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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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: 280 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 535 | Hads: 851
Photo of macrosmatic
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a Weyerbacher pint glass.

A: Dark brown, nearly opaque, with a thin light tan head and low visible carbonation.

S: Chocolatey, a bit boozy, nutty, dark fruit, a touch of coffee and roasted malts. Overall impression is pretty sweet without being cloying.

T: Chocolate, toffee, nutty, dark fruit (plums and raisins), vanilla, with sweetness and a bit of roasty bitterness in the end.

M: Medium to a bit lighter-than-expected body, but sticky mouthfeel. Alcohol noticeable but doesn't detract. Low carbonation sensation.

O: I thought this was pretty tasty, but not blowing me away. Glad to have tried it, but there are better examples of style out there. (701 characters)

Photo of donkeyrunner
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with a shy foamy head. With the humidity and 4 years in the cellar I'll give it a pass. Smells like chocolate and orangey grape drank. Tastes like it smells: chocolate malty dark fruit.

I think this would have been better when it was released. (255 characters)

Photo of JohnnyMc
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never tried it fresh, but trying it now!!

Pours out a dark black with a nice 2 fingers of cocoa looking head.

The aroma has a nice blast of citrus upfront and that's followed by a mix of bittersweet dark chocolate and some vanilla. There is a bit of oak in there, but not much and some roasted notes as well. Kinda smells like a Porter.

The taste is also very upfront in the citrus department with notes of orange and tangerine. The chocolate notes go between the bittersweet dark chocolate, but a sweet milk chocolate too. The vanilla is there, but it doesn't stand out as much as in the nose and the oak is present in the back as well. There are decent roasty notes throughout.

The body is medium and the mouthfeel is rich and creamy. The ABV is hidden completely at this point.

It's a very tasty beer, but I assume since this was brewed in a Belgian style that all the Belgian characteristics have faded with time. Tastes more like a Porter, but still worth trying if you can still find any somehow. (1,008 characters)

Photo of nova009
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A- pours a deep dark brown the color of cola, a one finger tan head emerges and dissipates down to a covering, decent amount of bubbles pop at the surface

S- roasty dark malt, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, candi sugar, dark fruits particularly figs and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg

T- black coffee, cocoa nibs, vanilla, alcohol, extremely roasty and overpowers anything close to belgian flavors

M- medium body, decent carbonation, slightly creamy but finishes dry

O- Slightly disappointed in this one, the body was a bit too thin for my liking, additionally most of the belgian flavors were either non-existant or, and more likely, they dissipated over time with the aging, still drinkable but nothing to write home about (764 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12, review from notes.

A: Quite dark, pretty much black with a small tan head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some random lacing down the glass.

S: Some light Belgian yeast, a bit of chocolate, roasted malt, banana, and some wood.

T: Quite similar to the aroma, some banana, more dark fruit in the flavor profile than the aroma, with a bit of chocolate, cloves, and raisins.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a little thin. Slightly dry finish.

O: This one was fine, not my favorite, but not bad overall. (543 characters)

Photo of obywan59
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/21/2010

I went into Kroger tonight intending to get 2 10.10.10s and didn't realize that one row was still the 09s. Lucky break. I had tried this several times, but never reviewed it.

Pours darkly into my Duvel tulip, with a 1 to 1 1/2 finger tan head that recedes rather quickly to a ring around th4 glass and slight haze over the surface of the beer. Good lacing.

A wonderfully fruity, chocolaty aroma reminiscent of cheesecake. A nicely sweet Belgian aroma.

A bit of sweetness, but nearly overpowered by the bitterness. Tastes of bitter chocolate, burnt malt, and a hint of coffee. I get no hops--unusual for a Stone brew. The malts reign supreme.

Medium-bodied. Just slightly sticky. Nice warming alcohol burn in the throat.

A good drinker, but the ABV slows you down.

I took no notes, but I seem to remember this being sweeter before. Like my last homebrew (a Baltic Porter) it seems to be less sweet, more bitter, and more Kick-Ass, now.

03/21/13

This time around, I get a 4 finger tight, tan colored head that becomes chunky as it recedes, leaving some magnificent lacing. The body is black with no highlights.

Overall, the aroma reminds me of chocolate milk. Still, I can almost get my original impression of cheesecake. Hints of vanilla, chocolate, and oak, with tropical fruits and spice.

Light sweet malt upfront, but soon followed by bitter chocolate and roasted flavors. A hint of coffee, and some tart citrus aspects as well. A bit of dark molasses and vanilla shine through. Caramel and oak in the finish.

I call it medium-thick this time around. Moderate syrup becoming drying in the end. Light warming alcohol in the throat.

