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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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

807 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 807
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%


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: 807 | Reviews: 530 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of jeffjeff1
jeffjeff1

California

4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent beer.

Appearance- black color, good tan head, good lacing, opaque

Smell- roasted malt, sweet

Taste- roasted malt, molasses, sweet

Mouthfeel- full bodied, smooth

Drinkability- excellent, I love it. I will try to pick up some more cuz it's awesome.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 00:28:16 | More by jeffjeff1
Photo of Cresant
Cresant

Kentucky

4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 22 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Adams glass. The body was a dark dark brown. The tall, creamy, irregular head was chocolate milk colored. The fine sheets of lacing collapse down the glass.

Smell was ashes and orange peel. Cocoa powder and molasses. Interesting and not cloying.

Taste reflected the aroma a delivered so much more. Semi-sweet chocolate turns to drying organic, crispy hops. Both vanilla and chocolate finish dry and long. Very complex and tasty.

Mouthfeel was lightly powdery. Silky finish with a medium to full body. Nice.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2009 01:34:56 | More by Cresant
Photo of jantonius
jantonius

California

4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Deep black Belgian Style Ale, with a creamy caramel head

S: Vanilla hints with a hint of oak

T: Roasted Malt flavor with an espresso taste with a dark chocolate finish

M: Robust mouthfeel, that melts like butter on the back of your tongue

D: This drinks more like an amazing after dinner Port and pairs well with French Vanilla Ice Cream!!

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 03:08:33 | More by jantonius
Photo of cameraman
cameraman

Kentucky

4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is poured a dark brown color, with hints of garnet along the bottom of the glass. A thick half inch head, tan in color, lacing down the glass. A roasted melt scent, followed by a chocolate fragrance, with hints of Belgian yeast spiciness at the end of each scent. The chocolate come out at the front, the yeast brings the fruity esters and spiciness. Then a unique citric bitterness strikes the palate, with touches of grass and earth. The citrus flavor lingers on the palate long after each taste is gone. The texture is tad watery at the front, but grows to a rich and smooth feel, rolling across the palate. A medium dryness is left on the backend. The aroma is intoxicating, the color is very inviting. The flavor a chocolaty delight, the smooth and rich feel just adds to this very drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2010 19:52:43 | More by cameraman
Photo of t420o
t420o

California

4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I loved this beer! I bought the Vertical Epic 07, 08, and then 09, and did a little tasting. Wow, all of them are so good. The 09 is different than the 07, and 08. It is pitch black and tastes like the best dark chocolate you have ever had with subtle hop taste and and subtle orange tatse as well. It is very drinkable. I Highly recommend this beer. Sorry for the weak review but I just drank three bombers and i feel good

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2009 00:24:20 | More by t420o
Photo of scootny
scootny

New York

4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge head, light brown with great retention and good lacing. A black brown fluid. This has the smell of a Belgian mocha stout. Chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel and molasses. Vanilla is tucked in there as it a touch of orange. Smoke and roasted grains. Dark sweet breads. A Belgian yeast fruitiness with overripe banana. A thick rich taste that is like the nose but much better greets your tongue. Chocolate and charcoal. Vanilla and burnt caramel. Orange and banana. More dark sweet breads with a roasted multigrain toasted crust. A clean dry finish that leaves a touch of chocolate syrup and charcoal dipped in burnt marshmellow. Hops are a touch minty and herbal. This stuff is just too good. A thick and full feel has a wonderful syrupiness that is tamed by a somewhat creamy carbonation. It is remarkably supple on the tongue. This is way too drinkable as the alcohol is so well hidden and the feel and taste encourage you to indulge to the max.

My favorite VE of the few I've had. I have all except 020202 cellaring and I hope just a few come out as good as this one is right now. Thank you Stone! I love this one!

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2009 06:30:50 | More by scootny
Photo of JustinAniello
JustinAniello

Connecticut

4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black with a three finger cream-colored head. Dissipates to a nice cap and lacing.

S - Heavy browned caramel and coffee aromas. Light chocolate with a mild piney hops in the background.

T - Starts as a sweet caramel and milk chocolate, turning into a browned caramel and coffee. An orange flavor briefly shows up in the transition. Nice hop bitterness lingers in the end. All the flavors are rather bold.

M - Medium body with light/medium carbonation. Goes very well with the flavors.

