1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

824 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 824
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 268 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This is quite a complex and layered beer. Bold and smooth chocolate malt flavors combine with a Belgian yeast lending tropical fruit/banana flavors and hints of spiciness, all complemented by citrus notes from an addition of tangerine peel. Rich vanilla beans add a nice counter to the chocolate malt - actually enhancing the chocolatiness. The finish is smooth, with additional traces of vanilla and toasted characters from French Oak. The goal for this edition of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series is to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange.

(Beer added by: superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 824 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by cvstrickland:
Photo of cvstrickland
cvstrickland

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

The 22-ounce screenprinted bomber bottle features scads of the usual Stone informative puffery, but with the crown pried off it's time to let the beer do the talking...let's roll.

09.09.09 pours ruby-hued roasted chestnut in color with a finger-thick topping of creamy light khaki-colored foam. The consistency of the crowning head is firm and silky, and as the bubble-cap slowly relaxes, it deposits rings of broken sheeted lacing onto the inner walls of my D-R snifter.

The aroma is quite fruity with a mango-spritzed note of chocolate-covered ripe banana firmly front-and-center. A crisp citrusy edge provides a whiff of countering tangerine tartness, and a darkly roasted component contributes savor and depth to the profile. As the drink warms a bit, a dry-toasted oaky note becomes increasingly prominent.

The taste is richly deep and chocolatey with an edging of vanilla-infused dark-roast coffee. A mellow backing of banana lingers underneath the darkness, resting atop a long, oaky-dry finish that is laced with a touch of snappy spice and a drop of bittering citrus peel oil. Any detectable alcohol is virtually non-existent, save the warming sensation in my belly and a fleeting flash-in-the-pan flavor that comes on late in the encounter to interject the vaguest notion of plum wine.

The drink is lush, fluffy, and fullish in body with excellent, extremely fine-grained carbonation. Highly drinkable, even given the 8.9% ABV, but I'd really expect nothing less from Stone.

12-15-2009 21:34:43 | More by cvstrickland
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -0.7%

I missed last years VE so I grabbed this as soon as I saw it.Poured into a chalice a deep dark brown,nearly black, with a thinner deep tan colored head.Aromas of candied sugar,dark fruit,caramel.and light phenolic spice,a good mix of aromas for the style.Phenols are bigger on the palate giving off a clovey-like spice,alcohol dipped dark fruit with a tinge of earth round out the flavors.Its a tad hot but its new so its understandable,a very nice rich flavored brew brew here.

09-30-2009 20:58:25 | More by oberon
Photo of abeerdude
abeerdude

California

3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

08-14-2012 20:28:54 | More by abeerdude
Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
ArrogantDeadGuy

Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +7.4%

The dark beauty of this poor is something to behold with its frothy tan cap. The aromas of dark sweet malts, fuity hops, and chocolate are great in unison with a mild spice and vanilla accents. The taste enduces much salivation as the tartness is just barely dominant over the sweet roasted malt and cocoa flavors. The body is just south of bold and it is a great beer to savor and sip. A really good offering in Stone's tradition of great Vertical Epics.

12-03-2009 21:42:34 | More by ArrogantDeadGuy
Photo of blackearth
blackearth

Minnesota

3/5  rDev -26.5%

Pours a black body with a khaki tan head. Aroma is pretty much just roasted malts, nothing too exciting. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Flavors are molases and caramelized brown sugar and very sweet. There's a "dusty" taste as well, and some earthy smoked peat flavors. This wasn't bad, but I didn't get excited to drink it after the first sip.

01-07-2010 19:09:58 | More by blackearth
Photo of tuckevalastin
tuckevalastin

Delaware

3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

A: Pure black with a large foamy tan head.

S: Surprisingly it has a fuit tone that comes across the strongest.

T: Toasty and smoked with a hoppy finish. Some coffee flavors in the after taste. Not much of the choclate or fruit flavors comes through but some of their sweetness does. No strong alcohol taste.

