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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.

827 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 827
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 35
Gots: 272 | FT: 13
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: 827 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

Revisted: 16 Jul 2010
Almost A Year Later
22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, very nice two-finger plus light tan creamy head, with some very nice thick/creamy sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, very very slight yeast note, toffee, very slight dark fruits, some spice notes. The taste is sweet, malty, toffee, some dark fruits, slightly spicy. Medium body. Very Drinkable, the age improved this brew alot. Totally different brew now.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger plus light tan creamy head, with some very nice thick/creamy sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, very very slight yeast note, toffee, very slight dark fruits, some spice notes. The taste is sweet, malty, toffee, some dark fruits, slightly spicy. Medium body. Drinkable, not a bad BSDA, but there are some way better one's out there.

Wasatch, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%

The dark beauty of this poor is something to behold with its frothy tan cap. The aromas of dark sweet malts, fuity hops, and chocolate are great in unison with a mild spice and vanilla accents. The taste enduces much salivation as the tartness is just barely dominant over the sweet roasted malt and cocoa flavors. The body is just south of bold and it is a great beer to savor and sip. A really good offering in Stone's tradition of great Vertical Epics.

ArrogantDeadGuy, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2%

Pours a dark chestnut brown, nearly opaque in the glass and topped by a small coffee-colored head that holds up nicely.

Aromatically it's nice but a bit muted, with fig and berry-like esters being most prominent, along with traces of chocolate and vanilla. As it warms the orange peel and vanilla take the forefront.

The taste is a pleasant and well-balanced mix of fruity esters, roast, vanilla, chocolate, citrus and resiny hops. Sweetness is restrained up-front and the mid-palate and finish are surprisingly bitter, both from roasted malt and hops. Finishes dry with a lasting coffee-like bitterness, vanilla popping up again in the far aftertaste. Very solid stuff, my favorite vertical epic so far.

largadeer, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Drank 1/27/13
(Served in a bowtie glass)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a lumpy coco tan head that sticks in sheets to the glass leaving only a thin ring of head on the beer. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide up the glass.

S- There is a chalky hint to the chocolate malt aroma with hints of deep caramel coming through as it opens.

T- The mellow chocolate malt flavor is the main player. It has some soft dark roasted coffee malt bitterness in the finish with a slight tart hint. As it opens it takes on more of a watery taste and some stale qualities in the finish. There are also some graham notes that come through as it warms. Clean finish.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a gentle fizz that takes on a flat texture on the tongue.

O- This beer is a bit 1-dimentional much more so that when it was fresh. I don’t get any yeast characteristics just the chocolate malt. The watery and stale taste were a bit off putting.

(Poured into a tulip)
drank 11/30/09
A- This beer has a jet black body with a coco powder tan head that is creamy and last for a good bit.
S- The black roasted malt notes have a cream quality to them and then give way to a stronger berry aroma with some black licorice notes.
T- The smooth chocolaty velvet flavor has some ink and dry prune qualities to it with a soft fruity note that finishes the malt. The taste of pineapple without the acid mixes with roasted bitterness in the finish. There is some tartness that comes through with the bitterness and the both linger for a moment.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.
D- This beer is a big tasty stout with nice roasted qualties and a good Belgian yeast mystique that is almost fruity but not jammy.

rhoadsrage, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of Blitzstyle
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

22 oz bottle poured into a SA pint glass, aggesive pour gave 3 fingers of quickly disapating tan head. Head settels into a thin tan blanket, beer is black in color. Some average lace to it.

Smells of chocolate, and some strong spices, and molasses. Fruity notes present as well.

Taste is mix of bittersweet chocolate, citrus peel. Thick stout like, hop bite at the end, alcohol present from start to finish. Good winter beer gives you a warming sensation.

Medium heavy body very thick stout like. A real sipper. Wouldn't drink more than one of these a sitting.

Blitzstyle, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of JRed
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

Black, maybe plum in the body topped by cinnamon head. Aroma is spicy and sweet. Chocolate hints, spices, alcohol, dark fruits, roast. Dark flavors: cocoa, espresso, roast, slight dark fruit. The tongue shrivels a bit, dehydrated. Medium thickness in the body with low carbonation. An ale for the night for sure.

JRed, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of Zaplt
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%

Appearance - Extremely thick dark appearance, brownish tones with a creamy head with decent lacing.

Smell - Fruity smell with a relatively strong alcohol presence, chocolaty as well.

Taste - Very unique, chocolate and coffee strangely mixes well with the citrus and other fruity flavors that are apparent in the beer. The Belgian yeast is subtle but well balanced.

