20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale
Stone Brewing

20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale
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Wheat Beer - Witbier
3.86 | pDev: 9.07%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale
Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 163 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Labeorphile
Labeorphile from Texas

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really enjoyed the taste of this beer. It poured with a thin, quickly disappearing head. A nice cloudy color, with not a lot of aroma. But it drank well and tasted good. I was happy.

Aug 06, 2020
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Ciocanelu from Romania

3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap. Clear golden color with off-white head. Aroma has lemon notes, yeast esters and wheat sweetness. Taste is sweet and yeasty with hay and floral notes. Medium body with soft carbonation.

Sep 17, 2018
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ZenAgnostic from Texas

3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

1pt 6 fl oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip. I believe it was priced $8.99 USD, but was on a sale for $5.99 at the grocery store. Well below the $1,200 ebay prices of the original launch. BOTTLE CA 07/22/16 stamped on bottle just below the neck. So it's aged just over 2 years, instead of the 11 that's ultimately recommended. The bottle recommends cellaring at 55F/13C or below)

Appearance - Pours big foamy white head with lots of patchy stick and moderate-low retention. Hazy medium gold body with good carbonation. Swirling doesn't do anything to reinvigorate the head. 3.25

Smell - Noticeable alcohol under a blanket of delicate wheat and orange. 4.5

Taste - The spice from the pepper and orange peel is pronounced and almost immediate, along with a lot of bitter hop rounding out the body. Very powerful and bitter and entirely unlike any other beer in its style in that regard. Getting a lot of dry cardboard that seems to build up as I go on. 3

Mouthfeel - Astringent. Medium bodied. But astringent. Slightly creamy. But mostly astringent. Man, really though. 2.5

Overall - It's quite the interesting journey. I appreciate the history of the bee and its rerelease, as written out on the label.
The beer pleasantly evolves as it warms and maybe dulls your palate to its more offensive characters. 3.5

Sep 12, 2018
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BlackBeerPirate from Illinois

3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taste: tangy, semi sweet, coriander spice bread, malty, some hop, warming finish. Perfume herb spice bread nose. Honey color hue, smaller head and delicate lace. Medium body. Tasted decent for being aged some 16 years. 40 IBUs

Aug 15, 2018
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BeerDawgs from Georgia

4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 22oz bottle with a bottled on date of 7.22.16

L - Golden, some clarity, 2 full fingers of head. Gorgeous brew

S - Spices and belgian saison aromas

T - Tasty as heck. Definitely a saison. Bready, spices, belgian candy sugar

F - Medium body and good carbonation

O - I really dig this brew. It's better than the rating. It should go in the regular Stone rotation. Looking forward to more from the vertical series. I aged this one for 2 years

Aug 05, 2018
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kitch from Hong Kong

3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 22 fl. oz. bomber, bottled on 22nd July 2016. Poured into a Holy Mountain tulip glass.

Appearance: A clear golden colour with a big three finger white head that had decent retention and left lots of nice sticky lacing.

Aroma: Orange peel, clove, banana, coriander, orange creamsicle, Belgian yeast, with some light funk.

Taste: Orange creamsicle, orange peel, clove, banana, coriander, Belgian yeast and a light but spicy pepper finish.

Mouthfeel: Dry, medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: I enjoyed the first glass and could see how it was ground breaking in 2002, but despite this, a whole bomber by myself might just have been a bit too much.

May 01, 2018
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Thankin_Hank from Texas

4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice thick creamy head. Golden orange color. Good lacing. Quite tasty with the orange peel and spices. Just a touch of bitterness on the back end. Smooth going down. Enough sweetness to make me want more. A 2016 Rerelease in a 1 pint 6 fluid ounce bottle dated 07/22/16 at BJ’s Brewhouse. A leftover from the beer dinner this month.

Feb 16, 2018
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap:
Witbier, hmmm... my menu at a random place says Belgian strong ale, which kinda fits more that to my taste buds as well as “bumper up Belgian wit.”

Beer pours an amber leaning deep golden, with a quickly fading head but thin collar.

Nose has an earthy bitterness that combines with a light apple and grape fruitiness. This being Stone, the bitterness unsurprisingly gets a little more attention.

Nicely carbonated and fairly clean, the sweet fruitiness (some apple juice, maybe a splash of pitted fruit) doesn’t get to last too long. A piney bitterness starts to grow, though a banana note flows in the undercurrent. Warmth moves that forward a tad. The resinous pine hops are full by mid-taste, and linger past the sip. Warmth helped smooth this out a bit.

