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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.
very good

480 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 480
Hads: 736
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 12.81%
Wants: 43
Gots: 196 | FT: 16
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 480 | Hads: 736
Photo of number1bum
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looking forward to trying this one. Pours a crystal clear golden honey color with a few bubbles rising to the top and about one finger of off-white head. Head settles to a thin lace and doesn't really leave much stick.

Smell is sweet, boozy, and hoppy. Lots of honey like sweetness, and ample alcohol in the nose, as well. Hops are earthy and herbal smelling, and there is some spice and yeast going on here, too.

Taste is also quite boozy, and it's also fruity and sweet. It's bubble gum sweet, along with overripe, alcohol soaked citrus and green apples. Strong honey sweetness, as well, along with a bit of spice and some floral hops. It's slightly phenolic and medicinal, and overall it's just to sweet and boozy. There is some herbal bitterness in the finish; needs more.

Mouthfeel is between a medium and full body but feels a bit lighter than that in the mouth. It's pretty smooth but is slightly cloying. Low carbonation.

I'm disappointed in this one. I was excited about it based on the description, but it didn't really materialize. Too much alcohol, too sweet, and not enough hop flavor compared to how it was described. Like last year, I'm really not sure that I care to cellar some of these to revisit. We'll see.

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Photo of BeerStine
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear light copper with minimal head and low carbonation. Smells is of caramel malts with a fruity hops undertone. Taste is a fruity hoppiness at first followed by a sweet caramel malt flavor. Mouthfeel is a medium/light with minimal carbonation. Drinkability is excellent. I would drink many of these.

Taste is borderline bananaish for me. But still a good beer.

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Photo of blindtiger24
3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

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Photo of bamadog
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I figured that we're only a few months away from the end of the series, so what's the harm in cracking this one now? Review is from notes taken on 7/28/2012 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass. I have to say, I'm curious to see how a Belgian IPA will have held up over a 4 year span.

Appearance: Pours a golden straw color and it starts with a big head of three fingers -- very white and fluffy, like whipped egg whites that fades slowly to a rocky and fully, frothy cap; body is cloudy, but shows very strong carbonation bubbling up throughout, so the yeast definitely did its job and held up over time, here's to hoping that the flavor did as well; pillowy swaths of lacing stick around.

Smell: Light, Belgian spiciness and a touch of sweet fruit -- perhaps mango or pineapple? Toasty graininess. Not too shabby, I wish it were a little more robust, but I'll take it.

Taste: Meh. It's not awful, but not what I was hoping for (should have drank this the year I bought it...). It's got some bitterness to it, but not much hop "flavor" beyond a light touch of sweet pineapple; touch of alcohol burns through along with the spiciness mentioned in the nose. I feel that this likely would have been an outstanding beer fresh, and I can only kick myself for this, not Stone.

Mouthfeel: Body is light in weight, and the carbonation is frothy, strong and prickly; a thin sticky coating hangs around; mouth is left tingly as well as the belly from the carbonation and slight booziness to it.

Overall: Again, I can't over-emphasize that this should have been consumed fresh, but even after 4 years, it's not awful.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden-orange color with minimal white lacing.

Smell: Yeasty aroma with a bit of orange and some other spices and alcohol.

Taste: Has quite a spicy/yeasty taste which leaves an odd and bitter aftertaste. It also overpowers the bit of orange in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and a tad gritty, especially at the finish.

Drinkability: Ok, but nothing great.

Maybe this would work better with aging, but I find it less appealing than the mediocre 7.7.7 from Stone. Mind, it's not a bad beer, just not a particularly good one. The spicyness & yeastyness is rather monolithic, and it's very simplistic and obscured in the fruit tastes. It's too bad, as I was rather looking forward to it.

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Photo of TheBeerologist
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened my 08.08.08 for my 31st birthday - 08.08.12
Bottle poured into Jackie O's Munich glass

Poured a beautiful straw gold with a fluffy two finger head with some lacing on the glass

Smells like a Belgian tripel - sweet and yeasty with a bit of fruit and spices and a slight hint of citrus

The hops are still present and not totally faded as I would expect of a 4 year old belgian IPA. A bit of a coriander note and of course the belgian yeast is one of the more dominant tastes.

