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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
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: 833 | Reviews: 533 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hopefully this review won't be inadvertently purged like my last review of this beer was. On tap at Max's the other night.

The beer pours a darkish brown color with OK head retention and decent lacing. On the nose I get an intriguing aroma of rootbeer, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, but with a considerable hop bite in the finish (naturally; after all, this is Stone). This beer has at most moderate sweetness, and it's quickly pushed asided by the drying, hoppy bitterness on the finish. In addition, there's also something of a sour apple, cardboard flavor to this beer. Hmmmm...mouthfeel is medium bodied, and I have to say that the bittersweet chocolate and somewhat noticeable alcohol detract just a bit from this beer's drinkability.

This is a nice enough beer, though one at a sitting is probably all I could ever see myself managing.

Edit from 3/15/13. Sampled at a recent vertical epic event at Pacific Coast brewing, this beer showed its age fairly well. My score was nearly identical to what I gave this beer back in 2009, with much of the original hop bite now nicely tamed by flavors of milk chocolate, vanilla and light burnt toast. The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but that was really the only sign of "old age" in this beer.

John_M, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +22.5%

rab53, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

plaid75, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

billab914, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Kelp, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of sendbeer
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

sendbeer, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of Viggo
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Viggo, Sep 28, 2009
Photo of Bighuge
4.25/5  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.

Bighuge, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

JohnGalt1, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of liamt07
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

liamt07, Mar 15, 2014
Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev -2%
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.

DrJay, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

iL0VEbeer, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on 9/11/2009 on tap at Stone. The beer appears black with a really thick and creamy two finger light brown head. It has surprisingly great retention and lacing, taking nearly 5 minutes to recede and leaving a thick sheet of foam on the side of my glass.

The nose seemed one dimensional until the beer fully warmed and then the complexities became apparent. The aroma is roasted malt that is well balanced by dark chocolate and to a lesser extent, vanilla. Coffee is well integrated in this beer. A spicy, clove-like character is evident and at a low level, as well as subtle banana. A swirl of the glass brings the Belgian yeast to life, bringing out citrus.

The taste is a complex interplay between chocolate, roast, and a low level of coffee. No one flavor dominates. The beer is also fruity and slightly spicy, with notes of banana esters and a touch of citrus. Vanilla is at a low level and noticeable throughout (more dominant midpalate). Some smoke and char are evident, and there's a moderate level of bitterness in the dry finish. Speaking of the finish, it confused me until I read the beer description and realized it was toasted oak that was so distinct. At the end, coffee lingers, as well as toast and later fruit character. Alcohol is well hidden. The tangerine peels became evident nearly 30 seconds after the finish.

The beer is full bodied with moderate draft carbonation and a thick, creamy, full mouthfeel. I expected nothing from this beer and was pleasantly surprised. Very complex. For the record, Overlord is upset because I beat him in arm wrestling yesterday.

HopHead84, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of beertunes
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

beertunes, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.4/5  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?

Rhettroactive, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours black with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with hints of dark chocolate. As it warms very light hints of dark fruits waft out but roasted malts are in control throughout.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Huge roasted malt flavors up front with hints of unsweetened chocolate. A good amount of bitterness comes in midway through the sip and intensifies through the finish. As with the smell small amounts of dark fruit flavors make an appearance as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass rather quickly and could have another.

Overall I'm not sure I agree with the fact that this is a BSDA - I thought it was definitely more of a stout and even the dark fruit characteristics are eclipsed by other big stouts. Still, it's a good one and is worth a shot.

glid02, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown bordering on black with a creamy tan head that slowly dissipates to form a cap on top. Smells of chocolate right off the bat. Licorice, oranges and creme soda come to mind as well. Taste is creamy chocolaty with a slight phenolic and spicy earthy yeast. Slight astringency mixed with some citrusy hop bitterness in the finish. Creamy mouthfeel with a dry finish. Lightly carbonated with a medium body. Stone calls this a belgian porter, I think they nailed it. Its a nice take on a style that really doesn't exist. I liked it.

johnnnniee, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of tobelerone
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

tobelerone, May 04, 2012
Photo of Brad007
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Brad007, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

TurdFurgison, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

LiquidAmber, Dec 31, 2012
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

TheSevenDuffs, Mar 15, 2014
Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

090909 - Steve's - Mineral Point

no idea why it took this beer over 2 months to get to Madison

saturday afternoon brew - watching football

appearance: served in an unmarked chalice...love the look of this one. very dark body, creamy tan head, garnet hue, terrific lacing

smell: lots of belgian yeast, sweet citrusy hops, espresso

taste: complex offering - dark belgian yeasts, fig, dark fruits, orange zest, hops, vanilla bean and espresso, creamy caramel. have a few to drink in 2012 but think one drinks pretty well fresh

mouthfeel: creamy, waves of belgian yeast and complex spice, mild alcohol

drinkability: good

dirtylou, Nov 21, 2009
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
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 833 ratings.