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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

824 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 824
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 268 | FT: 12
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: 824 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bunnyhustle
bunnyhustle

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

The always anticipated VE was a bit of a let down to me. I guess it was a good let down, but still...Poured into tulip, dark as night with mocha head. Good retention and lacing. The smell was very unique I thought. A very bready and yeasty smell at first led way to a banana and bubblegum smell with some chocolate. Perhaps the most smells I've ever had in a single beer. Taste was alright but I feel it needs to age, but I guess thats what this beer is supposed to do. I think there were too many flavors to really focus on anthing particular. Chocolate, hops, orange, citrus, oak, vanilla, toasted malt...you name it! I actually thought there was a bit of smokiness to it that I did enjoy. Just a little too much. Mouthfeel was fuller but not too heavy. Overall an easy drinker. I did enjoy the beer and am very curious to see how it ages. I think this one will get much better with age.

09-20-2009 02:17:14 | More by bunnyhustle
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim

New York

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

Bomber poured into a Blue Point Snifter.

A: Poured an opaque black with a fluffy light brown, caramel 4 finger head that was relatively coarse. Head retention was excellent and thick lacing was very impressive.

S: Chocolate and cocoa powder, Belgian yeast, and a subtle hint of vanilla.

T: Deep roasted chocolate beginning that develops into a burnt sweet brown sugar. Roasted malts really coat the mouth and enhance the whole experience which ends similarly; roasty and a bit hoppy.

M: Medium bodied and surprisingly silky for the head that was produced. This really covered the lining of the mouth and makes the flavor last and last.

D: I've had the 07 and 08 and I've gotta say that this is the best in the last 3 years. A worthy beer and a pleasure to sip.

09-20-2009 00:52:48 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of t420o
t420o

California

4.63/5  rDev +13.5%

I loved this beer! I bought the Vertical Epic 07, 08, and then 09, and did a little tasting. Wow, all of them are so good. The 09 is different than the 07, and 08. It is pitch black and tastes like the best dark chocolate you have ever had with subtle hop taste and and subtle orange tatse as well. It is very drinkable. I Highly recommend this beer. Sorry for the weak review but I just drank three bombers and i feel good

09-20-2009 00:24:20 | More by t420o
Photo of stoutfiend27
stoutfiend27

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +6.1%

22oz bomber poured into my la chouffe tulip

a-dark cola color...no light shines through...nice one and a half finger head espresso head...nice lacing

s-fruity and spicy..chocolate and vanilla...earthy and slightly musty at first..

t-chocolate and cocoa up front...nice subtle roasted malt in the middle...spice and coriander...cirtus

m-excellent nice and thick...chewy even...prickly from the carbonation...

d-could put away a bomber or two a night...but i think the subtlety makes this a night sipper

overall a fantastic beer...glad i bought a couple to age until the vertical is complete..

09-19-2009 23:36:50 | More by stoutfiend27
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2%

Very dark brown with ruby edges. Fine brown bubbles topped the beer, forming a thin cap. Great head retention and lots of lace. Chocolate and mild roast aromas, light hops, slightly phenolic, a bit of spice (ginger and cloves perhaps?), and vanilla. Malty flavour, again with chocolate and roast, vanilla, and spices. It still seems like a combination of ginger and cloves, but it's well balanced within the rest of the flavour profile. Some straight up malt sweetness, a little sugary, rather than toffee or caramel. Lingering licorice and chocolate. Medium to full bodied with fine carbonation, great texture. Very well hidden alcohol. This really straddles the line between a Belgian strong dark and a Belgian stout. Quite tasty and just right for a cool afternoon.

09-19-2009 20:48:43 | More by DrJay
Photo of WeisGuy
WeisGuy

New York

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

a - pours deep and dark, perhaps one shade from black, big thick mocha head, great retention and lacing

s - roasty malt mixed with vanilla and orange/citrus aromas, big root beer and cola notes, a little coffee

t - roasted malt and coffee flavors mixed with some citrusy hops and a strong root beer component, finish is semi-sweet at first but evolves into bitter chocolate and coffee flavors, not getting a big Belgian component here

m - medium-bodied, medium high carbonation, moderately dry finish

d - fairly drinkable for a 9% beer, complex enough to keep it interesting, not too hard on the palate

09-19-2009 04:55:30 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

A: Pouring into my Piraat tulip glass gives a very fluffy tan head atop a beautiful black beer.