O - Still drinking very well more than two years after bottling. A well rounded medley of flavors and aromas, great for just sitting down and savoring. Most definitely going to try their homebrew recipe on their website. Another great beer from Stone.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 00:06:38 | More by JustinAniello
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle (of course) into a Vertical Epic Ale glass (don't you just love the correct glassware). Beer is dark, black, head is tight brown bubbles that is full at first but falls back to form a uniform layer of tiny bubbles that covers the top of the beer, lacing formed on glass. Aroma is nice. I was expecting to pick up some roasted malts in the aroma, due to the color, but instead was hit with the classic etherial aromas of a strong Belgian ale. Invites me to drink it. Second smell reveals minimal smoke and some sweetness (probably alcohol).
Delicious, not usually a fan of the darker beers but apparently I'm coming around. There are roasted malts on the back of the flavor, but the beer is full bodied and nice. It finishes with a little bit of an aftertaste. The roast builds on you as you drink. I believe this beer will age well. Looking forward to the rest of the series and 12.12.12 vertical epic ale tastings. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2009 04:39:32 | More by drabmuh
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured to NB globe during 06-10 VE tasting.

A: Dark, opaque, mocha head (single finger) which sticks around. Good lacing. Sticky appearence. Good looker.

S: Cocoa, malts, anise, cocoas, coffee. I would go on, but why waste my time - this is excellent!

T: Again: cocoa, malt, anise, coffee, back end vanilla from oak. Just outstanding.

M: Heavy, lower carb. Tacky. Viscous. Resonant.

D: This was the best of the bunch. Absolutely outstanding! I will be seeking more of this out.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2011 18:24:02 | More by harrymel
Photo of tmm313
tmm313

Georgia

4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

9.9.9 enjoyed on 1.30.14

A- Black from a distance. Darkest possible brown when you get up close. Beautiful khaki 1 finger head with excellent trailing/lacing.

S- Chocolate covered raisins! Vanilla and oak with a slight hint of booze.

T- Wonderful! Rich cocoa with vanilla, raisins, and hints of orange up front. Dark chocolate and dark fruits, like prune and dark cherry, follow. Finish is charred oak, citrus rind, and earthy hop spices over more dark chocolate, a little booze, and hints of licorice. Beautifully balanced and complex.

M- Thicker side of medium. Smooth on the tongue with subtle drying. Even the mouthfeel is balanced.

O- I've given Stone some rave reviews in my day. This will be no different. Incredible complexity; incredible balance; incredible flavors. I'm super stoked to have had this masterpiece, but just as sad to know I'll never have it again. I'm kind of new to aging beers, but if this is what usually happens, I'm all in.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 00:10:22 | More by tmm313
Photo of NealVsBeer
NealVsBeer

Wisconsin

4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown, with slight head upon pouring and nice lace afterwards

S - Can really smell the chocolate malt, also hints of citrus

T - Malty, smooth and chocolatey, slight alcohol taste at the end

M - Rich and smooth on the palate

D - Very drinkable, at 8.9% I may be able to drink more than 1 but I don't see the point

This is overall a fantastic beer. Rich, smooth, and chocolately this is a terrific dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2010 03:36:35 | More by NealVsBeer
Photo of lordofstarside
lordofstarside

Nevada

4.69/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed today, 9.9.13! bomber to a snifter, vintage is exactly 4 years old

Pours jet black with almost three fingers of mocha tinged foam, transparency is 0%, even on the edges when held to the light. Great lacing and retention, after three or four minutes we still have a finger of foam. Kept much of it's carbonation over the years

Smells strongly of chocolate, oak, raisin, molasses, brown sugars, vanilla and a bit of caramel malt. Not picking up much of the orange notes the bottle mentions, smells incredible though

Taste is spot on with the nose- strong upfront chocolate and vanilla that mix with the oak. The orange is next, much more present than in the aroma. Finishes with some all spice and a touch of clove. Very impressive

Feel is I think my favorite part. Very smooth and silky, almost like drinking chocolate milk. Finishes pretty well, very pleasing going down. Medium bitterness, no alcohol present. Dangerously drinkable

Overall this aged incredibly, I weep this was my only bottle

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2013 00:58:21 | More by lordofstarside
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark opaque chocolaty brown with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head. Aroma is not strong but tempting, coffee-ish with a tone of unsweetened chocolate. Flavor is richer than the aroma, mainly of roast coffee with an undertone of unsweet chocolate. Each sip seems different - one has a nutty hint, one toffee and one molasses. Tingly, sassy texture leaves a finish of fine roast coffee. Pity this is a once-only offering!

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2009 00:48:37 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of ColdBeer30
ColdBeer30

Florida

4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

It was dark in the bar but I want to say the color of the beer was a dark cocoa with a dark tan creamy dense head on top. It was served to me in a wide mouth Chalice. Carbonation was low from the look but there was a full thick ring of lacing.

The smell was of dark coffee grounds and espresso at first followed by chocolate of the more bitter sweet kind. Smell finishes with roasted malts and subtle grassy or leafy hops.

