Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

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

850 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 850
Reviews: 537
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 278 | FT: 17
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: 850 | Reviews: 537
Photo of AsymptoticOrbit
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark brown with thin dark tan head.

S - Dark fruit with a hint of sweetness.

T - Lots of chocolate with dark fruit. Not much hops. Hints of Belgian spices. Finish is reminiscent of coffee.

M - Smooth and robust.

D - I love this beer. It's definitely delicious and very drinkable. I'll open another in a few years to see how it ages.

Photo of cleverbeername
4.9/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drinkin in Bordeaux glass. Large head, 1.5 inches. Moter oil appearance, tan bubbly head.

Smells wonderful, obvious coffee notes and hidden scents.

Initially mouthfeel is great, redonkulous 30 sec. plus finish. dark, roasted coffee notes with orange citrus peel undertones. Great, but young. I would recommend this now, but buy a case to cellar for a few years.

Photo of ryanonline
4.9/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

from bottle to a weizen glass (what i had availailable)

Appearance is dark and (very) slight trace of ruby, dark tan quickly dissipating head nice lacing but also quickly dissipating.

Aroma has lovely orangey vanilla scent, with a slight chocolate undertone.

Taste is really something, strong vanilla flavor with a nice orange undertone, (maybe some cloves). roasty dark chocolate malt finish with a moderately yeasty body.

Mouthfeel is clean and smooth but a little heavy.

Drinkabilility is smooth though a little foamy and the finish lasts a long time.

I got this beer thinking it was going to be good, I saw lots of positive reviews (i hope they didn't affect my experience too much) but i was thoroughly impressed. Many wonderful flavors to taste and enjoy. like a lot of stone brews it definitely finishes BITTER, but really a great beer. i decided to cellar a bottle, and am looking forward to it down the line.

Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the World Bistro

Pours a midnight black with a nice creamy tan head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smell is Belgian yeast, chocolate and roasted malts

Taste is nice and complex, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, yeasty spice, vanilla and some orange peal.

Mouthfeel is smooth and rich

Very drinkable beer IMHO, I love the complexity. One of my favorite epics yet. 8.9 ABV is well hidden.

This one is worth going out of your way to get. Get it while you can.

Photo of jbertsch
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

Very dark brown in color. Not quite black, but extremely close. One finger of off-white head, on purpose. Could have created more head but kept it to one finger in size on purpose.

Inviting aroma of fruits, molasses, deep roasted malts, and a little booze. Almost fruitcake like.

The flavor was even better. Similar to aroma but with the volume turned up. Raisin and molasses blend with a smooth blend off sweet chocolate and faint coffee. A little belgiany yeast is underneath serving up a bit of brown sugar. Notes of cherry and cola make a noticeable appearance and linger.

Fnishes long with a beautiful equal blend of flavors lasting long, after the sip. Full mouthfeel, very smooth.

This was a real treat. A belgiany fruit laced porter is how i would describe this. It's drinking great right now... Wish I had more bottles!

Photo of sirdrinkwell
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: poured from a 22oz bottle, the 090909 hits the glass as a deep chocolate mahogany, topped by a tasty tan head which recedes to leave modest lacing aroung the edges of the glass.

s: a spiced orange, yeasty chocolate aroma hits the nose immediately; a longer whiff reveals the malts and a bit of vanilla as well.

t: a vanilla, chocolate, yeast and malt all find their way onto the tongue in short order. the spiciness of the nose are present only as the most subtle undertone in the taste, nothing compared to what i would have expected given its prominence in the scent.

m: smooth, cool, and well balanced on the palate...

d: this is an entirely drinkable brew from Stone, the only downside is that it will be gone soon! i'm calling the store to get a case of this stuff tomorrow...we'll see if i can learn enough beer discipline so that i can hold onto at least one bottle until after 12/12/12.

salud!

Photo of Hershdawg
4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour from a bottle in to Vertical Epic Glass.

Appearance: Black, opaque. Lightly tan head. Good lacing.

Smell: chocolate, coffee, caramel. banana?

Taste: heavy chocolate feel after 4 months. First time I had it it had a banana flavor to it from the yeast but that fell out. Fresh and aged this is still a great porter. hints of vanilla, and tangerine. These diminish after short aging.

Mouthfeel: Thick, not quite as thick as nitroed-Guiness. Feels good on the tongue.

