Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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89
very good
897 Ratings
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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
Ratings:
897
Reviews:
497
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
10.55%
 
 
Wants:
44
Gots:
255
For Trade:
14
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 897 |  Reviews: 497
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a distinctly clear pale yellow/slight orange with a good fluffy white head. Nose is alot of belgian yeast, and some wheat notes. Taste follows with intense yeast and spice character, also some pepper and european hops. a good spice hop profile. Unique yet subtle hop character. Some grassiness as well. interesting melding of flavor here. mouthfeel is good, but slightly dry for my taste. Drinkability is good, as it hides its abv quite well. Overall a good brew, but nothing terribly spectacular. Pick it up and see for yourself!

 536 characters

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz into .5l gold-leaf Swiss Boot. Bottle notes this is designed to be drank after 2012. Oops.

A- Pale yellow, little head. You couldn't ID this beer from it's pour.

S- Fruit, cloves, and cinnamon up front. Sweet and spicy.

T- Very good. Fruity, sweet, candied fleshy fruit... and a bit of pepper on the back side. Very tasty. This beer is sublime. All the components work together in a very good way.

M- full-bodied, this beer hits all parts of the tongue. The spicy aftertaste is delightful.

D- Very high. No way you can tell this beer is -/+ 8%. A great taste, this beer could get you in trouble, it tastes so good.

 638 characters

Photo of Tom-Peters
3/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of Pahn
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Whole Foods at Union Square, NYC. Apparently, they ordered Vertical Epic and got sent the '08 instead of the '09 for some reason. There's probably still a few there if you're in the Manhattan area and missed this beer last year.

Anyway, 22oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: 1 inch head after a rather aggressive pour (was barely 1/2 inch at first careful try). Sparse horizontal streaks of lacing remain throughout. Pours a bright, lightish amber with numerous rising bubbles.

Smell: Sweet Belgian yeast and a strong citrus scent that's disturbingly reminiscent of orange soda.

Taste: The dominant flavor is apple, with some unexpectedly mild hops (knowing Stone and reading the "Here's a Belgian golden ale but aggressively hopped!" boast on the label, I expected a much stronger hop showing). Mild though they are, the hops do provide a nice bite at the start that at least differentiates this beer from a saison or usual strong golden ale. Unfortunately, the flavor is closer to the former than the latter, which is also unexpected.

The flavor is nice, but a little one note. While some complexity does indeed make itself known, it's rarely present in the same sip. I got the apple throughout and a little citrus was also steady, while there were more occasional notes of butterscotch. The finish often was a bit soapy. There's a strong sweetness throughout, but it was a lot more garish than what you generally get from a quality strong golden ale. There's also the hint of a flavor I can't name but that I associate with many of Stone's brews (particularly Arrogant Bastard and Oaked Arrogant Bastard). Near the end I strangely detected a smokiness, which was actually quite pleasant--if it was there the whole time, this review would probably be glowing, to be honest.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good. Despite the hop bite, the feel is very creamy and nicely carbonated. My only complaint would be that the finish gets a bit sticky.

Drinkability: While the alcohol (which I found warming and went to my head rather quickly) is not very masked, the lightness of the flavor coupled with the, on the whole, great mouthfeel makes this a very refreshing golden ale. I wouldn't want more than a bottle, but it's more drinkable than the average 8+% beer.

---

In all, I was rather unimpressed by this beer. However, I expected quite a lot from it; I'm a big fan of extremely hopped beer, a bigger fan of Belgian tripels, and a lover of numerous Stone offerings. While the flavor of this beer is decent, in my opinion it was too mild for what it was intended to be, and had a few too many small flaws to work exceptionally well as something other than a hopped up golden ale. It's by no means a bad beer; if it were the first Stone brew I'd had, or the first Belgian/California mashup I'd had, I'd be impressed. However, if I were at the store now and I saw another bottle of 08.08.08 standing next to Stone's Cali-Belgique or a bottle of Houblon Chouffe, I'd pick up either of the latter any day.

As a final note, while I may be speaking beyond my beer knowledge, I can't really see how this beer would benefit from aging. The flavor could round out a bit, and the alcohol could mellow, but the beer is already too mellow as it is. Then again, I'd guess that the guys at Stone know more about how long to age a beer than I do.

