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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

833 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 833
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 34
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
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Ratings: 833 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cjgator3
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Poured into a tulip. Pours a dark black color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is very unique, I love it. The aroma features a lot of chocolate malts with spices, vanilla and orange peel.

T- The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malts and chocolate with a hint of banana and spices. The finish is on the bitter side. 

This one is very tasty fresh, but I imagine that it would improve greatly with some age to balance and smooth out the flavors.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodie with a good amount of carbonation. 

D-

cjgator3, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of rajendra82
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark pour, opaque body, and a khaki head were more reminiscent of a RIS than a BSDA. The smell was sweet dark fruits, like plums and cherries, and some lurking hops. The taste was quite a bit more hoppy than I was expecting it to be, but the dark fruits and milk chocolate sweetness made this a very balanced beer. There was some roast grain astringency, which was most apparent at the end of each sip. The aftertaste was a bit spicy. A soft feel in the mouth, and chewy body. Not much alcohol burn. Delicious, now, and will likely get more vinous and interesting with some age.

rajendra82, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of mjgarrett2
4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler 9.25.09 (finally got around to trying the VE with a few bottles saved away)

A-Brilliant dark mahogany, just shy of a stout revealing only the faintest of light to peirce it.

S-Layered and ellusive. Normaly my weakest sense (smell), however there are a number of different scent notes that arise but are difficult to pin down. A progression of bitter moving to mellower fruit tones and firm smoked accents, however not always ordered in that way. Seemingly complex and difficult to pin down.

T-Immidiate sensating on the back of your pallet with slight bitter fruit moving forward with a port-like savory flavor and finishing with a lingering smoked profile. The progression of flavor is unexpected but finishes back in a familiar way serving to solidify its identity rather than leaving you confused.

M-Starts warm but is a bit harsh mid way through. Slow and controlled disapation after swallowing eases the sensation back towards a more normal feeling.

D-Surprisingly fresh yet unrepettative. Many beers of this complexity are wearing out their welcome near the end of the first glass. Despite its stealthy assault on your palet that leaves you a bit confused for a moment, it is well rounded and coherent. Very impressive to pull of flavors of this kind.

This is a beer that is really not supposed to be served from a growler, but it has not disappointed. I have enjoyed it thus far and look forward to how it matures in the next few years.

mjgarrett2, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of Casey10
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice beer can't wait to see how this one tastes in a couple of years.

A - pours very dark with a very brown head with nice lacing. As others have noted reminds me of a stout. Very nice though

S - faint notes of chocolate other faint spices as well.

T - good although well definately have to follow up with a review after ageing. Light chocolate, after warming up can definately taste the Belgian spices which gives it a slight banana like taste in the background.

M - Creamy again feel of the Belgian spice is there slight banana stings a bit as well.

D - I really liked this looking forward to seeing what some ageing will do to this.

Casey10, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of erikm25
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep darkened brown that is just the smallest shade short of black. Head is pillowing a oaked caramel color with strong retention. Lacing is mediocre. After the initial pour both the body and head reminded me of the Abyss. Overall, very nice looking and having not known anything about what to expect the appearance got me psyched more than the previous Verticals.

S: Chocolate with dark cherries and grapes. Roasted bananas peppered in smoked cloves. A strong coffee aroma with oak undertones. As it warms there are more mango and pineapple smells yet they are still well coated with vanilla and spice. Like a porter mixed with a Belgian.

T: This is one, at times almost too, complex tasting beer. My initial impression was a great woody and nutty upfront taste with ginger. A wild ride between candy sweetness, burnt tangerines, and vanilla creaminess. Cocoa and molasses tastes are subtle and warming. This beer isn't so much layered as it is a whirlwind of flavor. Even the much anticipated slight hops finish is present towards the end.

M: Good mouth feel without being to overwhelming. Solid carbonation.

