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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

485 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 485
Hads: 794
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 42
Gots: 219 | 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: 485 | Hads: 794
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
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.


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Photo of Lepley
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured light brown, clear, a lot of carbonation with two fingers of white head that disappeared a few minutes after being poured intio the glass.
S: Light and fruity. Slightly Peachy.
T: Like sweet fruits, hoppy, a little citrus, with a bitter and alcoholic aftertaste that holds well after swallowing.
M: Smooth.
D: I enjoyed this beer but it wasn't amazing.

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Photo of hopstorm
2.15/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow. This is my first review, and I chose to put in my 2 cents because all I saw were A and B ratings so far. Ive had alot of fantastic belgian beers- every kind of Chouffe for example, and some not so great (Delerium Noel comes to mind)... But seriously, The first thing I did was smell it when I opened the bottle, and It was like a burst of Listerine mouth-wash mixed with Belgian candi sugar. I poured it and out came the lightest colored Stone beer Ive seen, crystal clear with a thin head. Overall appearance was just what Id expect. But then i smelled it again.... Straight up Listerine! and the taste... Inhaling a tad as my mouth approached the glass I could almost choke on the alcohol and mouthwashiness. As it warms its not as intense and I can get a really crisp hop profile, but its almost minty and not the kind of flavor I generally go for. The alcohol has a little bite and drinkability is not what im used to in a belgian triple, which tend to be more hazy and full, more balanced and heavy, but still light enough to be considered "pale' and or "yellow". Anyway this beer was way to dry for the style, it seems they got way too much attenuation when the should have left in more unfermentables to stay true to the unfiltered old school belgian styles that I know and love. Stones got it locked down when it comes to Ipas, But maybe not so much triples.

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Photo of Pauly2X
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep gold with a light amber tint, wispy 1/4 finger head.

S- Sweet fruity esters interlaced with spicy/citrusy hop notes.

T- The spicy yeast character takes center stage with this brew. This is not to say that the fine malt profile with a hint of caramel and the sharp yet not too overpowering hops don't do thier job as well. The warming alcohol note becomes more evident as the beer warms up.

M- Light and rich, good carbonation.

D- Very drinkable for a high abv.

Although this may not be very traditional for a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, but in the realm of belgian styles what is? Great balance overall, good complexity without making you "think about it".

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very hazy. Golden orange color will vary through out the glass. Creany white foam head with decent retention. Minimal lacing.

Looks like a Belgian and by god is smells like a Belgian. Banana's and cloves. Floral hops are coming across strong.

Sweet and spice hit first up front. The hops make there presence known shortly after. While not hopped to the hills like other Stone brews the bitterness is assertive enough.

Medium mouth feel. Crisp and smooth. Finishes rather dry.

While the flavor profile is huge and complex, the brew is not overwhelming and quite drinkable.

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Photo of opwog
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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 slayer3604
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- While pouring, a large head appeared and became a torrent of bubbles falling to the bottom of the glass to create a pale yellow body, then settling down to a one inch head. Serving temperature was 61* in a ruination glass.

S- corriander, lemon cake and a slight wisp of alpha acid.

T- The taste reminds me of the first time i ever popped a belgian candy rock in my mouth...definitely a grip of sweetness on this beer which overwhelms the fact that its 8+ percent alcohol! The sweetness gives way to unlock a fresh citrus/grapefruit dry finish. VERY good. The dryness leads to the alcohol. the warming rush was noted just a fraction of a second after taking a swig to recall "mouthfeel".

M- Loads of character. I might name a hamster VERTICAL EPIC 08 for the amount of character this thing possesses. I cannot wait for it to age (HURRY UP!). If you swish this beer around on a clean pallet you will feel bights of acidity followed by the repair of a warming smooth malt body.

D- If this wasnt such a rare beer i would drink it every day of my life.

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Photo of Freshie
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
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 BretSikkink
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mostly clear, golden color with some streaming bubbles moving northward at a good pace. White head is initially fairly solid, but doesn't retain very well. Pretty damn good lacing brings it up from average.

