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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

836 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 836
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 34
Gots: 274 | FT: 14
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
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Ratings: 836 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some pretty good lacing. Aroma of chocolate malt with some notes of roasted malt though bitterness is pretty tame. Taste is quite enjoyable with lots of black chocolate notes with a nice touch of roasted malt - not sure I could taste the vanilla or orange notes. Body is about average with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done though a bit shy of character and I still have to wonder how this is going to improve with time.

Phyl21ca, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of LittleBug31
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very black. Quite a substantial medium-tan head with tiny, foamy bubbles.

Smell: Chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Banana split even, with the pineapple and banana-bready aromas. Bright, crisp, and clean with a hoppy spiciness.

Taste: Whoa! Very roasty with lots of chocolate. Intense flavor. The sweetness of pineapple mixes with a smoky, burnt vanilla bean for an interesting taste. Shocks my mouth with each sip! --Flavors mesh and calm down quite a bit as it warms.

Mouthfeel: A strong jolt to the tongue. A bit too bitter for me. Overall very smooth; mild carbonation that is very pleasant.

Drinkability: Very enjoyable in small quantities, but the full-bodiedness and intensity makes me hesitant for more.

LittleBug31, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of darklordlager
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an intriguing black, with brown edges when held up to the light. An initial lively medium-tan head, dying down to a mere coating within a minute or two.

S: Fruity, roasty, chocolatey. The fruitiness is beyond what you would expect from just the yeast--it has a bright character (from the tangerine?) which fits together well with the citric hop notes. The roasted and dark malts manifest as chocolate, and char. Overall, it reminds me very much of a variety of incense.

T: Light unsweetened chocolate flavour with a interesting fruitiness. Smoke, roasted character. The finish is of bittersweet chocolate. I think Stone came pretty close in their attempt to "imitate a chocolate bar with orange." The flavours imparted by the vanilla beans are not prevalent, and I didn't seem to taste them at all before searching for them. The toasty character from the French oak is definitely there--fitting in nicely with the dark chocolate and roasty/smoky malt.

M: Medium carbonation, and velvetty smooth on the tongue.

D: The roast/toasty flavour would get to me for sure after more than a glass or two. An interesting beer from Stone, one that's progress will be checked sometime in the future...

darklordlager, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of ozzyCobblepot
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought this 22 oz. bomber back in late September from De Vinos in Adams Morgan, DC. Let it sit in the back of the fridge until today, which I must say, I'm very proud of. Even through tough times I left this bottle alone until 2010 came around. Don't know if it did anything, but a personal victory Ill take it.

A: Pours a nearly black, totally opaque drink with a big, chocolaty frothy head, clings well to the sides of the glass.
S: Deep coffee notes and bitter chocolate, touch of spicy hops.
T: Slightly sweet chocolate, mild dark fruit flavors intermixed with grassy hops, brown sugar, toffee flavors. Not bitter at all.
M: Medium bodied, slight carbonation, very refreshing.

Overall a slightly sweet, darkly toasted brew--subtle, but with many different flavors present. Many flavors, but none so pronounced that they dominate or take over. Moreover, the taste seems to progress through stages, allowing room for the complexity of the flavors to take their course. A filling and unique beer, done as well as anything in the style.

ozzyCobblepot, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of mothman
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Pours 1 finger of tan head. Pretty decent retention with very nice lacing. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Lots of roasted malts, nut flavors, grassy hops, chocolate, caramel, and slight coffee notes. Pretty decent.

Taste: Lots of roasted and burnt malts again. I get a bunch of burnt brown sugar and caramel flavors. Tons of grassy hops to balance it out. Nice coffee notes. Not to bad.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smooth, and refreshing. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends super dry and roasted.

