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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

833 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 833
Reviews: 533
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 34
Gots: 274 | FT: 14
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: 833 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nickfl
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with half a finger of light tan foam on top of a opaque, black body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace.

S - chocolate, nutty malt, and a touch of vanilla.

T - Smooth chocolate, caramel, and smoky coffee up front. Some molasses and dry roasted malt in the middle and a finish of spicy yeast, and more bakers chocolate.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - This has not only held up well, but improved dramatically with age. The dark malt is smooth and complex and it is a very well balanced, drinkable beer.

nickfl, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber.

Light brown lacing wraps around the inside of the glass almost all the way down. As close to black as you can get. Chocolatey nose, dark with some burnt sugar ... Edge of citric peel and esters. Soft and smooth creamy fullish body. Dry and spicy, maltiness ranges from dark chocolate to toasted bread to light molasses. Oaky, pulls the dryness in. Citric peel, wild herbs and vanilla show a grounded complexity. Big chocolatey finish.

One of my favorites of this series, a year of cellaring did no harm either.

Jason, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It took me a couple months to track this one down, I really wasn't hunting it down like years past. The series lost it's appeal for me after I drank my cellar empty of the 03,04, 05, and 06 I was holding onto after I graduated nursing school. Regardless I have to try these brews fresh in case it's something that I think should be tucked away. I had good results with my last four VEs that I cellared for some time.

My birthday month, this one appears pitch black with absolutely no ruby highlights when held toward a bright light, large mocha tan head forms after a vigorous pour into my Gulden Draak chalice, dwindles slow leaves big chunky layers of lace sporadically clinging to the sides of the glass.

Nice glowing citrus peels with roasted dark malts bring some recently tasted Swiss truffles with citrus peels to mind. A mild mineral metallic character with more roasted malt and lively fruit notes, a definite creamy mingling of dark chocolate with a touch of roasted coffee, charred oak, and soothing vanilla. A leafy herbal mint quality sticks out as well in the aromatics.

Flavor dark black patent malt has some acrid sharp tanginess to it with the citrus peels intermingling quite nicely with that dark chocolate and creamy effervescence. A Belgian approach, that may be the most believable effort from Stone yet, since the hops actually are chilled out here. Those oak barrel effects are minimal with traces of vanilla and charred oak, in addition to that actual vanilla beans that have been tossed in to the mix. A nice sugary sweetness is carried along throughout the charred dark malt and tangerine peel bitterness to end in a creamy blend of vanilla and oak characteristics, with a fresh blast of herbal mint from the hop additions here.

Mouthfeel overall is creamy slightly effervescent with a medium to fuller bodied approach. Really nice feeling overall besides that touch of acidic twang I spoke about with the harsh dark malt bitterness. The finish does strike some notes of charred oak and herbal mint that seem like they are going to show up like hop burps.

Drinkability is quality share with friends complexity and cohesion make for a good time, you can have loads of different flavors that may not work well together. This vertical epic ale decided to make familiar flavors glide together and intermingle off one another to provided the type of complexity that will lead to emptied glasses rather than drain pours like their 13th Anniversary release. I enjoyed the citrus and dark chocolate with a vanilla slightly charred oak finish.

WVbeergeek, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 10/1/09 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a large flute glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, Belgian yeast, spices, caramel, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty and bready with a strong flavor of Belgian yeast. Then there are flavors of dark chocolate, spices and some fruit that add some semi-sweetness and complexity. The hops presence is mild but complementary and helps provide some balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, while this beer does have a complexity in flavor, I was expecting a little more harmony amongst the different flavors, which may improve with age. Overall, it's a good beer to drink for a while and it will be interesting to see how some time will effect it.

TheManiacalOne, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of Slatetank
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 999th review -Stone VE 9-9-09
I picked this bottle up at Atlantic liquors in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Poured the 22oz bomber chilled into my La fin du Monde tulip.

A - The beer is practically black except for a toffee brown shade near the base of the glass. The appearance is thick and opaque with a band of medium brown cream which has a slightly rocky appearance. The foam is about 2.5 fingers and creates a film of lace on the collar of the glass, the bead is pin sized.