M: A bit heavy but not so thick and without any heat. Relatively smooth. Feels alot like your average stout.

D: A nice casual drinker. It's a bit heavy but nit a task to finish.

Overall a nice beer. It's my first introduction to the Vertical Epic series and I'll certainly pick up the 10/10/10 when it comes out.

01-15-2010 02:42:34 | More by tuckevalastin
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

4.33/5  rDev +6.1%

In a snifter the beer was dark brown/black with a thick mocha head that disappeared quickly. A lot of aromas: chocolate, roasted malt, fruit. A lot of tastes also. Chocolate and tangerine to start with, some other fruit, and a n espresso finish. Nice rich beer. Liked it a lot.

11-01-2009 12:29:12 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of DaftPatrick
DaftPatrick

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

03-19-2014 23:38:41 | More by DaftPatrick
Photo of Hamburgers
Hamburgers

California

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

06-13-2014 07:28:52 | More by Hamburgers
Photo of warnerry
warnerry

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

01-04-2013 01:40:46 | More by warnerry
Photo of Beaver13
Beaver13

Colorado

3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

22 oz bottle. Pours very dark brown with a frothy tan head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet grainy malts, a little woody fruitiness, and some gummy yeastiness.

The flavor is sweet chocolate malts, some dark fruits with a big roasted/charred bitter finish that's fairly harsh. The mouthfeel medium to full with soft carbonation.

Overall, an interesting beer. I kept not wanting to like it, but kept changing my mind. It's a bit harsh in the bitterness, but it'll be interesting to see how this ages.

10-19-2009 05:27:54 | More by Beaver13
Photo of bigdipip
bigdipip

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +22.5%

12-01-2011 00:22:27 | More by bigdipip
Photo of Twifiter
Twifiter

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

10-15-2012 20:52:59 | More by Twifiter
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

22oz brown bomber.

Light brown lacing wraps around the inside of the glass almost all the way down. As close to black as you can get. Chocolatey nose, dark with some burnt sugar ... Edge of citric peel and esters. Soft and smooth creamy fullish body. Dry and spicy, maltiness ranges from dark chocolate to toasted bread to light molasses. Oaky, pulls the dryness in. Citric peel, wild herbs and vanilla show a grounded complexity. Big chocolatey finish.

One of my favorites of this series, a year of cellaring did no harm either.

11-03-2010 00:26:10 | More by Jason
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

Bottle pours a deep dark brown body that is opaque in the glass. Medium tan head leaves island chain lacing.

Interesting and complex aroma. Chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruits, ripe bananas, and some charred wood.

Medium body has a solid smooth carbonation.

Taste has a roasted coffee bitterness, dark chocolate, malty nuttiness,smoke, Belgian yeast, a hint of licorice, ripe bananas,a hint of vanilla, and some citrusy hops. Alcohol is hidden very well. I don't pick up the tangerine peel.

Very nicely done. Certainly one of the better VE's in my book. Tasty and complex.

01-01-2010 19:03:01 | More by merlin48
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

A welcome new beer each year, ah yes, its time for the new Stone vertical epic! Pours quite stout like, dark khaki head, great retention, tiny bubble and loads of sheeting, lace and a thick collar, great looking product. Dark malts, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla in the nose. Super smooth chocolaty brew, more dark malts, vanilla, coffee grounds. Dark and tasty. Complexity perhaps a bit on the lower then expected side. Still delicious and worth a try for all dark beer and Stone lovers. Wish I had the self control to age these babies, but it never seems to be in the cards...oh well enjoy this one now or later....

09-19-2009 01:26:30 | More by Billolick
Photo of recons54
recons54

Maine

4.43/5  rDev +8.6%

Since we just got Stone into the state of Maine last year (Fall 2008), this was the first time I had an opportunity to try this yearly Stone series of beer...

Appearance - The look of this beer was quite inviting, with dark coloration. It looks thick and appears heavier (stout or Porter) than it actually tastes. A great tan head appears.

