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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

535 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 535
Hads: 851
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 6.9%
Wants: 34
Gots: 280 | FT: 17
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:
Beer added by: superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 535 | Hads: 851
Photo of Westsidebuddha
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought at Whole Foods Pasadena, Calif(Arroyo Parkyway)

Poured a black color with a slight head with bubbles. Slightly carbonated on top. The smell of burnt wood is noticable. Nice interesting taste on the first sip. The belgian taste is there but it's also combined by other flavors like vanilla and a slight chocolate taste. I was expecting a more heavier chocolate taste like a Hershey's bar but this works out just fine. Slight alcohol back end. Nice mouthfeel with a definite carbonation taste. This is a good Vertical Epic which seems it would get more interesting with age.
Definitely the most interesting Epic I tasted so far. I could go for a couple more of these. (673 characters)

Photo of nectar14
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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... (778 characters)

Photo of javincik
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (1,665 characters)

Photo of Zaplt
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Extremely thick dark appearance, brownish tones with a creamy head with decent lacing.

Smell - Fruity smell with a relatively strong alcohol presence, chocolaty as well.

Taste - Very unique, chocolate and coffee strangely mixes well with the citrus and other fruity flavors that are apparent in the beer. The Belgian yeast is subtle but well balanced.

Mouthfeel - Light carbonation and very smooth

Drinkability - Absolutely delicious, the best Stone beer out of the last 3 they have made. Keep it up stone. Particularly for the bizarre mixture of styles and flavors that they were going for - good in my opinion. (632 characters)

Photo of Hershdawg
4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
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. (547 characters)

Photo of Krevee
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank: 24 June, 2010 @ My Home
Serving Type / Glass: 22 oz bottle / Bruery tulip
Vintage: N/A
Price: $
From Notes: Y

A - Dark brown with a small beige head. And a small amount of lacing.

S- Belgian yeast. Sweet caramel. Roasted malts. Chocolate and several fruits including citrus.

T - Similar to smell. The flavor is dark chocolate and roasted malts upfront. Some molasses and bread comes through along with Belgian yeast flavor. In the middle there is lots of fruit flavors; some orange along with other citrus flavors. There is vanilla and a slight oak flavor present throughout. Finishes with a mixture of light bitterness and roast, along with that there is a slight alcohol burn, but is not some much as to be unpleasant.

M - Medium bodied and quite Smooth. Normal amount of carbonation.

D - Pretty easy drink. Not as good as the 07 in the series. But another pretty good entry in the Vertical Epic series for stone. Not my favorite but not bad by any stretch of the imagination, and I will definitely be drinking more of these. (1,041 characters)

Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber poured into tulip shaped glasses:

A: Light tan head with a dark brown almost black in color thick looking body to it.

S: Dark fruit like figs or plums, yeasty, with a hint of tobacco, and smokey malt.

T: Wow this is amazing... smokey, coffee, chocolate, delicious toffee with a warming slight alcohol burn on the end. This really has a lot going on here, but yet still very well balanced.

M: Medium body, perfect carbonation, really just overall smooth and creamy. Leaves you wanting more.

D: Could easily drink a whole 22oz on our own, but this was shared at a beer dinner with great company.

Cheers,
The Kings Of Hop (638 characters)

Photo of samyoung
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good one.

A - Dark, dark brown with a creamy white head.
S - Picking up roasted malt and chocolate, glorious chocolate!
T- Big vanilla feel, in addition to chocolate malt goodness.
M -Hits big at the front...but then dissipates.
D - Very smooth beer. The chocolate-malt sensory experience of this one makes it well worth it.

California does it again... (364 characters)

Photo of tjsprague
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer is a dark dark dark brown almost black color with a mocha colored head.

The smell is rich and malty with hints of fruity sweetness from the Belgium yeast.

The taste is big. There malts taste dark and very toasted. Its almost a little bit burnt tasting, but it seems like it will mellow out after time. The toastiness is almost smokey. The aftertaste is very sweet and pleasant. It almost tastes like a very dark bitter chocolate with a fruit finish.

The mouthfeel is very thick and pleasant, almost creamy. This beer tastes like it looks. It delivers.

This is not the kind of beer you are going to want to drink all night, but is perfect for a night cap. For how strong this beer is it is very drinkable.

Another excellent offering from Stone and a beer that is very good today but will be incredible in three years. (830 characters)

Photo of kurp001
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep brown with scant ruby highlights. A one finger tan head sticks around for a while before receding, with a fair amount of lacing left on the glass.

Smell consists of hints of fruit and dark chocolate, with a slight citrus presence.

The chocolate hints become more apparent after taking a sip, along with more of a spice kick and a pronounced orange peel essence. The finish is smooth, with a slight hop bitterness. As the beer warms, a coffee flavor seems to pull through as well.

The mouthfeel is full-bodied and smooth, with lively carbonation but not enough to overpower the flavors of the beer.

