09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
Stone Brewing

09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
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From:
Stone Brewing
 
California, United States
Style:
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
ABV:
8.6%
Score:
91
Avg:
4.07 | pDev: 10.57%
Reviews:
543
Ratings:
335
Status:
Retired
Rated:
Mar 28, 2022
Added:
Sep 08, 2009
Wants:
  36
Gots:
  273
SCORE
91
Outstanding
09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
Notes: 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.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of Korbynlehr
Rated by Korbynlehr from Kentucky

3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Tried a bottle in 2022, so 13 year old. Past it’s prime probably by at least one year. Still good, but …
Mar 28, 2022
Photo of SaCkErZ9
Reviewed by SaCkErZ9 from South Carolina

4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
I can’t believe I I didn’t review this one the first time I had it. I was looking forward to reviewing my notes in this fresh vs 11 years later. Oh well.

Pours from the 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Head and foam and retention are still as perfect as they were on 09-09-09. Beautiful. Opaque color like a stout with tan and foamy head with great retention and lacing.

Aroma is fruit and alcoholic. Raisins, plums, and even some Cabernet wine notes. The alcohol is a little too much in the aroma.

Flavor is wonderful. At 8.9% ABV, the alcohol is pretty well hidden; surprising considering the aroma. It’s got some coffee and dark flavors. An imperial stout through and through. However, the body is lighter than a stout, which I like. It isn’t as heavy and overbearing. I’m assuming the Belgian yeast fermented to a low FG, which works really well. Fruity as well but the chocolate runs the show. I’m guessing they added some cocoa nibs in there somewhere.

This beer is sublime. I don’t know what it tasted like fresh but this is drinking absolutely beautifully right now. I bought four of all from 04-12. I’ve got one more of these babies I’ll save. So delicious!
Jan 09, 2021
Photo of jtormey1
Reviewed by jtormey1 from Maryland

4.44/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Opened on 6/3/2020 - almost 11 years old. Basement/cellar aged. Decent head for an 11 year old beer and nice lacing. Poured dark chocolate color with a nice looking tan head. Aroma was dark malty, little fruit and spice and some yeast. Taste and mouth feel were great - chocolate and malty, but not sweet at all. I get a hint of vanilla. Feel is good with still nice carbonation. Really like this beer. I admittedly went crazy for this series, even having 3 02's left when the 2012 finally came out. This is one of my favourites.
Jun 03, 2020
Photo of bdevilbullet
Reviewed by bdevilbullet from Alabama

4.51/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
This beer had been cellared for 13 years. It poured a very... very dark brown with little carbonation (not surprisingly). Very smooth with a strong coffee / dark chocolate malt flavor profile. Very tasty beer.
Dec 26, 2019
Photo of Weknow
Reviewed by Weknow from Georgia

4.66/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
A great beer to open 10 years later! This beer was assumed to be dead, however with the wax seal, it was still low carbonation, to be expected.
The beer is smooth with powerful notes of vanilla and deep chocolate overtones. A dry finish, but nothing lingers.
I'd recommend opening NOW ........ but what do I know.
Jim drank it too fast!
Three judges of this beer. A convoluted process. but we loved it
Mar 04, 2019
 
Rated: 4 by brittanylicious from Indiana

Jan 26, 2019
 
Rated: 4 by heysuz from Indiana

Jan 26, 2019
Photo of BeerDawgs
Reviewed by BeerDawgs from Georgia

3.76/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
A 22oz beer from 2009. Aged 9 years

L - Dark brown, no clarity, not much head or lacing

S - Dried fruit and spices

T - Somewhat sweet, grapes, some chocolate

F - Medium body and not much carbonation left

O - This one aged too long, because the rating by almost 900 people is far too good than this beer is 9 years later
Aug 12, 2018
 
Rated: 3 by VaporDome from New York

Jul 14, 2018
 
Rated: 3.27 by Rifugium from North Dakota

Feb 28, 2018
 
Rated: 3.46 by DVMin98 from North Carolina

Jan 06, 2018
Photo of poisoneddwarf
Reviewed by poisoneddwarf from Idaho

4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4
Rated first on 9/28/2009. 22 oz bottle into a Trappist glass. Aroma is of dark roasted malt, but not overbearing--something I like. Appearance: pitch black, even when held up to the light. Tastes of dark chocolate, black coffee, lots of hops leading to a nice bitter flavor which lingers on the back of the tongue. Tastes much more like an imperial stout than anything Belgian. Another great entry in the Vertical Epic series. I have enough of these to try every year until 12.12.12. I can’t wait to see how it matures. 6, 5, 10, 5, 19 = 4.5

Second rating on 10/15/10. Got a bottle of the 10/10/10, so I want to rerank this one. Not looking at my above review from over a year ago. Aroma is amazing now, full of chocolate (think Whoppers), coffee. Smells very much like a Samuel Smith dark beer (not very Belgian!). It’s a not completely opaque black but it’s close. It’s a dark brown around the edges when held up to the light. Has a thick tan head that dissipates in a few minutes, leaving some nice lacework and a thick collar. Taste is amazing--smoke and tobacco are very noticeable; some anise in the finish. Carbonation is low to medium; way full body; oily; perfect. An amazing beer that has definitely aged well. I’ll be ranking this one again next November. 9, 4, 10, 5, 19 = 4.7

12/22/12 re-rate: Pours pitch black with a thick tan head with great retention and lace. Aroma is doughy, toasted marshmallows, maybe a little vegetal. Taste starts out sweet, turns bitter, nice and roasty throughout. Looking back at my previous reviews, it seems I was really blown away by this both times, but especially the second time. This time around, it doesn’t seem as impressive, but it’s still the best so far after the ’07 and the ’08. 7/5/8/5/17
Jun 10, 2017
 
Rated: 3.76 by unclekeith from Alaska

Mar 25, 2017
Photo of Zythophile
Reviewed by Zythophile from Washington

3.89/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Bottle Date: 2009
Palate Contaminants: other beer

This has been sitting around for waaaaaay too long. (But on the bottle it says to age it, right?) I'm just hoping I didn't create a shelf turd. Anyways, I should clear some space out of my fridge, so here we go...

