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

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 Yesac
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark black color. Chocolate brown head that forms a ring around the glass. One sexy looking beer in my chalice.

S- Belgian yeast, chocolate malt, caramel, bubblegum. Like a stout crossed with a dark Belgian.

T- Roasted malt.. Belgian yeast.. black licorice, caramel.

M- Medium carbonation. Medium bodied. Dry sticky finish.

D- An interesting drink. Like a nice Stone stout with Belgian yeast. I'll definitely revisit this one soon.

Photo of claminat420
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- poured black with a light brown head. thick two finger head that vanished quickly.

S- raisony, dark malts. nothing to crazy.

T- malty with just the slightest chocolate feel. more chocolate then the raison fruit smell. alcohol is very well hidden.

M- light to medium bodied. nice carbonation.

D- could drink two or three of these tops. after that i'm good.

Overall- i like this one alot better than last year's vertical epic (08). i say pick one up if you can. this brew reminds me of a more lighter bodied chocolate porter.

Photo of ZX6Chris
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shared at a Vertical Epic tasting with my friend Armand.

A-Midnight black, great tan head.

S-Roasted burnt chocolate. Coffee, horsy, barnyard. Is it supposed to taste like that?

T-Coffee, bitter, hay, horsy.

M-Smooth, well carbonated.

D-Not my favorite at all! I was hoping for a delicious stout but that's not what I got. Maybe my pallet was burnt out but I got some off flavors in this that I did not enjoy.

Photo of illidurit
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown with a tan head, not much lacing. Aroma is chocolate, graham crackers, bananas, and a little too much spice. Flavor is part roasty and part chocolatey from the malt, with accents of citrus, vanilla, and clove. Interesting but too sweet and a little too thin.

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

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz. into a pint glass

P: Jet black and almost completely opaque in the glass with a beautiful head of thick, creamy foam that holds firm and stays impressively dense. Displays some gorgeous dimples as it sinks with a rocky texture. Shows excellent retention before settling to a thin cap on top with some thick sheets of lace.

A: Huge blasts of lightly roasted malts that lend a chocolatey/mocha espresso character. Lots of vanilla in here as well, along with some subtle oak, zesty citrus peel, dark fruits, and a healthy amount of clove from the Belgian yeast. Boy, I really don't get the impression that this is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. This smells much more along the lines of an 'Imperial Belgian Porter'...

T: ...and it tastes like it too! Although, who the hell am I to say what style it is! It starts out as more of a traditional American Porter with lightly roasted malts that just ooze that same chocolatey/mocha espresso flavor, while sweet vanilla notes and dark fruits ride right underneath with subtle hints of oak peeking through nicely. Then in the middle, the Belgian yeast seems to grab this beer by the horns and transform it into an 'Imperial Belgian Porter' by imparting a slightly powdery yeast that emits that unmistakable clove flavor, along with banana and some dark fruits as well. On the back end, the addition of tangerine peels really comes to the forefront with a bittering astringency (also probably from hops) that tastes like tangerine peels dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with clove. Leaves a bitter citrusy, yeasty aftertaste that hangs on for a while.

M: This edition of Vertical Epic is medium-full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation that seems to keep it from being as silky smooth and luxuriously rich as it could be. It does have some nice creaminess under the prickles, though. While it's not chewy, it does stick to the palate enough for the flavor to grab traction.

Notes: This is a pretty good Imperial Belgian Porter. However, it seems as if the flavors are kind of disjointed in spots and never really melds together to form one cohesive unit, which hurts the flavor score. I love the sweet start, but the bitter, citrusy astringency in the back half of the mouthful becomes distracting after a while, which also makes the drinkability of this one suffer a bit as well. Good thing the fine folks at Stone brewed this one with the intention to cellar, because I think it could develop quite nicely. Maybe with some age on it, the flavors will work together more harmoniously and the bitter citric notes will calm down a bit. Here's to hoping!

Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a black body with a tan head. Mild lacing on the glass with good head retention.

