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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

846 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 846
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 34
Gots: 276 | FT: 16
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:
Beer added by: superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 846 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kegger22
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a moderate head that faded to fat collar. The aroma was coffee and chocolate. The taste closely followed the aroma, chocolate and coffee. I had also heard rumors of chocolate covered oranges and I thought that would have been interesting, but I couldn't find the oranges in aroma or flavor. The feel was medium bodied with a reasonable, not overwhelming, amount of carbonation. Drinkability was good. Overall, this is not a typical BSDA, and I am a little disappointed with 09.09.09. I was really looking forward to the rumored marriage of oranges and chocolate. However, I am going to buy two more bottles and cellar for 1 year and 2 years. Based on the fresh taste, I'm pretty sure I can wait.

BTW, the 4.0 might be a little generous for taste.

Photo of ROBSTARR
5/5  rDev +22.5%

Photo of nollie77
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of mikey711
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of jp312
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of ChadQuest
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I kept this bottle in the fridge at 40-ish for the past year. poured into a snifter.

Wow, very frothy head. looks great, large bubbles, very dark with some browning around the edges.

Im surprised i don't notice any orange on the nose or tongue, but i would believe it has faded out by now, at the 13 month mark. This is such a smooth creamy milk chocolate powered beer, almost all those words were taken to the max with this one, but the chocolate never gets cloying like some other chocolate beers, such smooth creamy chocolate that ends with a light espresso kiss to keep it from going over board on sweetness.

I had 2 bottles, now i have one that i'll save for the end, i would have grabbed more had i tasted one right away. great stuff.

Photo of berley31
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a tan, moderate-large head that had tight bubbles. Creamy, thick, and long-lasting. Body is jet-black and opaque. Not as much lacing left behind as I would have thought.

S: Dark fruit, milk chocolate, hints of vanilla, and maybe even a touch of citrus in there, too.

T: As complex, if not more so, as the aroma. Chocolatey, with dark fruit. Slight roasted flavor in the finish. When held in the mouth, a touch of orange is apparent, but only slightly so.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium-bodied.

D: An extremely complex BSDA; I was very impressed. Wish I could get my hands on more of this!

Photo of dtx00
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 22 oz. bottle served in a Duvel tulip. Poured a deep black with a bit more than a finger of tan head. Nice aroma of chocolate and a bit of licorice. Medium bodied and rich. Flavor has more chocolate. Some fruity Belgian yeasty flavors as well. Bitterness from hops and maybe some from chocolate as well. Long dry finish of chocolate malt. A little spice as well. This seems more age worthy than the last couple of VE editions. Unique and interesting beer.

Photo of waltonc
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been looking forward to trying this after reading all of the feverish praise on the forums. Pours very dark brown to black in color with robust tan head. Smells of charred malts, porter-like, with an orange-peel twist. Taste is more of the charred malt, chocolate, strong orange presence, reminds me a bit of Von Diemen black saison. A tad of vanilla and coffee here as well. Flavor is somewhat bitter. Medium thickness, fairly high carbonation. Interesting brew, but it doesn't entice me to finish the whole bomber, making this a partial drainpour given the unnecessary 22 oz bottling. Why, other than the fact that prior VE entries have been in bombers, is this in a bomber?

Photo of sisuspeed
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first sampling of the Vertical Epic series from Stone. I definitely like the idea, but unfortunately the oldest VE I have in my cellar is the '08, which I was able to pick up at the same time as the '09. I guess I'll just have a somewhat stunted vertical, but even four Stone beers in a row is a tasty treat.

Poured this guy into a wide tulip glass. Very dark in color with a foamy, chocolaty head that leaves silky lacing along the sides of the glass.

I'm getting a lot of bready malt notes on the nose. Some roasty ones too and a bit of fruity esters. Interesting.

Speaking of interesting, I feel like I'm drinking this beer through two slices of whole wheat bread. Lots of bread, but beyond that is a fairly complex flavor. I'm picking up on some chocolate malts, a bit of roastiness again. Also, the finish contains some fruitiness, maybe even a hint of orange peel and then some warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth, which helps make this ale pretty drinkable. I'm splitting this bomber with another BA at the moment, but I could also enjoy drinking the entire thing over the course of the evening.

Overall, this is my first VE and I'm definitely digging it. Not the most stand out beer by Stone, but a still a very good one. Glad I have another aging in the cellar.

Photo of seand
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours black, white a generous amount of foamy dark tan head. Retains a layer pretty well, and leaves nice lacing. Looks like an imperial stout.

S: Roasted malts, and spices.

T: Complex, and subtly different than any stout or belgian dark I've had before; somewhere in the middle, yet with its own twist. Sweet roasted malts leading into a coffee like bitter finish, with a component of interesting spices.

M: Low carbonation, smooth, very full bodied.

D: Need to go slow to get the flavor, and due to the ABV.

I have a hard time explaining this beer very well, since it's got some things going on that I don't think I've ever tasted in a beer before, yet it's also not that far off of a more traditional stout or Belgian dark. It's also nothing like any other Stone beer I've tried (though I've not had any other Epic).

