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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

830 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 830
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 35
Gots: 271 | 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
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: 830 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BierFan
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

BierFan, Oct 30, 2009
Photo of microbrew52
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What an interesting brew. Its dark in the glass with a medium brown head with fine bubbles. When trying to pull the aroma from the glass, you get a nice mix of scents that keep you intrigued. I get mostly caramel and smoke. The taste is definitely smokey with caramel coming through for the balance. The finish is dry and slightly hoppy. A great beverage that is complex and very drinkable.

microbrew52, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of Hopswagger
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Hopswagger, Dec 23, 2012
Photo of natelocc787
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

natelocc787, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of erikm25
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep darkened brown that is just the smallest shade short of black. Head is pillowing a oaked caramel color with strong retention. Lacing is mediocre. After the initial pour both the body and head reminded me of the Abyss. Overall, very nice looking and having not known anything about what to expect the appearance got me psyched more than the previous Verticals.

S: Chocolate with dark cherries and grapes. Roasted bananas peppered in smoked cloves. A strong coffee aroma with oak undertones. As it warms there are more mango and pineapple smells yet they are still well coated with vanilla and spice. Like a porter mixed with a Belgian.

T: This is one, at times almost too, complex tasting beer. My initial impression was a great woody and nutty upfront taste with ginger. A wild ride between candy sweetness, burnt tangerines, and vanilla creaminess. Cocoa and molasses tastes are subtle and warming. This beer isn't so much layered as it is a whirlwind of flavor. Even the much anticipated slight hops finish is present towards the end.

M: Good mouth feel without being to overwhelming. Solid carbonation.

D: This is a very interesting and impressive beer and the idea that this will improve with age is enough to get your hands on a couple. Great tasting but one to be enjoyed at a reasonable pace.

erikm25, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of danielharper
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black body, very thin brown head that dissipates quickly. Body is completely opaque and allows no light through. Head should be much greater for a Belgian-style ale.

Smell: Rich chocolate backbone, some spices (coriander?) on top. Notes of chocolate-covered cherries, sweet, inviting. Some alcohol astringency.

Taste: Alcohol astringency is very present in the flavor, particularly in the finish. Otherwise strong flavors of chocolate malt, with a nice bitterness and some vanilla-like spicy undertones. Finish is strongly of vanilla. No tartness present at all, which leads me to suspect that an American-style yeast was used.

Mouthfeel: Thick, luxurious. Low carbonation, mild hops. Slightly chewy.

Drinkability: Very nice beer, although perhaps slightly misclassified as a Belgian-style. It'd be interesting to see how it ages (which is, after all, the point).

danielharper, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of kylehay2004
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: half finger head on a near jet black body with slight tinge of light getting through. scattered lacing.

S: dark fruit, mostly strawberry and cherry, dark chocolate, oak

T: dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, minimal dark fruit, oak, breads.

M: full body, light to moderate carbonation.

Overall: pretty flavorful, has held over very well. complex and memorable. Nicely made.

kylehay2004, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of Beerbuddha
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- This beer poured a nice, rich black color with a huge, foamy brown head.

Smell- HUGE chocolate flavors with hints of roasted malt and spices. Nice hints of vanilla as well.

Taste- Interesting spiciness up front followed by the chocolate, vanilla and roasted malt. Hints of citrus and banana make this one unique brew.

Mouthfeel- Very thick body but smooth.

Overall- Another fantastic brew from Stone!

Beerbuddha, Oct 08, 2009
Photo of Beer4Baltimore
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- from the notes and a bomber bottle
A - dark to near black with a brownish frothy head.
S - chocolate roasted malts dominate.
T - chocalate, vanilla, roasted malts and fruit tinted malts dominate.
M - heavier bodied with a lower carbonation and a very smooth feel.
D - quite drinkable but the heaviness will certainly catch up to you.

Beer4Baltimore, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of Gosox8787
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a bomber bottle into a pint glass in two parts.

