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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

848 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 848
Reviews: 536
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 278 | FT: 19
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:
Beer added by: superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 848 | Reviews: 536
Reviews by nova009:
Photo of nova009
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A- pours a deep dark brown the color of cola, a one finger tan head emerges and dissipates down to a covering, decent amount of bubbles pop at the surface

S- roasty dark malt, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, candi sugar, dark fruits particularly figs and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg

T- black coffee, cocoa nibs, vanilla, alcohol, extremely roasty and overpowers anything close to belgian flavors

M- medium body, decent carbonation, slightly creamy but finishes dry

O- Slightly disappointed in this one, the body was a bit too thin for my liking, additionally most of the belgian flavors were either non-existant or, and more likely, they dissipated over time with the aging, still drinkable but nothing to write home about

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of blackearth
2.99/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of tuckevalastin
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Beaver13
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Billolick
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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....

Photo of recons54
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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).

Photo of dogfishandi
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ehammond1
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of far333
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of mocktm
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours black with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with hints of dark chocolate. As it warms very light hints of dark fruits waft out but roasted malts are in control throughout.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Huge roasted malt flavors up front with hints of unsweetened chocolate. A good amount of bitterness comes in midway through the sip and intensifies through the finish. As with the smell small amounts of dark fruit flavors make an appearance as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass rather quickly and could have another.

Overall I'm not sure I agree with the fact that this is a BSDA - I thought it was definitely more of a stout and even the dark fruit characteristics are eclipsed by other big stouts. Still, it's a good one and is worth a shot.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank 1/27/13
(Served in a bowtie glass)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a lumpy coco tan head that sticks in sheets to the glass leaving only a thin ring of head on the beer. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide up the glass.

S- There is a chalky hint to the chocolate malt aroma with hints of deep caramel coming through as it opens.

T- The mellow chocolate malt flavor is the main player. It has some soft dark roasted coffee malt bitterness in the finish with a slight tart hint. As it opens it takes on more of a watery taste and some stale qualities in the finish. There are also some graham notes that come through as it warms. Clean finish.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a gentle fizz that takes on a flat texture on the tongue.

O- This beer is a bit 1-dimentional much more so that when it was fresh. I don’t get any yeast characteristics just the chocolate malt. The watery and stale taste were a bit off putting.

---
(Poured into a tulip)
drank 11/30/09
A- This beer has a jet black body with a coco powder tan head that is creamy and last for a good bit.
S- The black roasted malt notes have a cream quality to them and then give way to a stronger berry aroma with some black licorice notes.
T- The smooth chocolaty velvet flavor has some ink and dry prune qualities to it with a soft fruity note that finishes the malt. The taste of pineapple without the acid mixes with roasted bitterness in the finish. There is some tartness that comes through with the bitterness and the both linger for a moment.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.
D- This beer is a big tasty stout with nice roasted qualties and a good Belgian yeast mystique that is almost fruity but not jammy.

Photo of apbarwood
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black with a cappuccino head of foam that doesn't quit. Smell was pleasant and strong. What was there was great though, lots of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla type flavors with a citrus layer underneath (I think they use tangerine peels) and a pleasant whiff of bananas and clove. The malt flavors really come to life on the palate. The chocolate and caramel notes are accentuated nicely by the smoothness of the vanilla and the use of oak really makes them all pop. The tangerine flavor that lurks beneath acts as a counterbalance, providing some additional bitterness and a nice fruit flavor that blends perfectly with the malt. The hops are strong but integrated masterfully with the malt and fruit flavors. I could drink this one all day long. Highly recommended.

Photo of FleeVT
3.71/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a goblet.

A: Pours like a stout-porter hybrid. Looks like a chewy black iced coffee with a frothy tan head. Lacing clings to the glass throughout the session. Beautiful beer.

S: Mild bready malts. The coffee metaphor applies here as well with faint mocha (roasted malts) and hints of bitter coffee. Sweetness comes through in the form of dark berries and a touch of hops for balance.

T/M: A bit tight on the palate, which is probably why the bottle recommends cellaring unti 2012. Hops tend to dominate the middle and aftertaste while the front portrays a dry smokey spiciness that is very stoutlike. A great medium body with perfectly carbonation.

D: Good nightcap, will definitely cellar one to see how the flavors develop.

Photo of caddybuyer
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay Chalice at cellar temperature

A-Pours a deep opaque black with a creamy tan head

S-Roasted coffee and malts, smoke, yeast, some dark fruits in the background.

T-Bittersweet chocolate covered dark fruits begin then hops take over the palate. A slightly acidic tartness midway, and a long, bitter astringent finish with warming and numbing alcohol completing the journey. This is very decent, but slightly hot, and I can only imagine what some age will do to this. More hops than I was expecting, but this is, after all, a Stone product.

M-Decent overall mouthfeel on this for the style.

D-I like this, and I'm glad I tried this while it was young, but feel that it is a bit of a shame because this will likely be fantastic with age. Everything is sold out near me, but I will keep my second bottle for a few years and crack it open to see how well it does. I think it will be excellent. As for now, I am content with this bomber but will buy some more if I run across it.

Updated 1.9.11. This has mellowed dramatically with age. The hops have receded and it no longer feels hot. Seems slighly undercarbonated now. Age has made this a mellower beer, but not necessarily a better one. I'm thinking this may have been better fresh.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12, review from notes.

A: Quite dark, pretty much black with a small tan head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some random lacing down the glass.

S: Some light Belgian yeast, a bit of chocolate, roasted malt, banana, and some wood.

T: Quite similar to the aroma, some banana, more dark fruit in the flavor profile than the aroma, with a bit of chocolate, cloves, and raisins.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a little thin. Slightly dry finish.

O: This one was fine, not my favorite, but not bad overall.

Photo of klshanks
3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this one a few times and am finally getting around to typing it out.

A- Very dark. Nice tan head at about 1" pouring into a tulip.

S- Strong sweet smell, with a strong alcohol smell. Didn't smell bad, but when I took a deep breath I got a little light headed.

T- Roasted coffee, caramel, candy sugar, slight tart flavor.

M- Thick but not too thick. Fairly well carbonated which dances on your tounge.

D- I wouldn't drink these all night, but had no problem finishing the 22 oz bomber, and wouldn't mind a little more after the bottle was finished.

Photo of GilGarp
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served cool in a pint glass.

It pours a very dark brown color, basically black in the glass, with thick bone white head that lingers on a long time leaving lacing behind.

Aroma is unusually roasty and heavy on the dark malts for a Belgian SDA. Some Belgian qualities come through including some dark fruits and raisins.

Flavor is more of a coffee stout with Belgian yeast. It has big roasty flavors including coffee and smoke. There are some of the dark fruits and spicy complexities from the aroma but roasted malt is definately the big hitter here.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and low in carbonation. Big on body and creamy on the tongue. Really nice. Drinkability is hindered only by the dominant malt character but it's not a bad beer by any means.

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 848 ratings.