S: Roasted malts dominate the nose with coffee and bitter chocolate notes. Light dark fruits and some citrus.

T: Not a very complex palate, but still a nicely balanced flavor. Upfront Roasted malts balanced with the earthy hops. There are also some dark fruits, vanilla, dark chocolate, & citrus notes. Belgian yeast also plays a nice part.

M: Medium-full body; low to moderate carbonation; smooth mouthfeel.

O: Not a bad beer and a decent example for the style. I believe there are better Belgian Strong Dark Ales out there, but let's see what a few more years will do. I will drink this again obviously, but only 1 more since that's all I have left.

Photo of Sarlacc83
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle, split.

A: Thick oily black with a cappuccino head. Really nice lacing on this.

N: Cocoa, licorice, oxidation, char, anise, some cola and vanilla.

T: Very bitter with a balancing touch of sweetness. Heavy on the oak and hops. Hints of oxidation. Pretty nice.

M: Thick and oily. Has a full mouthfeel.

O: One of my favorites of the series. Has aged well at approximately 3 years old. More of a hoppy stout to my palate.

Photo of katan
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz into a pint

A - Brown with amber highlights. mocha head.

S - Some very nutty notes in the nose.

T- Comes off that it has sat too long. The edge is off all the flavors I think matter. The hopiness has turned offly grassy in the middle.

M - Moderate mouthfeel, lightly sticky.

O - Would have been better a while back.

Photo of schinebd
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very black with a thick brown head that retains somewhat and laces a little. No highlights or translucence, just deep blackness.

S - A very inviting blend dominated by the Belgian yeast that gives the smell a dominant banana bread aroma. Underneath is roasted chocolate malt, light vanilla, and citrus, providing good complementary variety.

T - Certainly all of the flavors from the smell are there, but rather than presenting themselves, they are piled on top of each other. The roasty malts are most present. Imagine mixing a lot of your favorite foods in a bowl and eating - though it doesn't taste terrible, the flavors don't seem to complement each other or have any order. Not very enjoyable in its current state, but hopefully the flavors can mellow with age.

M - Medium carbonation, but some thick smoothness that does bring forward the chocolate and citrus that the brewer is going for and complements the medium/full body.

D - As mentioned above, the flavors work laboriously on the palette and the high ABV work against the drinkability of this beer.

Photo of tobelerone
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black bodied beer with a smallish tan head. Not much retention, minimal lacing. Aroma is roasty, with bittersweet chocolate, orange peel, slightly vinous and fruity. There’s also a spicy note and a hint of wood or tobacco that’s kind of hard to put a finger on.

Interesting but not entirely satisfying taste; perhaps a little oxidized after 3 years in the bottle; not sure how this one will hold up till the end of the entire Vertical Epic series.
There’s dark, bitter chocolate, orange and peel flavor, as well as other more vague fruit notes; again a vinous quality, with oakiness, char, a hint of a metallic/mineral aspect; phenolic spiciness, overall very dry; could actually use a bit more sweetness. Maybe a touch chalky. Alcohol well-masked. Not terrible, just a little odd.

Medium-bodied and carbonated with that very dry finish. Feels like it could be a bit heavier and smoother in the mouth. Interesting beer I didn’t particularly love but it definitely made me think and dig in, examining its many layers.

Photo of cnally
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I know I am cracking into this four years too soon, but whatever. Judge it now, edit it later.

Appearance is a very deep brown, close to black. Red tints come through around the edges of the glass. Soapy tan head, plenty of lacing.

Aroma is a smoky, nutty, bit of cherry nose, heavy alcoholic finish.

Big time nutty flavor, burnt caramel, very dark. Reminicent of a porter rather than a Belgian Dark. Finishes very smoky, heavily bitter.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and sticky.

If labeled a porter or stout, I could see the consistency and flavor. But as a Belgian Dark? I know this should sit for four years, and theoretically it should mellow, right? But I have a hard time tasting this as nothing more than a syrupy stout.

