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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

816 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 816
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 264 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This is quite a complex and layered beer. Bold and smooth chocolate malt flavors combine with a Belgian yeast lending tropical fruit/banana flavors and hints of spiciness, all complemented by citrus notes from an addition of tangerine peel. Rich vanilla beans add a nice counter to the chocolate malt - actually enhancing the chocolatiness. The finish is smooth, with additional traces of vanilla and toasted characters from French Oak. The goal for this edition of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series is to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange.

(Beer added by: superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 816 | Reviews: 530 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp

Colorado

4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served cool in a pint glass.

It pours a very dark brown color, basically black in the glass, with thick bone white head that lingers on a long time leaving lacing behind.

Aroma is unusually roasty and heavy on the dark malts for a Belgian SDA. Some Belgian qualities come through including some dark fruits and raisins.

Flavor is more of a coffee stout with Belgian yeast. It has big roasty flavors including coffee and smoke. There are some of the dark fruits and spicy complexities from the aroma but roasted malt is definately the big hitter here.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and low in carbonation. Big on body and creamy on the tongue. Really nice. Drinkability is hindered only by the dominant malt character but it's not a bad beer by any means.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2009 00:35:47 | More by GilGarp
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2009)

K&B Wine Cellars
San Diego, CA

Pour is very dark brown, nearly black. No light penetrates through the glass. Head is 1.5 inches thick, espresso colored, small, tiny bubbles, dissipates to a half inch head that sticks around. Sticky lacing rings the glass with every sip. A beautiful beer.

Strong smells of chocolate, coffee, cherries, vanilla, banana, and black licorice. Decidedly sweet and Belgian. I've never smelt a beer like this!

Taste is of roasted coffee beans, fresh espresso, and dark chocolate. Alcohol is hidden very well. I've had this beer before and remember tasting some banana, but I don't this time.

Body is medium to heavy in the mouth; this is a filling beer! 22oz. is more than enough for me.

An expertly crafted and incredibly complex brew released by Stone. Few beers can pack this many different smells and tastes in to a glass and still remain drinkable and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2009 05:07:24 | More by ehammond1
Photo of bernardus1212
bernardus1212

Florida

4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into a chimay glass. Almost black in color with a slight tint of brown when inspected in light. A dusted brown head that lingered for about 5 mins. Smells of rich chocolate, spice i.e.. cinnamon and brown sugar. Taste like coffee with chocolate vanilla and cinnamon. Picture a Stout in the beginning and a Belgium Quad at the end. Enjoyed it very much. Got me the next day.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2009 02:16:57 | More by bernardus1212
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 10/1/09 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a large flute glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, Belgian yeast, spices, caramel, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty and bready with a strong flavor of Belgian yeast. Then there are flavors of dark chocolate, spices and some fruit that add some semi-sweetness and complexity. The hops presence is mild but complementary and helps provide some balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, while this beer does have a complexity in flavor, I was expecting a little more harmony amongst the different flavors, which may improve with age. Overall, it's a good beer to drink for a while and it will be interesting to see how some time will effect it.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2009 14:54:08 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of mithrascruor
mithrascruor

California

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark, nearly black, color. Nice tan head, but not the best retention. Becomes a thin film pretty quick.

Smell: Has an aroma of very strongly roasted malts... a bit of toffee too. A tad hint of sweetness in there.

Taste: Very strong and bold roasted flavors (a bit hard to identify what is roasted, though). Some bitterness, but not overwhelming. Hints of cream and/or some mild sweetness at the finish, and possibly an even smaller hint of yeast. Aftertaste continues with the roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with light carbonation. Pretty smooth too.

Drinkability: Strong ABV, but with the strong (& good) flavor it drinks slowly & nice.

The taste at first rather surprised me, as this is more like a Smoked Porter than a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. That being said, I am really enjoying it. Nothing mind-blowing, but a solid and enjoyable ale that can be consumed slowly. This is definitely the best of the Vertical Epics I've had, and I'll probably buy a few more before it goes off the shelves.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 01:07:40 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of Lolli1315
Lolli1315

Illinois

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first of two 09 verticals, aging the other one for three years.

A- Almost black color with a tan to light brown head. Nice head retention and lacing. Feel like this is a little darker than the majority of Belgian Strong Dark Ales, I could be wrong though.

S- So much going on in the smell, love it. Dark fruits galore including most notably cherries and plumes. Alcohol is well hidden in the fruit with sweet malt smell coming through the from start to finish.

T- The fruit tastes described sneak their way in the beginning of this beer, but quickly fade. Rather than the sweet malt in the smell, there is a bitterness that is surprising and unexpected. Alcohol does come through in the taste much more than in the smell. On the end the alcohol gives a medium body warming sensation. I'm stuck as to whether to put this at 3.5 or 4.0, would like to put it somewhere in between. The fruit flavors have begun to come out much more as the beer has warmed, don't drink this one too cold.

