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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

829 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 829
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 35
Gots: 271 | FT: 13
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 829 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Sammy, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2%

t0rin0, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 2 inch dark tan head that fades to a thin cap. Thin clumps and broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark fruits (raisins/plums), brown sugar, vanilla, and citrus zest. Taste is of dark fruits and citrus zests, burnt sugar, with some chocolate and vanilla flavors. Mild citrus zest bitterness after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a lot going on. I was expecting a standard BSDA but this one has a lot of different smells and flavors intermixed. This one has aged well.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

djrn2, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico back in 2009.

Poured near black with same faint garnet highlights. A nice, big tan head with a lot of lacing as it went down. Smelled of roasted malt, Belgian yeast, chocolate, orange, vanilla, and a bit of oak. The taste was quite similar, with the oak and orange peel really coming out. Medium mouthfeel, but a bit too dry, likely from the oak. Overall, a very nice and interesting addition to the series, and I'm looking forward to tasting it again over the next few years.

Thorpe429, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

zestar, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +22.5%

nmann08, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

acurtis, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a midnight brown color with a rocky head that is not overly impressive for the style though it does manage to deposit some speckles of foam on the sides of my snifter

Smell: Roasty and chocolatey, with an undertone of black tea and tobacco

Taste: Dark chocolate and roasted malt, up front, with an edge into the smoked Porter territory that appears by mid-palate; after the swallow, the black tea and tobacco element adds a bit of complexity

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I don't get the sense that this is a BSDA at all; it is almost a combination of a chocolate stout and a smoked porter with no real Belgian yeast aspect; having said that, I really enjoyed it on that level

brentk56, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Polished mahogany with black cherry highlights when viewed with late afternoon sunshine behind the glass. The golden brown sugar colored crown isn't Belgianesque, but it's close. The foam is lightly creamy and marshmallow sticky, which is leading to lots of eye pleasing lace.

So this is what a Belgian Imperial porter smells like. It doesn't seem that different from an American Imperial porter since the Belgian yeast isn't going great guns.... at least where the aroma is concerned. Dark chocolate and coffee are easily appreciated, but the more exotic ingredients (see below) aren't. It's still wonderful smelling beer.

Vertical Epic 09.09.09 doesn't quite measure up to the recent excellence of this series. Having said that, there's still more than 20 ounces to go and a whole lot more time to be impressed. At least the spiciness of the Belgian yeast has made an appearance on the palate.

Regarding style, Belgian Imperial porter or Belgian stout work as well as anything. There is too much roasted malt for it to be a BSDA. In any case, the beer isn't as complex as its ingredients list would suggest. Still, Stone deserves kudos for brewing (slightly) outside the box. No 'same old, same old' for these guys.

Specifics include chocolate wafer cookies, dark caramel, black tea leaves, ground clove, black pepper, vanilla beans and several staves worth of oak. Tangerine peel is nowhere to be found. In addition, there's a surprising amount of bitterness for a beer that is approaching six months of age. Alcohol masking is expertly done.

The mouthfeel barely hangs onto the score seen above. More heft and more creaminess would have made it a solid 4.0 rather than a tenuous one. The bubbles are slightly harsh early and settle down nicely in the bottom half of the bomber.

Stone Vertical Epics from 2005 to 2008 were outstanding. Unfortunately, this 2009 version doesn't quite reach that level of excellence. My hopes aren't high that it will improve by the 2012 vertical tasting, but stranger things have happened.

BuckeyeNation, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some pretty good lacing. Aroma of chocolate malt with some notes of roasted malt though bitterness is pretty tame. Taste is quite enjoyable with lots of black chocolate notes with a nice touch of roasted malt - not sure I could taste the vanilla or orange notes. Body is about average with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done though a bit shy of character and I still have to wonder how this is going to improve with time.

Phyl21ca, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok, maybe its a Belgian, maybe it's a Sout, maybe it's hoppy, maybe it's got some Smoked Porter in there... There's a lot going on here.

The beer pours with a froathy and hearty weight; giving up a great head of tan foam and a ton of lacing. The dark brown and opaque nature of the beer certainly stands up to any great Porter or Stout.

The aromas don't exactly jump out at me, allowing the malty, bready, yeast character to come through just before the other scents come to the rim. Then, and slow and steady progression of smoke, roast, toast, coffee, cocoa, berries, spicy white pepper, currants, plumbs, grapes, earthy hops, and anise flow into the olfactories. No doubt this is a multi-sensory type of beer.

The Sout-like roasty-toasty, coffee-cocoa, dried fruit-oriented character takes center stage in taste. The hop flavor and bitterness then increase while dragging the phenolic spices and smoke with it. Other ripe fruits fall in line and follow the beer deep into the complex and malty-dry finish.

Hard to say if this beer is dry or malty to the finish. The heavy breads, toast, melanoidins, and overall maltiness keeps the beer very Dopplebock-like. But the charred grains, bitter hops, and alcohol keeps the beer a bit on the dry side. Otherwise very full, rich, and robust up front and fading slowly into the dry-malty debate.

A very good beer, but what is it. The Belgian character doesn't come through as much as I'd like- maybe more of a Cuvee van der Kaiser estery and yeasty character would suit my fancy more. Maybe when everything stands out, then nothing stands out.?

