Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 826 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
4.08/5 rDev +0.2%
Wasn't able to get a bottle on the release date, but better late than never.
Poured into chalice a jet black with a nice big foamy two finger head, with fantastic lacing and very fine bubbles. Stone did a good job bottle conditioning this brew.
Aroma is big on burnt notes and heavy malts with a good dose of belgian yeasts to balance its huge aromatic profile. Some trace amounts of vanilla are present but are hard to find because of the malt content.
Huge taste of burnt and smokey malts up front with huge burnt oak flavors about mid palate, and some light yeast barely making a appereance. This beer focuses mostly on the bitter chocolate and burnt oak to make up the core taste, but a very subtle citrus twang is found underneath it all. I don't think it comes close to being a BSDA at all, but more of a smokey stout than anything else.
Mouthfeel was quite full, the carbonation lifts the flavors off the tongue very well allowing for deeper tastes.
Drinkability is a give or take. Alcohol is hidden well, but some may be put off by its huge brunt notes. Different strokes for different folks.
09-12-2009 05:01:04 | More by Foxtrot
4.28/5 rDev +5.2%
A--Dark, oliy brown with minimal foam, but not undercarboanted.
S--Strong coffee, vanilla; a bit of bitter chocolate and some toffee. Some fruit notes too...maybe a little black cherry or plum?
T--As others have mentioned, tastes like it smells. But it has a delightful carbonation and delicious, lingering finish that echoes for a long time on the tongue.
M--Again, the carbonation lends a nice effervescence, and the bpdy is pleasingly substantial without being overbearing.
D--Very drinkable, though for my personal taste, 22 oz. is more than enough. An excellent, complex beer with very good potential. I look forward to my next glass...probably around the end of the Mayan calendar.
Procured at Whole Foods Valencia, CA
09-12-2009 04:04:59 | More by Spiderhouse
4.2/5 rDev +3.2%
Appearance: Black body, very thin brown head that dissipates quickly. Body is completely opaque and allows no light through. Head should be much greater for a Belgian-style ale.
Smell: Rich chocolate backbone, some spices (coriander?) on top. Notes of chocolate-covered cherries, sweet, inviting. Some alcohol astringency.
Taste: Alcohol astringency is very present in the flavor, particularly in the finish. Otherwise strong flavors of chocolate malt, with a nice bitterness and some vanilla-like spicy undertones. Finish is strongly of vanilla. No tartness present at all, which leads me to suspect that an American-style yeast was used.
Mouthfeel: Thick, luxurious. Low carbonation, mild hops. Slightly chewy.
Drinkability: Very nice beer, although perhaps slightly misclassified as a Belgian-style. It'd be interesting to see how it ages (which is, after all, the point).
09-12-2009 03:53:10 | More by danielharper
3.93/5 rDev -3.4%
A - Very dark, almost black. Tan head leaves cling lace on sides, reduces to disk pretty fast.
S - Dusky, dry smell of cocoa and spices, with a little Belgian yeast note.
T - Cinnamon, cocoa powder, winter spices malty and finish with mild classic Belgian yeast strain.
M - Creamy, medium bodied, good balance.
D - Fun, but not a session beer for me.
09-12-2009 03:52:49 | More by srandycarter
4.15/5 rDev +2%
On 9-9-09 Stone brewery released the eighth edition of their Vertical Epic Series exactly 1 year, 1 month and 1 day from the previous years release. These beers are built and designed to be aged until sometime after 12-12-2012, but good luck keeping your hands off of it. This years release is a Belgium style ale brewed with spices and is in fact a complex and layered beer. This beer pours toasty brown color with a creamy caramel colored head. Aromas of vanilla, chocolate and citrus leap out of the glass and make the first sip intriguing. Smooth chocolate malts meld well with the Belgium yeast giving it slight banana flavor and hints of baking spice. The addition of tangerine peel balances the palate with notes citrus. The finish is smooth and lingering with additional flavors of vanilla and toasty french oak.
09-11-2009 16:58:13 | More by WhatsNewinBooze
3.93/5 rDev -3.4%
Poured from a fresh 22 oz. bomber into a large wine glass. This beer is young and beautiful and I'm just not willing to let it come of age. As such, I consumed this in international waters for legal purposes.
Shows a rich black in color with just a light hint of murky brown highlights. Very little light transmission. A bubbly inch of tan head settles to a surface cap after a few minutes, yielding some nice lacing through the glass.
