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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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

807 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 807
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%


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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 807 | Reviews: 530 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of beagle75
beagle75

Iowa

3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Draft service into a half-pint goblet at Stone Bistro.

A: Opaque black, showing dark brown at the edges, with over one finger of diminishing beige foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Raw, husky grain with a tang of lactic acidity. The presence of roast on the malt is surprisingly lacking in the smell, considering the dark appearance. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins dry, briefly fruity before distinctly cheesy and fungal yeast flavors take over. Husky roasted malt also contributes, becoming more apparent (along with a more neutral variety of umami) in the middle. The finish is still malty, low in bitterness, with some papery flavors also developing. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, balanced on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: This is a beer that creates interest for it with every sip. Not content to suffice with a strong dark ale tasting of dark fruit, wood smoke, or coffee/chocolate, Stone elected for a different approach. The Belgian yeast used here take this beer in an unexpected direction, making it memorably cheesy at first, but ultimately delivering a dry and savory experience resembling that of very few other beverages. If this beer was more common it would be worthwhile to test the limits of its food-pairing potential during many decadent sessions.

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2011 06:42:44 | More by beagle75
Photo of argock
argock

Virginia

3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a Chimay chalice. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $7.99.

A: Very dark brown with amber edges topped with 1-finger, cake batter colored bubbly head with decent retention and a few random lace formations.

S: The aroma profile is very complex but not that complementary, kind of like a palette of smells with not a lot of cohesiveness. Musty and candy sweet with major yeastiness with a twinge of citrus.

T: The flavor is also a smattering of different tastes including musty, leafy hops, chocolate, fruity yeast, orange peel, and sweet malt with a leathery edge. Unfortunately, the flavors don't work very well together although it is complex.

M: A solidly medium body with low carbonation and a musty, light chocolate aftertaste

D: I'm not sure what to say about this beer. The parts don't come together very well, but the aromas and flavors are interesting and unique. Maybe some time will take the rougher edges off and produce a more cohesive brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2009 02:48:56 | More by argock
Photo of craftaholic
craftaholic

New York

3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: On tap in a tulip glass. Poured a completely opaque jet black hue with a finger length of deep tan head that left behind splotchy lacing.

Smell: The scent is that of burnt espresso, tinges of belgian yeast and even slight touches of coriander, orange peel and currant.

Taste: Starts off with a big pillowy malt that floats over your palate and deposits nuances of the citric orange peel and heavy amounts of yeast. There is an abundance of dark chocolate in the malt and it carries the touches of spice and slight hop bitterness till a big dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Had a medium body and is has a lingering aftertaste much like that guy at every party who doesn't realize you want him to leave.

Drinkability: An OK beer that is definitely a sipper, even though the abv is low the flavors are high.

Overall: Needs age in my opinion and was even intended for that, it has too much bittersweet cocoa in it for me and not enough other malt offering for me to really love it. With age however hopefully overpowering flavors will mellow and it will be well rounded

(will edit upon revisit in a few years)

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2009 18:45:52 | More by craftaholic
Photo of rapidsequence
rapidsequence

Virginia

3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Appearance: This is a black beer with the slightest bit of red on the edges when held right to the light. Frothy light brown head mostly fades after a few minutes, but leaves a thin, uneven sheet all the way to the bottom of my snifter. Lacing is in nice sheets, but doesnt really stick.

Smell: The major aroma is the fusion of dark fruit and roast that you only get in Belgian stouts. There is bitter citrus smell and oaky vanilla too.

Taste: Dark chocolate and coffee roasted malt flavors. There are woody and vanilla flavors and spice. All that is fine until the bitter orange takes over. The finish is all bitter citrus and roast. Think about drinking black coffee and sucking an orange peel at the same time.

Mouthfeel: Its pretty smooth and slightly creamy, but too thin for such a big beer.

