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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

847 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 847
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 275 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 847 | Reviews: 535
Photo of SirSketch
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of an '07, '08, '09 vertical.

I was really glad to see this one was a porter!

A - Dark brown with auburn accents. Light brown head with sticky Brussels lace as you drink.

S - Major burnt coffee, caramel, and vanilla aromas.

T - Chocolate, coffee, and some roasted qualities. Finishes with some burnt toast flavors. Very enjoyable. A beer to drink and enjoy with too much thought.

M/D - Medium to heavy body and extremely drinkable. Wonderful porter and my favorite of my vertical.

Photo of tjsprague
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer is a dark dark dark brown almost black color with a mocha colored head.

The smell is rich and malty with hints of fruity sweetness from the Belgium yeast.

The taste is big. There malts taste dark and very toasted. Its almost a little bit burnt tasting, but it seems like it will mellow out after time. The toastiness is almost smokey. The aftertaste is very sweet and pleasant. It almost tastes like a very dark bitter chocolate with a fruit finish.

The mouthfeel is very thick and pleasant, almost creamy. This beer tastes like it looks. It delivers.

This is not the kind of beer you are going to want to drink all night, but is perfect for a night cap. For how strong this beer is it is very drinkable.

Another excellent offering from Stone and a beer that is very good today but will be incredible in three years.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always look forward to this release, and its so nice to just be ablee to drive down to my local beer store in Georgia and get this now. I like this year's release. Pours a rich dark brown, almost black. Smells of licorice and coffee with some piney hops and port wine notes in the mix. Very nice. Very smooth, and with similar tastes as the aroma, but the licorice and coffee are more muted and the piney hops are much more present. Nice bitterness in the finish. Very nice.

Photo of Destral
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the 09.09.09 on tap in a goblet from Aces & Ales

Appearance:
Dark, with a medium brown head that fades quickly, leaving moderate lacing.

Smell:
Had a mild chocolate aroma, slightly smokey or roasted (almost like Starbucks coffee to me).

Taste:
Chocolate seems to overpower the other flavors, with roasted malt and a hint of bitterness following. Subtle alcohol kick, but nothing overwhelming.

Mouthfeel:
There was a surprising bit of carbonation (very fine bubbles), but full bodied and smooth.

Drinkability:
The 09.09.09 tops the list of Stone beers I've had. The richness of the flavors really hide the alcohol well, and it would be easy to have several of these sneak up on you if you're not careful.

Photo of curasowa
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just bought two bombers of this - one for now and one to cellar. Pours a dark, almost black color with 1 finger of creamy, brown head that faded slowely. Smells strongly of roasted malt and coffee grinds. The dominate flavor is dark roasted malt, with hints of caramel and vanilla. The texture is rich and creamy and coasts your mouth in deliciousness. The finish is bitter and lingering. This beer almost reminds me of a stout rather than a Belgian Dark. Regardless of style, the balance is very good and I can't wait to try the other bottle after it has mellowed for a few years.

Photo of thegodfather2701
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Very dark, but not pitch black. Tan head that dissipates quickly, but leaves some lacing.

S-Clove, banana, some moderate spiciness. Smells similar to a Belgian beer.

T-Clove, dark bitter chocolate, coffee, metalic, and some Belgian spiciness. This is one of the most unique tasting beers I've ever had.

M-Thin and carbonated.

D-Pretty drinkable even given its high abv.

Overall, I was dissapointed with this beer. I was expecting something richer, thicker, and more complex.

Photo of Brad007
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color with a brown two-finger head into my fluted glass. The head fades down, leaving some lacing.

Aroma is full of roastiness with a bit of cream and and chocolate showing through. Seems enough like a stout, though it's not categorized as one.

Taste is what sets this apart from a stout. It's strong with candi sugar, chocolate, cream and dark fruits as the primary tastes. Just a bit of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering flavors as mentioned above but the roastiness lingers along with a bit of cream. Only minimal alcohol heat and carbonation seems right.

Very good and probably better fresh. I've had 08.08.08 and 07.07.07 and I'd say that this year's version is better than both.

Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Cole's. Chocolate quad. Very dark Belgian chocolate brown with thick lace. Full mouthfeel. Thick lace follows. Fruity, a sipper, there is chocolate and there is bitterness in the mouth. Vanilla in deep secondary. Bought a bottle to see how she ages.

Photo of microbrew52
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What an interesting brew. Its dark in the glass with a medium brown head with fine bubbles. When trying to pull the aroma from the glass, you get a nice mix of scents that keep you intrigued. I get mostly caramel and smoke. The taste is definitely smokey with caramel coming through for the balance. The finish is dry and slightly hoppy. A great beverage that is complex and very drinkable.

Photo of GordonQuid
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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!

Photo of Kadonny
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap at TJs in Paoli PA. What a treat. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Jet black with a one finger light brown head. Full encompassing glass lacing.

S: Dark roasted malts, chocolate, yeast, spice and a touch of hops.

T: Dark roasted malts with flavors of dark bitter chocolate, dark fruits of plum, cherry and a bit of orange. I even get some coffee flavors. Some underlying sweetness of the fruit sticks around with that sweeter milk chocolate coming through. The Belgian yeasty flavor sticks around throughout and provides a unique twist. Finish brings on the hops (this is Stone of course) with grassy floral flavors and just a hint of alcohol. Wow, great beer.

M: Full, coating, sticky, prickly and a light alcohol, very nice mix.

D: Excellent for what this beer is. Amazing.

Overall this was a fabulous beer. This is really a Belgian porter or stout, but since there is not a category for this, it got put in the BSDA class. Such complexity from a great brewery, how can you not love this beer. I put aside a case to age, this beer will only get better. Pick it up if you see it.

Photo of Magpie14
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: wow, is this really a Belgian Dark? I poured this in low lights and I was convinced this was a mild mannered stout. The pour was rather lethargic with a muddy brown complexion. After examining my glass with a better light source I found no transparency apparent. Pretty much an inky brew. A nice dirty gold colored head fluffed up and dissolved away leaving some remnants glued to the glass

S: sweet chocolate malts with a light kiss of fruitiness, most notably oranges. My nose also gathered a faint whiff of fresh baked grainy breads with some grassy hops. That fruitiness has a bubblegum depth to it

T: this is an admirably complex brew. Judging by the bodies hue and from what I smelled, the flavors are pretty dark as guessed. At first sip, the maltiness pairs with a burnt bread-like character, somewhat of a rugged baked dry yeasty character. This mainstay flavor is augmented by a light bakers chocolate character. And then, on the other hand, you have some spicy mellow dark fruit characters with a hop presence all its own working about. The hops are more or less grassy and florally

However, the overall profile is just kind of clammy and dark, if that makes sense. Things are briefly bitter after each sip and then a battle of chocolate and spices pursue the tongue. Warming proves to accentuate flavors in a good-natured way with alcohol unfortunately popping up

M: a medium to full body makes things pretty smooth. Carbonation is in the tongue tickler category, maybe a bit strong for how fat the body is. I always associate most Belgians as fuzzy or full of life, this one is doing moderate work during my consumption

D: wow, a rather interesting complex beer. I was assuming a usual Belgian type of beer when I bought it. I guess what surprised me the most was the girth of the beer, which is a good surprise. This baby drinks good and I might try to grab another before the next one rolls around, better make work of that soon

Photo of Beaver13
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Pours very dark brown with a frothy tan head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet grainy malts, a little woody fruitiness, and some gummy yeastiness.

The flavor is sweet chocolate malts, some dark fruits with a big roasted/charred bitter finish that's fairly harsh. The mouthfeel medium to full with soft carbonation.

Overall, an interesting beer. I kept not wanting to like it, but kept changing my mind. It's a bit harsh in the bitterness, but it'll be interesting to see how this ages.

Photo of thespaceman
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass:'

Appearance: Pours a midnight black in color, lots of tan head here and it builds as the pour continues. Head retention is perfect and leaves nice tan lacing in the glass.

Smell: Aromas are lots of chocolate malt and raisins. Lots of darker fruit floats around here, a touch of booziness and some malt sweetness.

