Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stone's Vertical Epic 09.09.09

Thanks to the tasting notes of Stone's head brewer Mitch Steele, the word on the street was that this was going to be more of a Belgian Porter than anything else. I love Belgian beer, I love Porter. On paper it seems like a no-brainer that I'll like it.

Leave it to Stone to challenge our taste buds every single time. It certain pours like a Porter, and smells uniquely like a Belgian Dubbel. But that's the end of normalcy for this beer. Once it's in your mouth, it's a whole new ball game.

It's sharp to the taste, and after about 10-15 small sips, and trying my absolute damnedest to analyze it in every Craft Beer Radio way I know how, all I can attribute the sharpness to is the hops. There's a slight coffee/burnt chocolate flavor there, but the bittering hops are definitely giving this thing an acrid punch that simply won't go away, no matter how long I let the beer sit and get up to (nearly) room temperature.

It seems to be playing every bit of it's nearly 9% ABV too, because the presence of alcohol did not leave me after I swallowed it. I swore after those first few sips that the alcohol on my breath was heavy enough to pull a Gene Simmons in my living room if I wanted to.

As I normally do with these Vertical Epics, I'm going to let this one cellar for a while - maybe until next year - before I try it again. It's definitely built to last, and will be interesting to see how this thing works it's way into the vertical tasting marathon session we'll have in 2012.