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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic AleStone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale
BA SCORE
3.96/5
Very Good
899 Ratings
Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic AleStone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

Added by froghop on 08-04-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
498
Ratings:
899
pDev:
10.35%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
44
Gots:
255
Trade:
13
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 899 |  Reviews: 498
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stone's Vertical Epic 08.08.08 pours a clear, deep golden body that resembles a slightly dark Pilsner-style beer. The frothy white head holds well and it leaves thick rings of craggy lace about the glass.

Hops appear in the nose: citrusy (lemony), freshly grassy, floral, and somewhat piney. I intitally thought Amarillo and Centennial. Then the fruitiness of Simcoe appeared. But apparently there's no Centennial at all, and the missing hop is Ahtanum.

Yeast also makes an appearance, and clearly indicates then what this beer is - a hoppy Belgian-style tripel that utilizes American hops. Not that that hasn't been done before, because of course the Belgians have been ahead of the curve and have been using American hops (as have the Japanese and Danish and...) for a while! Other American brewers have produced this style too. But the yeast is important. It changes it from an American ale into something else altogether... an American Belgian-style ale with American hops. ... ... ...Anyway, it's gently phenolic, fruity with an emphasis on apples and light notes of summer fruit (strawberries, melon), and just very slightly chalky, vanilla-ish, and a minor flick sulphury.

The malt base that supports it is straightforward pilsner malt (although I understand oats and sugar are used). It's clean and refined, and acts as the stage for the hops and yeast.

Overall, it's well-rounded, and more importantly, refined. In keeping this ale in check and not going overboard on any aspect of its composition, it offers a great drinkability. It's very smooth and easy to drink, but there's also a good deal of depth to it. You can almost drink it as if it was a stronger version of a Pilsner, just like you might a Duvel!!!! But beware, it does have a kick.

 1,761 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.91/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

had as part of a big VE tasting at the end of the world party, thanks to Mark for sharing.

Decent fizzy head, light lacing, hazzy carrot orange color.

Nose is nice Belgian again, bright malts, light tropical fruits even, hint guava and pear, malty, sweet, tangerine, etc.

Taste sweetish malts, aged tasting, fluffy, candy malts, light citrus, tangerine and pear, fluffy Belgian malts, light citrus, light esters and hint of booze.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent carb for the age.

Overall OK, again would probably have been much better fresh, but decent.

 565 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

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

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, spices, some fruit and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out very estery, with some sweetness of apples and spices. Then there's a quick alcohol sting, followed by a Belgian yeast character that seems a bit subdued. There's a strong hops presence for the style that starts to exert itself as the beer warms and provides some balance.

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

D: Tasty, goes down easy, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a decent beer to drink for a while, although I have a feeling that this is the type of beer that might be better with a little bit more age on it.

 868 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of white foam on a perfectly clear, golden body. The foam settles quickly and leaves good lace.

S - Peppery aroma of basil, cloves, and fennel. Some malt in the background with spicy, grassy hops.

T - Spicy, peppery yeast flavor, backed by rich pilsner malt. Distinct green pepper flavors come out in the middle along with a nice toasted note. The finish is surprisingly smooth and well balanced with nice malt character and grassy, anise like hop flavors.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A very nice, very drinkable Belgian golden. The yeast character is robust and spicy and melds perfectly with the herbal hops. The aroma is nice, but the flavor is where the beer really comes to life. This brew borders on a saison in terms of spicy character and is very drinkable.

 817 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazed apricot with a pretty nice head. The smell is a bit of sweet malt, spices, and citrus. THe taste was quite the same with some more Belgian yeast in there, with the citrus flavors coming a bit to the front. Mouthfeel was pretty big as a result of the sweetness. Quite drinkable.

 292 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

 625 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.91/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened June 2013

A - Bright gold body with a light haze. Nice, fine white head pours about a finger high. Ok retention and nice lace.

S - Unusual amount of dark dried fruits more typically found in dark belgian strong ales. Raisin, dried pear, dill, rosemary, muscat, amaretto. Little to no hop character - possibly due to age.

T - Herbal opening with thyme and rosemary. Pear and grape center with warm white booze. Touch of dry wood and a twang of cider-like acidity on the backend.

M - Silky smooth, light frame. Low carbonation, but it isn't much of a distraction.

O - More belgian light strong ale than belgian IPA, but the brew shines with a nice, well balanced flavor profile and a solid mouthfeel.

 710 characters

Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of smithj4
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of atrocity
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of smcolw
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear! Pale gold color (dark straw?). Modest but lasting head. Spotty lace.