Offers a nice yeasty nose with a blend of mild and dark chocolate. Touch of slippery vanilla/alcohol and some moderate dried fruit, somewhat bright in flavor.
Interesting that Stone refers to this as a 'Belgian Porter' which seems quite apropos given its profile. Belgian notes are present but subdued both on the aroma and flavor, and there is more chocolate than one might expect from a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Not overly complex on the nose in a yeast sense but quite pleasant. Offers a good level of carbonation and is a bit chewy on the finish with an abundance of chocolate malts. Aroma improves with warming, bump.
Nice drinkability that should improve for a couple years, particularly in regard to yeast notes as compared to the malt structure. 'Somewhat' lightly hopped for a Stone brew, but hop notes become richer and more evident with some air. Nice brew and an interesting take on whatever style it's trying to be.
Viewed as a Baltic Porter of sorts. Hoppier and more ale like and with an ancient yeast. Full body for a Porter yet average for a Belgan, which this isn't really...
09-11-2009 06:34:35 | More by HalfFull
3.68/5 rDev -9.6%
Poured into my new love, a duvel tulip. Had about a light brown head about an inch high due to my laziness. Color is a dark chocolatey brown.
Smells first off like bananas along with a touch of alcohol and chocolate.
Has a bit of a roasted coffee flavor to it with a lingering aftertaste that is slightly bitter (but not bad).
Smooth across the tongue, not much else to say.
I'm not really wowed by this but I could probably have a few of these. I'd like to try it again in a few years to see how it is, thankfully I've already got some bottles ready to age.
09-11-2009 05:28:16 | More by turboedtwo
4.45/5 rDev +9.3%
Finally got it! Poured into my tulip glass. Pours a very dark brown color that lets in no light at all. nice tan head is about 1/2 inch when poured, eventually settling to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass. Very nice lace indeed. A nice, slightly roasted malty aroma with hints of vanilla and chocolate along with a slight spice smells as well. Hints of banana and some dark fruit, such as apple and plum round it out. the smell of alcohol is also slightly noticeable. Has a nice chocolate, roasted malt flavor upfront. Sweet, but not overly sweet and also some bitter chocolate notes as well here. Nice vanilla flavor as well, followed by some citrus and a bit of the dark fruit flavor and rounded out with a slight touch of hop bitterness. Very complex flavors here with so much going on a once. The taste of alcohol is present just a little bit on the back end. Has a nice crisp and frothy, full bodied mouthfeel with minimal to moderate carbonation. Has a sort of oily mouthfeel that I get from a lot of stouts and DIPA's, really coats the palate. Another fantastic beer from Stone. they really put their own stamp on this style of beer! Glad I got a bottle to age, can certainly see myself going and getting this again in the near future to drink again fresh and getting another bottle or 2 to age as well.
09-11-2009 03:44:53 | More by neenerzig
3.83/5 rDev -5.9%
My first experience with Stone's Vertical Epics... I've heard good things from everyone about this so far.
Pours a deep dark ruby red with a very light tan head that forms and dissipates instantly with no lace. Second pour- way vigorous pour yielded an awesome looking tan head that was like a living entinty- receding and coming forwards, spots of darker tan. Bubbles all over. Pretty cool to just watch. Sorry buddy bout to drink you anyway.
The aroma is quite interesting. Some sweetness from belgian yeast is followed by hints of hazelnut, some citrus zest even, and vanilla notes. I like this. Taste follows the bottle description quite well, almost to a T- though the vanilla isn't quite as present as I had expected it to be.
Drinkability suffers a bit from a somewhat awkward and viscous mouthfeel. Nonetheless, I'll be buying more of this. And more of this. It's a good beer. See for yourself.
09-11-2009 03:06:15 | More by originalsin
3.85/5 rDev -5.4%
Alright, so where to begin? I'm a big fan of the Vertical Epic Ales--they're very innovative concoctions and tend to "break the mold", if you don't mind me using a cliche. I managed to procure a few bottles from the local Beverages & More, which had literally received its shipment but minutes before I walked in. Such sweet serendipity.
Anyway, enough of my banter...on to the important stuff.
The look of this beer was quite inviting, having a subtle orange tint to an otherwise dark coloration. It looks thick, and, misleadingly enough, it appears heavier than it actually tastes. An ephemeral, tan head appears.
