Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 826 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
3.53/5 rDev -13.3%
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
3.83/5 rDev -5.9%
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
3.55/5 rDev -12.8%
pours dark brown with ruby highlights - big 2+ finger tan head that leaves plenty of lacing
smell is ok - smells more like a wit then a strong dark - it has some dark fruit (figs) but not a lot
taste - wow this beer is not even close to a belgian strong dark - lots of chocolate and tobacco - at the very end i get the dark fruity malts - while the taste is good i marked it down
mouthfeel is medium - again most belgians have some life unless they are aged for a while - this is more like a stout very low on carbonation and very smooth and creamy
drinkability is so so - i doubt i would buy this again
03-06-2010 02:40:26 | More by jsh420
4.3/5 rDev +5.7%
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.
03-06-2010 02:02:56 | More by SanAnMan
4.47/5 rDev +9.8%
On draft at the Chip Shop, Brooklyn, NYC.
Poured a deep black hue with a half finger foamy tan head there was decent retention and lacing.
The smell featured a roasted malt and slight ester.
The taste consisted of a full roasted malt, some smoke, a touch of sugar and a bit of ester.
The mouthfeel was full and finished dry.
Overall a tasty delight.
03-05-2010 18:18:52 | More by plaid75
4.45/5 rDev +9.3%
Ok, Stone is a very good brewery and colleagues at work know that I'm a big fan. One colleague offered me this beauty as a gift!
The color is dark black. This looks like a stout. The head is brown and very nice looking. It sticks quite well to the glass too. Almost perfect to my eyes. In the aroma, I get some yeasts which is typical of belgian beers. Chocolates notes too and some hops (Stone always some hops in the aroma).
On the taste side, it is chocolaty with some espresso notes. Nice bitterness which reminds me of espresso coffee. Moreover, I get some fruity/banana notes but not too strong. I would say the taste is complex. Oh yeah, I get some spicy notes too... my god this a complex beer! Awesome.
The body of this beer is medium with some carbonation that is present in the mouth. Also, the taste lingers in the mouth for quite a long time. Good mouthfeel.
Overall this is almost prefect! I don't know how somebody could hold on this one until 2012... impossible!
03-01-2010 02:20:33 | More by ZorPrime
4.1/5 rDev +0.7%
A: Poured into a standard pint glass. Has a dark amber/red color when pouring. Finished with a one finger head that dissipates after about a minute. Leaves a good amount of lacing.
S: Smells a bit spicy. Peppery hints maybe?
T: To me, this seems to have a big hop taste up front, which is followed by a sort of bitter bakers chocolate flavor.
M: This has a moderate amount of carbonation, with an excellent mouthfeel.
D: More drinkable than the last couple VE's.
02-27-2010 00:32:59 | More by djaeon
4.47/5 rDev +9.8%
A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an appropriately dark color and impenetrable consistency. There was a half inch of light brown colored head and very good lacing.
S: A good aroma of coffee, chocolate, malt and some other spices.
T: This beer had a big taste that reminded more of a porter than of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Dark chocolate, coffee, malt, mild spices, and some other indeterminate ingredients. Complex, with lots of focus.
M: A highly carbonated beer with a very dry finish.
D: Another extremely drinkable beer from Stone.
02-23-2010 13:19:08 | More by avalon07
4.1/5 rDev +0.7%
Polished mahogany with black cherry highlights when viewed with late afternoon sunshine behind the glass. The golden brown sugar colored crown isn't Belgianesque, but it's close. The foam is lightly creamy and marshmallow sticky, which is leading to lots of eye pleasing lace.
So this is what a Belgian Imperial porter smells like. It doesn't seem that different from an American Imperial porter since the Belgian yeast isn't going great guns.... at least where the aroma is concerned. Dark chocolate and coffee are easily appreciated, but the more exotic ingredients (see below) aren't. It's still wonderful smelling beer.
Vertical Epic 09.09.09 doesn't quite measure up to the recent excellence of this series. Having said that, there's still more than 20 ounces to go and a whole lot more time to be impressed. At least the spiciness of the Belgian yeast has made an appearance on the palate.
