Stone is one of the most active brewers around. They not only produce their typical line-up, but they also love to collaborate and create specialty brews that keep them on your mind. Right now I’m excited for the next Vertical Epic arrival. By the time I publish this there is a chance that I’ll already have my bottle of it. (But in proof reading, I can tell you I’m still waiting) I can’t help but feel like you never need to wonder if Stone is doing something new because they always are. This of course only helps make them one of my favorite brewers out there.
I did actually manage to have this one before sitting down and doing an actual tasting of it. There is a bar that I can walk to that always has all of the Stone special releases available. I went in there one time and saw this one, their green tea IPA, and their Stone 15 year. Therefore, when I was down there one night, I made sure to have a bottle of this.
This particular one is actually a collaboration, but it is a little different type of collaboration. The two big names involved in the collaboration are the guys from Stone and Troegs. The other two lesser known brewers are Jason Fields and Kevin Sheppard. The reason why these two names are lesser known is they are actually homebrewers. Apparently these two fellas submitted their brew to Stone’s March Madness Homebrew competition and won. This gave them the capability of not only brewing their beer using the Stone system, but then also, having Stone release it for mass consumption. Homebrewing is one of those thing I would like to get into; however, I am lacking in some space. However, even though I don’t brew, I would imagine this is the dream of nearly every homebrewer.
This one pours out a very dark black color. This is one of those beers where you really can’t tell the hazy quality to it. It is so dark you have no idea what the clarity is like. You surprisingly can see a little bit of the carbonation, but this stout is extremely dark. The head on this one is very thick and comes out a rich brown color with a lovely fluffy texture. There is some very nice lacing that develops on the side of the glass. It manages to last for a rather long time. I was very hopeful for this one based on the head and the nice lacing.
The coffee smell is the most prominent on the nose. I found this a little surprising. I guess I just thought that the cherries might come out a lot stronger. I, however, also really appreciated this fact. I get kinda of scared of fruit in beer. Cherries in particular isn’t really the thing I look for. The cherry scent did follow very closely behind the coffee smell on this one. With the cherries still being rather strong, I was a little worried this one would be a little too strong on the fruit. There are also some slightly chocolately notes that come out. Overall there is a roasted smell that pervades throughout the entire scent.
The taste on this one starts with a very short roasted malty intro. I liked this fact because I really enjoy the roasted quality of most stouts. The cherry comes in really fast after the start of the taste. The cherry here is a little strong and sweet for a stout; however, it isn’t altogether awful for me. One thing that I found interesting was how the chocolate comes in after the cherries. Ultimately it creates a chocolate covered cherry flavor. Near the end the strong coffee flavor comes in. I do get a slight hit of hops right before the finish, which of course, I find enjoyable. The finish relies heavily on both cherry and coffee.
The mouthfeel has the right amount of carbonation to it. To me, this really helped make the cherry flavor a little more tolerable. In my opinion, I’m not really all that big a fan of the aftertaste. I can drink straight coffee all day long, but I’m really not even a fan of flavored coffee. Therefore, this aftertaste really isn’t for me.
I find myself really conflicted on this beer in general. I really want to like it, but I have a little bit of a rough time loving something that is so cherry forward. I think some of the other flavors help to rescue this one a little. Ultimately I probably bought this one for the brand name. I doubt you’ll be able to find this one around anymore, but if you do happen to see it, I would love to hear what you thought of it.
Teacher Grade: C+