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

850 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 850
Reviews: 537
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 278 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 850 | Reviews: 537
Photo of Spiderhouse
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A--Dark, oliy brown with minimal foam, but not undercarboanted.

S--Strong coffee, vanilla; a bit of bitter chocolate and some toffee. Some fruit notes too...maybe a little black cherry or plum?

T--As others have mentioned, tastes like it smells. But it has a delightful carbonation and delicious, lingering finish that echoes for a long time on the tongue.

M--Again, the carbonation lends a nice effervescence, and the bpdy is pleasingly substantial without being overbearing.

D--Very drinkable, though for my personal taste, 22 oz. is more than enough. An excellent, complex beer with very good potential. I look forward to my next glass...probably around the end of the Mayan calendar.

Procured at Whole Foods Valencia, CA

Photo of NealVsBeer
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown, with slight head upon pouring and nice lace afterwards

S - Can really smell the chocolate malt, also hints of citrus

T - Malty, smooth and chocolatey, slight alcohol taste at the end

M - Rich and smooth on the palate

D - Very drinkable, at 8.9% I may be able to drink more than 1 but I don't see the point

This is overall a fantastic beer. Rich, smooth, and chocolately this is a terrific dessert beer.

Photo of SundaySour
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this with Cavery and Klym, those morning lushes!

A: Big brown head and a murky chocolate brown color. Can't see through it at all, no snorkeling in this pond. Like a lot of other beers from Stone, it has great lacing.

S: Smells like roasted pumpkin seeds, salty dark chocolate, and a pinch of nutmeg. In fact, this would make a killer ass pie. The smell is rich and like autumn in a glass.

T: Mouth eruption! Initially tastes like walnuts, with a nice dark chocolate center and finish. This really does taste like a $10 candy bar you get somewhere called "Le Choc" or whatever.

M: Creamy and thick, not fizzy. Like a dessert, it stands on it's own.

O: This beer is powerful and delicious, like the stallion of beers.

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

It has been a while since my last review so I figured I’d pick up where I left off...with an offering from the folks at Stone Brewery!

To get off on the right foot, let’s raise another glass to Stone Brewery and the magic they make over there in California!
This time I’m drinking a pint (6 fl oz) bottle of their Vertical Epic 09.09.09…a beer that is (for what should be extremely obvious reasons) getting harder and harder to get a hold of. I’m in for a treat—I know!

From the pour one thing and one thing alone strikes me—it's obvious but always something that tickles me pink!--the dark, dark color!

This is a big dark beer and what follows—as suited for these types of beers!—is that big bold, beautifully bitter aroma. From the pour we are also given quite a good head, I’d say it should average 1.5-2.0 inches if given a good pour. The head then lingers for a while--giving you that golden window of opportunity to sniff-sniff-sniff away! And boy does 09.09.09 give you a bouquet to sniff at. Though darker beers typically have less to offer in the realm of aroma and a lighter colored beer of this richness would likely provide more for the nose, this brew still does not disappoint. We’ve obviously got a lot of burnt maltiness and some vanilla/coffee notes but we’ve also got a great balance of alcohol reminding you you’re not sniffing at the wort—but actually the end result of the brewing process!—and it’s toting an ABV of 8.6%.

The first sip, well, there it all is. From a full mouth of the stuff you’re going to get a lot of the alcohol, that’s just how it works; but from a smaller swig you can really taste the complexity of this beer as well as appreciate the almost creamy mouthfeel. Letting this brew sit on your palate for a second before gulping it down is a great experience. Doing so renders the balance of the flavors of this beer to the drinker—and it is quite nice. Chocolate malt, and woody flavors, are obviously present and as stated on the bottle there’s an element of vanilla which makes for a really nice aftertaste which is both bitter and sweet. Overall this beer is a great beer to sit and relax with and is a perfect addition to the legacy of quality Stone Brewery is building.

A: Dark! Good head with minimal lace.

S: Chocolate malt, burnt, bitter with a discrete sweetness.

T: Just what you expect. Bitter, chocolaty, nutty, oakey, with a slight vanilla sweetness which brings everything together for a pleasant aftertaste. Meanwhile the alcohol is there tasting as it does and doing its job. Very nice balance in this brew.

M: Mouthfeel is nice. Letting it sit on the palate this beer has a thicker heavier consistency and a the higher alcohol feel fitting of an 8.6 ABV.