Overall, I would not age this beer. The flavors taste fine and I don't expect this one getting and better. Glad I got to try this one fresh.

mothman, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of beerguy101
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on 12/27/2009. This Belgian Strong Ale pours a very dark brown color from a 22oz bottle. Medium sized beige foamy head, with nice retention and good lacing. The aroma is chocolate, dark fruit and roasty malts. A medium bodied Belgian Strong Ale. The malts are chocolate, fruity, roasted malts and estery. The hops are citrusy and floral. Nice carbonation. Lots of interesting flavors going on here, orange, chocolate, vanilla, a touch of oak, a little banana and clove. Hides the alcohol well. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter and chocolaty.

beerguy101, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of merlin48
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

merlin48, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of chilidog
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought mine back in september, no dought, at my beloved Anderson store Now Closed in Lima. I bought the very last bottle & the very last V.Epic in town. Now i'll have to roadtrip in 2010. Enough!! The "09"

I opened thisone on New Years eve as I do all my Vertical Epics. So with three months of cellar age I was surprised at this dark ale. With other holiday tastes on the palate this beer is best on its own or as a desert brew.

It pours dark. Medium body. Cocoa colored head that does fade with minimal lace. Trace lace at best.

Aroma of dark fruit. I get tyhe citric note as tangerine peel and grapefruit and the softness of bananna.

Taste the color reveals its dark side of plum, fig,cocoa dark chocolate, expresso. Earthy notes of wood char and smoke.

Mouthfeel is good. Malty cocoa bitterness is left with a silky expresso bean slight alcohol dryness.

Drinkability, Oh ya. On its own is best I think.

Note; a Good "News years" Day morning brew as well. Heres to ageing!!

chilidog, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of CheckMate
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased at Tully's in Wells, ME. Split with BA member MrHurmateeowish. we figured it would be an appropriate way to say Goodbye to 2009. pours an opaque ebony color with a quarter of an inch of tan head that quickly dissipated. scents of dark chocolate, espresso, and toffee immediately hits the nose with nut, date and a bit of alcohol in the background but not really strong. tastes of dark chocolate and dates immediately grace the tongue with tinges of espresso, wood, and nuts. Moderate carbonation and full bodied. definitely a sipper the alcohol is very warming but leaves no traces of it in the taste. Quite an exceptional beer. Two Thumbs up to Stone!

Cheers!!

CheckMate, Jan 01, 2010
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.

MrHurmateeowish, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of NCBeernut
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy New Years! Grabbed a bomber of this at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville. Poured into a Unibroue tulip. Pours thick and black with a big fluffy head with excellent retention. Looks rich and dessert-like. Aroma is subdued. Bits of spices with the contribution of a very slight phenolic yeast character. A little chocolaty on the nose.

Heavy roasted flavors and caramel of decent strength. Definite alcohol. Thick heavy extra dark chocolate takes the lead. Hop bitterness is present but not overwhelming. Slight spiciness, with a very subtle hint of cinnamon. Rich and decadent. Tastes a lot like a heavy imperial stout - I would actually classify it as such if it were me. Flavors are still a bit muddled, this beer is still coming together, but pretty good. Really creamy, velvety and big-bodied with a definite alcoholic edge.

NCBeernut, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of puboflyons
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am saddened that this is the first time I have seen this annual brew from Stone. But I do not believe this is available in New Hampshire where I live. I found this one on a visit to Vermont. It pours a very dark brown to almost charcola black with about a half-inch of creamy tan had that is long lasting. The aroma is of banana bread, chocolate malts, and vaguely sweet as well. The taste is a complex combo of sour hops and chocolate malts. This was a nice brew.

puboflyons, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of mntlover
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black some light showing through nice sized coco head falls slow to a cap, some lace left behind.

Aroma is wonderful chocolate malts, light fruity notes citrus tangerine, mango mingled with bananas. Aroma is soft smooth very inviting.

Taste is well different then the nose sadly. Chocolate malts but hops kick in soon to add minty notes that come out quick with the carbonation. Hops are minty and earthy in.

Mouthfeel is big medium with way too much carbonation, even constant swirling cant get rid of it.

Drinkability well would be fantastic if aroma was all there was. Sadly taste is not up to par with the aroma, still not bad be even better if the CO2 was cut in half.

mntlover, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

Pitch black with a tight tan colored head that thinned out to a ring leaving patches of lacing.
Smell is dark fruits (dates, raisins, figs) and yeast.
Taste follows through on the aroma with some smokiness tossed in. The finish is not bitter but far from being overly sweet.
Medium/Full bodied with a rich, creamy feel.
Easy to drink as the abv is very well hidden.