Pine and Belgian yeast don’t work together well for me overly well. As such, this was just ok to me. I think if the hops were dialed back, this might not be a Stone beer, but I might like it a little better.

Jan 11, 2018
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obywan59 from Virginia

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden in color with light haze and a 4 finger mounding head that becomes immensely chunky with copious thick, sticky lacing.

Aroma of banana and clove with coriander and citrus peel with a little funky yeast. The banana seems especially pure here.

Taste of sweet malts, tart wheat with banana and cloves, with coriander and bitter citrus rind. Funk is even more evident here.

Medium full bodied with light carbonation. Very drying.

A great brew! The characteristics mature as the beer warms.

Oct 09, 2017
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lwillitz from Wisconsin

3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22-oz bottle into wheat beer glass

A - enormous foamy head of white over a fairly-transparent body of gold; moderate visible carbonation

S - smells like a Belgian--banana, clove, yeast, funk, touch of orange and spice

T - clove, pepper, banana, orange, grass, touch of yeast, light biscuity malt

M - smooth medium/full body, medium/low carbonation

O - A good wit--complex and enjoyable.

Aug 20, 2017
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Everydayoff from Thailand

4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap served in a stemmed glass at Mikkeller, Bangkok.

Clear bright golden in color, it comes with thick and well lasting silky white head that slowly dissipates to an everlasting frothy crown and leaving sticky lacing wave all around.

Good Wit aroma of orange peel, peach, mild banana, coriander spice, pepper, honey, some herbal hop, and floral as well as some touch of wheat and bread malt.

The taste is nice with the typical Wit flavors of orange peel, peach, coriander spice, pepper, honey, floral, sweet melon, and bready malt that quite like in the aroma. Hop reinforces with its crisp and persistent herbal bitterness that transfers and wraps up all the other flavors by introducing the bitter end.

Medium to rather full body with smooth mouthfeel and moderately crisp carbonation, the feeling is refreshing with a typical dry finish.

This is the result when Wit got upgrade with the hand of hop. Be ready for a big Wit.

Jul 21, 2017
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StJamesGate from New York

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Porterhouse Temple Bar, Dublin
Blonde with white carpet. 4
Grass, rubber bands, and rotten lemon. 4
Wheat cracker, a hit of coriander, orange rind, clove oil, mashed pear, erasers, and lemon verbena. 4
Light +, smooth, warm. 4

A wit, only more so. Yeast character and adjuncts both in evidence (except for lack of haze) though not the hops I’d expect from a Stone beer. More Belgian as it opens, edging towards Strong Golden Ale territory, given the ABV.

Nice, but I’m not sure why this became a cult beer. 4

Jul 17, 2017
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Strix from Wisconsin

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Clear golden with a head that gradually disappears.

Clove and yeast in the nose.

Biscuity and grassy hopped front end that turns to clove, pepper, and belgian yeast. Nice complexity, not cloying.

Super smooth and clean drinkability.

In a blind test, I'd have this pegged as a Unibroue or something, big surprise and very nicely done.

Jul 09, 2017
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neenerzig from Ohio

4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked one of these up last year when Stone did the re-release of this beer for their 20th anniversary series. Had the bomber sitting in the back of my fridge for awhile. Until today that is. This beer pours a clear, medium golden color with numerous streams of little bubbles continuously and rapidly rising to the beer's surface. Has a white head that's about an inch thick and a half when first poured that settles to a solid inch with excellent retention. Good lacing too after the beer eventually settles to a very thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with a thick surface coating of foam. Aromas of every so slightly toasted, somewhat biscuity, caramel malt sweetness that gives way to coriander and peppery spice notes along with a bit of honey and hints of orange peel, clove and banana. The taste is pretty much the same, with just slightly toasted, somewhat biscuity, caramel malt sweetness that gives way to coriander and orange peel that's followed with honey, clove and pepper notes. Tastewise this beer is rounded out with a nice citrus hop presence that adds just the right amount of bitterness. Very good balance of all the different flavors here. Has a fairly crisp, yet smooth and fairly frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a clean finish along with a somewhat dry aftertaste. Another very good beer from the excellent folks at Stone!


Jun 10, 2017
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doktorhops from Australia

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As far as “beers at the top of my list to drink right now” go this is #1 - however keep watching this space [not this one: this one ___ ] as my #850 review coming up in 3 reviews is a beer I’ve been hunting ever since I heard the name that begins with a “C” and ends in an “N” (easy one for beer nerds). However back to here and now: The label on this talks about how with the original they only brewed 300 cases, and bomber-sized bottles sold on eBay for $1,200 USD! ... yep this was an instabuy for me. So far the Stone 20th Anniversary stuff has been a blast, I really enjoyed Citracado - I hope they brew that again, and you know what they say about hope: it springs eternal (but you can get a plumber for that).

