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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 OlieIPA
OlieIPA

California

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

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!

10-14-2009 03:19:13 | More by OlieIPA
Photo of sirdrinkwell
sirdrinkwell

Florida

4.83/5  rDev +18.4%

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!

10-14-2009 01:55:01 | More by sirdrinkwell
Photo of spacewolf
spacewolf

Maryland

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

My first review. Here goes:

Pours a dark chocolate/cola with a one finger tan head that dissipated in 10 seconds.

Nice aroma of deep roasted malt, dark chocolate, and baked beans (?)

The taste is dark malt and cacao that deepens to a fig/plum and finishes with a slightly bitter orange/vanilla/oak & alcohol which lingers for a long time.

This brew gets better as it warms up a bit with more pronounced banana & vanilla flavors coming forward.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin but pleasant and does not detract from the overall enjoyment of this beer. You can tell its a thoughtful and well crafted beer from the first sip to the last. I will definitely try and grab another bottle to cellar for a while.

10-14-2009 01:36:52 | More by spacewolf
Photo of JBogan
JBogan

Nevada

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours a very dark brown, almost appearing to be black until you give it a closer inspection. On top of that sits a thick light brown head which unfortunately turns into a thin film rather quickly. it does leave behind sheets of sticky tan lacing.

Roasted malt along with a bit of chocolate make up the aroma. Not especially complex in this regard, yet still rather inviting.

Tasted also of malts and chocolate, with somewhat of a root beer quality in the background. I was quite pleased that this beer didn't lean heavily in the coffee flavor department as so many brews of this style do. The alcohol is very well integrated and you feel it rather than taste it.

Mouthfeel was good but not great. Slightly thinner than I'd like in a beer of this type, yet it did go down smooth.

Overall this beer was pleasant to drink, but didn't knock my socks off. I might buy another bottle just to put away for a while and see if it matures and develops over time.

10-14-2009 00:42:32 | More by JBogan
Photo of Celt44
Celt44

New York

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

Appearance - Pours a dark fudge brown with a nice frothy tan head. Lacing lasts throughout...

Aroma - Strong chocolately malts - fruity flavors pierce through - slight banana w/citrus hints.

Taste - chocolate malty sweetness up front....raison/plum fruity sweetness in the center...complimented by a nice hop alcohol bite at the end...

Mouthfeel - Silky smooth with a nice warming alcohol bite....not too much

Overall an excellent strong ale - not a huge fan of the style but this one is tasty....

10-14-2009 00:34:35 | More by Celt44
Photo of caddybuyer
caddybuyer

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -2%

Poured into a Chimay Chalice at cellar temperature

A-Pours a deep opaque black with a creamy tan head

S-Roasted coffee and malts, smoke, yeast, some dark fruits in the background.

T-Bittersweet chocolate covered dark fruits begin then hops take over the palate. A slightly acidic tartness midway, and a long, bitter astringent finish with warming and numbing alcohol completing the journey. This is very decent, but slightly hot, and I can only imagine what some age will do to this. More hops than I was expecting, but this is, after all, a Stone product.

M-Decent overall mouthfeel on this for the style.

D-I like this, and I'm glad I tried this while it was young, but feel that it is a bit of a shame because this will likely be fantastic with age. Everything is sold out near me, but I will keep my second bottle for a few years and crack it open to see how well it does. I think it will be excellent. As for now, I am content with this bomber but will buy some more if I run across it.

Updated 1.9.11. This has mellowed dramatically with age. The hops have receded and it no longer feels hot. Seems slighly undercarbonated now. Age has made this a mellower beer, but not necessarily a better one. I'm thinking this may have been better fresh.

10-13-2009 23:42:40 | More by caddybuyer
Photo of Norfawkers
Norfawkers

Virginia

3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

Appearance: Opaque brown with minimal tan head

Smell: Spicy, chocolate, malts

Taste: You can really taste the alcohol in the beer, slight toast and malt as well.

Mouthfeel: Thin and bitter throughout

Drinkability: The bitterness drowns out the flavors and spices. I'm not sure what they were going for with this beer..

10-13-2009 20:10:44 | More by Norfawkers
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25

Oregon

3.53/5  rDev -13.5%

From a 22 oz. bottle, an annual ritual. The first pour went to a typical pint glass; after that success, the second filled a wide-mouthed 'Chimay' goblet.

A: The look is a stunner; so dark it appears 'black' at first glance. Closer inspection showsdeep, alluring mocha with traces of glowing ruby. Head is a thick mound of tan meringue, taking over 5 minutes to drop from its 2-finger apex to a thin coating sheet. Lace is strong, a webwork of sponge-like blots.

