1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

833 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 833
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 833 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of davesway10
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

davesway10, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, goblet,

This Belgian Porter/BSDA nearly reaches Imperial Stout territory in the looks department. Dark Porter with a cappuccino head that is pleasantly persistent.

Chunks of moderately dark chocolate, a twinge of alcohol antagonizes the tangerine peel, vanilla bean, chocolate malt. Flowery vanilla and candied orange peel deep within.

More chocolate lands on the tongue gently and flows to the back to finish with vanilla and oily tangerine peel. The slightest bit of alcohol which only helps to weld the flavors together. The Belgian yeast seems to have made a minimal impact, yielding some sweet berry and fig flavors and not trying steal the show.

This fantastic beer falls slightly in the mouthfeel. The carbonation level is appropriately low, but the body is a bit thin.

I adore this beer. I hope that I can find some more bottles when I get home to CA, because this is drinking wonderfully right now.

brewerburgundy, May 07, 2010
Photo of EFR94
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

EFR94, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of thegodfather2701
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Very dark, but not pitch black. Tan head that dissipates quickly, but leaves some lacing.

S-Clove, banana, some moderate spiciness. Smells similar to a Belgian beer.

T-Clove, dark bitter chocolate, coffee, metalic, and some Belgian spiciness. This is one of the most unique tasting beers I've ever had.

M-Thin and carbonated.

D-Pretty drinkable even given its high abv.

Overall, I was dissapointed with this beer. I was expecting something richer, thicker, and more complex.

thegodfather2701, Oct 21, 2009
Photo of uziangis
4/5  rDev -2%

uziangis, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of TexAggie011
4/5  rDev -2%

TexAggie011, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of BBP
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.

BBP, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of jmalex
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I hope it doesn't make me biased, but I was really excited for this one. The chocolate-orange combo seems really nice, and I was surprised that this is the first beer I've heard of to utilize it.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip very black with a thick, tan head. It's quite sturdy and holds well with its combination of large and small bubbles. Absolutely picture perfect with zero flaws.

SMELL: A really curious aroma that is low on the chocolate and caramels that one would expect from a porter-like beer, even a Belgian one. Instead it features coffee, quite a bit of smoke, burnt malt, and a nondescript fruitiness that doesn't really indicate orange peel or Belgian esters. Intriguing.

TASTE: Wow, that's weird. Dark, bitter black malt contributes a lot of bitterness. But it has some help from a dose of hops and maybe even the orange peel. The smokiness is there too alongside a little bit of chocolate (finally). It's not terribly Belgian though some esters are vaguely present. The finish shows a bit of the citrus peel off, melding with woody tannins to finish with a bang. It's insanely complex, really strange, and I think I like it.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium full in body with a slightly drier finish. A high carbonation level lightens the load as well, but a nice coating is left in your mouth after the swallow.

DRINKABILITY: Big beer is big. 8.9% seems about right, so this will be an all-night sipper for me. Not that I have a problem with that. With any luck, it'll last me until the replay of the Aussie-rules Grand Final in a couple hours. On second thought, that's unlikely.

This did not meet my expectations. But rather than falling short, it just goes in a complete other direction. If anything it's a must-try because of its uniqueness. Go out and get a bottle for now and a bottle for a long time down the road. This plus a bit of age will be VERY interesting and probably VERY good.

jmalex, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of CanisMajor
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

CanisMajor, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of BobZ
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Very dark brown almost black with a nice small 1/2” head that recedes to a 1/16” cap. Nice lacing.

Smell: Roasted malt with chocolate, those two aromas dominate the nose.

Taste: Follows the aroma with a chocolaty rich roasted malt flavor. Also getting a mild licorice flavor. Very well balanced and delicious, the flavors work very well together.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with good body and carbonation.

Overall: Very good beer, somewhere between a stout and a porter. Glad to have a few bottles tucked away.

BobZ, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of baggio
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle@Home

Apperance: Very dark brown with a beige head and lots of sticky lacing.

Smell: Ripe fruit, Vanilla, Chocolate and some dark bread.

Taste: Tobacco, Hint of vanilla, Bitter chocolate, Leather, Coffee.

Mouthfeel: Very filling with a sweet and bitter ending filled with chocolate and vanilla. Low carbonation (but it is there!).

A bottle to be shared for sure as it is a true sipper. Nice ve-beer.

baggio, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of ryser2k
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

ryser2k, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of cnally
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I know I am cracking into this four years too soon, but whatever. Judge it now, edit it later.

Appearance is a very deep brown, close to black. Red tints come through around the edges of the glass. Soapy tan head, plenty of lacing.

Aroma is a smoky, nutty, bit of cherry nose, heavy alcoholic finish.

Big time nutty flavor, burnt caramel, very dark. Reminicent of a porter rather than a Belgian Dark. Finishes very smoky, heavily bitter.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and sticky.

If labeled a porter or stout, I could see the consistency and flavor. But as a Belgian Dark? I know this should sit for four years, and theoretically it should mellow, right? But I have a hard time tasting this as nothing more than a syrupy stout.

cnally, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of goalie33
4/5  rDev -2%

goalie33, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of Geuzedad
4/5  rDev -2%

Geuzedad, Jun 23, 2013
Photo of kels
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Beer pours into my pint glass a seriously dark chocolate-brown shade with an extremely well-retained 1 finger foamy latte-colored head that started out at about 3 fingers. It looks like a Russian Imperial Stout - full bodied with a tremendous head - instead of some of the other Belgian strong darks I've had. The beer is completely opaque. Slippery tan lacing rings the glass for awhile before sliding back into the beer.