S: The first whiff reveals tons of chocolate and dark fruits. Further sniffs give coffee, toffee, spice, and sweet malt. A mild citrus aroma is present, but certainly not a major player.

T: The flavor is very interesting. A slight coffee bitterness pairs well with sweetness from chocolate, fruit, and caramel malt. The spice is a bit more subdued than in the nose, but lends a little something to the beer.

M: This is a very full bodied beer. The carbonation is moderate and quite appropriate for this beer.

D: While this is a "Belgian" beer, the porter characteristics come through much more than the Belgian yeast and spice. This is certainly a "different" beer, but one that I enjoyed and look forward to trying with some age on it.

09-19-2009 01:34:52 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%

A welcome new beer each year, ah yes, its time for the new Stone vertical epic! Pours quite stout like, dark khaki head, great retention, tiny bubble and loads of sheeting, lace and a thick collar, great looking product. Dark malts, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla in the nose. Super smooth chocolaty brew, more dark malts, vanilla, coffee grounds. Dark and tasty. Complexity perhaps a bit on the lower then expected side. Still delicious and worth a try for all dark beer and Stone lovers. Wish I had the self control to age these babies, but it never seems to be in the cards...oh well enjoy this one now or later....

09-19-2009 01:26:30 | More by Billolick
Photo of kels
kels

Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Appearance: Beer pours into my pint glass a seriously dark chocolate-brown shade with an extremely well-retained 1 finger foamy latte-colored head that started out at about 3 fingers. It looks like a Russian Imperial Stout - full bodied with a tremendous head - instead of some of the other Belgian strong darks I've had. The beer is completely opaque. Slippery tan lacing rings the glass for awhile before sliding back into the beer.

Smell: The smell definitely clarifies the style of the beer. Really sticky, dark fruit esters, bitter, toffee-like roasted malts, and a spiciness that is kind of peppery and savory. Slight yeasty presence and just a hint of alcohol finish it off.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The spice is one of the most prominent characteristics of this beer. It comes out throughout the drink, from the moment it hits the tongue all the way into the aftertaste. It almost pricks up the tastebuds a little. It's a little spicy like ginger or pepper and it's a little savory like coriander. While the spiciness takes the focus, the rest of the flavors are also nicely present in the body. There's a really nice roasted malt that has the slightest dimension of smokiness and the slight bitterness of coffee. It is joined by a bit of a citrus hop note with the slick oiliness of piney hops. Only a hint of alcohol comes across in the aftertaste. The feel is full, dark and moderate in the mouth, and finishes with a bright fizziness from the carbonation. A slight stickiness remains on the palate afterwards.

Drinkability: Pretty high, but not as easy drinking as a Belgian strong with less spice. I prefer the bolder flavors in this version, and think it was done really well.

09-19-2009 00:33:59 | More by kels
Photo of alkemy
alkemy

Ohio

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours a very dark brown. Opaque, even when held in direct light. I was able to see an auburn color on the edges of the glass. About a finger and a half of darkish tan head. Thin film stayed on top throughout the entire glass with lacing all the way down. Smells of vanilla, bitter chocolate, banana, and a hint of black licorice. Bitter chocolate in the taste along with oranges and spicy wood. Has a nice warm finish, but was never boozy. Very interesting, there is a lot going on here. I'm thinking I'm gonna to have to go get another bottle and try the aging thing.

09-19-2009 00:30:52 | More by alkemy
Photo of apbarwood
apbarwood

Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Black with a cappuccino head of foam that doesn't quit. Smell was pleasant and strong. What was there was great though, lots of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla type flavors with a citrus layer underneath (I think they use tangerine peels) and a pleasant whiff of bananas and clove. The malt flavors really come to life on the palate. The chocolate and caramel notes are accentuated nicely by the smoothness of the vanilla and the use of oak really makes them all pop. The tangerine flavor that lurks beneath acts as a counterbalance, providing some additional bitterness and a nice fruit flavor that blends perfectly with the malt. The hops are strong but integrated masterfully with the malt and fruit flavors. I could drink this one all day long. Highly recommended.