Aroma - I smell some hazelnut, cloves, and a hint of smoke. There was a note of something sweet, maybe I was picking up on the chocolate malts.

Taste - Layered with a variety of flavors for your taste buds to enjoy! I first caught the chocolate, then followed with some spicier hints of citrus. The Complexity is outstanding, and I wasn't disappointed.

Mouthfeel - As I said in the appearance, it is a bit deceiving when poured into a glass so I was expecting a dark, heavy beer that your needed a fork/knife to enjoy. This wasn't the case (for me), although the alcohol was somewhat noticeable for me.

Drinkability - I liked it a lot and have enjoyed several, either on its own and with a meal (great to wash down that Thanksgiving turkey).

12-07-2009 18:45:12 | More by recons54
Photo of dogfishandi
dogfishandi

New York

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

22oz bomber poured into an oversized wine glass. bought one bomber for drinking now and one for aging along with my epic from last year. beer at cellar temp.

pours pretty much opaque black, very similar to a imperial stout, with a deep mocha colored head. a good 3 fingers of head or so that fades to a fairly nice foamy layer. pretty good lace and some nice head retention. doesnt look like your usual belgian dark, but looks delicious non the less.

some cocoa and dark chocolate, some roasted malt. a little bit of flouride from the belgian yeast, maybe a touch of bubblegum. the citrus orange peel comes through nicely. a touch of dark fruit. a little alcohol noticable as well, but nothing offensive.

ahhh that taste is soo much more than the aroma would have suggested. tons of chocolate in the taste. everything from dark dark chocolate, cocoa or cooking chocolate to even milk chocolate. a nice dose of roasted malt and coffee. tastes of vanilla. hints of citrus orange peel. subtle a very very mild flavor of a spicy belgian yeast. hints of dark fruit. also has a tiny bit of a hoppyness to it.finishs with bitter roast and dark chocolate. this beer more reminds me of a baltic porter than a belgian dark.

medium bodied. good carb. has kind of a chalky finish. overall a nice pleasing mourthfeel.

one bomber is enough. lays a touch heavy in your stomach, but still is fairly easy drinking. no real tastes of alcohol which helps.

this is an interesting beer, definatly worth checking out. not really blowing me away, but still pretty good. and if you are going to buy this, buy 2 bottles one to drink now and take notes and one to age. after all, the whole point of this beer is to be aged.

04-26-2010 00:21:33 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

Bottle (2009)

K&B Wine Cellars
San Diego, CA

Pour is very dark brown, nearly black. No light penetrates through the glass. Head is 1.5 inches thick, espresso colored, small, tiny bubbles, dissipates to a half inch head that sticks around. Sticky lacing rings the glass with every sip. A beautiful beer.

Strong smells of chocolate, coffee, cherries, vanilla, banana, and black licorice. Decidedly sweet and Belgian. I've never smelt a beer like this!

Taste is of roasted coffee beans, fresh espresso, and dark chocolate. Alcohol is hidden very well. I've had this beer before and remember tasting some banana, but I don't this time.

Body is medium to heavy in the mouth; this is a filling beer! 22oz. is more than enough for me.

An expertly crafted and incredibly complex brew released by Stone. Few beers can pack this many different smells and tastes in to a glass and still remain drinkable and enjoyable.

10-04-2009 05:07:24 | More by ehammond1
Photo of far333
far333

Connecticut

3.93/5  rDev -3.7%

Dark brown with a head of soapy bubbles that rises up and settles out quickly.

Aroma of cocoa and phenols and banana and clove and fig.

Flavors of cocoa, espresso and cigar leaf. Some cherry tang, smokey charred bark and leather. Yeast funk is subtle in the background, bitter chocolate emerges, finishes a little spicy. Orange peel emerges as it warms.

Mouthfeel is a llittle slick, moderate carbonation, finishes with some tannins.

Perhaps one of my favorite of the VE series. And the best part was that it was bought off a CT store shelf.