Drinkability is excellent for the considerable ABV, I can't really detect any sort of alcohol burn, nor do I find the strong flavors to become too much to handle at any point. I split the bomber with a friend, but I think I could have finished this myself. Overall, I'd have to say I was very happy with this beer, and am looking forward to see how it will do with a bit of age on it. (1,007 characters)

Photo of tuckevalastin
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pure black with a large foamy tan head.

S: Surprisingly it has a fuit tone that comes across the strongest.

T: Toasty and smoked with a hoppy finish. Some coffee flavors in the after taste. Not much of the choclate or fruit flavors comes through but some of their sweetness does. No strong alcohol taste.

M: A bit heavy but not so thick and without any heat. Relatively smooth. Feels alot like your average stout.

D: A nice casual drinker. It's a bit heavy but nit a task to finish.

Overall a nice beer. It's my first introduction to the Vertical Epic series and I'll certainly pick up the 10/10/10 when it comes out. (626 characters)

Photo of jdflyer06
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. into a snifter.

A: Nice and black. Very little head shortly after the pour, the etching at the bottom of my glass keeping some alive but that's it. Light isn't getting through on this one.

S: Some nice belgian sugar/sweetness overpowers the traditional stout notes of coffee and chocolate, but they're still present. Picking up some cherry, dark fruit and some nice roasted/smoky malt. Banana esters make their way in there but not quite as pronounced as I would have thought.

M: Very dry when it hits the palate. Somewhat thin. Pretty aggressive carbonation for the style, although I'm not sure what style this really is. Definitely more of a belgian in this area.

T: Smoky at the start, and the alcohol is very well hidden at the end. In between, coffee notes, but nothing too terribly complex in the taste arena here. Has the qualities of a slightly toned downed smoked porter. As it warms, the vanilla becomes more present but I'm not yet picking up the citrus that was promised me.

O: Very drinkable, but needs some time to bring out its latent complexities. The carbonation should tone down a bit with age, and this should do just fine in a cellar. I commend Stone on brewing a solid beer, albeit falling a bit short on what I was promised on the back of the bottle right now. (1,309 characters)

Photo of bernardus1212
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into a chimay glass. Almost black in color with a slight tint of brown when inspected in light. A dusted brown head that lingered for about 5 mins. Smells of rich chocolate, spice i.e.. cinnamon and brown sugar. Taste like coffee with chocolate vanilla and cinnamon. Picture a Stout in the beginning and a Belgium Quad at the end. Enjoyed it very much. Got me the next day. (389 characters)

Photo of ozzyCobblepot
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought this 22 oz. bomber back in late September from De Vinos in Adams Morgan, DC. Let it sit in the back of the fridge until today, which I must say, I'm very proud of. Even through tough times I left this bottle alone until 2010 came around. Don't know if it did anything, but a personal victory Ill take it.

A: Pours a nearly black, totally opaque drink with a big, chocolaty frothy head, clings well to the sides of the glass.
S: Deep coffee notes and bitter chocolate, touch of spicy hops.
T: Slightly sweet chocolate, mild dark fruit flavors intermixed with grassy hops, brown sugar, toffee flavors. Not bitter at all.
M: Medium bodied, slight carbonation, very refreshing.

Overall a slightly sweet, darkly toasted brew--subtle, but with many different flavors present. Many flavors, but none so pronounced that they dominate or take over. Moreover, the taste seems to progress through stages, allowing room for the complexity of the flavors to take their course. A filling and unique beer, done as well as anything in the style. (1,041 characters)

Photo of aewinte1
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a very dark brown with minimal 1" head.
S- Smell is of alcohol, coffee, chocolate, and spices.
T- taste is somewhat boozy with strong hits of coffee and chocolate. Some belgian ale style spiciness can be detected also. Warm going down, but very tasty.
M- Not that carbonated, but feels crisp enough.
D- Taste is a little boozy, but it drinks very smooth. A little warm going down from the alcohol, but not that big of a deal. (436 characters)

Photo of tko741
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aged until 9/9/10 (don't worry, I have enough until 12/12/12)

Pours a rich, deep black, with a thin tobacco head that slowly dissipates. Very little in the way of lacing. Some deep red hues linger around the edges when held up to light.

Strong caramel, graham cracker, and kona coffee beans seduce you upon taking a whiff. Wonderful.

Instant hits of dry citrus, followed by full, marbly notes of espresso, bittersweet chocolate, and malt are what greet your taste buds. The finish is a bit smoky, with fleeting vanilla. Quite fantastic stuff. Mouthfeel is full with a slight tingle from the carbonation.

If this stuff didn't cost so much and wasn't brewed once, oh, what an evening it would be with more. (708 characters)

Photo of obireidkenobi
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hope I'm not breaking BA protocol by reviewing this a year later. Here it goes -

Aged 1 year to the day 09.09.10. Poured into tulip.