JoeyBeerBelly, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of bluejacket74
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, coffee, and some vanilla. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some charred malt and smoke, along with a bit of banana. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's somewhat creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. Also, the alcohol isn't noticable in the aroma and taste, however it does catch up to you later. I think this is a good brew, can't wait to see how this one ages.

bluejacket74, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of russpowell
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to colonelforbin for this one!

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & some herbal hops

T: Charred wet grain, dark fruit, especially raisin & a touch of coffee up front. Dryness & coffee dominate as this warms, plus more dark fruit, leafy hops & some baker's chocolate & a touch of white pepper, vanilla & cherry. Finishes dry, fruitty & with much coffee & some cherry

MF: Fairly chewy, low carbonation & great balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV, not getting a ton of Belgian character here, but I didn't expect a literal interpretation from these guys anyhow. A tasty dark brew that I'd say is more of a big stout with some Belgian tendencies. One I would consider stockpiling if feasible, cuts the chill nicely!

russpowell, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of scootny
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge head, light brown with great retention and good lacing. A black brown fluid. This has the smell of a Belgian mocha stout. Chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel and molasses. Vanilla is tucked in there as it a touch of orange. Smoke and roasted grains. Dark sweet breads. A Belgian yeast fruitiness with overripe banana. A thick rich taste that is like the nose but much better greets your tongue. Chocolate and charcoal. Vanilla and burnt caramel. Orange and banana. More dark sweet breads with a roasted multigrain toasted crust. A clean dry finish that leaves a touch of chocolate syrup and charcoal dipped in burnt marshmellow. Hops are a touch minty and herbal. This stuff is just too good. A thick and full feel has a wonderful syrupiness that is tamed by a somewhat creamy carbonation. It is remarkably supple on the tongue. This is way too drinkable as the alcohol is so well hidden and the feel and taste encourage you to indulge to the max.

My favorite VE of the few I've had. I have all except 020202 cellaring and I hope just a few come out as good as this one is right now. Thank you Stone! I love this one!

scootny, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 9/25/2009. Bottle. Pours black with a pretty, small chocolate colored head. Aroma of rich roasted malt, smoke, bitter chocolate, roasted nuts, and a touch of Belgian yeast. Flavor of roasted and charred malt and wood/cedar with some roasted nuts/peanut butter notes. Subtle notes of citrus eventually make their presence. Very nice, great beer from Stone.

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of sarahloca44
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The S.O. tried a few years back to homebrew a Chocolate Mandarin Stout, and this is what it SHOULD have been.

Very dark brown in appearance with an impressive head. The tangerine is very subtle and the vanilla accentuates the chocolate malt more than it adds it's own flavor.

Drinkability: While this was delicious, like many special beers, splitting the 22oz. bottle with a friend was plenty for me. I, however, could drink one everyday.

sarahloca44, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of taylorhamrick
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours out very dark, I mean, as black as some stouts, with a nice pillowy 2cm+ head. The bubbles seem to be kind of loose but cling moderately well. Looks pretty good. The smell has a ton of bitter roasted coffee and chocolate backed with an interesting fruity, yeasty component. Otherwise I can't detect a lot of the normal smells you get from a belgian strong dark. Still the smell is pleasant. The taste comes out with one thing in mind - chocolate-coated orange peels. Very bitter - like citrus bitter and chocolate bitter, but very reach and roasty, not overly bitter, also slightly fruity. I also get a finish with slightly pasty yeast, and boozy coffee flavors. As it warms some of the harsher flavors mellow out, giving way to a more grainy, syrupy sweetness, but there is still a hint of bitterness. This beer is quite more enjoyable as it warms, overall, I find it quite good. I would most likely drink it again, though I am certain I can find things that are better. The mouthfeel is strange. There is consistently this sharp little flavor in the background, but the body is medium, maybe a bit more full, and the carbonation is pleasantly on the low side of sharp. The drinkability is quite nice. Better than I expected, and quite good or an 8.6% beer, though my plan was to nurse it from the start. I still found myself wanting more and more as I drank.

taylorhamrick, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of david18
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't know this was considered a strong dark belgian. After pouring and smelling it i got more of a stout quality. In any case this, like the other vertical epics, is an excellent beer. Great dark color and woody aroma. Pours a great head and the alcohol is perfectly balanced with the hops and malt.

