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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

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827 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 827
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 35
Gots: 272 | 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: 827 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%

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.

MrHurmateeowish, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of NCBeernut
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

Happy New Years! Grabbed a bomber of this at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville. Poured into a Unibroue tulip. Pours thick and black with a big fluffy head with excellent retention. Looks rich and dessert-like. Aroma is subdued. Bits of spices with the contribution of a very slight phenolic yeast character. A little chocolaty on the nose.

Heavy roasted flavors and caramel of decent strength. Definite alcohol. Thick heavy extra dark chocolate takes the lead. Hop bitterness is present but not overwhelming. Slight spiciness, with a very subtle hint of cinnamon. Rich and decadent. Tastes a lot like a heavy imperial stout - I would actually classify it as such if it were me. Flavors are still a bit muddled, this beer is still coming together, but pretty good. Really creamy, velvety and big-bodied with a definite alcoholic edge.

NCBeernut, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of puboflyons
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

I am saddened that this is the first time I have seen this annual brew from Stone. But I do not believe this is available in New Hampshire where I live. I found this one on a visit to Vermont. It pours a very dark brown to almost charcola black with about a half-inch of creamy tan had that is long lasting. The aroma is of banana bread, chocolate malts, and vaguely sweet as well. The taste is a complex combo of sour hops and chocolate malts. This was a nice brew.

puboflyons, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of mntlover
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

Pours black some light showing through nice sized coco head falls slow to a cap, some lace left behind.

Aroma is wonderful chocolate malts, light fruity notes citrus tangerine, mango mingled with bananas. Aroma is soft smooth very inviting.

Taste is well different then the nose sadly. Chocolate malts but hops kick in soon to add minty notes that come out quick with the carbonation. Hops are minty and earthy in.

Mouthfeel is big medium with way too much carbonation, even constant swirling cant get rid of it.

Drinkability well would be fantastic if aroma was all there was. Sadly taste is not up to par with the aroma, still not bad be even better if the CO2 was cut in half.

mntlover, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

Pitch black with a tight tan colored head that thinned out to a ring leaving patches of lacing.
Smell is dark fruits (dates, raisins, figs) and yeast.
Taste follows through on the aroma with some smokiness tossed in. The finish is not bitter but far from being overly sweet.
Medium/Full bodied with a rich, creamy feel.
Easy to drink as the abv is very well hidden.

JoeyBeerBelly, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of bluejacket74
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

22 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, coffee, and some vanilla. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some charred malt and smoke, along with a bit of banana. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's somewhat creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. Also, the alcohol isn't noticable in the aroma and taste, however it does catch up to you later. I think this is a good brew, can't wait to see how this one ages.

bluejacket74, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of russpowell
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

thanks to colonelforbin for this one!

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & some herbal hops

T: Charred wet grain, dark fruit, especially raisin & a touch of coffee up front. Dryness & coffee dominate as this warms, plus more dark fruit, leafy hops & some baker's chocolate & a touch of white pepper, vanilla & cherry. Finishes dry, fruitty & with much coffee & some cherry

MF: Fairly chewy, low carbonation & great balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV, not getting a ton of Belgian character here, but I didn't expect a literal interpretation from these guys anyhow. A tasty dark brew that I'd say is more of a big stout with some Belgian tendencies. One I would consider stockpiling if feasible, cuts the chill nicely!

russpowell, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of scootny
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%

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!

scootny, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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 sarahloca44
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%

The S.O. tried a few years back to homebrew a Chocolate Mandarin Stout, and this is what it SHOULD have been.

Very dark brown in appearance with an impressive head. The tangerine is very subtle and the vanilla accentuates the chocolate malt more than it adds it's own flavor.