I smell banana, cloves, maybe a bit of hazelnut, and a predominant note of smoke. I don't really catch a vanilla aroma, although I do catch the sweet scent of the Belgian yeast. The chocolate malts aren't as noticeable here as they are in the taste (ostensibly)--I think the scent of smoke overpowers it.
There's a nice harmony of chocolate, zesty citrus, some vanilla (though, again, I struggle to taste it--I kind of expected it to be less subtle, I guess?), balanced out hoppiness, and of course, smoke (akin to slightly burnt coffee grounds).
Contrary to other reviewers and patrons here, I have to say that I thought the mouthfeel was a bit rough from what the VE's usually present. The alcohol was, I'm sorry to say, a bit too noticeable, and that accompanied with a bit of a heavy hand on the carbonation contributed, I felt, to a bit of an unpleasant feel. The taste definitely helps buttress this fault though, so it's certainly not a defeat for Stone here.
After considering the mouthfeel, its drinkability was a bit impaired. However, after the taste and the complexity factor in, the beer is a very interesting and engaging experience. I, without a doubt, enjoyed the hour spent sipping it.
As a closing thought, while I still think that the '07 VE was by the far the best yet, this is a formidable addition to the ranks. I recommend trying it, if you can.
09-11-2009 02:52:35 | More by Diablerie
4.38/5 rDev +7.6%
Had this out of the bottle last night on vacation. It's supposed to be aged, but how can you resist 09.09.09 on 09.09.09?
Appearance: Pours a dark brown slightly orange outer rings and a decently frothy tan head. Carbonation is swirly and laces decently, but the head disappears relatively quickly.
Smell: Chocolate with notes of vanilla, fired back with a spicy note as well. Belgian yeast peaks through with some banana and the citrus notes are just slightly there as a sweet hint.
Taste: Layered with a lot of complexity. First up comes the chocolate, which, as the label implies, is indeed enhanced by the vanilla-bean taste as well. The middle of the beer is spicier, with hints of citrus, finishing again with the chocolate roastiness. Complexity is high here, and I am definitely impressed.
Mouthfeel: Smooth. For the carbonation that is there, the flavors really smooth it all out it goes down perfectly between dry and wet. As a beer really should be. Just slightly weaker in the aftertaste than I'd hoped, but otherwise, it's pretty brilliant.
Drinkability: Nice. Almost even very nice. I drank my share very quickly, and would go back for another very soon. Although I have two more bottles of this, I may have to run back to the brewery and pick up 2-3 more, with a couple to stock and a couple to rock more immediately. Definitely, definitely a fun try, and it'll be great to see how this brew ages. Recommended.
09-10-2009 15:27:12 | More by nomomentwasted
4.45/5 rDev +9.3%
Purchased a few bottles from Stone Brewing Co. several hours ago. Served in a pint glass.
Appearance: Nice dark black with small head that dissipated fast. This beer pours thick.
Smell: The alcohol is definitely there, with a malty roasted aroma following it right away.
Taste: Strong chocolaty flavor, with some hints of citrus. The aftertaste is a bit acid and hoppy (bitter), and the chocolate flavor lingers around for some time.
Mouthfeel: Nice and soft, with a medium grade of carbonation.
Drinkability: Although this beer has an excellent taste, the alcohol is somewhat noticeable and this beer will hit you fast.
Overall, I am saving at least one bottle until 2012, but it's nonetheless a marvelous beer to enjoy at any point.
09-10-2009 06:02:57 | More by dantecl
4.55/5 rDev +11.8%
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 !
09-10-2009 04:28:11 | More by Stunner97
3.63/5 rDev -10.8%
I've been anxiously awaiting this release, and am happy to be able to enjoy a glass as 09 09 09 draws to an end.
Poured into a snifter, the color is an opaque black with a decent sized tan head that left a nice lacing on its way down. You could pass this porter off as an RIS - it looks great.
The smell is pleasant and complex. Roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, yeast, peppery spice and a touch of alcohol all blend and compliment each other in an elaborate aromatic bouquet that blends elements of both Belgian dark ales and porters.
The taste definitely gets better as the beer warms, but still illustrates why the people at Stone recommend aging this (and other Vertical Epics) at least until 2012. The main thing is that the spicy flavor in the finish is a bit overpowering yet, making the overall character of the flavor rather 'hot' and markedly unbalanced. Roasted malt is evident up front along with some fruit and smooth chocolate notes. The middle and finish have a definite yeast dryness and peppery spice character, perhaps also some hop flavor coming through. The aftertaste is dry, bitter, spicy and generally hot. The alcohol is definitely discernible, warming on the way down but also contributing some heat in the taste. The one thing that is disappointing is that I don't seem to be getting any of that tangerine peel in the flavor.
