Sep 28, 2016

Stone Encore 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale

Stone’s Vertical Epic series was the first of its kind. While not a true vertical tasting in the traditional sense — were several vintages of the same beer are sampled in a sitting — Stone’s concept help promote the concept of cellaring beer to see/smell/taste how something other than wine could develop over time. Each year, starting in 202, the brewery released a beer meant to be kept until the final offering of 12.12.12 and then enjoyed to see how the beer had changed from its initial bottling.

I didn’t get in on the limited run of beers until 07.07.07 but from then on, I purchased at least two of every beer (one to drink fresh and the other to attempt to wait until 12.12.12). Some of the beers did much better than others given the amount of time they resided in the basement. And honestly, after tasting this re-release of the beer that started it all, I’d be surprised if it had held up as well as later releases.

02.02.02 is a Belgian-style witbier brewed with orange peel (sweet and Curacao), coriander and black pepper. It weighs in at 7.5% ABV which is a bit hefty for the style, but appropriate for a cellarable brew. Having not had the original version of this beer, I’m not sure how true to taste or recipe it is, but I can tell you that it is packed to the tippy top of the glass with a ton of spices. Like, a lot. So much so that it took a good many sips to get used to the spice influence. The beer isn’t a potpourri bomb, but it’s a little over the top for the style — to be expected from the genre-pushing Stone.

I’m glad I received a bottle of 02.02.02 for review. I was planning on purchasing one regardless and I probably will just to cellar for a few years to experience what I missed out on the first time through. The 07.07.07 was, and still is, my favorite of the bunch. It was the one that seemed to perform better after many years in the basement. 02.02.02 was great to sample as it was the initial product to get an enjoyable and unique experience of Stone’s Vertical Epic rolling.

This is a review of a promotional sample.