Appearance was dark brown to black and opaque. There was a one finger mocha head and decent retention. Smell hit with nice notes of bananna and dark fruit. Some smokiness also makes it way through. Taste hits hard with the chocolate malt. Dark chocolate, espresso, and smoke notes all take center stage. They are balanced by the bananna and light citrus peel notes. Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth without much carbonation. Drinkability is good considering the ABV. The booze is hidden nicely, still cannot imagine having more than a bomber in a night.

Overall, a nice smokey, chocolate belgian beer with good balance. A good offering from Stone that would be even better with some years on it.

Gosox8787, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of abuliarose
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Body is a dark opaque brown with thick tan head. Smells roasted and smoked masking floral hop notes along with a touch of sweetness.

Tastes roasted and smoked, primarily, with a burnt caramel sweetness and solid bitterness at the end. There is some serious flavor in this beer. It gets you right up front. The bitterness is almost numbing at the end. Carbonation is fairly light and makes way for medium body with a smooth but dry mouthfeel. The tastes are all great, but so strong that I couldn't drink much of this brew unless it were ice cold. That being said, what's there is worth trying. There is a little funky plastic/rubbery aftertaste to this particular bottle.

If there could be a category for imperial or tripel belgian strong dark ale, I would totally put this beer there. For what it is, it's a beast.

abuliarose, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to a chimay goblet.

Pours black with a thick steady head.

Smell is lightly roasty, then sweet citrus.

Taste is how they crafted it. Chocolate with a light orange twist. Roasty dry finish. Very interesting.

Good full mouthfeel and a dry finish leave me wanting more after each taste.

aubuc1, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of cooncat
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Since I had 2 of these, decided to pop one open on Superbowl Sunday. Decanted at fridge temp into my SA glass.

A vigorous pour produces a nearly opaque beer, with garnet highlights at the edges. The head is a light suede brown, not particulary huge or long lasting. Guess that at 8.6%, that shouldn't be a big set back, but I've brewed beers of that size which had better head/retention.

The nose is malty with some dark fruit in it, along with some spiciness (probably from the Belgian yeast). Nose isn't huge, but it's there, and very inviting.

The taste first reminded me of my Baltic Porter. There's roasty malts in there, some dark fruit and cherries with just a hint of spice. Hard to tell if the spiciness if from the yeast or the hops, but its pleasant, and a nice balanced mix. If you like porters, you'll like this brew. Mouthfeel is medium. I guess that would be appropriate for this style ... I've never brewed a Strong Dark Belgian myself. All in all, quite a tasty brew, and the alcohol makes no appearance, except for perhaps a slight warming in the tummy. I'm going to finish this bomber, and could easily do another, so I'd say the drinkability is good. If it leaves you wanting more, that's a good thing.

Stone is one of my favorite craft brewers, and in general, I like most of their offerings. Guess I'll add this one to that column, and will look forward to trying this again next year for the vertical blast.

Na Zdravje!

cooncat, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of tpd975
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice darker shade of brown with a nice tan head. Some nice lace was noted.

S: Aromas of chocolate, mild coffee and banana like Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of chocolate covered dark fruit. Hints of anise, light smoke and a touch of Belgian yeast.

M: Medium in body, smooth nice carbonation.

D: Good my favorite of the series. Pretty tasty beer.

tpd975, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of mikedepue
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into pint glass

A - very dark with tan head, looks like a stout

S - Coffee mainly, some hops and spices

T - Tastes like a great black and tan, a near perfect combo of hops and malts

M - medium body, carb was a little much for the first couple minutes then it smoothed out

D - High, hides the alcohol well

mikedepue, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of thespaceman
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass:'

Appearance: Pours a midnight black in color, lots of tan head here and it builds as the pour continues. Head retention is perfect and leaves nice tan lacing in the glass.

Smell: Aromas are lots of chocolate malt and raisins. Lots of darker fruit floats around here, a touch of booziness and some malt sweetness.