S: Strength of the aroma burst straight out the bottle, cascading as it poured; A+ for vigor. Make-up is an oddity, though, one that both delights and confuses (and, at moments, repulses) my sense of smell. Smoky wood hits first, wrapped around a slightly vinegared dark fruit (raisins, prunes - but not sweet). Dark chocolate, and more smoke (bacon? definitely meaty...). Not picking up any of the orange peel, the vanilla beans or tropical fruit (all of which are noted in the description). Hmmm...

T: Pow! A punishing jolt of burnt malt, the driest/bitterest of chocolates. Wasn't expecting so many hops to show, a spicy greenness and a juicy citrus. Allowed to warm for 30 minutes, then an hour - the chocolate 'burn' mellowed and a slight 'tropical' toasted coconut came out (aged in French Oak explains that), but very little vanilla or gentler spice. A 'Belgian Strong Dark'? Only by the loosest of terms...

M: Mouthfeel is on the heavy side, as it coats the cheeks and tongue with a malt-bitter blanket. Some tingling carbonation and a spice residue. Finish is pronounced, could still taste an hour later. 9% ABV needs time to mellow.

D: Really tough to drink right now; it's hot and heavy with alcohol and heavy, taste bud-killing flavor. Anyone who is giving high drinkability scores right now either has a much different palate than me or is drinking a different beer altogether. Will return to this in a year (a couple more were bought to be cellared) to see how it mellows, but on 10.04.09 the 09.09.09 has a ways to go...

10-13-2009 16:30:52 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of ryanonline
ryanonline

Florida

4.9/5  rDev +20.1%

from bottle to a weizen glass (what i had availailable)

Appearance is dark and (very) slight trace of ruby, dark tan quickly dissipating head nice lacing but also quickly dissipating.

Aroma has lovely orangey vanilla scent, with a slight chocolate undertone.

Taste is really something, strong vanilla flavor with a nice orange undertone, (maybe some cloves). roasty dark chocolate malt finish with a moderately yeasty body.

Mouthfeel is clean and smooth but a little heavy.

Drinkabilility is smooth though a little foamy and the finish lasts a long time.

I got this beer thinking it was going to be good, I saw lots of positive reviews (i hope they didn't affect my experience too much) but i was thoroughly impressed. Many wonderful flavors to taste and enjoy. like a lot of stone brews it definitely finishes BITTER, but really a great beer. i decided to cellar a bottle, and am looking forward to it down the line.

10-13-2009 02:18:41 | More by ryanonline
Photo of Cresant
Cresant

Kentucky

4.6/5  rDev +12.7%

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.

10-13-2009 01:34:56 | More by Cresant
Photo of Wisconsinality
Wisconsinality

Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev -0.7%

A- Pours almost a pitch black with very little light breaking through. About two fingers worth of head that recedes somewhat quickly but leaves nice lacing on the side of the glass.
S- A nice aroma of chocolate malt with some roasted malt is present. There is also some Belgian yeast on the tale end.
T- This is a nice complex beer that only gets better when it warms up. Toasted malt with some chocolate right off the bat. Then comes the sweet yeastiness. It says to age it a few years to get its full flavor so obviously this beer has some maturing to do.
M- This is a nice medium bodied beer that is really smooth. The carbonation is balances nicely and the finish is a little dry.
D- It goes down nice and I can only imagine how good this is going to be in a few years. Also gives a little warming sensation from the alcohol.

10-12-2009 03:22:33 | More by Wisconsinality
Photo of treehugger02010
treehugger02010

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

My buddy brought a bottle of this over and I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: The body is a deep brown almost black color. The head is three fingers tall, eucre in color, great retention and thin but lots of lacing.
Smell: The aromas are booze, vanilla and coffee.
Taste: The flavors are very roasty, burnt toast and pine.
Mouthfeel: The body is oddly thin, and crisp.
Drinkability: This beer is pretty darn good.
Don't drink and review.

10-12-2009 02:16:30 | More by treehugger02010
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

3.53/5  rDev -13.5%

Pours an opaque darkness with a full finger loose light brown head that fades slowly leaving a good amount of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is more like an American Porter...roasted malt and chocolate. The flavor is the same...not satisfying my BSDA jones at all. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice ale, but nothing special. It has a nice hoppy zing to the aftertaste that lingers nicely. It has a little warmth to it too. I've got one set aside for a few months down the road. We'll see about it then. This one's gotta drain though. Where is my complex dark fruity thing?

