Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Suprised to see so few reviews of this (only 5 at the time of writing), since I’ve had this in my posession since last week.
First time that I’ve drunk a VE on the actual day!
Pour has a jet black body with a lovely, high head with fine bubbles. The bubbles are extremely fine in the way that creates that almost perfect, horizontal line between the body and the head that one finds in many nitro pour beers, or more commonly in Guinness. The head is not amazingly well retained, but it does leave some superb lace and a nice, spotty mocha film on the surface of the beer, with extra density in the middle of the beer. Looks very good.
Nose has some nice, chocolately notes with a very light touch of bitter hops.
The initial tastes go WAY beyond a Belgian Strong Dark and easily slips into a Belgian Stout (or even just into regular stout) areas. The beer really doesn’t seem especially “spicy” to me at all, rather it really gets to be quite bitter both in the middle & the finish, and in the aftertaste. I might even go as far as to say that there is a touch of charcoal in there. I’d heard rumors of oranges, porters, spices and Belgian IPA’s when others have been describing this beer and its tastes, but to be honest I get NONE of these. In fact, I don’t really get any Belgian yeast notes either, and quite frankly although the beer is not bad, it seems a little disappointing to me. It’s just not very complex beer at all; it’s a nice stout with plenty of roasty bitterness, and it’s a nice version of that kind of beer, but as far as all the other claims it seems to fall short.
As it warms and the bottle is consumed the beer becomes slightly less stout-like and the beer thins out in the mouth to feel slightly more BSDA like, but it STILL feels “stoutish” more than anything else.
I dunno, not especially complex and in that respect a little disappointing and definitely not Belgian in the way that it drinks.
It’s a nice, roasty, light drinking stout to me and that’s about it.

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09/10/2009
Format:
bottle
ABV: 8.6 %
Appearance: 4.5
Taste: 4
Mouthfeel: 4
Smell: 3.5
Overall: 3.5
Total: 3.83
Series Name:
Year:

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