Mouthfeel - Light carbonation and very smooth

Drinkability - Absolutely delicious, the best Stone beer out of the last 3 they have made. Keep it up stone. Particularly for the bizarre mixture of styles and flavors that they were going for - good in my opinion.

Zaplt, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of GJ40
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in my DFH snifter.

A - A deep dark brown with little light coming through. It's got a big tan head that starts strong but doesn't stick around too long.

S - Molasses, brown sugar and cocoa with a hint of fruit.

T - A nice blend of brown sugar, honey and oak. It's sweet but not overly sweet. The flavors are nicely balanced and seem to linger forever.

M - Silky and creamy with a nice low carbonation of very fine bubbles.

D - A nice balance of being very drinkable yet still flavorful. This one goes down easily and has no sign of the 8.9% alcohol.

GJ40, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of Shaw
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%

This is the first Vertical Epic I've had.

Pours as black as a stout with a huge brown head that leaves chunks instead of lacing and reduces to a thick layer in my glass.

It smells of dried fruit like cherries and raisins mixed with alcohol and hints of chocolate.

It tastes like bittersweet chocolate with bitter citrus peel. The bitter flavor was off-putting at first, but has become better as I drink more of the beer. It is also earthy and musty. It finishes with the flavor of hops. I was expecting this beer to be sweeter than it is. Instead it's lightly astringent.

The body is chewy and thick.

This is an interesting beer. I would recommend it for Belgian ale fans.

Shaw, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of jantonius
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%

A: Deep black Belgian Style Ale, with a creamy caramel head

S: Vanilla hints with a hint of oak

T: Roasted Malt flavor with an espresso taste with a dark chocolate finish

M: Robust mouthfeel, that melts like butter on the back of your tongue

D: This drinks more like an amazing after dinner Port and pairs well with French Vanilla Ice Cream!!

jantonius, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%

Ordered a glass at Tap and Table in Emmaus - very, very tasty. This is a big chocolatey, but balanced and dry, beer with a little Belgian influence. It's not that close to the few Belgian stouts, but it's also no traditional double stout. The flavor is dominated by semi-sweet dark chocolate and cocoa powder while citrus-orange hops peek through and leave a bitter finish. Yum.

tempest, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of BeerImmediately
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%

I'll start by disagreeing with the style category, but in the interest of rating vs. others in this Style, here we go...

22oz bomber served at 50+ degrees and reviewed into the low 60's.

Pours with a 1F creamy tan head over a deep black body with almost no light showing thru until the very edges. Looks RIS like.

Smell starts with cocoa powder, cinnamon, and tangerine, then on to some hints of latex paint and fresh plastic. But not too strong overall.

Flavor is interesting - think strong stout with fairly sharp, hoppy qualities. Very much a German chocolate flavor with a twangy orange zest.

Mouthfeel is nice but not great. Smooth in the mouth, with some sharp, biting dry finish.

Drinkability is large - not too heavy. Interesting enough to keep pulling you back.

BeerImmediately, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of dstc
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

On tap. Pours dark with a light brown head. Sticky lace.

Sweet medicinal aroma plus something I can't put my tongue on.

Toasty malts with that coffee like, bitter, porter taste. Alcohol is present.

Medium to full in mouth with alcohol bite.

Good stuff. Would like to have again.

dstc, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of charlzm
4.08/5  rDev 0%

Consumed 2009/11/24.

Beer pours into a Triple Petrus snifter a very dark brown - borderline black. Virtually opaque. A frothy tan foam made of small bubbles adheres clingily to the sides of the glass. Active carbonation throughout the glass. Very stoutlike in appearance overall.

My nose has a tough time sorting out what it's smelling. Cocoa, sweet herbal notes, dark rum, a trace of bubblegum... intriguing.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth and a little thicker than expected - I wouldn't go quite as far as "luxurious", but within a hair's breadth.

Slight carbonation prickle on tongue.

Flavor is unusual, if not particularly complex. Muted chocolate and cocoa offset by sweet bubblegum, a touch of charcoal and hints of tobacco and vanilla. This would go great with a cigar! Slight alcohol warmth on finish.

This is a sipper, to be sure. The relatively simple flavor is surprisingly straightforward, detracting somewhat from its quaffability. Overall, a great effort and worth having at least once.

Wonder how this VE will age?

And here's the answer!

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

Appearance is opaque black with no head.

Aroma is dark pitted fruits, rich dark malts and a touch of smoke.

Flavor is thin, bitter, roasted malts, a metallic note and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin with a little astringency.