O: 09.09.09 is a great dark beer. While my personal preference is something more like an oatmeal stout or a sweeter porter, this I still appreciated! I can recommend it for anyone who’s looking for a good dark beer that ends up being everything it says it is on the bottle. A good number of people are saying it might need to mature a bit longer and I might not be the best person to ask on this matter because my experience with cellaring is limited but I didn’t find the flavor to be lacking—and I didn’t think the balance was really off in any way, so I think two years has been a good amount of time for this brew to mature. At any rate get it while you can there are a limited number of these!

I tip my hat once more to the folks over at Stone Brewing!

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

22 oz. bomber poured into a Stone IRS tulip

Appearance: Very dark brown almost opaque with frothy persistent deep brown head. Pretty syrupy.

Smell: Rich malty coffee-like aroma. Lots of fruity esters, orange peel and plum. Very sweet but slightly bitter as well. Belgian yeast characters.

Taste: Roasted dark coffee malty chocolate-like flavors with a hint of orange peel. Cand sugar-like sweetness, very rich. Fruity esters, plum, raisin, orange peel.

Mouthfeel: Full body, low carbonation. Very smooth.

Very rich complex beer with aromatic coffee chocolate flavors. Delicious. I'll look forward to aging the beer and try.

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

A - dark, rich, and bold. Deep black with a thin, foamy white head. Poured into a Belgian-style snifter. Although light, the foam stays through and adheres slightly to the glassware.

S - roasted coffee comes through at first, followed by bits of dark chocolate and burnt wood. Continued whiffs bring memories of a good quality dark chocolate bar. I'm quickly falling in love here.

T - ok, the dark roasted notes I mentioned earlier SCREAM out loud in the taste. Slightly bittersweet, with taste of dark cocoa and a strong earthy balance. A nice mellow alcohol taste comes through in the finish, with some dryness. Really good stuff here.

M - the dark hues make it hard to take on too much of this beer at once. But if you take the time and appreciate a good quality porter, this is one to enjoy. The alcohol content provides a nice warmth to a very savory beer.

T - as someone who LOVES porters and stouts, this is a must try, even if it is in limited release. I wouldn't have even known this was brewed in a Belgian style if I hadn't known any better. Classic porter flavors that borders into stout characteristics. If you like your beer big, black, and bold, you gotta give this a try.

Photo of LittleBug31
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very black. Quite a substantial medium-tan head with tiny, foamy bubbles.

Smell: Chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Banana split even, with the pineapple and banana-bready aromas. Bright, crisp, and clean with a hoppy spiciness.

Taste: Whoa! Very roasty with lots of chocolate. Intense flavor. The sweetness of pineapple mixes with a smoky, burnt vanilla bean for an interesting taste. Shocks my mouth with each sip! --Flavors mesh and calm down quite a bit as it warms.

Mouthfeel: A strong jolt to the tongue. A bit too bitter for me. Overall very smooth; mild carbonation that is very pleasant.

Drinkability: Very enjoyable in small quantities, but the full-bodiedness and intensity makes me hesitant for more.

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

Picked this up tonight in Blacklick

Poured from 22 oz bottle into Chimay glass

Beer is extremely dark. Just a hint of red when put under the light. The foam looks creamy, with a decent amount of head.

The smell is very intense and complex. It seems to balance somewhere between fruity and malty, with an earthy quality to it.

The taste is very well balanced. There is some brown sugar and chocolate towards the front, more brown sugar, as well as a smoky/burnt flavor towards the back. The aftertaste lingers and is bitter and smoky. The mouthfeel is medium (not as thick as it looks) and the carbonation is fairly light. There is a bite from alcohol, although some of this a very sharp hop bitterness I think.

Overall is not too dry, and not too sweet, with just enough complexity to keep it interesting. A great beer to start the fall with.

Photo of k3punk
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another nice release from Stone. Served from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - poured a smooth amber color with a solid head that hangs around for ever.

S - The ever present hops that makes a Stone brew a Stone brew.

T - This is a nice beer. Very smooth for an 8.9AVB. Slightly hoppy with some caramel. Is there a bit of tobacco in there?

M/D - Good mouthfeel and very drinable.

I would reccomend this beer to anyone who loves delicious beer. The only reason it's not a full A+ all the way across is because it's not the best Stone Brew I've had.

Photo of BarBEERian
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When I think of Belgian dark ales, I think of a slightly muddied version of an amber-at least a beer I can see a glimmer of light through. However, after pouring a pint of the 09.09.09, I already knew I was being slightly deceived by the title on the bottle: this was a porter or stout. It poured a delicious-looking midnight black color with a head that erupted like a volcano into a fluffy and succulent light brown froth.