Drinkability: Leaving out the orange peel would make this an excellent beer. As it is, its really good for part of the time its in my mouth. I did drink many last year on draft, served way too cold, and it was way better for whatever that's worth.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 00:44:58 | More by rapidsequence
Photo of MaineBirdMan
MaineBirdMan

Maine

3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle.
half inch head
appearance: Dark brown with a coffee head.

nose: candy with a hint of coffee. Some pineapple notes came to mind.

taste: Good amount of hops on the finish. Mixed with some hints of coffee and chocolate.

mouthfeel: pleasant amount of bitterness from the hops. A nice warming feel from the alcohol. Not a whole lot of carbonation.

Drinkability: Couldn't drink too many of these. Nice to have one by the fire on a cold night.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2009 12:31:18 | More by MaineBirdMan
Photo of bruachan
bruachan

District of Columbia

3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

it's quite dark, if not opaque. good head up front, though it diminished (never disappeared, however)

chocolate and dark fruit aromas. vinous

heat, as to be expected from and Epic brew (should be ironed out in three years). plenty of hop asserts itself with a big bitterness. spicy all around and some dried fruit (cherry) dances. a touch of chocolate or coffee (how is it that i can't decide?). man, very bitter

i can't quite decide how i think this will age. it's not so very deep that the future is obvious. the heat and spice will obviously minimize but it's a little thin to begin with (which will only increase with time)

good brew; excited to see how it will be in a few years.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2009 05:15:38 | More by bruachan
Photo of DovaliHops
DovaliHops

California

3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Pors a pitch black color with a medium sized brownish tan head. Scent is very sweet and chocolatey. A bit of alcohol as well. Sweet malts and roasted barley as well. I also pick up a slight peanut-butter scent. Taste is initially toasted malts...this beer sure has an interesting taste to it. I pick up a...shall I say, SEAFOOD kinda taste to this. Especially in the aftertaste. I don't know if my palate is playing tricks on me or what. Not really digging the flavor. I wish the chocolate and alcohol would hide this strange flavor I'm getting. The mouthfeel is quite nice though. Slightly velvety smooth with nice carbonation. Drinkability is not very high.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2010 06:51:23 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/4/12
*From notes

A: Rich crayon brown. A good pour yields a two finger bubbly head. It fades in time, a leaves a decent collar behind.

S: Candied Belgian sugars and cocoa. Some vanilla becomes more evident as it warms.

T: Sweet, with a grassy quality to it. More vanilla hits the mid and rides to the finish. Not half bad - this seems to have aged reasonably well.

M: Feel could use a little work. It's just not as thick and viscous as a Belgian Strong (that comes across kinda stout-like) should be.

O: One of the better VE's in the series. It's holding up well, it's tasty and something I won't have a problem putting back again in what...eight months?

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2012 21:20:30 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero

Texas

3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This pours a tawny dark amber color. I get a boozy “rummy” aroma—like rum with some strong vanilla notes to it. The flavor is … off. It’s harsh and off-balanced with an artificial vanilla flavor dominating on top a strong Belgian dark ale base beer. Time has not treated this one kindly.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 09:59:27 | More by elNopalero
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, 09.09.09 VE is a very dark brown with a very large, dark tan head, with frustratingly long last, rocky settling, leaving foamy lace.

Smell is sweet and spicy, big esters, loads of clove and way overripe banana, a mustiness to it that's not too appetizing.

Taste is okay, from the first sip, I was put off by the intensity of flavor, and the lack of integration between the many components. There's a fine line between complex and kitchen sink. However, as my palate adjusts, it starts to work better for me. Definitely a big bitter chocolate component, a hint of the vanilla, not really sure about the orange. Stone was going for the taste of orange chocolates, and I'm not sure they really hit that mark. Will be interested to see how this ages.

Mouthfeel is dry, medium-heavy bodied, but not particularly viscous.

Drinkability is not to high, this is a really robustly flavored beer that just doesn't lend itself to rapid drinking. Nor is it the type of beer that I want to have again.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2010 03:53:46 | More by ccrida
Photo of peabody
peabody

Kentucky

3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark black liquid with one finger of very tan suds. Lacing here about the glass.
Aroma is very light cinnamon and star of anise and a formalahyde type smell.
Taste is a weak mishmash of sugar and charred malts with a hint of the pepper spice thrown in at the end. Not really enough going on here.
Mouthfeel is fairly clean with just a tad of sugar stickyness lingering at the end. The 8.6% is hidden well all through the tasting. The peppery feel at the back of the throat is kinda nice but that isn't enough to keep me coming back for another slug.
Overall this is another dissapointment.. It's not terrible by any means , just not noteworthy as far as good beer should be.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 21:46:20 | More by peabody
Photo of aerozeppl
aerozeppl

New York

3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice solid black color with 2 fingers of coffee colored head. Nice lacing as well.

