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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.

807 Ratings

(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
Ratings: 807 | Reviews: 530 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured up a wonderful, rich, inky black with a medium brown foamy head.
Smell was big vanilla, damp, freshly sawn timber, chocolate, and a bit of coffee hiding deep down.
Taste was big toasted chocolate malt with a touch of spent coffee grounds and some buttery caramel. Finished pleasantly bitter with a delightful European-style earthy bitterness.
Nice feel in the mouth and pleasantly carbonated and very smooth. Certainly very well crafted, but I expect nothing less from these guys!

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 14:45:36 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 2 inch dark tan head that fades to a thin cap. Thin clumps and broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark fruits (raisins/plums), brown sugar, vanilla, and citrus zest. Taste is of dark fruits and citrus zests, burnt sugar, with some chocolate and vanilla flavors. Mild citrus zest bitterness after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a lot going on. I was expecting a standard BSDA but this one has a lot of different smells and flavors intermixed. This one has aged well.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 05:03:54 | More by UCLABrewN84
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2011 22:20:07 | More by Beer4Baltimore
Photo of BrewCrew2010


3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a black body with a tan head. Mild lacing on the glass with good head retention.

S: Roasted malts dominate the nose with coffee and bitter chocolate notes. Light dark fruits and some citrus.

T: Not a very complex palate, but still a nicely balanced flavor. Upfront Roasted malts balanced with the earthy hops. There are also some dark fruits, vanilla, dark chocolate, & citrus notes. Belgian yeast also plays a nice part.

M: Medium-full body; low to moderate carbonation; smooth mouthfeel.

O: Not a bad beer and a decent example for the style. I believe there are better Belgian Strong Dark Ales out there, but let's see what a few more years will do. I will drink this again obviously, but only 1 more since that's all I have left.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 01:51:21 | More by BrewCrew2010
Photo of trappistlover


3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(22oz bottle from AJ’s Via Linda). Pours black with red hue when held up to the light. Tan head with some lacing. Aroma has chocolate, liquid smoke, vanilla and some citrus. Taste is sweet with more citrus and some roasty bitterness. The sweetness balances the roastiness out nicely. Medium bodied with an oily texture. Bitter finish. Pretty nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2011 04:20:21 | More by trappistlover
Photo of drewba


4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep black with purple notes and a tan colored finger head after an aggressive pour. Lots of big bubbles along with some really tiny bubbles and very splotchy lacing.

S - Loving this smell; milk chocolate, honey, roast, lots of nuts, bread, some wood. Somewhat dry and very little sweetness. Despite it smelling pretty good, the aroma is very faint.

T - Plenty more of that milk chocolate I found in the nose - milk chocolate with some dark chocolate, plus some mocha action going on. It actually almost has a chocolate milk type of flavor going on. The chocolate is very dry and mixes well with a dry, wood flavor found in the end. Lots of roast and hearty bread, faint nuts, tobacco, dry & salty leather, coffee grounds, star anise and the tiniest amount of plum and grape in the finish. This is pretty much a flavorful porter...

M - thin to medium body with a fantastic smooth mouthfeel. If the body was a touch thicker, this would get a 5/5.

O - I wish I would have had the chance to try this fresh, but even at almost 2 years old, this is mighty tasty. Like I said earlier, this has more characteristics of a porter than it does a BSDA, but I'm not complaining. I will look forward to this one the next time I do a vertical epic.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2011 03:47:14 | More by drewba
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stone 09.09.09, bottle bought at Beverage World in Peekskill, NY, for $7.99 plus tax and deposit.

Appearance: Served in my Sierra Anniversary snifter, 09.09.09 pours thick and oily, with a glug and a gurgle. Sligthy less than a one-finger head that dies quickly, leaving a rim and a mantle and some thick bubbles. Good carbonation and decent lacing. Color is damn black! Sure does look like an Imperial Stout... some auburn tones when swirling the glass.