Appearance - Carbonation still strong. Almost 2 finger white foam head.

Smell - Chocolate nose. With some roasty coffee

Taste - Bitter baking chocolate. Coffee flavor comes through, tastes almost burnt. In a tasty way. Some dark fruiits, slight raisin. Sweetness has appeared. Spices have faded some. Which is good, bringing the above flavors forward making this beer even better. Tastes less like a Belgian in my opinion.

Mouthfeel - Not heavy. Almost typical for a stout.

Drinkability - 3/4 way through bomber, still enjoying it. Looking forward to revisiting in 2011. (714 characters)

Photo of mjgarrett2
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
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. (1,471 characters)

Photo of cleverbeername
4.9/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drinkin in Bordeaux glass. Large head, 1.5 inches. Moter oil appearance, tan bubbly head.

Smells wonderful, obvious coffee notes and hidden scents.

Initially mouthfeel is great, redonkulous 30 sec. plus finish. dark, roasted coffee notes with orange citrus peel undertones. Great, but young. I would recommend this now, but buy a case to cellar for a few years. (363 characters)

Photo of paulieatworld
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured a dense brown to black into tulip with tan head. 3 fingers deep, dissipated within two minutes.

smells deeply of chocolate and coffee malts with the most subtle hints, reminiscent of a wheat ale - coriander, orange spice.

i have to disagree with the categorization of this beer as dark belgian style. it most definitely has all the makings and structure of a stout. a real mellow chocolate, reminiscent of young's dc, overflows coffee notes that interplay with orange peel, wood notes and a perfect dry finish, courtesy of the bittering hops.

gaaahhh. silky smooth and creamy mouth feel. this one just slips down the glass. such body without being cloying.

i haven't had the pleasure of becoming familiar with many of the other epics, but i gotta say, if they're anything like this one, i missed out. regardless, i think i found the perfect beer to start my cellar with. (881 characters)

Photo of MaineBirdMan
3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle.
half inch head
appearance: Dark brown with a coffee head.

nose: candy with a hint of coffee. Some pineapple notes came to mind.

taste: Good amount of hops on the finish. Mixed with some hints of coffee and chocolate.

mouthfeel: pleasant amount of bitterness from the hops. A nice warming feel from the alcohol. Not a whole lot of carbonation.

Drinkability: Couldn't drink too many of these. Nice to have one by the fire on a cold night. (470 characters)

Photo of edthered413
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber bottle into a Gulden Draak tulip glass. Pours very dark, almost black with garnet hues on the outside of the glass when help up to the light, Nice two finger head that holds up well. Smell is of chocolate, slight roasted coffee, slight vanilla and slightly orange. Taste up front is chocolate and roasted barley with some coffee, a little vanilla. I was sipping this slowly and as it warmed I could taste more of the vanilla and also some orange and some oak. Medium mouthfeel and smooth. Very drinkable but a sip and savor type of beer to me. I think this one will be better with some aging. (613 characters)

Photo of Zeisloft
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Max's Taphouse- Baltimore

Max's description of Stones Vertical Epic 09/09/09 was just "Dark Belgian Ale". I wasn't too sure what to think before it came to me. But I was not thinking Porter. And then I saw it. Dark as night, creamy tan head. Porter overcame my mind. Chocolate came through on the nose, with not much else. Then the taste. Definitely some chocolate, vanilla and little spice. Could use more spice to break up the chocolate. I would expect a little more hoppy bitterness from Stone (but not too much to over power everything, just enough to pull everything together). The beer was not too heavy or too light.

I would not call it a Belgian. Maybe when sitting in a cellar it will round out better, but for now it is a Porter. With that note, I normally do not like porters. Usually a porter has the burnt taste to it. The VE090909 did not. It was sweet and delicious. Although, one was enough. Not something to have a night of. (Especially at 8.5%.) I think I will try to go and grab a couple of bottles, this is a beer that should be really good on a cold night in the winter. I am thinking Christmas time. (1,138 characters)

Photo of microbrew52
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What an interesting brew. Its dark in the glass with a medium brown head with fine bubbles. When trying to pull the aroma from the glass, you get a nice mix of scents that keep you intrigued. I get mostly caramel and smoke. The taste is definitely smokey with caramel coming through for the balance. The finish is dry and slightly hoppy. A great beverage that is complex and very drinkable. (390 characters)

Photo of Darien
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass and quickly built up a nice 3 finger think dark tan head, very dark brown color like a Porter. Smells lightly roasted and nutty with some type of citrus smell (odd). Tastes of toasted caramel upfront with sort of a piney citrusy aftertaste, these flavors don't mesh well together in my opinion. Mouthfeel is very smooth and light to medium, just looking at this beer in the glass I expected it to be heavier but it's still nice. Very easy to drink but nothing really stands out to me and the citrus aftertaste I could do without. A good beer overall though. (582 characters)

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 535 ratings.