S: Almost smells like a saison yeast in the first blast. Then comes the roast and chocolate. A touch of fruit but I could never really flush it out.

T: Burnt espresso beans start off with quite a bit of bitterness. It really just falls off after that. I lacked the complexity I look for in their vertical EPIC series. A little bit of chocolate in the back.

M: The mouthfeel is great. Nice and creamy. Full bodied without being a burden.

D: This beer is all about cellaring right? Right now it is an OK beer at best. That being said this probably has the best chance of all the vertical epic beers I have had to last to 2012 (Had 2005 to present) I am really torn on this series. Great idea. I just don't know how many will make it all the way. Maybe this beer is a nod to that.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2009 23:52:32 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of cratez
cratez

Ontario (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The last beer from a ridiculous haul purchased by my girlfriend at Beer World in Largo, Florida. Pours an opaque black with a thin ring of mocha tan head and threads of lacing on the snifter. Smell and taste are floral hops, vanilla beans, oak barrel, sweet dried fruit, roasted and chocolate malts, biscuit, strong bitterness, and a touch of alcohol. I get some orange peel on the nose, but not in the flavour. Mouthfeel is medium, spicy, a bit hollow, sharp carbonation, chalky and dry finish. The bold, citrusy IBUs do not complement the old ale elements in this beer. It drinks like a stale and boozy porter with IPA bitterness. Not a BSDA by any stretch of the imagination. I never thought I'd be disappointed with a Stone beer, but this one doesn't do it for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2010 04:56:55 | More by cratez
Photo of DarthKostrizer
DarthKostrizer

California

3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared a bottle with Alucard4

Look: Black with brown rings around the edges 1/2 inch head and good retention

Smell: Belgian yeast with some vanilla and notes of chocolate

Taste: Upfront is a earthy kind of dirty Belgian yeast note and the backend has quite a bit of coffee and traces of chocolate

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation and a bit chalky

Overall: When this beer first came out I loved it so much that I bought a whole case and now that a couple years has gone by this beer has taken a turn for the worse and I feel next year when people do the huge vertical they will be even more let down

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 21:37:18 | More by DarthKostrizer
Photo of jvillefan
jvillefan

California

3.26/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

A: A very dark body with a half finger mocha head.

S: Very mute aromas. There is subtle chocolate aromas present.

T: I have always heard people describe the taste of their beer as soy sauce but have never had that flavor in my beer...until now. Soy sauce is dominate in this beer. There is very subtle chocolate in the background of this beer.

M: Nice body with great carbonation.

O: This beer could have been great had it been able to age a little better. I believe at some point in time this was a 4.35 beer, now unfortunately, it is not even close.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 01:48:23 | More by jvillefan
Photo of bulletrain76
bulletrain76

California

3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Nearly black in appearance with a light tan head of good thickness and consistency; bordering on pillowy. The aroma has a good deal of tangerine and raspberry mixed with burnt toast and charred oak. The longer the beer warms, the more the fruit pops out actually, with a striking vanilla kick coming out, and an almost sour patch kid tartness. They really seem to have crammed a lot into the aromatics. The flavor brings the same qualities of burnt malt, oaky tannic bitterness, boozy vanilla extract,and citrus sweetness together. They aren't really working in harmony, and not as well as in the aroma. There just seems to be a little too much going on right now, but I can see that changing with some age. The mouthfeel is a little hot and astringent, with the alcohol and oak ganging up on your tongue. On the one hand, this is the third year in a row that I have thought that the Vertical epic release was a little weak and unrefined in general, but at least this one tastes like three years in the cellar might actually help it out

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2009 04:09:33 | More by bulletrain76
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed while doing a 07-12Belgian vertical.

