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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

831 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 831
Reviews: 532
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
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
Ratings: 831 | Reviews: 532 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flagmantho
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: utterly black with a two-finger beige head which clings to the glass as though for dear life. If I didn't know better, I'd call this a Russian Imperial Stout based on appearance.

Smell: the aroma is considerably more subtle than the appearance, and is one of chocolate and a tiny hint of coffee. Again, I'm expecting a stout.

Taste: now, this is a good beer. Wow. Here's the strong dark Belgian: immediate tree fruit followed by more complex esters and alcohol bite. At the end the malt is sweet and, again, has some chocolate to it. It's great now; I can only imagine the good some cellaring would do it.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body with a nice level of carbonion to make it good and creamy.

Drinkability: pretty drinkable, but this is an intense beer with an intense flavor.

flagmantho, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -26.5%

chippo33, Mar 13, 2013
Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at the Old Chicago on Market St in Denver Sept 26, 2009.

The pint arrived with a near pitch black, actually extremely dark brown but I had to hold it up to light in the low lighted room to see that. 1/2" of foam was brownish, as expected.

I forgot which style the 09.09.09 was supposed to be so I wnet in "blind"..I found the smell very roasted malty with notes of dark chocolate and maybe a bit of some dark fruits. It smelled good and I was hoping that it would taste good as the pint was nearly $9.

I took some sips and what I got in the smell, I got in the taste. Very roasty with chcocolate notes running second, some toffee ran third, err..this wasn't a horse race, Bill! lol.

All in all, it was a tasty brew that had a good medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Drinkability? Though the alcohol wasn't a big factor, I found that 1 pint was sufficient. I guess I'd rather drink a roasty stout than a BSDA that is *that* much of roasted malt monster, if that makes any sense, which it probably doesn't. ;^)

Bitterbill, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of ccrida
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, 09.09.09 VE is a very dark brown with a very large, dark tan head, with frustratingly long last, rocky settling, leaving foamy lace.

Smell is sweet and spicy, big esters, loads of clove and way overripe banana, a mustiness to it that's not too appetizing.

Taste is okay, from the first sip, I was put off by the intensity of flavor, and the lack of integration between the many components. There's a fine line between complex and kitchen sink. However, as my palate adjusts, it starts to work better for me. Definitely a big bitter chocolate component, a hint of the vanilla, not really sure about the orange. Stone was going for the taste of orange chocolates, and I'm not sure they really hit that mark. Will be interested to see how this ages.

Mouthfeel is dry, medium-heavy bodied, but not particularly viscous.

Drinkability is not to high, this is a really robustly flavored beer that just doesn't lend itself to rapid drinking. Nor is it the type of beer that I want to have again.

ccrida, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 22oz bomber into my Rochefort chalice.

The aroma is light mostly coffee not much else.

The taste is light a little coffee and bitter. There is a light smokiness to it.

The feel is ok, not very drinkable.

This beer is ok, nothing special.

jrallen34, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 8.6% ABV, Age at cellar temp 55°F or below, Limited Release, no date.

Though 10-10-10 would be a good day to review this one. :P

A - Deep black in color with no light shining through at all, it pours with a dense tan head. Moderate retention with some patchy, thin lace on the glass.

S - Deep, rich roasted malts and a metallic hint on the finish. Hints of Belgian yeast but not as much as should be there. No real hop aroma. Cocoa and bittersweet chocolate malts with a hint of molasses in there.

T - Lots of roasted malts. Cocoa and chocolate with a hint of coffee as well. Very roasted. No real Belgian yeast or attributes through. It's more reminiscent of a rich porter. A little bit of hops poke through on the back end of the flavor.

M - Full-bodied and smooth with a round feel and roasted, dry, and bitter finish from both the malts and the hops that poke through.

D - Solid drinkability for the % it's a as well as how roasted the flavor is. No real Belgian qualities though which I find odd.

BeerFMAndy, Oct 11, 2010
Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an appropriately dark color and impenetrable consistency. There was a half inch of light brown colored head and very good lacing.

S: A good aroma of coffee, chocolate, malt and some other spices.

T: This beer had a big taste that reminded more of a porter than of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Dark chocolate, coffee, malt, mild spices, and some other indeterminate ingredients. Complex, with lots of focus.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a very dry finish.

D: Another extremely drinkable beer from Stone.

avalon07, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of vfgccp
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- Pardon the abbreviated review, this was sampled at a free Stone tasting. Special thanks to Big Z's in Huntington NY -

A - Black with mocha highlights. Bone-white head.

S - Mellow marshmallow, brown sugar. Dried plum notes.

T - Nice chocolate character. Smooth toast. Gentle hop backdrop.

M - Smooth

vfgccp, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of bluejacket74
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, coffee, and some vanilla. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some charred malt and smoke, along with a bit of banana. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's somewhat creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. Also, the alcohol isn't noticable in the aroma and taste, however it does catch up to you later. I think this is a good brew, can't wait to see how this one ages.

bluejacket74, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of thagr81us
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

thagr81us, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours a black color without much highlighting visible. Fluffy brown foam has decent retention and lacing. Neither great looking, nor has any negatives either.

Belgian trappist-like yeast greets the nose with maybe some cloves, cinnamon and cardamom spices. Chocolate maltiness is there and the hops are rather restrained for a Stone brew.

Can definitely taste some spices in here, kind of clovey and sweet cinnamon-sugar. Yeast does not seem overly estery and had some breadiness. Malts lean towards baking cocoa and a little roasty. Drinking really smooth right now, couldnt imagine it improving too much with some age as it is delicious right now. Bittering hops are in there and give it kind of an earthy, dusty grab on the finish. Just the right amount of sweetness. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer - more than I thought I would actually, and would love to snag a bottle or two more. Solid 'A' in my book...well done Stone.

twiggamortis420, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A very nice dark brown looking beer with a pretty big tan head. Nice retention with a decent amount of thin lacing.