Photo of Zorro
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black colored beer with a strong brown head. This looks much more like a stout to me.

Strong chocolate scent and roasted malt with spices added. Spice is mostly cloves with a little ginger. Additional scents of vanilla and Irish Crème.

Starts out spice and deeply roasted malt. Spice actually tickles the tongue here. Very much like a Black and Tan made with Belgian Strong Pale Ale and Guinness Extra Stout. Not super flavorful but smooth.

Mouthfeel is smooth and silky.

An OK beer but not one I will lust for. This is just OK.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a dark dark brown, much darker than I thought it would be with a 2 finger light tan head, great lace. It looked like motor oil coming out. Impressive.

S: Chocolate covered oranges, light vanilla, wood.

T: Dominated by dark chocolate, lots of coffee-style roast bitterness that I wasn't the hugest fan of but didn't take over the beer. Tangerine, lemon and vanilla are secondary and don't really come out until the finish. Full flavoured.

M: Creamy, milkshake like, full-bodied, spot on carbonation, very well done.

D: This has the potential to be really good by 2012 when everything has a chance to meld together, it's a bit one-dimensional on my palate right now. Solid, but not great stout type beer right now.

December 2012 Edit - I was right, the beer melded together and is a much better drink right now. Orangey chocolate with a chai like spice on the nose. Similar character in the flavour, very light carbonation. Real good stuff. The best of the aged so far.

Photo of yemenmocha
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with tan head that is modest in size, and retains a thin layer. Nose is somewhat restrained & not so assertive as far as Stone beers go, even with allowing the ale to warm up to ideal drinking temps. Soft chocolate aromas dominate with some of the vanilla bean behind the chocolate.

Palate offers a big chocolate flavor with some of the subtle fruits in the background, and a fair amount of bitterness towards the finish and through the long aftertaste. I see where they're going with the "artisanal chocolate orange" but it's just mostly chocolate and bitterness.

Photo of mikey711
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I guess it is pretty fitting to enjoy this beer today.

It a very dark brown that cannot be seen through with a big tan two finger thick head. The head is very lacing, taking plenty of time to simmer.

S: Chocolate vanilla, some wheat perhaps, roastiness, fruitiness. Many things going on at once.

T: The first sip was quite a surprise. While there are alot of different aromas, it wasn't all that intense. This however was a bit like a punch in the face with big bold flavors of coffee, chocolate, vanilla. There is a nice bittern roastiness in the back ground and some fruitiness to go along with it.

M: Pretty hot. This one was fun to try but needs some time to mature. The flavors are very intense at this point.

D: I wish I had someone to share this with.

Overall, I think this was a very young beer that clearly needs more time to mellow out.

Photo of VinnyA
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bottle from Capone's in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

A - One-finger brown head with good retention, opaque and black in color, lacing on glass.

S - Bread, sugar, chocolate and raisins

T - Had a bready taste to it, hints of toffee, some dark fruit and an alcohol taste on the back end that lingered a little bit.

M - Low carbonation, smooth, not very heavy for such a dark beer. Dry finish

O - Definitely a winter warmer. The alcohol taste is not masked well, but this is compensated by the flavor that is present as it hits the tongue. Not an overly "heavy" beer. I've sampled each Epic from '06-12 and for the darker styles, this one is only slightly above "average" for the series. the '06 is the more superior "Belgian Strong Dark Ale", in my opinion. Porter is probably a more accurate classification for this brew. A pleasure to try, but likely won't revisit this, if presented with the opportunity in the future.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.59/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

3.0 A: Black color. Not much of a head.

4.0 S: Nose on this is quite impressive. Semi-sweet tangerine peel, oak, chocolate. Herbal and earthy hoppiness. Caramel and lots of spiciness.

3.5 T: Like the nose, but not as impressive.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lightly creamy. Good here.

