Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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.

536 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 536
Hads: 855
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 34
Gots: 281 | FT: 17
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 536 | Hads: 855
Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Chip Shop, Brooklyn, NYC.

Poured a deep black hue with a half finger foamy tan head there was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a roasted malt and slight ester.

The taste consisted of a full roasted malt, some smoke, a touch of sugar and a bit of ester.

The mouthfeel was full and finished dry.

Overall a tasty delight.

 358 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at the COOP today.. Paid about $7... poured into my Delirium goblet... shared with my bro.

2 finger lite brown head... great retention and lace.. the brew is pretty much black.

Nose isn't as rich as I was hoping for... a little phenolic with some chocolate and lite oakiness... I may be imagining vanilla... but what I think is there is helping identify the chocolate... seems fairly mild.

Much more vanilla on the palate.. still plenty of chocolate.. a little estery... bananas .... with some minor spiciness... not getting any hint of citrus zest surprisingly... Doesn't strike me as too "Belgian"... also surprising... Finish is a bit tannic which is pretty nice combined with some cocoa at the end... seems a tad hot right now, but not bad by any means... the body is a solid medium with a smooth yet ever present carbonation... again, all in all.. this seems pretty tame.

I am digging this right now, but I doubt I'll drink more for a while... It should do well with a year of so in the bottle.... I don't know however how well it will hold for another 3 years.

 1,085 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
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

 304 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 424 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank 1/27/13
(Served in a bowtie glass)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a lumpy coco tan head that sticks in sheets to the glass leaving only a thin ring of head on the beer. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide up the glass.

S- There is a chalky hint to the chocolate malt aroma with hints of deep caramel coming through as it opens.

T- The mellow chocolate malt flavor is the main player. It has some soft dark roasted coffee malt bitterness in the finish with a slight tart hint. As it opens it takes on more of a watery taste and some stale qualities in the finish. There are also some graham notes that come through as it warms. Clean finish.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a gentle fizz that takes on a flat texture on the tongue.

O- This beer is a bit 1-dimentional much more so that when it was fresh. I don’t get any yeast characteristics just the chocolate malt. The watery and stale taste were a bit off putting.

(Poured into a tulip)
drank 11/30/09
A- This beer has a jet black body with a coco powder tan head that is creamy and last for a good bit.
S- The black roasted malt notes have a cream quality to them and then give way to a stronger berry aroma with some black licorice notes.
T- The smooth chocolaty velvet flavor has some ink and dry prune qualities to it with a soft fruity note that finishes the malt. The taste of pineapple without the acid mixes with roasted bitterness in the finish. There is some tartness that comes through with the bitterness and the both linger for a moment.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.
D- This beer is a big tasty stout with nice roasted qualties and a good Belgian yeast mystique that is almost fruity but not jammy.

 1,782 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 properly cellared bottle, poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a very dark brown, appearing opaque black in the glass. Fine two finger light brown head with great retention and lots of lacing. Delicious aroma of chocolate, dark and caramel malt, vanilla, oak and whiskey, one of the best smelling ales I've experienced. Flavor follows aroma, dominated by sweet and toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and a touch of oak and coffee. Finish is a bit stark with charred coffee, oak and hop bitterness. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. An unusual Belgian influenced ale, almost approaching a Belgian stout in malt and flavor complexity. Very enjoyable and one of the best of a series that all aged remarkably well. Kudos to Stone.

 736 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

VE09, another Belgian-style stout.

A: The BSDA has the look of a stout, all murky and black as night. An appropriate tan-colored head lingers around.

S: The nose is sweet chocolate and roasted malts. Spices linger behind the sweetness, but it is easy to get sidetracked amongst all the dark aromas.

T: The rich chocolates, chewy malt and burnt aromas take control early. A bready graham flavor, nutty, balances out the chocolate. Spices and hops hang around, a citrusy addition to the stout.

M: The mouthfeel could pass for a few imperial stouts that I've had, a full, warming feel that seems stronger than it is.

D: Order-wise, this one falls right in the middle. I like the bold flavors but I struggle with the drinkability of dark behemoths like this.

 759 characters

Photo of flagmantho
4.23/5  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.

 833 characters

Photo of corby112
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

 1,204 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.62/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black bodied beer with a smallish tan head. Not much retention, minimal lacing. Aroma is roasty, with bittersweet chocolate, orange peel, slightly vinous and fruity. There’s also a spicy note and a hint of wood or tobacco that’s kind of hard to put a finger on.

Interesting but not entirely satisfying taste; perhaps a little oxidized after 3 years in the bottle; not sure how this one will hold up till the end of the entire Vertical Epic series.
There’s dark, bitter chocolate, orange and peel flavor, as well as other more vague fruit notes; again a vinous quality, with oakiness, char, a hint of a metallic/mineral aspect; phenolic spiciness, overall very dry; could actually use a bit more sweetness. Maybe a touch chalky. Alcohol well-masked. Not terrible, just a little odd.

Medium-bodied and carbonated with that very dry finish. Feels like it could be a bit heavier and smoother in the mouth. Interesting beer I didn’t particularly love but it definitely made me think and dig in, examining its many layers.

 1,028 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/4/12
*From notes

A: Rich crayon brown. A good pour yields a two finger bubbly head. It fades in time, a leaves a decent collar behind.

S: Candied Belgian sugars and cocoa. Some vanilla becomes more evident as it warms.

T: Sweet, with a grassy quality to it. More vanilla hits the mid and rides to the finish. Not half bad - this seems to have aged reasonably well.

M: Feel could use a little work. It's just not as thick and viscous as a Belgian Strong (that comes across kinda stout-like) should be.