The taste comes in opposite. First came a blend of chocolates (dark and heavy cream milk chocolate) then the roasted malts, strong coffee (the kind you want to wake up to) and a touch of bitter or slightly briny hops which hardly lingers, there just long enough that you are looking even more forward to that next hit of cocoa.

The mouthfeel is well balanced and extremely creamy. Carbonation is pretty mild but the beer isn't flat. With everything else your mouth is experiencing you don't really even notice it.

The beer is full bodied as any porter or dark belgian would be, coming out of the tap I could drink several easily.

Seeing as this beer is meant to be aged about 3 years I am definitely going to stash one away for later. I can see the potential for it getting even better.

Serving type: on-tap

10-28-2009 01:22:26 | More by ColdBeer30
Photo of hosehead83
hosehead83

Ohio

4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone pint glass
Deep, dark black cherry hue with big, thick tan head
Aroma-Chocolate cherry cordial,vanilla,coffee
Taste-Wow! A dizzying array of flavors-Dark chocolate, smoky vanilla, dark fruits, toasted malts, an underlying burnt, hoppy citrus, like charred orange wedges. A lot going on here to say the least. Awesomely complex, with a tingly, snappy, warming finish. Very smooth and drinkable, but definitely a sipper! Deliciously different and definitely worth a try.
Get some while you can!!

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2009 15:15:26 | More by hosehead83
Photo of seplo
seplo

Connecticut

4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

very dark brown if not black in color with a coffee colored head witch creates a great lacing around the glass,drank out of a smuttynose big beer series glass, i found it to be a very drinkable beer for the abv, my favorite from stone brewery, thank God their not in six packs cuz i wouldnt want to know the price of it

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2009 22:52:47 | More by seplo
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
MrHurmateeowish

New Hampshire

4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased at Tully's in Wells, Maine, split with BA CheckMate. Pours a pitch black body with a good inch of slowly-dissipating tan head. Espresso, dark chocolate, date, nut, a touch of alcohol, and toffee characterize the aroma. Dark chocolate, espresso, fruit (mainly dates and grapes), wood, smoke, nut, with touches of caramel and toffee, spice, and just a bit of alcohol warming, though none in the flavor. Full-bodied but not viscous like some beers of this type, with ample but not overpowering carbonation. Wow. I cannot say enough good things about this beer. While I have no doubt it ages great, it tastes amazing as it is. A slam-dunk for Stone, probably the best beer I've had from them.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 03:46:59 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Photo of meich75
meich75

North Carolina

4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice dark brown, almost black with a bit of tan head.

S: Roasted malts and chocolate with a bit of sweetness.

T: Everything comes together nicely in this one. Starts with a bit of chocolate with just a bit of sweet citrus finish. Liquid goodness.

M: Feels a bit lighter than it looks and tastes.

D: Drinkability is probably a little too good for a 9.5 ABV, could definitely have more of these.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2009 02:48:07 | More by meich75
Photo of jfmorey
jfmorey

Virginia

4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured like a stout, very dark with a creamy tan head that disappeared slowly.

Good aroma of chocolate and spice, which continued in the taste with many flavors of coffee; citrus, complex but balanced.

Have two bombers, one for now one for later: can I resist until the 2012?

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2009 00:01:30 | More by jfmorey
Photo of mjgarrett2
mjgarrett2

Maryland

4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler 9.25.09 (finally got around to trying the VE with a few bottles saved away)

A-Brilliant dark mahogany, just shy of a stout revealing only the faintest of light to peirce it.

S-Layered and ellusive. Normaly my weakest sense (smell), however there are a number of different scent notes that arise but are difficult to pin down. A progression of bitter moving to mellower fruit tones and firm smoked accents, however not always ordered in that way. Seemingly complex and difficult to pin down.

T-Immidiate sensating on the back of your pallet with slight bitter fruit moving forward with a port-like savory flavor and finishing with a lingering smoked profile. The progression of flavor is unexpected but finishes back in a familiar way serving to solidify its identity rather than leaving you confused.

M-Starts warm but is a bit harsh mid way through. Slow and controlled disapation after swallowing eases the sensation back towards a more normal feeling.

D-Surprisingly fresh yet unrepettative. Many beers of this complexity are wearing out their welcome near the end of the first glass. Despite its stealthy assault on your palet that leaves you a bit confused for a moment, it is well rounded and coherent. Very impressive to pull of flavors of this kind.

This is a beer that is really not supposed to be served from a growler, but it has not disappointed. I have enjoyed it thus far and look forward to how it matures in the next few years.

Serving type: growler

09-26-2009 02:25:14 | More by mjgarrett2
Photo of colts9016
colts9016

Idaho

4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance: A monster three finger head that is fairly persistent. The head is medium tan color that is foamy creamy, with a nice lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a dark brown, near black. The clarity of the beer is opaque.