Overall a very well crafted beer that exhibits some enjoyable and complex elements. The heat and spice in the finish and aftertaste is definitely a bit much, though. I am definitely looking forward to what will happen to this beer with a few years under its belt.
09-10-2009 03:54:15 | More by ClevoPiwo
4.78/5 rDev +17.4%
A: Nice dark brown, almost black with a bit of tan head.
S: Roasted malts and chocolate with a bit of sweetness.
T: Everything comes together nicely in this one. Starts with a bit of chocolate with just a bit of sweet citrus finish. Liquid goodness.
M: Feels a bit lighter than it looks and tastes.
D: Drinkability is probably a little too good for a 9.5 ABV, could definitely have more of these.
09-10-2009 02:48:07 | More by meich75
3.98/5 rDev -2.2%
This beer poured an almost black very dark amber color and formed a huge foamy medium tan head. Very little light was getting through this one. The aroma was of malt, coffee, chocolate and Belgian spices and yeast. The flavor was of malt, chocolate, and a bit of coffee. The body was medium light with the sweetness of the malt in the finish. A nice beer, but probably needs some aging to bring out more of it.
09-10-2009 02:35:37 | More by Wildman
4.03/5 rDev -1%
Pours an opaque black color with a medium size light brown head. A little bit of lacing.
Moderate aroma of chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. As the beer warms I also smell alcohol, leather, vanilla, oak and spice (coriander, pepper).
Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt. There is also an earthy hop like bitterness. There is a lingering spicy bitterness (rye, clove, pepper, coriander). As the beer warms you get more and more of the Belgian yeast flavors, I hardly noticed them at all in the beginning.
Medium body with a slightly creamy texture. Soft carbonation that adds to the creamy texture. Finishes a bit dry.
This is much more drinkable than I expected. The Belgian flavors and alcohol are subdued. The only drawback in terms of drinkability is the long lasting bitterness.
09-10-2009 02:12:08 | More by seanbhudson
4.08/5 rDev +0.2%
No better day than 9.9.09 to enjoy this one.
Pours a really dark brown that is really close to black in the glass with a huge creamy tan head that sticks around for ages and leaves excellent lacing.
The aroma is sweet, roasted and hoppy all at once. I can definitely pick up the bananas from the Belgian yeast and the dark chocolate malt sweetness in the nose.
The taste is good to start but gets much better as it warms. There is the large roasted chocolate malt backbone which has the layers of sweet vanilla and brown sugar on top. The finish is the only thing that doesn't ring completely true for me as there is a slightly metallic bitterness that leaves an astringent aftertaste on the palate. There may be hints of the citrus in the finish but it's definitely not easy to pick up and the metallic bitterness fades a bit as it warms.
The mouthfeel is excellent, medium to full-bodied and extremely creamy with lots of carbonation and just fills the mouth up completely with flavor.
Another well-constructed beer from Stone that just misses being exceptional for me with the astringency being a little too bothersome in the finish. Outside of that, it's a wonderful blend of the Belgian yeast and toasted malts with an excellent mouthfeel.
09-10-2009 01:49:41 | More by gford217
3.9/5 rDev -4.2%
A- It's that time of year again so time to pick up the new VE. Pours like a heavily carbonated imperial stout, jet black and some dark tan head.
S- Roasted malt some belgian yeast with mild hints of smoke
T- Starts with the malt forward flavor of an imperial stout with hints of coriander and an aftertaste of smoke.
M/D - The mouthfeel is very rich coating the mouth and tongue. I would call this as drinkable as you get with any imperial stout or smoked porter. I really could have done without the smoke.
09-10-2009 01:36:38 | More by mwa423
4.35/5 rDev +6.9%
A-Pours a deeply opaque black, not a glimmer of light gets through. A very fluffy mocha head with great retention and very good lacing.
S-Roasted malt and Belgian yeast. Unexpected for the style but not unexpected from Stone.
T-Wow! Consistent with the color, this is one incredibly roasty Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Lots of roasted malt and deep bittersweet chocolate mix nicely with an undeniable Belgian yeast strain. Also a black cherry note results in the finish from a combination of the Belgian and American elements.