Drinkability: As extreme as this brew may seems I could drink it forever.

Photo of mjgarrett2
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler 9.25.09 (finally got around to trying the VE with a few bottles saved away)

A-Brilliant dark mahogany, just shy of a stout revealing only the faintest of light to peirce it.

S-Layered and ellusive. Normaly my weakest sense (smell), however there are a number of different scent notes that arise but are difficult to pin down. A progression of bitter moving to mellower fruit tones and firm smoked accents, however not always ordered in that way. Seemingly complex and difficult to pin down.

T-Immidiate sensating on the back of your pallet with slight bitter fruit moving forward with a port-like savory flavor and finishing with a lingering smoked profile. The progression of flavor is unexpected but finishes back in a familiar way serving to solidify its identity rather than leaving you confused.

M-Starts warm but is a bit harsh mid way through. Slow and controlled disapation after swallowing eases the sensation back towards a more normal feeling.

D-Surprisingly fresh yet unrepettative. Many beers of this complexity are wearing out their welcome near the end of the first glass. Despite its stealthy assault on your palet that leaves you a bit confused for a moment, it is well rounded and coherent. Very impressive to pull of flavors of this kind.

This is a beer that is really not supposed to be served from a growler, but it has not disappointed. I have enjoyed it thus far and look forward to how it matures in the next few years.

Photo of taxguyjase
4.76/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The nines are very enticing - almost hypnotic. Like the Stone Demon Dude is getting into your head and ordering you to buy Stone beer...do it! Anyway, the Vertical Epic series of beers are released annually according to dates when all of the numbers are the same (i.e. 09/09/09, 08/08/08, etc...). Each beer is a different Belgian take on a beer style. There have been some Belgian Witbiers, Pale Ales, IPAs, stouts, etc... The 9/9/09 Vertical Epic is a Belgian style Porter...not two types of beer I would ever think about fusing together.

At first glance, the brew looks pitch black with a big tan head. Good retention on the head, which was nice. The complex aroma had elements of spice, orange and vanilla. So, definitely a suprise on the scent side. The flavor hits it out of the park. You get the spicy, robust kick that is combined with orange, coffee, tanginess and a hint of bitterness. It tastes like a flavorful porter had a love child with a good spicy Belgian beer. Expect an extremely smooth taste that goes down easy and leaves the aftertaste of the variety of flavors for a bit.

Would definitely pick this one up again, presuming I could find it.
This was a remarkably tasty beer - I've had it twice. Once at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, where I got it on draft. 2nd time was in one of the bombers that I purchased. While the draft was superior, you can expect that in whatever form you get the Vertical Epic, it's good.

Oh, a note - Stone recommends that you cellar this beer until 12/12/12. Fat chance in my house. If you can hold off enjoying this beer for another 3 years, you're a better person than I.

Appearance - 5.0 - big tan head; dark; good retention
Smell - 4.0 - spicy; orange, vanilla
Taste - 5.0 - a unique blend of spicy, fruit, orange, hint of bitterness, definitely a belgian beer but stout like a porter. Weird combo but excellent
Feel - 5.0 - very smooth; goes down easy
Drinkability - 5.0 hells yea - good

Photo of alyankus
4.76/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm writing this review in American in protest of the English only policy.

First off the style seems to be more like a porter not a belgian strong dark. The head is gorgeous. The lacing is so fine I would make a wedding dress out of it if it wouldn't leave me naked at the altar oh and if I wasn't a guy.

It pours a beautiful shade of dark brown with orange hues. The nose on this is slightly smoky with more dominant notes of chocolate, coffee, cloves, citrus and vanilla. The palate is is more chocolate with a less present coffee quality. As it warms it picks up more of the cloves and coriander that was in the nose finishing with a nice vanilla note.

This is without question the best vertical epic I've had and likely the the best Stone brew I've tasted to date.

Photo of jfmorey
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured like a stout, very dark with a creamy tan head that disappeared slowly.

Good aroma of chocolate and spice, which continued in the taste with many flavors of coffee; citrus, complex but balanced.

Have two bombers, one for now one for later: can I resist until the 2012?

Photo of Officer_Nasty
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

This is a delicious beer that aged very well.

Photo of colts9016
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance: A monster three finger head that is fairly persistent. The head is medium tan color that is foamy creamy, with a nice lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a dark brown, near black. The clarity of the beer is opaque.