I'd been waiting for this since September 9 and am glad it finally showed up somewhat that I shop, Whole Foods.

david18, Dec 16, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber - $7.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a near black body with a large, burbling head of tan foam.

Smell: Deep notes of roast and smoke and wood -- it's like strolling through a former-cabin that had an all-too tragic accident. Lesser notes of spice, fruit, and Dutch cocoa seem buried within the smoldering rubble.

Taste: Roast leads to toast which leads to a resounding wooden taste and long-lasting, spicy tastes of smoked black licorice and ground pepper. Lesser hints of dark chocolate and vanilla and sweet molasses dare try to peak out from under these heady flavors. I must say, it is quite smoky throughout. Curiously arranged, subtle mix of dark fruits, banana, and citrus from those added tangerine peels. Earthy bitterness leaking out amongst all the staunch roastiness. Some alcohol warmth and further fruitiness on the spicy, drying, malt-riddled finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly different and very complex, though I'm not quite sure what to make of it at this stage three months from its initial release. Of the more recent Epic Ale releases (minus the 08.08.08 which I still haven't had, unfortunately), this is the one I most curious to see how it'll age. Let's hope for great things, eh?

ChainGangGuy, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 22-ounce screenprinted bomber bottle features scads of the usual Stone informative puffery, but with the crown pried off it's time to let the beer do the talking...let's roll.

09.09.09 pours ruby-hued roasted chestnut in color with a finger-thick topping of creamy light khaki-colored foam. The consistency of the crowning head is firm and silky, and as the bubble-cap slowly relaxes, it deposits rings of broken sheeted lacing onto the inner walls of my D-R snifter.

The aroma is quite fruity with a mango-spritzed note of chocolate-covered ripe banana firmly front-and-center. A crisp citrusy edge provides a whiff of countering tangerine tartness, and a darkly roasted component contributes savor and depth to the profile. As the drink warms a bit, a dry-toasted oaky note becomes increasingly prominent.

The taste is richly deep and chocolatey with an edging of vanilla-infused dark-roast coffee. A mellow backing of banana lingers underneath the darkness, resting atop a long, oaky-dry finish that is laced with a touch of snappy spice and a drop of bittering citrus peel oil. Any detectable alcohol is virtually non-existent, save the warming sensation in my belly and a fleeting flash-in-the-pan flavor that comes on late in the encounter to interject the vaguest notion of plum wine.

The drink is lush, fluffy, and fullish in body with excellent, extremely fine-grained carbonation. Highly drinkable, even given the 8.9% ABV, but I'd really expect nothing less from Stone.

cvstrickland, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Party Source on 09/09/09. Poured clear dark brown color with a large frothy light brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted nutty malt, chocolate and tart citrus aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation. Medium to heavy chocolate bittersweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration. Good brew that may need some age to balance.

tmoneyba, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served in my Bruery tulip. Poured one shade shy of black with a two-inch, frothy, khaki-colored head embedded with tiny ringlets that eventually settles into a fairly consistent skim - a thick band of lacing coated the side opposite the tilt. Nose reveals cocoa, a roasty character, perhaps a little lactose and a hint of smoke. Taste follows nose, but a little less rich than anticipated, and also a little bittering hops that comes out at the end. Mouthfeel is just shy of medium, with a light, consistent background carbonation, with something of a creamy quality in the mix. Pretty tasty, but not what I would consider a Belgian Strong Dark; closer to an American Stout. Nonetheless, a pretty tasty brew.

Jwale73, Dec 13, 2009
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 836 ratings.