprisingly easy to drink beer, considering the name and alcohol content

One glass was not enough...

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Photo of bilyboy65
4.46/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a fantastic release yet again. 2 years old now and still fresh. I wish I had tried one in '08 to compare it too.

A: Slightly cloudy, light amber with a pure white head. Lacing that coats the glass and a heavy film left behind. Decent carbonation to keep the head around after 2 years as well.

S: Hoppy bitterness jumps out at you with a sweet malty scent to follow right behind. Tying it together seems to be a yeasty scent riding the hops to your nose. All works together to make a very nice nose.

T: Very well balanced flavor between the hops, malts and yeast. Some pulls seem to have the sweet malts dominate and others the hops. The yeast seems to just be there to act as a blending agent. Very nice.

M: Dry medium bodied beer.

D: 22oz bottle is gone before I finished this review. :)

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Seemed appropriate to open this with an Orval opener and toss it into a Gulden Draak tulip. Color is a lightly hazed sunset golden/orange, with a fluffy head of only modest proportions.

Aroma sits in the camp of beers that I also place Gumballhead and SurlyFest in--not the same style at all, but the smell of each is intensely fragrant and unabashedly hops-centric. Each is so potent that I always think of dryer sheets...which I realize doesn't sound flattering, but it's the only thing in the world I can relate it to. But 08.08.08 adds a honey-like, flowery sweetness, which keeps it from being one-dimensional.

I was super-impressed with another bottle weeks ago, as I am with this one tonight. It's got a honeyed sweetness, a very hoppy backup, with light and flowery spices adding some pizazz. Yeast does some talking, and it's that earthy, almost chalky element that lovers of Belgian ales will recognize. The honey is brought out larger by the rounded, almost syrupy texture, which holds enough carbonation to keep it swinging too much one way or the other. Ahh...this is wonderful stuff.

The text on the bottle (always read Stone's fine print!) seems to hint that this beer was inspired by Houblon Chouffe--a beautiful bit of circular inspiration when you consider it. Whether it was aimed at that particular beer or not, they pretty much hit the target while also putting their own singular Stone stamp on it--which in this case means plenty of fresh, flowery, crispy hops. Awww...yum!!

[addendum: enjoyed a nice well-aged bottle on 3/30/10, and found a particularly funky yeast element edging in, something not noticed the first time around. With that a more pungent fruity element. Still stand by the review and the rating. Delicious.]

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Photo of sholland119
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The best of the Vertical Epic series so far.

Pours a slightly hazy golden with a thin white head.

Smell is a combination of fresh pears and green apple with a Belgian yeast in the background.

Taste features a solid hop presence with a fresh crisp fruit underneath.

Light mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

Worth drinking several of these. I was not a fan of 07.07.07 and 05.05.05 was not aging well when I had it recently. This is great now, and will probably age well.

HV

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Photo of treyrab
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my tulip glass and shared with a fellow BA.

A: Very light in color...lighter than I was expecting. Gold/yellow and perfectly clear. The sediments suspends in the glass amongst the flowing carbonation.

S: The smell is magnificent. Bananas and pear form the Belgian yeast hit you first. It is then followed by a nice hop nose that is great to see in this style.

T: The taste is exceptional. I love the creative blending of a Belgian style with American hops. That being said, this states very much like a Belgian Tripel blended with an IPA. Bananas, pears, candi sugar blended nicely with an American hop bitterness.

Overall, this is a great brew and one of the best verticals. I cannot wait to try this amongst its brothers!

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Photo of alexgash
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle.

Deep, clear, bright golden body. Finger of loose, but persistent, off-white head. Nose of caramel and biscuit malts underneath fresh pears, fruit cocktail, and sweet cherry. Solid, herbal, resinous, grassy hop aroma sits above it all. Nice.

Toasted malt and spicy, peppery hop bitterness up front. Sweet, candy and honey malt quickly develops ripe pear and pineapple flavors. Resinous, herbal hop bitterness soon joins in and provides a nice balance for the sweet fruits and alcohol. Peppery, spicy, resinous, piny, and appetizingly bitter. Finish is long and balanced. Medium to full body with a slightly syrupy feel. Probably my favorite Stone VE so far (although I haven't tried all of them yet!).

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.48/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very clear light amber body, nice beige head with good retention. There are beautiful little bits of yeast hover throughout the glass. Looks deceptively drinkable, like a pilsener really.

S: First whiff is sweetness of the grain. Upon further sniffing a citrusy hop aroma is strong up front, which seems to pair well with the background notes from the yeast.

T: Malty sweetness followed by hoppy delight on the way down. It develops on the tongue after swallowing almost magically.

M: Fair amount of carbonation, feel good in the mouth, not too syrupy.

D: That finish keeps me coming back for more.

I had the cali-belique yesterday, and I feel this balances quite a bit better.

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Photo of m1ked
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Clear golden straw yellow with multiple visible streamers that are in no hurry. Thin white foamy head that fades almost into nothing. Looks like a pilsner.