Nose: A very rich dense malt that is roasted, with caramel, biscuits, and chocolate. Other aromas are coffee, bread, phenols, alcohol, peppery, raisins, and dried cherries. The hop aroma is still prevalent after three years; furthermore, the hops is perfumey, woody, and citrus.

Taste: The malt in the beer is roasted, toasted, caramel, biscuit, and bread. Other flavors is dark chocolate, espresso, phenols, alcohol, black pepper, raisins. The hops is fruity esters, perfume, wood, citrus.

The mouth feel in the beer is coating, warming, chewy, carbonated, and slightly astringent.

Overall: The body of the beer is full and the finish is lasting. This beer is awesome, it has great flavors. I am glad that I crack the bottle.

Photo of meich75
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice dark brown, almost black with a bit of tan head.

S: Roasted malts and chocolate with a bit of sweetness.

T: Everything comes together nicely in this one. Starts with a bit of chocolate with just a bit of sweet citrus finish. Liquid goodness.

M: Feels a bit lighter than it looks and tastes.

D: Drinkability is probably a little too good for a 9.5 ABV, could definitely have more of these.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased at Tully's in Wells, Maine, split with BA CheckMate. Pours a pitch black body with a good inch of slowly-dissipating tan head. Espresso, dark chocolate, date, nut, a touch of alcohol, and toffee characterize the aroma. Dark chocolate, espresso, fruit (mainly dates and grapes), wood, smoke, nut, with touches of caramel and toffee, spice, and just a bit of alcohol warming, though none in the flavor. Full-bodied but not viscous like some beers of this type, with ample but not overpowering carbonation. Wow. I cannot say enough good things about this beer. While I have no doubt it ages great, it tastes amazing as it is. A slam-dunk for Stone, probably the best beer I've had from them.

Photo of seplo
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

very dark brown if not black in color with a coffee colored head witch creates a great lacing around the glass,drank out of a smuttynose big beer series glass, i found it to be a very drinkable beer for the abv, my favorite from stone brewery, thank God their not in six packs cuz i wouldnt want to know the price of it

Photo of hosehead83
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone pint glass
Deep, dark black cherry hue with big, thick tan head
Aroma-Chocolate cherry cordial,vanilla,coffee
Taste-Wow! A dizzying array of flavors-Dark chocolate, smoky vanilla, dark fruits, toasted malts, an underlying burnt, hoppy citrus, like charred orange wedges. A lot going on here to say the least. Awesomely complex, with a tingly, snappy, warming finish. Very smooth and drinkable, but definitely a sipper! Deliciously different and definitely worth a try.
Get some while you can!!

Photo of ColdBeer30
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

It was dark in the bar but I want to say the color of the beer was a dark cocoa with a dark tan creamy dense head on top. It was served to me in a wide mouth Chalice. Carbonation was low from the look but there was a full thick ring of lacing.

The smell was of dark coffee grounds and espresso at first followed by chocolate of the more bitter sweet kind. Smell finishes with roasted malts and subtle grassy or leafy hops.

The taste comes in opposite. First came a blend of chocolates (dark and heavy cream milk chocolate) then the roasted malts, strong coffee (the kind you want to wake up to) and a touch of bitter or slightly briny hops which hardly lingers, there just long enough that you are looking even more forward to that next hit of cocoa.

The mouthfeel is well balanced and extremely creamy. Carbonation is pretty mild but the beer isn't flat. With everything else your mouth is experiencing you don't really even notice it.

The beer is full bodied as any porter or dark belgian would be, coming out of the tap I could drink several easily.

Seeing as this beer is meant to be aged about 3 years I am definitely going to stash one away for later. I can see the potential for it getting even better.