Drinkability: While this was delicious, like many special beers, splitting the 22oz. bottle with a friend was plenty for me. I, however, could drink one everyday.

sarahloca44, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of taylorhamrick
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

Pours out very dark, I mean, as black as some stouts, with a nice pillowy 2cm+ head. The bubbles seem to be kind of loose but cling moderately well. Looks pretty good. The smell has a ton of bitter roasted coffee and chocolate backed with an interesting fruity, yeasty component. Otherwise I can't detect a lot of the normal smells you get from a belgian strong dark. Still the smell is pleasant. The taste comes out with one thing in mind - chocolate-coated orange peels. Very bitter - like citrus bitter and chocolate bitter, but very reach and roasty, not overly bitter, also slightly fruity. I also get a finish with slightly pasty yeast, and boozy coffee flavors. As it warms some of the harsher flavors mellow out, giving way to a more grainy, syrupy sweetness, but there is still a hint of bitterness. This beer is quite more enjoyable as it warms, overall, I find it quite good. I would most likely drink it again, though I am certain I can find things that are better. The mouthfeel is strange. There is consistently this sharp little flavor in the background, but the body is medium, maybe a bit more full, and the carbonation is pleasantly on the low side of sharp. The drinkability is quite nice. Better than I expected, and quite good or an 8.6% beer, though my plan was to nurse it from the start. I still found myself wanting more and more as I drank.

taylorhamrick, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of david18
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%

I didn't know this was considered a strong dark belgian. After pouring and smelling it i got more of a stout quality. In any case this, like the other vertical epics, is an excellent beer. Great dark color and woody aroma. Pours a great head and the alcohol is perfectly balanced with the hops and malt.

I'd been waiting for this since September 9 and am glad it finally showed up somewhat that I shop, Whole Foods.

david18, Dec 16, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

22 ounce bomber - $7.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a near black body with a large, burbling head of tan foam.

Smell: Deep notes of roast and smoke and wood -- it's like strolling through a former-cabin that had an all-too tragic accident. Lesser notes of spice, fruit, and Dutch cocoa seem buried within the smoldering rubble.

Taste: Roast leads to toast which leads to a resounding wooden taste and long-lasting, spicy tastes of smoked black licorice and ground pepper. Lesser hints of dark chocolate and vanilla and sweet molasses dare try to peak out from under these heady flavors. I must say, it is quite smoky throughout. Curiously arranged, subtle mix of dark fruits, banana, and citrus from those added tangerine peels. Earthy bitterness leaking out amongst all the staunch roastiness. Some alcohol warmth and further fruitiness on the spicy, drying, malt-riddled finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly different and very complex, though I'm not quite sure what to make of it at this stage three months from its initial release. Of the more recent Epic Ale releases (minus the 08.08.08 which I still haven't had, unfortunately), this is the one I most curious to see how it'll age. Let's hope for great things, eh?

ChainGangGuy, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

cvstrickland, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Bottle from Party Source on 09/09/09. Poured clear dark brown color with a large frothy light brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted nutty malt, chocolate and tart citrus aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation. Medium to heavy chocolate bittersweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration. Good brew that may need some age to balance.

tmoneyba, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

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.

Jwale73, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of randawakes
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

randawakes, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of TheSarge
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%

Jet black body with a dark tan head... Sticky in appearance.

Aroma is sweet and cola like. A subtle hint of cherries. Slight copperish metallic hint too.

Very stout/porter like. Lots of coffee and chocolate... Very semi sweet.

Chewy feel upfront, oily and slick in the middle with a warm ethyl finish.

I'm not sure I'd call this a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, it's more of an English or American style dry stout.

TheSarge, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

First let me say thanks to fogdog for an awesome trade!

Pours black, you can't see through it, with a dark tan head that fades leaving thick lacing around the glass.

Smell is of dark chocolate, brown sugar, caramel, and some subtle burnt notes.

Taste starts out up front with a nice caramel flavor then quickly changes to a dark chocolate, malty sweetness, and some cigar tobacco flavors, some peppery citrus notes as well as some dark brown sugar. Has a dry hoppy finish that lingers for awhile. Flavor bomb, lots of stuff going on in this beer.

What an epic ale! Wish I could have gotten two bombers of this. I'd love to find a pub with this on tap. Although two pints back to back of this and you'd be feeling pretty good.

weissbierdrinker, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of BatsforBeer
4.53/5  rDev +11%

Poured into oversized wine glass

Pours a shade lighter than black, half finger mocha colored head with hint of red rise and fades moderately fast to a slight slick; little lacing. Strong smell of caramels, chocolate, vanilla bean, and faint fruity esters; smells great cant wait for the first sip. Chocolate and vanilla roasted malt is complex in its notes, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, toffee, strong vanilla and cappuccino, balanced nicely by citrusy and herbal hops and esters of banana and a tad bit of spice. Silky is the only way to describe the mouth feel of this amazing brew. Wow do I love this beer! To bad it is not sold on the reg, but I will have no problem finishing my bomber!

