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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 Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some pretty good lacing. Aroma of chocolate malt with some notes of roasted malt though bitterness is pretty tame. Taste is quite enjoyable with lots of black chocolate notes with a nice touch of roasted malt - not sure I could taste the vanilla or orange notes. Body is about average with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done though a bit shy of character and I still have to wonder how this is going to improve with time.

Phyl21ca, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok, maybe its a Belgian, maybe it's a Sout, maybe it's hoppy, maybe it's got some Smoked Porter in there... There's a lot going on here.

The beer pours with a froathy and hearty weight; giving up a great head of tan foam and a ton of lacing. The dark brown and opaque nature of the beer certainly stands up to any great Porter or Stout.

The aromas don't exactly jump out at me, allowing the malty, bready, yeast character to come through just before the other scents come to the rim. Then, and slow and steady progression of smoke, roast, toast, coffee, cocoa, berries, spicy white pepper, currants, plumbs, grapes, earthy hops, and anise flow into the olfactories. No doubt this is a multi-sensory type of beer.

The Sout-like roasty-toasty, coffee-cocoa, dried fruit-oriented character takes center stage in taste. The hop flavor and bitterness then increase while dragging the phenolic spices and smoke with it. Other ripe fruits fall in line and follow the beer deep into the complex and malty-dry finish.

Hard to say if this beer is dry or malty to the finish. The heavy breads, toast, melanoidins, and overall maltiness keeps the beer very Dopplebock-like. But the charred grains, bitter hops, and alcohol keeps the beer a bit on the dry side. Otherwise very full, rich, and robust up front and fading slowly into the dry-malty debate.

A very good beer, but what is it. The Belgian character doesn't come through as much as I'd like- maybe more of a Cuvee van der Kaiser estery and yeasty character would suit my fancy more. Maybe when everything stands out, then nothing stands out.?

BEERchitect, Oct 28, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up my stock of this one today at State Spirits and popped one open the second I got home. Served into a chalice, this one was consumed on 09/21/2009.

Not really sure what to make of this one here. Great pour, dark as night with a big tan head on the top that would not quit. Huge lacing up and down the sides of the glass throughout really just capped it off nicely. On looks alone this was stellar. Aroma was intrsting I pick up astringent vanilla bean, molasses, hints of chocolate and a touch of citrus, maybe?? Not sure but there is something light in there for sure. Smooth, even flavor, but the bitterness seems a bit off to me. Had it stuck to the rich molasses and vanilla I think I would have been inclined to rate it much higher, still though it is a very, very good beer, no mistaking that. The citrus hop note just seems not right for me, and I try to look past that and it still creates a fine drink. Bitter aftertaste, almost an IPA like feel to it with most of the sweetness washed to the side.

Overall I thought this was good, but not great. I think with time the citrus will fade and the malts will shine leaving a fine and very sweet porter in its wake and I really look forward to it.

mikesgroove, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pouring into my Piraat tulip glass gives a very fluffy tan head atop a beautiful black beer.

S: The first whiff reveals tons of chocolate and dark fruits. Further sniffs give coffee, toffee, spice, and sweet malt. A mild citrus aroma is present, but certainly not a major player.

T: The flavor is very interesting. A slight coffee bitterness pairs well with sweetness from chocolate, fruit, and caramel malt. The spice is a bit more subdued than in the nose, but lends a little something to the beer.

M: This is a very full bodied beer. The carbonation is moderate and quite appropriate for this beer.

D: While this is a "Belgian" beer, the porter characteristics come through much more than the Belgian yeast and spice. This is certainly a "different" beer, but one that I enjoyed and look forward to trying with some age on it.

womencantsail, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -2%

spycow, Mar 09, 2013
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 ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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 Knapp85
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark brew here with a nice thick tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer has some coffee notes and chcoclate along with a healty dose of hops and Belgian yeast. The taste of the brew is a little citrusy with the roasted malts following up in the dry aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the brew is quite nice, rich and semi-thick feeling. Overall this was a really nice brew and I'm glad to have had it.

