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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

536 Reviews

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Reviews: 536
Hads: 855
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 13.3%
Wants: 35
Gots: 281 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 536 | Hads: 855
Photo of GPHarris
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a one finger thick tan-colored head into a snifter that left good lacing throughout. the body was dark black.
s - chocolate malt with some roast. vanilla and bananas with a hint of belgian sugar.
t - chocolate, bananas, fruity yeast, finishes with a hint of oak.
m - medium body with a dry finish.
o - i had this at a VE tasting after the last release. this was one of my favorites and in the two years since the tasting nothing has changed about that.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours a black color without much highlighting visible. Fluffy brown foam has decent retention and lacing. Neither great looking, nor has any negatives either.

Belgian trappist-like yeast greets the nose with maybe some cloves, cinnamon and cardamom spices. Chocolate maltiness is there and the hops are rather restrained for a Stone brew.

Can definitely taste some spices in here, kind of clovey and sweet cinnamon-sugar. Yeast does not seem overly estery and had some breadiness. Malts lean towards baking cocoa and a little roasty. Drinking really smooth right now, couldnt imagine it improving too much with some age as it is delicious right now. Bittering hops are in there and give it kind of an earthy, dusty grab on the finish. Just the right amount of sweetness. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer - more than I thought I would actually, and would love to snag a bottle or two more. Solid 'A' in my book...well done Stone.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok, Stone is a very good brewery and colleagues at work know that I'm a big fan. One colleague offered me this beauty as a gift!

The color is dark black. This looks like a stout. The head is brown and very nice looking. It sticks quite well to the glass too. Almost perfect to my eyes. In the aroma, I get some yeasts which is typical of belgian beers. Chocolates notes too and some hops (Stone always some hops in the aroma).

On the taste side, it is chocolaty with some espresso notes. Nice bitterness which reminds me of espresso coffee. Moreover, I get some fruity/banana notes but not too strong. I would say the taste is complex. Oh yeah, I get some spicy notes too... my god this a complex beer! Awesome.

The body of this beer is medium with some carbonation that is present in the mouth. Also, the taste lingers in the mouth for quite a long time. Good mouthfeel.

Overall this is almost prefect! I don't know how somebody could hold on this one until 2012... impossible!

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Photo of Brad007
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color with a brown two-finger head into my fluted glass. The head fades down, leaving some lacing.

Aroma is full of roastiness with a bit of cream and and chocolate showing through. Seems enough like a stout, though it's not categorized as one.

Taste is what sets this apart from a stout. It's strong with candi sugar, chocolate, cream and dark fruits as the primary tastes. Just a bit of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering flavors as mentioned above but the roastiness lingers along with a bit of cream. Only minimal alcohol heat and carbonation seems right.

Very good and probably better fresh. I've had 08.08.08 and 07.07.07 and I'd say that this year's version is better than both.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle drank from my duvel tulip.

A- this one pours a dark brown, almost black colored body with a finger of coffee colored head. the head is extraordinarily thick and long lasting. impressive and stout like.

S- the smell is very complex. chocolate and banana like a dunkel. lots of coffee like a stout. orange like citrus and hops, almost like an ipa. this beer might be having an identity crisis.

T- the taste is equally complex. im liking this one alot. lots of chocolate. lots of coffee. an odd assortment of fruits. banana, orange, maybe a bit of something more exotic like pineapple. a slight amount of alcohol.

M- thick and creamy with a muted carbonation level.

D- easy to finish and very enjoyable. thought provoking. ill be crossing state lines once again to pick some more of this up. probably the best VE ive had so far.

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Photo of YouSkeete
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Appears black, but is really a very dark brown. Small tan head with some lacing.

S: Milk and dark chocolates, roasted coffee beans, and orange zest are all present in the nose. Some notes of other darker fruits and some earthy hops make their way to the surface as well.

T: Big bittersweet dark chocolate flavor, followed by fruity notes and thick creamy malt flavors. Pine, cedar and orange zest give this brew a subtle kick throughout. Alcohol is masked by the full flavor of the beer. Dark chocolate, vanilla beans and oak are left in the aftertaste.

M: Watery, but not in a 'bad' way. Smooth and full. Medium carbonation, medium to full body.

D: Superb. My favorite of the VE series.

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Photo of Boto
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle: I was surprised I hadn’t recorded this one earlier. This one pours a dark, inky brown color. There was a bit of a light brown head on it that lingers a bit and leaves some lacing. This has a very nice nose to it. Chocolate, vanilla, yeast, spices, perhaps some orange and a hint of coffee. The taste is very good. Rich and full, with actually a touch of bitterness on top of all those malts. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruits, some spiciness, citrus. An excellent combination.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Duvel tulip. I've had a few of these, but this is the first time I've gotten around to reviewing it.

