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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 elNopalero
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This pours a tawny dark amber color. I get a boozy “rummy” aroma—like rum with some strong vanilla notes to it. The flavor is … off. It’s harsh and off-balanced with an artificial vanilla flavor dominating on top a strong Belgian dark ale base beer. Time has not treated this one kindly. (297 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle.

Pours a thick, dark brown with ruby tinges and a thin cream colored head. Aroma of cocoa, chocolate powder, orange, cinnamon and toffee. Slight ashiness to flavor with restrained sweetness. Powdery chocolate and cocoa, faint citrus. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Good, would happily drink again. (318 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is near black with a thin beige collar. The aroma offers licorice, molasses, light spice. Smells ok. A touch of dark roast. Mild sweetness with a sturdy malt backbone. Medium bodied with a touch of chocolate. Pretty good. (267 characters)

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

A: Deep, dark brown, almost black. A big, fluffy, pillowy, light brown head that leaves behind great lace and great head retention. Bubbles hang around forever.

S: Big chocolate, roasted malt, and charred wood aromas. Some fruit and yeast in there. Pretty boozy.

T: Interesting stuff. Fruity, yeasty, roasty, woody, earthy. Chocolate and charred malt stand out. A pretty good drinking experience. This beer has aged well.

M: Smooth and boozy. Flavors are good. Very roasty.

O: A really good beer that has made the two-plus year journey. BSDA is a broad category so I'd say this is definitely a Belgian Stout or something similar. From what I've gathered, this is one of the better VE's for aging so I'm glad this is one of the few that I tried. (748 characters)

Photo of rudzud
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed while doing a 07-12Belgian vertical.

A - Poured into a palm tulip a nice dark brown hue with a good one finger mocha head that left a light blanket and light side lacing.

S - Aromas of faint chocolate and esters...smells over aged?

T - Taste is a bit old light roasted malts, chocolate, faint citrus. Really did not hold up to the aging.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated but solid albeit meh for the style.

O - Overall this was an okay beer nicely smokey with chocolate and citrus. Still though there's better Belgian strongs. (541 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Type: Draft
Glass: Snifter
From: Ciro’s Pizza in Pacific Beach (San Diego, Calif.), on Jan. 4, 2013
Price: $7.00
Misc.: N/A

Poured a black color with two fingers (when I got it) of tan head. Below average lacing on the sides, good retention on the top all the way down.

Smelled sour fruit, bourbon, vanilla, tobacco, earthy red wine, raspberries and toffee.

Tasted similar to the nose, bourbon, tobacco, earthy red wine, raspberries and chocolate.

Medium body. Thin, oily texture. Average carbonation. Smooth finish.

A decent beer for sure. I would be like to try another and see if my ratings differ. (611 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (385 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (576 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2013-01-03 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge

A - Almost opaque dark brown with a 1/2-finger tan head and mild lacing.

S - Fruity with tart grape, plum and light malt. Mild but nice aroma.

T - Chocolate, dark cherry, grape skin, chalk, fig, not bitter but there's a bit of roasted flavor. Very balanced. Elegant.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Smooth. Good for the style.

O - An enjoyable brew that doesn't assault the senses but has enough complexity that I kept adding to my tasting notes as I worked through the goblet. Nice. (550 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle: I was surprised I hadn’t recorded this one earlier. This one pours a dark, inky brown color. There was a bit of a light brown head on it that lingers a bit and leaves some lacing. This has a very nice nose to it. Chocolate, vanilla, yeast, spices, perhaps some orange and a hint of coffee. The taste is very good. Rich and full, with actually a touch of bitterness on top of all those malts. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruits, some spiciness, citrus. An excellent combination. (498 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 properly cellared bottle, poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a very dark brown, appearing opaque black in the glass. Fine two finger light brown head with great retention and lots of lacing. Delicious aroma of chocolate, dark and caramel malt, vanilla, oak and whiskey, one of the best smelling ales I've experienced. Flavor follows aroma, dominated by sweet and toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and a touch of oak and coffee. Finish is a bit stark with charred coffee, oak and hop bitterness. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. An unusual Belgian influenced ale, almost approaching a Belgian stout in malt and flavor complexity. Very enjoyable and one of the best of a series that all aged remarkably well. Kudos to Stone. (736 characters)