Pine cone hop aroma--floral. Excellent malt base. Very attractive.

I love stronger beers that do not have an oily alcohol base. This fits that category with a moderate grassy malt that gives way to strong hop flavors (particularly for the style). Firm body with a correspondingly above-average carbonation.

A wonder beer no matter how you look at it. It's more like a Belgian double IPA if such a thing were ever to exist.

 501 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of ZEB89
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of russpowell
4.06/5  rDev +2.5%
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

 564 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, bright, yellow-hued body underneath a tall, white head fed by sustained streams of fine carbonation.

Smell: Light pale malts with some small, sweetish hints, touches of florals, peaches, less-than-dry white wine and with citrusy notes of American hops, though understandably a bit curtailed from two years of quite aging in the keg.

Taste: Pale lightly malted barley with sweet, honeyed traces to it, welcoming in fruit accents of peaches, apples, grapefruits, and white grapes. Subtle florals. Medium level of hop bitterness remaining two years out pairs with the spicy clove-like phenols. Noticed vein of alcohol running through this brew. Finishes dry, warming, and fruity.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Slight overall stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: 08.08.08 runs in line with others of its ilk, like Duvel Triple Hop or Urthel Hop-It, though I'd like it with a skosh more carbonation to it to keep things moving in the mouth. Still pretty nice, though.

 1,010 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.96/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12. Review from notes.

A: Lighter golden color, crystal clear with a small off-white head that reduces quickly. Small bits of lacing.

S: Tons of lemons right away. A bit of orange and vanilla with a good bit of grass.

T: Again, lots of citrus - mostly lemon and orange. A bit of caramel and grainy malt.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, slightly bitter finish.

O: Quite good, definitely surprised at how citrus forward and hoppy this beer still was. Could be my favorite of the group.

 536 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lemon drop yellow with sunshine colored accents. There's nothing darker than pale malt in there, that's for sure. The alabaster colored crown looks fantastic. The upper surface is a teeming mass of glassine bubbles that leave miniscule craters when they pop. Lovely lace rounds things out in fine fashion.

I'm kicking myself for not cracking the crown before today. If I had realized that Greg and the boys brewed a highly-hopped Belgian IPA this time around, I never would have waited this long. The tropical fruitiness of the Simcoe and Amarillo hops has surely faded, but it's still wonderful. A pinch of spicy clove is nice as well. Last fall, this score probably would have been 4.5.

Even though the hops have lost some of their punching power, VE 08.08.08 is still damn good beer. It's good for the same reason that Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor, De Ranke XX Bitter, Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel and Urthel Hop-It are good... they combine pale malt, lots American hops and Belgian yeast, all wrapped up with a high-ABV bow. What's not to love? Especially if you're both a hophead and a Belgianophile, like me.

This beer isn't quite the equal of the ones mentioned above, but I'm going to cut the taste score some slack since it's my fault that I didn't experience this annual ale in its freshest and hoppiest state. The flavor profile includes sugar cookies, candied pineapple chunks, pink grapefruit, tangerine and a sprinkling of clove and white pepper. A sweet start... becomes a bittersweet middle... becomes a quasi-drying finish.

The mouthfeel almost deserves the next highest score. In the end, though, it isn't quite full enough for 'American big beer greatness' and it isn't expansive and fluffy enough for 'Belgian big beer greatness'. On the other hand, drinking quickly, although not recommended, is a cinch.

08.08.08 is the fourth straight killer beer in the Vertical Epic series. It's probably too much to ask for that Stone would release a Belgian-style IPA (this recipe will do just fine) on a year-round basis, but here's hoping. Bottom line: a fine tribute to the great Belgian IPAs.

 2,115 characters

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of mdfb79
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a nice golden-amber color with high carbonation evident and one finger of off white head that doesn't last very long.

s - Smells of bananas, cloves, spices, yeast, and sticky sweet fruit malts. Some citrus came out as it warms up.

t - Tastes of bananas, citrus hops, grapefruit, oragne, spice, and yeast. A tiny bit of bitterness, but not much. More fruity malts as it warms up.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink for 8.6%.

d - The bottle says it is a Belgian tripel, while BA says it's a Belgian IPA, and I can see both sides of it. I thought it smelled pretty good and definitely like a tripel, as it didn't have a lot of hops. The taste however actually still had a lot of hops to it. Either way, it was an enjoyable beer I'd try again. Interested to see what'll happen in 2 more years.

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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 899 ratings
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