Poured from a 650ml bomber-sized bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed goldenrod body, big fluffy white head that likes to hang around for a while before slowly compacting in to awesomeness... I may be somewhat giddy and full of hyperbole for this brew, what of it? 9/10.

S: Belgian yeast may have been utilised in this brew: Coriander, clove hints, pepper, pear ester, orange peel and light banana phenol all over the nose. Aroma is reminiscent of La Chouffe (though La Chouffe isn’t $1,200 USD a bottle - slight overpricing on that original Stone brew much?). Still that’s a good bedfellow to have with La Chouffe, #10 on my all-time list, and a cute Gnome on the bottle to boot! 8/10.

T: Wow, again the La Chouffe similarities continue - though this is more dry (ergo bitter) in the finish. Flavours are: Coriander, clove hints, pepper, pear ester, orange peel and light banana phenol. Finish has a long dry followed by a herbal bitterness. Par for par on flavour with La Chouffe, it’s a dead heat IMO. Really depends on what you’re looking for in a flavour profile, oh yeah and the fact that La Chouffe is year-round and this is a one off... for God’s sake don’t spend $1,200 USD on a bottle of this whale-hunters! Exit the hype train, you have reached your destination. 10/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied with a medium carbonation... could be creamier. 8/10.

D: It’s rare for anyone anywhere else to be on par with a Belgian brewer, but this Stone is. The original was made back in 2002 too, that was a life-time ago in the craft beer industry, which is a testament to the forward thinking of the brewers at Stone - they had the nous to go head to head with Belgian brewers when others were still figuring out what a Pale Ale was, kudos Stone! 8/10.

Food match: Game on (as in roasted game meats, parsnips, some sort of flan...).

Jun 03, 2017
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AndrewMichael from Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle from 2016. Straw, golden color, fitting the style. Aromas of Belgian yeast, spices, and esther. For me personally, I'm not a huge fan of spiced tasting beers, whether the yeast or herbal flavors coming through on the finish are too much.

May 28, 2017
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HardTarget from Texas

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Bright golden glass holds a firm cover of ivory head that clings to the side of the glass.

Aroma: Esters go ripe peach and banana skin, some peppery phenol goes a bit sulfur, with a heady alcoholic cloud.

Taste: Heavy grain malt base is clean and a bit gritty, I have this pegged as a Saison, as it is lacking a lot of the citric and coriander I would expect from a Wit. The alcohol level also feels far above a Wit and gets into Trippel territory. Style aside, the Belgian yeast character is in full force.

Mouthfeel: Heavy slick body has a chew and oily lasting finish that finally burns off in a warm alcohol numbness.

Overall: Big beer. Big flavor and big plans. I don't understand why this would lead a 10 year aging series, the flavors may all mellow out and but the esters are going to be even more intense, which is where you either like or hate this beer. I'm somewhere in the middle as I came in without expectations, but if I was told this was a wit, I'd send it back and tell them they poured me a trippel.

Apr 09, 2017
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mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a chalice: color is straw gold, head is bright white with fine to small bubbles, presenting about 1/2 to 1 inch thick at first then dissipating to a ring with lacing on the glass. A bit clear for a witbier.

Smell is slightly medicinal to me, phenolic, and a little hot booziness.

Taste seems to hide the odd off flavors from the aroma for the most part. Moderate banana, clove, yeast off notes, no medicinal notes; light wheat/biscuit; fruitiness seems subdued/overtaken by the dryer, stronger yeast off flavors.

Mouthfeel is full at first, lingering prominence on the tongue, then dry.

Overall a beer that transformed greatly from beginning to end with smoother sweeter flavors at first then dryer, stronger off notes at the finish.

Mar 25, 2017
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farrago from New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Crests at about one finger of pure white foam, dimples as the larger bubbles explode, retention is below average, not longlasting, the lacing likewise meager and wispy. Clear deep golden colored liquid with a good deal of widely dispersed bubbles which remain active long after the initial pour. The nose is on the aggressive side, penetrating with peppercorn, wheat and clove digging right in there, the yeast feels spent and not especially fresh and doughy, more so grassy and lemony in a biting fashion, however there is bubblegum and banana, not a lot of general fruitiness. Medium-bodied, somewhat hard-edged here too, all angles and not much smooth flow. Yeast, lees, bubblegum and then pepper, saline and sourdough bread to unprocessed grains. Here too there’s minimal fruit, some peach, apricot echoes at best. Clove, coriander and sour lemons. It’s not volatile because it feels so tightly wound. The carbonation is strong and churns as it progresses through the palate. Bitter at the end so there’s no real “ahh” moment of relaxation with it and lacks the complexity to keep your attention fixed.