09-18-2009 23:53:36 | More by apbarwood
Photo of OldSchoolGamer
OldSchoolGamer

Ohio

3.58/5  rDev -12.3%

The Stone Vertical series continues with this new release. A Belgian style Imperial Porter. Here is my review:

A: Pours a deep black. Pretty thick looking. Head sticks around nicely and leaves nice lacing.

S/T: The Belgian character is the first thing I notice on the nose. Yeast and spice. Along with that is a very smokey and roasted character. The aroma is a little lacking in intensity. The taste is also somewhat lacking. The beer is very smokey with a nice roastyness. A little coffee. The Belgian character is just as prominant as the Porter characteristics. Yeast and spice. Maybe some brown sugar in there with a touch of cherry. Somewhat metallic. Its definetly a unique beer, but doesn't come together as well as I would like. Seems more like a Yin and Yang with the Porter and Belgian characteristics.

M/D: Nice and creamy mouthfeel. Thicker than a lot of stouts I have had. Pretty smooth drinking beer. I could drink a bomber, but not something I would want to revisit often.

I have very fond memories of Stones 08.08.08 because that is the day I turned 21, the legal drinking age. I remember that one being superior to this. This is okay, but it just lacked the quality and flavor blending I have come to expect from great craft brewers.

09-18-2009 22:42:49 | More by OldSchoolGamer
Photo of felipe2toes
felipe2toes

California

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%

Pours black with a thick and creamy tan head that slowly receded into some nice lacing.

Smelled mostly of coffee and chocolate, and a little smoke as well. Though I detected more dark fruit aroma as it warmed.

Tasted as it smelled, though the chocolate notes were more of a bitter chocolate on the palate. Roasted malt flavors and coffee were present too, as there was also a nice smoky aftertaste. I really liked how the flavors developed as the beer warmed.

Smooth bitter chocolate provided for a chewy mouthfeel, good carbonation as well.

Even with the high ABV, I found this to be very drinkable. Finished the bomber on my own, and found myself wanting more. Definitely want to try again after some aging.

09-18-2009 19:44:20 | More by felipe2toes
Photo of IBUnit63
IBUnit63

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

Allowed this one to breathe quite a bit and poured it into a Duvel tulip...

Develops a very nice head - a full finger of maple/brown sugar goodness...very dough-like and gelatinous. Nice! Lacing and retention aren't bad, either. Body is dark and viscous...mildly espresso-like. Solid.

It seems as if the more it warms the more prominent the tangering peel is. Very good. The chocolate is well-refined and while in the background provides a creamy scent with a fair amount of bittersweet that plays well off the chocolate. I forget the candies my parents used to get back in the day but there was something shaped like an orange, but it was chocolate with infused orange and zest. Reminds me of this. Malt is roasted well and plays off some gentle hop pine. Belgian yeast strain creates a nice abbey feel to it all.

The creaminess hits the palate and brings along very solid chocolate malt flavors. Essence/zest is a little more quiet on the palate than on the nose. Hop profile adds in some grass to the aforementioned pine. Tannins from the dark-roasted malt are very soft but they engage the ever-increasing grassiness of the hops to provide solid synergies.

Palate feel on this one can't be improved too much. It has the hop bite and a little dryness but the creaminess of the chocolate and associated malt really smooth this to a velvet touch. Maybe a little lighter weight than desired but that is a minor beef. Spiciness of Belgian yeast and...Special B maybe (?)...really play this one up well.

Right about now I'm mentally smasing a newspaper over my head for not saving any of the VEs prior to 2007, 'cause I vaguely remember how enjoyable they were. Ahhh, whaddayagonnado. Either way, I enjoyed this one more than last year's upon release but I really should go back and snag yet another 08.08.08 to see how it's coming along. This one has a greater richness and creaminess that is nicely enjoyed.

09-18-2009 15:24:22 | More by IBUnit63
Photo of ShogoKawada
ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

4.18/5  rDev +2.5%

A- Dark brown coffee, tan head, attractive pour. Healthy, billowing head on this one.

S- I pick up barrel/smoke qualities on top of roasted malts, sugary sweetness, and a fruity essence.

T- A smoky, roasted brew. Tastes like a chocolate rauchbier. Hmm. I like it. Mild spice/sweet notes, not sure if its the tangerine zest or whatever, but its good times.

M- Moderate carbonation but it works for the beer.

