Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale

Total Score: 8.95/10 Coriander1Peppercorns1Pear1Tulipglass1

As far as “beers at the top of my list to drink right now” go this is #1 – however keep watching this space [not this one: this one:      ] as my #850 review coming up in 3 reviews is a beer I’ve been hunting ever since I heard the name that begins with a “C” and ends in an “N” (easy one for beer nerds). However back to here and now: The label on this talks about how with the original they only brewed 300 cases, and bomber-sized bottles sold on eBay for $1,200 USD! … yep this was an instabuy for me. So far the Stone 20th Anniversary stuff has been a blast, I really enjoyed Citracado – I hope they brew that again, and you know what they say about hope: it springs eternal (but you can get a plumber for that).

Poured from a 650ml bomber-sized bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed goldenrod body, big fluffy white head that likes to hang around for a while before slowly compacting in to awesomeness… I may be somewhat giddy and full of hyperbole for this brew, what of it? 9/10.

S: Belgian yeast may have been utilised in this brew: Coriander, clove hints, pepper, pear ester, orange peel and light banana phenol all over the nose. Aroma is reminiscent of La Chouffe (though La Chouffe isn’t $1,200 USD a bottle – slight overpricing on that original Stone brew much?). Still that’s a good bedfellow to have with La Chouffe, #10 on my all-time list, and a cute Gnome on the bottle to boot! 8/10.

T: Wow, again the La Chouffe similarities continue – though this is more dry (ergo bitter) in the finish. Flavours are: Coriander, clove hints, pepper, pear ester, orange peel and light banana phenol. Finish has a long dry followed by a herbal bitterness. Par for par on flavour with La Chouffe, it’s a dead heat IMO. Really depends on what you’re looking for in a flavour profile, oh yeah and the fact that La Chouffe is year-round and this is a one off… for God’s sake don’t spend $1,200 USD on a bottle of this whale-hunters! Exit the hype train, you have reached your destination. 10/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied with a medium carbonation… could be creamier. 8/10.

D: It’s rare for anyone anywhere else to be on par with a Belgian brewer, but this Stone is. The original was made back in 2002 too, that was a life-time ago in the craft beer industry, which is a testament to the forward thinking of the brewers at Stone – they had the nous to go head to head with Belgian brewers when others were still figuring out what a Pale Ale was, kudos Stone! 8/10.

Food match: Game on (as in roasted game meats, parsnips, some sort of flan…).

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