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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
91
outstanding

828 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 828
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 35
Gots: 272 | FT: 13
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: 828 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LukeD23
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

Beautiful pour. Magagony black with a tan head

Chocolate dried figs and slight toasted bread for aroma

Flavor is very smooth. Really complex beer. Again cocoa is a key player. Slight herb. subtle earthy Belgian flavors of clove and spice.

I like it. Nice Belgian stouty beer. Obviously a good ager

LukeD23, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

22oz. bomber poured into tulip shaped glasses:

A: Light tan head with a dark brown almost black in color thick looking body to it.

S: Dark fruit like figs or plums, yeasty, with a hint of tobacco, and smokey malt.

T: Wow this is amazing... smokey, coffee, chocolate, delicious toffee with a warming slight alcohol burn on the end. This really has a lot going on here, but yet still very well balanced.

M: Medium body, perfect carbonation, really just overall smooth and creamy. Leaves you wanting more.

D: Could easily drink a whole 22oz on our own, but this was shared at a beer dinner with great company.

Cheers,
The Kings Of Hop

TheKingsOfHop, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

2009 properly cellared bottle, poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a very dark brown, appearing opaque black in the glass. Fine two finger light brown head with great retention and lots of lacing. Delicious aroma of chocolate, dark and caramel malt, vanilla, oak and whiskey, one of the best smelling ales I've experienced. Flavor follows aroma, dominated by sweet and toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and a touch of oak and coffee. Finish is a bit stark with charred coffee, oak and hop bitterness. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. An unusual Belgian influenced ale, almost approaching a Belgian stout in malt and flavor complexity. Very enjoyable and one of the best of a series that all aged remarkably well. Kudos to Stone.

LiquidAmber, Dec 31, 2012
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

Poured into a Unibroue tulip. Almost smells like a imperial porter. Lots of coffee, chocolate and vanilla. Very smooth and creamy. Maybe I shouldn't review this beer after most recently drinking a 13th anniversary from Stone (breathtaking), and maybe I shouldn't review in 2009 when the beer was designed to peak after 2012, but a beer that's a slight let down from Stone 13, is still a great beer and from most other breweries, this one would be exceptional. If Stone says this will peak in 3+ years, I believe them...I believe anything they say, how could we not at this point. The beer is great and one day may be stupendous, I look forward to laying it down. This beer may be the reason that BA allows you to re-review beers.

KickbacksSteve, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of IBUnit63
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

Allowed this one to breathe quite a bit and poured it into a Duvel tulip...

Develops a very nice head - a full finger of maple/brown sugar goodness...very dough-like and gelatinous. Nice! Lacing and retention aren't bad, either. Body is dark and viscous...mildly espresso-like. Solid.

It seems as if the more it warms the more prominent the tangering peel is. Very good. The chocolate is well-refined and while in the background provides a creamy scent with a fair amount of bittersweet that plays well off the chocolate. I forget the candies my parents used to get back in the day but there was something shaped like an orange, but it was chocolate with infused orange and zest. Reminds me of this. Malt is roasted well and plays off some gentle hop pine. Belgian yeast strain creates a nice abbey feel to it all.

The creaminess hits the palate and brings along very solid chocolate malt flavors. Essence/zest is a little more quiet on the palate than on the nose. Hop profile adds in some grass to the aforementioned pine. Tannins from the dark-roasted malt are very soft but they engage the ever-increasing grassiness of the hops to provide solid synergies.

Palate feel on this one can't be improved too much. It has the hop bite and a little dryness but the creaminess of the chocolate and associated malt really smooth this to a velvet touch. Maybe a little lighter weight than desired but that is a minor beef. Spiciness of Belgian yeast and...Special B maybe (?)...really play this one up well.

Right about now I'm mentally smasing a newspaper over my head for not saving any of the VEs prior to 2007, 'cause I vaguely remember how enjoyable they were. Ahhh, whaddayagonnado. Either way, I enjoyed this one more than last year's upon release but I really should go back and snag yet another 08.08.08 to see how it's coming along. This one has a greater richness and creaminess that is nicely enjoyed.

IBUnit63, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

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 FosterJM
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

148th review on BA
Bottle to Tulip

App- A very dark brown with some lighter ruby highlights. Nice 1 1/2 finger head that had a deep tan head on it as well.

Smell- A big malty, chocolate smell had some booziness behind it as well.

Taste- Nice tasty flavor that drinks very big. A spicy, malty, chocolate and a bit bready feel.

Mouth- Smoothy, malty and a big palate pleaser. Medium bodied with a fairly medium carbontion. Really a big beer to this one.

Drink- Pretty good after two years in the cellar. It's got a lot of flavor and it's quite different.