BEERchitect, Oct 28, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up my stock of this one today at State Spirits and popped one open the second I got home. Served into a chalice, this one was consumed on 09/21/2009.

Not really sure what to make of this one here. Great pour, dark as night with a big tan head on the top that would not quit. Huge lacing up and down the sides of the glass throughout really just capped it off nicely. On looks alone this was stellar. Aroma was intrsting I pick up astringent vanilla bean, molasses, hints of chocolate and a touch of citrus, maybe?? Not sure but there is something light in there for sure. Smooth, even flavor, but the bitterness seems a bit off to me. Had it stuck to the rich molasses and vanilla I think I would have been inclined to rate it much higher, still though it is a very, very good beer, no mistaking that. The citrus hop note just seems not right for me, and I try to look past that and it still creates a fine drink. Bitter aftertaste, almost an IPA like feel to it with most of the sweetness washed to the side.

Overall I thought this was good, but not great. I think with time the citrus will fade and the malts will shine leaving a fine and very sweet porter in its wake and I really look forward to it.

mikesgroove, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pouring into my Piraat tulip glass gives a very fluffy tan head atop a beautiful black beer.

S: The first whiff reveals tons of chocolate and dark fruits. Further sniffs give coffee, toffee, spice, and sweet malt. A mild citrus aroma is present, but certainly not a major player.

T: The flavor is very interesting. A slight coffee bitterness pairs well with sweetness from chocolate, fruit, and caramel malt. The spice is a bit more subdued than in the nose, but lends a little something to the beer.

M: This is a very full bodied beer. The carbonation is moderate and quite appropriate for this beer.

D: While this is a "Belgian" beer, the porter characteristics come through much more than the Belgian yeast and spice. This is certainly a "different" beer, but one that I enjoyed and look forward to trying with some age on it.

womencantsail, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -2%

spycow, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

kylehay2004, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber - $7.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a near black body with a large, burbling head of tan foam.

Smell: Deep notes of roast and smoke and wood -- it's like strolling through a former-cabin that had an all-too tragic accident. Lesser notes of spice, fruit, and Dutch cocoa seem buried within the smoldering rubble.

Taste: Roast leads to toast which leads to a resounding wooden taste and long-lasting, spicy tastes of smoked black licorice and ground pepper. Lesser hints of dark chocolate and vanilla and sweet molasses dare try to peak out from under these heady flavors. I must say, it is quite smoky throughout. Curiously arranged, subtle mix of dark fruits, banana, and citrus from those added tangerine peels. Earthy bitterness leaking out amongst all the staunch roastiness. Some alcohol warmth and further fruitiness on the spicy, drying, malt-riddled finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly different and very complex, though I'm not quite sure what to make of it at this stage three months from its initial release. Of the more recent Epic Ale releases (minus the 08.08.08 which I still haven't had, unfortunately), this is the one I most curious to see how it'll age. Let's hope for great things, eh?

ChainGangGuy, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of Knapp85
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark brew here with a nice thick tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer has some coffee notes and chcoclate along with a healty dose of hops and Belgian yeast. The taste of the brew is a little citrusy with the roasted malts following up in the dry aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the brew is quite nice, rich and semi-thick feeling. Overall this was a really nice brew and I'm glad to have had it.

Knapp85, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I missed last years VE so I grabbed this as soon as I saw it.Poured into a chalice a deep dark brown,nearly black, with a thinner deep tan colored head.Aromas of candied sugar,dark fruit,caramel.and light phenolic spice,a good mix of aromas for the style.Phenols are bigger on the palate giving off a clovey-like spice,alcohol dipped dark fruit with a tinge of earth round out the flavors.Its a tad hot but its new so its understandable,a very nice rich flavored brew brew here.

oberon, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

My first VE (sadly). It pours a nearly completely opaque dark brown capped by over a finger of thick tan foam. The nose comprises figs, oak, rye bread, nutmeg, dark fruits, wheat, walnuts, and roasted malts. The taste holds notes of everything listed above, along with some bits of hoppy bitterness, raisins, and an increased oak influence. The body is a hefty medium, with light carbonation and a thick, semi-chewy feel. Overall, a pretty solid offering, but not as good as I was expecting.

TMoney2591, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown, nearly opaque in the glass and topped by a small coffee-colored head that holds up nicely.

Aromatically it's nice but a bit muted, with fig and berry-like esters being most prominent, along with traces of chocolate and vanilla. As it warms the orange peel and vanilla take the forefront.

The taste is a pleasant and well-balanced mix of fruity esters, roast, vanilla, chocolate, citrus and resiny hops. Sweetness is restrained up-front and the mid-palate and finish are surprisingly bitter, both from roasted malt and hops. Finishes dry with a lasting coffee-like bitterness, vanilla popping up again in the far aftertaste. Very solid stuff, my favorite vertical epic so far.

largadeer, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 1-30-11 along with an 08 and 10.

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - A lot of woody notes up front wit hints of chocolate. There is a mild dried fruit flavor, too.

T - Good chocolate flavor with a woody taste. More dried fruit flavor comes through here with some plum and currants.

M - A dry beer with a sharp, crisp bite. A medium bodied ale that hides its ABV quite well.

D - This is a really tasty brew. it exceeded my expectations.

zeff80, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -2%

JAHMUR, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2%

SocalKicks, Dec 15, 2012
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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 829 ratings.