Smell: Chocolate, roastiness, dark sugars. A tad of coffee. Damp grass, barnyard, past-its-prime weed. Very earthy and rural.

Taste: Follows nose, with a carbonated chocolate touch on the tip of the tongue and some old hops coming up afterwards. Dry, chalky cocoa and a tad of spice and wood. Hops at the end of the sip. Strange, unique.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and flavor, full carbonation. There is a bitter hop bite around that lingers, and again that barnyard-y dampness, like a cow pen after a heavy rain where the straw bed gets all messed up and it smells. This is supposed to age well until late 2012, but I get the feeling that it might not be totally right. Dry, slightly spicy and prickly finish.

Overall: Drinkability is alright, a little heavy and boozy and "earthy", not super appetizing. I expected more of this brew, but then again, I guess we can't expect THAT much of the Stone Verticals!!?? :-) Interesting, but not great. I thought aging would do more to this epic and bring some wonders out. A semi-fail, but still enjoyable. Glad I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2011 03:36:55 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of Sam21


4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased for $8 in January of 2010.

Appearance - Black body with an excellent brown head cuing you in to the strong roasted malt presence. Great retention and lacing.

Smell - Dark chocolate is noticeable first and foremost. Bit of roasted coffee and some caramel. Mysterious layers of dark fruit, vanilla, oak, and marl sweetness.

Taste - Dry dark fruits and bittersweet dark chocolate. Layers of chocolatey sweetness throughout with a touch of dark roasted coffee. The oak enters towards the end with a supporting cast of vanilla, dark malt, and a light bitterness. Finish sees everything come together into a long velvety finish. Oak lingers.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied and very creamy. The carbonation is thick and soft. Very smooth, although I wish it were a tad lighter.

Drinkability - A complex adventure in a bottle. Wonderful as an after dinner sipper and one that I really enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2011 21:13:18 | More by Sam21
Photo of SuperNova777


4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A:Pours a very dark brown color with ruby highlights when held up to the light. Fingers worth of khacki color head that falls slowly, excellent lacing is left hanging on the glass.

S:Intial smell picks up a lot of roasted chocolate then followed up with a slight fruit orange hint. Also picking up some vanilla in the mix as well, a very good smelling brew.

T:Taste is more dull then the nose but still good. Chocolate on the front and middle make way for slight fruitiness on the backend that is then dominated by big roasty flavor that lingers around.

M:Very rich and creamy body that seems to just melt in the mouth once it is entered. Lips left with a little stickiness and palate has a roasted chocolate covering that just hangs around.

O:Can't really say what a little of time did for this one since I did not have it fresh but right now it is drinking extremely easy for the ABV with good flavors still coming out strong. The body is a really nice feature that this has going on for it along with the solid flavors, well reccomended.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2011 22:15:04 | More by SuperNova777
Photo of vfgccp

New York

4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- Pardon the abbreviated review, this was sampled at a free Stone tasting. Special thanks to Big Z's in Huntington NY -

A - Black with mocha highlights. Bone-white head.

S - Mellow marshmallow, brown sugar. Dried plum notes.

T - Nice chocolate character. Smooth toast. Gentle hop backdrop.

M - Smooth

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2011 02:36:29 | More by vfgccp
Photo of KYBrewgrass


3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at Pazzo's Pizza Pub in Lexington, KY. I was surprised and happy to see it on tap!

A- 4.5 This brew is a deep brown/auburn red with a foamy khaki head that has good retention. Thick lacing off the bat and it sticks all over the glass throughout the drink. This looks like a great beer.

S- 4 There's a lot going on here. I get hops, roasted malts, coffee, maybe even a little chocolate... Very intriguing.

T- 4 Like the aroma, there is quite a bit of flavor to take in... but that's a good thing! It is rich and nutty. There's a slight malty/chocolatey sweetness to it that is promptly addressed by a bittering hop flavor. It is slightly boozy on the finish, my only downside..