Smooth and moderately carbonated mouthfeel. Nothing really spectacular here though

Overall and enjoyable beer that I waited to drink until my birthday of the year the series ended, but not a really spectacular beer by any means. Happy to have saved and savored it though.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.36/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one is WAY cloudy! Peach colored brew with soapy vanilla colored head.

Tons of chamomile, dandelion, pear, tart, lemon, apple, milk.

A want to be sour, but weird flavors and zero tartness. Sweet(but, not sugary), wet, light-medium carbonation, medicinal, antique flavors, rusty.

When I think of Asian flowers, this brew comes to mind.. It's unique and has held up well, but it's a weird brew, not much balance and flow to all the co-mingled flavors.

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Photo of n2185
3.35/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a slightly murky gold with a finger of white head that fades into a frothy ring with little lacing.

S: Light spice notes at first followed by lots of candy sugar, caramel malts, and pear aromas. There are also some bubblegum and bread aromas mixed in.

T: Belgian spices here as well before candy sugar, sweet breads, caramel, and a light oxidation flavor kick in. The finish is yeasty with a surprising, though light, bitterness.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer isn't as light and crisp as I'd like, but avoids being too thick or sticky sweet.

O: Considering that this beer is 4.5 years old, it's not as bad as I was expecting. It's a little oxidized, but not enough so to ruin it.

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Photo of harrymel
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured to NB globe during an 06-10 VE tasting.

A: Golden, hazy with single finger fine white foam which sticks around. Decent spider lacing. Golden butterscotch look.

S: Peppercorns, green apples, belgian yeast. Floral qualities, jasmine. Decent, but not great.

T: Cloves, apples, bananas over a slightly sour amberesque ale. The beer also evolves to reveal a slight alcohol flavor. Not really a taste I would anticipate from an IPA (even belgian).

M: medium body with fine, assertive carbonation. Leaves the palate dry.

D: This is a decent beer, but not nearly as good as some of the other offerings from the series I sampled.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle.

Pours a bright, clear golden orange with small white head. Dry bitter aroma with coriander, pepper, orange, lime and citrus peel. Tastes like no pulp Orange Juice with a twist of lime and... I dunno, "spice"? Medium thick and well carbonated. I was hopefully from the nose for this but the flavor is too watery and one dimensional.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle.

A: Clear orange color with a thin white head. Nice lacing and good bubbles.

N: Caramel, toffee, mandarin orange, some oxidation, leafy hops, esters.

T: Well balanced by the bitter and sweet elements. Tastes more like a barleywine/old DIPA than a BSA

M: Sticky, medium body. Alcohol is prevalent.

O: Not too bad. Hops have faded significantly and the oxidation level is light. Still solid, but not my favorite.

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Photo of mactrail
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Sharp and fruity strong ale.

I would call it a "pungent' aroma. It is so sharp in the back of the throat I pause in mid sip. Definitely an overexuberance of Belgian flavors taking over, but unrestrained by the usual Belgian malty funk. I call it an IPA that's been jacked up with Country Time lemonade powder.

I wonder if these beers should be stored refrigerated? I bet there is a giant cooler chugging away somewhere in an industrial part of Escondido with a vast store of Verticals in suspended animation waiting for the big day. Me, I'm going to pull the ones I have left and drink 'em now. Well, not right this minute.

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Photo of Freshie
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light amber color. Very apple juice colored. Thin, light head laces the sides.

Aroma is very belgiany. Light whiffs of banana, clove, coriander, musty yeast, and herbal hop.

Taste is dry, but sweet. Herbal and citrusy hops meet dry malt backbone.

After taste is a bit watery, but as you drink warmer alcohol burn stays with you.

