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The Beer Circle » Beer, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Stout, Cellar, IPA, Oak, Stone Brewing Co., Strong Dark Ale, Wine » One Night: Nine Years of Stone’s Vertical Epic

One Night: Nine Years of Stone’s Vertical Epic

12.12.12 at Churchkey in Washington, DC was truly a day we all won’t soon forget. The bar managed to tap nine years worth of Stone Brewing Company‘s Vertical Epics: 03.03.03 through 12.12.12, including special versions of ’07 and ’09 aged in red wine barrels and ’10 aged in French Oak barrels. To top that, Sam Calagione (yes, of Dogfish Head) was in the building to promote his collaboration with Bluejacket. I got to have a quick conversation with Sam, which, on top of the amazing taplist, made this one of the best Churchkey events of 2012.

Instead of bombarding you with 13 beer reviews, I’m going to give you the highlights. Expect to see a few of the beers pop up in posts the rest of this month!

09.09.09

09.09.09

The Best

The best of the 13, and it isn’t really even close, was the 09.09.09 Belgian Stout. The vanilla, booze, and roast have just become wonderful together over the past three years. I really don’t know why Stone didn’t make more stouts during this vertical, I think one or two more would have done really, really well. My second favorite was the red wine barrel aged 07.07.07. Strangely I tasted peppermint in the taste, and the red wine played well with all of the aged flavors of the five-year-old beer.

The Worst

I’m going to preface this by saying that I wasn’t a huge fan of many of the beers. With that said, 12.12.12 was the worst. Perhaps it’s because my palate was done at the end of the night, but I thought the taste was unbalanced and that the beer overall was disjointed and difficult to drink. The 04.04.04 comes next, the Belgian Strong Blonde Ale just doesn’t have anything left.

French Oak Barrel Aged 10.10.10

French Oak Barrel Aged 10.10.10

The Most Surprising

The French oak barrel aged 10.10.10 comes to mind for this category. I found the original offering to be average at best, but the oak really brings the beer to life with oak, vanilla, and grapes. The body had changed colors completely having spent time in the barrels, and the beer showed it.

Which Would I Buy Again?

06.06.06, barrel aged 07.07.07, 08.08.08, 09.09.09, barrel aged 09.09.09, and barrel aged 10.10.10. This list should really show you something. There’s a sweet spot for these beers ranging from 2006 until 2010. The beers before that probably have been around for too long, and the rest need some time to age.

Did you have an epic Vertical Epic tasting? Which did you prefer? Did anybody get to taste 02.02.02?

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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