10-11-2009 15:45:43 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of FLBeerGuy
FLBeerGuy

Florida

4.83/5  rDev +18.4%

On tap at the World Bistro

Pours a midnight black with a nice creamy tan head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smell is Belgian yeast, chocolate and roasted malts

Taste is nice and complex, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, yeasty spice, vanilla and some orange peal.

Mouthfeel is smooth and rich

Very drinkable beer IMHO, I love the complexity. One of my favorite epics yet. 8.9 ABV is well hidden.

This one is worth going out of your way to get. Get it while you can.

10-11-2009 05:08:56 | More by FLBeerGuy
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
AKBelgianBeast

Alaska

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%

Ah yes, the next in the series. I would say im excited but recent years have not exactly been up to snuff.

Pours a thick black with some minimal ruby highlights and a nice fluffy light tan ice cream head that retains well, and leaves good lacing.

Nose is mostly roasted malt with a touch of chocolate and minimal hop presence. Kind of a wierd almost banana note, but this is very subtle.

Flavor is pretty solid. Definitely complex. The porter profile grabs hold and is the dominant player. Lots of roastiness and roasted malt complexity. Some grain attributed bitterness, along with a tiny kiss of hops. There is a little bit of a perfume like, vodkaish heat that bugs me a little bit. The yeast makes its presence known and actually does add a little bit of a belgian character to this through the middle and on the atertaste.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, a little viscous, but it fits here. Carbonation is where it oughta be.

Drinkability is pretty decent, but the abv does make its presence known despite having alot of other complexity going on.

Overall this a fine beer from stone. I really like the underlying porter, and the yeast adds a little bit of something different to ponder. I think they could have made this beer just a touch smaller and it would be better, but as it sits its fine. It is a little bit hotter than i expected, but not bad, and it is still quite young. Definitely an improvement in general enjoyment and quality from the last two series offerings. A good beer.

10-11-2009 02:36:05 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Photo of beerman207
beerman207

Kentucky

4.35/5  rDev +6.6%

A - Beer poured a nice black color with a tan head that sticks around forever!

S - Complex aroma of vanilla, chocolate, mollases, dark fruit, as well as a hint of smoke and alcohol coming through.

T - Bitter chocolate as well as vanilla and some charcoal or smoke coming through. Figs?

M - Mouthfeel was medium and very creamy. Very enjoyable.

D - I imagine that the alcohol would be better masked if one waited until 3 years from now. I'm just too impatient so I needed to crack this one open. Glad I did. I could go for another.

10-11-2009 01:15:57 | More by beerman207
Photo of bonkers
bonkers

New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

I poured from a bomber into a snifter. It pours a deep opaque black with a fluffy white head. The aroma is strong deep dark chocolate. The flavor has a few levels, chocolate, vanilla and a bit of alcohol. The beer is creamy, rich, smooth and the alcohol is a bit hot. The flavor profile is similiar to a stout. The residual alcohol makes it a bit of a sipper, but a damn fine beer overall.

10-10-2009 23:48:24 | More by bonkers
Photo of OneDropSoup
OneDropSoup

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%

Pours a thick black with only a few little ruby highlights, a bubbly mocha head of about half a finger. Some sheets of lacing.

Smells of caramel, some roasted/slightly burnt notes. Not a whole lot of smell at first. As it warms, though, a meaty kind of character shows up.

At first taste, a smokiness like bacon or charcoal hits me. A bitter roasted flavor follows with sort of a light marshmellow sweetness, some kick from hops. Dark fruit skins, there are kind of a taste & mouthfeel of tannins. As it warms, there's a lemon-orange citric finish. Very complex taste, but in a way that nearly overwhelms my mouth.

Along with that tannic quality, the mouthfeel is full & rich, foaming up nicely & leaving a bitter & acidic aftertaste. One of these is plenty, & I had to drink this slowly.

I enjoyed this, but found the onslaught of flavors to be almost too much, especially the bitterness & astringency that's so dominant. I realize Stone is all about making big, complex & challenging beers, but I'm finding that a lot of them are challenging in the same way. Not sure how many more of Stone' specialties I'm going to up for trying.

10-10-2009 21:56:39 | More by OneDropSoup
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
NittanyBeerFan

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

A: Pours a slightly viscous texture into my glass. The color is jet black. With a pour right down the middle, I get a beautiful frothy inch of creamy, dark head that is perched majestically on top of my beer, just a touch below the rim of the glass. Lacing is delicate and wispy.