D- Moderate but enjoyable. I was pleasantly suprised by this beer, it definitely impressed me. I will be buying more of this.

09-18-2009 11:42:07 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of dwilson01
dwilson01

California

4.55/5  rDev +11.5%

Got this in a 22oz bomber, drank straight out of the bottle first and then poured the rest into a glass
Very dark ale by appearance, definitely cannot see through this beer when poured into a glass, it seriously looks beautiful.
The scent brings a solid citrus accompanied with other fruity flavors tingling on the nostrils, very reminiscent of a wheat beer in this respect and enticing.
The taste differs quite a bit when drank straight from the bottle as opposed to drining out of a glass. For me the bottle yeilded a solid spiciness right off the bat much like an ipa but at the same time this idea was muted by the dark sweet malt which is ever present when drank from a glass. Honestly, this beer is recognizably a stone without a doubt, it retains the intensity of one of theirs as well as the subtleness of that a belgian brew requires...can't really say enough about the flavor except try it! Basically if you like the Stone style and have enjoyed some Belgian beer give this a shot and I guarantee you will not be dissapointed. I'm interested but not motivated enough to see how this beer ages, 2012 is a long time and it would have to be "F-ing" good to age it that long for me, but good luck if you are attempting such a feat!

09-18-2009 07:31:48 | More by dwilson01
Photo of aewinte1
aewinte1

Arizona

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

A- Pours a very dark brown with minimal 1" head.
S- Smell is of alcohol, coffee, chocolate, and spices.
T- taste is somewhat boozy with strong hits of coffee and chocolate. Some belgian ale style spiciness can be detected also. Warm going down, but very tasty.
M- Not that carbonated, but feels crisp enough.
D- Taste is a little boozy, but it drinks very smooth. A little warm going down from the alcohol, but not that big of a deal.

09-18-2009 03:37:29 | More by aewinte1
Photo of kegger22
kegger22

Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

Poured a dark brown with a moderate head that faded to fat collar. The aroma was coffee and chocolate. The taste closely followed the aroma, chocolate and coffee. I had also heard rumors of chocolate covered oranges and I thought that would have been interesting, but I couldn't find the oranges in aroma or flavor. The feel was medium bodied with a reasonable, not overwhelming, amount of carbonation. Drinkability was good. Overall, this is not a typical BSDA, and I am a little disappointed with 09.09.09. I was really looking forward to the rumored marriage of oranges and chocolate. However, I am going to buy two more bottles and cellar for 1 year and 2 years. Based on the fresh taste, I'm pretty sure I can wait.

BTW, the 4.0 might be a little generous for taste.

09-17-2009 21:19:15 | More by kegger22
Photo of rye726
rye726

Colorado

4.28/5  rDev +4.9%

Pours near black with a creamy tan head. Good lacing. Nose has cocoa, orange, Belgian yeast, oak, fruity malts and vanilla. Taste has chocolate malts, dark fruits, vanilla, citrus, herbal hops and peppery yeast. Creamy body is well carbonated. Well done Stone, way to keep things interesting.

09-17-2009 07:13:22 | More by rye726
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.6/5  rDev -11.8%

Black colored beer with a strong brown head. This looks much more like a stout to me.

Strong chocolate scent and roasted malt with spices added. Spice is mostly cloves with a little ginger. Additional scents of vanilla and Irish Crème.

Starts out spice and deeply roasted malt. Spice actually tickles the tongue here. Very much like a Black and Tan made with Belgian Strong Pale Ale and Guinness Extra Stout. Not super flavorful but smooth.

Mouthfeel is smooth and silky.

An OK beer but not one I will lust for. This is just OK.

09-17-2009 03:30:28 | More by Zorro
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

4/5  rDev -2%

Have had this since last Friday and am finally having it.

Appearance - Pours a very dark chocolate giving way to a nice finger of fluffy mocha colored head. The head dissipates relatively fast and leaves light lacing - looks "pretty."

Smell - I can straight away smell chocolate followed by coffee notes, toffee, a fruitiness (orange peel), vanilla, and some malt.

Taste - Begins with a bit of bitterness from the hops and orange peel (citrus). This is immediately followed by the chocolate/coffee flavors followed with almost a smokey and earthy aftertaste. This is pretty complex to be honest. I'm getting quite a bit out of this.