S - Wow, earthy chocolatey + spicy w/ mild vanilla bean + vanill from the oak the trademark hop in the nose tells you it is a Stone Ale. The aroma is roasty w/ a mild caramel and creamy odor w/ mild accents of dark sugar and alcohol

M - A rich roasted feel, med full w/ med carbonation and a blend of creamy, fruity and bitter textures. The finish is long and robust

T - A great roasted malt and sweet caramel wrapped in cocoa flavor initially. The mildness of the roasted taste comes w/ a light creamy vanilla taste an the malt has bitterness like very dark cocoa and spiced complexity in the yeast. The flavor fades into a hop + citrus peel flavor toward the middle and light toffee-like buttery taste is noted under the dark cocoa. The flavor has a mild tang of tangerine peel, but really have to look hard as the alcohol and oak combined with dark rich malty flavors give you a lot of complexity and becomes almost overwhelming mid-bottle. The taste does have similarity to baked brownie w/ light pepper and mild stone fruit - like cherry w/ a light coconut tinge and mellow woody hop accent

D - This porter has a good deal of complexity, a tasty Vertical Epic -9-9-09 is both spicy and malty w/ a subdued alcohol flavor. It is nice to see a dark brew come out after many light and hoppy Vertical epics. This is very drinkable, a tasty imperial porter-kudos!

Slatetank, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of russpowell
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to colonelforbin for this one!

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & some herbal hops

T: Charred wet grain, dark fruit, especially raisin & a touch of coffee up front. Dryness & coffee dominate as this warms, plus more dark fruit, leafy hops & some baker's chocolate & a touch of white pepper, vanilla & cherry. Finishes dry, fruitty & with much coffee & some cherry

MF: Fairly chewy, low carbonation & great balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV, not getting a ton of Belgian character here, but I didn't expect a literal interpretation from these guys anyhow. A tasty dark brew that I'd say is more of a big stout with some Belgian tendencies. One I would consider stockpiling if feasible, cuts the chill nicely!

russpowell, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of MasterSki
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Discount Liquors. Served in a tulip.

A - Dark tan foam settles to a partial cap, thick collar, and very dark brown body. Spotty lace lingers on the sides of the glass.

S - Roasted malts, lightly spicy Belgian yeast, light vanilla and oak notes. Sort of Belgian stout-esque. There's a mild aged quality to this one, but it's not particularly oxidized. Solid stuff.

T - Roasty, with notes of caramel, chocolate, dark fruits and raisins, and a touch of banana bread. Alcohol is pretty well-concealed.

M - A tad watery for the ABV. Roasty, with a dry finish, lower carbonation, and minimal alcohol presence.

D - A solid roasty dark Belgian ale. I remember liking this when it was fresh, and it's still a pretty decent brew. Would drink again.

MasterSki, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

had as part of a big VE tasting at the end of the world party, thanks to Mark for this one.

Nice fluffy dark head, creamy but only 1/3 or so finger head, light lacing, dark black color.

Nose dark malts, syrupy, caramel, over aged malts, slightly oxidized, little earthy and dirty, faint chocolate, a little chalky too.

Taste brings toffee, dark malts, char, chocolate, caramel, light chewy oats, light earthy flavors, a little yeast like spices too.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent enough carb for the age.

Overall not bad, another one that would have been better fresh or 1 year on it instead of 3.

jlindros, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of drabmuh
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle (of course) into a Vertical Epic Ale glass (don't you just love the correct glassware). Beer is dark, black, head is tight brown bubbles that is full at first but falls back to form a uniform layer of tiny bubbles that covers the top of the beer, lacing formed on glass. Aroma is nice. I was expecting to pick up some roasted malts in the aroma, due to the color, but instead was hit with the classic etherial aromas of a strong Belgian ale. Invites me to drink it. Second smell reveals minimal smoke and some sweetness (probably alcohol).
Delicious, not usually a fan of the darker beers but apparently I'm coming around. There are roasted malts on the back of the flavor, but the beer is full bodied and nice. It finishes with a little bit of an aftertaste. The roast builds on you as you drink. I believe this beer will age well. Looking forward to the rest of the series and 12.12.12 vertical epic ale tastings. Cheers!

drabmuh, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of oline73
5/5  rDev +22.5%

oline73, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

mendvicdog, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of WesWes
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice roasted and chocolate malt scent along with a subtle Belgian yeast fruitiness. The taste is much the same. It's incredibly complex with loads of roasted and chocolate malt flavors. It goes down easy with a dry, chocolatey finish. The yeast creates a bit of fruitiness, but nothing that really deters the main taste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good beer. It's basically a chocolate stout with Belgian yeast character.

WesWes, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with one finger of tan head that lasts for several minutes and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of toasted malts, roasted malts, chocolate, bready malts, and a little smokey.

t - Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, smoke, toasted malts, hints of fruit and coffee.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent beer but smelled and tasted more like a porter to me. Didn't really get much Beglian spice/yeast or fruits at all. Have another bottle I'll hold onto until 2012.

mdfb79, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of jwc215
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass:

Pours opaque black with a nice brown well-retained head. Dotted, then some thin-lined, lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, roast, orange peel, spice, wood/oak/vanilla.