Regarding style, Belgian Imperial porter or Belgian stout work as well as anything. There is too much roasted malt for it to be a BSDA. In any case, the beer isn't as complex as its ingredients list would suggest. Still, Stone deserves kudos for brewing (slightly) outside the box. No 'same old, same old' for these guys.
Specifics include chocolate wafer cookies, dark caramel, black tea leaves, ground clove, black pepper, vanilla beans and several staves worth of oak. Tangerine peel is nowhere to be found. In addition, there's a surprising amount of bitterness for a beer that is approaching six months of age. Alcohol masking is expertly done.
The mouthfeel barely hangs onto the score seen above. More heft and more creaminess would have made it a solid 4.0 rather than a tenuous one. The bubbles are slightly harsh early and settle down nicely in the bottom half of the bomber.
Stone Vertical Epics from 2005 to 2008 were outstanding. Unfortunately, this 2009 version doesn't quite reach that level of excellence. My hopes aren't high that it will improve by the 2012 vertical tasting, but stranger things have happened.
02-18-2010 22:09:11 | More by BuckeyeNation
4/5 rDev -1.7%
Sampled on 2/15/10.
Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a very thick dark black. No light is getting through this beer at all. A decent-sized tan head rests on top. Great retention; left lots of webbing on the glass. Scents of chocolate malts, some yeast, mulch, dark breads, and slight booze.
Great deep body here. Moderately carbonated with a rich full finish. Complex flavors including dark chocolate, black coffee, pipe tobacco, light yeast, and just hints of the booziness I found in the nose. This wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it was surprising. What a treat! I've got another bottle I'm going to sit on awhile. I'm interested to see how some of these flavors develop.
02-16-2010 13:35:20 | More by Onenote81
4.35/5 rDev +6.9%
A- Pours a deep dark brown, almost black, color with a thick frothy foam head that leaves nice rings of lace.
S- Aromas of roasted malt and spices are dominate with a slight earthy must.
T- Huge flavors of smoked peat, tobacco, burn brown sugar, chocolate malt, caramel, and a touch of alcohol in the finish. Nice and complex.
M- Medium bodied with a generous helping of carbonation. The alcohol is hidden pretty well with only a slight warming effect on the way down.
D- Overall a very tasty brew with loads of flavor.
02-15-2010 03:43:11 | More by projectflam86
4.13/5 rDev +1.5%
A: Pours a dark brown with a one finger tan head, leaving behind some solid lacing.
S: Predominant aromas of chocolate and banana with a bit of roastiness in back, along with a slight hint of coffee and some caramel. Bitterness comes from the chocolate and coffee along with some earthy hoppiness.
T: Massive amounts of roastiness up front, giving way to a complex mix of flavors through the middle and int othe back. Chocolate comes through later along with some orange zest and caramel. Coffee-ish bitterness comes through, leaving a well-balanced aftertaste.
M: Smooth with medium carbonation, coats the tongue well.
D: Immensely drinkable for the style and gravity, could definitely drink a few of these if not for the rarity factor.
02-14-2010 20:42:10 | More by Xul
4.22/5 rDev +3.7%
A: Pours a nice darker shade of brown with a nice tan head. Some nice lace was noted.
S: Aromas of chocolate, mild coffee and banana like Belgian yeast.
T: Flavors of chocolate covered dark fruit. Hints of anise, light smoke and a touch of Belgian yeast.
M: Medium in body, smooth nice carbonation.
D: Good my favorite of the series. Pretty tasty beer.
02-13-2010 23:50:14 | More by tpd975
4.38/5 rDev +7.6%
Review from notes (9/22/09) at MacGregor's
A - poured very dark brown with short lived tan head that left a nice cap and laces well. 4.5
S - strong roasted barley and a hint of coffee beans. Some cream and caramel. Mild fruity undertones. 4.5
T - rich toasted malt, caramel, and expresso. Wow this is awesomely roasty like an intense porter. I only complain of the booziness. 4.0
M - thick and full bodied but not sticky at all. Smooth. 4.5
D - I cannot find flaw with its drinkability. 5.0
02-10-2010 14:53:17 | More by DmanGTR
4.25/5 rDev +4.4%
22oz. bottle poured into a tulip.
(A)- Pours a very dark black color that produced a 3+finger foamy tan colored head with some good retention behind it. Left lacing everywhere; all the way down the glass.