The smell wasn't overpowering, though, with just a slight touch of cocoa and some sweeter citrus notes. The taste was immediately velvety soft, with a touch of vanilla bean and oaky-alcohol hitting up front. The following touches included sprinklings of orange zest, lemon, a thick yeasty layer, and the light finishing power of toned-down malt. Further sips revealed a boozier profile than I initially noted, with the smooth and filmy mouthfeel really becoming noticeable. As the beer warmed, the booze became even more pronounced, but the flavors seemed to separate even more. What was once a nice and subtle transition from vanilla and malt to citrus, was now a noticeable change, and the finishing notes were even more removed from the middle flourishes, with an abrupt and unwelcome splash of malt shielding the now odd citrus sprinklings.

Photo of wcuberos
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a good dark color and a strong nose. When I poured it, it gave off a strong head and good aroma. The flavor sneaks up on you and finishes with a creamy chocolate flavor. I'd recommend drinking it alone or with a strong meal that would balance well with the flavor.

Photo of jlpayne
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Two-finger, mocha head. Body is pitch black and completely opaque. Thin lacing.

S - Nuanced: Booze. Caramel. Dark Chocolate.

T - Brings me back to childhood: Tastes just like a "Sugar Daddy." Delicious. Subtle hints of mint.

M - Smooth, round, buttery, and full-bodied.

D - This is a heavy beer, which suits the style. I loved it, but could only drink one.

Great beer. Definitely pick one up while they're still around.

Photo of recons54
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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).

Photo of himmelhuber
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer is black, nice brown foam, looks yummy!
Smell is sweet, little tangerine, little coffee, it as almost a smokey smell, lots of roasted malts.
Taste is very intense, almost overwhelming, malty, sweet, but well balanced with a lot of hops and malt bitterness.
Mouthfeel is as the taste a bit overwhelming but carbonation is good. It was no problem finishing one pint, but I did not get a second one, that would have been to much.
I think this one will get a lot better over time, it needs to mellow out a bit, now its just to much of everything.

Photo of Diablerie
3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Alright, so where to begin? I'm a big fan of the Vertical Epic Ales--they're very innovative concoctions and tend to "break the mold", if you don't mind me using a cliche. I managed to procure a few bottles from the local Beverages & More, which had literally received its shipment but minutes before I walked in. Such sweet serendipity.

Anyway, enough of my banter...on to the important stuff.

Appearance -
The look of this beer was quite inviting, having a subtle orange tint to an otherwise dark coloration. It looks thick, and, misleadingly enough, it appears heavier than it actually tastes. An ephemeral, tan head appears.

Aroma -
I smell banana, cloves, maybe a bit of hazelnut, and a predominant note of smoke. I don't really catch a vanilla aroma, although I do catch the sweet scent of the Belgian yeast. The chocolate malts aren't as noticeable here as they are in the taste (ostensibly)--I think the scent of smoke overpowers it.

Taste -
There's a nice harmony of chocolate, zesty citrus, some vanilla (though, again, I struggle to taste it--I kind of expected it to be less subtle, I guess?), balanced out hoppiness, and of course, smoke (akin to slightly burnt coffee grounds).

Mouthfeel -
Contrary to other reviewers and patrons here, I have to say that I thought the mouthfeel was a bit rough from what the VE's usually present. The alcohol was, I'm sorry to say, a bit too noticeable, and that accompanied with a bit of a heavy hand on the carbonation contributed, I felt, to a bit of an unpleasant feel. The taste definitely helps buttress this fault though, so it's certainly not a defeat for Stone here.

Drinkability -
After considering the mouthfeel, its drinkability was a bit impaired. However, after the taste and the complexity factor in, the beer is a very interesting and engaging experience. I, without a doubt, enjoyed the hour spent sipping it.

As a closing thought, while I still think that the '07 VE was by the far the best yet, this is a formidable addition to the ranks. I recommend trying it, if you can.

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

22oz bottle poured into pint glass

A - very dark with tan head, looks like a stout

S - Coffee mainly, some hops and spices

T - Tastes like a great black and tan, a near perfect combo of hops and malts

M - medium body, carb was a little much for the first couple minutes then it smoothed out

D - High, hides the alcohol well

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

Got it a little early from my store and got to drink it before the official release date.

Poured into a Belgian goblet style glass. Produced a head about a finger high which dissipated over a few minutes into a thin froth. Produced moderate lacing.

Aroma - Strong banana with slightly less strong hints of vanilla and roasted malt. Exotic fruits.

Taste - Classic stone hoppyness. roasty and sweet. Coffee and vanilla. Very enjoyable, but I feel as though there might be something lost in the hops. I wish the hops didnt cover up the vanilla so much.

Overall a very interesting and exciting beer.

