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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

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

836 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 836
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 34
Gots: 274 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This is quite a complex and layered beer. Bold and smooth chocolate malt flavors combine with a Belgian yeast lending tropical fruit/banana flavors and hints of spiciness, all complemented by citrus notes from an addition of tangerine peel. Rich vanilla beans add a nice counter to the chocolate malt - actually enhancing the chocolatiness. The finish is smooth, with additional traces of vanilla and toasted characters from French Oak. The goal for this edition of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series is to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange.

(Beer added by: superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 836 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ccrida
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

ccrida, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of elNopalero
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

elNopalero, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
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?

Rhettroactive, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of bruachan
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

bruachan, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of DovaliHops
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Pors a pitch black color with a medium sized brownish tan head. Scent is very sweet and chocolatey. A bit of alcohol as well. Sweet malts and roasted barley as well. I also pick up a slight peanut-butter scent. Taste is initially toasted malts...this beer sure has an interesting taste to it. I pick up a...shall I say, SEAFOOD kinda taste to this. Especially in the aftertaste. I don't know if my palate is playing tricks on me or what. Not really digging the flavor. I wish the chocolate and alcohol would hide this strange flavor I'm getting. The mouthfeel is quite nice though. Slightly velvety smooth with nice carbonation. Drinkability is not very high.

DovaliHops, Aug 26, 2010
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.

MaineBirdMan, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of craftaholic
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: On tap in a tulip glass. Poured a completely opaque jet black hue with a finger length of deep tan head that left behind splotchy lacing.

Smell: The scent is that of burnt espresso, tinges of belgian yeast and even slight touches of coriander, orange peel and currant.

Taste: Starts off with a big pillowy malt that floats over your palate and deposits nuances of the citric orange peel and heavy amounts of yeast. There is an abundance of dark chocolate in the malt and it carries the touches of spice and slight hop bitterness till a big dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Had a medium body and is has a lingering aftertaste much like that guy at every party who doesn't realize you want him to leave.

Drinkability: An OK beer that is definitely a sipper, even though the abv is low the flavors are high.

Overall: Needs age in my opinion and was even intended for that, it has too much bittersweet cocoa in it for me and not enough other malt offering for me to really love it. With age however hopefully overpowering flavors will mellow and it will be well rounded

(will edit upon revisit in a few years)

craftaholic, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of argock
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a Chimay chalice. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $7.99.

A: Very dark brown with amber edges topped with 1-finger, cake batter colored bubbly head with decent retention and a few random lace formations.

S: The aroma profile is very complex but not that complementary, kind of like a palette of smells with not a lot of cohesiveness. Musty and candy sweet with major yeastiness with a twinge of citrus.

T: The flavor is also a smattering of different tastes including musty, leafy hops, chocolate, fruity yeast, orange peel, and sweet malt with a leathery edge. Unfortunately, the flavors don't work very well together although it is complex.

M: A solidly medium body with low carbonation and a musty, light chocolate aftertaste

D: I'm not sure what to say about this beer. The parts don't come together very well, but the aromas and flavors are interesting and unique. Maybe some time will take the rougher edges off and produce a more cohesive brew.

argock, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Appearance: This is a black beer with the slightest bit of red on the edges when held right to the light. Frothy light brown head mostly fades after a few minutes, but leaves a thin, uneven sheet all the way to the bottom of my snifter. Lacing is in nice sheets, but doesnt really stick.

Smell: The major aroma is the fusion of dark fruit and roast that you only get in Belgian stouts. There is bitter citrus smell and oaky vanilla too.

Taste: Dark chocolate and coffee roasted malt flavors. There are woody and vanilla flavors and spice. All that is fine until the bitter orange takes over. The finish is all bitter citrus and roast. Think about drinking black coffee and sucking an orange peel at the same time.

Mouthfeel: Its pretty smooth and slightly creamy, but too thin for such a big beer.

Drinkability: Leaving out the orange peel would make this an excellent beer. As it is, its really good for part of the time its in my mouth. I did drink many last year on draft, served way too cold, and it was way better for whatever that's worth.

rapidsequence, Oct 13, 2010
Photo of jsanford
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

jsanford, Feb 06, 2013
Photo of vrbulldog22
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

vrbulldog22, May 13, 2013
Photo of curlybird
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

curlybird, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of nleaders
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

nleaders, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of MNPikey
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

MNPikey, Jun 09, 2013
Photo of thebouch01
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

thebouch01, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of July2Nov
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

July2Nov, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of jheiss
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

jheiss, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of Tom-Peters
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Tom-Peters, Aug 30, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

djrn2, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

billab914, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of Murchmac
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

To this point i've supped on the supple bottle of all the VE's, this one is the most interesting thus far.