(S)- Orange peel & lemon. Bits of dry cocoa. Just a tiny dash of wheaty hay & banana.
(T)- Exactly as the smell predicted, only with a much more pronounced roasted & cocoa profile. Great orange peel finish.
(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. Definitely not your average Belgain strong dark. A bigger roasted profile with a great cocoa essence.
(D)- A big & rich Belgain Dark made with some dynamic orange & cocoa. Should only get better with age; it should mellow out some of the edges. Another fantastic brew by Stone.
02-07-2010 16:09:49 | More by sweemzander
4.2/5 rDev +3.2%
Far from a chocolate quad, not a quad at all. Definitively a BSDA from start to finish. Dark brown, close to black in appearance. Had to give this one a 4.5 score in the taste category because of the complexity it offered. It has a very sharp tobacco bite, black malt, roasted malts, maple syrup, overripe banana, chocolate covered blackberries, Belgian yeast notes and even more. One of those beers you could pull all night from. Definitely young, still a pleasure, the mouthfeel should improve with age as well, understated carbonation with a small bubble feel on the lip but a bigger bubble feel as it's swallowed. I still think this would have been better using any yeast strain that wasn't Belgian.
02-03-2010 21:20:18 | More by natelocc787
4.6/5 rDev +13%
The beer is poured a dark brown color, with hints of garnet along the bottom of the glass. A thick half inch head, tan in color, lacing down the glass. A roasted melt scent, followed by a chocolate fragrance, with hints of Belgian yeast spiciness at the end of each scent. The chocolate come out at the front, the yeast brings the fruity esters and spiciness. Then a unique citric bitterness strikes the palate, with touches of grass and earth. The citrus flavor lingers on the palate long after each taste is gone. The texture is tad watery at the front, but grows to a rich and smooth feel, rolling across the palate. A medium dryness is left on the backend. The aroma is intoxicating, the color is very inviting. The flavor a chocolaty delight, the smooth and rich feel just adds to this very drinkable beer.
02-03-2010 19:52:43 | More by cameraman
3.18/5 rDev -21.9%
Pours black with a big, fluffy brown head that is slow to dissipate. Some waterfalling. Looks rich and forboding at the same time.
Smell is mostly absent. Very light smoke, hops and malt.
Taste is malt, coffee, smoke, alcohol, earthy with some light spice.
Medium body,light effervescence, warming. Good but sadly nothing special.
02-02-2010 03:12:28 | More by PorterLambic
3.88/5 rDev -4.7%
A - Completely opaque. Rich black color with a full inch of brown head.
S - Roasted malt, chocolate, coffe, and a hint of fruit? Banana maybe?
T - A lot like it smells. You first get a taste of the roasted malt with hints of black coffee and bitter chocolate. It's an ok taste, not the best.
M - Really bitter taste. I'm not that big of a fan.
D - It's on ok brew, but I prefer Stone's other products. I love this brewery, but I'm not a fan of this one. Overall, it's ok. Not much else to say.
01-31-2010 18:19:38 | More by Mosley1212
3.85/5 rDev -5.4%
22 ounce bottle poured in duvel tulip
A: opaque black, poured rather rough to make a billowing 3 soapy brown head. looked sexy in the glass.
S: belgian yeasts, coriander mostly, background banana, in the initial nose. smells great, roasted chocolate malts. my mouth started to water.
T: not what i expected form the nose, it caught me off guard. very stout like, interesting with the combinations of yeasts and spices, tastes green like the flavors have potential but, have not yet balanced out yet, the beer lacks balance that i look for in Belgian style ales.
M: the malts coat the mouth and does not let go, it finishes dry and bitter. which both the malts and hops contribute, full body that the carbonation does allot to lift for a lighter feel.
D: drinks like 10% alcohol. Astringent tastes, goes down but its a bit harsh would be better in 2012. (if you think this is an A+ give rochefort 8 or even chimay blue a try)
01-30-2010 23:55:13 | More by fastsrt
4.8/5 rDev +17.9%
Pour from a bottle in to Vertical Epic Glass.
Appearance: Black, opaque. Lightly tan head. Good lacing.