Photo of PvtVile
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on tap at Aces and Ales in Las Vegas.

Look: This beer pours very dark, it has a little chocolate colored head.

Smell: Smells of chocolate and malts.

Taste: A little bitterness on the tip of the tongue and a nice coat of chocolate and coffee on the back of the mouth.

Feel: This beer is kind of thick and coats the mouth.

Photo of ColdBeer30
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

It was dark in the bar but I want to say the color of the beer was a dark cocoa with a dark tan creamy dense head on top. It was served to me in a wide mouth Chalice. Carbonation was low from the look but there was a full thick ring of lacing.

The smell was of dark coffee grounds and espresso at first followed by chocolate of the more bitter sweet kind. Smell finishes with roasted malts and subtle grassy or leafy hops.

The taste comes in opposite. First came a blend of chocolates (dark and heavy cream milk chocolate) then the roasted malts, strong coffee (the kind you want to wake up to) and a touch of bitter or slightly briny hops which hardly lingers, there just long enough that you are looking even more forward to that next hit of cocoa.

The mouthfeel is well balanced and extremely creamy. Carbonation is pretty mild but the beer isn't flat. With everything else your mouth is experiencing you don't really even notice it.

The beer is full bodied as any porter or dark belgian would be, coming out of the tap I could drink several easily.

Seeing as this beer is meant to be aged about 3 years I am definitely going to stash one away for later. I can see the potential for it getting even better.

Photo of Officer_Nasty
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

This is a delicious beer that aged very well.

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

Purchased a few bottles from Stone Brewing Co. several hours ago. Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice dark black with small head that dissipated fast. This beer pours thick.

Smell: The alcohol is definitely there, with a malty roasted aroma following it right away.

Taste: Strong chocolaty flavor, with some hints of citrus. The aftertaste is a bit acid and hoppy (bitter), and the chocolate flavor lingers around for some time.

Mouthfeel: Nice and soft, with a medium grade of carbonation.

Drinkability: Although this beer has an excellent taste, the alcohol is somewhat noticeable and this beer will hit you fast.

Overall, I am saving at least one bottle until 2012, but it's nonetheless a marvelous beer to enjoy at any point.

Photo of nickiversen
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a growler of this with my brother bought from The Charleston Beer Exchange (a must-visit) this past evening.

It pours dark brown with a smooth appearance and the head looks like a foamy edible dream come true.

The smell is nothing to shake a stick at for a porter, but it still has hints of roasted chocolate malts and a hint of alcohol. For a beer ranging in 8-9% ABV it is absolutely delicious and drinkable. For a porter, it warms the chest just the right amount leaving you crying with joy wanting more.

It goes down easy and a growler was no problem for my brother and I. Ranks in the top ten of best Porter's i've had and with its exclusive nature it is a must try if you can get your paws on it.

Photo of sarahloca44
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of spacewolf
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first review. Here goes:

Pours a dark chocolate/cola with a one finger tan head that dissipated in 10 seconds.

Nice aroma of deep roasted malt, dark chocolate, and baked beans (?)

The taste is dark malt and cacao that deepens to a fig/plum and finishes with a slightly bitter orange/vanilla/oak & alcohol which lingers for a long time.

This brew gets better as it warms up a bit with more pronounced banana & vanilla flavors coming forward.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin but pleasant and does not detract from the overall enjoyment of this beer. You can tell its a thoughtful and well crafted beer from the first sip to the last. I will definitely try and grab another bottle to cellar for a while.

Photo of gawylou
3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

[A collaborative review with relenamor]

Appearance: Dark like a fine Dutch licorice, opaque as the antithesis of a polished window. The head: macchiato tan.

Smell: Sweet and toasty, i.e. campfire s'more, but only barely so, the sweet aromas were only discernible upon repeated nasal inhalations.

Taste: In chronological order: alcohol, belgian yeast, coffee. With a bitter hoppy finish. I must note the slight chocolate flavor, reminiscent of 80% cocoa Varlhona chocolate.

Mouth-feel: A shade syrupy, and lightly carbonated. As though my mother placed tiny frolicking angels on my sunday morning pancakes.

Drinkability: Exorbitantly alcoholic tasting for only an 8.6% beer. Prior to reading the bottle, I was stumbling about attempting to pounce upon with the nearest female. Later, as a friend read me the percentage, I felt a stone cold soberness fall upon me. I felt like a fool.

Overall, save your money for some Don Perignon and fresh caviar from the seas of Iran. If you prefer to expend your capital on fine ales, may I recommend Stone's Imperial Russian Stout.

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 850 ratings.