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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
91
outstanding

824 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 824
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 269 | FT: 12
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: 824 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DanOLeary
DanOLeary

Washington

4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

Aroma: Grainy and slightly roasted barley malt with some herbal wood character as well. Alcohol spices float around the glass with some dark fruit, though these lean mostly toward dark cherry. No hop aroma. Oddly there seems to be a phenolic yeast presence that comes off as dark bread. While the aroma's are complex, they are generally light all around.

Appearance: Pours a thick black with a prominent nut brown head. Excellent head retention, holding well with about half a finger width. Light lacing.

Flavor: Heavy dark chocolate melted into molasses. Alcohol pulls the malt sweetness back and bites the top of the mouth with more spice than I expected from an 8.9% ABV brew. Dark cherries back again, bitter chocolate nibs accompanied by an earthy and drying hop bitterness toward the finish. Finish is drying at the back of the throat with a lingering heavy roast throughout the palate.

Mouthfeel: Full body with light carbonation. You can practically chew on the malt in this beer, and while the sweetness lingers somewhat there's enough alcohol and hop bitterness to clean the palate out in the finish. Carbonation is quite light, but no more is needed because the malt speaks for itself.

Overall: Given the complexity of the flavor profile in this beer I am a little surprised at the faintness in aroma. Yes there is a lot going on in the nose as well, but you really have to look for it. Nothing jumps out overall there. Beer snobbery aside on the aroma, this is a fantastic demonstration of a full bodied beer with complexity in flavor so deep I feel it exceeds my vocabulary. Everything balanced, nothing over powering. Where many "Big" beers seem to fall short on mouthfeel, this one exceeds expectations.

05-31-2010 03:49:01 | More by DanOLeary
Photo of Darien
Darien

Michigan

3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

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.

05-28-2010 14:12:53 | More by Darien
Photo of chaz01
chaz01

Ohio

4.28/5  rDev +4.9%

Good sized (4-5 ounce) pour at a Stone Vertical Tasting Event sponsored by Belmont Party Supplies on 5/12/2010, served in a very cool Stone Vertical Epic tasting glass.

A: Very dark and thick and rich looking with a full foamy tan head.

S: Vanilla bean and orange/tangerine notes in the aroma.

T: Vanilla and tangerine are easily detected in this yummy brew and they combine nicely together. In addition, woody oak flavor, roasted malts and chocolate notes detected.

M: Medium bodied, very well carbonated.

D: Perhaps my favorite in the series so far, along with the 05.05.05. Picked up a few bottles, but the beer works really well right now. Would pair nicely with a grilled steak or pork chops.

05-16-2010 18:28:18 | More by chaz01
Photo of armock
armock

New York

3.1/5  rDev -24%

A - Poured a very dark brown color with a tan head that fades to just a thin layer quickly and leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off chocolate with some spices

T - This is a little bit of a let down its like drinking a home brew version of the style theres roasted malt with some spice and alcohol

M - This beer has a medium full body with medium carbonation to it

D - To me this is kinda hard to drink its like a bottle of home brew that has some weird flavors in it that just don't make it enjoyable I usually like just about everything from stone but this one isn't that good to me

05-11-2010 15:47:19 | More by armock
Photo of JamisonM
JamisonM

Arizona

4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Poured into a Duvel glass

A: black color in the glass nice brown head

S: roasted malt complex coco and orange peel sweet vanilla in there

T: bitter sweet taste with orange vanilla with bitter chocolate very complex and great taste

M: med mouth feel

D: super drinkable

overall: having tried this one it makes me mad at myself I did not get any of the older beers from this series. this is a great beer well thought out and well brewed cheers to stone for this one I cant wait to try this on 12-12-12

05-10-2010 20:21:56 | More by JamisonM
Photo of javincik
javincik

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

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.

05-09-2010 14:06:18 | More by javincik
Photo of brewerburgundy
brewerburgundy

California

4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

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.

05-07-2010 20:44:53 | More by brewerburgundy
Photo of nrbw23
nrbw23

Ohio

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

Of the ones of the Epic I've had this one so far is my favorite.