Smell: chocolate, coffee, caramel. banana?
Taste: heavy chocolate feel after 4 months. First time I had it it had a banana flavor to it from the yeast but that fell out. Fresh and aged this is still a great porter. hints of vanilla, and tangerine. These diminish after short aging.
Mouthfeel: Thick, not quite as thick as nitroed-Guiness. Feels good on the tongue.
Drinkability: As extreme as this brew may seems I could drink it forever.
01-30-2010 04:51:33 | More by Hershdawg
4.15/5 rDev +2%
22oz bottle poured into a Chouffe tulip
A deep, dark brown, borderline black on the pour with a huge khaki head that fills the tulip perfectly. Some pretty fantastic retention and lacing, this guy holds shape really well.
Bittersweet dark chocolate notes right off the bat. The Belgian yeast strain adds a bit of tang and a noticeable presence of orange peel. Deep roast, tiptoeing char, and a herbal, earthy hop presence. A lot to offer here.
The flavors do not disappoint. Deep roasted malt with dark Belgian chocolate up front and orange peel throughout. The yeast adds a level of tartness that melds well with the sweetness of the chocolate. Dark fruits make an appearance briefly before a dry, coffee flavor grabs hold for the finish.
Smooth and lush. The carbonation is near perfect giving this a well balanced mouthfeel. Hearty and full, but light and playful in the right spots.
Some warming in the finish, but not a lot. The flavors really complement each other nicely and make this a fine drinking stout, er, belgian porter.
01-28-2010 02:56:26 | More by ColForbinBC
4.3/5 rDev +5.7%
billed as a Belgian imperial porter
a: snifter serving, pours pitch black with a thick coating of creamy mocha head, very nice retention and light lace
s: smooth, dark roasted barley gives loads of bittersweet chocolate coated caramels carrying a subdued hop aroma, some smoky espresso, the oak and vanilla really start to push through after considerable warming, lightly yeasty underneath the dominant roast profile
m: carbonation delicate and smooth on the medium-full bodied beer, creamy
t: rich dark chocolates and smoky espresso creme drizzled with caramel, thick with a full range dark barley flavors, earthy hop profile provides a nice bitterness as the flavor turns slightly towards the charred side, at this point the oak and vanilla reveal themselves alongside a light dusting of yeast
d: no problems here, my favorite of the vertical epic series
01-22-2010 01:29:49 | More by blackie
4.05/5 rDev -0.5%
Bomber into a Brooklyn tulip.
Quite honestly, after I didn't enjoy the 05.05.05 a few weeks ago as much as I was hoping, I decided to try this fresh and see what happens instead of cellaring.
Appearance: Nearly opaque in color, but very very dark, with a good mocha-colored head, leaving nice thick lacing above the glass, along with some raindrops and snake-like drops sliding down the glass.
Smell: A clean roasted malt presence is here, along with some spice and pepper, a little earthy phenolics, and some charred malt, leaving some coffee and chocolate to make itself known.
Taste: What I like here is the initial burst of semi-raucous hops that hit the palate first, with good acidic bitterness. Followed are dark and roasted malts, a bit of tar and charcoal, a bit of phenolic earthiness, and some discernible yet unsweetened chocolate and mild coffee. Lingering leafy and rind-like hoppy finish, along with some roasted and charred malts and tar and earthiness, and mild mild chocolate.
Mouthfeel: Bright and intense champagne-like carbonation initially, but then it moves into some creaminess as it goes toward the back end, finishing with a bit of interesting graininess that I like. A triumvirate in its movement, which you don't seem to find often.
Drinkability: A thoroughly good and enjoyable brew, with nice nuance and complexity. It seems like the same thing may happen here that happened with the 05.05.05 in a few years: the hop presence will fade, leaving the sweeter malt characteristics to come to the forefront. However, it almost seems like cellaring a good IPA, one where the hop presence works nicely with the malt presence, so much so that maybe you don't want to have almost an entirely malty base and let the hops die off. If that makes any sense. That said, I've enjoyed this a lot, and I'm not surprised many others have also.
01-21-2010 04:54:33 | More by asabreed
3.58/5 rDev -12%
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.
01-21-2010 02:39:56 | More by cnally
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 826 ratings.