All together now: it was better fresh!

charlzm, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of Bighuge
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Dark beer. Black body. Creamy brown head with great staying power. Lacing is quite full as well. Nice blend of chocolate, malt and yeast on the nose. Main flavor in this beer is bitter chocolate. I think the vanilla bean must accentuate the chocolate, because I really don't get much vanilla. Also some char and black licorice. There is a little stray tangerine flavor if I look for it. And the french oak adds a dryness. All in all, this is really quite a complex and layered beer. It's one you have to sip and ponder to pick up all the subtleties, because they weren't there for me initially. The light body and carbonation make is quite drinkable even though it's best enjoyed slowly.

Bighuge, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

Leaving original review of fresh bottle intact, but updating scores for drinking with the entire VE on 12/15/12

Having enjoyed the '08 Vertical Epic, I was really looking forward to the 09 edition. Unfortunately, I was not nearly as fond of this years version. I did get my two bottles. One for now and one for the end of the world.

The beer poured with a fairly think tan head that faded quite quickly. The beer was a bark brown (not black at all) with some slight red/purple tones. Not much lacing to speak of.

The beers flavor was decidedly spicy. Raisins, lots of yeast notes and spice. Somewhat nutty. Almost a fruit peel bitterness. Not really that pleasing. I fear this is my least favorite Stone item, that I've tried.

Fairly thick mouth feel. Heavy in the glass.

Was not wanting more at all, so I guess it wasn't that drinkable. Hopefully on 12/12 it will be better.

Reagan1984, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of Slatetank
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

My 999th review -Stone VE 9-9-09
I picked this bottle up at Atlantic liquors in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Poured the 22oz bomber chilled into my La fin du Monde tulip.

A - The beer is practically black except for a toffee brown shade near the base of the glass. The appearance is thick and opaque with a band of medium brown cream which has a slightly rocky appearance. The foam is about 2.5 fingers and creates a film of lace on the collar of the glass, the bead is pin sized.

S - Wow, earthy chocolatey + spicy w/ mild vanilla bean + vanill from the oak the trademark hop in the nose tells you it is a Stone Ale. The aroma is roasty w/ a mild caramel and creamy odor w/ mild accents of dark sugar and alcohol

M - A rich roasted feel, med full w/ med carbonation and a blend of creamy, fruity and bitter textures. The finish is long and robust

T - A great roasted malt and sweet caramel wrapped in cocoa flavor initially. The mildness of the roasted taste comes w/ a light creamy vanilla taste an the malt has bitterness like very dark cocoa and spiced complexity in the yeast. The flavor fades into a hop + citrus peel flavor toward the middle and light toffee-like buttery taste is noted under the dark cocoa. The flavor has a mild tang of tangerine peel, but really have to look hard as the alcohol and oak combined with dark rich malty flavors give you a lot of complexity and becomes almost overwhelming mid-bottle. The taste does have similarity to baked brownie w/ light pepper and mild stone fruit - like cherry w/ a light coconut tinge and mellow woody hop accent

D - This porter has a good deal of complexity, a tasty Vertical Epic -9-9-09 is both spicy and malty w/ a subdued alcohol flavor. It is nice to see a dark brew come out after many light and hoppy Vertical epics. This is very drinkable, a tasty imperial porter-kudos!

Slatetank, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of cokes
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

Damn near black with magenta highlights when held up to a light. A compact tan head migrates in time to the edges and shows decent stickiness from there.
The nose is full of mocha initially. Chocolately, roasty, and somewhat smoky, with traces of vanilla and tar. Over time and way in the background, an oily ciric peel emerges along with whispers of banana bread.
It wanders into the mouth very much a portly Porter or Stout, full of coffee bean roastedness, tar, smoke, chocolate, and anise. These are gripping and thorough, staying the duration. In the midsection comes a cameo from a Dubbel, with clove and banana esters, a more forward sense of vanilla, and some citric-peel fruitiness. This is especially true after the yeast pour-in. That mingles into the moderate levels of citric/pine hoppiness, that emphasizes an offsetting bitterness rather than clear hop flavors. A light, port-like alcohol vapor exists on the swallow, but is well-masked by the lingering burnt qualities.
Fairly full bodied with minor CO2 giving it an oily, silky, very Stout-like texture(and a BIG Stout feel at that).
The carbonation will be the thing to watch as this ages. With more of it, some of the subdued Belgian-esque/Dubbel traits may push towards the surface.
I like it quite a bit right now, as a sort of spiced Imperial Porter. We'll see what happens from here.

cokes, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of mikedepue
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%

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

mikedepue, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%

090909 - Steve's - Mineral Point

no idea why it took this beer over 2 months to get to Madison

saturday afternoon brew - watching football

appearance: served in an unmarked chalice...love the look of this one. very dark body, creamy tan head, garnet hue, terrific lacing

smell: lots of belgian yeast, sweet citrusy hops, espresso

taste: complex offering - dark belgian yeasts, fig, dark fruits, orange zest, hops, vanilla bean and espresso, creamy caramel. have a few to drink in 2012 but think one drinks pretty well fresh

mouthfeel: creamy, waves of belgian yeast and complex spice, mild alcohol

drinkability: good

dirtylou, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of ahalloin
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%

Poured at a tasting on the beers namesake date, reviewed from notes.