D: This is a very interesting and impressive beer and the idea that this will improve with age is enough to get your hands on a couple. Great tasting but one to be enjoyed at a reasonable pace.

erikm25, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown color with good carbonation and a tannish head. Nose is spice, light on alcohol, vanilla, cocoa and a belgian yeast strain with some hops. Taste is so nice with cinnamon, spice, some citrus, bitter chocolate, tobacco..alot going on yet balanced ad the ABV is well hidden. Mouthfeel is nice, not to hefty or alcoholic but thought it would have been a little creamier. The spice, cocoa showed through.

barleywinefiend, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of far333
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a head of soapy bubbles that rises up and settles out quickly.

Aroma of cocoa and phenols and banana and clove and fig.

Flavors of cocoa, espresso and cigar leaf. Some cherry tang, smokey charred bark and leather. Yeast funk is subtle in the background, bitter chocolate emerges, finishes a little spicy. Orange peel emerges as it warms.

Mouthfeel is a llittle slick, moderate carbonation, finishes with some tannins.

Perhaps one of my favorite of the VE series. And the best part was that it was bought off a CT store shelf.

far333, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of lackenhauser
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost "thick" out of the bottle. very dark in color with a somewhat tan head. Decent aroma of dried fruit and dark chocolate. Very smooth, sort of roasted malt/chocolate flavors. Trace of fruit flavor-plums perhaps? Somewhat earthy and a touch of sulfury Belgian flavors. Quite malty. Long lingering dark chocolate flavor. Improves greatly as it warms. Excellent mouthfeel-quite smooth and silky feeling. Very, very drinkable. Has to be the best Vertical I have had.

lackenhauser, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of DaveJanssen
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split a 22, poured into globe. Reviewed 9/23/2009.

Ar: spice, orange, chocolate and coffee, smooth powdery floral, lightly chalky, dark caramel/toffee, light plum, tobacco, clove, gingerbread and molasses cookies

Ap: whipped tan head, rocky, good retention, black with brown highlights

F: roast and burn, dark fruit, dark chocolate, candied orange, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, raisin, a lot going on, reasonably balanced but sweet throughout, definitely different than other stone beers in balance and yeast character, gingerbread and molasses, reminds me of holiday beers like anchor christmas

M: full mouthfeel, thicker than most belgian beers, med/high carbonation, light alc warmth, finish slightly rough

O: not something i would have very often but enjoyable, good for sipping, the candied orange character and spice come across too much for me

DaveJanssen, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of flagmantho
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: utterly black with a two-finger beige head which clings to the glass as though for dear life. If I didn't know better, I'd call this a Russian Imperial Stout based on appearance.

Smell: the aroma is considerably more subtle than the appearance, and is one of chocolate and a tiny hint of coffee. Again, I'm expecting a stout.

Taste: now, this is a good beer. Wow. Here's the strong dark Belgian: immediate tree fruit followed by more complex esters and alcohol bite. At the end the malt is sweet and, again, has some chocolate to it. It's great now; I can only imagine the good some cellaring would do it.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body with a nice level of carbonion to make it good and creamy.

Drinkability: pretty drinkable, but this is an intense beer with an intense flavor.

flagmantho, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of Beejay
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very dark black. A little coaxing and a nice tan head develops..

S: Spice, yeast and ripe fruit come out. After I let it sit for a bit, I gave it a good swirl to coax some more head out of it, and it smelled a bit like a chocolate or milk stout.. a very odd brew.

T: This is a complex one innit? Starts mellow and fruity at the front of the tongue, progresses to a roasted malty carmel flavor, and finished with some hops. There's a lot to sort out there...

M: Semi thick, that coats as it goes down, but with plenty of carbonation.

D: A nice bottle to crack for an occasion or tasting, that being said, I do not think it is an everyday beer. It's a bit of a complicated mess right now, way too many flavors coming in. I can't wait to see how this ages though.

Beejay, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of erz316
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into maudite snifter.

A - looks more like a stout than a bsda. a good two finger head of darker tan colour. the body is pitch black. head falls down to a chunky bunch of gobs in about 2 minutes. the absolute darkness of the body puts me a bit off and makes me wonder how belgian this dark strong will be.