Pours out the bottle a dark dark black, much to my suprise, like learning Rick Astley was white. Nice lacing, khaki creamy head. Leaves a sticky icky ring around the collar lacing. Like ZZ top, she's got legs.

Smells like bananas, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, citrus, and can pick up that oak smell like abyss has. Again, suprised with this one, like the versatility Delroy Lindo shows as being star of screen and stage.

Tastes like the bottle says. "artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange" Got some bitterness in there from the hops and alkeyhaul.

Can't wait to see how this one ages, I think it will be really good. It will be a good changeup after the light crispness of 06-08 on 12.12.12.

Murchmac, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of DaveJanssen
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split a 22, poured into globe. Reviewed 9/23/2009.

Ar: spice, orange, chocolate and coffee, smooth powdery floral, lightly chalky, dark caramel/toffee, light plum, tobacco, clove, gingerbread and molasses cookies

Ap: whipped tan head, rocky, good retention, black with brown highlights

F: roast and burn, dark fruit, dark chocolate, candied orange, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, raisin, a lot going on, reasonably balanced but sweet throughout, definitely different than other stone beers in balance and yeast character, gingerbread and molasses, reminds me of holiday beers like anchor christmas

M: full mouthfeel, thicker than most belgian beers, med/high carbonation, light alc warmth, finish slightly rough

O: not something i would have very often but enjoyable, good for sipping, the candied orange character and spice come across too much for me

DaveJanssen, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of beagle75
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Draft service into a half-pint goblet at Stone Bistro.

A: Opaque black, showing dark brown at the edges, with over one finger of diminishing beige foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Raw, husky grain with a tang of lactic acidity. The presence of roast on the malt is surprisingly lacking in the smell, considering the dark appearance. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins dry, briefly fruity before distinctly cheesy and fungal yeast flavors take over. Husky roasted malt also contributes, becoming more apparent (along with a more neutral variety of umami) in the middle. The finish is still malty, low in bitterness, with some papery flavors also developing. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, balanced on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: This is a beer that creates interest for it with every sip. Not content to suffice with a strong dark ale tasting of dark fruit, wood smoke, or coffee/chocolate, Stone elected for a different approach. The Belgian yeast used here take this beer in an unexpected direction, making it memorably cheesy at first, but ultimately delivering a dry and savory experience resembling that of very few other beverages. If this beer was more common it would be worthwhile to test the limits of its food-pairing potential during many decadent sessions.

beagle75, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of Anthony1
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark brown color with good carbonation and a tannish head. Nose is spice, light on alcohol, vanilla, cocoa and a belgian yeast strain with some hops. Taste is so nice with cinnamon, spice, some citrus, bitter chocolate, tobacco..alot going on yet balanced ad the ABV is well hidden. Mouthfeel is nice, not to hefty or alcoholic but thought it would have been a little creamier. The spice, cocoa showed through.

Anthony1, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of msubulldog25
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From a 22 oz. bottle, an annual ritual. The first pour went to a typical pint glass; after that success, the second filled a wide-mouthed 'Chimay' goblet.

A: The look is a stunner; so dark it appears 'black' at first glance. Closer inspection showsdeep, alluring mocha with traces of glowing ruby. Head is a thick mound of tan meringue, taking over 5 minutes to drop from its 2-finger apex to a thin coating sheet. Lace is strong, a webwork of sponge-like blots.

S: Strength of the aroma burst straight out the bottle, cascading as it poured; A+ for vigor. Make-up is an oddity, though, one that both delights and confuses (and, at moments, repulses) my sense of smell. Smoky wood hits first, wrapped around a slightly vinegared dark fruit (raisins, prunes - but not sweet). Dark chocolate, and more smoke (bacon? definitely meaty...). Not picking up any of the orange peel, the vanilla beans or tropical fruit (all of which are noted in the description). Hmmm...

T: Pow! A punishing jolt of burnt malt, the driest/bitterest of chocolates. Wasn't expecting so many hops to show, a spicy greenness and a juicy citrus. Allowed to warm for 30 minutes, then an hour - the chocolate 'burn' mellowed and a slight 'tropical' toasted coconut came out (aged in French Oak explains that), but very little vanilla or gentler spice. A 'Belgian Strong Dark'? Only by the loosest of terms...

M: Mouthfeel is on the heavy side, as it coats the cheeks and tongue with a malt-bitter blanket. Some tingling carbonation and a spice residue. Finish is pronounced, could still taste an hour later. 9% ABV needs time to mellow.

D: Really tough to drink right now; it's hot and heavy with alcohol and heavy, taste bud-killing flavor. Anyone who is giving high drinkability scores right now either has a much different palate than me or is drinking a different beer altogether. Will return to this in a year (a couple more were bought to be cellared) to see how it mellows, but on 10.04.09 the 09.09.09 has a ways to go...

msubulldog25, Oct 13, 2009
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 836 ratings.