Photo of mountdew1
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark opaque brown, with a 1 finger light brown head. The head lasted for a long time, and clung to the sides well. Aroma reminded me of a chocolate stout. Small amounts of bitterness and burnt spiciness were also evident. Taste was a sweet slightly bitter milk chocolate, with a bit of white bread/all purpose flour in the end. Felt a bit off in the mouth. It was slightly dry, otherwise coated well and felt good. Surprisingly easy to drink, went down way faster than it should have.

Photo of Nickls
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(From notes)

A - Rich tan head; great retention and curtains of lacing; deep mahogany brown color; quite dense

S - Yeasty; woody; dark fruits; and only a hint of sweetness from the malt

T - Chocolately at first; dark grape/fruit flavors; richly malty; bit bittersweet and roasted; dry finish

M - Medium MF; creamier; subtle and soft carbonation

D - Good, and pretty quaffable given the overall heft; tasty and interesting

Overall, very enjoyable and interesting, but still accessible.

Photo of bradfordjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of DRTBrewster
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of sailorastro
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Hopswagger
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Dark orange-brown with tan head

S: Cocoa, chocolate orange, dairy cream, roasty malt, banana, clove, peppery spices, aged oak, timid coffee and a pinch of cayenne.

T/M: Chocolate sheet cake, cocoa powder, chocolate orange, orchard fruit, hints of vanilla bean. Creamy but grainy feel in a full body with prickly carbonation. Smooth finish of chocolate and oak.

O: Huge chocolate base with varying types and a good oak aged flavor that developed nicely. Bold flavors and one to really enjoy.

Photo of Magpie14
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: wow, is this really a Belgian Dark? I poured this in low lights and I was convinced this was a mild mannered stout. The pour was rather lethargic with a muddy brown complexion. After examining my glass with a better light source I found no transparency apparent. Pretty much an inky brew. A nice dirty gold colored head fluffed up and dissolved away leaving some remnants glued to the glass

S: sweet chocolate malts with a light kiss of fruitiness, most notably oranges. My nose also gathered a faint whiff of fresh baked grainy breads with some grassy hops. That fruitiness has a bubblegum depth to it

T: this is an admirably complex brew. Judging by the bodies hue and from what I smelled, the flavors are pretty dark as guessed. At first sip, the maltiness pairs with a burnt bread-like character, somewhat of a rugged baked dry yeasty character. This mainstay flavor is augmented by a light bakers chocolate character. And then, on the other hand, you have some spicy mellow dark fruit characters with a hop presence all its own working about. The hops are more or less grassy and florally

However, the overall profile is just kind of clammy and dark, if that makes sense. Things are briefly bitter after each sip and then a battle of chocolate and spices pursue the tongue. Warming proves to accentuate flavors in a good-natured way with alcohol unfortunately popping up

M: a medium to full body makes things pretty smooth. Carbonation is in the tongue tickler category, maybe a bit strong for how fat the body is. I always associate most Belgians as fuzzy or full of life, this one is doing moderate work during my consumption

D: wow, a rather interesting complex beer. I was assuming a usual Belgian type of beer when I bought it. I guess what surprised me the most was the girth of the beer, which is a good surprise. This baby drinks good and I might try to grab another before the next one rolls around, better make work of that soon

Photo of taigor
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 8oz glass.

A - Poured jet black non-transparent color with high ruby frosty head that slowly dissipated leaving average amount of lacing around the glass.

S - Malts, coffee and chocolate scents. Very complex.

T - Slightly sweet to start with and tons of roasted malts with a coffee, dark chocolate bitter finish.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation.

D - Definitely a sipper but very enjoyable. Looks and tastes more like RIS instead of Strong Dark Ale. Highly recommend it if you can get it.

Photo of tmm313
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

9.9.9 enjoyed on 1.30.14

A- Black from a distance. Darkest possible brown when you get up close. Beautiful khaki 1 finger head with excellent trailing/lacing.

S- Chocolate covered raisins! Vanilla and oak with a slight hint of booze.

T- Wonderful! Rich cocoa with vanilla, raisins, and hints of orange up front. Dark chocolate and dark fruits, like prune and dark cherry, follow. Finish is charred oak, citrus rind, and earthy hop spices over more dark chocolate, a little booze, and hints of licorice. Beautifully balanced and complex.

M- Thicker side of medium. Smooth on the tongue with subtle drying. Even the mouthfeel is balanced.

O- I've given Stone some rave reviews in my day. This will be no different. Incredible complexity; incredible balance; incredible flavors. I'm super stoked to have had this masterpiece, but just as sad to know I'll never have it again. I'm kind of new to aging beers, but if this is what usually happens, I'm all in.

Photo of Anthony1
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark brown color with good carbonation and a tannish head. Nose is spice, light on alcohol, vanilla, cocoa and a belgian yeast strain with some hops. Taste is so nice with cinnamon, spice, some citrus, bitter chocolate, tobacco..alot going on yet balanced ad the ABV is well hidden. Mouthfeel is nice, not to hefty or alcoholic but thought it would have been a little creamier. The spice, cocoa showed through.

Photo of danielharper
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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).

Photo of switzer
3/5  rDev -26.5%

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 846 ratings.