Taste: Hoppiness up front is pretty large, leading way to some decent doses of sweet malt, lots of chocolate, caramel and toffee. I also get alot of darker fruits like plum, prune and some dark grapes. A lighter fruit tone comes through in the finish and brightens up the hop profile. A touch of alcohol in the finish is spot on!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonation is medium and the hops add just the right around of bitterness. This beer sits on the tongue perfect, not too thick yet it's bold and rich in the mouth.

Drinkability: This is an awesome limited release beer that is just begging to be aged. The mouthfeel and the sweet maltiness really makes this beer a standout. I love how the hops really balance everything out. An exceptional beer that is one of the best limited release beers I've tried this year! Very sessionable, be careful with this, it's overly drinkable for the ABV.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 22 oz. bottle served in a Duvel tulip. Poured a deep black with a bit more than a finger of tan head. Nice aroma of chocolate and a bit of licorice. Medium bodied and rich. Flavor has more chocolate. Some fruity Belgian yeasty flavors as well. Bitterness from hops and maybe some from chocolate as well. Long dry finish of chocolate malt. A little spice as well. This seems more age worthy than the last couple of VE editions. Unique and interesting beer.

Photo of biggred1
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a finger of thick, creamy dark fudge foam that leaves sheets of mocha lace on the glass. Anise, cocoa, vanilla, coffee and faint citrus peel make for a great nose. Charred and caramelized chocolate malty flavors with orange peel, vanilla and sprucy hops. Good heft and body with a mildly bright carbonation. A fantastic and different beer for sure.

Photo of alexgash
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle.

Dark milk chocolate-y brown body with a tall, thick, creamy, dirty khaki head. Great lacing. Intriguing nose of cocoa, milk chocolate, vanilla, light roasted coffee, cardamom, anise, and maybe a hint of orange zest. Very interesting and nice. Toasted, nutty malts, and licorice up front. Scorched brown sugar provides some sweetness. Coffee and dark chocolate bitterness picks up and swells to the finish. More dark chocolate and notes of vanilla, root beer, and cardamom. Citrus and herbal bitterness come on strong (joining the coffee) and linger for a long time. Tobacco, and minty, spicy accents also stick around for the finish. Very interesting and quite delicious. Medium-full body with a slightly creamy feel. This may be my favorite VE yet...

Photo of smcolw
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good tight, beige head and excellent ring lace. Nearly black color where no light can shine through.

Dark malt aromas with a light yeast smells in the background. Light yeast.

Very strong alcohol warmth on the initial sip. Relatively thin body with a low level of carbonation. Burnt coffee flavor with a hop kick which shows up nicely in the swallow and aftertaste. Lots of yeast bite as well.

Photo of kmo1030
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a rich dark brown with good sized khaki head that sticks around and leaves a little lacing as well.
the aroma is soft and darkly fruity, with chocolate, nuttiness, vague bubblegum and candy sugar type qualities. there is something tempering some of the sweeter aromas, but i can't quite put my finger on it. floral orange develops with some warmth.
what jumps out to me about the taste is that there is a fair amount of smoke to be detected, that when coupled with some of the dark belgian qualities, creates a really interesting beer. you find dark fruit tinged roasty chocolate, rootbeer, licorice, caramel, plum, raisin, a little banana, and the aformentioned burnt, smokey flavor. a little spicy becomes noticable after a while. a good dose of nebulous hop bitterness gives the sweetness a run for it's money. this one's touted as a belgian porter, which i'm pretty certain has zero legitimacy as a style, if such a thing exists this is surely it. take one taste and you'll get it. i wonder which came first, recipe or concept?
the mouthfeel is full and slick with soft carbonation.
the drinkability is good. it's full of flavor, and unique to be sure. this is one of those beers that provides some food for thought. i can see this one aging fantastically

Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown bordering on black with a creamy tan head that slowly dissipates to form a cap on top. Smells of chocolate right off the bat. Licorice, oranges and creme soda come to mind as well. Taste is creamy chocolaty with a slight phenolic and spicy earthy yeast. Slight astringency mixed with some citrusy hop bitterness in the finish. Creamy mouthfeel with a dry finish. Lightly carbonated with a medium body. Stone calls this a belgian porter, I think they nailed it. Its a nice take on a style that really doesn't exist. I liked it.

Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hopefully this review won't be inadvertently purged like my last review of this beer was. On tap at Max's the other night.