Photo of portia99
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass as part of a 03-03-03 to 12-12-12 tasting. (ratings are for this tasting)

A - Near opaque, dark brown in color with a finger of fizzy dark khacki head and leaving behind sparse lacing

S - Hoppy bitterness, chocolate, a bit of alcohol and some citrus.

T - Bitter chocolate, cocoa, bitter hops, citrus, spicy, coffee

M - Medium body, medium carbonation that is tingly on the tongue, bitter chocolate, smooth overall.

O - Easiest drinker of the series, bitter, dry, lightly astringent, aged well...favorite of the series.

22oz bottle, fresh off the shelf and chilled. Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours an opaque brown with two full fingers of tan, creamy head that lingers a long time, eventually leaving behind really nice lacing. 4.5

S - Very spicey, some cloves, bitter chocolate and some vanilla. Getting some citrus, after the beer warms a little bit, mostly on the inhale before the beer hits the tongue. 4.0

T - Flavor largely follows the aroma. Strong backing of chocolate flavors, cocoa powder, with a variety of flavors on top - vanilla, cloves, bubblegum, banana, vanilla. Decent amount of bitterness here too. Lots of Belgian character on this one. Somewhat alcoholic. 4.0

M - Smooth and creamy. Mild carbonation. A little bit on the thin side. Good feel overall. 4.0

D - Drinking this 22oz bottle by myself tonight. This is just about right. One full glass wasn't enough, but the extra half glass made for a perfect dose. Somewhere between a sipper and a session beer - closer to a sipper. Very interesting beer. Definitely will come back to this one again...and one more time for the vertical on New Years Eve 12/31/12... 4.0 (1,702 characters)

Photo of Strix
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark brown with a tan head that leaves steps of lace down the glass.

Lots going on in the nose, mostly citrus/dark chocolate but also subtle spices.

Malt, clove, vanilla, wood, orange, tangerine, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel.

Creamy, silky mouthfeel.

A beer like this makes me wish I had greater access to Stone. This dark belgian could pass for a RIS, good stuff. (381 characters)

Photo of VinnyA
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bottle from Capone's in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

A - One-finger brown head with good retention, opaque and black in color, lacing on glass.

S - Bread, sugar, chocolate and raisins

T - Had a bready taste to it, hints of toffee, some dark fruit and an alcohol taste on the back end that lingered a little bit.

M - Low carbonation, smooth, not very heavy for such a dark beer. Dry finish

O - Definitely a winter warmer. The alcohol taste is not masked well, but this is compensated by the flavor that is present as it hits the tongue. Not an overly "heavy" beer. I've sampled each Epic from '06-12 and for the darker styles, this one is only slightly above "average" for the series. the '06 is the more superior "Belgian Strong Dark Ale", in my opinion. Porter is probably a more accurate classification for this brew. A pleasure to try, but likely won't revisit this, if presented with the opportunity in the future. (929 characters)

Photo of peabody
3.36/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark black liquid with one finger of very tan suds. Lacing here about the glass.
Aroma is very light cinnamon and star of anise and a formalahyde type smell.
Taste is a weak mishmash of sugar and charred malts with a hint of the pepper spice thrown in at the end. Not really enough going on here.
Mouthfeel is fairly clean with just a tad of sugar stickyness lingering at the end. The 8.6% is hidden well all through the tasting. The peppery feel at the back of the throat is kinda nice but that isn't enough to keep me coming back for another slug.
Overall this is another dissapointment.. It's not terrible by any means , just not noteworthy as far as good beer should be. (686 characters)

