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

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

535 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 535
Hads: 851
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 6.9%
Wants: 34
Gots: 282 | FT: 17
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:
Beer added by: superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 535 | Hads: 851
Photo of t420o
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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 (423 characters)

Photo of scootny
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge head, light brown with great retention and good lacing. A black brown fluid. This has the smell of a Belgian mocha stout. Chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel and molasses. Vanilla is tucked in there as it a touch of orange. Smoke and roasted grains. Dark sweet breads. A Belgian yeast fruitiness with overripe banana. A thick rich taste that is like the nose but much better greets your tongue. Chocolate and charcoal. Vanilla and burnt caramel. Orange and banana. More dark sweet breads with a roasted multigrain toasted crust. A clean dry finish that leaves a touch of chocolate syrup and charcoal dipped in burnt marshmellow. Hops are a touch minty and herbal. This stuff is just too good. A thick and full feel has a wonderful syrupiness that is tamed by a somewhat creamy carbonation. It is remarkably supple on the tongue. This is way too drinkable as the alcohol is so well hidden and the feel and taste encourage you to indulge to the max.

My favorite VE of the few I've had. I have all except 020202 cellaring and I hope just a few come out as good as this one is right now. Thank you Stone! I love this one! (1,123 characters)

Photo of Cresant
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 22 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Adams glass. The body was a dark dark brown. The tall, creamy, irregular head was chocolate milk colored. The fine sheets of lacing collapse down the glass.

Smell was ashes and orange peel. Cocoa powder and molasses. Interesting and not cloying.

Taste reflected the aroma a delivered so much more. Semi-sweet chocolate turns to drying organic, crispy hops. Both vanilla and chocolate finish dry and long. Very complex and tasty.

Mouthfeel was lightly powdery. Silky finish with a medium to full body. Nice. (557 characters)

Photo of JustinAniello
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black with a three finger cream-colored head. Dissipates to a nice cap and lacing.

S - Heavy browned caramel and coffee aromas. Light chocolate with a mild piney hops in the background.

T - Starts as a sweet caramel and milk chocolate, turning into a browned caramel and coffee. An orange flavor briefly shows up in the transition. Nice hop bitterness lingers in the end. All the flavors are rather bold.

M - Medium body with light/medium carbonation. Goes very well with the flavors.

O - Still drinking very well more than two years after bottling. A well rounded medley of flavors and aromas, great for just sitting down and savoring. Most definitely going to try their homebrew recipe on their website. Another great beer from Stone. (756 characters)

Photo of TommyW
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Black with some faint ruby highlights coming through; bubbly, tan head.

S- Roasted malt with some burnt notes, chocolate malt and some vanilla.

T- Nice roasted/burnt malt flavor with some chocolate notes, complemented nicely with some citrus rind flavors.

M- Medium to full feel with a nice flow of flavor across the palate.

D- A unique twist on a porter; the Belgian yeast give in some very interesting qualities. Really worth trying! (442 characters)

Photo of jantonius
4.56/5  rDev +12.3%
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!! (346 characters)

Photo of Zeisloft
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
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. (1,138 characters)

Photo of Stunner97
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance- dark black with beautiful tan head that nicely fades and disipates away,

Smell- delicious smell of sweet malts, plenty of chocolate, roasted notes, slight smokiness,little bit of citrus,

taste- very beautifully flavored beer, very sweet and malty but yet still has good firm bitter astringcy that long lingers on the finish, the finish is very long and beautifully integrated, get a slight oakiness and definite smokiness as well, no alcohol to be noticed what so ever, definite slight chocolate notes and roasted malts, can still notice the unique belgian kind of flavor still kind of there but with a beautiful bitterness to it to, what i love about this flavor on top of the long finish is just how the bitterness and sweetness are waging a battle on your palate, such balance,

Mouthfeel- Smooth slick and overall light to medium bodied, not overwhelming, but nice and soft

Drinkability- what can i say I really love this beer, its very porter like yet still has that little twinge of a belgian style beer, but this is certainly a unique american interpertation you would probably only get from someone like stone, I gotta say i really love stone and they havent disappointed me here at all, I bought a few extra to see how they are with some age as that bitterness maybe softens up a bit, beer just seems to me like would be a beautiful pair with a nice smokey bbq meal but for now ill savior sipping it on its own, cheers to stone ! (1,453 characters)

Photo of cvfish
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - This beer poured a black color that produced a fluffy tan head which had great retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer were very complex, roasted malts, vanilla, bitter chocolate, sour citrus, and Belgian yeast

T - The taste of this beer was just as complex as the nose, roasted malts and bitter chocolate, vanilla, a subtle note of sour tangerine and finish with the dominate Belgian yeast

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body and a light to moderate amount of carbonation

D - This beer was one of the most unique and flavorful beer that I have ever had, if I had to describe this to someone it would be a Belgian Porter (687 characters)

Photo of taigor
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 8oz glass.