09-25-2009 01:52:19 | More by far333
Photo of ryser2k
ryser2k

Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

01-02-2013 15:34:48 | More by ryser2k
Photo of whoneeds8
whoneeds8

Texas

4.53/5  rDev +11%

Poured out of tap into a chalice complete black with a thick tan head. Great lacing all the way down. Smelled of raisins. The taste didn't have much up front, no hops that I could tell what so ever. However the taste moved into a black liqourish taste with hints of chocolate and raisins. There was a great deal of malted sweetness to the mouthfeel with very little noticable carbonation.

11-06-2009 03:25:48 | More by whoneeds8
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

It took me a couple months to track this one down, I really wasn't hunting it down like years past. The series lost it's appeal for me after I drank my cellar empty of the 03,04, 05, and 06 I was holding onto after I graduated nursing school. Regardless I have to try these brews fresh in case it's something that I think should be tucked away. I had good results with my last four VEs that I cellared for some time.

My birthday month, this one appears pitch black with absolutely no ruby highlights when held toward a bright light, large mocha tan head forms after a vigorous pour into my Gulden Draak chalice, dwindles slow leaves big chunky layers of lace sporadically clinging to the sides of the glass.

Nice glowing citrus peels with roasted dark malts bring some recently tasted Swiss truffles with citrus peels to mind. A mild mineral metallic character with more roasted malt and lively fruit notes, a definite creamy mingling of dark chocolate with a touch of roasted coffee, charred oak, and soothing vanilla. A leafy herbal mint quality sticks out as well in the aromatics.

Flavor dark black patent malt has some acrid sharp tanginess to it with the citrus peels intermingling quite nicely with that dark chocolate and creamy effervescence. A Belgian approach, that may be the most believable effort from Stone yet, since the hops actually are chilled out here. Those oak barrel effects are minimal with traces of vanilla and charred oak, in addition to that actual vanilla beans that have been tossed in to the mix. A nice sugary sweetness is carried along throughout the charred dark malt and tangerine peel bitterness to end in a creamy blend of vanilla and oak characteristics, with a fresh blast of herbal mint from the hop additions here.

Mouthfeel overall is creamy slightly effervescent with a medium to fuller bodied approach. Really nice feeling overall besides that touch of acidic twang I spoke about with the harsh dark malt bitterness. The finish does strike some notes of charred oak and herbal mint that seem like they are going to show up like hop burps.

Drinkability is quality share with friends complexity and cohesion make for a good time, you can have loads of different flavors that may not work well together. This vertical epic ale decided to make familiar flavors glide together and intermingle off one another to provided the type of complexity that will lead to emptied glasses rather than drain pours like their 13th Anniversary release. I enjoyed the citrus and dark chocolate with a vanilla slightly charred oak finish.

11-13-2009 06:28:23 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of SPRichard
SPRichard

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -2%

01-23-2013 22:23:26 | More by SPRichard
Photo of mocktm
mocktm

Virginia

4.08/5  rDev 0%

First review in a while. Probably the only Vertical Epic I'm going to pop tonight, but the one I'm most looking forward to.

Into my GBS glass, pours pitch black with an espresso colored head. Appears fairly viscous...heavy. Minor lacing and some head retention.

Real nice aromas off this one. Yeasty...light fruit dipped in dark chocolate and blended with vanilla. Some toffee/caramel undertones as well. Honestly it almost smells like a fresh banana split, super sweet and mellowed out from the cellar.

Damn delicious, possessing layers and layers of flavor. Chocolate and orange peel dominate with a Belgian yeast character meshing them together. There's some oak and vanilla creeping in the background. Really really well blended.

Relatively thick, almost a dessert beer honestly. Alcohol is not detectable in the slightest. Time did wonders for this guy.

Wish I could get more of this...damn awesome. Hope the '10-'12 I have are just as good.

12-13-2012 00:37:06 | More by mocktm
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 824 ratings.