Photo of lordofstarside
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed today, 9.9.13! bomber to a snifter, vintage is exactly 4 years old

Pours jet black with almost three fingers of mocha tinged foam, transparency is 0%, even on the edges when held to the light. Great lacing and retention, after three or four minutes we still have a finger of foam. Kept much of it's carbonation over the years

Smells strongly of chocolate, oak, raisin, molasses, brown sugars, vanilla and a bit of caramel malt. Not picking up much of the orange notes the bottle mentions, smells incredible though

Taste is spot on with the nose- strong upfront chocolate and vanilla that mix with the oak. The orange is next, much more present than in the aroma. Finishes with some all spice and a touch of clove. Very impressive

Feel is I think my favorite part. Very smooth and silky, almost like drinking chocolate milk. Finishes pretty well, very pleasing going down. Medium bitterness, no alcohol present. Dangerously drinkable

Overall this aged incredibly, I weep this was my only bottle

Photo of drabmuh
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle (of course) into a Vertical Epic Ale glass (don't you just love the correct glassware). Beer is dark, black, head is tight brown bubbles that is full at first but falls back to form a uniform layer of tiny bubbles that covers the top of the beer, lacing formed on glass. Aroma is nice. I was expecting to pick up some roasted malts in the aroma, due to the color, but instead was hit with the classic etherial aromas of a strong Belgian ale. Invites me to drink it. Second smell reveals minimal smoke and some sweetness (probably alcohol).
Delicious, not usually a fan of the darker beers but apparently I'm coming around. There are roasted malts on the back of the flavor, but the beer is full bodied and nice. It finishes with a little bit of an aftertaste. The roast builds on you as you drink. I believe this beer will age well. Looking forward to the rest of the series and 12.12.12 vertical epic ale tastings. Cheers!

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.66/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark opaque chocolaty brown with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head. Aroma is not strong but tempting, coffee-ish with a tone of unsweetened chocolate. Flavor is richer than the aroma, mainly of roast coffee with an undertone of unsweet chocolate. Each sip seems different - one has a nutty hint, one toffee and one molasses. Tingly, sassy texture leaves a finish of fine roast coffee. Pity this is a once-only offering!

Photo of tmm313
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

9.9.9 enjoyed on 1.30.14

A- Black from a distance. Darkest possible brown when you get up close. Beautiful khaki 1 finger head with excellent trailing/lacing.

S- Chocolate covered raisins! Vanilla and oak with a slight hint of booze.

T- Wonderful! Rich cocoa with vanilla, raisins, and hints of orange up front. Dark chocolate and dark fruits, like prune and dark cherry, follow. Finish is charred oak, citrus rind, and earthy hop spices over more dark chocolate, a little booze, and hints of licorice. Beautifully balanced and complex.

M- Thicker side of medium. Smooth on the tongue with subtle drying. Even the mouthfeel is balanced.

O- I've given Stone some rave reviews in my day. This will be no different. Incredible complexity; incredible balance; incredible flavors. I'm super stoked to have had this masterpiece, but just as sad to know I'll never have it again. I'm kind of new to aging beers, but if this is what usually happens, I'm all in.

Photo of NealVsBeer
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown, with slight head upon pouring and nice lace afterwards

S - Can really smell the chocolate malt, also hints of citrus

T - Malty, smooth and chocolatey, slight alcohol taste at the end

M - Rich and smooth on the palate

D - Very drinkable, at 8.9% I may be able to drink more than 1 but I don't see the point

This is overall a fantastic beer. Rich, smooth, and chocolately this is a terrific dessert beer.

Photo of cameraman
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is poured a dark brown color, with hints of garnet along the bottom of the glass. A thick half inch head, tan in color, lacing down the glass. A roasted melt scent, followed by a chocolate fragrance, with hints of Belgian yeast spiciness at the end of each scent. The chocolate come out at the front, the yeast brings the fruity esters and spiciness. Then a unique citric bitterness strikes the palate, with touches of grass and earth. The citrus flavor lingers on the palate long after each taste is gone. The texture is tad watery at the front, but grows to a rich and smooth feel, rolling across the palate. A medium dryness is left on the backend. The aroma is intoxicating, the color is very inviting. The flavor a chocolaty delight, the smooth and rich feel just adds to this very drinkable beer.

Photo of harrymel
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured to NB globe during 06-10 VE tasting.

A: Dark, opaque, mocha head (single finger) which sticks around. Good lacing. Sticky appearence. Good looker.

S: Cocoa, malts, anise, cocoas, coffee. I would go on, but why waste my time - this is excellent!

T: Again: cocoa, malt, anise, coffee, back end vanilla from oak. Just outstanding.

M: Heavy, lower carb. Tacky. Viscous. Resonant.

D: This was the best of the bunch. Absolutely outstanding! I will be seeking more of this out.

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 850 ratings.