S: A very complex marriage of aromas emanates from my beer. I can make out definite notes of chocolate and citrus, no surprise from what Stone told us about the style. However, there is much more as well. An almost barrel-aged vanilla character is also present, and the spicy flavors of the Belgian yeasts that have become a staple of this line pour forth.

T: Chocolate, vanilla bean, and a light mild citrus flavor that seems more like tangerine than orange provide the first impression. These three give way to the yeasty spice from the Belgian yeasts and the piney hops that are a go-to for Stone. The chocolate comes back in the finish providing a very nice balance for this beer. This is phenomenal now. I can't wait to try it aged.

M/D: The feel is smooth and resinous. Very little carbonation is present. The texture is very thick. I can't really imagine having more than one of these in one night, but I am very happy that I grabbed 2 cases of this!

10-10-2009 20:46:32 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of Gtreid
Gtreid

Florida

3.68/5  rDev -9.8%

22 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Almost opaque, just a hint of light brown laces the edges of the beer. The pour produces a nice latte colored head that receedes quickly and leaves some spotty lace.

A: I get bitter chocolate first, followed by oatmeal and molasses. I get a good amount of bittering aroma and some suble hints of citrus. I guess that's from the orange peel.

T: Very interesting. Very complex. I definately get the chocolate, it is very forward in the brew. The combination of the hops, citrus, and molasses create an unique biterness that I have not tasted before in a beer.

M: Agressive carbonation. Heavy body. Mouthfeel is crisp but smooth.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is limited due to the complexity of the brew. Overall, this is a very interesting and unique beer. Don't know if I've ever had this flavor profile before. I won't have my other bottle for 3 more years, so we'll see how it holds up. Skal.

10-10-2009 20:41:20 | More by Gtreid
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev -2.5%

Please note that there is a pretty big difference between the Kegged and Bottled versions. My bottled review was lost in a data crash this is for the Kegged version only.

Poured on-tap into a snifter. Pours a dark motor oil in color with a small brownish head.

Aroma of coffee, chocolate malts, slight tobacco.

Flavor centers around a smokey/roasted malt profile. Hops have died down to just an earthy flash of bitterness. Unsweetened chocolate is on the back end, with a slight smokey/cured meat flavor. Port like wine finish. Hearty.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and drinks pretty smooth overall.

A good beer for sure, but decidedly different that its bottled counterpart, which I enjoyed more. The bottled version had more of a piney hop character and also offered more fruityness and complexities. Still, the keg has a rauchbier meets stout like character and drinks well enough.

10-10-2009 17:01:57 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Lerxst
Lerxst

Florida

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%

A-Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a decent two finger head that faded fairly quick but left some lacing.

S-Very complex nose. Chocolate, citrus, vanilla, a bit of yeast and malt. Smells great.

T-Taste is right in line with the nose with malt, chocolate, vanilla, citrus.

M-Mouthfeel was a medium body, but thinner than expected with a bit of a harsh carb sting in the finish.

D-I enjoyed it, but can't see having more than one of these.

10-10-2009 13:42:46 | More by Lerxst
Photo of BeerCon5
BeerCon5

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -2%

Pours a murky dark coffee-like brown color with very thin tan head.

The scent is of sweet chocolate and roasted malts.

The taste is very sweet initially, but very quickly turns to a dark chocolate, bitter coffee taste. Roasted malts and a dry bitter hop finish.

Medium bodied, dry feel with not a lot of carbonation.

This is a pretty decent beer, it is fairly complex and interesting.

10-10-2009 03:10:04 | More by BeerCon5
Photo of cvfish
cvfish

Louisiana

4.55/5  rDev +11.5%

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

10-10-2009 00:26:09 | More by cvfish
Photo of MunchkinDrinker
MunchkinDrinker

Maryland

4.08/5  rDev 0%

A - Black in a snifter and doesn't let light through. Big dark cream rocky head that comes up slowly and sticks around. Retains a thin layer of foam that comes back with a swirl. Good lacing.

S - Smells like a banana split at first. Chocolate, cream, and banana dominate initially, but aren't overly powerful. Some citrus spice and belgian frutiness.

T/M - Very bitter dark chocolate up front and in the back. Hops come in the middle to add some earthiness, but cut the chocolate out momentarily. Some fruitiness comes on the back. Banana and very mild citrus. Mouthfeel is creamy and rich.

D - Not very. Rich and tasty, but high alcohol and the flavor saturates you.

10-09-2009 03:16:32 | More by MunchkinDrinker
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 824 ratings.