M- Medium mouthfeel that fits well with the beer. Not quite chewy but moving towards that direction.

D- Not to hard to finish this beer, but not sure if I would grab another one immediately after (if I could find another). Nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 23:36:12 | More by Lolli1315
Photo of MaxBrews
MaxBrews

Connecticut

4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured in my Chimay chalice Intially but then in snifter to check the head.

Appearance: Pours with two finger latte colored head, color is a coffee black. Lacing isn't much but a thick brown ring around the glass with a nice swirl in the middle. Lacing sticks to the glass as well.

Smell: Belgian yeast spice, and orange peel smells dominate the aroma. Surprisingly the coffee smell of roasted and/or chocolate malt stay hidden the background. Vertical Epic smells much like a Trippel or Belgian strong pale with a hint of coffee and chocolate.

Taste & Mouthfeel: First sip is very bizarre; its an earthy combination of sourness from the Belgian yeast and orange peel combined with a roasted coffee-like malt. It catches you off guard. The taste of this beer is a delicate balance of the spicy orange peel and yeasty flavors of Belgian strong ale and the coffee and roasted malt flavor of a porter. As it warms up the coffee and chocolate flavors are more pronounced. There is a very mild vanilla characteristic to this beer. The after-taste is very nice mesh of brown sugar and coffee, orange peels and spices.

The body is this beer is large but not overbearing. It's very creamy and smooth. Its never bitter but is a bit dry. Alcohol content is very concealed you won't notice it but you will feel it.

Drinkability: Wow this is one hell of an ale. Combining two great styles Belgian ales and porters. The key word of this beer is juxtaposition between spicy citrus flavors with earthy chocolate and coffee flavors. It is a contrast, but they also mesh nicely. I can't type enough about this beer, just go buy one and enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 23:23:52 | More by MaxBrews
Photo of RomaniIteDomum
RomaniIteDomum

Florida

4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First Vertical epic I've had the pleasure of trying. I can say it won't be the last.

Pours black with a nice chocolate head. Good lacing.

Ok, call me crazy, but the initial smell smelled like bacon. Not real bacon, but that dog treat bacon- sweet and meaty. Nice grain and herbal notes to compliment the mysterious bacon.

Tastes much like the nose, sweet, meaty, herbal, citrusy. Very, very nice.

Nice carbonation, creamy feel in the mouth. I know that wasn't a proper sentence, but it will suffice.

Too bad I only had a small tasting glass, this was a very pleasant beer. I guess I have to add this to my shopping list next beer trip.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 18:13:45 | More by RomaniIteDomum
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at the COOP today.. Paid about $7... poured into my Delirium goblet... shared with my bro.

2 finger lite brown head... great retention and lace.. the brew is pretty much black.

Nose isn't as rich as I was hoping for... a little phenolic with some chocolate and lite oakiness... I may be imagining vanilla... but what I think is there is helping identify the chocolate... seems fairly mild.

Much more vanilla on the palate.. still plenty of chocolate.. a little estery... bananas .... with some minor spiciness... not getting any hint of citrus zest surprisingly... Doesn't strike me as too "Belgian"... also surprising... Finish is a bit tannic which is pretty nice combined with some cocoa at the end... seems a tad hot right now, but not bad by any means... the body is a solid medium with a smooth yet ever present carbonation... again, all in all.. this seems pretty tame.

I am digging this right now, but I doubt I'll drink more for a while... It should do well with a year of so in the bottle.... I don't know however how well it will hold for another 3 years.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 07:37:51 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of ReDave
ReDave

California

3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark not the usual vertical epic.

Very earthy flavor very different.
This seems to need to want to sit for awhile, more than the others, but tasty now too.

some chocolate i suppose, this is not a belgian ale it seems. more like a porter or stout.

Nice lacing.

Guess i need to get a couple more and have at least one sit for a bit.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 04:44:58 | More by ReDave
Photo of saintwarrick
saintwarrick

South Carolina

4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Vertical Epic and it does not disappoint. Pours a dark black with a nice foamy head that recalls a porter or a stout. Aroma is chocolatey but with a lot of hops mixed in. Some Belgian sugars in there with an almost earthen-like aroma. Very porter-like in taste but also very wood-aged, oaky taste is there before a nice spicy bitterness takes over. Also finishes very dry, like some porters. Finish is smooth but bitter.

A lot of things to like here, sort of a hoppy, Belgian porter-like brew here. Might have to set down a bottle for a while to see how it changes.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 04:35:26 | More by saintwarrick
Photo of jeffjeff1
jeffjeff1

California

4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent beer.