Not my favorite VE. Too sweet, and too dry in the after taste.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

Gusher! had to be decanted and served in a pitcherThe beer is radiant orange yellow hued. Fairly hazy with a small white cap. The aroma brings coriander, limes, crackers, malt, spice. The flavor is watery orange juice, light spice. Malty body and fairly light on the palate. Moderate carbonation. This was ok.

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Photo of HomeRunBaker
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one was a little disappointing. It looked good, a nice golden color. Smell was pretty average, I got mostly hops. The taste initially was of hops, with a citrus aftertaste. An okay beer, but not something I'd buy again, though I've got another kept to age. Hopefully the experience will improve.

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Photo of Docer
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Really not my cup of tea... 22oz. bomber poured into a glass.

Yellow and light orange color, minimal head with not much lacing.

Smells a bit of rubbing alcohol, oak, flamed pepper... and musty old cabin up in the mossy woods.

Perhaps I would like it better if I let it sit in the fridge for another 3+ years... but west coast inspired? Didn't taste it. Too peppery and spicy... a dry hop, but not a very floral one. Really an oak barrel aged flavor. Light malt presence.

Doesn't leave the mouth too dry.. woody aftertaste..

Easy to drink... doesn't taste as strong as it is.. but most likely wont buy it... not a fan of Belgiums.. not one for me to stare at for 3 years.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

$7.99 for a 22oz bottle. Described as a hoppy Belgian Golden Ale, this was based upon Duvel Triple Hop. 65 IBU's. OG=1.076, 8.9% ABV

Brewed with 87% pale malt, 6.5% flaked oats, 5.5% light candi sugar syrup, 1.0% blonde candi sugar powder. Boiling hops=Simcoe and Amarillo, Flavor=Ahtanum, Dry=Simcoe and Amarillo. Fermented with White Labs WLP 570 (Belgian Golden Ale Yeast).

Pours out to a very clear golden, forming a large white head with great retention and nice sheets of lace. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is great...I like the dichotomy of the cloves and bananas from the yeast against the mango and peach imparted by the hops. The mouthfeel is smooth and mouth filling with a medium-dense body. Starts out with lots of initial hop esters of mango, peach, and grapefruit set against a stinging clove background. This fades into green bananas and burnt rubber with an unfortunate ruddiness in the middle. The lingers forever, through the moderate bitterness, and into the aftertaste. The aftertaste is of smoking PVC and wet newspapers.

This starts out great, but ends terribly. The aftertaste is pretty bad and severaly limits it's drinkability. I'm gonna have a hard time finishing this bomber. Probably the worst Vertical Epic I've had so far.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
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.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
2.99/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A. Poured into my VE glass, this brew pours a murky straw color with a lot of yeast for a IPA. I guess thats what makes it belgium.
S. Light fruit, and no hops.
F. A little hops on the back of the pallet. Yeasty spic notes, but a lack of complexity.
Mf. The fullest of the VEs. Very well carbonated.
Overall, for an aged Belgium IPA I expected more complexity.

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Photo of drewba
2.94/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Bright, translucent yellow with a half finger head after an aggressive pour. There are a few bubbles along the edges with some splotchy lacing.

S - dry pepper, grass, old citrus, yeast, green apples. Very low aroma.

T - sweet apples, pear, a hint of pepper, clove, old musty attic and plenty of yeast. It's quite sweet with just a hint of bitterness in the back end. Somehow, there is a noticeable, but small amount of alcohol heat in the back of my throat after sipping on this. This isn't a drainpour, but I'm not excited about finishing this bottle.

M - It's on the thin side, but some prickly bubbles are still there, surprisingly, after 2.5 years of being bottled.

O - I'm not sure if I would look forward to this in a vertical epic tasting at the end of 2010, but it was a fun science experiment to see how this is doing after a couple years. Most of the "ipa" qualities have died with age, this is now pretty much a sweet belgian style with a unique yeast character.

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Photo of sisuspeed
2.93/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured this into a Portsmouth tulip glass. A vigorous pour produces an ample white head, which eventually settles down to a thin film across a pale yellowish-orange body.