Photo of Hopswagger
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (554 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was served on draft at the Tap and Mallet Vertical Epic tasting event. It arrived in a tasting glass, showing a dark brown coloring, with light ruby letting up around the edges. It held a one finger head of light tan bubbles, showing great retention. Lacing was minimal, but carbonation did appear to be active. No haze or sediment was noted. The aroma gave syrupy fig and a twang of molasses against roasted coffee malts, and thick caramel malts. Chalky dryness of pales echoed somewhere on the back, with tangerine rind bite and sourness being definitely apparent. Light vanilla smoothness came out with heat, alongside hearty booziness. Our first impression was that there was a crazy depth to the malts, with nice warming burnt smokiness to balance the sweetness of fig. As we sipped, dark fig syrups, fusel booze, burnt liquid caramel, faintly toasted pale malts, metallic yeastiness, buttery diacetyls, and juicy saltiness mixed for a complex start. The peak came with added complexity of plum sugars, stronger fig sweetness, depth and metallics of coffee malts, and a lighter seaweed vegetable quality. The end was with molasses, the return of cloying sugary sweetness, a nice and enhanced depth of caramel malts, pale drying toast, and that maintained coffee smokiness. The aftertaste breathed of salt, molasses, anise, light smoke, leathers, caramel syrups, and toasty coffee malts. The body was medium to full, and the carbonation was medium. There was nice slurp and froth to the sip, with good cream and foaminess left around the mouth. This was quickly followed by an astringent drying bite, eliminating most of the initial juicy wetness. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the depth to the malts. There was such a nice roast and smoke to the coffees and caramels by the end you would swear that you were drinking separate beers. The flavor really does develop and enhance throughout the tasting, keeping you guessing until the last drops. Additionally, the big molasses and buttery qualities added oily slickness, keeping the mouth soft. This was a nice blend. (2,152 characters)

Photo of CA_Infidel2o9
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber to a Tulip

A- jet black w/ a 1/8" quick fading brown head, nice lacing after every sip and swirl

S- dark chocolate, vanilla, red wine, floral hops, earthy, wet cardboard grows more and more intense as it warms

T- dark milk chocolate, earthy, oak, vanilla, fruit, floral hops, slight wet cardboard

M- medium body, crisp carbonation

O- sadly she is past her prime. It has so many great aromas/flavors, yet wet cardboard is ever present. As it warmed the wet cardboard scent grew so intense that i had to stop smelling it and just enjoy the flavor as it only showed up slightly in taste. Wish i had tried this fresh. (639 characters)

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

The body of this one is dark black with a nice amount of brown head. The above average lacing and retention of the head help make this the nicest looking beer of the evening. 4.5

The aroma starts off with vanilla, which gives way to a big roasty character. Mixed in with those is oak and weirdly some oranges. 4

The vanilla and roast hit you right up front. The booze is not featured on this beer, which was a rarity throughout the night. The finish is very roasty and a lot of chocolate is noted throughout. 4

"The body is heavy, yet carbonated very well. I found the balance of the taste made this a very drinkable beer. One that I would buy again. 4.5

Value: $3 for 4oz. You don't say! This was a steal at that price 5

My initial thoughts were, 'they should have made more stouts.' Sadly, this isn't a stout, but it's darn close as a BSDA. They really should have made more like this. 4 (894 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap for Lord Hobo's Vertical Epic Event on 12/12/12. Part of Flight "C" (09, 10, 11, 12). 5oz serving served in a flight glass.

A- Opaque jet black (probably the darkest of the series), creamy beige boardering light mocha brown head that has nice retention and leaves nice lacing.

S- Chocolate, some cocoa, light tangerines, oranges, a hint of bananas, vanilla, and yeast. About average aroma strength.

T- Chocolate, malts, tangerines, oranges, slight smokiness, a little bit of vanilla. Nice balance between chocolate and citrus, could have used a little bit more flavor.

M- Medium bodied, fairly low carbonation, goes down very easily.