Knapp85, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I missed last years VE so I grabbed this as soon as I saw it.Poured into a chalice a deep dark brown,nearly black, with a thinner deep tan colored head.Aromas of candied sugar,dark fruit,caramel.and light phenolic spice,a good mix of aromas for the style.Phenols are bigger on the palate giving off a clovey-like spice,alcohol dipped dark fruit with a tinge of earth round out the flavors.Its a tad hot but its new so its understandable,a very nice rich flavored brew brew here.

oberon, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

My first VE (sadly). It pours a nearly completely opaque dark brown capped by over a finger of thick tan foam. The nose comprises figs, oak, rye bread, nutmeg, dark fruits, wheat, walnuts, and roasted malts. The taste holds notes of everything listed above, along with some bits of hoppy bitterness, raisins, and an increased oak influence. The body is a hefty medium, with light carbonation and a thick, semi-chewy feel. Overall, a pretty solid offering, but not as good as I was expecting.

TMoney2591, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown, nearly opaque in the glass and topped by a small coffee-colored head that holds up nicely.

Aromatically it's nice but a bit muted, with fig and berry-like esters being most prominent, along with traces of chocolate and vanilla. As it warms the orange peel and vanilla take the forefront.

The taste is a pleasant and well-balanced mix of fruity esters, roast, vanilla, chocolate, citrus and resiny hops. Sweetness is restrained up-front and the mid-palate and finish are surprisingly bitter, both from roasted malt and hops. Finishes dry with a lasting coffee-like bitterness, vanilla popping up again in the far aftertaste. Very solid stuff, my favorite vertical epic so far.

largadeer, Dec 02, 2009
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.

zeff80, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -2%

JAHMUR, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2%

SocalKicks, Dec 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 TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 10/1/09 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a large flute glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, Belgian yeast, spices, caramel, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty and bready with a strong flavor of Belgian yeast. Then there are flavors of dark chocolate, spices and some fruit that add some semi-sweetness and complexity. The hops presence is mild but complementary and helps provide some balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, while this beer does have a complexity in flavor, I was expecting a little more harmony amongst the different flavors, which may improve with age. Overall, it's a good beer to drink for a while and it will be interesting to see how some time will effect it.

TheManiacalOne, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It took me a couple months to track this one down, I really wasn't hunting it down like years past. The series lost it's appeal for me after I drank my cellar empty of the 03,04, 05, and 06 I was holding onto after I graduated nursing school. Regardless I have to try these brews fresh in case it's something that I think should be tucked away. I had good results with my last four VEs that I cellared for some time.

My birthday month, this one appears pitch black with absolutely no ruby highlights when held toward a bright light, large mocha tan head forms after a vigorous pour into my Gulden Draak chalice, dwindles slow leaves big chunky layers of lace sporadically clinging to the sides of the glass.

Nice glowing citrus peels with roasted dark malts bring some recently tasted Swiss truffles with citrus peels to mind. A mild mineral metallic character with more roasted malt and lively fruit notes, a definite creamy mingling of dark chocolate with a touch of roasted coffee, charred oak, and soothing vanilla. A leafy herbal mint quality sticks out as well in the aromatics.

Flavor dark black patent malt has some acrid sharp tanginess to it with the citrus peels intermingling quite nicely with that dark chocolate and creamy effervescence. A Belgian approach, that may be the most believable effort from Stone yet, since the hops actually are chilled out here. Those oak barrel effects are minimal with traces of vanilla and charred oak, in addition to that actual vanilla beans that have been tossed in to the mix. A nice sugary sweetness is carried along throughout the charred dark malt and tangerine peel bitterness to end in a creamy blend of vanilla and oak characteristics, with a fresh blast of herbal mint from the hop additions here.