Taste: Hoppiness up front is pretty large, leading way to some decent doses of sweet malt, lots of chocolate, caramel and toffee. I also get alot of darker fruits like plum, prune and some dark grapes. A lighter fruit tone comes through in the finish and brightens up the hop profile. A touch of alcohol in the finish is spot on!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonation is medium and the hops add just the right around of bitterness. This beer sits on the tongue perfect, not too thick yet it's bold and rich in the mouth.

Drinkability: This is an awesome limited release beer that is just begging to be aged. The mouthfeel and the sweet maltiness really makes this beer a standout. I love how the hops really balance everything out. An exceptional beer that is one of the best limited release beers I've tried this year! Very sessionable, be careful with this, it's overly drinkable for the ABV.

thespaceman, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 9/25/2009. Bottle. Pours black with a pretty, small chocolate colored head. Aroma of rich roasted malt, smoke, bitter chocolate, roasted nuts, and a touch of Belgian yeast. Flavor of roasted and charred malt and wood/cedar with some roasted nuts/peanut butter notes. Subtle notes of citrus eventually make their presence. Very nice, great beer from Stone.

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of BobZ
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Very dark brown almost black with a nice small 1/2” head that recedes to a 1/16” cap. Nice lacing.

Smell: Roasted malt with chocolate, those two aromas dominate the nose.

Taste: Follows the aroma with a chocolaty rich roasted malt flavor. Also getting a mild licorice flavor. Very well balanced and delicious, the flavors work very well together.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with good body and carbonation.

Overall: Very good beer, somewhere between a stout and a porter. Glad to have a few bottles tucked away.

BobZ, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of rajendra82
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark pour, opaque body, and a khaki head were more reminiscent of a RIS than a BSDA. The smell was sweet dark fruits, like plums and cherries, and some lurking hops. The taste was quite a bit more hoppy than I was expecting it to be, but the dark fruits and milk chocolate sweetness made this a very balanced beer. There was some roast grain astringency, which was most apparent at the end of each sip. The aftertaste was a bit spicy. A soft feel in the mouth, and chewy body. Not much alcohol burn. Delicious, now, and will likely get more vinous and interesting with some age.

rajendra82, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of superspak
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottle date is obvious. Pours pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense tan head with awesome retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some nice spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, prune, molasses, apple, biscuit, caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, light char, earth, and herbal. Very nice aromas with good strength, complexity, and balance; very inviting. Taste of big chocolate, biscuit, caramel, molasses, prune, apple, roasted malt, raisin, light char, vanilla, earth, oak, and herbal. Lingering notes of dark fruit, chocolate, caramel, biscuit, light char, earth, and roasted malt on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic flavor complexity and balance; with a very nice roasted malt flavor profile. Medium carbonation and body; with a very nice creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is completely hidden, with hardly any warming at all noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian dark ale. Great amount of complexity and robust roasted flavors; with great balance and very smooth drinking. Extremely enjoyable stuff!

superspak, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of nickfl
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with half a finger of light tan foam on top of a opaque, black body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace.

S - chocolate, nutty malt, and a touch of vanilla.

T - Smooth chocolate, caramel, and smoky coffee up front. Some molasses and dry roasted malt in the middle and a finish of spicy yeast, and more bakers chocolate.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - This has not only held up well, but improved dramatically with age. The dark malt is smooth and complex and it is a very well balanced, drinkable beer.

nickfl, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of Hamburgers
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Hamburgers, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

warnerry, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of Twifiter
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Twifiter, Oct 15, 2012
Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber.

Light brown lacing wraps around the inside of the glass almost all the way down. As close to black as you can get. Chocolatey nose, dark with some burnt sugar ... Edge of citric peel and esters. Soft and smooth creamy fullish body. Dry and spicy, maltiness ranges from dark chocolate to toasted bread to light molasses. Oaky, pulls the dryness in. Citric peel, wild herbs and vanilla show a grounded complexity. Big chocolatey finish.

One of my favorites of this series, a year of cellaring did no harm either.

Jason, Nov 03, 2010
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 830 ratings.