Appearance- black color, good tan head, good lacing, opaque

Smell- roasted malt, sweet

Taste- roasted malt, molasses, sweet

Mouthfeel- full bodied, smooth

Drinkability- excellent, I love it. I will try to pick up some more cuz it's awesome.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 00:28:16 | More by jeffjeff1
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I missed last years VE so I grabbed this as soon as I saw it.Poured into a chalice a deep dark brown,nearly black, with a thinner deep tan colored head.Aromas of candied sugar,dark fruit,caramel.and light phenolic spice,a good mix of aromas for the style.Phenols are bigger on the palate giving off a clovey-like spice,alcohol dipped dark fruit with a tinge of earth round out the flavors.Its a tad hot but its new so its understandable,a very nice rich flavored brew brew here.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 20:58:25 | More by oberon
Photo of himmelhuber
himmelhuber

Arizona

3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer is black, nice brown foam, looks yummy!
Smell is sweet, little tangerine, little coffee, it as almost a smokey smell, lots of roasted malts.
Taste is very intense, almost overwhelming, malty, sweet, but well balanced with a lot of hops and malt bitterness.
Mouthfeel is as the taste a bit overwhelming but carbonation is good. It was no problem finishing one pint, but I did not get a second one, that would have been to much.
I think this one will get a lot better over time, it needs to mellow out a bit, now its just to much of everything.

Serving type: on-tap

09-30-2009 18:26:39 | More by himmelhuber
Photo of clickpush
clickpush

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark body, not at all reminiscent of a Belgian beer, like an imperial stout. Great tan head. Very responsive to hard pour. Aroma is roasty, molasses, burnt toast, oaky. Flavors are the same, with a hint of that Belgian yeast strain. An interesting development of flavors... starts off w/ a lighter flavor and transitions into stout flavors. Alcohol is well masked. Carbonation is slightly larger than I'd like... would prefer something creamier. Nice beer, though.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 01:53:37 | More by clickpush
Photo of nickiversen
nickiversen

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a growler of this with my brother bought from The Charleston Beer Exchange (a must-visit) this past evening.

It pours dark brown with a smooth appearance and the head looks like a foamy edible dream come true.

The smell is nothing to shake a stick at for a porter, but it still has hints of roasted chocolate malts and a hint of alcohol. For a beer ranging in 8-9% ABV it is absolutely delicious and drinkable. For a porter, it warms the chest just the right amount leaving you crying with joy wanting more.

It goes down easy and a growler was no problem for my brother and I. Ranks in the top ten of best Porter's i've had and with its exclusive nature it is a must try if you can get your paws on it.

Serving type: on-tap

09-30-2009 01:20:10 | More by nickiversen
Photo of Anthony1
Anthony1

Colorado

3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark brown color with good carbonation and a tannish head. Nose is spice, light on alcohol, vanilla, cocoa and a belgian yeast strain with some hops. Taste is so nice with cinnamon, spice, some citrus, bitter chocolate, tobacco..alot going on yet balanced ad the ABV is well hidden. Mouthfeel is nice, not to hefty or alcoholic but thought it would have been a little creamier. The spice, cocoa showed through.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2009 19:41:26 | More by Anthony1
Photo of wspscott
wspscott

Kentucky

3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pazzo's in a pint glass

A: Completely black with a tan head that leaves lots of lace
S: A little bit of sweetness with a hint of belgian yeast, relatively muted
T: Very roasty, some bitter hops and dark/bitter chocolate. As it warms up, the roast malts completely dominate. I think, a little too much on the roasty side. Like an unbalanced (too roasty) porter
M: A high level of carbonation helps to off-set the "thicker/creamy" malts.
D: A very complex beer on the surface, not easy to drink, but ultimately feels like it lacks depth. Definitely worth trying, but I don't think I will reach for a second one. This is a weird beer, feels unbalanced, maybe better with some age.

Serving type: on-tap

09-29-2009 19:29:00 | More by wspscott
Photo of jsapunor
jsapunor

California

4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This wasn't anything like what I expected. It's more like a strong porter than a Belgian strong dark ale. No doubt it's an experiment.

Big roasty malted chocolate and coffee flavors with vanilla accents to bring out the best in the taste. The tangerine they claim to have added is present but you have to look for it. A nice rounded mouthfeel compliments the flavor festival that's going on. Plenty of coffee in the nose of this espresso looking beer. It's big and sweet and tangy and flavorful from first sip to last. Stone got it right again.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2009 04:08:59 | More by jsapunor
Photo of jmalex
jmalex

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I hope it doesn't make me biased, but I was really excited for this one. The chocolate-orange combo seems really nice, and I was surprised that this is the first beer I've heard of to utilize it.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip very black with a thick, tan head. It's quite sturdy and holds well with its combination of large and small bubbles. Absolutely picture perfect with zero flaws.

SMELL: A really curious aroma that is low on the chocolate and caramels that one would expect from a porter-like beer, even a Belgian one. Instead it features coffee, quite a bit of smoke, burnt malt, and a nondescript fruitiness that doesn't really indicate orange peel or Belgian esters. Intriguing.