S- Definetly does not smell like a pilsner. Big fruity whiff here. I get peach, honeydew, mango, pineapple. Very tropical smelling. I get some candied sugar, slight clovey yeast.

T- Iget the tropical on the tongue but with more yeasty overtones. A slight metallic astringint note in there and a slight bitter finish....the finish reminds of Le Freak a tad.

M- Seems mils bodied to me with good carbonation and a slickness on the tongue.

D- I had this when it first came out, but I forgot how tropical this one is. I don't how "true to style" it is but I don't care...I like it alot.

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Photo of corey0212
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep golden-orange color, big fluffy white head slowly fades, settling into a nice foamy layer on top of the beer, clingy sheets of lacing. Smell is outrageously hoppy, big citrus notes, piney, grassy, some peppery spice in the mix. Taste is heavier on the pepper and spice, juicy pear, some spicy alcohol, bitter green apple, and a sticky honey sweetness. Really crisp and quenching, but with a slight mouth-coating sweetness, and nice lingering bitter flavors. This is excellent, something I'll be drinking plenty of in the coming months (and years!).

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Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The latest edition of the Stone Vertical Epic series. This one is a departure from the others Epics. The bottle notes say its their variation of a Belgian triple, inspired by the brewmasters 2008 trip to Belgium.

Pours a golden haze with a white head and good carbonation.

Nose is fruity & sweet with banana and pear.

Taste is fruity, yeasty, sweet & spicy with a good touch of alcohol. It has a spicy & nice bitter finish, giving it an overall complex taste. Kind of like a Belgian with a West Coast finish.

This one is well worth it, very drinkable, watch out for the 8.6 ABV!

With 06-08 sampled, I'd say this is best of the Epic series in that range.

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Photo of opwog
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now listening to: Jose Feliciano - Chico and the Man

I previously did a review of this in bottle, but the tap was different enough that it is worth noting. The head held up much better from a tap pour than it did when I was pouring from bottle, at home. Also, there were tastes of sour and fruit that were present in the tap version, that I never tasted at all in the bottle, through any stage of the process. All of this made the mouthfeel and drinkability that much better.

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Photo of asabreed
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bomber into a Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance: Billowing white heat with lots of carbonation popping, leaving raucous lacing in rings and clumps on the side. Slightly hazy golden body, good carbonation floating toward the top.

Smell: Lots of fruit and esters and golden Belgian aromas. Apples, cherries, both heavy citrus and piney hops with a more grapefruit backbone. Good description of a highly hopped Belgian, also completely heady and balanced. As it warms, pineapple cream cake creeps in, if there is such a thing, along with mild bubblegum, and white vinous characteristics.

Taste: Big hops and esters with tropical fruit, apples, sour cherries, mild bubblegum, spicy and pungent hops, and beautiful drippingly-so orange and grapefruit, all backed by the Golden Belgian Strong Pale Ale yeast flavors also, with fantastic balance, some banana and bubblegum coming through even more as it warms, and an insanely long and heady finish. I wonder what some years would do, but now it's great fresh.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Not cloying, but full enough to coat and let the wonderful flavors through nicely.

Drinkability: I was drinking this while Obama was giving his speech, much earlier than many people thought he would be, and for that I have to give it a perfect score. It was certainly a time to celebrate, and this was a good beer to have by my side while that was going on.

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Photo of oscarsbrewmaster
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow.

This is one of the most unique tasting beers I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. Distinct Belgium flavor with an explosion of American hops. This beer goes down extremely smooth, with a very clean finish. I dont think waiting for 12/12/12 is an option, this beer is too good now!

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Photo of jsprain1
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Glad they brought this one back, as this was originally before I really got into craft beer and never had a chance to try it.
A- Goldenrod, clear. Head is thick and white. Retention is fair. Lots of lacing.
S- leaning more toward Belgian than "west coast hopped" on the nose. Banana, peach, slight must.
T- Fruit ester forward. Banana, canned peach (in a good sense), and honey up front. Consistent through the taste with just a really faint booziness in the finish.
M- very smooth. Low carbonation. Interesting toeing of the line between slightly syrupy and creamy, on the tongue but dry in the finish.
O- loved it. The vertical epics I've had (I believe 10-12) were hit or miss. This one was a hit for me

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Photo of williamherbert
4.54/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color of a (golden) lit candle. Hazy. Starts with a puffy head that takes a while to subside. Tiny bubbles. Really nice.

Dual blast of sweet, citrusy hops, and sweet Belgian spices. Woody, flowery, spicy; a dry, champagne malt. Perfumey and superior.

Strong, citrusy flavor. The spices of the flowery citrus hops mesh beautifully with the spices of the Belgian malt. A dynamite, spicy and citrusy flavor.

Fizzy in the feel like champagne. A splendid, citrusy and spicy beer. Absolutely outstanding.

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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 488 ratings.