Strongly fruity aroma gives off pretty powerful, sweet notes of tropical fruit, herbs, clove, lemongrass, grain, and Band-Aid. A little bit medicinal, like the pink stuff you take when you're a kid. The strength is there, the nose is interesting, but I'm a little concerned at how sweet the flavor may be.

It is pretty sweet, and the hops don't add as much bitterness as you might expect; rather, they pour in fruits ranging from mango and peach to a hint of lemon. Good amount of spiciness, but nothing related to the hops. I notice some phenolics mostly, especially a very active clove note which dominates the finish.

Clean, light body for the size, not a style you want to be "chewy". There could definitely be a bigger carbonation presence to help with the sweetness lingering, but I'm pretty okay with the mouthfeel here.

It's a strange beer to classify by style, as it doesn't quite fit Belgian IPA, and BSPA has all sorts of connotations. I like it.

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Photo of ccrida
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, 08.08.08 is clear gold with a large, quickly settling white head that leaves nice lace.

Smell is very sweet, sour citrus and flowers, tangerine and clean alcohol.

Taste is not where near as sweet, there is a grassy, citrus hoppiness and bitter finish, but otherwise fairly neutral and clean, save for the slightly solvent alcohol bite. I was expecting more depth, but it's still a tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated, with a crispness in spite of the smooth, medium body.

Drinkability is pretty high because it's a pretty clean BSPA, not overly complex or heavy. I was expecting a big West Coast hop punch, but this one seems like it's all nobles, a little spicy and herbal but otherwise merely a compliant to the sugars and Belgian esters. Nevertheless a nice beer, but not the East meets West Belgian IPA I was expecting. Bonus points for being ready to rock on release, some of the last Epics had a roughness to them the calliing for extended cellaring. While this one should hold up, it's good now.

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Photo of vtfan77
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
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 ColForbinBC
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into my new Duvel tulip

Pours bright gold, crystal clear, with a two plus finger off-white head that hung around for a bit.

Aroma is very broad, tons of notes to pick up on. A herbal/medicinal and grassy aroma hits first, with sweet fruits (pineapple, peach, grapefruit, banana), spicy clove and a phenolic undertone. The hop profile here just kind of props itself up and sits on top of everything else. It's really unique.

A very sweet palate: bubble gum/cotton candy-like sweetness mixing with a phenolic spice give this a unique body. The bold, fruity hops really bounce off your palate and hold everything else in check. Which is just fine with this hophead.

Light body with medium-low carbonation. I like a little more carbonation from my triple's/bspa's, but in this example, there is no detraction.

If you don't like a sweet, hoppy belgian style ale, stay away. A definite sipper and pretty easy to drink at 8.4%.

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Photo of cxg231
4.97/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No time for a long-form review, as I have to rush off somewhere. But I had one of these last night, and I had to post a quick note:

This is quite possibly the best American-brewed beer that I have ever had. Some Belgian offerings may be slightly better in some areas, but this beer is truly off the charts. More than worth the price ($5.99 for 22oz).

Truly a masterpiece.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22-ounce bomber bottle just copped from New Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street in Manhattan...
Pours a murky, hazy, bright-golden colored hue with a minimal head and minor lacing around the edge of the serving glass...
Strong, characteristic Belgian Strong Pale Ale Aroma replete with honey, sugars, yeast, and of course, alcohol...
Taste, likewise, had hints of alcohol in the finish, especially considering the hefty 8.4% ABV, along with candied sugars, vanilla, honey...
Creamy, rich, full-bodied mouthfeel along with a pretty decent level of drinkability considering the hefty ABV...
Not bad, but certainly not Stone's best... I actually prefer last year's 07-07-07 over this one...

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Photo of becktone
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eye: As it pours in the glass the body of the brew is clear and orange-gold in color. Poor head formation, the size of this thing is barely more than a thick blanket. Retention is pretty good though, at least the head that I have is staying put. Lacing looks to be good, the head is thicker closer to the edges of the glass where the lacing clings to it giving the head a meniscus type shape.

