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

841 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 841
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 35
Gots: 274 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This is quite a complex and layered beer. Bold and smooth chocolate malt flavors combine with a Belgian yeast lending tropical fruit/banana flavors and hints of spiciness, all complemented by citrus notes from an addition of tangerine peel. Rich vanilla beans add a nice counter to the chocolate malt - actually enhancing the chocolatiness. The finish is smooth, with additional traces of vanilla and toasted characters from French Oak. The goal for this edition of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series is to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange.

(Beer added by: superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 841 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of david18
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't know this was considered a strong dark belgian. After pouring and smelling it i got more of a stout quality. In any case this, like the other vertical epics, is an excellent beer. Great dark color and woody aroma. Pours a great head and the alcohol is perfectly balanced with the hops and malt.

I'd been waiting for this since September 9 and am glad it finally showed up somewhat that I shop, Whole Foods.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber - $7.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a near black body with a large, burbling head of tan foam.

Smell: Deep notes of roast and smoke and wood -- it's like strolling through a former-cabin that had an all-too tragic accident. Lesser notes of spice, fruit, and Dutch cocoa seem buried within the smoldering rubble.

Taste: Roast leads to toast which leads to a resounding wooden taste and long-lasting, spicy tastes of smoked black licorice and ground pepper. Lesser hints of dark chocolate and vanilla and sweet molasses dare try to peak out from under these heady flavors. I must say, it is quite smoky throughout. Curiously arranged, subtle mix of dark fruits, banana, and citrus from those added tangerine peels. Earthy bitterness leaking out amongst all the staunch roastiness. Some alcohol warmth and further fruitiness on the spicy, drying, malt-riddled finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly different and very complex, though I'm not quite sure what to make of it at this stage three months from its initial release. Of the more recent Epic Ale releases (minus the 08.08.08 which I still haven't had, unfortunately), this is the one I most curious to see how it'll age. Let's hope for great things, eh?

Photo of cvstrickland
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 22-ounce screenprinted bomber bottle features scads of the usual Stone informative puffery, but with the crown pried off it's time to let the beer do the talking...let's roll.

09.09.09 pours ruby-hued roasted chestnut in color with a finger-thick topping of creamy light khaki-colored foam. The consistency of the crowning head is firm and silky, and as the bubble-cap slowly relaxes, it deposits rings of broken sheeted lacing onto the inner walls of my D-R snifter.

The aroma is quite fruity with a mango-spritzed note of chocolate-covered ripe banana firmly front-and-center. A crisp citrusy edge provides a whiff of countering tangerine tartness, and a darkly roasted component contributes savor and depth to the profile. As the drink warms a bit, a dry-toasted oaky note becomes increasingly prominent.

The taste is richly deep and chocolatey with an edging of vanilla-infused dark-roast coffee. A mellow backing of banana lingers underneath the darkness, resting atop a long, oaky-dry finish that is laced with a touch of snappy spice and a drop of bittering citrus peel oil. Any detectable alcohol is virtually non-existent, save the warming sensation in my belly and a fleeting flash-in-the-pan flavor that comes on late in the encounter to interject the vaguest notion of plum wine.

The drink is lush, fluffy, and fullish in body with excellent, extremely fine-grained carbonation. Highly drinkable, even given the 8.9% ABV, but I'd really expect nothing less from Stone.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Party Source on 09/09/09. Poured clear dark brown color with a large frothy light brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted nutty malt, chocolate and tart citrus aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation. Medium to heavy chocolate bittersweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration. Good brew that may need some age to balance.

Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served in my Bruery tulip. Poured one shade shy of black with a two-inch, frothy, khaki-colored head embedded with tiny ringlets that eventually settles into a fairly consistent skim - a thick band of lacing coated the side opposite the tilt. Nose reveals cocoa, a roasty character, perhaps a little lactose and a hint of smoke. Taste follows nose, but a little less rich than anticipated, and also a little bittering hops that comes out at the end. Mouthfeel is just shy of medium, with a light, consistent background carbonation, with something of a creamy quality in the mix. Pretty tasty, but not what I would consider a Belgian Strong Dark; closer to an American Stout. Nonetheless, a pretty tasty brew.

Photo of randawakes
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark pour, mild head, some lace. Tastes dark malty and chocolately, light vanilla flavors and creme. Faint wood chips/oak residual taste. Mild-low carbonation, smooth drinkability, enjoy, but not quite the '08 epic. Still looking forward to having my 2007 next year or the year after.

Photo of TheSarge
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jet black body with a dark tan head... Sticky in appearance.

Aroma is sweet and cola like. A subtle hint of cherries. Slight copperish metallic hint too.

Very stout/porter like. Lots of coffee and chocolate... Very semi sweet.

Chewy feel upfront, oily and slick in the middle with a warm ethyl finish.

I'm not sure I'd call this a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, it's more of an English or American style dry stout.

Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First let me say thanks to fogdog for an awesome trade!

Pours black, you can't see through it, with a dark tan head that fades leaving thick lacing around the glass.

