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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
92
outstanding

838 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 838
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 274 | FT: 14
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: 838 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of homebrewhawk
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 22 oz. bottle served in a Duvel tulip. Poured a deep black with a bit more than a finger of tan head. Nice aroma of chocolate and a bit of licorice. Medium bodied and rich. Flavor has more chocolate. Some fruity Belgian yeasty flavors as well. Bitterness from hops and maybe some from chocolate as well. Long dry finish of chocolate malt. A little spice as well. This seems more age worthy than the last couple of VE editions. Unique and interesting beer.

Photo of sisuspeed
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first sampling of the Vertical Epic series from Stone. I definitely like the idea, but unfortunately the oldest VE I have in my cellar is the '08, which I was able to pick up at the same time as the '09. I guess I'll just have a somewhat stunted vertical, but even four Stone beers in a row is a tasty treat.

Poured this guy into a wide tulip glass. Very dark in color with a foamy, chocolaty head that leaves silky lacing along the sides of the glass.

I'm getting a lot of bready malt notes on the nose. Some roasty ones too and a bit of fruity esters. Interesting.

Speaking of interesting, I feel like I'm drinking this beer through two slices of whole wheat bread. Lots of bread, but beyond that is a fairly complex flavor. I'm picking up on some chocolate malts, a bit of roastiness again. Also, the finish contains some fruitiness, maybe even a hint of orange peel and then some warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth, which helps make this ale pretty drinkable. I'm splitting this bomber with another BA at the moment, but I could also enjoy drinking the entire thing over the course of the evening.

Overall, this is my first VE and I'm definitely digging it. Not the most stand out beer by Stone, but a still a very good one. Glad I have another aging in the cellar.

Photo of waltonc
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been looking forward to trying this after reading all of the feverish praise on the forums. Pours very dark brown to black in color with robust tan head. Smells of charred malts, porter-like, with an orange-peel twist. Taste is more of the charred malt, chocolate, strong orange presence, reminds me a bit of Von Diemen black saison. A tad of vanilla and coffee here as well. Flavor is somewhat bitter. Medium thickness, fairly high carbonation. Interesting brew, but it doesn't entice me to finish the whole bomber, making this a partial drainpour given the unnecessary 22 oz bottling. Why, other than the fact that prior VE entries have been in bombers, is this in a bomber?

Photo of seand
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours black, white a generous amount of foamy dark tan head. Retains a layer pretty well, and leaves nice lacing. Looks like an imperial stout.

S: Roasted malts, and spices.

T: Complex, and subtly different than any stout or belgian dark I've had before; somewhere in the middle, yet with its own twist. Sweet roasted malts leading into a coffee like bitter finish, with a component of interesting spices.

M: Low carbonation, smooth, very full bodied.

D: Need to go slow to get the flavor, and due to the ABV.

I have a hard time explaining this beer very well, since it's got some things going on that I don't think I've ever tasted in a beer before, yet it's also not that far off of a more traditional stout or Belgian dark. It's also nothing like any other Stone beer I've tried (though I've not had any other Epic).

Photo of mountdew1
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark opaque brown, with a 1 finger light brown head. The head lasted for a long time, and clung to the sides well. Aroma reminded me of a chocolate stout. Small amounts of bitterness and burnt spiciness were also evident. Taste was a sweet slightly bitter milk chocolate, with a bit of white bread/all purpose flour in the end. Felt a bit off in the mouth. It was slightly dry, otherwise coated well and felt good. Surprisingly easy to drink, went down way faster than it should have.

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

(From notes)

A - Rich tan head; great retention and curtains of lacing; deep mahogany brown color; quite dense

S - Yeasty; woody; dark fruits; and only a hint of sweetness from the malt

T - Chocolately at first; dark grape/fruit flavors; richly malty; bit bittersweet and roasted; dry finish

M - Medium MF; creamier; subtle and soft carbonation

D - Good, and pretty quaffable given the overall heft; tasty and interesting

Overall, very enjoyable and interesting, but still accessible.