3.5 D: Good enough. This tastes like palate fatigue.

Photo of OldSchoolGamer
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Stone Vertical series continues with this new release. A Belgian style Imperial Porter. Here is my review:

A: Pours a deep black. Pretty thick looking. Head sticks around nicely and leaves nice lacing.

S/T: The Belgian character is the first thing I notice on the nose. Yeast and spice. Along with that is a very smokey and roasted character. The aroma is a little lacking in intensity. The taste is also somewhat lacking. The beer is very smokey with a nice roastyness. A little coffee. The Belgian character is just as prominant as the Porter characteristics. Yeast and spice. Maybe some brown sugar in there with a touch of cherry. Somewhat metallic. Its definetly a unique beer, but doesn't come together as well as I would like. Seems more like a Yin and Yang with the Porter and Belgian characteristics.

M/D: Nice and creamy mouthfeel. Thicker than a lot of stouts I have had. Pretty smooth drinking beer. I could drink a bomber, but not something I would want to revisit often.

I have very fond memories of Stones 08.08.08 because that is the day I turned 21, the legal drinking age. I remember that one being superior to this. This is okay, but it just lacked the quality and flavor blending I have come to expect from great craft brewers.

Photo of himmelhuber
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer is black, nice brown foam, looks yummy!
Smell is sweet, little tangerine, little coffee, it as almost a smokey smell, lots of roasted malts.
Taste is very intense, almost overwhelming, malty, sweet, but well balanced with a lot of hops and malt bitterness.
Mouthfeel is as the taste a bit overwhelming but carbonation is good. It was no problem finishing one pint, but I did not get a second one, that would have been to much.
I think this one will get a lot better over time, it needs to mellow out a bit, now its just to much of everything.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with ruby highlights and 2 fingers of tan head. A thick looking head that looks like you could float a quarter on it leaves spotty lacing.

S - Oak with a touch of smoke, chocolate with citrus and orange, some holiday spices.

T - Malty with some bitterness, light banana, chocolate, citrus, vanilla and a touch of smoke.

M - Medium body with good carbonation and a lingering bitterness.

D - Interesting beer when you read the bottle but I don't think the flavors mix together very well.

Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with one finger of tan head that lasts for several minutes and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of toasted malts, roasted malts, chocolate, bready malts, and a little smokey.

t - Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, smoke, toasted malts, hints of fruit and coffee.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent beer but smelled and tasted more like a porter to me. Didn't really get much Beglian spice/yeast or fruits at all. Have another bottle I'll hold onto until 2012.

Photo of jsh420
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours dark brown with ruby highlights - big 2+ finger tan head that leaves plenty of lacing

smell is ok - smells more like a wit then a strong dark - it has some dark fruit (figs) but not a lot

taste - wow this beer is not even close to a belgian strong dark - lots of chocolate and tobacco - at the very end i get the dark fruity malts - while the taste is good i marked it down

mouthfeel is medium - again most belgians have some life unless they are aged for a while - this is more like a stout very low on carbonation and very smooth and creamy

drinkability is so so - i doubt i would buy this again

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown/black color with a good sized tan head, lingers for quite awhile and leaves a cap on top, fair amount of lacing.

Smell is mostly roasted malt and a bit of a metallic presence.

Taste is well carbonated, feels a bit on the thin side though, roasted malt is the primary flavor with an odd bitter aftertaste, kind of coffee-ish but not as pleasant.

Photo of wspscott
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pazzo's in a pint glass

A: Completely black with a tan head that leaves lots of lace
S: A little bit of sweetness with a hint of belgian yeast, relatively muted
T: Very roasty, some bitter hops and dark/bitter chocolate. As it warms up, the roast malts completely dominate. I think, a little too much on the roasty side. Like an unbalanced (too roasty) porter
M: A high level of carbonation helps to off-set the "thicker/creamy" malts.
D: A very complex beer on the surface, not easy to drink, but ultimately feels like it lacks depth. Definitely worth trying, but I don't think I will reach for a second one. This is a weird beer, feels unbalanced, maybe better with some age.

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