A - Poured into a palm tulip a nice dark brown hue with a good one finger mocha head that left a light blanket and light side lacing.

S - Aromas of faint chocolate and esters...smells over aged?

T - Taste is a bit old light roasted malts, chocolate, faint citrus. Really did not hold up to the aging.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated but solid albeit meh for the style.

O - Overall this was an okay beer nicely smokey with chocolate and citrus. Still though there's better Belgian strongs.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 23:30:01 | More by rudzud
Photo of Treebs
Treebs

Illinois

3.21/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown color, almost opaque with a tan head forming on the pour. Recedes quickly to a thin ring and splotchy lace.

S: Roasted malts with some light chocolate undertones and a little anise. There's some earthy greeness to it as well.

T: Dark fruit, prunes and some roast. A light chocolate is noticeable, but unfortunately this one is slightly oxidized as well. Light cardboard with some woody oak and dirty earthiness.

M: Medium heavy bodied with a medium low carbonation level. Roasted and dry finish.

O: There was an odd earthiness to it and the French oak didn't mesh well. Slight oxidation detracted from the overall "enjoyment" as well.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2013 02:55:31 | More by Treebs
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

3.2/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Super dark black with a good two inches of brown head, it looks like a stout. It smells a lot like malty chocolate and the taste is quite similar with the addition of a belgian yeastiness that saves this from being a stout in my mind. Still, maybe its a Belgian-style stout. I got not hint of orange-chocolate candy. This was very average to me, it was neither offensive nor impressive despite the uniqueness of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2009 02:59:24 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of ImusBeer
ImusBeer

Georgia

3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

It was dark at the table and the glass (11oz) although thin was completely black. The tan head seemed constant at first with about a quarter inch but did eventually die.

The aroma was just about only smoke IMHO, maybe some dark molasses or fruits. The taste was dominated by burnt malt and a finish of bitterness.

Mouthfeel was thin with the bitter aftertaste. I hoped for more but all in all a good sipping Dark Ale.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2009 16:06:20 | More by ImusBeer
Photo of PorterLambic
PorterLambic

Florida

3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a big, fluffy brown head that is slow to dissipate. Some waterfalling. Looks rich and forboding at the same time.
Smell is mostly absent. Very light smoke, hops and malt.
Taste is malt, coffee, smoke, alcohol, earthy with some light spice.
Medium body,light effervescence, warming. Good but sadly nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2010 03:12:28 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of armock
armock

New York

3.1/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a very dark brown color with a tan head that fades to just a thin layer quickly and leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off chocolate with some spices

T - This is a little bit of a let down its like drinking a home brew version of the style theres roasted malt with some spice and alcohol

M - This beer has a medium full body with medium carbonation to it

D - To me this is kinda hard to drink its like a bottle of home brew that has some weird flavors in it that just don't make it enjoyable I usually like just about everything from stone but this one isn't that good to me

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2010 15:47:19 | More by armock
Photo of blackearth
blackearth

Minnesota

3/5  rDev -26.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with a shy foamy head. With the humidity and 4 years in the cellar I'll give it a pass. Smells like chocolate and orangey grape drank. Tastes like it smells: chocolate malty dark fruit.

I think this would have been better when it was released.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2013 14:44:04 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

2.98/5  rDev -27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown with two fingers of foamy light brown-orange head that reduced down into a thick film leaving some streaky lacing.
S: Dark fruits and Belgium spices. Slight sweetness and faint yeast. Not potent smelling.
T: Woody, toasted grains, some fruit, hints of Belgium spices, with some alcohol notes. Leaves a dark coffee aftertaste in your mouth. Also has chocolate notes, especially in the aftertaste. None of these flavors are huge however. Aftertaste is slightly off-putting.
M: Surprisingly thin. Not much flavor either. Has a predominantly toasted flavor.
D: This might be an okay porter, but this was a very unimpressive Belgium strong dark ale. Not much flavor was present and it has a disappointingly thin body. Flavor was surprisingly toasted without a lot of sweet fruits, spices or yeast. This beer didn't have much of a smell either. What flavors were present were decent though. I was pretty let down by this Stone offering.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 18:10:58 | More by scottfrie
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 807 ratings.