O- This was a nice beer that is one of my favorites of the series. The 09 held up well with age, but I don't think it really gained all that much in my opinion (if anything it might have lost a tiny bit). Personally I liked the barrel-aged version of this a lot better, I thought the chocolate and tangerines actually came out a lot more. (984 characters)

Photo of mocktm
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First review in a while. Probably the only Vertical Epic I'm going to pop tonight, but the one I'm most looking forward to.

Into my GBS glass, pours pitch black with an espresso colored head. Appears fairly viscous...heavy. Minor lacing and some head retention.

Real nice aromas off this one. Yeasty...light fruit dipped in dark chocolate and blended with vanilla. Some toffee/caramel undertones as well. Honestly it almost smells like a fresh banana split, super sweet and mellowed out from the cellar.

Damn delicious, possessing layers and layers of flavor. Chocolate and orange peel dominate with a Belgian yeast character meshing them together. There's some oak and vanilla creeping in the background. Really really well blended.

Relatively thick, almost a dessert beer honestly. Alcohol is not detectable in the slightest. Time did wonders for this guy.

Wish I could get more of this...damn awesome. Hope the '10-'12 I have are just as good. (951 characters)

Photo of Reaper16
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served into a snifter

Pours a nice blackish color. It's pretty dark, as is the roasty, brown head. A pretty active, sizable head, at that.

The smell still has some of that tangerine peel quality. I figured it would fade away over the years of aging; it has, but not by as much as I figured. That citrus peel note blends pretty well with the spiced chocolate aromas. This is definitely a Belgian yeast strain.

The flavor is pretty smoothed out at this point: floral spiciness, milk chocolate, a bit of orange. I'm not in love with it, and I'm a person who loves Belgian stouts. I think what I'm looking for is more roast to match up with the phenols. As is, this is like a lesser variant of something like Boulevard Dark Truth. (742 characters)

Photo of Oakenator
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark - black in fact - with little to no light showing through. A finger of head on a 9 oz pour - cream clored. Great mouthfeel - solid carbonation up front with a rise towards the back end. Smell reveals spices and banana. Taste is sweet fruits on the front end with rich, dark malts dominating the finish. Another excellent and complex VE. (347 characters)

Photo of jbertsch
4.82/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

Very dark brown in color. Not quite black, but extremely close. One finger of off-white head, on purpose. Could have created more head but kept it to one finger in size on purpose.

Inviting aroma of fruits, molasses, deep roasted malts, and a little booze. Almost fruitcake like.

The flavor was even better. Similar to aroma but with the volume turned up. Raisin and molasses blend with a smooth blend off sweet chocolate and faint coffee. A little belgiany yeast is underneath serving up a bit of brown sugar. Notes of cherry and cola make a noticeable appearance and linger.

Fnishes long with a beautiful equal blend of flavors lasting long, after the sip. Full mouthfeel, very smooth.

This was a real treat. A belgiany fruit laced porter is how i would describe this. It's drinking great right now... Wish I had more bottles! (859 characters)

Photo of colts9016
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance: A monster three finger head that is fairly persistent. The head is medium tan color that is foamy creamy, with a nice lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a dark brown, near black. The clarity of the beer is opaque.

Nose: A very rich dense malt that is roasted, with caramel, biscuits, and chocolate. Other aromas are coffee, bread, phenols, alcohol, peppery, raisins, and dried cherries. The hop aroma is still prevalent after three years; furthermore, the hops is perfumey, woody, and citrus.

Taste: The malt in the beer is roasted, toasted, caramel, biscuit, and bread. Other flavors is dark chocolate, espresso, phenols, alcohol, black pepper, raisins. The hops is fruity esters, perfume, wood, citrus.

The mouth feel in the beer is coating, warming, chewy, carbonated, and slightly astringent.

Overall: The body of the beer is full and the finish is lasting. This beer is awesome, it has great flavors. I am glad that I crack the bottle. (1,013 characters)

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