Photo of DRTBrewster
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of bradfordjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of sailorastro
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Magpie14
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: wow, is this really a Belgian Dark? I poured this in low lights and I was convinced this was a mild mannered stout. The pour was rather lethargic with a muddy brown complexion. After examining my glass with a better light source I found no transparency apparent. Pretty much an inky brew. A nice dirty gold colored head fluffed up and dissolved away leaving some remnants glued to the glass

S: sweet chocolate malts with a light kiss of fruitiness, most notably oranges. My nose also gathered a faint whiff of fresh baked grainy breads with some grassy hops. That fruitiness has a bubblegum depth to it

T: this is an admirably complex brew. Judging by the bodies hue and from what I smelled, the flavors are pretty dark as guessed. At first sip, the maltiness pairs with a burnt bread-like character, somewhat of a rugged baked dry yeasty character. This mainstay flavor is augmented by a light bakers chocolate character. And then, on the other hand, you have some spicy mellow dark fruit characters with a hop presence all its own working about. The hops are more or less grassy and florally

However, the overall profile is just kind of clammy and dark, if that makes sense. Things are briefly bitter after each sip and then a battle of chocolate and spices pursue the tongue. Warming proves to accentuate flavors in a good-natured way with alcohol unfortunately popping up

M: a medium to full body makes things pretty smooth. Carbonation is in the tongue tickler category, maybe a bit strong for how fat the body is. I always associate most Belgians as fuzzy or full of life, this one is doing moderate work during my consumption

D: wow, a rather interesting complex beer. I was assuming a usual Belgian type of beer when I bought it. I guess what surprised me the most was the girth of the beer, which is a good surprise. This baby drinks good and I might try to grab another before the next one rolls around, better make work of that soon

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

Poured into 8oz glass.

A - Poured jet black non-transparent color with high ruby frosty head that slowly dissipated leaving average amount of lacing around the glass.

S - Malts, coffee and chocolate scents. Very complex.

T - Slightly sweet to start with and tons of roasted malts with a coffee, dark chocolate bitter finish.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation.

D - Definitely a sipper but very enjoyable. Looks and tastes more like RIS instead of Strong Dark Ale. Highly recommend it if you can get it.

Photo of nollie77
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Hopswagger
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Dark orange-brown with tan head

S: Cocoa, chocolate orange, dairy cream, roasty malt, banana, clove, peppery spices, aged oak, timid coffee and a pinch of cayenne.

T/M: Chocolate sheet cake, cocoa powder, chocolate orange, orchard fruit, hints of vanilla bean. Creamy but grainy feel in a full body with prickly carbonation. Smooth finish of chocolate and oak.

O: Huge chocolate base with varying types and a good oak aged flavor that developed nicely. Bold flavors and one to really enjoy.

Photo of Anthony1
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark brown color with good carbonation and a tannish head. Nose is spice, light on alcohol, vanilla, cocoa and a belgian yeast strain with some hops. Taste is so nice with cinnamon, spice, some citrus, bitter chocolate, tobacco..alot going on yet balanced ad the ABV is well hidden. Mouthfeel is nice, not to hefty or alcoholic but thought it would have been a little creamier. The spice, cocoa showed through.

Photo of danielharper
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black body, very thin brown head that dissipates quickly. Body is completely opaque and allows no light through. Head should be much greater for a Belgian-style ale.

Smell: Rich chocolate backbone, some spices (coriander?) on top. Notes of chocolate-covered cherries, sweet, inviting. Some alcohol astringency.

Taste: Alcohol astringency is very present in the flavor, particularly in the finish. Otherwise strong flavors of chocolate malt, with a nice bitterness and some vanilla-like spicy undertones. Finish is strongly of vanilla. No tartness present at all, which leads me to suspect that an American-style yeast was used.

Mouthfeel: Thick, luxurious. Low carbonation, mild hops. Slightly chewy.

Drinkability: Very nice beer, although perhaps slightly misclassified as a Belgian-style. It'd be interesting to see how it ages (which is, after all, the point).

Photo of tmm313
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

9.9.9 enjoyed on 1.30.14

A- Black from a distance. Darkest possible brown when you get up close. Beautiful khaki 1 finger head with excellent trailing/lacing.

S- Chocolate covered raisins! Vanilla and oak with a slight hint of booze.

T- Wonderful! Rich cocoa with vanilla, raisins, and hints of orange up front. Dark chocolate and dark fruits, like prune and dark cherry, follow. Finish is charred oak, citrus rind, and earthy hop spices over more dark chocolate, a little booze, and hints of licorice. Beautifully balanced and complex.