Pours a VERY dark brown, so dark it looks black. Fat three finger bubbly tan head. Takes quite awhile to die down. Five minutes have gone by and still there's like a half a finger of head. Finally dies down to a soupy layer of foam on top with really crucial lacing.

Smells of coco, vanilla, banana bread and some slight citrus hops bitterness.

It taste of dark chocolate, some vanilla beans come through. Also some bananas, some spiciness, and some bread-i-ness from the Belgian yeast. Citrusy bitterness that is probably part tangerine peel and part hops. Some lingering smokiness. I almost get some oak flavor as well.

The mouthfeel is full bodied. Slightly viscous. Well carbonated which helps with the the full body of this one. Prickly, assertive bubbles. Decently smooth.

I honestly forgot how good this beer is. I can still get it pretty easily, and I think I might buy a bunch to age. I've only had the good fortune to try 08 and 09 of the Stone Vertical Epic series, but damn, I don't know how the other vintages are, but it is hard for me to imagine that the blow this one out of the water. Stone kills it, nuff said.

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Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Chip Shop, Brooklyn, NYC.

Poured a deep black hue with a half finger foamy tan head there was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a roasted malt and slight ester.

The taste consisted of a full roasted malt, some smoke, a touch of sugar and a bit of ester.

The mouthfeel was full and finished dry.

Overall a tasty delight.

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Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an appropriately dark color and impenetrable consistency. There was a half inch of light brown colored head and very good lacing.

S: A good aroma of coffee, chocolate, malt and some other spices.

T: This beer had a big taste that reminded more of a porter than of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Dark chocolate, coffee, malt, mild spices, and some other indeterminate ingredients. Complex, with lots of focus.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a very dry finish.

D: Another extremely drinkable beer from Stone.

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Photo of Klym
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second in my morning session with Cavery and SundaySour. Poured into a stone nonic.

A: Dark dark dark with a very handsome two-finger tan foam head; this one seems special. Lacing is weak, though.

S: Chocolate, vanilla, oak, wood, molasses, some spice and a small bit of dark fruits. Not so aromatic but I love to dig my nose into it.

T: Yeah, I'm picking up another bottle of this. Roast, vanilla, sharp cheeses, chocolate, molasses, wood, pepper, banana, citrus, and a little salt bite. As complex in the flavor as it was on the nose. Loving it. Alcohol undetectable, extreme drinkability.

M: No complaints on the mouthfeel. Seems strange to drink something with this flavor profile that is relatively thin and generous in carbonation; I found it an interesting twist and plus, not a negative.

O: This is a complex beer and I learned something new about it every look, sniff, and sip. Hard to imagine regretting trying a bottle of this and keeping one in the cellar. Have you any love for the dark side, get your hands on this.

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Photo of scottyshades
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Damn delicious beer! Very complex surprisingly. I really dug deep for this review because of the interesting notes.

First the bottle...very distinct Stone bottle, immediately picked this up for $6.xx for a bomber at Tiger Qwikmart in Clemson, SC.

A: Pours similar to a RIS. Completely opaque mahogany. It looks black, but the mahogany highlights around the corners when held to light, say otherwise. Creamy tan/blueberry colored head that looks very creamy and tightly knit. Amazing lacing along the glass, and the head retains amazingly well. For a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, this is the best color one could ask for.

S: Very spicy nose! Very complex as well. Starts out with dry, roasted, toasted aromas that a stout would possess. Chocolate, burnt malts, coffee, molasses, and loads of dark fruits. BUT, as it opens up, a completely new side of the beer comes out. The Belgian yeasts in this are unmistakable! Once the dark stout-like notes diffuse more, the spiced Belgian yeast gives us more dark fruits (raisins, figs), bubblegum, spearmint, and a slight breadiness. When the two combine, I am blown away. Simply amazing. Slightly smokey, and slightly woody. It almost tasted like a barrel aged stout

T: Very similar to the nose, with minor exceptions. A little more citrus in the flavor. Orange, pineapple, and banana are definitely present. Really adds a Belgian note. I must say though, the bitter dark side of this beer combines amazingly with the Belgian yeasts quite well. I cannot wait to try the 2012 version (The bottle recommends to age it until around this time). The alcohol is pretty well concealed, but naturally, as it warms it becomes a little more intense. A little bitter for my liking, if only it had finished a little more refined or Belgian spicy.

MF/D: Supremely viscous! Velvety, smooth, and creamy this finishes very nice and slightly spicy. Bold and big.

The best way that I could explain this brew to someone is that its a mix between a dark/dry/semi-bitter RIS with a spicy Belgian Strong Ale. Highly recommended!!! Grab two; one for now and one for later!

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap for the VE tasting (beers 07.07.07-12.12.12) at Pacific Coast Brewing Co. during SF Beer Week. All reviews are from my notes. Loved this one, so, just like the 07.07.07, I got this one in an 8oz flute glass after the first tasting.