Smell is of dark chocolate, brown sugar, caramel, and some subtle burnt notes.

Taste starts out up front with a nice caramel flavor then quickly changes to a dark chocolate, malty sweetness, and some cigar tobacco flavors, some peppery citrus notes as well as some dark brown sugar. Has a dry hoppy finish that lingers for awhile. Flavor bomb, lots of stuff going on in this beer.

What an epic ale! Wish I could have gotten two bombers of this. I'd love to find a pub with this on tap. Although two pints back to back of this and you'd be feeling pretty good.

Photo of BatsforBeer
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into oversized wine glass

Pours a shade lighter than black, half finger mocha colored head with hint of red rise and fades moderately fast to a slight slick; little lacing. Strong smell of caramels, chocolate, vanilla bean, and faint fruity esters; smells great cant wait for the first sip. Chocolate and vanilla roasted malt is complex in its notes, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, toffee, strong vanilla and cappuccino, balanced nicely by citrusy and herbal hops and esters of banana and a tad bit of spice. Silky is the only way to describe the mouth feel of this amazing brew. Wow do I love this beer! To bad it is not sold on the reg, but I will have no problem finishing my bomber!

Photo of indiapaleale
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour
Pitch black in color with a very fluffy tan head. I head to let this settle a bit as the foam on top was pretty dense. Tons of lacing inside the glass. Nice looking pour!

Aroma
Sweet dark malts, caramel, coffee, cocoa with some slight orange-y citrusy smells. This is a little toasty as well with a bit of Belgian yeasty aromas.

Taste
Malty with subtle hints at chocolate, coffee and orange. I know its tangerine peel but its not strong enough to pick that out. Not a lot of spice or yeasty flavors. This is certainly smoothed out by the oak chips used in the brewing process. Quite a nice offering from Stone, very much like a strong porter with some very nice additions.

Overall
Super smooth and very flavorful. Not overly complex right now and its pretty mellow so it would be interesting to see what age does with it.

Would I buy more of it?
I think I might grab another bottle and see how some time treats this rare offering.

Photo of Yesac
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark black color. Chocolate brown head that forms a ring around the glass. One sexy looking beer in my chalice.

S- Belgian yeast, chocolate malt, caramel, bubblegum. Like a stout crossed with a dark Belgian.

T- Roasted malt.. Belgian yeast.. black licorice, caramel.

M- Medium carbonation. Medium bodied. Dry sticky finish.

D- An interesting drink. Like a nice Stone stout with Belgian yeast. I'll definitely revisit this one soon.

Photo of recons54
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Since we just got Stone into the state of Maine last year (Fall 2008), this was the first time I had an opportunity to try this yearly Stone series of beer...

Appearance - The look of this beer was quite inviting, with dark coloration. It looks thick and appears heavier (stout or Porter) than it actually tastes. A great tan head appears.

Aroma - I smell some hazelnut, cloves, and a hint of smoke. There was a note of something sweet, maybe I was picking up on the chocolate malts.

Taste - Layered with a variety of flavors for your taste buds to enjoy! I first caught the chocolate, then followed with some spicier hints of citrus. The Complexity is outstanding, and I wasn't disappointed.

Mouthfeel - As I said in the appearance, it is a bit deceiving when poured into a glass so I was expecting a dark, heavy beer that your needed a fork/knife to enjoy. This wasn't the case (for me), although the alcohol was somewhat noticeable for me.

Drinkability - I liked it a lot and have enjoyed several, either on its own and with a meal (great to wash down that Thanksgiving turkey).

Photo of nectar14
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle.

A: Like a dark porter/ light stout, nearly opaque brown with a tan head that fluffs up to 2 fingers before dissipating down to a thin layer.

S: Nose of roasted coffee beans, chocolate, and bitter citrus peel. A hint of clove in there too.

T: Best at room temp. Moderately intense chocolate, coffee, and grain. Finishes with a citrus peel bitterness, and probably a bit of hops also. Lingers nicely, but is not sticky.

M: Smooth and well carbonated, lifting the flavors up nicely. This shows some restraint.

D: The alcohol is well concealed, but it does hit ya. Easy to toss it back, though.

Really liked this. I think it's good right now, though the bottle recommends waiting until 2012. I oughta go grab a couple of more so I can go ahead and do that...

Photo of Fillpott
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this from a 22oz bottle that I happened upon. It poured dark w/ a mocha-colored head. Surprisingly, it didn't have any lacing. The smell was roasted malt, dark chocolate, and intense hop spice and bitterness. The taste reflected the same as the smell. Dark fruit and chocolate were evident in the taste, also. I didn't taste or smell the tangerine that was mentioned on the bottle, but I did get a slight banana smell. Vertical 090909 has a full, chewy mouth w/ plenty of complexity. It isn't for everyone, though. I am looking forward to aging the entire Vertical Epic and tasting them.

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Blitzstyle
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of JRed
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Zaplt
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of GJ40
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Shaw
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of jantonius
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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!!

Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 841 ratings.