Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic review

Stone 080808 Vertical EpicHow can you pass up a bottle of one of Stone Brewing Company's special annual Vertical Epic beers when you spy it at the beer store? I certainly couldn't resist the temptation to try it and snatched up a 22-oz bomber of this year's Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic. This brew is listed as a Belgian Strong Ale and weighs in at a hefty 8.4% ABV with 65 IBUs. DaveCo Liquors had several of these in stock for $7.49 a bottle so I bought one. This was back in late August during the big beer run with Eli and Erik from BeerTapTV and has been sitting quietly in a dark corner of my basement for just over a month.

Appearance: The date 08.08.08 was considered a very lucky day in some parts of the world and I imagine for Stone Brewing this beer was going to be a special brew. The beer poured a nice yellow gold with slight reddish highlights and a decent 2 finger tall white head. The head itself melted down fairly quickly and left little to no lacing. The brew was very clear with no sediment with the initial pour.

Aroma: Immediately upon pouring I was hit with a sweet Belgian yeasty aroma. It smelled spicy, grapefruit-like, perhaps with a bit of banana overtones and some pepper. There were just a slight hint of carbonation going on in this beer. This was a very good looking and smelling brew and seemed to be very inviting.

Taste: As I took the first sip, I encountered a sweet yet peppery spice taste that left a small but pleasant aftertaste. The beer seems to be less malty than most and left a dry mouth feel at the finish.

I looked at the description of this beer and noted that Stone used Simcoe and Amarillo boiling hops, Ahtanum hops for flavor and dry hopped with more Simcoe and Amarillo hops. Stone is well know for not skimping on the hops and they didn't disappoint here either.

The taste is one that seems to improve quite a bit as you drink it. After my first 12oz the taste seemed vastly better. For me, it takes a while to warm up to a Stone brew before you truly enjoy it. By the end of the bottle I was nodding to myself that yes, this was another fine example of a brew done well by Stone Brewing.

While I appreciate Stone's effort in making a nice spicy Belgian strong ale, I had to note also that this particular brew was not one of my favorites from this brewer. It's still very respectable and if you love Belgians with a stronger kick you'll appreciate this one.

Overall: As for me, I was satisfied and my expectations were met but was left feeling that something was missing to make this an outstanding brew. I really wanted to give this a full thumbs up but had to stop short. So for now, at least until my next sampling of this, I'm going to give this a decent Thumbs Sideways rating and a promise to revisit this beer again sometime. Think I'm being a little too light on this recommendation? Give me your opinion of this beer. What did you like about it?

Related articles:
- Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard.
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Choice City Butcher & Deli.
- A Beer Run to Remember.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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