A - Poured jet black non-transparent color with high ruby frosty head that slowly dissipated leaving average amount of lacing around the glass.

S - Malts, coffee and chocolate scents. Very complex.

T - Slightly sweet to start with and tons of roasted malts with a coffee, dark chocolate bitter finish.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation.

D - Definitely a sipper but very enjoyable. Looks and tastes more like RIS instead of Strong Dark Ale. Highly recommend it if you can get it. (512 characters)

Photo of beermanbrian
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown almost black with just the faintest red hints around the edge. Tan head drops to a nice cap. Thin lacing. Great chocolate nose with some dark cherries in the background. Taste of bitter chocolate up front, some dark fruits follow and then finishes with a little alcohol bite and a solid bitter aftertaste. Medium body on this one. I don't recall enjoying this one as much when it was fresh, I think it's aged nicely. This one is really strong overall. One of the better epics in the series. I really enjoyed and I'm glad I have 7 more in the cellar. Went great with a dark chocolate truffle. (607 characters)

Photo of whoneeds8
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of tap into a chalice complete black with a thick tan head. Great lacing all the way down. Smelled of raisins. The taste didn't have much up front, no hops that I could tell what so ever. However the taste moved into a black liqourish taste with hints of chocolate and raisins. There was a great deal of malted sweetness to the mouthfeel with very little noticable carbonation. (388 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A bit late starting on the Blind Reviews. Blind Bomber #1 The beer was served cold and allowed to warm up to a desireable temperature. Proper temperature was achieved about 25 minutes after removing from the fridge. The beer was served in a Imperial Pint glass.

A- 5 I am sucker for dark beers. The body of the beer poured dark brown nearing black. The head of the beer is a finger high and colored like the nugget of a three muscuteers bar. Major head retention it even withstood my mustache. The lacing on the glass looked like pancake batter.

S- 4.5 Traces of oak vanilla, mixed roasted nuts, a hint of banana, semi sweet cocoa, very nicely roasted and toasted notes with a bit of smokeyness bringing up the rear.

T 4.5 Nicely toasted and roasted malt flavor hits my palate, nuts rolled in cocoa brief flash of smoke. Alcohol peaks its head out. Its slightly boozey but I like a kick in my beers.

M / D 4.5 / 4.5 Very smooth medium bodied. May even be a bit more curvy than medium. The alcohol is a little hot but I like it that way. This beer disappeared very rapidly from my glass.I enjoyed the beer much more as it opened up and was just lightly chilled.

The reveal: Stones 09/09/09 Vertical Epic. I am gobbed smacked with how good this beer was. I have talked alot of smack about Vertical Hype. Very tasty and glad this beer was sent my way. (1,357 characters)

Photo of Strix
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark brown with a tan head that leaves steps of lace down the glass.

Lots going on in the nose, mostly citrus/dark chocolate but also subtle spices.

Malt, clove, vanilla, wood, orange, tangerine, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel.

Creamy, silky mouthfeel.

A beer like this makes me wish I had greater access to Stone. This dark belgian could pass for a RIS, good stuff. (381 characters)

Photo of travolta
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

App: Beautiful espresso head, light lacing, nice retention. Pours through the head in such a great way.

Nose: Some toffee, coffee, dry chocolate up front. Sourdough or bannana nut bread in the middle. A slight pine or sage at the end.

Taste: Soft up front while bitter at the end. Chocolate malt blends to green floral bitterness. The middle has a candy fruit taste. Mouthfeel goes from watery to syrupy to dry. Tangerine is polite, but present in the end.

Notes: This will be the first of my tastings over the next 48 years. I purchased four cases and will review a bottle every year on 09-09-? until gone. I hope this works out. (633 characters)

Photo of dwilson01
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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! (1,237 characters)

Photo of apbarwood
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (768 characters)

Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (729 characters)

Photo of jgasparine
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured with a 3/4" rocky tan head, which was exceptionally well-retained. Beautiful lacing throughout. The body was a dark opaque brown... almost black. Just beautiful to look at.