S - huh, well, it also smells more like a stout than a bsda. roasted malts and a touch of hops. did they really try to make this one taste belgian at all? I am quite skeptical at this point.

T - huh, well it tastes like a slightly fruity stout. its bitter like one and has the body of one. the initial taste is bitter, slightly fruity, though no where near as much as it should be. there is no spice there are no dark ripen fruits. the malts and hops are the most notable, the malts are big and roasty, while the hops are just plain bitter. the finish is hoppy and has some definite coffee bitterness. the aftertaste is quite good, if it were a stout. it is a combination of a chalky coffee bitterness, and the roasted malts, maybe even a bit chocolaty.

MF&D - body is extremely creamy and velvety. the big carbonation really coats the mouth and makes the body really chewy. it is also slightly astringent. the drinkablity is fine, but if i wanted a bsda then i would go get one that doesnt border its own style.

Where the hell is the spicy alcohol? Where is the bruised ripen fruit? What of all the yeast! I know this is supposed to be aged till 2012, but it is no where near what a belgian should be. though arguably it gets some of that alcohol character at then end, the choco-coffee malt flavour overwhelms it. I guess I need to get another and age it properly.

erz316, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of TheViolator666
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber poured into Stone nonic glass.

A: Wow! Pitch black, opaque. Beautiful full 2-3inch light brown head that leaves an excellent amount of lacing.

S: Faint smell of sweet roasty malts, a bit of ethanol and some yeasty spiciness. Dark chocolate is most prevalent.

T: Sweet chocolate dominates the flavor followed by the alcohol that comes in. Complimenting the chocolate are velvety smooth notes of vanilla. The background has a fair amount of yeasty spiciness, that almost becomes a little much. The tangerine peel/zest comes in with the spiciness, but it's a bit weak. Finish leaves a nice sweetness behind.

M/D: Very full bodied and smooth. The alcohol presence isn't too bad.

A very nice beer, would love to see what a few years could do to this one.

TheViolator666, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of aerozeppl
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice solid black color with 2 fingers of coffee colored head. Nice lacing as well.

S: Almost smells like a saison yeast in the first blast. Then comes the roast and chocolate. A touch of fruit but I could never really flush it out.

T: Burnt espresso beans start off with quite a bit of bitterness. It really just falls off after that. I lacked the complexity I look for in their vertical EPIC series. A little bit of chocolate in the back.

M: The mouthfeel is great. Nice and creamy. Full bodied without being a burden.

D: This beer is all about cellaring right? Right now it is an OK beer at best. That being said this probably has the best chance of all the vertical epic beers I have had to last to 2012 (Had 2005 to present) I am really torn on this series. Great idea. I just don't know how many will make it all the way. Maybe this beer is a nod to that.

aerozeppl, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of taez555
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a thick dark brown/black body with a very thick mocha colored head.

Nose isn't overly distinct at first. Touches of dark chocolate and roasted espresso beans, then come some faint hints of belgian sugary yeast and some very very faint touches of spice and even a little tropical fruit. As it warms a more pronounced orange, chocolate and coffee, with very faint touches of vanilla peak out. Quite a complex and unique, although extremely subtle nose.

Taste is medium to full bodied with an immediate coffee and dark chocolate, roasted malt flavor. There's a strong bitterness but it's not overpowering and actually seems to come more from the roasted dark malts than any strong unique hops. Hops are present in this beer, but don't offer any strong defining character. Very faint touches of vanilla. There's definitely a strong oak flavor to it, and the tangerine only peaks through from time to time with faint touches of an orange type fruit. Ends with a lingering dark burnt malt bitterness.

Definitely one of the most unique VE's so far. A "Belgian style" imperial porter with vanilla, oak and tangerine peels. What the fuck is with that? :-) Mad props to them though, it should be very interesting to see how this is in 2012. I can definitely see some of the bitterness toned down, and a sugary wine like quality could really accentuate the vanilla and fruit more. On to 101010. :-)

edit- Tasting note from January 2013. This may be the best of the VE's aged. It has an almost smokey flavor now. Amazing.

taez555, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brass Rail Deli on 9/17/09.

