Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 826 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -1.7%
Hopefully this review won't be inadvertently purged like my last review of this beer was. On tap at Max's the other night.
The beer pours a darkish brown color with OK head retention and decent lacing. On the nose I get an intriguing aroma of rootbeer, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, but with a considerable hop bite in the finish (naturally; after all, this is Stone). This beer has at most moderate sweetness, and it's quickly pushed asided by the drying, hoppy bitterness on the finish. In addition, there's also something of a sour apple, cardboard flavor to this beer. Hmmmm...mouthfeel is medium bodied, and I have to say that the bittersweet chocolate and somewhat noticeable alcohol detract just a bit from this beer's drinkability.
This is a nice enough beer, though one at a sitting is probably all I could ever see myself managing.
Edit from 3/15/13. Sampled at a recent vertical epic event at Pacific Coast brewing, this beer showed its age fairly well. My score was nearly identical to what I gave this beer back in 2009, with much of the original hop bite now nicely tamed by flavors of milk chocolate, vanilla and light burnt toast. The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but that was really the only sign of "old age" in this beer.
10-16-2009 15:23:54 | More by John_M
4/5 rDev -1.7%
My first of two 09 verticals, aging the other one for three years.
A- Almost black color with a tan to light brown head. Nice head retention and lacing. Feel like this is a little darker than the majority of Belgian Strong Dark Ales, I could be wrong though.
S- So much going on in the smell, love it. Dark fruits galore including most notably cherries and plumes. Alcohol is well hidden in the fruit with sweet malt smell coming through the from start to finish.
T- The fruit tastes described sneak their way in the beginning of this beer, but quickly fade. Rather than the sweet malt in the smell, there is a bitterness that is surprising and unexpected. Alcohol does come through in the taste much more than in the smell. On the end the alcohol gives a medium body warming sensation. I'm stuck as to whether to put this at 3.5 or 4.0, would like to put it somewhere in between. The fruit flavors have begun to come out much more as the beer has warmed, don't drink this one too cold.
M- Medium mouthfeel that fits well with the beer. Not quite chewy but moving towards that direction.
D- Not to hard to finish this beer, but not sure if I would grab another one immediately after (if I could find another). Nice beer.
10-01-2009 23:36:12 | More by Lolli1315
4/5 rDev -1.7%
This brew was served on draft at the Tap and Mallet Vertical Epic tasting event. It arrived in a tasting glass, showing a dark brown coloring, with light ruby letting up around the edges. It held a one finger head of light tan bubbles, showing great retention. Lacing was minimal, but carbonation did appear to be active. No haze or sediment was noted. The aroma gave syrupy fig and a twang of molasses against roasted coffee malts, and thick caramel malts. Chalky dryness of pales echoed somewhere on the back, with tangerine rind bite and sourness being definitely apparent. Light vanilla smoothness came out with heat, alongside hearty booziness. Our first impression was that there was a crazy depth to the malts, with nice warming burnt smokiness to balance the sweetness of fig. As we sipped, dark fig syrups, fusel booze, burnt liquid caramel, faintly toasted pale malts, metallic yeastiness, buttery diacetyls, and juicy saltiness mixed for a complex start. The peak came with added complexity of plum sugars, stronger fig sweetness, depth and metallics of coffee malts, and a lighter seaweed vegetable quality. The end was with molasses, the return of cloying sugary sweetness, a nice and enhanced depth of caramel malts, pale drying toast, and that maintained coffee smokiness. The aftertaste breathed of salt, molasses, anise, light smoke, leathers, caramel syrups, and toasty coffee malts. The body was medium to full, and the carbonation was medium. There was nice slurp and froth to the sip, with good cream and foaminess left around the mouth. This was quickly followed by an astringent drying bite, eliminating most of the initial juicy wetness. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank easily.
Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the depth to the malts. There was such a nice roast and smoke to the coffees and caramels by the end you would swear that you were drinking separate beers. The flavor really does develop and enhance throughout the tasting, keeping you guessing until the last drops. Additionally, the big molasses and buttery qualities added oily slickness, keeping the mouth soft. This was a nice blend.
12-23-2012 14:26:24 | More by TheBrewo
4/5 rDev -1.7%
Looks: I was worried at first because the bottle released such a pitiful hiss of air when I removed the cap, I thought it might've gone flat. But, my fears were unfounded -- a bubbly, cappuccino-colored head rises to cap the liquid as I pour. The beer below is of the deepest purple, revealing cranberry highlights when held to a lamp. The head, now a simple but persistent ring, grips the sides of the glass tightly, leaving layers of lace.
Smells: interesting. Lots and lots of milk chocolate, sweet orange juice, plums, red wine, oak, and a hint of bananas.
Tastes: like a porter with Belgian yeast. A slight metallic tinge. Heavily roasted grains impart a chocolate char, while a surge of dark fruit sweetness hits at the swallow, while waves of chocolate and hop bitterness wash across the mouth in the aftermath. The bright flavors of orange peel, paired with the chocolate, are really working here. I'm still getting the faintest bit of grassy hops and even a little bit of vanilla and oak.
Feels: lightly carbonated, medium body, smooth. Love the way this rolls about the mouth. A slight warmth flows down the throat and warms the chest.
Drinks: Nearly a year of age seems to have done a bit of melding to this beer, and all the flavors seem to be in great balance. The sweetness never gets cloying; the bitterness never gets overpowering. Good across the board. I'm interested to see if the subtle fruit flavors remain when I open my second bottle in 2012.
07-28-2010 07:06:39 | More by Phelps
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 826 ratings.