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Photo of n2pux
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BlissJunkie
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of magictacosinus
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap for the VE tasting (beers 07.07.07-12.12.12) at Pacific Coast Brewing Co. during SF Beer Week. All reviews are from my notes. Poured into a 6oz wine glass for the tasting.

Pours a golden haze amber color into the glass, in a very classically stylized take on Belgian Strong Pale Ales. If they were trying to go for a beer that looked a lot like, say, Duvel, they nailed it right on the head here, except for perhaps the lack of carbonation. However, this being nearly 5 years old, how could it not? There's some sediment in the glass, and surprisingly, some bubbles - enough to produce a thin but elegant head. Definitely thick in appearance, and the alcohol legs show themselves pretty well here on the rims of the glass. Definitely well presentable overall.

At the nose, there's an immediate burst of golden honey flavors, combined with a classic Belgian crisp graininess and well meshed malts. Definitely getting a little bit of banana and clove, although, with the aging, the spices are far more muted than one would hope (or dread). Instead, I'm getting a yeasty backbone to this is that is slightly fruity, often resembling white grapes with a little bit of wild elements to it. A little bit of citrus predominates, yet the hops are rather muted here, and there's no peppery character to speak of. Definitely sweet and bright on the nose, but sadly lacking in the hops/spices department that I love this style of beer for.

On the flavor, however, it is a different story altogether. Big yeast spicy character, melded with champagne-like flavors such as pears and honey, and a coated sugar cane backbone. The spices definitely show a bit of astringency on the palate here, but, as a result of the sweetness, the alcohol is carefully masked in this case. It is slightly boozy towards the finish, and definitely far stronger than the others I sampled in terms of the ABV being noticeable. However, it is a nicely close tribute to the BSPA style overall.

A far more straightforward VE offering without all the spices overwhelming the yeast and character of the beer. When rating to style, it's pretty solid, although once again I could not say if it was better fresh or if it has ended up more "authentic" with aging. I wish Stone would release this more as a seasonal or something. It would give me a readily available good domestic offering of the BSPA style whenever I had the craving for one.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised to see this down the road at Brilbeck's already, just goes to show how good Stone's distribution is. Although I still can't find any 12th Anniversary, grr.

22 oz. bomber poured into a tulip.

Pours a clear rustic gold with a fluffy two finger white head that falls to a soft layer of bubbles. A fair amount of stick is left on the sides of the glass. Smell starts off some fruits such as mango, papaya, and grapefruit. Yeast and spice graze the nose as well, a very interesting combination of aromas. Taste begins with oily hops and pepper followed by a piney zest. Spice and clove dominate midway and continue on all the way into the aftertaste. A touch of banana here and there throught on the tongue as well. Medium slick body with a flowing carbonation and slight bite from the hops. The alcohol is hidden quite well in this beer. I would classify this as a Belgian IPA. An up and coming style that is still a bit rough around the edges but still a very interesting beer.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a clear gold with foamy two finger head. Head is sticky and produces a decent amount of lacing. Head diminishes to a small white cap after a minute or so.

Smell: Bubblegum, unripened bananas, Belgian yeast, some citrus (orange, lime), and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Bananas and cream, loads of bubblegum, cotton candy, and a touch of citrus. A very interesting flavor. A tiny bit of alcohol in the finish, but the ABV is masked extremely well (8.6% Holy Shit!). Reminds me of the circus - lol.

Mouthfeel: A little bit of a warming effect is felt down in the belly, but otherwise I would not guess that this is 8.6%. Really smooth and fairly light with a low carbonation. Once again, the masking is unbelievable.

Drinkability: I've read about beers tasting like bubblegum before, but I had never actually experienced that taste until now. This almost seems like a novelty beer. Even though the taste may sound incredibly sweet, it's pretty toned down and enjoyable. I would drink these all day... but I would get F*#KED UP! I still can't believe how they mask teh alcohol so well. Way to go Stone!