A - Deep burnt wood-colored, almost black body with a pinky finger's width of frothy tan head that reduced to a patchy film, yielding thick, ornate cake-like lacing around the glass.

S - Chocolate, coffee, earthy and woody notes all merge together nicely with some citrusy attributes underneath it all. A hint of musty yeast creeps out, imparting a spicy character to the aroma.

T - Hints of spice and orangey citrus notes with lots of roasted malt. Very dark, earthy and woody initial flavor with plenty of coffee bitterness. Gets quite leafy and earthy in the backend and lasts through to the finish, although the hops are accompanied by some sweet chocolate for the long journey down into my gut.

M - Medium bodied with a smooth texture that's trying its best to be creamy, yet is never fully realized. Mouthfeel is perhaps a tad thin overall. Finishes with an assertive hop bite on the back of the tongue.

D - Quite a complex Vertical Epic here. Very roasty, almost like a coffee-infused Dunkel lager or Schwarzbier perhaps. While I don't have much Vertical Epic experience to releate to past releases, I found this one to be quite enjoyable.

ffejherb, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of woosterbill
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16's CT launch party for Stone into a 12oz pint-style glass.

A: Black body with brown highlights, topped by a quarter-inch of fine brown foam with admirable retention and good lace.

S: Roasted malts up front (chocolate and coffee), backed up with some rich yeast and a hint of citrus.

T: A lot like the nose, with malt leading off ahead of a rich fruity yeast flavor and a supremely dry bitter finish. A fair amount of alcohol heat at the end. Complex, but not entirely harmonious.

M: Medium-bodied with abundant soft carbonation; nice.

D: A little bitter and hot to score well here; will probably impress with age, however.

Notes: Certainly a unique beer - I love the combination of the Belgian yeast and the roasted malts. The citrus and vanilla don't to much for me in the style, though. I get this one will be awesome in three years, though.

Cheers!

woosterbill, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of riored4v
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 9/21/09

Poured into a tulip glass. Pitch black body. 1 finger, tan head. Good lacing. Fades to thin layer rather quick.

Smell is chocolately, fruity and roasty. Hints of bitter orange peel and some nice esters.

Taste has a great complexity to it. Nice bitter chocolate in the finish that is accompanied by a lingering bitterness. Hints of oak/vanilla and lots of rich chocolate and burnt malts. Slightly citrusy hop flavors. Belgian yeast characteristics come out as the brew warms.

Mouthfeel is medium in body with medium carbonation. Slightly sticky with a crisp finish.

Drinkability is good. Lingering bitterness and slight stickiness work well together, although i might be limited to just one. No signs of ABV.

Overall i really enjoyed this one. Hard to pick out all the flavors. Very complex although very easy to drink.

riored4v, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of kzoobrew
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An aggressive pour produces a four finger thick creamy coffee stained head. Excellent retention and lacing. Body is an opaque black with ruby highlights which are picked up only when held to the light. Appearance is near perfect.

The aroma is rather unique. Unusual blend of roasted malt and chocolate in which you may find in a stout or porter along side a spicy rather fruity aroma of your typical Belgian Pale. However strange the combination may be, it works quite well. Whiffs of vanilla are intertwined which further increase the complexity.

Rich decadent chocolate flavors overwhelm the taste buds as the liquid first crosses the tongue. Roasted malt flavor with a slight char melds together with the chocolate flavors creating a very full flavor up front. Sweet citric bite shines through the darker heavy flavors add a very welcome dimension to the flavor. Vanilla flavors are subtle and smooth, seemingly playing hide and seek with you as you drink.

Full bodied with a rather creamy mouth feel. Extremely smooth.