M- 4.5 This brew is a great medium body with nice carbonation. It starts clean and crisp and finishes smooth and creamy.

D- 3.5 As much as I enjoy this craft ale, I couldn't handle too much of it. Its booziness and strong (although balanced) flavors could be overwhelming after a bit. Nonetheless, it's a great brew and recommended for anyone that can get their hands on it.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2011 19:53:44 | More by KYBrewgrass
Photo of beermanbrian


4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown almost black with just the faintest red hints around the edge. Tan head drops to a nice cap. Thin lacing. Great chocolate nose with some dark cherries in the background. Taste of bitter chocolate up front, some dark fruits follow and then finishes with a little alcohol bite and a solid bitter aftertaste. Medium body on this one. I don't recall enjoying this one as much when it was fresh, I think it's aged nicely. This one is really strong overall. One of the better epics in the series. I really enjoyed and I'm glad I have 7 more in the cellar. Went great with a dark chocolate truffle.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 22:31:29 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of AlCaponeJunior


4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from optimator13, great selection man!!

Black and stout/porter like in appearance. Not that much head but nice fine lacing that coats the glass in sheets.

Smell is dark roasted malts and chocolate/coffee, with a touch of dark fruits.

Taste is very nice, good roasted malt character blends well with a dry, chocolate/coffee flavor and hints of anise, plums, figs, and just a touch of hops. Just a touch sweet, but still somewhat dry at the same time.

Feel is pretty full bodied, although a bit lighter than you'd expect from looking at the stuff. Bitter chocolate and coffee flavors linger, along with a slight sweetness in the aftertaste. Carbonation is smooth and silky.

This bottle must be at least a year and a half old, and it's aged well since production. Drinkability would be quite high, although I doubt there are many of these left on the shelves. A fine beer tho.

What else can I say but Stone, as usual, kicks ass.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 01:32:52 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Photo of harrymel


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 elgiacomo


4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours dark brown to black with a large foamy brown head that leaves nice rings of drippy lacing and holds a good cap.

Aroma is anise, cocoa, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits such as plums and raisins, yeast and bread. Very good strength.

Flavor is lush and rich cocoa, chocolate, vanilla, some coffee, dark fruits, anise, molasses, caramel, toffee, some alcohol, very complex and layered.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, somewhat creamy, low to medium carbonation.

My first '09 VE and it was worth the wait. Fantastic stuff. Not getting much of the banana or citrus that Stone mentions, but to me this drinks sort of like a Baltic Porter with some BSDA characteristics.

I hear a store in town still has a bunch of these left and I think I'm gonna be making a special trip up there next week to secure a few more.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2011 21:28:24 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of bs870621345

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a small tan head that fades to a collar, leaving nice lacing down the glass.

Smells like molasses, plums, light spice, and roasty.

Taste is lightly spiced, heavy on the molasses, roast, and plum flavors. Light oxidation, but it really works. Alcohol is present too.

Mouthfeel is full, nicely carbonated.

Drinkability is great, this stuff is extremely inviting and the alcohol is nicely warming.

A really nice offering from Stone, I wished the IRS tasted more like this.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2011 04:16:34 | More by bs870621345
Photo of berley31

New Brunswick (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a tan, moderate-large head that had tight bubbles. Creamy, thick, and long-lasting. Body is jet-black and opaque. Not as much lacing left behind as I would have thought.

S: Dark fruit, milk chocolate, hints of vanilla, and maybe even a touch of citrus in there, too.

T: As complex, if not more so, as the aroma. Chocolatey, with dark fruit. Slight roasted flavor in the finish. When held in the mouth, a touch of orange is apparent, but only slightly so.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium-bodied.

D: An extremely complex BSDA; I was very impressed. Wish I could get my hands on more of this!

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2011 14:12:16 | More by berley31
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2011 06:42:44 | More by beagle75
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2011 19:51:15 | More by cooncat
Photo of zeff80


4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 1-30-11 along with an 08 and 10.

