Epic Vertical 2006 – 2012 Stone Brewing

Tasting: May 10, 2014
Style: Belgian
Beer #: 532 – 537

Epic Vertical

© 2014 popsonhops

© 2014 popsonhops

I started collecting the Epic Vertical series in 2009. I acquired the 2006, 2007 and 2008 via ebay and the rest on the Epic Vertical release dates — i.e. September 9, 2009 (09.09.09), October 10, 2010 (10.10.10) and so on. Sorry, but I wasn’t going to plunk down the asking price for the pre-2006 releases. The 2002 alone was listed for $900. I sat on the six years with good intentions of enjoying the vertical on the prescribed date of December 12, 2012 (12.12.12) – but those plans deteriorated and were soon forgotten. I knew at some point I would have the opportunity to share these with other enthusiasts and that occasion came last Saturday. My church asked me to lead a talk on craft beer and I added the Epic Vertical to our sampling menu. I spread out the bottles across six tables and everyone had the opportunity to hunt out each year in the sequence. It was a great way to have the crowd mingle.

I’ve included Stone’s tasting notes for each year:

2006: Belgian Quadrupel (8.66%), made with wheat. Christmas spices, molasses, slightly smoky, phenols, cocoa and dark fruit. This aged beautifully and the age added some dark fruits. 92 points

2007 : Belgian Tripel/Saison (8.4%). Made with ginger, cardamom, lemon, orange and grapefruit peel. Tastes of Ginger, floral, citrus, botanically bitter, sweet, spices, hint of yeast. Didn’t do much for me – but not bad 87 points

2008 : Belgian Tripel (8.6%) made with oats and candi sugar and strong bittering hops. Hop bitterness, citrus, strong spice, candy sweetness, tropical fruit, piney. Candy sweetness rounded out to a syrupy flavor, citrus was nearly gone. Still not bad 87

2009 : Belgian Imperial Porter (8.6%) made with tangerine peel, vanilla bean. Chocolate, fruit, hints of vanilla, mild oak, orange. This and the 2006 was my favorite of the lot. Complex with chocolate, dark fruit and some citrus 92 points.

2010 (9.5%) : Belgian Golden Ale made with wine grape juice (muscat, reisling, sauvignon blanc and gerwurztraminer. Hops, bitterness, citrus, fruit, wine grape flavors, yeast characters. I had this fresh in 2010 and it was interesting. This time was better as the grape juices were syrupy and distinct. 92 points

2011 Belgian Amber (9.4%) with Anaheim peppers and cinnamon. Chile peppers, cinnamon, malt sweetness, caramel, fruit. This was more interesting when it was fresh. Here’s my original review
Stone Vertical 11.11.11 (87 points) Aging knocks off a few points here. I’ll leave it at 87 – but more like 84 now.

2012 Belgian Holiday Ale (9.0%) spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove orange peel and rose hips. Intense cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice with banana esters. Hints of citrus arrive mid-palate, while molasses notes persevere in the finish along with a very nice dark-roasted malt dryness. Nice. I wish I bought more of these. 90 points.

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