Nose: High levels of pine and citrus hops, for a belgian style. As the bottle states it was influenced by some type of Belgian IPA. Great malt backbone to this one. The aroma is warmer and less sweet than most belgian strong pales. This one is more earthy and herbal, but not from the yeast. The yeast is actually pretty clean.

Tongue: Pine, floral and citrus hops make up the majority of this beer's flavor profile. It is not nearly as complex as I would've liked. I'd say that this beer is imitating Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel, however it is not nearly as complex or flavorful as the aforementioned. The malt backbone gives some support and a nice sweet flavor, but in my opinion there should be more from the yeast. There is some delicate malt flavor here, but I feel that the hoppiness takes away from it, either that or the delicate malts need to be more forward. Alcohol is in there as well, doesn't stand out but is noticeable after a while.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: The finish is drying. Carbonation delicate and much higher than I expected. Alcohol is slightly warming when swallowed. Carbonation makes the body feel lighter than it actually is, I'd say medium bodied. This is one I'd drink again, though I'm not sure I'll want to pay for it. It's good but nothing special. I might pick up a few more just for the hell of aging them and seeing how they progress.

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Photo of Gmann
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy pale orange color with an average white head that dissipated into a light ring. The aroma is of sweet Belgian candi sugar, tropical fruit, wild flowers, pepper, and alcohol. Oh yeah, and a good shot of piney hops. Whereas the Belgian qualities reigned supreme in the aroma, the hops dominate in the flavor. Nice juicy citrus and piney hop flavor that is nicely balanced with the candi sugar and Belgian yeast. There is some booziness that comes through in the end. Definitely an Americanized Belgian style IPA, a nice compliment to the style. The feel is fairly light with tingley carbonation; a little slick and sticky. I prefer this one a touch colder. A bomber of this is plenty, definitely want to sip on this one. It has some rough edges but it quite nice.

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Photo of cooncat
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decanted into my Sam Adams glass.

The pour produced a brilliant yellow-copper coloured brew, with a one fingered white head which was somewhat short lived, though some hung around the edges to the end. Little or no lacing noted.

The nose was a bit surprising to me, with the hops coming to the fore, and cloves pushing their way to be recognized. Nevertheless, the nose cannot be mistaken for anything but a Belgian.

Taste is big time hops, but the clove spices are right behind, pushing to the top. It's a neck and neck match all the way to the bottom of the glass. Alcohol presence only detected by a slight warming in the tummy. Mouthfeel can be described as light to medium, but definitely refreshing. Were it not for the alcohol content, this could make a good session brew. The finish is dry, but not astringent.

Final notes: I really liked the combination of the big hop presence along side the Belgian style; nose, taste and flavors. Quite an interesting combination. It will be interesting to see how this one ages, as the hops fade. This is a beer you can enjoy now .. or later. Buy more than one bottle and TRY to age it to 2012 (don't know if mine will make it).

Na Zdravje

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Photo of JayQue
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I liked this one!!! Poured a bright golden color with a small white head that faded to a covering of the glass. Smell was slightly malty and sweet.

Taste was very good...not the typical Belgian, but nice. This one is a slow sipper...there is malt, white grapes. perfume and sweetness. Everything balanced.

Mouthfeel is rich. Drinkability is around average. The sweetness and high abv would keep this a one-and=out beer. I bought two....doubt if the other one is going to get the chance to age.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden color with almost an inch of white foam.

The aroma is a bit spicy from the yeast and also a pleasant fresh hop aroma. Sweet orange, wild flowers, honey, Belgian candy sugar, apples, and a bit of strawberry and cherry. There's also a slightly toasted and bready aroma from the malt, a little nutty too. A bit of cinnamon begins to open up. It also has an odd, chalky, pez-like aroma which loses a bit of points for me. The nose on this one is very sweet too.

Surprisingly toasted malt flavor upfront with a bunch of sweetness and a light bitter finish. Some alcohol warmth in the end too. Quite a bit of ripe orange and grapefruit too. Fruity, yeasty and a little earthy.

