Stone Brewing Company
Vertical Epic 10.10.10
Purchased at 99 Bottles.
Aroma: Clove, coriander and Belgian yeast phenolic spice all come to mind with the first intake of this beer. A mild alcoholic pepper fills in the background of this generally flowery brew. Hop aroma is not detectable beyond the floral notes, but there is a faint undertone of fresh white bread to bring out the malt here.
Appearance: As gold as a wedding band with diamond clarity. There is a strong presence of carbonation bubbles seen rising to the top. They break to form a solid but thin layer of white head. Traces of lacing.
Flavor: Light pale malt sweetness hits the tongue for just a moment then it's pushed away by a tangy, but not quite sour, grape skin. There is a blend of pepper and spices that constantly crash together in your mouth. Trying to pick out each one is nearly impossible, but I'd say clove and all-spice are prominent. The blend of spices, as well as a touch of alcohol, does tend to confuse the palate if you focus on it too much.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation. The culmination of Herbs and Spices in this beer tingle the tongue, roof of the mouth, and back of the throat as it works its way around your mouth. This has a refreshing effect overall. Finish is dry with a final report from the alcohol as it bites the back of the throat.
Overall: There is a mess of flavors in this beer that I admit I am not able to entirely pick out. Looking into each spice can be daunting with a beer like this. And while there is a lot going on, the beer does not come off mottled or overdone. Taking a straight forward sip however, this years Vertical Epic has a cooling and refreshing quality. The spices are crisp with just enough alcohol to let you know it's there. Though I wouldn't have guessed it's the 9.5% as stated on the bottle.
I purchased 2 bottles, and I doubt the second will last in my house 6 months. But if you're the aging type, I'm guessing this beer will mellow quite nicely. But if the spices remain as clearly defined, only time will tell.
I rated this beer an “A-” on BeerAdvocate.
99 Bottles. Federal Way, WA