Smell: The smell definitely clarifies the style of the beer. Really sticky, dark fruit esters, bitter, toffee-like roasted malts, and a spiciness that is kind of peppery and savory. Slight yeasty presence and just a hint of alcohol finish it off.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The spice is one of the most prominent characteristics of this beer. It comes out throughout the drink, from the moment it hits the tongue all the way into the aftertaste. It almost pricks up the tastebuds a little. It's a little spicy like ginger or pepper and it's a little savory like coriander. While the spiciness takes the focus, the rest of the flavors are also nicely present in the body. There's a really nice roasted malt that has the slightest dimension of smokiness and the slight bitterness of coffee. It is joined by a bit of a citrus hop note with the slick oiliness of piney hops. Only a hint of alcohol comes across in the aftertaste. The feel is full, dark and moderate in the mouth, and finishes with a bright fizziness from the carbonation. A slight stickiness remains on the palate afterwards.

Drinkability: Pretty high, but not as easy drinking as a Belgian strong with less spice. I prefer the bolder flavors in this version, and think it was done really well.

kels, Sep 19, 2009
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.

BrewCrew2010, May 31, 2011
Photo of beerman207
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Beer poured a nice black color with a tan head that sticks around forever!

S - Complex aroma of vanilla, chocolate, mollases, dark fruit, as well as a hint of smoke and alcohol coming through.

T - Bitter chocolate as well as vanilla and some charcoal or smoke coming through. Figs?

M - Mouthfeel was medium and very creamy. Very enjoyable.

D - I imagine that the alcohol would be better masked if one waited until 3 years from now. I'm just too impatient so I needed to crack this one open. Glad I did. I could go for another.

beerman207, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First Vertical epic I've had the pleasure of trying. I can say it won't be the last.

Pours black with a nice chocolate head. Good lacing.

Ok, call me crazy, but the initial smell smelled like bacon. Not real bacon, but that dog treat bacon- sweet and meaty. Nice grain and herbal notes to compliment the mysterious bacon.

Tastes much like the nose, sweet, meaty, herbal, citrusy. Very, very nice.

Nice carbonation, creamy feel in the mouth. I know that wasn't a proper sentence, but it will suffice.

Too bad I only had a small tasting glass, this was a very pleasant beer. I guess I have to add this to my shopping list next beer trip.

RomaniIteDomum, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of cynical1027
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

cynical1027, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The always anticipated VE was a bit of a let down to me. I guess it was a good let down, but still...Poured into tulip, dark as night with mocha head. Good retention and lacing. The smell was very unique I thought. A very bready and yeasty smell at first led way to a banana and bubblegum smell with some chocolate. Perhaps the most smells I've ever had in a single beer. Taste was alright but I feel it needs to age, but I guess thats what this beer is supposed to do. I think there were too many flavors to really focus on anthing particular. Chocolate, hops, orange, citrus, oak, vanilla, toasted malt...you name it! I actually thought there was a bit of smokiness to it that I did enjoy. Just a little too much. Mouthfeel was fuller but not too heavy. Overall an easy drinker. I did enjoy the beer and am very curious to see how it ages. I think this one will get much better with age.

bunnyhustle, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of czechsaaz
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kind of bitter that I didn't get to this on the actual date but I've been sick. First V.E. since '03 that I didn't get to on time but no need to rush it if I couldn't smell or taste it.

Really fruity right off with the aroma with a bunch of yeast esters. Malt aroma is mostly darker caramel types and a hint of roast. A little warmer and I get honey.

Deep black colored and totally opaque when held up to the light. Poured with a huge rocky head that eventually faded to a solid 1/2 inch layer of tan foam.

First impact of the flavor for me is the belgian yeast. It's spicy and has fruit esters. Malt component then kicks in with a bunch of caramel but also the hint of roast that I got in the aroma. Good hop bitterness and a hint of woody hop flavor. I get a little tannin from the oak that comes off as a dryness on the back end.

Full bodied with a lively carbonation level.

Nice beer. One of the better V.E.s fresh. It's good to drink now but strong nough and with enogh complexity to age as intended.

czechsaaz, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of clickpush
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark body, not at all reminiscent of a Belgian beer, like an imperial stout. Great tan head. Very responsive to hard pour. Aroma is roasty, molasses, burnt toast, oaky. Flavors are the same, with a hint of that Belgian yeast strain. An interesting development of flavors... starts off w/ a lighter flavor and transitions into stout flavors. Alcohol is well masked. Carbonation is slightly larger than I'd like... would prefer something creamier. Nice beer, though.

clickpush, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of riored4v
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 9/21/09

Poured into a tulip glass. Pitch black body. 1 finger, tan head. Good lacing. Fades to thin layer rather quick.

Smell is chocolately, fruity and roasty. Hints of bitter orange peel and some nice esters.

Taste has a great complexity to it. Nice bitter chocolate in the finish that is accompanied by a lingering bitterness. Hints of oak/vanilla and lots of rich chocolate and burnt malts. Slightly citrusy hop flavors. Belgian yeast characteristics come out as the brew warms.

Mouthfeel is medium in body with medium carbonation. Slightly sticky with a crisp finish.

Drinkability is good. Lingering bitterness and slight stickiness work well together, although i might be limited to just one. No signs of ABV.

Overall i really enjoyed this one. Hard to pick out all the flavors. Very complex although very easy to drink.

riored4v, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of nollie77
4/5  rDev -2%

nollie77, Nov 12, 2012
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 833 ratings.