BatsforBeer, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of indiapaleale
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%

Pitch black in color with a very fluffy tan head. I head to let this settle a bit as the foam on top was pretty dense. Tons of lacing inside the glass. Nice looking pour!

Sweet dark malts, caramel, coffee, cocoa with some slight orange-y citrusy smells. This is a little toasty as well with a bit of Belgian yeasty aromas.

Malty with subtle hints at chocolate, coffee and orange. I know its tangerine peel but its not strong enough to pick that out. Not a lot of spice or yeasty flavors. This is certainly smoothed out by the oak chips used in the brewing process. Quite a nice offering from Stone, very much like a strong porter with some very nice additions.

Super smooth and very flavorful. Not overly complex right now and its pretty mellow so it would be interesting to see what age does with it.

Would I buy more of it?
I think I might grab another bottle and see how some time treats this rare offering.

indiapaleale, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of Yesac
3.63/5  rDev -11%

A- Dark black color. Chocolate brown head that forms a ring around the glass. One sexy looking beer in my chalice.

S- Belgian yeast, chocolate malt, caramel, bubblegum. Like a stout crossed with a dark Belgian.

T- Roasted malt.. Belgian yeast.. black licorice, caramel.

M- Medium carbonation. Medium bodied. Dry sticky finish.

D- An interesting drink. Like a nice Stone stout with Belgian yeast. I'll definitely revisit this one soon.

Yesac, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of recons54
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%

Since we just got Stone into the state of Maine last year (Fall 2008), this was the first time I had an opportunity to try this yearly Stone series of beer...

Appearance - The look of this beer was quite inviting, with dark coloration. It looks thick and appears heavier (stout or Porter) than it actually tastes. A great tan head appears.

Aroma - I smell some hazelnut, cloves, and a hint of smoke. There was a note of something sweet, maybe I was picking up on the chocolate malts.

Taste - Layered with a variety of flavors for your taste buds to enjoy! I first caught the chocolate, then followed with some spicier hints of citrus. The Complexity is outstanding, and I wasn't disappointed.

Mouthfeel - As I said in the appearance, it is a bit deceiving when poured into a glass so I was expecting a dark, heavy beer that your needed a fork/knife to enjoy. This wasn't the case (for me), although the alcohol was somewhat noticeable for me.

Drinkability - I liked it a lot and have enjoyed several, either on its own and with a meal (great to wash down that Thanksgiving turkey).

recons54, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of nectar14
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

22 ounce bottle.

A: Like a dark porter/ light stout, nearly opaque brown with a tan head that fluffs up to 2 fingers before dissipating down to a thin layer.

S: Nose of roasted coffee beans, chocolate, and bitter citrus peel. A hint of clove in there too.

T: Best at room temp. Moderately intense chocolate, coffee, and grain. Finishes with a citrus peel bitterness, and probably a bit of hops also. Lingers nicely, but is not sticky.

M: Smooth and well carbonated, lifting the flavors up nicely. This shows some restraint.

D: The alcohol is well concealed, but it does hit ya. Easy to toss it back, though.

Really liked this. I think it's good right now, though the bottle recommends waiting until 2012. I oughta go grab a couple of more so I can go ahead and do that...

nectar14, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of Fillpott
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%

Poured this from a 22oz bottle that I happened upon. It poured dark w/ a mocha-colored head. Surprisingly, it didn't have any lacing. The smell was roasted malt, dark chocolate, and intense hop spice and bitterness. The taste reflected the same as the smell. Dark fruit and chocolate were evident in the taste, also. I didn't taste or smell the tangerine that was mentioned on the bottle, but I did get a slight banana smell. Vertical 090909 has a full, chewy mouth w/ plenty of complexity. It isn't for everyone, though. I am looking forward to aging the entire Vertical Epic and tasting them.

Fillpott, Dec 07, 2009
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 827 ratings.