A- Pours a dark color almost black with a nice brown foamy head. Retention is very good and lacing was thick and sticky.

S- Chocolate, coffee, and a touch of spices. A bit of alcohol in here and some what smells like Belgian yeast.

T- Chocolate and coffee seem to dominant this one. Touch of alcohol and a bit of yeast. A little sweet but thought it worked well together.

M- Medium in body and low in carbonation.

D- Fairly easy to drink. Not something I'd have on a regular basis but its still pretty solid.

05-06-2010 02:22:41 | More by nrbw23
Photo of dogfishandi
dogfishandi

New York

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

22oz bomber poured into an oversized wine glass. bought one bomber for drinking now and one for aging along with my epic from last year. beer at cellar temp.

pours pretty much opaque black, very similar to a imperial stout, with a deep mocha colored head. a good 3 fingers of head or so that fades to a fairly nice foamy layer. pretty good lace and some nice head retention. doesnt look like your usual belgian dark, but looks delicious non the less.

some cocoa and dark chocolate, some roasted malt. a little bit of flouride from the belgian yeast, maybe a touch of bubblegum. the citrus orange peel comes through nicely. a touch of dark fruit. a little alcohol noticable as well, but nothing offensive.

ahhh that taste is soo much more than the aroma would have suggested. tons of chocolate in the taste. everything from dark dark chocolate, cocoa or cooking chocolate to even milk chocolate. a nice dose of roasted malt and coffee. tastes of vanilla. hints of citrus orange peel. subtle a very very mild flavor of a spicy belgian yeast. hints of dark fruit. also has a tiny bit of a hoppyness to it.finishs with bitter roast and dark chocolate. this beer more reminds me of a baltic porter than a belgian dark.

medium bodied. good carb. has kind of a chalky finish. overall a nice pleasing mourthfeel.

one bomber is enough. lays a touch heavy in your stomach, but still is fairly easy drinking. no real tastes of alcohol which helps.

this is an interesting beer, definatly worth checking out. not really blowing me away, but still pretty good. and if you are going to buy this, buy 2 bottles one to drink now and take notes and one to age. after all, the whole point of this beer is to be aged.

04-26-2010 00:21:33 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

09.09.09 pours a dark mahogany color. Looks a little cola-esque. It's nearly opaque, save for a few burgundy highlights at the edges. A very attractive mocha head tops it off. It's big and stands about three fingers tall. Retention is very good and lacing was thick and sticky. Good lookin' stuff.

The nose is good. It kicks off with a nice, sweet mix of chocolate and caramel. The chocolate scent is very cocoa like. There's an interesting, and delicious smelling, coffee presence. It's fairly strong in the overall mix. Yeast is easily noted, and it smells a little like Belgian yeast. I'm hopeful it's stronger in flavor. There is some evidence of spices, but not much. Alcohol is blended very well.

The flavor is quite good. Cocoa and coffee seem to be the most prominent flavors throughout. There is a hint of sweet caramel, but it's subtle. A little more sweetness might just be a good thing. I am getting more Belgian yeast in flavor, but it doesn't seem to work its usual magic. Perhaps the strong coffee flavor is responsible. I'm a big fan of all things coffee, so it still works pretty well for me. Maybe a little less coffee would help though. As far as spices go, I'm getting a little pepper and clove, but not much else. Alcohol seems light as well. Nice job there.

09.09.09 has a medium body. Carbonation is light and helps give it a really smooth feel. Drinkability is quite good. The flavor is growing on me more and more, and it's going down easy. A bomber = no trouble.

To date, I haven't been blown away by any of the Vertical Epic releases. While I do like 09.09.09 quite a bit, I'm still not blown away. For what it is, it just seems a little too simple. I like the combo of chocolate, coffee, and Belgian yeast, but it doesn't come together perfectly. Maybe the respective proportions need to be adjusted just a bit. It could also use a little something extra in terms of spices. Still good stuff that's definitely worth checking out.