FosterJM, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of randawakes
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

Dark pour, mild head, some lace. Tastes dark malty and chocolately, light vanilla flavors and creme. Faint wood chips/oak residual taste. Mild-low carbonation, smooth drinkability, enjoy, but not quite the '08 epic. Still looking forward to having my 2007 next year or the year after.

randawakes, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of ColForbinBC
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

22oz bottle poured into a Chouffe tulip

A deep, dark brown, borderline black on the pour with a huge khaki head that fills the tulip perfectly. Some pretty fantastic retention and lacing, this guy holds shape really well.

Bittersweet dark chocolate notes right off the bat. The Belgian yeast strain adds a bit of tang and a noticeable presence of orange peel. Deep roast, tiptoeing char, and a herbal, earthy hop presence. A lot to offer here.

The flavors do not disappoint. Deep roasted malt with dark Belgian chocolate up front and orange peel throughout. The yeast adds a level of tartness that melds well with the sweetness of the chocolate. Dark fruits make an appearance briefly before a dry, coffee flavor grabs hold for the finish.

Smooth and lush. The carbonation is near perfect giving this a well balanced mouthfeel. Hearty and full, but light and playful in the right spots.

Some warming in the finish, but not a lot. The flavors really complement each other nicely and make this a fine drinking stout, er, belgian porter.

ColForbinBC, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of NCSUdo
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

22 oz bottle

A: Dark brown under a good sized light brown head. Great lace and retention.

S: Sweet malt, dark fruit, hint of roasted character and nuttiness, mahybe a little bit of oak and a bit of banana and bubble gum. Malt still dominates here, so I'm interested to see if in a few years some of the other character will come out. Still a good aroma.

T: Sweet again, but this time a definite Belgian yeast character. Bitterness is fairly high, no surprise considering the brewer, roasted and chocolate character blend with the bitterness well. Alcohol is there, hint of oak. Dark fruit sticks to the tongue and appears in the aftertaste.

M/D: Full bodied, a little prickly on the tongue. Alcohol is apparent. Drinkability is nice, very complex beer. Will be interesting to see how these complexities evolve over time.

NCSUdo, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of darklordlager
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

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 mithrascruor
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark, nearly black, color. Nice tan head, but not the best retention. Becomes a thin film pretty quick.

Smell: Has an aroma of very strongly roasted malts... a bit of toffee too. A tad hint of sweetness in there.

Taste: Very strong and bold roasted flavors (a bit hard to identify what is roasted, though). Some bitterness, but not overwhelming. Hints of cream and/or some mild sweetness at the finish, and possibly an even smaller hint of yeast. Aftertaste continues with the roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with light carbonation. Pretty smooth too.

Drinkability: Strong ABV, but with the strong (& good) flavor it drinks slowly & nice.

The taste at first rather surprised me, as this is more like a Smoked Porter than a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. That being said, I am really enjoying it. Nothing mind-blowing, but a solid and enjoyable ale that can be consumed slowly. This is definitely the best of the Vertical Epics I've had, and I'll probably buy a few more before it goes off the shelves.

mithrascruor, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

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 bonkers
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

I poured from a bomber into a snifter. It pours a deep opaque black with a fluffy white head. The aroma is strong deep dark chocolate. The flavor has a few levels, chocolate, vanilla and a bit of alcohol. The beer is creamy, rich, smooth and the alcohol is a bit hot. The flavor profile is similiar to a stout. The residual alcohol makes it a bit of a sipper, but a damn fine beer overall.

bonkers, Oct 10, 2009
Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

On 9-9-09 Stone brewery released the eighth edition of their Vertical Epic Series exactly 1 year, 1 month and 1 day from the previous years release. These beers are built and designed to be aged until sometime after 12-12-2012, but good luck keeping your hands off of it. This years release is a Belgium style ale brewed with spices and is in fact a complex and layered beer. This beer pours toasty brown color with a creamy caramel colored head. Aromas of vanilla, chocolate and citrus leap out of the glass and make the first sip intriguing. Smooth chocolate malts meld well with the Belgium yeast giving it slight banana flavor and hints of baking spice. The addition of tangerine peel balances the palate with notes citrus. The finish is smooth and lingering with additional flavors of vanilla and toasty french oak.

WhatsNewinBooze, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of timtim
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

wow. nuff said. some great reviews. the nose is fantastic, and the vanilla really brings out the orange kind of like the smell from your mom's baking when you were a kid. taste and smell are just unbalanced perfectly for development, and i can't wait to try my other one in a few years. i kind of dig this one. more please. is it 101010 yet?

timtim, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

22oz bottle, goblet,

This Belgian Porter/BSDA nearly reaches Imperial Stout territory in the looks department. Dark Porter with a cappuccino head that is pleasantly persistent.

