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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

698 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 698
Reviews: 474
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 42
Gots: 178 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 698 | Reviews: 474 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ScottyC54
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler pour at the bottle share held at Chloe's inside Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear golden orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, fruit, spice, alcohol, and herbal aromas. Taste is much the same with herbal and spice flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with interesting aromas and flavors that have held up fairly well since this was brewed.

Photo of TXhomebrewer
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of July2Nov
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of goodonya
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of beernads
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Treebs
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a light amber color with a frothy white head forming on the pour. Recedes slowly leaving some sticky splotches of lace down the glass.

S: Fruity and flowery hop notes some mild citrus as well. A little honey sweetness with some bready malts. Light background yeasty spice.

T: Stone fruits, fruity esters and some spicy. Light paper with some sweet malts.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation level. Light level of bitterness on the finish.

O: The hops were still around as well as the light spiciness from the yeast. The hops just weren't as potent, obviously, but it definitely wasn't bad.

Photo of LoveStout
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of PhineasGage
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of WOLFGANG
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of 2beerdogs
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of ADTaber
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Pahn
3.51/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

Photo of jwc215
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours golden with a thin white head that descends to a swirly patch. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of pine and citrus - American hops, for sure - with lemon and bread. The spiciness is herbal and black peppery.

Very hoppy - a good thing - pine and citrus - with black pepper that almost dominates. Some orange and graininess come through. It has a dry, almost chalky, finish. Alcohol comes through a bit.

It has a medium body with a tingle that may come from carbonation as well as spiciness.

A sipper as the pepper character is a bit much. Interesting use of American hops in a Belgian-style brew. It "works", but could blend better.

Photo of Ihadbeer
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled August 2008
Pours into my 25cl tulip glass with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, copper hue as it sits in my glass but shows a brilliant, bright gold color when held up to the light. The aroma has an expressively fruity, sort of children's aspirin like aroma to it that is magnified by a substantial sweetness. Weird is all I can really say, and not necessarily bad. Other aromas of juicy fruit gum, grassy grain, clean tropical fruit, ripe peach, just a hint of an herbal note, some phenolic clove. I think it is that there is a slight medicinal note in the aroma along with the clove phenolics and these, combined with how incredibly clean the hop character is (is it filtering that made the fruity hop aromas so clean?) is what gives this a children' aspirin aroma.

Tastes like bubble gum with the juicy, fruity hop notes and a clean, almost cotton candy like sweetness. This is actually surprisingly sweet tasting given the terminal gravity; I think that the fruity hop flavors tend to accentuate what sweetness is here and the fact that the fermentation profile is so clean means that the noticed alcohol note also seems to contribute to the perceived sweetness. Some phenolics and a spiciness contribute a touch of spiciness towards the finish that seems a bit turpene like and definitely has an expressive clove flavor to it. The hops contribute flavors of tropical fruit, lychee, ripe peach, and when combined with the perceived sweetness, some notes of honey-suckle are evident. While the hop character is quite dominant, there is, especially as this beer warms, a significant phenolic character to this beer, especially in the finish.

Despite being perceived as sweet this does have a nice, light body for a beer of this strength; I wouldn't call it a quaffing brew, but it does have a nice drinkability to it. It could use a bit more carbonation as I typically like my strong Golden Belgian'ish beers to be lively, though the lightish carbonation here really doesn't detract too much.

This is somehow incredibly clean, despite the noticeable fermentation character and hop notes; the malt seems almost naked somehow as it is lacking that chewy, grain note that I like to find in a good, pale, Belgian ale. This is still a good beer, it just seems to be a bit too filtered (even if it wasn't caused by the actual filtering process). I do like how this beer works as a whole, the entire experience is a bit more than a sum of its parts.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Photo of bobhits
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. pale and fairly thin. The head comes up and goes away pretty quickly. Fizzy yellow beer?

S. Hops. No...Belgium yeast. No, some sweet malt and alcohol? Ok this beer is like a good pitcher, it keeps throwing me different signals.

T. I thought the smell was weird. Wow, first taste it's stone IPA, but with something a bit off in the back ground. Second taste, it's a Belgium triple (only not terrible like most Belgium beers). This beer honestly played with my mouth all night long. Flavors from banana, piny hops, to who knows what. This is one of the most complex and varied beers I've ever had. I still don't feel like I can make heads of tales of this.

M. Thin, but with some spices which as they warm seem to slow down the consumption of it. A good bite from the carbonation, but still overall a bit on the thin side.

D. See above. It's drinkable, not a sipper, but not a session. It's a beer that starts off and finishes differently.

I might edit my review 20 times if I drink this beer 20 times, but either way for those that don't like belgiums this is worth giving a shot. If you don't like IPA's give this a shot. If you don't like either...well just avoid it.

8/27/10 update

No change to the score. Just tasting notes a bit over 2 years in.

The stone IPA with belgium characteristics is gone. This a belgium with some american hop pretense. It's dry finishing as hell and dominated by the yeast flavors. I'll be interested to see how the hop flavors work in this in a few years once the final hop bite is completely gone and only the fruity flavors remain. It almost has a white grape flavor with a campaign like carbonation. Good? Well...I'm not loving this beer, but I'm fascinated by it.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep golden color ale with a big pure white foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of dry hops with some sweet malty notes also noticeable. Taste is also dominated by some sweet malt with light hoppy notes. Body is average with some good carbonation and no detectable alcohol. I thought this tasted like a dumb-down Duvel without any of the complex yeast ester and the great hoppy finish. I can't see this improving over four years thought.

Photo of srandycarter
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Light honey, not much head, leaves ring. Small sudsy lacing.

S - Smells REALLY sweet, honey, malty.

T - Taste does not match smell. Part are true, but massacred by teh hops. Way too bitter.

M - Medium, good coat and carb.

D - NOt my favorite. Your mileage may vary.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice.
A- Almost no head and what did appear was gone before I knew it. 08.08.08 is a golden, semi clear beer.

S- The nose is somewhat weak in my case. Im getting some apple juiciness, slight pineness from hops and a citrus rind bitter sweetness.

T- Similar to the smell. Apple, citrus rind, piney hops. The suspended yeast lends some doughy, bready malt notes.

M- Thin at times, but mostly its a medium body over all.

D- Drinks quite well, nothing unappealing or out of line here. A solid brew.

This is a quite balanced brew, as the Belgians do best. The term IPA is somewhat deceiving, all though this is a lot hoppier than most Belgian styles.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 8/30/08. Bottle. Pours a light orange with a small white head. Aroma is pretty much that of a Belgian tripel! Lots of spices, melon rind, and a slight bitterness. Flavor is a bit more hoppy than apparent in the aroma (although not overly so), fruity melon, and orange peel. Mouthfeel isn't as hearty as that of a tripel although the beer does weigh on you after awhile. Interesting at first but then a little boring. Better than the 070707 but not by much.
7/4/7/4/14 (3.6/5)

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - An hazy orange-amber brew with a ton of carbonation and a sizable foamy head. Thick clumps of lacing cling in discordant rings all down the sides of the glass.

S - A sweet malt and aromatic floral (lilies) hops - obvious at first whiff that this is a Belgian strong pale ale.

T - Initially a burst of intense floral (lilies) hops with a bit of sweetness and a warming alcohol feel. Then it progresses to a biscuity aspect coupled with a lingering floral hop that shifts into a mild bitter floral hop flavor.

M - A little harsh, thick, and not very refreshing.

D - A little intense and strong. Fortunately, I see almost no reason to place much weight on the drinkability of this release.

Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 698 ratings.