TASTE: Wow, that's weird. Dark, bitter black malt contributes a lot of bitterness. But it has some help from a dose of hops and maybe even the orange peel. The smokiness is there too alongside a little bit of chocolate (finally). It's not terribly Belgian though some esters are vaguely present. The finish shows a bit of the citrus peel off, melding with woody tannins to finish with a bang. It's insanely complex, really strange, and I think I like it.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium full in body with a slightly drier finish. A high carbonation level lightens the load as well, but a nice coating is left in your mouth after the swallow.

DRINKABILITY: Big beer is big. 8.9% seems about right, so this will be an all-night sipper for me. Not that I have a problem with that. With any luck, it'll last me until the replay of the Aussie-rules Grand Final in a couple hours. On second thought, that's unlikely.

This did not meet my expectations. But rather than falling short, it just goes in a complete other direction. If anything it's a must-try because of its uniqueness. Go out and get a bottle for now and a bottle for a long time down the road. This plus a bit of age will be VERY interesting and probably VERY good.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2009 02:10:21 | More by jmalex
Photo of bum732
bum732

Lesotho

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark as night, nice light tan creamy head, fantastic lacing. Smells of belgian clove-like yeast, chocolate malt, vanilla, brown sugar, some citrus. Tastes of chocolate and clove-like malt, mostly chocolate. Clove mostly in the background. Subtle citrus and vanilla that comes through in the bitterness. Finishes with more chocolate without being too sweet, touch of oak. Creamy mouthfeel, medium to full bodied.

A really nice beer, very chocolate forward with just a touch of clove to cut through it. The citrus is present, but not as big as i expected, didn't pick up the tangerine peel. I also didn't taste much of the oak, not necessarily a bad thing. A really nice beer, looking forward to see how it ages.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2009 01:14:11 | More by bum732
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip. Poured a solid black with a thick, deep tan head that dissipated much quicker than I thought it would and only left minimal lacing.

Other than a slight roast scent the aroma was fairly benign, with nothing outstanding from the mix. The flavors were much bolder, roasted malt, a hint cf chocolate and several flavors I couldn't quite put my finger on. Very enjoyable though.

The body was full, well rounded and smooth, with just a touch of a roasted aftertaste. Drinkability is very good, I drank a 22 with no trouble and generally I don't drink that much of a single beer in a row. Overall, a very good beer that is worth trying. If this had been listed as a stout, I would have given it better scores, I didn't find this very to have much Belgian character at all.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2009 23:35:39 | More by beertunes
Photo of atsprings
atsprings

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer Raleigh served in a standard pint glass a opaque black with a nice frothy light tan head that lasts and leaves great lacing on the glass. Aroma is an intriguing blend of chocolate, dried fruits and spices. The taste is an interesting blend of flavors; dried fruits and fresh ground coffee up front with spices, cocoa and molasses that opens up as it warms. The beer is on the heavy side of medium with slight alcohol presence and a touch of dryness. This one is certainly worth trying, and certainly one to let warm-up.

Serving type: on-tap

09-28-2009 18:53:25 | More by atsprings
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Coles.

Pours a very dark and opaque brown, almost black, thick tan head forms, settles down to a thick layer that lasts the whole glass, lots of lace, is this a stout or strong dark? Smell is neat, dark fruit and chocolate, raisins, banana bread, roast and charred wood, biscuit, vanilla, a bit of alcohol, very dry and toasty. Taste is similar, dry and toast, chocolate, roast, wood, light fruit, finish is bitter, like those thin chocolate wafers, grainy feel. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, almost a sandy mouthfeel, sweet banana finish, but very dry. Pretty nice, but isn't really a strong dark. More like a stout.

Serving type: on-tap

09-28-2009 15:31:58 | More by Viggo
Photo of bulletrain76
bulletrain76

California

3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Nearly black in appearance with a light tan head of good thickness and consistency; bordering on pillowy. The aroma has a good deal of tangerine and raspberry mixed with burnt toast and charred oak. The longer the beer warms, the more the fruit pops out actually, with a striking vanilla kick coming out, and an almost sour patch kid tartness. They really seem to have crammed a lot into the aromatics. The flavor brings the same qualities of burnt malt, oaky tannic bitterness, boozy vanilla extract,and citrus sweetness together. They aren't really working in harmony, and not as well as in the aroma. There just seems to be a little too much going on right now, but I can see that changing with some age. The mouthfeel is a little hot and astringent, with the alcohol and oak ganging up on your tongue. On the one hand, this is the third year in a row that I have thought that the Vertical epic release was a little weak and unrefined in general, but at least this one tastes like three years in the cellar might actually help it out

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2009 04:09:33 | More by bulletrain76
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 816 ratings.