Pours an opaque blackness, with a tiny ring right at the top. Doesn't seem to go away no matter how much time this sits around. Looking at this without knowing what it was prior to consumption, I wouldn't be able to say whether it was an imperial stout or Belgian dark hybrid ale. Definitely incredibly murky, with alcohol legs visible against the glass, and slight viscosity that retains slight bubbles whenever agitated. Definitely looks like a massive dessert beer, as if they suddenly turned chocolate pudding into one. And, based on the description, looks like they might have done just that.

At the nose, there's classic imperial stout like characteristics to this, which include dark chocolate, juicy vanilla beans, and yet, the Belgian yeast and Stone's whacked out experimentation brings out bright flavors resembling orange peel and a citrusy finish. Not as spicy as you might think, but it definitely smells rich and decadent, especially with the slightly smoked, smoothened out dessert aromas of chocolate, vanilla, and citrus. Some dark fruitiness is present here, although it's difficult to make out (figs? Raisins? Plums?), but the dark malts and alcohol sweetness melded with the zest seem to be the real winners here.

The flavor continues to dark cocoa aroma, yet far juicier and filled with smoked vanilla beans on the flavor. This is the equivalent of taking the bite out of a very dark chocolate bar filled with extra ingredients and a dab of sugar. There's not much sweetness to speak of here, in fact - the finish is quite bitter, yet balanced with all of these flavors. Oaky, dry characteristics at the finish. The Belgian yeast adds a little bit of fruity character to this, but it's far more subtle than you'd imagine. Very complex, and very drinkable for how decadent this is overall.

By far my favorite of all the VE beers I was able to try. Due to its astonishing cellar life, I would have bought a whole case of these if I had the chance. This is a rich dessert in a bottle without being to sweet or overwhelming on the palate. Just a solid, fantastically easy to drink, yet elaborate stout/BSDA hybrid overall. Like Founders' Breakfast Stout, this is a dark beer in a class of its own. Awesome stuff.

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Photo of BatsforBeer
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into oversized wine glass

Pours a shade lighter than black, half finger mocha colored head with hint of red rise and fades moderately fast to a slight slick; little lacing. Strong smell of caramels, chocolate, vanilla bean, and faint fruity esters; smells great cant wait for the first sip. Chocolate and vanilla roasted malt is complex in its notes, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, toffee, strong vanilla and cappuccino, balanced nicely by citrusy and herbal hops and esters of banana and a tad bit of spice. Silky is the only way to describe the mouth feel of this amazing brew. Wow do I love this beer! To bad it is not sold on the reg, but I will have no problem finishing my bomber!

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Photo of apbarwood
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black with a cappuccino head of foam that doesn't quit. Smell was pleasant and strong. What was there was great though, lots of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla type flavors with a citrus layer underneath (I think they use tangerine peels) and a pleasant whiff of bananas and clove. The malt flavors really come to life on the palate. The chocolate and caramel notes are accentuated nicely by the smoothness of the vanilla and the use of oak really makes them all pop. The tangerine flavor that lurks beneath acts as a counterbalance, providing some additional bitterness and a nice fruit flavor that blends perfectly with the malt. The hops are strong but integrated masterfully with the malt and fruit flavors. I could drink this one all day long. Highly recommended.

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Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First let me say thanks to fogdog for an awesome trade!

Pours black, you can't see through it, with a dark tan head that fades leaving thick lacing around the glass.

Smell is of dark chocolate, brown sugar, caramel, and some subtle burnt notes.

Taste starts out up front with a nice caramel flavor then quickly changes to a dark chocolate, malty sweetness, and some cigar tobacco flavors, some peppery citrus notes as well as some dark brown sugar. Has a dry hoppy finish that lingers for awhile. Flavor bomb, lots of stuff going on in this beer.

What an epic ale! Wish I could have gotten two bombers of this. I'd love to find a pub with this on tap. Although two pints back to back of this and you'd be feeling pretty good.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured with a 3/4" rocky tan head, which was exceptionally well-retained. Beautiful lacing throughout. The body was a dark opaque brown... almost black. Just beautiful to look at.

S- Smells Belgian... I'm getting Belgian yeast and candy sugar off the nose. It's sufficiently roasty and spicy (nutmeg?). I also conjure up memories of Torrone Italian nougat candy when sniffing this beer. Smells absolutely delicious!

T- Big and malty up front with substantial burnt candy sugar flavor... this sweetness is wonderfully balanced with dryness that seems to come more from spices than hops (strangely). The particular spice is hard to identify... it's somewhat like nutmeg. A friend suggested "Allspice"... but I cannot identify with this spice- I've never smelled it alone. Once this sublime sip is swallowed, you're rewarded with a long, spicy and dry finish. Amazing!