Mar 18, 2017
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delta490 from Virginia

3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It's a deep gold with a nice foamy white cap of head. It has great retention and leaves some lines of lacing. The aroma is fruity and pepper-y. The taste is much the same. The body is lighter, a little crisp on the finish with nice effervescent feel throughout.

Feb 21, 2017
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TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: golden color, thick, white lacing head
S: Belgian yeast, some malt
T: banana, Belgian yeast
F: tons of mouthfeel, smooth finish
O: great beer, wish I could have had the original

Feb 10, 2017
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maddogruss from New Jersey

3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a golden body with thick, white head with excellent retention and lacing.
S: yeasty notes with some citrus hop notes
T: yeasty notes with some sweet alcohol and banana fruit esters; hint of banana peel in the aftertaste
M: medium bodied and fairly smooth; slightly overcarbonated, but still good.
D: great mouthfeel and taste combo

Feb 05, 2017
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650 ml bottle served cold into a hefeweizen glass. Purchased from the LCBO for about $10.50 CDN.

Appearance - A mostly clear pale golden color, with just a tinge of haze. A robust finger and a half of white head is poured with great retention and curtains of lacing draping the edges of the glass. Plenty of lively carbonation rises to the surface reinforcing the decadent head.

Smell - Yeast, suggestions of citrus, some clove and coriander. Possibly some lemon zest. A welcoming aroma.

Taste - Yeast and hints of citrus, coriander and clove. More bitter than many a witbier. Earthy and aggressively hopped. Booze is a touch more noticeable than most wits but higher in ABV.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and well carbonated. Medium-heavy body and dry finish.

Overall - A fine example of a stronger witbier. Worth a try but the price tag is pretty steep. More on the bitter end of things as far as the style goes, but if that's your cup (or stein) of beer, then Stone's 20th Anniversary Encore Series 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale is great.

Jan 31, 2017
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color with a large foamy white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains wheat, Belgian yeast, bananas, citrus, caramelized malts, some hops and some spice.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of Belgian yeast, wheat and a hearty but not too heavy malt character followed by a bite of spice. Then some mildly sweet flavors of citrus, caramel and bananas come in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a very solid beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

Jan 22, 2017
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GratefulBeerGuy from New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A true "flashback" brew! This version was bottled on my birthday 7/21/16.

Bright gold color, very bubbly and full of life with a thick, all white tower of foam. chunky in the middle, slowly receding on the edges. Sticky chunks of lace hang on tight, while an island of thick sea-foam remains high directly in the middle.

A very Belgian-esque, sour, yeastie aroma, very citric and tangy, almost like a sour/wild yeast. Sour and sweet citrusy and tropical fruity hop smell is pretty bold.

The flavor reminds me very much of a rather authentic, Belgian Farmhouse/saison ale or mild Tripel over a Witbier. Very funky, earthy, sour and spicey yeast and hop kick. Golden malt, taste's like wheat and light grains, very crisp and refreshing body from the malt. The hops bring in a bright, citrus and dry earthy tones. The yeast tastes wild, earthy and sour. This could easily be a very nice Farmhouse ale! Medium IPA level hoppiness, but with some very interesting twists and turns. Seriously unique for Stone.

I know I had the original 2002 version, and simply do not remember it being this Belgian ale like. Don't get me wrong, I love the overall effect, as Saison is my current favorite style of beer, it has been for a very long time.

As the brew warms up slightly, some of the intricate hop flavor's pop out even more, complex, spice and citrus notes get bigger. Without a declaration of actual style, I guess it's up for light interpretation from the consumer/Advocate to decide. Certainly in the realm of stronger golden Belgian type ale's with an excellent Belgian yeast. Bluring style guidlines is like a musician jamming on different styles of music in one song : rock>Jazz>country>jam etc.

The malt gets sweeter over time, the hops become fruitier and even floral later on in the session. Allow plenty of time for this session, as with any very complex brew, it can slowly change or improve as the liquid becomes closer to 50 degrees. A sweet, tangy and sour edge to the malt and yeast prevails, with outstanding wild, earthy tones in a major way. Practically, endlessly interesting.

The feel is light and crisp, becoming more malty later but mostly juicy, maybe slightly dry effect in the finish.

Bring on the flashback brews!

Jan 11, 2017
20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 163 ratings