S - A lot of chocolate and molasses. Dark fruit, bitter roasted malts.

T - I was nicely surprised by this drink. The cocoa is very prominent, and the fruit tasted ended up being a nice cherry flavor. Almost a chocolate covered cherry taste that was quite enjoyable. A little bit of roasted/bitter malts on the finish, that complimented quite nicely.

M - Heavier end of medium bodied with moderate carbonation that worked well.

D - Highly enjoyed and drank it quite easily, though it did seem to be a higher alcohol beer than it was, knocking this score down just a little bit.

AgentZero, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aromas of sweet cocoa with some lesser coffee and dark fruit characteristics. Slight hints of vanilla and herbal smells.

Rich malt, dark fruit, sweet cocoa nibs, and vanilla, all highlight the palate, but also some nice earthy hop presence, similar to the aroma. Subtle Belgian yeast qualities that only add to the complexity.

The mouthfeel is really smooth and slightly creamy, but too thin for such a big beer. The Belgian yeast should add some more to the mouthfeel but somehow does not.

Overall, this beer is a really solid offering especially for the higher ABV and extreme roastiness. Wish there was some Belgian influence, also wish I tried this fresh as well to have a comparison. Regardless it's delicious.

claspada, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of Haybeerman
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black; no light comes through - even on the edges. Poured less than a 1 finger chocolate-colored head that dissipated slowly. Sheets of wispy lace on the glass.

S: Semi-sweet chololate and brown sugar. Dark-colored fruits - raisins and cherries - come through. Toasted smoky malt and yeast esters too.

T: Big smokey malts and fruits. Consistent with smell, all those flavors assault the taste buds; this is a very complex beer. Very dry with warming alcohol.

M: Medium-to-Light body. Medium carbonation. Surproisingly thin and dry.

O: Very drinkable (sippable). Complexity grows and the beer changes as it warms. I have 3 more that I'll space out and see what happens with some aging.

Haybeerman, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark opaque chocolaty brown with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head. Aroma is not strong but tempting, coffee-ish with a tone of unsweetened chocolate. Flavor is richer than the aroma, mainly of roast coffee with an undertone of unsweet chocolate. Each sip seems different - one has a nutty hint, one toffee and one molasses. Tingly, sassy texture leaves a finish of fine roast coffee. Pity this is a once-only offering!

Cyberkedi, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been lukewarm to most of Stone's take on Belgians, but I just had to have this (don't we all

A: The pour is gorgeous, dark brown with a dense mocha colored head with excellent retention and delicate lacework. As I pour this, I notice that the head rises in a neat reverse-cascade way.

S: Chocolate and cocoa powder are the most apparent characteristics of the nose, and there is a bready, yeasty character. Toast, vanilla and a definite citrus and honey combination is present. Reserved and complex. Oak appears as it warms up

T: Opens with a mild bitter chocolate character, with a complex sweetness with honey and brown sugar. Prominent roasted malt character is present, with the bitterness and the roast playing off each other really well. The citrus character is way muted, and isn't very noticeable.Vanilla is noticeable towards the finish, where a mildly spicy character blends with the bitter finish that has a combination of chocolate and hops and a touch of tannins.

M: Medium in body with a soft, lush carbonation, this beer is excellent on the palate. The finish is delightful, I love the combination of chocolate, tannins and bitterness

D: A little rich, I'd probably be better off trying to share this, but I've got all afternoon to finish this puppy

DefenCorps, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of WOLFGANG
4/5  rDev -2%

WOLFGANG, Jul 08, 2013
Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev -2%

barnzy78, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of gford217
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

gford217, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of puboflyons
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am saddened that this is the first time I have seen this annual brew from Stone. But I do not believe this is available in New Hampshire where I live. I found this one on a visit to Vermont. It pours a very dark brown to almost charcola black with about a half-inch of creamy tan had that is long lasting. The aroma is of banana bread, chocolate malts, and vaguely sweet as well. The taste is a complex combo of sour hops and chocolate malts. This was a nice brew.

puboflyons, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of cjgator3
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Poured into a tulip. Pours a dark black color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is very unique, I love it. The aroma features a lot of chocolate malts with spices, vanilla and orange peel.

T- The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malts and chocolate with a hint of banana and spices. The finish is on the bitter side. 

This one is very tasty fresh, but I imagine that it would improve greatly with some age to balance and smooth out the flavors.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodie with a good amount of carbonation. 

D-

cjgator3, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of illidurit
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown with a tan head, not much lacing. Aroma is chocolate, graham crackers, bananas, and a little too much spice. Flavor is part roasty and part chocolatey from the malt, with accents of citrus, vanilla, and clove. Interesting but too sweet and a little too thin.

illidurit, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served in my Bruery tulip. Poured one shade shy of black with a two-inch, frothy, khaki-colored head embedded with tiny ringlets that eventually settles into a fairly consistent skim - a thick band of lacing coated the side opposite the tilt. Nose reveals cocoa, a roasty character, perhaps a little lactose and a hint of smoke. Taste follows nose, but a little less rich than anticipated, and also a little bittering hops that comes out at the end. Mouthfeel is just shy of medium, with a light, consistent background carbonation, with something of a creamy quality in the mix. Pretty tasty, but not what I would consider a Belgian Strong Dark; closer to an American Stout. Nonetheless, a pretty tasty brew.

Jwale73, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of ROGUE16
5/5  rDev +22.5%

ROGUE16, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of enelson
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

enelson, Mar 31, 2013
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 831 ratings.