Mouthfeel - Pretty smooth. Decent carbonation - light to medium bodied. I would have pegged this to be a bit more full but in actuality it is great how it is.

Drinkability - Relatively so. A very odd mixed brew imo. Not quite porter - a bit of hops I can taste. But as for ease of Drinkability - I can't taste the alcohol in this and for almost a 9% abv...yikes. Smooth and tasty. I'm enjoying this on a nice quiet evening outside on the porch. Good brew.

09-17-2009 03:20:30 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of Goldfish19
Goldfish19

New York

4/5  rDev -2%

~Purchased this 22 oz bomber from Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. Wow! Does this beer have an identity crisis going on here or what? It's a Belgian Strong Ale, but no wait, its a porter, but wait again, it's a stout! I am a little muddle-headed as to which way Stone wanted to go with this offering? Well, I checked out Stone's website, and it is best described as a Belgian style Imperial Porter; so I guess I will go with that for now.

A strong smokey aroma, almost as if someone snuck a charcoal briquette into my glass when I was not looking. Also, I detect hints of dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. The taste is absolutely mind-blowing! There is so much going on here that after the first few sips it almost doesn't make sense, so I let the beer sit for a while, and things started coming together.

This beer reminded me a lot of Cazeau Tournay Noire, which just so happens to be a true Belgian Stout - go figure! ~

09-17-2009 00:04:40 | More by Goldfish19
Photo of vacax
vacax

California

3.93/5  rDev -3.7%

Another down, three more to go.

Pours pure black with a moderately large mocha head. High retention and plenty of lacing. Thick layer of foam sits for quite some time. Looking pretty pretty pretty good.

The nose comes as a surprise to me: intensely roasty, smokey, clear presence of vanilla beans, bittersweet chocolate. I cannot detect the tangerine in the nose, but a bit of bright fruity esters shine through the darkness.

The beer starts off sweet chocolate malts and an increasing torrent of smoked dark malts. Esters and dark fruits lighten the dark malts. Almost a protein-like quality to the beer, maybe smoked salmon. Vanilla. Finish is bitter roasted coffee and maybe a hint of that citrus I heard so much about. Cookie and biscuit character lingers. I think this is a nice beer, hard to believe this was pitched as a chocolate orange, tastes like what I might imagine a Belgian Rauchbier to be. As it warms up, more of the orange citrus quality appears in the finish.
Full, slick, body with a nice moderate carbonation that lets me really appreciate the body.

Smokey, tasty Belgian interpretation of an Imperial Porter. The citrus twang doesn't really show up until the beer is warm. A bit strong on the smoke and dark malts, but seeing as how this needs to last three years, I really look forward to seeing how this develops.

09-16-2009 05:58:22 | More by vacax
Photo of paulieatworld
paulieatworld

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

poured a dense brown to black into tulip with tan head. 3 fingers deep, dissipated within two minutes.

smells deeply of chocolate and coffee malts with the most subtle hints, reminiscent of a wheat ale - coriander, orange spice.

i have to disagree with the categorization of this beer as dark belgian style. it most definitely has all the makings and structure of a stout. a real mellow chocolate, reminiscent of young's dc, overflows coffee notes that interplay with orange peel, wood notes and a perfect dry finish, courtesy of the bittering hops.

gaaahhh. silky smooth and creamy mouth feel. this one just slips down the glass. such body without being cloying.

i haven't had the pleasure of becoming familiar with many of the other epics, but i gotta say, if they're anything like this one, i missed out. regardless, i think i found the perfect beer to start my cellar with.

09-16-2009 04:14:28 | More by paulieatworld
Photo of yemenmocha
yemenmocha

Arizona

3.6/5  rDev -11.8%

Pours black with tan head that is modest in size, and retains a thin layer. Nose is somewhat restrained & not so assertive as far as Stone beers go, even with allowing the ale to warm up to ideal drinking temps. Soft chocolate aromas dominate with some of the vanilla bean behind the chocolate.

Palate offers a big chocolate flavor with some of the subtle fruits in the background, and a fair amount of bitterness towards the finish and through the long aftertaste. I see where they're going with the "artisanal chocolate orange" but it's just mostly chocolate and bitterness.

09-16-2009 02:53:35 | More by yemenmocha
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 824 ratings.