M- Thick and firm with tons of unattenuated sugar and lots of soft carbonation... wonderfully textured and very chewy! Again, this is just a pleasure to be sipping!

D- What's not drinkable about this beer? Nothing I suppose! This is my first Vertical Epic (and hopefully not my last). What a treat!

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Photo of JamisonM
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass

A: black color in the glass nice brown head

S: roasted malt complex coco and orange peel sweet vanilla in there

T: bitter sweet taste with orange vanilla with bitter chocolate very complex and great taste

M: med mouth feel

D: super drinkable

overall: having tried this one it makes me mad at myself I did not get any of the older beers from this series. this is a great beer well thought out and well brewed cheers to stone for this one I cant wait to try this on 12-12-12

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Photo of GordonQuid
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Murphy's pint glass.

Jet black with a nice thick one inch tan, rocky head. THICK lace.

Smells of roasted dark malts and buttery biscuit.

Taste is full bodied roasted chocolate and carmel with a touch of candied tangerine rind. Shape shifter as it warms the chocolate malts are huge and the fruity esters come out from the yeast profile. A bit of a hop edge in the finish as well.

Extremely satisfying and drinkable. Complex. Typical Stone goodness.


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Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of dwilson01
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a 22oz bomber, drank straight out of the bottle first and then poured the rest into a glass
Very dark ale by appearance, definitely cannot see through this beer when poured into a glass, it seriously looks beautiful.
The scent brings a solid citrus accompanied with other fruity flavors tingling on the nostrils, very reminiscent of a wheat beer in this respect and enticing.
The taste differs quite a bit when drank straight from the bottle as opposed to drining out of a glass. For me the bottle yeilded a solid spiciness right off the bat much like an ipa but at the same time this idea was muted by the dark sweet malt which is ever present when drank from a glass. Honestly, this beer is recognizably a stone without a doubt, it retains the intensity of one of theirs as well as the subtleness of that a belgian brew requires...can't really say enough about the flavor except try it! Basically if you like the Stone style and have enjoyed some Belgian beer give this a shot and I guarantee you will not be dissapointed. I'm interested but not motivated enough to see how this beer ages, 2012 is a long time and it would have to be "F-ing" good to age it that long for me, but good luck if you are attempting such a feat!

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Photo of Strix
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark brown with a tan head that leaves steps of lace down the glass.

Lots going on in the nose, mostly citrus/dark chocolate but also subtle spices.

Malt, clove, vanilla, wood, orange, tangerine, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel.

Creamy, silky mouthfeel.

A beer like this makes me wish I had greater access to Stone. This dark belgian could pass for a RIS, good stuff.

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Photo of travolta
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

App: Beautiful espresso head, light lacing, nice retention. Pours through the head in such a great way.

Nose: Some toffee, coffee, dry chocolate up front. Sourdough or bannana nut bread in the middle. A slight pine or sage at the end.

Taste: Soft up front while bitter at the end. Chocolate malt blends to green floral bitterness. The middle has a candy fruit taste. Mouthfeel goes from watery to syrupy to dry. Tangerine is polite, but present in the end.

Notes: This will be the first of my tastings over the next 48 years. I purchased four cases and will review a bottle every year on 09-09-? until gone. I hope this works out.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of tap into a chalice complete black with a thick tan head. Great lacing all the way down. Smelled of raisins. The taste didn't have much up front, no hops that I could tell what so ever. However the taste moved into a black liqourish taste with hints of chocolate and raisins. There was a great deal of malted sweetness to the mouthfeel with very little noticable carbonation.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A bit late starting on the Blind Reviews. Blind Bomber #1 The beer was served cold and allowed to warm up to a desireable temperature. Proper temperature was achieved about 25 minutes after removing from the fridge. The beer was served in a Imperial Pint glass.

A- 5 I am sucker for dark beers. The body of the beer poured dark brown nearing black. The head of the beer is a finger high and colored like the nugget of a three muscuteers bar. Major head retention it even withstood my mustache. The lacing on the glass looked like pancake batter.

S- 4.5 Traces of oak vanilla, mixed roasted nuts, a hint of banana, semi sweet cocoa, very nicely roasted and toasted notes with a bit of smokeyness bringing up the rear.

T 4.5 Nicely toasted and roasted malt flavor hits my palate, nuts rolled in cocoa brief flash of smoke. Alcohol peaks its head out. Its slightly boozey but I like a kick in my beers.

M / D 4.5 / 4.5 Very smooth medium bodied. May even be a bit more curvy than medium. The alcohol is a little hot but I like it that way. This beer disappeared very rapidly from my glass.I enjoyed the beer much more as it opened up and was just lightly chilled.

The reveal: Stones 09/09/09 Vertical Epic. I am gobbed smacked with how good this beer was. I have talked alot of smack about Vertical Hype. Very tasty and glad this beer was sent my way.

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 536 ratings.