Mouthfeel overall is creamy slightly effervescent with a medium to fuller bodied approach. Really nice feeling overall besides that touch of acidic twang I spoke about with the harsh dark malt bitterness. The finish does strike some notes of charred oak and herbal mint that seem like they are going to show up like hop burps.

Drinkability is quality share with friends complexity and cohesion make for a good time, you can have loads of different flavors that may not work well together. This vertical epic ale decided to make familiar flavors glide together and intermingle off one another to provided the type of complexity that will lead to emptied glasses rather than drain pours like their 13th Anniversary release. I enjoyed the citrus and dark chocolate with a vanilla slightly charred oak finish.

WVbeergeek, Nov 13, 2009
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 russpowell
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 MasterSki
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Discount Liquors. Served in a tulip.

A - Dark tan foam settles to a partial cap, thick collar, and very dark brown body. Spotty lace lingers on the sides of the glass.

S - Roasted malts, lightly spicy Belgian yeast, light vanilla and oak notes. Sort of Belgian stout-esque. There's a mild aged quality to this one, but it's not particularly oxidized. Solid stuff.

T - Roasty, with notes of caramel, chocolate, dark fruits and raisins, and a touch of banana bread. Alcohol is pretty well-concealed.

M - A tad watery for the ABV. Roasty, with a dry finish, lower carbonation, and minimal alcohol presence.

D - A solid roasty dark Belgian ale. I remember liking this when it was fresh, and it's still a pretty decent brew. Would drink again.

MasterSki, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of Slatetank
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 999th review -Stone VE 9-9-09
I picked this bottle up at Atlantic liquors in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Poured the 22oz bomber chilled into my La fin du Monde tulip.

A - The beer is practically black except for a toffee brown shade near the base of the glass. The appearance is thick and opaque with a band of medium brown cream which has a slightly rocky appearance. The foam is about 2.5 fingers and creates a film of lace on the collar of the glass, the bead is pin sized.

S - Wow, earthy chocolatey + spicy w/ mild vanilla bean + vanill from the oak the trademark hop in the nose tells you it is a Stone Ale. The aroma is roasty w/ a mild caramel and creamy odor w/ mild accents of dark sugar and alcohol

M - A rich roasted feel, med full w/ med carbonation and a blend of creamy, fruity and bitter textures. The finish is long and robust

T - A great roasted malt and sweet caramel wrapped in cocoa flavor initially. The mildness of the roasted taste comes w/ a light creamy vanilla taste an the malt has bitterness like very dark cocoa and spiced complexity in the yeast. The flavor fades into a hop + citrus peel flavor toward the middle and light toffee-like buttery taste is noted under the dark cocoa. The flavor has a mild tang of tangerine peel, but really have to look hard as the alcohol and oak combined with dark rich malty flavors give you a lot of complexity and becomes almost overwhelming mid-bottle. The taste does have similarity to baked brownie w/ light pepper and mild stone fruit - like cherry w/ a light coconut tinge and mellow woody hop accent

D - This porter has a good deal of complexity, a tasty Vertical Epic -9-9-09 is both spicy and malty w/ a subdued alcohol flavor. It is nice to see a dark brew come out after many light and hoppy Vertical epics. This is very drinkable, a tasty imperial porter-kudos!

Slatetank, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
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!

drabmuh, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

had as part of a big VE tasting at the end of the world party, thanks to Mark for this one.

Nice fluffy dark head, creamy but only 1/3 or so finger head, light lacing, dark black color.

Nose dark malts, syrupy, caramel, over aged malts, slightly oxidized, little earthy and dirty, faint chocolate, a little chalky too.

Taste brings toffee, dark malts, char, chocolate, caramel, light chewy oats, light earthy flavors, a little yeast like spices too.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent enough carb for the age.

Overall not bad, another one that would have been better fresh or 1 year on it instead of 3.

jlindros, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of oline73
5/5  rDev +22.5%

oline73, Nov 16, 2011
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 830 ratings.