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 semibaked
2.25/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Black with about a 1inch of so of light colored head .

S - Chocolate malts, molasses, but no whiff of tangerine peel or vanilla bean like the bottle says.

T - Very bitter tasting, definitely unpleasant like concentrate citrus peel and bad almost burnt chocolate.

M - Nice and full bodied, easily the best part of this montrosity.

D - Pretty much no drinkability for this beer, I just can't get over the bitterness. Very disappointed, I usually really like Stone beers too.

Photo of psyphin
2.56/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A - Thick and dense dark brown-black with a nice 1 inch thick tan head.

S - Citrus, dark chocolate, some malt and belgian yeast phenolics

T - The beer has too much going on and its very muddy. Chocolate hits in the forefront and citrus on the back note but inbetween is a very strange flavor resembling burnt toast.

M - Too thin for traditional belgian styles, a tad thick for a porter, but it worked together ok.

D - Not quite a drain pour but nothing I will seek out. Ive now had all the Vertical Epic series beers dating back to 04 and this is the only one that didn't blow me away.

Photo of Marty30
2.76/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into A Duvel tulip at 50 degrees.

A. Pours a dark brown and turns black once in the glass. Only a half finger tan head shows up.Some lacing on the glass.

S. Smells of dark cherries and caramel with a hint of earth oxidation maybe.Some brown sugar.

T. Definately some oxidation in this bottle.A little cherry taste and maybe some faint dark fruits, a good grainy background. A little bit of a metalic taste going on in the end also.

M. Kind of a light medium mouth,with pretty good carbonation.With a lingering aftertaste.Dry finish.

Overall I was hoping this would be better. Of the vertical epics I have had this was the most dissapointing.I'm not so sure how this beer will hold up.

Photo of kmeves
2.84/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a opaque dark mahogany with a smallish tan head. Aroma has an initial strange "fishiness" that is faint although detectable as well as toasted dark caramel and chocolate. The flavor is again slightly "fishy" as well as doughy, light spiciness and chocolate. Big carbonation and full bodied. Finish is very dry and toasty.

Photo of kojevergas
2.91/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A local bar put this keg on draught to celebrate the completion of the Vertical Epic series. Cost was $6.00. Served on-draught into a New Belgium branded stem-goblet in Southern California in 2013. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention for the ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Raisin, vine, spice/mulled character, caramel, dark malts, must, brown or refined sugar, buried roast, and milk. A somewhat messy aroma, but a generally appealing one. Above average in strength.

T: Vinous, medicinal, and herbal. That's a hell of a shrewd start. Dark malts and caramel in the body. Vinous on the finish. Light raisin throughout. Some spicing. Chocolate malt. Some grainy bitterness in the third act. Strange indeed. It's off-putting. Too heavy on the spices; it's a bit earthy and grainy probably from nutmeg/coriander/other spices. Messy and imbalanced in classic Stone fashion. I like the experimentation, but this didn't turn out great.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and caramel heavy. Decently carbonated. Pretty good thickness.

Dr: Drinkable but underwhelming. Even aged (albeit in a keg), it leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn't have it again. Another merely decent offering from Stone.

C

Photo of blackearth
2.99/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

Photo of scottfrie
2.99/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

Photo of donkeyrunner
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.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.08/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

Photo of armock
3.11/5  rDev -23.8%
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

Photo of ImusBeer
3.15/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.21/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

Photo of Treebs
3.24/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

Photo of rudzud
3.26/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
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

Photo of bulletrain76
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
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

Photo of aerozeppl
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Photo of jvillefan
3.32/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

Photo of ccrida
3.34/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

Photo of cratez
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

Photo of peabody
3.36/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
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?

Photo of elNopalero
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

Photo of MaineBirdMan
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.

Photo of bruachan
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

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