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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
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Ratings: 830 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank 1/27/13
(Served in a bowtie glass)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a lumpy coco tan head that sticks in sheets to the glass leaving only a thin ring of head on the beer. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide up the glass.

S- There is a chalky hint to the chocolate malt aroma with hints of deep caramel coming through as it opens.

T- The mellow chocolate malt flavor is the main player. It has some soft dark roasted coffee malt bitterness in the finish with a slight tart hint. As it opens it takes on more of a watery taste and some stale qualities in the finish. There are also some graham notes that come through as it warms. Clean finish.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a gentle fizz that takes on a flat texture on the tongue.

O- This beer is a bit 1-dimentional much more so that when it was fresh. I don’t get any yeast characteristics just the chocolate malt. The watery and stale taste were a bit off putting.

---
(Poured into a tulip)
drank 11/30/09
A- This beer has a jet black body with a coco powder tan head that is creamy and last for a good bit.
S- The black roasted malt notes have a cream quality to them and then give way to a stronger berry aroma with some black licorice notes.
T- The smooth chocolaty velvet flavor has some ink and dry prune qualities to it with a soft fruity note that finishes the malt. The taste of pineapple without the acid mixes with roasted bitterness in the finish. There is some tartness that comes through with the bitterness and the both linger for a moment.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.
D- This beer is a big tasty stout with nice roasted qualties and a good Belgian yeast mystique that is almost fruity but not jammy.

rhoadsrage, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of AlexChillton
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

AlexChillton, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of JoelMD
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

JoelMD, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours an opaque black with a khaki head that stays around for awhile and laces the glass well.

S- Quite interesting. The nose is not that of the typical stout rather a very dark Belgian. Lots of Dark Fruits and a breadie yeast. Touches Of orange Zest to the finish.

T- Very good. The taste is of roasted malts, Then a fairly strong dark fruit tastes to it. A touch of coffee is at the finish, then as the smell went an orange peal taste to finish.

M- Medium Full Body. Right Amount of carbonation. Slightly too astringent after taste.

O- Awesome Belgian Stout. Lots of Dark Candyied fruits in the aroma and taste. Will seek out more.

DwnTwnBwn, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of Bung
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Real sturdy almost black pour, dark cream head, which laced nice as it was drank. Roasty aromas, heavy malt and dark chocolate. Just hints of some sort of dark fruit. Taste is a bit bitter at first, burnt malt, but mellows nicely to chocolate, malt, caramel and a light red fruit, tangerine or something. Some belgian yeast qualities, but not overly so, good since not a huge fan. Solid medium body/mouthfeel. Finish is real clean with some grassy hops and light coffee and fruit. Alcohol is non-existent. Real interesting and much better than the previous couple Epics. This should age really interstingly. Pleased, as I have been with all Stone darker brews.

Bung, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

HaveUSeenMyCellar, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of user785335
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

user785335, Sep 04, 2013
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly viscous texture into my glass. The color is jet black. With a pour right down the middle, I get a beautiful frothy inch of creamy, dark head that is perched majestically on top of my beer, just a touch below the rim of the glass. Lacing is delicate and wispy.

S: A very complex marriage of aromas emanates from my beer. I can make out definite notes of chocolate and citrus, no surprise from what Stone told us about the style. However, there is much more as well. An almost barrel-aged vanilla character is also present, and the spicy flavors of the Belgian yeasts that have become a staple of this line pour forth.

T: Chocolate, vanilla bean, and a light mild citrus flavor that seems more like tangerine than orange provide the first impression. These three give way to the yeasty spice from the Belgian yeasts and the piney hops that are a go-to for Stone. The chocolate comes back in the finish providing a very nice balance for this beer. This is phenomenal now. I can't wait to try it aged.

M/D: The feel is smooth and resinous. Very little carbonation is present. The texture is very thick. I can't really imagine having more than one of these in one night, but I am very happy that I grabbed 2 cases of this!

NittanyBeerFan, Oct 10, 2009
Photo of javincik
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to drinking this.

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A-Color is a deep, dark brown that appears nearly opaque black when the pour is finished. Results in a towering brown head that slowly settles into little islands of thin foam.

S-Absolutely the strongest aspect of this beer. Tons of good stuff going on. Chocolate is the most prominent. Vanilla, brown sugar, bread, coriander and faint fruit aromas (banana?) also come through. Perhaps a touch of roasted coffee. Quite complex.

T-Taste is lots of chocolate up front with some coffee and a bit of roastiness. Some brown sugar and bread comes thru also, with the yeast lending "Belgian" characteristics. In the middle, I get lots of fruit flavors; some banana and orange along with less prominent citrus characteristics. Vanilla is present underneath all this with the faintest hint of some oakiness. Finishes with a nice balance of hop bitterness, roastiness, and coffee. Slight alcohol burn at the end, although nothing off putting.

M-Probably the weakest aspect. Medium bodied, low to medium carbonation. With everything going on in the nose and taste, it just feels thin in the mouth. I feel like it should be more substantial; would love some more chewiness to savor the flavor.

D-Makes a great dessert beer. The flavors really make it a sipper and something to savor, but it certainly goes down easily. There is a slight hint of alcohol in the finish, but it doesn't really detract from the drink-ability at all. The thin mouthfeel allows it to go down easier than one would think at first appearance.

Looking forward to seeing what the other bottle does in two and a half years.

javincik, May 09, 2010
Photo of FrankenBrew
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

FrankenBrew, Dec 14, 2012
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 830 ratings.