M-Medium bodied and surprisingly light on the tongue given the flavor elements. Nicely carbonated.
D-A second straight winner for the VE series after the disappointment of .07.07.07. Less classically Belgian than the .08.08.08 but a fascinating American interpretation of the style.
09-10-2009 01:18:53 | More by sholland119
3.75/5 rDev -7.9%
Pours a pitch black color, thin slivers of red/brown glow around the edges and contours of the glass, zero light penetration below a monstrous and sticky brown head. Waves of mild alcohol and a bit of a fruity sweetness lay slightly above a solid and rich roasted chocolate malt aroma. Nice flavor, burnt and ashy chocolate malt, coffee bean bitterness and a very restrained orange/tangerine character which fizzles to a near citrus (lime?) tingle on the tongue. Im almost turned off initially after each sip by a very potent but brief coffee/cream bitter tangy flavor left on the palate. Oily and slick in the mouth, sticky sweet on the lips. Ample carbonation makes up for its lack of body, especially during the end of the quaff where the beer falls off rather quickly. The end result is a very drinkable porter that, in my opinion, is clashing at the moment, this one needs a little longer in the bottle to let all the goodness harmonize and meld together.
Cheers, the Vertical Epic series feels like a holiday that gets pushed back a month each year. I look forward to the next one.
09-10-2009 00:15:48 | More by ATPete
3.63/5 rDev -10.8%
I guess it is pretty fitting to enjoy this beer today.
It a very dark brown that cannot be seen through with a big tan two finger thick head. The head is very lacing, taking plenty of time to simmer.
S: Chocolate vanilla, some wheat perhaps, roastiness, fruitiness. Many things going on at once.
T: The first sip was quite a surprise. While there are alot of different aromas, it wasn't all that intense. This however was a bit like a punch in the face with big bold flavors of coffee, chocolate, vanilla. There is a nice bittern roastiness in the back ground and some fruitiness to go along with it.
M: Pretty hot. This one was fun to try but needs some time to mature. The flavors are very intense at this point.
D: I wish I had someone to share this with.
Overall, I think this was a very young beer that clearly needs more time to mellow out.
09-09-2009 22:37:41 | More by mikey711
4.8/5 rDev +17.9%
I'm writing this review in American in protest of the English only policy.
First off the style seems to be more like a porter not a belgian strong dark. The head is gorgeous. The lacing is so fine I would make a wedding dress out of it if it wouldn't leave me naked at the altar oh and if I wasn't a guy.
It pours a beautiful shade of dark brown with orange hues. The nose on this is slightly smoky with more dominant notes of chocolate, coffee, cloves, citrus and vanilla. The palate is is more chocolate with a less present coffee quality. As it warms it picks up more of the cloves and coriander that was in the nose finishing with a nice vanilla note.
This is without question the best vertical epic I've had and likely the the best Stone brew I've tasted to date.
09-09-2009 13:52:18 | More by alyankus
4.43/5 rDev +8.8%
This is a beautiful beer to watch as it is poured. Huge tan head with a dramatic rush of carbonation rapidly churning and rising. Almost pitch black, with a tinge of reddish brown. Smells a bit like dark chocolate milk with some roastiness, and little alcohol.
Taste is very enjoyable. Coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and perhaps a bit of citrus on the back-end. A touch of bitter astringency on the finish as well. The roasty qualities linger on. Also getting some woodsy and charcoal elements throughout. Have to mention the hint of that familiar Belgian yeast bubblegum flavor. Alcohol is adequately hidden.
Mouthfeel is spot on. Coats the palate nicely. Very pleased with this brew and glad I got an extra to cellar(or drink). I'll probably end up getting a few more.
09-09-2009 07:15:44 | More by Trappissed
4.25/5 rDev +4.4%
Got it a little early from my store and got to drink it before the official release date.
Poured into a Belgian goblet style glass. Produced a head about a finger high which dissipated over a few minutes into a thin froth. Produced moderate lacing.
Aroma - Strong banana with slightly less strong hints of vanilla and roasted malt. Exotic fruits.
Taste - Classic stone hoppyness. roasty and sweet. Coffee and vanilla. Very enjoyable, but I feel as though there might be something lost in the hops. I wish the hops didnt cover up the vanilla so much.
Overall a very interesting and exciting beer.
09-09-2009 05:47:25 | More by mongodestroy
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 826 ratings.