Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Country: USA
ABV: 7.5%
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Other Notes: 2016 rerelease. 40 IBUs. Hops – Centennial. Special ingredients – Sweet orange peel, Curaçao orange peel, coriander & black pepper

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale is quite easily the rarest and most highly sought-after beer we have ever brewed – with winning bids at one time surpassing $1,200 on eBay. It was so rare that even at the time of its release our own team could barely get their hands on the first bottle of this millennium-inspired, sequentially released series. We produced just 300 cases and one of our delivery drivers at the time dropped and broke one (if calc’d @ $1,200/bottle, that was a $14,400 case!). This bumped-up, Stone-ized version of a Belgian witbier was our first Belgian-inspired beer. Featuring orange peel, wheat, coriander and black pepper, it was our first beer brewed with ingredients beyond the four beer-making essentials of malt, hops, water & yeast. The first time in which co-founder and original Brewmaster Steve Wagner gave former Head Brewer Lee Chase free rein. And, to really pile on the firsts, it was the first time a brewery created a series of different beers designed to be enjoyed together in an epic eleven-part vertical tasting so far into the future (10 years, to be exact…originally sometime after 12.12.12). The cache was more than just in the numbers. Boasting impressive high notes of citrus, spicy hops and honey-like character, Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale was a bright, if less-than-obvious, way to begin this eleven-movement symphony of flavor. Today, while it’s impossible for all but the most uber collector to experience the original, those who desire can once again taste what was the start of something truly epic.

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.89
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.8

Intro: A 22 fl. oz. bomber, bottled on 22nd July 2016. Poured into a Holy Mountain tulip glass.
Appearance: A clear golden colour with a big three finger white head that had decent retention and left lots of nice sticky lacing.
Aroma: Orange peel, clove, banana, coriander, orange creamsicle, Belgian yeast, with some light funk.
Taste: Orange creamsicle, orange peel, clove, banana, coriander, Belgian yeast and a light but spicy pepper finish.
Mouthfeel: Dry, medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: I enjoyed the first glass and could see how it was ground breaking in 2002, but despite this, a whole bomber by myself might just have been a bit too much.

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