04-18-2010 02:05:11 | More by prototypic
Photo of jacobseyb
jacobseyb

Alabama

3.85/5  rDev -5.6%

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Dark brown, slightly opaque. Tan head of about 3 fingers, laces nicely throughout. Initial malt tones in the aroma followed by peppery spiciness, with some slight citrus notes. Taste is peppery and spicy, with the malts balancing nicely. Feels smooth with a crisper finish, and light carbonation. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

04-16-2010 03:41:08 | More by jacobseyb
Photo of billshmeinke
billshmeinke

California

4.45/5  rDev +9.1%

Poured into my Duvel tulip. I've had a few of these, but this is the first time I've gotten around to reviewing it.

Pours a VERY dark brown, so dark it looks black. Fat three finger bubbly tan head. Takes quite awhile to die down. Five minutes have gone by and still there's like a half a finger of head. Finally dies down to a soupy layer of foam on top with really crucial lacing.

Smells of coco, vanilla, banana bread and some slight citrus hops bitterness.

It taste of dark chocolate, some vanilla beans come through. Also some bananas, some spiciness, and some bread-i-ness from the Belgian yeast. Citrusy bitterness that is probably part tangerine peel and part hops. Some lingering smokiness. I almost get some oak flavor as well.

The mouthfeel is full bodied. Slightly viscous. Well carbonated which helps with the the full body of this one. Prickly, assertive bubbles. Decently smooth.

I honestly forgot how good this beer is. I can still get it pretty easily, and I think I might buy a bunch to age. I've only had the good fortune to try 08 and 09 of the Stone Vertical Epic series, but damn, I don't know how the other vintages are, but it is hard for me to imagine that the blow this one out of the water. Stone kills it, nuff said.

04-15-2010 11:02:14 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of AsymptoticOrbit
AsymptoticOrbit

Virginia

5/5  rDev +22.5%

A - Dark brown with thin dark tan head.

S - Dark fruit with a hint of sweetness.

T - Lots of chocolate with dark fruit. Not much hops. Hints of Belgian spices. Finish is reminiscent of coffee.

M - Smooth and robust.

D - I love this beer. It's definitely delicious and very drinkable. I'll open another in a few years to see how it ages.

04-11-2010 00:49:27 | More by AsymptoticOrbit
Photo of thisisxxmyIPA
thisisxxmyIPA

New Hampshire

3.78/5  rDev -7.4%

A- Dark brown with a dark tan head that pours thin but lasts

S- Citrus and dark fruits with dark malts

T- Heavy chocolate malt with dark fruit Belgian flavors from the yeast. Finishes a bit more roasty than I would have expected. Low hop flavors. The Belgian flavors battle with the dark malts. Dark malts seem to dominate the Belgian flavors too much.

M- Creamy at first then thins.

D- Very drinkable, just not as impressive as I would have hoped it had been.

04-10-2010 03:15:02 | More by thisisxxmyIPA
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

2.98/5  rDev -27%

Poured from 22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown with two fingers of foamy light brown-orange head that reduced down into a thick film leaving some streaky lacing.
S: Dark fruits and Belgium spices. Slight sweetness and faint yeast. Not potent smelling.
T: Woody, toasted grains, some fruit, hints of Belgium spices, with some alcohol notes. Leaves a dark coffee aftertaste in your mouth. Also has chocolate notes, especially in the aftertaste. None of these flavors are huge however. Aftertaste is slightly off-putting.
M: Surprisingly thin. Not much flavor either. Has a predominantly toasted flavor.
D: This might be an okay porter, but this was a very unimpressive Belgium strong dark ale. Not much flavor was present and it has a disappointingly thin body. Flavor was surprisingly toasted without a lot of sweet fruits, spices or yeast. This beer didn't have much of a smell either. What flavors were present were decent though. I was pretty let down by this Stone offering.

04-05-2010 18:10:58 | More by scottfrie
Photo of deltatauhobbit
deltatauhobbit

Maine

3.55/5  rDev -13%

Pours a dark brown/black color with a good sized tan head, lingers for quite awhile and leaves a cap on top, fair amount of lacing.

Smell is mostly roasted malt and a bit of a metallic presence.