Chunks of moderately dark chocolate, a twinge of alcohol antagonizes the tangerine peel, vanilla bean, chocolate malt. Flowery vanilla and candied orange peel deep within.

More chocolate lands on the tongue gently and flows to the back to finish with vanilla and oily tangerine peel. The slightest bit of alcohol which only helps to weld the flavors together. The Belgian yeast seems to have made a minimal impact, yielding some sweet berry and fig flavors and not trying steal the show.

This fantastic beer falls slightly in the mouthfeel. The carbonation level is appropriately low, but the body is a bit thin.

I adore this beer. I hope that I can find some more bottles when I get home to CA, because this is drinking wonderfully right now.

brewerburgundy, May 07, 2010
Photo of Treyliff
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

Poured into a Stone snifter

A- pours a nearly pitch black color with a small khaki colored foamy head that reduces to a ring around the edges

S- chocolaty malt with some charred malt aroma, sweet vanilla with some fruity hop aroma, burnt sugar

T- fruity yeast mixes with some sweet dark chocolaty notes up front, hints of vanilla, orange peel and burnt sugar, chocolate continues to linger on the palate long after finishing with some lingering woodsy notes that compliments it nicely

M- medium body and carbonation lead to a foamy mouthfeel and a foamy , dry finish, just a hint of lingering alcohol

O- the chocolate malt is enhanced by the additional of vanilla, fruity yeast notes add a nice dimension

Treyliff, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of mountdew1
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark opaque brown, with a 1 finger light brown head. The head lasted for a long time, and clung to the sides well. Aroma reminded me of a chocolate stout. Small amounts of bitterness and burnt spiciness were also evident. Taste was a sweet slightly bitter milk chocolate, with a bit of white bread/all purpose flour in the end. Felt a bit off in the mouth. It was slightly dry, otherwise coated well and felt good. Surprisingly easy to drink, went down way faster than it should have.

mountdew1, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

22oz bottle purchased as a single from somewhere localish, I would think.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Pillowy head holds nicely, with leggy sticking lace. Aroma is dark malts and spiciness. Taste starts with dark sweetness, touches on licorice and spices in the middle, and closes with a light hop bite and some alcohol warming. Aftertaste is a touch chalky, but past that, hard to find fault. Mouthfeel is so soft and smooth, and drinkability is excellent.

ppoitras, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of Oakenator
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

Pours dark - black in fact - with little to no light showing through. A finger of head on a 9 oz pour - cream clored. Great mouthfeel - solid carbonation up front with a rise towards the back end. Smell reveals spices and banana. Taste is sweet fruits on the front end with rich, dark malts dominating the finish. Another excellent and complex VE.

Oakenator, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

A: Pouring into my Piraat tulip glass gives a very fluffy tan head atop a beautiful black beer.

S: The first whiff reveals tons of chocolate and dark fruits. Further sniffs give coffee, toffee, spice, and sweet malt. A mild citrus aroma is present, but certainly not a major player.

T: The flavor is very interesting. A slight coffee bitterness pairs well with sweetness from chocolate, fruit, and caramel malt. The spice is a bit more subdued than in the nose, but lends a little something to the beer.

M: This is a very full bodied beer. The carbonation is moderate and quite appropriate for this beer.

D: While this is a "Belgian" beer, the porter characteristics come through much more than the Belgian yeast and spice. This is certainly a "different" beer, but one that I enjoyed and look forward to trying with some age on it.

womencantsail, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of ShogoKawada
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

A- Dark brown coffee, tan head, attractive pour. Healthy, billowing head on this one.

S- I pick up barrel/smoke qualities on top of roasted malts, sugary sweetness, and a fruity essence.

T- A smoky, roasted brew. Tastes like a chocolate rauchbier. Hmm. I like it. Mild spice/sweet notes, not sure if its the tangerine zest or whatever, but its good times.

M- Moderate carbonation but it works for the beer.

D- Moderate but enjoyable. I was pleasantly suprised by this beer, it definitely impressed me. I will be buying more of this.

ShogoKawada, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of merlin48
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

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 heebes
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

1 pint

Pours dark black with a thick foamy tan head. The nose is roasted chocolate, spices, light malts, sweet fruitiness. Taste is where the orange peels comes in, a bitterness in the middle still roasted malts throughout adding chocolate slightly. Very subtle and blended well tastes. Smooth and warming mouthfeel makes this a delicious beer to enjoy. I think this beer achieves what Stone set out to brew. A highlight in the series I would wager when verticals take place.

heebes, Jan 03, 2011
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 828 ratings.