The appearance is a very dark brown, and there's still some carbonation left, enough for a good head.

The smell has a little soy sauce, but it has more of cloves and wildflower honey. There's also a little bit of clean clothes, like you get with detergent residue. The thing is, overall it's pretty pleasant; the exact smells I'm relaying are approximations. I get some molasses in there, too.

The good stuff volatilizes, and what was there in the nose is weaker, yet still the best things about the taste. Well, that's what I get. There's some dark woodiness that joins in, and it has a little unsweetened cherry. I just didn't consume it soon enough. If you still have a bottle, get what you can out of it while you can.

In spite of the reasonable amount of head, there's not much carbonation left. It's a little thinner than I'd hope, but again, that might be my fault.

I have some ribs in the fridge, and I'm soaking 'em in the last quarter of the bottle.
Oct 29, 2016
 
Rated: 4.19 by Bilco from Pennsylvania

Oct 08, 2016
 
Rated: 4.8 by Jodio from Texas

Jul 05, 2016
 
Rated: 4.04 by ClePaul from Ohio

Apr 19, 2016
 
Rated: 3.81 by MykeJ from Minnesota

Feb 16, 2016
 
Rated: 4.1 by smi69 from New York

Feb 14, 2016
 
Rated: 4.24 by Sweffin from Wisconsin

Jan 16, 2016
 
Rated: 4.07 by RobinLee from Wisconsin

Jan 16, 2016
 
Rated: 3.87 by AlexFields from Tennessee

Dec 19, 2015
 
Rated: 3.93 by jaydoc from Kansas

Dec 06, 2015
 
Rated: 3.77 by Hohnbaum from Kansas

Dec 06, 2015
 
Rated: 4.48 by RPM3334 from South Carolina

Nov 29, 2015
 
Rated: 3.77 by MickeyHops from California

Oct 04, 2015
 
Rated: 4.28 by BcOneSeven from Pennsylvania

Sep 27, 2015
Photo of SPLITGRIN
Reviewed by SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
From notes when originally drank on 3/29/10.

A beautiful and sexy beer with its bold thick black body boasting a creamy two finger sandy brown head that is very dense. Retention is excellent and leaves a wall of lace as it slowly fades. Nose is of softly smokey rich malts and a noticeable Belgium style yeastiness. With first sip I am really taken by how well put together this beer is. Definite malty choclateness is there, with a bit of a dry character also. The yeast brings a fruity feel that really brightens to this beer. I was hopping the vanilla would shine a bit more for me. Overall the palate is a bit dry and thick as is the mouthfeel. Hops do play a big part towards the end with a little bitter addition. This is a nicely drinkable brew. This one screams to be barrel aged.
Sep 27, 2015
 
Rated: 4.5 by Magister_Beav from Vermont

Sep 06, 2015
 
Rated: 3.92 by uturn from Florida

Jul 17, 2015
 
Rated: 4 by shelby415 from Oregon

Jul 01, 2015
Photo of strYkn14
Rated by strYkn14 from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
This has sat unopened in my basement since 2009, i'm interested in knowing how well it held up
Jun 10, 2015
Photo of drpimento
Reviewed by drpimento from Wisconsin

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
This is difficult- the beer is very good, but key claims appear to have mostly vanished - with time? For instance the tangerine/orange is just barely noticeable and if it wasn't suggested, maybe I wouldn't have noticed it at all. That said lovely beer to look at. Rich beer to drink. Probably not one to lay by.
Apr 27, 2015
 
Rated: 4.1 by Poupae from Thailand

Mar 17, 2015
 
Rated: 3.74 by GRG1313 from California

Mar 03, 2015
 
Rated: 3.5 by mrn1ceguy from Illinois

Feb 11, 2015
Photo of DavoleBomb
Reviewed by DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania

3.59/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

3.0 A: Black color. Not much of a head.

4.0 S: Nose on this is quite impressive. Semi-sweet tangerine peel, oak, chocolate. Herbal and earthy hoppiness. Caramel and lots of spiciness.

3.5 T: Like the nose, but not as impressive.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lightly creamy. Good here.

3.5 D: Good enough. This tastes like palate fatigue.
Jan 18, 2015
 
Photo of GPHarris
Reviewed by GPHarris from Alabama

4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
a - poured a one finger thick tan-colored head into a snifter that left good lacing throughout. the body was dark black.
s - chocolate malt with some roast. vanilla and bananas with a hint of belgian sugar.
t - chocolate, bananas, fruity yeast, finishes with a hint of oak.
m - medium body with a dry finish.
o - i had this at a VE tasting after the last release. this was one of my favorites and in the two years since the tasting nothing has changed about that.
Jan 12, 2015
 
Rated: 4.56 by Benjamin_Stewart from Kentucky

Dec 28, 2014
09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 878 ratings