Not only does this beer smell like chocolate milk, but the thick tan head acturally looks like frothy chocolate milk. I think both the bitterness and the alcohol have mellowed in the two years and four months since I first reviewed this. Unlike the "08, this beer has improved, I believe it's a better beer now. I've knocked the taste up to a 4.5 from a 4.0. This is an elegant brew. Nothing harsh about it. I wish I'd saved more. I guess I'll have to brew it myself.

With 3 more of the series to resample, I'm saying this is likely the best brew of the the VEs I've tried (2007-2012) (2,242 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Discount Liquors. Served in a tulip.

A - Dark tan foam settles to a partial cap, thick collar, and very dark brown body. Spotty lace lingers on the sides of the glass.

S - Roasted malts, lightly spicy Belgian yeast, light vanilla and oak notes. Sort of Belgian stout-esque. There's a mild aged quality to this one, but it's not particularly oxidized. Solid stuff.

T - Roasty, with notes of caramel, chocolate, dark fruits and raisins, and a touch of banana bread. Alcohol is pretty well-concealed.

M - A tad watery for the ABV. Roasty, with a dry finish, lower carbonation, and minimal alcohol presence.

D - A solid roasty dark Belgian ale. I remember liking this when it was fresh, and it's still a pretty decent brew. Would drink again. (755 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.91/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A local bar put this keg on draught to celebrate the completion of the Vertical Epic series. Cost was $6.00. Served on-draught into a New Belgium branded stem-goblet in Southern California in 2013. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention for the ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Raisin, vine, spice/mulled character, caramel, dark malts, must, brown or refined sugar, buried roast, and milk. A somewhat messy aroma, but a generally appealing one. Above average in strength.

T: Vinous, medicinal, and herbal. That's a hell of a shrewd start. Dark malts and caramel in the body. Vinous on the finish. Light raisin throughout. Some spicing. Chocolate malt. Some grainy bitterness in the third act. Strange indeed. It's off-putting. Too heavy on the spices; it's a bit earthy and grainy probably from nutmeg/coriander/other spices. Messy and imbalanced in classic Stone fashion. I like the experimentation, but this didn't turn out great.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and caramel heavy. Decently carbonated. Pretty good thickness.

Dr: Drinkable but underwhelming. Even aged (albeit in a keg), it leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn't have it again. Another merely decent offering from Stone.

(1,340 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

had as part of a big VE tasting at the end of the world party, thanks to Mark for this one.

Nice fluffy dark head, creamy but only 1/3 or so finger head, light lacing, dark black color.

Nose dark malts, syrupy, caramel, over aged malts, slightly oxidized, little earthy and dirty, faint chocolate, a little chalky too.

Taste brings toffee, dark malts, char, chocolate, caramel, light chewy oats, light earthy flavors, a little yeast like spices too.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent enough carb for the age.

Overall not bad, another one that would have been better fresh or 1 year on it instead of 3. (610 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 jvillefan
3.32/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

A: A very dark body with a half finger mocha head.

S: Very mute aromas. There is subtle chocolate aromas present.

T: I have always heard people describe the taste of their beer as soy sauce but have never had that flavor in my beer...until now. Soy sauce is dominate in this beer. There is very subtle chocolate in the background of this beer.

M: Nice body with great carbonation.

O: This beer could have been great had it been able to age a little better. I believe at some point in time this was a 4.35 beer, now unfortunately, it is not even close. (556 characters)

Photo of Treebs
3.24/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown color, almost opaque with a tan head forming on the pour. Recedes quickly to a thin ring and splotchy lace.

S: Roasted malts with some light chocolate undertones and a little anise. There's some earthy greeness to it as well.

T: Dark fruit, prunes and some roast. A light chocolate is noticeable, but unfortunately this one is slightly oxidized as well. Light cardboard with some woody oak and dirty earthiness.

M: Medium heavy bodied with a medium low carbonation level. Roasted and dry finish.

O: There was an odd earthiness to it and the French oak didn't mesh well. Slight oxidation detracted from the overall "enjoyment" as well. (700 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from tap into a tulip. Poured a massively dark brown (almost black) with a one finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, vanilla, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, dark fruit, sweet alcohol, wood, earth, and vanilla. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. There was definitely quite a bit going in this brew which made the complexity aspect of it really quite nice. However, there were some of the flavors that did not play well with the others especially the earthy note that I picked up on. This honestly felt quite out of place and really distracted you from some of the other pleasant notes that were going on in this one. However, this is still a really nicely done brew that has seemed to have aged quite well in its keg. I would suggest this one to others without any hesitation. (1,048 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown color with a light tan head and decent lacing

S-dark malt, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, hints of coffee, brown sugar and alittle bitterness in the finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-a very nice belgian ale with good balance and flavor, my favorite of the ones I have had in this series (390 characters)

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Vertical Epic glass.

Poured it without yeast the first time, but it's so dark it wouldn't have mattered. If you look through the edge of the beer where beer meets air meets glass, you'll notice only a faint brown light.

