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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

831 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 831
Reviews: 532
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 35
Gots: 271 | 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: 831 | Reviews: 532 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of claminat420
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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
Photo of craftaholic
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: On tap in a tulip glass. Poured a completely opaque jet black hue with a finger length of deep tan head that left behind splotchy lacing.

Smell: The scent is that of burnt espresso, tinges of belgian yeast and even slight touches of coriander, orange peel and currant.

Taste: Starts off with a big pillowy malt that floats over your palate and deposits nuances of the citric orange peel and heavy amounts of yeast. There is an abundance of dark chocolate in the malt and it carries the touches of spice and slight hop bitterness till a big dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Had a medium body and is has a lingering aftertaste much like that guy at every party who doesn't realize you want him to leave.

Drinkability: An OK beer that is definitely a sipper, even though the abv is low the flavors are high.

Overall: Needs age in my opinion and was even intended for that, it has too much bittersweet cocoa in it for me and not enough other malt offering for me to really love it. With age however hopefully overpowering flavors will mellow and it will be well rounded

(will edit upon revisit in a few years)

craftaholic, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of gunnerman
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Lodge in Boca Raton, FL. Poured into a chalice pours a pitch black with a serious fluffy head that leaves much lace on the glass. Smell is of dark roasted chocolate with underlying hints of citrus fruits. Taste upfront has a choclate character to it, followed with slight hints of orange peel, a peppery finish toward the back end. All the flavors came together nicely. This would probably be even better with some age on it, overall a very good sipping beer.

gunnerman, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of k3punk
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another nice release from Stone. Served from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - poured a smooth amber color with a solid head that hangs around for ever.

S - The ever present hops that makes a Stone brew a Stone brew.

T - This is a nice beer. Very smooth for an 8.9AVB. Slightly hoppy with some caramel. Is there a bit of tobacco in there?

M/D - Good mouthfeel and very drinable.

I would reccomend this beer to anyone who loves delicious beer. The only reason it's not a full A+ all the way across is because it's not the best Stone Brew I've had.

k3punk, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of JayQue
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a stout or a stout-porter hybrid. I didn't get any Belgian sweetness, dark fruit or alcohol taste out of this beer. Malty, chocolate, coffee....yup this is some kind of stout or porter. I am not going to rate this against my perception of Belgian Strong Dark Ale style. It is a smooth tasty beer, just seems more like a different style than advertised.

Pours a dense black, no light getting through. Tan head, appropriate size and retention for 8.9 abv.. Smell is malty, hint of chocolate, lot of coffee. Taste is good (for a stout). Malty all the way, not too sweet of "chalky", bitter chocolate up front, coffee the rest of the way.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, no hint of alcohol.

Drinkability is good for a stout fan. I'm drinking the whole bomber..my trusty Friday night sidekick, my son-in-law hates stouts.

JayQue, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It took me a couple months to track this one down, I really wasn't hunting it down like years past. The series lost it's appeal for me after I drank my cellar empty of the 03,04, 05, and 06 I was holding onto after I graduated nursing school. Regardless I have to try these brews fresh in case it's something that I think should be tucked away. I had good results with my last four VEs that I cellared for some time.

My birthday month, this one appears pitch black with absolutely no ruby highlights when held toward a bright light, large mocha tan head forms after a vigorous pour into my Gulden Draak chalice, dwindles slow leaves big chunky layers of lace sporadically clinging to the sides of the glass.

Nice glowing citrus peels with roasted dark malts bring some recently tasted Swiss truffles with citrus peels to mind. A mild mineral metallic character with more roasted malt and lively fruit notes, a definite creamy mingling of dark chocolate with a touch of roasted coffee, charred oak, and soothing vanilla. A leafy herbal mint quality sticks out as well in the aromatics.

Flavor dark black patent malt has some acrid sharp tanginess to it with the citrus peels intermingling quite nicely with that dark chocolate and creamy effervescence. A Belgian approach, that may be the most believable effort from Stone yet, since the hops actually are chilled out here. Those oak barrel effects are minimal with traces of vanilla and charred oak, in addition to that actual vanilla beans that have been tossed in to the mix. A nice sugary sweetness is carried along throughout the charred dark malt and tangerine peel bitterness to end in a creamy blend of vanilla and oak characteristics, with a fresh blast of herbal mint from the hop additions here.