A very satisfying brew. Rich flavors with layered complexity which I assume will only increase with age. Easy to drink while more or less being a sipper. One bottle may be more than enough for the simple fact your taste buds may experience fatigue. A masterpiece of a brew if I have ever seen one. I tip my hat to the people at Stone, fine job.

kzoobrew, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of Nickls
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(From notes)

A - Rich tan head; great retention and curtains of lacing; deep mahogany brown color; quite dense

S - Yeasty; woody; dark fruits; and only a hint of sweetness from the malt

T - Chocolately at first; dark grape/fruit flavors; richly malty; bit bittersweet and roasted; dry finish

M - Medium MF; creamier; subtle and soft carbonation

D - Good, and pretty quaffable given the overall heft; tasty and interesting

Overall, very enjoyable and interesting, but still accessible.

Nickls, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of taxguyjase
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The nines are very enticing - almost hypnotic. Like the Stone Demon Dude is getting into your head and ordering you to buy Stone beer...do it! Anyway, the Vertical Epic series of beers are released annually according to dates when all of the numbers are the same (i.e. 09/09/09, 08/08/08, etc...). Each beer is a different Belgian take on a beer style. There have been some Belgian Witbiers, Pale Ales, IPAs, stouts, etc... The 9/9/09 Vertical Epic is a Belgian style Porter...not two types of beer I would ever think about fusing together.

At first glance, the brew looks pitch black with a big tan head. Good retention on the head, which was nice. The complex aroma had elements of spice, orange and vanilla. So, definitely a suprise on the scent side. The flavor hits it out of the park. You get the spicy, robust kick that is combined with orange, coffee, tanginess and a hint of bitterness. It tastes like a flavorful porter had a love child with a good spicy Belgian beer. Expect an extremely smooth taste that goes down easy and leaves the aftertaste of the variety of flavors for a bit.

Would definitely pick this one up again, presuming I could find it.
This was a remarkably tasty beer - I've had it twice. Once at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, where I got it on draft. 2nd time was in one of the bombers that I purchased. While the draft was superior, you can expect that in whatever form you get the Vertical Epic, it's good.

Oh, a note - Stone recommends that you cellar this beer until 12/12/12. Fat chance in my house. If you can hold off enjoying this beer for another 3 years, you're a better person than I.

Appearance - 5.0 - big tan head; dark; good retention
Smell - 4.0 - spicy; orange, vanilla
Taste - 5.0 - a unique blend of spicy, fruit, orange, hint of bitterness, definitely a belgian beer but stout like a porter. Weird combo but excellent
Feel - 5.0 - very smooth; goes down easy
Drinkability - 5.0 hells yea - good

taxguyjase, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of timtim
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

wow. nuff said. some great reviews. the nose is fantastic, and the vanilla really brings out the orange kind of like the smell from your mom's baking when you were a kid. taste and smell are just unbalanced perfectly for development, and i can't wait to try my other one in a few years. i kind of dig this one. more please. is it 101010 yet?

timtim, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of seaoflament
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Danny for hooking me up with this bottle.

Using my New Belgium tulip for this one. The beer sits in the glass like a stout, dark and impenetrable to light. A thick two-inch layer of mocha colored foam sits on top and leaves some lacing on the sides as it falls down. Very good looking beer. About a half inch of foam retains for a long period, and a swirl brings back about an inch to life.

Light chocolate notes, like soft chocolate shavings on a cake, is the first I detect. Next would be the vanilla beans, toast, a citrus hint, and Belgian yeast esters. The aroma reminds me of having toast with a lightly roasted coffee in the morning. A touch of sweet coffee mingles with the chocolate as well as with some spiciness, like nutmeg or cinnamon, and nuts as well. After a few whiffs I am starting to pick up the toasted French oak, I guess that's were the nuttiness and hints of chocolate also come from. Interesting combination of Belgian yeast profile and the roasted malts. A little hint of cream and just a bit of alcohol in the background. I like the aroma, it's interesting. Not robust like a porter, it seems thinner with a dark candy-like touch...I'm sure it's from the dark Belgian candy sugar that thinned the body and added that slight molasses-like sweetness. A powdery sweetness begins to develop as it warms up. The citrus character of the beer grows a bit more as the beer warms up and comes across as orange, maybe you could say tangerine as I get a little tanginess at times.