The smell is earthy, dark malt, coffee, and dark chocolate.

After three years all of the sweetness is gone and it is very reminiscent of an average stout, even though it isn't. It is full of earthy malt and black coffee, and is a bit astringent.

Astringency is apparent in the taste as well as tannin and a light tingle.

Fresh, this beer tasted like figs and other dark fruits. I wish it had held up better, but I have two more to open in the future, so it could be different later. (721 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This pours a tawny dark amber color. I get a boozy “rummy” aroma—like rum with some strong vanilla notes to it. The flavor is … off. It’s harsh and off-balanced with an artificial vanilla flavor dominating on top a strong Belgian dark ale base beer. Time has not treated this one kindly. (297 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle.

Pours a thick, dark brown with ruby tinges and a thin cream colored head. Aroma of cocoa, chocolate powder, orange, cinnamon and toffee. Slight ashiness to flavor with restrained sweetness. Powdery chocolate and cocoa, faint citrus. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Good, would happily drink again. (318 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is near black with a thin beige collar. The aroma offers licorice, molasses, light spice. Smells ok. A touch of dark roast. Mild sweetness with a sturdy malt backbone. Medium bodied with a touch of chocolate. Pretty good. (267 characters)

Photo of Gatch
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep, dark brown, almost black. A big, fluffy, pillowy, light brown head that leaves behind great lace and great head retention. Bubbles hang around forever.

S: Big chocolate, roasted malt, and charred wood aromas. Some fruit and yeast in there. Pretty boozy.

T: Interesting stuff. Fruity, yeasty, roasty, woody, earthy. Chocolate and charred malt stand out. A pretty good drinking experience. This beer has aged well.

M: Smooth and boozy. Flavors are good. Very roasty.

O: A really good beer that has made the two-plus year journey. BSDA is a broad category so I'd say this is definitely a Belgian Stout or something similar. From what I've gathered, this is one of the better VE's for aging so I'm glad this is one of the few that I tried. (748 characters)

Photo of rudzud
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed while doing a 07-12Belgian vertical.

A - Poured into a palm tulip a nice dark brown hue with a good one finger mocha head that left a light blanket and light side lacing.

S - Aromas of faint chocolate and esters...smells over aged?

T - Taste is a bit old light roasted malts, chocolate, faint citrus. Really did not hold up to the aging.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated but solid albeit meh for the style.

O - Overall this was an okay beer nicely smokey with chocolate and citrus. Still though there's better Belgian strongs. (541 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Type: Draft
Glass: Snifter
From: Ciro’s Pizza in Pacific Beach (San Diego, Calif.), on Jan. 4, 2013
Price: $7.00
Misc.: N/A

Poured a black color with two fingers (when I got it) of tan head. Below average lacing on the sides, good retention on the top all the way down.

Smelled sour fruit, bourbon, vanilla, tobacco, earthy red wine, raspberries and toffee.

Tasted similar to the nose, bourbon, tobacco, earthy red wine, raspberries and chocolate.

Medium body. Thin, oily texture. Average carbonation. Smooth finish.

A decent beer for sure. I would be like to try another and see if my ratings differ. (611 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: half finger head on a near jet black body with slight tinge of light getting through. scattered lacing.

S: dark fruit, mostly strawberry and cherry, dark chocolate, oak

T: dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, minimal dark fruit, oak, breads.

M: full body, light to moderate carbonation.

Overall: pretty flavorful, has held over very well. complex and memorable. Nicely made. (385 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with half a finger of light tan foam on top of a opaque, black body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace.

S - chocolate, nutty malt, and a touch of vanilla.

T - Smooth chocolate, caramel, and smoky coffee up front. Some molasses and dry roasted malt in the middle and a finish of spicy yeast, and more bakers chocolate.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - This has not only held up well, but improved dramatically with age. The dark malt is smooth and complex and it is a very well balanced, drinkable beer. (576 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2013-01-03 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge

A - Almost opaque dark brown with a 1/2-finger tan head and mild lacing.

S - Fruity with tart grape, plum and light malt. Mild but nice aroma.

T - Chocolate, dark cherry, grape skin, chalk, fig, not bitter but there's a bit of roasted flavor. Very balanced. Elegant.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Smooth. Good for the style.

O - An enjoyable brew that doesn't assault the senses but has enough complexity that I kept adding to my tasting notes as I worked through the goblet. Nice. (550 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle: I was surprised I hadn’t recorded this one earlier. This one pours a dark, inky brown color. There was a bit of a light brown head on it that lingers a bit and leaves some lacing. This has a very nice nose to it. Chocolate, vanilla, yeast, spices, perhaps some orange and a hint of coffee. The taste is very good. Rich and full, with actually a touch of bitterness on top of all those malts. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruits, some spiciness, citrus. An excellent combination. (498 characters)

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