Mouthfeel overall is creamy slightly effervescent with a medium to fuller bodied approach. Really nice feeling overall besides that touch of acidic twang I spoke about with the harsh dark malt bitterness. The finish does strike some notes of charred oak and herbal mint that seem like they are going to show up like hop burps.

Drinkability is quality share with friends complexity and cohesion make for a good time, you can have loads of different flavors that may not work well together. This vertical epic ale decided to make familiar flavors glide together and intermingle off one another to provided the type of complexity that will lead to emptied glasses rather than drain pours like their 13th Anniversary release. I enjoyed the citrus and dark chocolate with a vanilla slightly charred oak finish.

WVbeergeek, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of Walken
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone: 09-09-09 Vertical Epic. (Tasted 11/12/09)
22 oz. bottle, poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pitch Black. As the beer is poured, the head begins to form and it stays firm as it fades down, leaving a solid ring of brown foam & bubbles.
Odor: Subtle, but with some serious depth. Dried fruit, dark chocolate and some ash-like smoky aromas, hints of vanilla.
Consistency: Now, I'm not a religious man or anything, but if god is something more than an easily digestible explanation for the cosmos and he made beer, this is how it would feel in your mouth: Creamy, amply carbonated without being too bitey. Full side of medium bodied, definitely pushing full. Acidity from the orange peel and dark malts around the edges.
Flavor: That's the stuff. Dark, bittersweet chocolate, smoke and hearty bread all over. I'm getting some fruitiness attempting to push through here, but it ain't cutting it, not much yeast character to speak of. Chocolate flavors seem more cocoa-ish in the middle, and linger into the long, half & half dry/sweet finish.

It's hard to pretend that this beer has any business being evaluated as a BSDA, it's not dry enough and lacks the requisite yeast character. That being said, the one element that the Belgian yeast lends, is the malty/semi-sweet front, dry end, making this a supremely drinkable imperial porter.
Hell yeah!

Walken, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of EgadBananas
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black for the most part, with some browning around the edges of the glass. Pronounced stout-colored head, very creamy. Retention is good, with some pretty tan splotches of lace.

S - Has a very dark smell to it. You can definitely make out the sweetness of chocolate and roastiness. Theres a tiny sting of spice, with mixed in bitterness. It smells mighty tasty.

T - This is an intense beer. The spices jump out at me first, immediately following a chocolate sweetness mixed with some bitterness of some coffee or expresso. Theres an underlying fruitiness to it that adds to the complexity. With all the other flavors, it's hard to detect much, if any, alcohol.

M - Medium to full body; rests comfortably inbetween in my opinion. Goes down smooth without feeling too heavy or filling.

D - With nearly every Stone, one just never seems enough. I wish I had the patience (or means to acquire all vintages of the "Epics") to see this 10 year concoction in its full glory.

EgadBananas, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear dark brown in color with a 1/2" head. Some moderate lace develops.

Smell: yeast, earthiness, and some sweetness is mild but enjoyable.

Taste: nice maltiness here. Yeast, earthy flavors, banana, soft chocolates and vanilla tones, and a mild spiciness shows up late. Alcohol is lightly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp throughout. Very long aftertaste as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: bold flavor beer that needs a bit of aging to round out the edges. Nice flavors but one bomber is enough in a session.

Gavage, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of Zeisloft
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Max's Taphouse- Baltimore

Max's description of Stones Vertical Epic 09/09/09 was just "Dark Belgian Ale". I wasn't too sure what to think before it came to me. But I was not thinking Porter. And then I saw it. Dark as night, creamy tan head. Porter overcame my mind. Chocolate came through on the nose, with not much else. Then the taste. Definitely some chocolate, vanilla and little spice. Could use more spice to break up the chocolate. I would expect a little more hoppy bitterness from Stone (but not too much to over power everything, just enough to pull everything together). The beer was not too heavy or too light.