A: Pours an almost black fluid with slight brown hues visible at the edge when held up to the light. A healthy light tan head formed with a moderately vigorous pour.

S: Typical high quality Stone aroma with a dry roasty character coupled with hints of vanilla, tangerine, and a Belgian tangy yeast. I find Stone aromas to always be effervescent in nature in that there is a true presence of smell, but layered in a way that all nuances can shine through.

T: The body is a nice malty chocolate with hints of tangerine peel, and vanilla. The finish is very dry and roasty. A very nice flavor combo that I look forward to trying in years to come.

M: The mouthfeel is full and smooth as a stout should be with relatively low carbonation.

D: Drinkability is quite exceptional really as there is much about this beer to love. I can't find anything here that might turn someone off.
A typical great product from Stone!

ahalloin, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of claminat420
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

A- poured black with a light brown head. thick two finger head that vanished quickly.

S- raisony, dark malts. nothing to crazy.

T- malty with just the slightest chocolate feel. more chocolate then the raison fruit smell. alcohol is very well hidden.

M- light to medium bodied. nice carbonation.

D- could drink two or three of these tops. after that i'm good.

Overall- i like this one alot better than last year's vertical epic (08). i say pick one up if you can. this brew reminds me of a more lighter bodied chocolate porter.

claminat420, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of flexabull
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%

Pours a dark brown color with a decent off white head.

Aromas are of light fruits, raisins, chocolate, and nuts.

Taste is really dry with a light fruit character up front. Some spices, banana, nut flavors, and roasted malts. Beer then settles into some light sweet flavors, chocolate, cocoa, and light cream. Finish has a mineral hop bite. Subtle but tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is good with nice carbonation.

Drinkability is good. This is a pretty nice dark ale. I think it will benefit from a little aging. Pretty nice beer, I actually preferred it the other day when I had it on draft. It seemed to have a little more flavor and kick to it. This is still a nice bottle of beer, and will be interesting in a couple of years, or maybe 3+.

flexabull, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%

On-Tap into a Weyerbacher tulip.

Nine Nine Nine holds a shoeshine black look with some mudy brown around the edges. On top the cap just barely covers the surface breaking into a bunch of scattered islands. Splattered paintball lace with a light tan line. Some good stick here and there but not strong holding. Easy to bring the head back with just some swirls.

The smell reminded me of a mix of a american porter with a touch of BSDA. Some hershey's chocolate and cocco nibs. Getting some piney hops in the back with a mix of bananers and orange peel. A bit of roasted burnt coffee in the back. I did not pick up on the Belgian yeast.

A fruity robust porter in my mind. The orange and banana mix really shows itself strong in the beginning and holds out. Some underlining spices with some Belgian yeast with alot of warming. Some piney hops onthe tounge not to overpowering. Light vanilla bean and not as much chocolate as expected. Some roast and smoke towards the back, this is good beer.

Smooth, easy and no interference from the slightly large alcohol, but some shows itself towards the end of the glass, no heat though. Slick with a medium feel and some carb felt. The finish is just a bit of every flavor integrated. Beautiful.

This is one tasty ass brew. After being very dissapointed in last years version, stone redeems itself with this unique BSDA/Porter, whatever you want to call it. I would not mind having a bottle of this to myself one day over some time and smoked meats.

BARFLYB, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of philbe311
4.08/5  rDev 0%

A - A fingers wroth of thick medium brown foam... Modest at best retention gives way to a creamy veil of lacing... Opaque onyx with an ever so slight ruby hue...

S - Heavy on Belgian yeasts... Orange zest... Chocolate... Perhaps a hint of coffee...

T - Holy bitter chocolate... Some definite woody characteristics... Vanilla... Subtle hints of orange... A very faint spiciness... A vague smokiness at finish...

M - Ever so slight carbonated tingle on the tongue... Medium bodied... Silky and ultra smooth... Rich..

D - Equal parts complex and sophisticated... To be enjoyed slowly sip after sip... A little age would probably treat this quite well as I think it would improve as it mellows... Flirting with greatness in most areas, but just a cut below...

philbe311, Nov 15, 2009
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 827 ratings.