 1,119 characters

Photo of MattGrimley
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of JRed
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear orange in color with thin white head that fades. Aroma of candy oranges, cotton candy, apples, grass, citrus. Tastes of citrus, bobbing for apples in booze, grass, mint, watermelon, and bitterness. Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

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Photo of bigleague
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sbricker
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of TXhomebrewer
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of mwilbur
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bottle into pint glass.
A: Pours a beautiful golden orange with high carbonation producing a 2 inch bubbly white head. Excellent retention and lacing.
S: Very pleasant fruity esters, Belgian spice, and breast yeast. Some dark dried fruit (e.g. raisin). Very fresh and appealing.
T: More hoppy than anticipated. Sharp pine and citrus hops balanced fairly well by Belgian spice, raisin bread, and fruity esters.
M: Light-medium body. Fairly soft and smooth with some carbonated tingle and a moderately bitter and dry hop finish.
D: Good drinkability from a solid brew. A nice one now, but I would anticipate less hop presence as this gets to 12.12.12 which would improve the balance and likely make this good beer exceptional.

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Photo of silentjay
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a clear, translucent copper with a smallish off-white head that quickly recedes to a small film, but laces well.

some peppery, fruity aromas hints at a belgian yeast while some citrusy and grassy hops back things up a bit. bananas and cloves, yah, but plenty more. Traces of a belgian tripel, but with some hops as well. not bad at all.

taste is similar to the aroma, but also adds some malts to the package. peppery and fruity with banana, clove, plum, raisin, and apple flavors added to the wheat toast and caramel malts which give way to some grassy, citrus, and earthy hops, which have probably faded a bit over the last two years. a bit of warming booze comes through on the back end. nice.

medium bodied with ample carbonation and a nice lingering bitterness.

drinks rather well. booze can be harsh at times, even though its been aged for two years. that may age out in the next couple of years when the vertical is complete. otherwise, this is a nice, hoppy tripel with plenty of complexity and flavor. will look forward to trying this again in a couple of years.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - An hazy orange-amber brew with a ton of carbonation and a sizable foamy head. Thick clumps of lacing cling in discordant rings all down the sides of the glass.

S - A sweet malt and aromatic floral (lilies) hops - obvious at first whiff that this is a Belgian strong pale ale.

T - Initially a burst of intense floral (lilies) hops with a bit of sweetness and a warming alcohol feel. Then it progresses to a biscuity aspect coupled with a lingering floral hop that shifts into a mild bitter floral hop flavor.

M - A little harsh, thick, and not very refreshing.

D - A little intense and strong. Fortunately, I see almost no reason to place much weight on the drinkability of this release.

 695 characters

Photo of alamode
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of BierFan
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a cervoise.

Appearance: 2 inch white head with an aggressive pour. Despite very lively carbonation the head starts dropping kinda fast. Very nice looking clear golden body.

Smell: Very sweet and candylike. Citrus aroma from the hops. Such a big hop aroma seems kinda out of place in a higher abv Belgian style beer but it smells damn good.

Taste: Really amazing. Cloves and spices that you would expect from a Belgian tripel plus hoppiness that you would expect from an American pale ale. Wonderful combination.

Drinkability: The hop flavors make me want to chug the whole bottle. The small "8.6% Alc/Vol" printed on the bottle warns me that I probably shouldn't.

UPDATE! 08/15/09: Hops have mellowed significantly but the bitterness remains. Kind of reminds me of Duvel with the addition of cloves and an increased bitterness. Still really good stuff but I'm not sure I want to let my other bottle age alot longer.

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Photo of Denzo
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of RBuckley73
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of axeman9182
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The last offering in the second flight of Vertical Epics at Alewife Queens.

2008 Vertical Epic pours a translucent tangerine, with a good amount of head retention and lacing given what little foam there was to begin with. The nose is wonderfully juicy, with bubble gum and grapefruit aromas swimming together. The flavor starts out with that same plump bubble gum note. There's a relatively soft bitterness, followed by a grapefruit and mango close. The mouthfeel is solid, dry bodied and bubbly, though it could stand to be a bit more of each. As a Belgian IPA, I'm impressed by how well it's held up.

 603 characters

Photo of rjd722
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.98 out of 5 based on 897 ratings.
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