The beer pours a darkish brown color with OK head retention and decent lacing. On the nose I get an intriguing aroma of rootbeer, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, but with a considerable hop bite in the finish (naturally; after all, this is Stone). This beer has at most moderate sweetness, and it's quickly pushed asided by the drying, hoppy bitterness on the finish. In addition, there's also something of a sour apple, cardboard flavor to this beer. Hmmmm...mouthfeel is medium bodied, and I have to say that the bittersweet chocolate and somewhat noticeable alcohol detract just a bit from this beer's drinkability.

This is a nice enough beer, though one at a sitting is probably all I could ever see myself managing.

Edit from 3/15/13. Sampled at a recent vertical epic event at Pacific Coast brewing, this beer showed its age fairly well. My score was nearly identical to what I gave this beer back in 2009, with much of the original hop bite now nicely tamed by flavors of milk chocolate, vanilla and light burnt toast. The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but that was really the only sign of "old age" in this beer.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9*9*09 hopes to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange. I haven't tried the real thing, but I can try it in liquid form tonight. On to the beer:

Into a globe it goes, the beer is black...pitch black. The head is lightly tanned, has a rocky lid, and has very good retention. Spiced like licorice upfront in the nose. Very citric orange as well. Faint powdery cocoa.

This beer is more spiced than expected. Spiced upfront, then a touch of the yeast adds a layer of creamy banana. Bitter citric acid touches down and creates the bitterenss to the beer. The malt creates an astrignent bitter chocolate flavor which lightly lingers in and into the aftertaste. Very soft in the mouth, silky feel.

It doesn't remind me of a fruit infused gourmet chocolate as much as I expected. It will, however, remind me of another quality beer from Stone I've tried.

Photo of seand
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours black, white a generous amount of foamy dark tan head. Retains a layer pretty well, and leaves nice lacing. Looks like an imperial stout.

S: Roasted malts, and spices.

T: Complex, and subtly different than any stout or belgian dark I've had before; somewhere in the middle, yet with its own twist. Sweet roasted malts leading into a coffee like bitter finish, with a component of interesting spices.

M: Low carbonation, smooth, very full bodied.

D: Need to go slow to get the flavor, and due to the ABV.

I have a hard time explaining this beer very well, since it's got some things going on that I don't think I've ever tasted in a beer before, yet it's also not that far off of a more traditional stout or Belgian dark. It's also nothing like any other Stone beer I've tried (though I've not had any other Epic).

Photo of OlieIPA
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my Bruery tulip glass.

A: Poured fairly rigorously, this beer exhibited a beautiful tan colored head that slowly subdued itself down towards it's near black body. The lacing left behind looked appetizing as well.

S: A robust roasted malt character upfront that seems to pick more chocolate and citrus-like aromas as times goes on.

T: The chocolate comes out a bit more as does the orange/mango hit towards the tail end of the beer, but that roasted malt character definitely dominants the overall taste. This over abundance of "roastiness" reminds of Stone's Imperial Russian Stout in many ways. Incredibly full-flavored, but doesn't sit heavy on the palate either.

M: Full-body, but as I stated before...it doesn't feel like I'm trying to chew through this beer.

D: Almost Imperial Stout-ish...love the flavor...and doesn't feel like I'm having an entire meal with this brew.

Overall: The best of the VE's I've had to date and something I will be cellaring until 12/12/12. Cheers!

Photo of sirdrinkwell
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: poured from a 22oz bottle, the 090909 hits the glass as a deep chocolate mahogany, topped by a tasty tan head which recedes to leave modest lacing aroung the edges of the glass.

s: a spiced orange, yeasty chocolate aroma hits the nose immediately; a longer whiff reveals the malts and a bit of vanilla as well.

t: a vanilla, chocolate, yeast and malt all find their way onto the tongue in short order. the spiciness of the nose are present only as the most subtle undertone in the taste, nothing compared to what i would have expected given its prominence in the scent.

m: smooth, cool, and well balanced on the palate...

d: this is an entirely drinkable brew from Stone, the only downside is that it will be gone soon! i'm calling the store to get a case of this stuff tomorrow...we'll see if i can learn enough beer discipline so that i can hold onto at least one bottle until after 12/12/12.

salud!

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 847 ratings.