M- Thicker side of medium. Smooth on the tongue with subtle drying. Even the mouthfeel is balanced.

O- I've given Stone some rave reviews in my day. This will be no different. Incredible complexity; incredible balance; incredible flavors. I'm super stoked to have had this masterpiece, but just as sad to know I'll never have it again. I'm kind of new to aging beers, but if this is what usually happens, I'm all in.

Photo of Casey10
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice beer can't wait to see how this one tastes in a couple of years.

A - pours very dark with a very brown head with nice lacing. As others have noted reminds me of a stout. Very nice though

S - faint notes of chocolate other faint spices as well.

T - good although well definately have to follow up with a review after ageing. Light chocolate, after warming up can definately taste the Belgian spices which gives it a slight banana like taste in the background.

M - Creamy again feel of the Belgian spice is there slight banana stings a bit as well.

D - I really liked this looking forward to seeing what some ageing will do to this.

Photo of saintwarrick
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Vertical Epic and it does not disappoint. Pours a dark black with a nice foamy head that recalls a porter or a stout. Aroma is chocolatey but with a lot of hops mixed in. Some Belgian sugars in there with an almost earthen-like aroma. Very porter-like in taste but also very wood-aged, oaky taste is there before a nice spicy bitterness takes over. Also finishes very dry, like some porters. Finish is smooth but bitter.

A lot of things to like here, sort of a hoppy, Belgian porter-like brew here. Might have to set down a bottle for a while to see how it changes.

Photo of cratez
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The last beer from a ridiculous haul purchased by my girlfriend at Beer World in Largo, Florida. Pours an opaque black with a thin ring of mocha tan head and threads of lacing on the snifter. Smell and taste are floral hops, vanilla beans, oak barrel, sweet dried fruit, roasted and chocolate malts, biscuit, strong bitterness, and a touch of alcohol. I get some orange peel on the nose, but not in the flavour. Mouthfeel is medium, spicy, a bit hollow, sharp carbonation, chalky and dry finish. The bold, citrusy IBUs do not complement the old ale elements in this beer. It drinks like a stale and boozy porter with IPA bitterness. Not a BSDA by any stretch of the imagination. I never thought I'd be disappointed with a Stone beer, but this one doesn't do it for me.

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

Pours a very dark brown, almost appearing to be black until you give it a closer inspection. On top of that sits a thick light brown head which unfortunately turns into a thin film rather quickly. it does leave behind sheets of sticky tan lacing.

Roasted malt along with a bit of chocolate make up the aroma. Not especially complex in this regard, yet still rather inviting.

Tasted also of malts and chocolate, with somewhat of a root beer quality in the background. I was quite pleased that this beer didn't lean heavily in the coffee flavor department as so many brews of this style do. The alcohol is very well integrated and you feel it rather than taste it.

Mouthfeel was good but not great. Slightly thinner than I'd like in a beer of this type, yet it did go down smooth.

Overall this beer was pleasant to drink, but didn't knock my socks off. I might buy another bottle just to put away for a while and see if it matures and develops over time.

Photo of Beerbuddha
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- This beer poured a nice, rich black color with a huge, foamy brown head.

Smell- HUGE chocolate flavors with hints of roasted malt and spices. Nice hints of vanilla as well.

Taste- Interesting spiciness up front followed by the chocolate, vanilla and roasted malt. Hints of citrus and banana make this one unique brew.

Mouthfeel- Very thick body but smooth.

Overall- Another fantastic brew from Stone!

Photo of switzer
3/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of cvfish
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - This beer poured a black color that produced a fluffy tan head which had great retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer were very complex, roasted malts, vanilla, bitter chocolate, sour citrus, and Belgian yeast

T - The taste of this beer was just as complex as the nose, roasted malts and bitter chocolate, vanilla, a subtle note of sour tangerine and finish with the dominate Belgian yeast

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body and a light to moderate amount of carbonation

D - This beer was one of the most unique and flavorful beer that I have ever had, if I had to describe this to someone it would be a Belgian Porter

Photo of photomike
4/5  rDev -2%

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 838 ratings.