Smooth mouth-feel, a tad syrupy but light and lively carbonation brightens things up.

Will be interesting to see what happens to this one in a year or two.

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Photo of JBogan
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear light golden color with a small white head and very little lacing.

Smelled sweet and with a slight alcohol presence. Can't quite pick out the scents but I think there's a bit of grape in there somewhere along with some charcoal residue.

Tastes much as it smells. Nothing offensive going on here, but nothing to rave about either.

Mouthfeel was thin and slick, and with little carbonation.

Overall this was a somewhat drinkable brew. I'm going to finish this bottle now, and save another bottle for a few years from now and see what the difference (if any) there is. For now however, I'd day that it's a nice offerening from Stone, who's brews I usually find far too sweet and boozy, almost like a hyperactive cough syrup. This one is a bit toned down, although still not a great beer.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another year, another VE.

This years offering pours with nice ring around the collar. Pretty clear, golden yellow.

Smells a fruity, white grape like almost. Very sweet.

Very fruity, hoppy, very carbonated. Dry, with a slight alcohol presence. Like a geworstameaner, (its a misspelled wine)

Sweet, fruity aftertaste, leaves the mouth dry with a heavy feeling in the middle of your tongue.

Stone is starting to slip in their anniversary beers and VE's in my opinion. This is more like a wine than beer.

In their defense, I think they achieved what they set out to do, I just dont like it...


At least we'll always have ruination...

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Photo of d0ggnate
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another year, another Epic. I've been anxious to try this year's version and can't wait to taste the variations Stone will quitely release this year.

A: A light golden/orange pour is topped with a 3/4" of pillow-like head. Effervesence is apparent.

S: A candied sugar, sweet, belgian-like smell pops out first. A hint of fruit, possibly kiwi, is noticed.

T: An intertwined flavor of hops and yeast. The light pine character of the hops mixes interestingly with the clear belgian style. Honeydew melon?

M: Great body and texture. Lasting flavor on palate and not completely overwhelming. Sofisticatedly "in your face."

D: My jury is still out on this one. While I enjoy it, I'm curious as to how it fits into my rotation. Delicious, but puzzling. I think this would best fit into a food pairing or an afternoon treat.

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Photo of russpowell
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours effervescent bronze with 3 fingers of pearl colored head. Average head retention& zero lacing

S: Piney, grapefruit & bananas & some appleskin as this warms

T: Grapefruit, a bit of booze warmth, apple & pear skins up front. Honey, dryness, more grapefruit& lemon as this warms. Finishes with pineapple, pears & citrussy hops in abundance, plus some fusel alcohol

MF: Slick, moderate carbonation, medium bodied & nice balance

Drinks pretty good for the abv, there is some west coast skewing on the style to be sure. Not bad, but expected more to be honest

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Photo of drseamus
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
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 BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have been truely seduced by the hoppy Belgian beers, so I was really excited to hear the news about this Stone brew. The sweetness of th Belgian base beer forms a nice backdrop for the sharp American hops- still the beer is not muddled or overly complex. The aromas exhibit only mild Belgian character and assertive pine and citrus notes. The maltiness and caramel sweetness shine above phenolic peppery notes, but allow a fruity ester profile to shine. Certainly more golded than a tripel, but not quite amber in color. The head formation is froathy and sticks to the glass nicely- no problems with retention and plenty of efforvescence. Flavors, as with the aroma, are heavily tilted toward a 2-row malty, caramelly, nutty, biscuity, profile rather than classic Belgian pilsner crisp profiles. This helps to tame the heat and spiciness, but also promotes the fruitiness- pears, peaches, appricots, and apples. Well attenuated and quite crisp makes the beer dangerously easy to drink, but would finish quite sweet if not for the clean dry pine and grapefruit flavors / bitterness from the hops. Overall, the beer is nice but I can't put it on the same plateau of Poppering Hommel, Houblon Chouffe, or De Rank XX Bitter because the Belgian character in this beer is too subtle and the malt profile is very different than classic base beers. Still quite nice and tasty.

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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 485 ratings.