Recently I had the occasion to bottle my first all-grain brewing collaboration. You may remember a while back I mentioned that I brewed beer at one time, until my wife recycled my gear. You may also remember my saying that I was getting back into brewing with a good friend of mine, and that I was taking the all-grain rout now. I haven't replaced my gear yet, so I am counting on my friend to teach me the ways of all-grain until I could get my setup going again. It's been nice, on account I can learn a new way of brewing a better beer, and when I have my gear I can put the lessons I'm learning to practical use.
To make a long, possibly painful, story short... My friend and I had the opportunity to bottle our first batch of beer that we brewed together. It seemed like a special enough occasion to pull out all of the stops and crack a true treasure out of the cellar. I broke down, and cracked open my VERY special Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale.
For those who may not understand why this is such a special event, Stone puts out one Vertical Epic a year. They started with 02.02.02, then 03.03.03, and so on. They are specially designed and made to be bottle conditioned until 12.12.12 or later. On that day, my friend and I cracked open and tasted a delight! The Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale. Here are my tasting notes for this amazing brew. If you ever have the chance, I suggest you try it!
APPEARANCE: Dark brown, nearly black, but with a very subtle burgundy hue (bordering on oxblood red?). Very Clear. Noticeably tan head.
AROMA: A very malty, caramelly aroma, with a slight coffee note and with some definite alcohol notes present.
FLAVOR: Malt, malt, more malt. Wonderfully smooth, rich, and somewhat sweet, but not cloyingly so. Subtle hints of caramel, chocolate, molasses, and (maybe) a slight coffee-ish note. Some noticeable bitterness of hops, but they were not overwhelming.
PALATE: Definitely leaning toward full-bodied, but extremely well balanced. Definitely not as full bodied as a strong ale. There was a noticeable, but light, heat (of alcohol) about it. Would love to know where it was at ABV when we cracked it open.
NOTES: I could easily make this a session beer, but it would be a session beer that rendered me completely stupid drunk after two or three pints. It was full, but very enjoyable, and very rich.
Sorry for the lousy picture, all I had was my phone as my camera took a dump on me.
Again, if you ever have the opportunity to try this, you simply must!