The taste is of chocolate, roast, bread/toast, vanilla, with some vinuous/woody notes with a subtle spiciness (cinnamon?). Not quite catching tthe banana and other flavours listed on the bottle (maybe a bit in the aftertaste). Chocolatey, but not overly so - it has a spicy, woody, dry balance.

It has a creamy, medium body with a nice carbonation level.

This is nicely done - sophisticated, and complex, sweetish but with a dry finish. Alcohol well-covered for strength.

jwc215, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +22.5%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

smcolw, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of kojevergas
2.86/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A local bar put this keg on draught to celebrate the completion of the Vertical Epic series. Cost was $6.00. Served on-draught into a New Belgium branded stem-goblet in Southern California in 2013. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention for the ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Raisin, vine, spice/mulled character, caramel, dark malts, must, brown or refined sugar, buried roast, and milk. A somewhat messy aroma, but a generally appealing one. Above average in strength.

T: Vinous, medicinal, and herbal. That's a hell of a shrewd start. Dark malts and caramel in the body. Vinous on the finish. Light raisin throughout. Some spicing. Chocolate malt. Some grainy bitterness in the third act. Strange indeed. It's off-putting. Too heavy on the spices; it's a bit earthy and grainy probably from nutmeg/coriander/other spices. Messy and imbalanced in classic Stone fashion. I like the experimentation, but this didn't turn out great.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and caramel heavy. Decently carbonated. Pretty good thickness.

Dr: Drinkable but underwhelming. Even aged (albeit in a keg), it leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn't have it again. Another merely decent offering from Stone.

C

kojevergas, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of Halcyondays
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a dark dark brown, much darker than I thought it would be with a 2 finger light tan head, great lace. It looked like motor oil coming out. Impressive.

S: Chocolate covered oranges, light vanilla, wood.

T: Dominated by dark chocolate, lots of coffee-style roast bitterness that I wasn't the hugest fan of but didn't take over the beer. Tangerine, lemon and vanilla are secondary and don't really come out until the finish. Full flavoured.

M: Creamy, milkshake like, full-bodied, spot on carbonation, very well done.

D: This has the potential to be really good by 2012 when everything has a chance to meld together, it's a bit one-dimensional on my palate right now. Solid, but not great stout type beer right now.

December 2012 Edit - I was right, the beer melded together and is a much better drink right now. Orangey chocolate with a chai like spice on the nose. Similar character in the flavour, very light carbonation. Real good stuff. The best of the aged so far.

Halcyondays, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear dark brown in color with a 1/2" head. Some moderate lace develops.

Smell: yeast, earthiness, and some sweetness is mild but enjoyable.

Taste: nice maltiness here. Yeast, earthy flavors, banana, soft chocolates and vanilla tones, and a mild spiciness shows up late. Alcohol is lightly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp throughout. Very long aftertaste as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: bold flavor beer that needs a bit of aging to round out the edges. Nice flavors but one bomber is enough in a session.

Gavage, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

imperialking, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -2%

InspectorBob, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

drewone, Jan 06, 2013
Photo of yourefragile
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle.

Pours a thick, dark brown with ruby tinges and a thin cream colored head. Aroma of cocoa, chocolate powder, orange, cinnamon and toffee. Slight ashiness to flavor with restrained sweetness. Powdery chocolate and cocoa, faint citrus. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Good, would happily drink again.

yourefragile, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of corby112
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even th slight touch of amber edges when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger frothy tan head that slowly fades into a lasting ring that leaves sporadic chunks of dark lacing.

Chocolate malt aroma with a peppery spiciness, dark fruit notes, chocolate and vanilla bean, citrus peel and subtle hops. There is a nice roasted character with some hints of burnt toast. Slightly minty with subtle earthy oak.

Chewy fuller end of medium body with a slight roasty smokey maltiness and burnt toast. Lots of silky chocolate with hints of spicy peppery mint as well as some light citrus fruit and earthy oak. There are some subtle dark fruit notes as well with smooth vanilla beans. Slightly yeasty with some bread notes and subtle ripe banana. The tangerine citrus is very subtle are way overpowered by the dominant spice character as well as the darker fruits and roasted malt. Also a bit of alcohol burn warmth in the dry finish.

This beer is unique and complex but they probably overreached on this one, adding too much to truly appreciate the chocolate covered citrus(tangerine) flavor they were going for. The spice character, especially is way overdone.

corby112, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

orangesol, Jan 20, 2013
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 833 ratings.