S- Smells Belgian... I'm getting Belgian yeast and candy sugar off the nose. It's sufficiently roasty and spicy (nutmeg?). I also conjure up memories of Torrone Italian nougat candy when sniffing this beer. Smells absolutely delicious!

T- Big and malty up front with substantial burnt candy sugar flavor... this sweetness is wonderfully balanced with dryness that seems to come more from spices than hops (strangely). The particular spice is hard to identify... it's somewhat like nutmeg. A friend suggested "Allspice"... but I cannot identify with this spice- I've never smelled it alone. Once this sublime sip is swallowed, you're rewarded with a long, spicy and dry finish. Amazing!

M- Thick and firm with tons of unattenuated sugar and lots of soft carbonation... wonderfully textured and very chewy! Again, this is just a pleasure to be sipping!

D- What's not drinkable about this beer? Nothing I suppose! This is my first Vertical Epic (and hopefully not my last). What a treat! (1,171 characters)

Photo of JamisonM
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass

A: black color in the glass nice brown head

S: roasted malt complex coco and orange peel sweet vanilla in there

T: bitter sweet taste with orange vanilla with bitter chocolate very complex and great taste

M: med mouth feel

D: super drinkable

overall: having tried this one it makes me mad at myself I did not get any of the older beers from this series. this is a great beer well thought out and well brewed cheers to stone for this one I cant wait to try this on 12-12-12 (506 characters)

Photo of GordonQuid
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Murphy's pint glass.

Jet black with a nice thick one inch tan, rocky head. THICK lace.

Smells of roasted dark malts and buttery biscuit.

Taste is full bodied roasted chocolate and carmel with a touch of candied tangerine rind. Shape shifter as it warms the chocolate malts are huge and the fruity esters come out from the yeast profile. A bit of a hop edge in the finish as well.

Extremely satisfying and drinkable. Complex. Typical Stone goodness.

Cheers! (476 characters)

Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (435 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap for the VE tasting (beers 07.07.07-12.12.12) at Pacific Coast Brewing Co. during SF Beer Week. All reviews are from my notes. Loved this one, so, just like the 07.07.07, I got this one in an 8oz flute glass after the first tasting.

Pours an opaque blackness, with a tiny ring right at the top. Doesn't seem to go away no matter how much time this sits around. Looking at this without knowing what it was prior to consumption, I wouldn't be able to say whether it was an imperial stout or Belgian dark hybrid ale. Definitely incredibly murky, with alcohol legs visible against the glass, and slight viscosity that retains slight bubbles whenever agitated. Definitely looks like a massive dessert beer, as if they suddenly turned chocolate pudding into one. And, based on the description, looks like they might have done just that.

At the nose, there's classic imperial stout like characteristics to this, which include dark chocolate, juicy vanilla beans, and yet, the Belgian yeast and Stone's whacked out experimentation brings out bright flavors resembling orange peel and a citrusy finish. Not as spicy as you might think, but it definitely smells rich and decadent, especially with the slightly smoked, smoothened out dessert aromas of chocolate, vanilla, and citrus. Some dark fruitiness is present here, although it's difficult to make out (figs? Raisins? Plums?), but the dark malts and alcohol sweetness melded with the zest seem to be the real winners here.

The flavor continues to dark cocoa aroma, yet far juicier and filled with smoked vanilla beans on the flavor. This is the equivalent of taking the bite out of a very dark chocolate bar filled with extra ingredients and a dab of sugar. There's not much sweetness to speak of here, in fact - the finish is quite bitter, yet balanced with all of these flavors. Oaky, dry characteristics at the finish. The Belgian yeast adds a little bit of fruity character to this, but it's far more subtle than you'd imagine. Very complex, and very drinkable for how decadent this is overall.

By far my favorite of all the VE beers I was able to try. Due to its astonishing cellar life, I would have bought a whole case of these if I had the chance. This is a rich dessert in a bottle without being to sweet or overwhelming on the palate. Just a solid, fantastically easy to drink, yet elaborate stout/BSDA hybrid overall. Like Founders' Breakfast Stout, this is a dark beer in a class of its own. Awesome stuff. (2,482 characters)

Photo of BatsforBeer
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
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! (695 characters)

Photo of scottyshades
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
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! (2,094 characters)

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 535 ratings.