1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

846 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 846
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 276 | FT: 16
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 846 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ehammond1
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2009)

K&B Wine Cellars
San Diego, CA

Pour is very dark brown, nearly black. No light penetrates through the glass. Head is 1.5 inches thick, espresso colored, small, tiny bubbles, dissipates to a half inch head that sticks around. Sticky lacing rings the glass with every sip. A beautiful beer.

Strong smells of chocolate, coffee, cherries, vanilla, banana, and black licorice. Decidedly sweet and Belgian. I've never smelt a beer like this!

Taste is of roasted coffee beans, fresh espresso, and dark chocolate. Alcohol is hidden very well. I've had this beer before and remember tasting some banana, but I don't this time.

Body is medium to heavy in the mouth; this is a filling beer! 22oz. is more than enough for me.

An expertly crafted and incredibly complex brew released by Stone. Few beers can pack this many different smells and tastes in to a glass and still remain drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of cokes
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn near black with magenta highlights when held up to a light. A compact tan head migrates in time to the edges and shows decent stickiness from there.
The nose is full of mocha initially. Chocolately, roasty, and somewhat smoky, with traces of vanilla and tar. Over time and way in the background, an oily ciric peel emerges along with whispers of banana bread.
It wanders into the mouth very much a portly Porter or Stout, full of coffee bean roastedness, tar, smoke, chocolate, and anise. These are gripping and thorough, staying the duration. In the midsection comes a cameo from a Dubbel, with clove and banana esters, a more forward sense of vanilla, and some citric-peel fruitiness. This is especially true after the yeast pour-in. That mingles into the moderate levels of citric/pine hoppiness, that emphasizes an offsetting bitterness rather than clear hop flavors. A light, port-like alcohol vapor exists on the swallow, but is well-masked by the lingering burnt qualities.
Fairly full bodied with minor CO2 giving it an oily, silky, very Stout-like texture(and a BIG Stout feel at that).
The carbonation will be the thing to watch as this ages. With more of it, some of the subdued Belgian-esque/Dubbel traits may push towards the surface.
I like it quite a bit right now, as a sort of spiced Imperial Porter. We'll see what happens from here.

Photo of diamondlie
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of HoneyLamb
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type: a 22 ounce bottle was purchased in Winter of 2010 from J.B. Russo & Sons in Grand Rapids, Michigan for $6.99 (the label was still on the bottle). I remember the beer-guy there recommending that this beer be purchased and held for aging and maturing. Since Shangy's in Emmaus, Pennsylvania had a case of Vertical 09.09.09 available, which I greedily bought for $73, I had to drink the 22 ounce bottle I purchased from J.B. Russo & Sons right away.

Appearance: Hard pour into tall pilsner glass resulted in two-finger head. Foam cohered for over a minute and with an even film on the glass. Beer was dark tan with just a little light passing through the beer's darkness.

Smell: Mmmm...delicious sweet smelling aromas. A little nut and wood aromas as well.

Taste: The nut and wood smells were quite noticeable right away. The ale went down smooth and had an excellent aftertaste, but this ale feels like it needs another year for the flavors to mature.

Mouthfeel: Very compatible with my palette. Like I mentioned above, the aftertaste was excellent...especially as it got warmer. NOTE: this beer was poured straight from the fridge, so it tasted better as it warmed.

Overall: I wanted to give the overall a 4.5, but I feel the flavors may need another year to mature, so I settled for a 4.0. I'll update this review in about a year since I have a case of 09.09.09's to store and age.

Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of mountdew1
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Xul
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with a one finger tan head, leaving behind some solid lacing.

S: Predominant aromas of chocolate and banana with a bit of roastiness in back, along with a slight hint of coffee and some caramel. Bitterness comes from the chocolate and coffee along with some earthy hoppiness.

T: Massive amounts of roastiness up front, giving way to a complex mix of flavors through the middle and int othe back. Chocolate comes through later along with some orange zest and caramel. Coffee-ish bitterness comes through, leaving a well-balanced aftertaste.

M: Smooth with medium carbonation, coats the tongue well.

D: Immensely drinkable for the style and gravity, could definitely drink a few of these if not for the rarity factor.

Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass:

Pours opaque black with a nice brown well-retained head. Dotted, then some thin-lined, lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, roast, orange peel, spice, wood/oak/vanilla.

The taste is of chocolate, roast, bread/toast, vanilla, with some vinuous/woody notes with a subtle spiciness (cinnamon?). Not quite catching tthe banana and other flavours listed on the bottle (maybe a bit in the aftertaste). Chocolatey, but not overly so - it has a spicy, woody, dry balance.

It has a creamy, medium body with a nice carbonation level.

This is nicely done - sophisticated, and complex, sweetish but with a dry finish. Alcohol well-covered for strength.

Photo of FosterJM
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of edthered413
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber bottle into a Gulden Draak tulip glass. Pours very dark, almost black with garnet hues on the outside of the glass when help up to the light, Nice two finger head that holds up well. Smell is of chocolate, slight roasted coffee, slight vanilla and slightly orange. Taste up front is chocolate and roasted barley with some coffee, a little vanilla. I was sipping this slowly and as it warmed I could taste more of the vanilla and also some orange and some oak. Medium mouthfeel and smooth. Very drinkable but a sip and savor type of beer to me. I think this one will be better with some aging.

Photo of Duhast500
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pored from a 1pt. 6oz. bottle into a Harpoon 100 Barrel series tulip glass.

The color is a complete black with about three fingers of foamy brownish head and some thin lacing.

The smell is chocolate with some nice Belgian flavor that is mixed with Belgian chocolate and some hard street flavors.

The taste is has some chocolate flavor that comes out in the chocolate flavor and really has a nice hard Belgian flavors that mixed well in the end.

The feel of this beer was hard to control at first but had a spark of of creativity and was there will the end.

Photo of randawakes
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Jwale73
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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...

Photo of mithrascruor
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Treyliff
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of NCSUdo
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of BierFan
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: One finger of tan foam. Black body. Spots of lacing.

Smell: Picking up the chocolaty malt immediately. Also getting the oak and a little vanilla. Imagine a milk stout aged in oak and you have an idea of what this is like.

Taste: Belgian yeast really adds some great complexity. Spicy yeast, bananas, chocolate, little bit of tangerine peel. Roasty bitter finish one would expect from an imperial stout.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of cvstrickland
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of Hopswagger
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Dark orange-brown with tan head

S: Cocoa, chocolate orange, dairy cream, roasty malt, banana, clove, peppery spices, aged oak, timid coffee and a pinch of cayenne.

T/M: Chocolate sheet cake, cocoa powder, chocolate orange, orchard fruit, hints of vanilla bean. Creamy but grainy feel in a full body with prickly carbonation. Smooth finish of chocolate and oak.

O: Huge chocolate base with varying types and a good oak aged flavor that developed nicely. Bold flavors and one to really enjoy.

Photo of natelocc787
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Far from a chocolate quad, not a quad at all. Definitively a BSDA from start to finish. Dark brown, close to black in appearance. Had to give this one a 4.5 score in the taste category because of the complexity it offered. It has a very sharp tobacco bite, black malt, roasted malts, maple syrup, overripe banana, chocolate covered blackberries, Belgian yeast notes and even more. One of those beers you could pull all night from. Definitely young, still a pleasure, the mouthfeel should improve with age as well, understated carbonation with a small bubble feel on the lip but a bigger bubble feel as it's swallowed. I still think this would have been better using any yeast strain that wasn't Belgian.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 846 ratings.