O: One of the better VE's in the series. It's holding up well, it's tasty and something I won't have a problem putting back again in what...eight months?

 699 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from somewhere localish, I would think.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Pillowy head holds nicely, with leggy sticking lace. Aroma is dark malts and spiciness. Taste starts with dark sweetness, touches on licorice and spices in the middle, and closes with a light hop bite and some alcohol warming. Aftertaste is a touch chalky, but past that, hard to find fault. Mouthfeel is so soft and smooth, and drinkability is excellent.

 530 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip. Poured a solid black with a thick, deep tan head that dissipated much quicker than I thought it would and only left minimal lacing.

Other than a slight roast scent the aroma was fairly benign, with nothing outstanding from the mix. The flavors were much bolder, roasted malt, a hint cf chocolate and several flavors I couldn't quite put my finger on. Very enjoyable though.

The body was full, well rounded and smooth, with just a touch of a roasted aftertaste. Drinkability is very good, I drank a 22 with no trouble and generally I don't drink that much of a single beer in a row. Overall, a very good beer that is worth trying. If this had been listed as a stout, I would have given it better scores, I didn't find this very to have much Belgian character at all.

 786 characters

Photo of puboflyons
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

 466 characters

Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with ruby edges. Fine brown bubbles topped the beer, forming a thin cap. Great head retention and lots of lace. Chocolate and mild roast aromas, light hops, slightly phenolic, a bit of spice (ginger and cloves perhaps?), and vanilla. Malty flavour, again with chocolate and roast, vanilla, and spices. It still seems like a combination of ginger and cloves, but it's well balanced within the rest of the flavour profile. Some straight up malt sweetness, a little sugary, rather than toffee or caramel. Lingering licorice and chocolate. Medium to full bodied with fine carbonation, great texture. Very well hidden alcohol. This really straddles the line between a Belgian strong dark and a Belgian stout. Quite tasty and just right for a cool afternoon.

 768 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
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. ;^)

 1,037 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
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. 


 546 characters

Photo of Haybeerman
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

 692 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed while doing a 07-12Belgian vertical.

A - Poured into a palm tulip a nice dark brown hue with a good one finger mocha head that left a light blanket and light side lacing.

S - Aromas of faint chocolate and esters...smells over aged?

T - Taste is a bit old light roasted malts, chocolate, faint citrus. Really did not hold up to the aging.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated but solid albeit meh for the style.

O - Overall this was an okay beer nicely smokey with chocolate and citrus. Still though there's better Belgian strongs.

 541 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Coles.

Pours a very dark and opaque brown, almost black, thick tan head forms, settles down to a thick layer that lasts the whole glass, lots of lace, is this a stout or strong dark? Smell is neat, dark fruit and chocolate, raisins, banana bread, roast and charred wood, biscuit, vanilla, a bit of alcohol, very dry and toasty. Taste is similar, dry and toast, chocolate, roast, wood, light fruit, finish is bitter, like those thin chocolate wafers, grainy feel. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, almost a sandy mouthfeel, sweet banana finish, but very dry. Pretty nice, but isn't really a strong dark. More like a stout.

 659 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark beer. Black body. Creamy brown head with great staying power. Lacing is quite full as well. Nice blend of chocolate, malt and yeast on the nose. Main flavor in this beer is bitter chocolate. I think the vanilla bean must accentuate the chocolate, because I really don't get much vanilla. Also some char and black licorice. There is a little stray tangerine flavor if I look for it. And the french oak adds a dryness. All in all, this is really quite a complex and layered beer. It's one you have to sip and ponder to pick up all the subtleties, because they weren't there for me initially. The light body and carbonation make is quite drinkable even though it's best enjoyed slowly.

 687 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

 632 characters

Photo of Brad007
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color with a brown two-finger head into my fluted glass. The head fades down, leaving some lacing.

Aroma is full of roastiness with a bit of cream and and chocolate showing through. Seems enough like a stout, though it's not categorized as one.

Taste is what sets this apart from a stout. It's strong with candi sugar, chocolate, cream and dark fruits as the primary tastes. Just a bit of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering flavors as mentioned above but the roastiness lingers along with a bit of cream. Only minimal alcohol heat and carbonation seems right.

Very good and probably better fresh. I've had 08.08.08 and 07.07.07 and I'd say that this year's version is better than both.

 718 characters

Photo of sweemzander
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

(A)- Pours a very dark black color that produced a 3+finger foamy tan colored head with some good retention behind it. Left lacing everywhere; all the way down the glass.

(S)- Orange peel & lemon. Bits of dry cocoa. Just a tiny dash of wheaty hay & banana.

(T)- Exactly as the smell predicted, only with a much more pronounced roasted & cocoa profile. Great orange peel finish.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. Definitely not your average Belgain strong dark. A bigger roasted profile with a great cocoa essence.

(D)- A big & rich Belgain Dark made with some dynamic orange & cocoa. Should only get better with age; it should mellow out some of the edges. Another fantastic brew by Stone.

 739 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought in October, opened on a Friday night in January, 3 months later. This looks and smells stouty, maybe quite a bit like a Belgian stout. The beer is dark brown with a light brown froth, 2 fingers of finely packed bubbles. In the nose I get chocolate malts and some phenol products (a little banana, maybe clove), maybe just a trace of citrus rind. This isn't far from my memory of Black Albert, at least based on aroma. The taste is very much a stout, less similar to Black Albert than the smell, kind of unique with the astringent hit from the orange rinds. A lot of roasted malts and some chocolate too. Very good, maybe a little too much bitterness in the aftertaste but still good overall. The body is north of water but not to the point of chewiness, just a good stout consistency. Among my favorites from the VE line.

 828 characters

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 536 ratings.