I would not call it a Belgian. Maybe when sitting in a cellar it will round out better, but for now it is a Porter. With that note, I normally do not like porters. Usually a porter has the burnt taste to it. The VE090909 did not. It was sweet and delicious. Although, one was enough. Not something to have a night of. (Especially at 8.5%.) I think I will try to go and grab a couple of bottles, this is a beer that should be really good on a cold night in the winter. I am thinking Christmas time.

Zeisloft, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of FleeVT
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a goblet.

A: Pours like a stout-porter hybrid. Looks like a chewy black iced coffee with a frothy tan head. Lacing clings to the glass throughout the session. Beautiful beer.

S: Mild bready malts. The coffee metaphor applies here as well with faint mocha (roasted malts) and hints of bitter coffee. Sweetness comes through in the form of dark berries and a touch of hops for balance.

T/M: A bit tight on the palate, which is probably why the bottle recommends cellaring unti 2012. Hops tend to dominate the middle and aftertaste while the front portrays a dry smokey spiciness that is very stoutlike. A great medium body with perfectly carbonation.

D: Good nightcap, will definitely cellar one to see how the flavors develop.

FleeVT, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of rtepiak
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

somewhere in between a belgian and an american porter. quite nice body. not extremely heavy in body. a nice head of off chocolate. nose of fruit esters and cocoa. palate of that... which grape, apple and chocolate. too sweet to be consider any type of earthy. nice body. separates horrible as it gets warm.

rtepiak, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of Night
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours solid black with sparse and deep-hued crimson tints. Very large, long-lived tan head with tight bubbles and hints of red and gold. Collapses slowly to a foamy crown with intricate and well-developed lacing on the sides. Aroma reveals warmth, a tiny hint of dust, and mildly earthy spices amidst a swath of significantly boozy-smelling yeast tones: mostly banana, some citrus. Relatively buried scents of chocolate, date, prune. Mouthfeel is very gentle, between juicy and silky with a timid tingly bite; could perhaps use some more carbonation. Immediate flavor is banana yeast mixed with piney earth / hops. Backbone of smokey dark chocolate / coffee bitterness that is refined rather than overbearing. Mild acidity creeps in, and faint notes of paper and wood. Surprisingly not much in the way of alcohol. One last wash of pure smoke followed by strong banana finish. Aftertaste is gentle, fruity, and lightly bitter; both pine sappy hops and strong dark chocolate.

Night, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of seplo
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

very dark brown if not black in color with a coffee colored head witch creates a great lacing around the glass,drank out of a smuttynose big beer series glass, i found it to be a very drinkable beer for the abv, my favorite from stone brewery, thank God their not in six packs cuz i wouldnt want to know the price of it

seplo, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of jwinship83
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle drank from my duvel tulip.

A- this one pours a dark brown, almost black colored body with a finger of coffee colored head. the head is extraordinarily thick and long lasting. impressive and stout like.

S- the smell is very complex. chocolate and banana like a dunkel. lots of coffee like a stout. orange like citrus and hops, almost like an ipa. this beer might be having an identity crisis.

T- the taste is equally complex. im liking this one alot. lots of chocolate. lots of coffee. an odd assortment of fruits. banana, orange, maybe a bit of something more exotic like pineapple. a slight amount of alcohol.

M- thick and creamy with a muted carbonation level.

D- easy to finish and very enjoyable. thought provoking. ill be crossing state lines once again to pick some more of this up. probably the best VE ive had so far.

jwinship83, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of Tilley4
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this bomber up a couple of weeks ago with the intention of opening it next September 9th... Well, you see how well that worked out...

Pours an almost black with a very foamy thick dense head... Looks sort of like a milk stout, not a Belgian dark...very impressive...

Fairly hoppy aroma mingled with quite a bit of cocoa or dark chocolate and maybe a little banana yeastiness...

Very sneaky chocolate creeps into the at first hoppy taste of this brew... You don't really realize that you're tasting the chocolate until the finish when it lingers on the finish... Its actually pretty dang good... Not sure how much aging would change this but I know its really tasty as is...

Really glad I tried this now... A very delicious brew that hit the spot as a nightcap...