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - A lot of woody notes up front wit hints of chocolate. There is a mild dried fruit flavor, too.

T - Good chocolate flavor with a woody taste. More dried fruit flavor comes through here with some plum and currants.

M - A dry beer with a sharp, crisp bite. A medium bodied ale that hides its ABV quite well.

D - This is a really tasty brew. it exceeded my expectations.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 03:42:20 | More by zeff80
Photo of tzieser


4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

vintage 2009 bottle (obviously) served into a Duvel tulip.

A: pitch black in color with a nice thick light brown head that slowly settles. happy with the carbonation level.

S: notes of chocolate and spices. subtle notes of citrus.

T: deliciously complex. a tad bitter than expected. notes of bitter chocolate, orange peel and coriander. probably couldve used a bit more time but still amazing

M&D: bubbly mouthfeel; good drinkability

great stuff. I wanna find some more.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2011 03:23:18 | More by tzieser
Photo of dragonWhale

New York

4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What the f to open? Yes, sure, why not? Not even sure if I've had a taste of this creature before.
When it pours black, I yearn for comfort. There is no quarter to be found here, the rockiness of black ice on the mountain.
Roast and wood astringency with some bitter chocolate up front and through and through. There is some dark fruited malt and orange peel somewhere in the middle of the beverage, but it fades out again and gives way to the sledge of the bitter chocolate, lasting eternally. Much more stout quality than BSDA, and it is a quality belgian imperial stout. A little less "epic" than Weyerbacher 13 or Black Albert, sure, but damn fine, and certainly will hold up well through the vertical and beyond.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 03:16:35 | More by dragonWhale
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aromas of sweet cocoa with some lesser coffee and dark fruit characteristics. Slight hints of vanilla and herbal smells.

Rich malt, dark fruit, sweet cocoa nibs, and vanilla, all highlight the palate, but also some nice earthy hop presence, similar to the aroma. Subtle Belgian yeast qualities that only add to the complexity.

The mouthfeel is really smooth and slightly creamy, but too thin for such a big beer. The Belgian yeast should add some more to the mouthfeel but somehow does not.

Overall, this beer is a really solid offering especially for the higher ABV and extreme roastiness. Wish there was some Belgian influence, also wish I tried this fresh as well to have a comparison. Regardless it's delicious.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 21:24:36 | More by claspada
Photo of clayrock81


4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note: Had this in an aged bottle - don't know why it won't let me post another bottle review

Poured a blackish body w/ a tan head and lace sheaths on top of a bready and sweet malt aroma. Bitter chocolate, wood, roasted malts, hints of vamilla and some minimal hops are all prevelant. A thicker body than the sweetness allows, my first thought is that the aging (especially since last time I tried it) as allowed for a more dry, toasted and bitter sweet taste as well as alcohol to soak in. Still, I pick up a great balance of bitter chocolate and vanilla for a sweet edge and the beer is still a smooth passer and balanced with notes of roasted and espresso malts. I also pick up a little mild dark fruit notes as well. Amazingly, as you slowly sip on the beeer it gets sweeter and milder for an enjoyable drink. I would say not too much has changed since I had this last but that the beer's maltier base comes out as a little more dry and rough, but also the alcohol seems to have risen b/c this beer slowly but surely put me down for the count.

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2011 04:29:16 | More by clayrock81
Photo of BBP

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours black. Quickly fading head. Good carbonation.

S- Metallic. Slightly smoky.

T- Far better than the smell would indicate. Tons of roasted malt. Good hop presence. Lots of chocolate and a little bit of coffee. Some banana as well which was worked into the flavor quite well. I don't typically like fruit in beer, but it was done well. Hints of yeast.

M- Creamy, full, and good carbonation. Just right.

D- Very easy to drink. Only slight alcohol notes. Seemed like an imperial porter.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 22:44:41 | More by BBP
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 807 ratings.