Taste is well carbonated, feels a bit on the thin side though, roasted malt is the primary flavor with an odd bitter aftertaste, kind of coffee-ish but not as pleasant.

04-01-2010 21:39:20 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of cratez
cratez

Ontario (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -19.1%

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.

04-01-2010 04:56:55 | More by cratez
Photo of sitarist
sitarist

Ohio

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%

Pours a nice deep plum color, a shade away from black, almost opaque. The head is an inch thick and falls quickly to a ring consisting of huge bubbles that leave some decent lacing.

The smell of this beer is wonderful and inviting. The first thing you smell is chocolate, its a sweet chocolate, there are some sweet fruit scents as well (banana, grapes, and a hint of citrus).

It taste wine-like to me, it has fruity flavor, with faint hints of coco. The hops add a tannin like bitterness. This could use some time for the flavors to marry.

Medium body that packs a punch, its dry and has an almost astringent finish.

The drinkability is high and they don't even recommend opening this beer until at least 12-12-12.

03-30-2010 01:20:00 | More by sitarist
Photo of gawylou
gawylou

California

3.65/5  rDev -10.5%

[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.

03-25-2010 00:09:28 | More by gawylou
Photo of BarBEERian
BarBEERian

Montana

3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

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.

03-23-2010 14:37:02 | More by BarBEERian
Photo of mountdew1
mountdew1

New Hampshire

4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

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.

03-15-2010 22:36:37 | More by mountdew1
Photo of JoePat
JoePat

Kentucky

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours a dark brown almost black with a light tan head that sticks around.
Smells mostly of chocolate with some toasted malts and a slight bit of orange zest.
The main flavor is bitter chocolate with chalky malt taste.
The mouthfeel is dry and chalky but sweet.
This beer tastes great and is really smooth making for a very drinkable beer.

03-14-2010 22:33:19 | More by JoePat
Photo of semibaked
semibaked

Kentucky

2.17/5  rDev -46.8%

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Black with about a 1inch of so of light colored head .

S - Chocolate malts, molasses, but no whiff of tangerine peel or vanilla bean like the bottle says.

T - Very bitter tasting, definitely unpleasant like concentrate citrus peel and bad almost burnt chocolate.

M - Nice and full bodied, easily the best part of this montrosity.

D - Pretty much no drinkability for this beer, I just can't get over the bitterness. Very disappointed, I usually really like Stone beers too.

03-14-2010 03:57:43 | More by semibaked
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

3.53/5  rDev -13.5%

Dark black color with a dark tan head with a lot of small tight bubbles. Nice retention on the head. Smells of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, and dark fruit. The coffee smell does not seem to fit the style, but still smells good. Seems more like a Porter.

The flavor has coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and there is a little bit of smoke. Very interesting. Fairly smooth to drink with a medium body and good carbonation. Nicely drinkable, even if it is not exactly to style.

03-12-2010 03:33:23 | More by hardy008
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

3.83/5  rDev -6.1%

Chilled bottle into a glass. I was saving this for a vertical tasting, but seriously... it's never going to happen. Time to start plowing through these.

A: Pours a very, very dark brown (with associated translucence at the edges), appearing nearly black in the glass. Light beige head consisting of large bubbles that leave a foamy cap and collar on the brew.

S: Roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, a nice woodsiness, and spice.

T: The Belgian part has been mostly overpowered here; it drinks like a really nice porter. Coffee, crushed cacao beans, a leafy, tannic bitterness, and vanilla. A small citric character that could be hops or the tangerine peel that Stone claimed to throw in there -- but it's really restrained, and works very well with the chocolate (I was honestly expecting a clash). I don't get any of the influence of the Belgian yeast in here, besides a little phenolic spice bite in the finish.

M: Medium-bodied, but full in flavor. Carbonation is higher than I'd expect in a porter, which is a nod to the Belgian influence and bottle conditioning. Restrained ABV.

D: I was apprehensive about trying this, because I don't think chocolates and orange flavors (which were strongly advertised) go well together. The actual execution is better than I expected. My hat is off to Stone.

03-11-2010 20:26:20 | More by Arbitrator
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 824 ratings.