Tilley4, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of MaineBirdMan
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle.
half inch head
appearance: Dark brown with a coffee head.

nose: candy with a hint of coffee. Some pineapple notes came to mind.

taste: Good amount of hops on the finish. Mixed with some hints of coffee and chocolate.

mouthfeel: pleasant amount of bitterness from the hops. A nice warming feel from the alcohol. Not a whole lot of carbonation.

Drinkability: Couldn't drink too many of these. Nice to have one by the fire on a cold night.

MaineBirdMan, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of bruachan
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

it's quite dark, if not opaque. good head up front, though it diminished (never disappeared, however)

chocolate and dark fruit aromas. vinous

heat, as to be expected from and Epic brew (should be ironed out in three years). plenty of hop asserts itself with a big bitterness. spicy all around and some dried fruit (cherry) dances. a touch of chocolate or coffee (how is it that i can't decide?). man, very bitter

i can't quite decide how i think this will age. it's not so very deep that the future is obvious. the heat and spice will obviously minimize but it's a little thin to begin with (which will only increase with time)

good brew; excited to see how it will be in a few years.

bruachan, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of Aenema
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours pitch black with a soapy tan head and nice bands of lacing.
Smell - Sweet chocolaty malts, citrus/tangerine and perhaps some dark fruit.
Taste - Roasted, chocolate malts, hint of cherry and citrus notes.
Mouthfeel - Smooth / slightly creamy; medium-bodied, moderate carbonation; slightly dry finish.
Drinkability - Smooths out as it warms and the flavors meld together seamlessly. High ABV, but not distractingly so.
Overall - Enjoyable beer, but missing the rich chocolate flavor I was hoping for. I'm interested to see how this tastes in a few years, but won't be purchasing additional bottles for immediate consumption.

Aenema, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of Haybeerman
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black; no light comes through - even on the edges. Poured less than a 1 finger chocolate-colored head that dissipated slowly. Sheets of wispy lace on the glass.

S: Semi-sweet chololate and brown sugar. Dark-colored fruits - raisins and cherries - come through. Toasted smoky malt and yeast esters too.

T: Big smokey malts and fruits. Consistent with smell, all those flavors assault the taste buds; this is a very complex beer. Very dry with warming alcohol.

M: Medium-to-Light body. Medium carbonation. Surproisingly thin and dry.

O: Very drinkable (sippable). Complexity grows and the beer changes as it warms. I have 3 more that I'll space out and see what happens with some aging.

Haybeerman, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nose is softly malty with malt-fruit characteristics (grape), softly creamy. Smells pretty good, fairly light.

Pours pitch black with mild head. Looks pretty good.

Chocolaty malty and roasty bitter, slightly alcoholic, creamy smooth with medium-full body. Good amount of roasted midtones. Soft sourness, roasted malt sourness. Soft dried fruit and herbalness. Very light oak, rather understated in flavor and mildly spicy in mouthfeel. Pretty dry finish, kind of powdery dry, with cocoa nib and more roast. Tastes pretty good. Feels good. Pretty good drinkability.

A good solid stout, I don't particularly note any Belgian influence. Not worth the hype.

MrHungryMonkey, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of jdflyer06
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. into a snifter.

A: Nice and black. Very little head shortly after the pour, the etching at the bottom of my glass keeping some alive but that's it. Light isn't getting through on this one.

S: Some nice belgian sugar/sweetness overpowers the traditional stout notes of coffee and chocolate, but they're still present. Picking up some cherry, dark fruit and some nice roasted/smoky malt. Banana esters make their way in there but not quite as pronounced as I would have thought.

M: Very dry when it hits the palate. Somewhat thin. Pretty aggressive carbonation for the style, although I'm not sure what style this really is. Definitely more of a belgian in this area.

T: Smoky at the start, and the alcohol is very well hidden at the end. In between, coffee notes, but nothing too terribly complex in the taste arena here. Has the qualities of a slightly toned downed smoked porter. As it warms, the vanilla becomes more present but I'm not yet picking up the citrus that was promised me.

O: Very drinkable, but needs some time to bring out its latent complexities. The carbonation should tone down a bit with age, and this should do just fine in a cellar. I commend Stone on brewing a solid beer, albeit falling a bit short on what I was promised on the back of the bottle right now.

jdflyer06, Nov 07, 2009
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 831 ratings.