The nose contains some sweet malts, a bit of hops and a somewhat candied fruit rubbery smell. Not overly pleasant. I also get some apple juice concentrate in the aroma.

The first sip very sweet, spicy and warming. Lots of estery alcohol and fruits. For a 1 year old beer there is still some pleasant hop bitterness in the background, but it is not very strong. There is still some rubber like flavor in the taste as well.

The mouthfeel is spicy and little on the thin side. The 8.6% ABV is very apparent. Drinkability is on the low side for me.

This beer is a bit of spice bomb and overly sweet. I feel like it may have been better when it was fresh off the line, with a bigger hop profile. Either way, I've got another sitting in the cellar waiting for the vertical tasting on 12.12.12. Maybe I'll be more impressed then, but for now I'll have to pass. I've had much better from Stone than this.

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Photo of Crosling
2.92/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Yellow golden color with a quickly diminishing, heavily dense foam. Aroma is sparse, but shows some notes of banana and clove along with minor hop aromatics. Flavor is heavily sweet, boozy and is dominated by yeast (pepper, bubble gum, spice) and hops (floor cleaner, lemon, pine.)
Mouth feel is very heavy, firm and has lots of weight, unlike most Belgian styles. Had really high hopes for this one but it failed me. Overly boozy, forced, poorly balanced and it just seems very unauthentic. I was hoping for something comparable to Houblon Choffe, unfortunately, it's not even close.

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Photo of Bfarr
2.88/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Slightly hazy golden orange with foamy white head with little retention and lacing. Spicy and citrus aroma. Flavors complimenting the aroma with apple and strong hop presence despite 2 years and a little more balanced. Semi-dry, straw and alcohol finish. Spongy, fizzy mouthfeel with poor bitter linger.

I never had a chance to taste this fresh but I imagine the strong hops may have saved this fresh. Also, it may have been improperly stored at some point since I just found it about 6 months ago in a store. Nonetheless, as is it seems to me this was a prototype for the Cali-Belgique IPA which I love and so I guess that's what it's all about for Stone, finding something good to tweak a bit for regular production.

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Photo of Philousa
2.82/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Purchased this from Lone Hill Liquor a year ago. I wouldn't have purchased something that someone else aged, but I know that Lone Hill takes good care of their product so I'm assuming it was aged properly.

Pours a very pale gold, clear with a wispy bone colored head. Tiny bubbles form with a swirl and pack in tightly until it mostly dissipates. Aroma starts with green apple, pear, white grape, and clove. Lots of sweet Belgian notes up front, almost sickeningly so. I also get a slightly papery aroma. There isn't as much carbonation as expected. I don't get much in the way of hops because of the age, I presume. So far this is turning out to be a Belgian Golden Strong. Flavor has caramel, biscuit, and honey with sweet, flowery nectar. Some allspice goes up the noes and brings out a bitter candied sugar flavor. Bitter hops are woody and earthy. Feel is appropriate for the style, finish is very dry.

This gets better as it warms. The caramel comes out and the spicy phenols calm down. I really want to try this when it's young. I think that if anyone can duplicate Houblon Chouffe's success it could be Stone. I have to dock points for saying that this should be aged, though. This is a novelty by now and a poor marketing trick. If only I knew this before I started buying the series.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.79/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

If you go online Stone publishes the recipes to all their vertical epics--that's nifty. Cloudy gold color with a thin, white insta-vanish head.

Smells like Capri Sun, light tropical fruit, bready yeast, peach rings, and sharp, but timid, citrus hop.

Heavy fermented sugar malt, clumpy citrus hop, and toasted plantains. Tropical fruit character (from yeast, not hops). Effervescent carbonation.

The hops have already faded out of this a whole lot and I can't imagine this beer holding up until 12/12/12.

Update: 6/30/13. The review above is from 2010. Now that we're going through all the Epics this was by far my favorite of the series. It doesn't hold as an IPA but there's tropical fruit out the yin yang and it makes for a great triple/bspa.

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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 480 ratings.