Nose: A very rich dense malt that is roasted, with caramel, biscuits, and chocolate. Other aromas are coffee, bread, phenols, alcohol, peppery, raisins, and dried cherries. The hop aroma is still prevalent after three years; furthermore, the hops is perfumey, woody, and citrus.

Taste: The malt in the beer is roasted, toasted, caramel, biscuit, and bread. Other flavors is dark chocolate, espresso, phenols, alcohol, black pepper, raisins. The hops is fruity esters, perfume, wood, citrus.

The mouth feel in the beer is coating, warming, chewy, carbonated, and slightly astringent.

Overall: The body of the beer is full and the finish is lasting. This beer is awesome, it has great flavors. I am glad that I crack the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2012 04:20:44 | More by colts9016
Photo of alyankus
alyankus

New Jersey

4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm writing this review in American in protest of the English only policy.

First off the style seems to be more like a porter not a belgian strong dark. The head is gorgeous. The lacing is so fine I would make a wedding dress out of it if it wouldn't leave me naked at the altar oh and if I wasn't a guy.

It pours a beautiful shade of dark brown with orange hues. The nose on this is slightly smoky with more dominant notes of chocolate, coffee, cloves, citrus and vanilla. The palate is is more chocolate with a less present coffee quality. As it warms it picks up more of the cloves and coriander that was in the nose finishing with a nice vanilla note.

This is without question the best vertical epic I've had and likely the the best Stone brew I've tasted to date.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2009 13:52:18 | More by alyankus
Photo of taxguyjase
taxguyjase

New Mexico

4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The nines are very enticing - almost hypnotic. Like the Stone Demon Dude is getting into your head and ordering you to buy Stone beer...do it! Anyway, the Vertical Epic series of beers are released annually according to dates when all of the numbers are the same (i.e. 09/09/09, 08/08/08, etc...). Each beer is a different Belgian take on a beer style. There have been some Belgian Witbiers, Pale Ales, IPAs, stouts, etc... The 9/9/09 Vertical Epic is a Belgian style Porter...not two types of beer I would ever think about fusing together.

At first glance, the brew looks pitch black with a big tan head. Good retention on the head, which was nice. The complex aroma had elements of spice, orange and vanilla. So, definitely a suprise on the scent side. The flavor hits it out of the park. You get the spicy, robust kick that is combined with orange, coffee, tanginess and a hint of bitterness. It tastes like a flavorful porter had a love child with a good spicy Belgian beer. Expect an extremely smooth taste that goes down easy and leaves the aftertaste of the variety of flavors for a bit.

Would definitely pick this one up again, presuming I could find it.
This was a remarkably tasty beer - I've had it twice. Once at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, where I got it on draft. 2nd time was in one of the bombers that I purchased. While the draft was superior, you can expect that in whatever form you get the Vertical Epic, it's good.

Oh, a note - Stone recommends that you cellar this beer until 12/12/12. Fat chance in my house. If you can hold off enjoying this beer for another 3 years, you're a better person than I.

Appearance - 5.0 - big tan head; dark; good retention
Smell - 4.0 - spicy; orange, vanilla
Taste - 5.0 - a unique blend of spicy, fruit, orange, hint of bitterness, definitely a belgian beer but stout like a porter. Weird combo but excellent
Feel - 5.0 - very smooth; goes down easy
Drinkability - 5.0 hells yea - good

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2009 16:10:45 | More by taxguyjase
Photo of Hershdawg
Hershdawg

California

4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour from a bottle in to Vertical Epic Glass.

Appearance: Black, opaque. Lightly tan head. Good lacing.

Smell: chocolate, coffee, caramel. banana?

Taste: heavy chocolate feel after 4 months. First time I had it it had a banana flavor to it from the yeast but that fell out. Fresh and aged this is still a great porter. hints of vanilla, and tangerine. These diminish after short aging.

Mouthfeel: Thick, not quite as thick as nitroed-Guiness. Feels good on the tongue.

Drinkability: As extreme as this brew may seems I could drink it forever.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 04:51:33 | More by Hershdawg
Photo of FLBeerGuy
FLBeerGuy

Florida

4.83/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the World Bistro

Pours a midnight black with a nice creamy tan head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smell is Belgian yeast, chocolate and roasted malts

Taste is nice and complex, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, yeasty spice, vanilla and some orange peal.

Mouthfeel is smooth and rich

Very drinkable beer IMHO, I love the complexity. One of my favorite epics yet. 8.9 ABV is well hidden.

This one is worth going out of your way to get. Get it while you can.

Serving type: on-tap

10-11-2009 05:08:56 | More by FLBeerGuy
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 807 ratings.