Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
89
very good
897 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 897 |  Reviews: 497
Photo of mpenske
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bruachan
2.65/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

the head poured fairly nice but fizzled ostentatiously. i'll note that i did just wash my glass, so i will will defer in favor of the brew

the color is a light peach. OK

the aroma is fruity. very sweet and fruity--apricot. hoppy. there's a spicy tang to it, as well.

the flavor is not nice. the spice needs to mellow bigtime, which comes across incredibly sharp and tactilely, as well--it's trying to disable my tastebuds

this tastes like stone didn't intend for it to be consumed before 12.12.12. i'm all for planning for the future, but i feel like i'm chewing on tinfoil

 578 characters

Photo of russwbeck
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Churchkey

This four year old IPA has a clear yellow pour with a nice white head. It has a hoppy aroma surprisingly. Some must, citrus, and banana. The taste is clean with citrus, hops, clove. It actually has a really nice balance. The Belgian comes at the backend. It has a medium body and is carbonated well. Very drinkable and one of the highlights of the night.

 375 characters

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

pours a pale gold with a creamy white head. slight haze. aroma is candied tropical fruit with some yeasty spiciness and biscuits. sweet pale malts in the entry with a nice smooth, medium hop bitterness. long complex finish. light in body for this abv, nice creamy/prickly carbonation. almost as drinkable as duvel.

 314 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fortunate to be able to try this on tap at DLD.

Appearance: Poured a honey orange color, with a small 2 cm head. Not much head retention, but a little light lace stick.

Smell: Sweet aroma. Sweet malt, mellowed fruits, bananas, and citrus. Some mild spices and earthy notes as well.

Taste: The start of the sip provides a strong initial sweetness, with caramel, banana, and some citrus (orange and grapefruit) flavors. Alcohol really kicks in the middle. Although the hops have not disappeared completely, it definitely does not have typical IPA character. Soft hops remind me of orange and lemon zest. Finishes a bit spicy.

Mouthfeel: Medium/high level of carbonation, a little bit grainy. Medium body.

Drinkability: Overall I thought this was a smooth, enjoyable beer. Personally, I thought it drank more like a Tripel due to the lack of strong hoppy character.

It would have been interesting to taste when it was first brewed, as a comparison. The novelty of having one of the Epics was a great treat, even if the beer itself was not mind-blowing.

 1,058 characters

Photo of chicagoish
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sprucetip
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Hazy golden, very active, thick white-ish head with great retention and lots of lacing. SMELL rich sweet maltyness hits first, fruity esters, and restrained grassy hoppiness follow. Sneaky Belgian yeastiness infuses throughout. TASTE Sweet rich caramel maltiness paired with light grassy hoppy flavors and mild bitterness. Fruity esters from Belgian yeast add complexity and depth. Smooth and balanced. FEEL medium/full body, pleasant slightly slick texture, alc warming, clean and dry finish. OVERALL should be savored and shared, and is fairly filling. But it looks, smells, feels and tastes great!

 612 characters

Photo of Stoffel
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of morrowd3
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of bamadog
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I figured that we're only a few months away from the end of the series, so what's the harm in cracking this one now? Review is from notes taken on 7/28/2012 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass. I have to say, I'm curious to see how a Belgian IPA will have held up over a 4 year span.

Appearance: Pours a golden straw color and it starts with a big head of three fingers -- very white and fluffy, like whipped egg whites that fades slowly to a rocky and fully, frothy cap; body is cloudy, but shows very strong carbonation bubbling up throughout, so the yeast definitely did its job and held up over time, here's to hoping that the flavor did as well; pillowy swaths of lacing stick around.

Smell: Light, Belgian spiciness and a touch of sweet fruit -- perhaps mango or pineapple? Toasty graininess. Not too shabby, I wish it were a little more robust, but I'll take it.

Taste: Meh. It's not awful, but not what I was hoping for (should have drank this the year I bought it...). It's got some bitterness to it, but not much hop "flavor" beyond a light touch of sweet pineapple; touch of alcohol burns through along with the spiciness mentioned in the nose. I feel that this likely would have been an outstanding beer fresh, and I can only kick myself for this, not Stone.

Mouthfeel: Body is light in weight, and the carbonation is frothy, strong and prickly; a thin sticky coating hangs around; mouth is left tingly as well as the belly from the carbonation and slight booziness to it.

Overall: Again, I can't over-emphasize that this should have been consumed fresh, but even after 4 years, it's not awful.

 1,619 characters

Photo of BuckTuckian
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of CityofBals
2.25/5  rDev -43.5%

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

It pours a pretty straw blonde colour, cloudy-ish disposition, with a decent head, limited lacing, and no trail down the sides of the glass.

The smell is positive, but not particularly outstanding. The citrusy hops are what jump at me initially, with a fruity body complimented by a very noticeable spice profile hilighted by some peppery undertones and is that cardamom?

The taste follows the nose's lead, carrying through on the promise of spices, citrus, and almost a little bit flowery hops. The fruit tones are also quite noticeable, predominantly an apricot sweetness, but not in an overwhelming or really 'sweet' sense. Tasty.

In terms of the mouthfeel, the carbonation plays across the tongue in an enjoyable manner, augmented by the white pepper spiciness, and washes down fairly smoothly. Tastes less alcoholic than it is. Quite enjoyable, and drinkable, not heavy considering the alcohol content, and not particularly heavy, or too bitter to drink too much of. Overall a quite enjoyable brew, with an exciting collectible intangible aspect.

 1,056 characters

Photo of kornkid8600
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

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.

 3,368 characters

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.

 2,418 characters

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.

 986 characters

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

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.