More roasted in the flavor than the aroma would lead...starts out quite dry and roasted with a chocolate and toast middle, and finished dry again with more chocolate, coffee, oak tannins, and more toast. Belgian yeast fruitiness as in prunes, dates, and raisins are detected in the second sip. Darker chocolate flavors develop in the taste with a dry, oaky finish. Quite good and I think this one will get better with some time in the bottle. Just a bit too tannic, dry, and roasty right now and would like to get a little more sweetness. Hints of nuts in the aftertaste. Almost overly-roasted flavor. An orange-like flavor appears as the beer begins to warm up. I might be just a tad generous in the score, it's above average for me but not great...somewhere in the middle..."good" maybe?

High carbonation but proper for a Belgian style beer, soft on the palate with just a bit of aggression on the tongue. Medium bodied and fairly easy to drink. My favorite vertical epic so far, much better than the last two.

seaoflament, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up my stock of this one today at State Spirits and popped one open the second I got home. Served into a chalice, this one was consumed on 09/21/2009.

Not really sure what to make of this one here. Great pour, dark as night with a big tan head on the top that would not quit. Huge lacing up and down the sides of the glass throughout really just capped it off nicely. On looks alone this was stellar. Aroma was intrsting I pick up astringent vanilla bean, molasses, hints of chocolate and a touch of citrus, maybe?? Not sure but there is something light in there for sure. Smooth, even flavor, but the bitterness seems a bit off to me. Had it stuck to the rich molasses and vanilla I think I would have been inclined to rate it much higher, still though it is a very, very good beer, no mistaking that. The citrus hop note just seems not right for me, and I try to look past that and it still creates a fine drink. Bitter aftertaste, almost an IPA like feel to it with most of the sweetness washed to the side.

Overall I thought this was good, but not great. I think with time the citrus will fade and the malts will shine leaving a fine and very sweet porter in its wake and I really look forward to it.

mikesgroove, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of scottyshades
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Damn delicious beer! Very complex surprisingly. I really dug deep for this review because of the interesting notes.

First the bottle...very distinct Stone bottle, immediately picked this up for $6.xx for a bomber at Tiger Qwikmart in Clemson, SC.

A: Pours similar to a RIS. Completely opaque mahogany. It looks black, but the mahogany highlights around the corners when held to light, say otherwise. Creamy tan/blueberry colored head that looks very creamy and tightly knit. Amazing lacing along the glass, and the head retains amazingly well. For a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, this is the best color one could ask for.

S: Very spicy nose! Very complex as well. Starts out with dry, roasted, toasted aromas that a stout would possess. Chocolate, burnt malts, coffee, molasses, and loads of dark fruits. BUT, as it opens up, a completely new side of the beer comes out. The Belgian yeasts in this are unmistakable! Once the dark stout-like notes diffuse more, the spiced Belgian yeast gives us more dark fruits (raisins, figs), bubblegum, spearmint, and a slight breadiness. When the two combine, I am blown away. Simply amazing. Slightly smokey, and slightly woody. It almost tasted like a barrel aged stout

T: Very similar to the nose, with minor exceptions. A little more citrus in the flavor. Orange, pineapple, and banana are definitely present. Really adds a Belgian note. I must say though, the bitter dark side of this beer combines amazingly with the Belgian yeasts quite well. I cannot wait to try the 2012 version (The bottle recommends to age it until around this time). The alcohol is pretty well concealed, but naturally, as it warms it becomes a little more intense. A little bitter for my liking, if only it had finished a little more refined or Belgian spicy.

MF/D: Supremely viscous! Velvety, smooth, and creamy this finishes very nice and slightly spicy. Bold and big.

The best way that I could explain this brew to someone is that its a mix between a dark/dry/semi-bitter RIS with a spicy Belgian Strong Ale. Highly recommended!!! Grab two; one for now and one for later!

scottyshades, Sep 22, 2009
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 833 ratings.