09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
Stone Brewing

09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
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Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
ABV:
8.6%
Score:
91
Avg:
4.09 | pDev: 10.51%
Reviews:
543
Ratings:
877
From:
Stone Brewing
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
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.
Reviews: 543 | Ratings: 877 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by SPLITGRIN:
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SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.09/5  rDev 0%
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
More User Reviews:
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poisoneddwarf from Idaho

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
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
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alamode from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

from notes (12-7-13):

22oz bottle to "Beer Shop" snifter...

A: semi vigorous pour yields a thin head that reduces quickly. dark and I can see it's thin as it fills the glass.

S: Belgian yeast, roasted malts and a bit of chocolate.

T: wonderful Belgian stout. no traces of the citrus.

M: thin, not much for carbonation...

D: a Great journey this has taken... Drank like a porter upon release. The citrus poped after a year of laying up. Hung onto it's porter-like qualities thru '10 & '11. Drank like a wonderful Belgian stout in 2013...and much better than I remember it did in Dec. 2012. This was meant to age, so I am not rating based on it's categorized style. This beer went through some notable changes over 4 years and 12 bottles.

Dec 11, 2011
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RBassSFHOPit2ME from California

4/5  rDev -2.2%

Jun 05, 2013
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kylehay2004 from Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: half finger head on a near jet black body with slight tinge of light getting through. scattered lacing.

S: dark fruit, mostly strawberry and cherry, dark chocolate, oak

T: dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, minimal dark fruit, oak, breads.

M: full body, light to moderate carbonation.

Overall: pretty flavorful, has held over very well. complex and memorable. Nicely made.

Jan 04, 2013
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semibaked from Illinois

2.25/5  rDev -45%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Black with about a 1inch of so of light colored head .

S - Chocolate malts, molasses, but no whiff of tangerine peel or vanilla bean like the bottle says.

T - Very bitter tasting, definitely unpleasant like concentrate citrus peel and bad almost burnt chocolate.

M - Nice and full bodied, easily the best part of this montrosity.

D - Pretty much no drinkability for this beer, I just can't get over the bitterness. Very disappointed, I usually really like Stone beers too.

Mar 14, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium from North Dakota

3.27/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Feb 28, 2018
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SnatchyMcPants from Indiana

4.5/5  rDev +10%

Aug 31, 2013
Photo of Brad007
Brad007 from Vermont

4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Oct 20, 2009
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mhaugo from California

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Jan 04, 2013
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MNPikey from Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Jun 09, 2013
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gford217 from Georgia

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

No better day than 9.9.09 to enjoy this one.

Pours a really dark brown that is really close to black in the glass with a huge creamy tan head that sticks around for ages and leaves excellent lacing.

The aroma is sweet, roasted and hoppy all at once. I can definitely pick up the bananas from the Belgian yeast and the dark chocolate malt sweetness in the nose.

The taste is good to start but gets much better as it warms. There is the large roasted chocolate malt backbone which has the layers of sweet vanilla and brown sugar on top. The finish is the only thing that doesn't ring completely true for me as there is a slightly metallic bitterness that leaves an astringent aftertaste on the palate. There may be hints of the citrus in the finish but it's definitely not easy to pick up and the metallic bitterness fades a bit as it warms.

The mouthfeel is excellent, medium to full-bodied and extremely creamy with lots of carbonation and just fills the mouth up completely with flavor.

Another well-constructed beer from Stone that just misses being exceptional for me with the astringency being a little too bothersome in the finish. Outside of that, it's a wonderful blend of the Belgian yeast and toasted malts with an excellent mouthfeel.

Sep 10, 2009
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capra12 from New York

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed with Speedwayjim and Wheatman106 served out of a snifter.

Appearance: 4 fingers of light brown head, jet black with spotty lacing.

Smell: Roasted dark chocolate with subtle hints of anise.

Taste: Opens with dark chocolate as coffee bitter comes in toward the middle and last till the finish. Just as this finishes there is a subtle tangy fruit and malt profile. There is a coffee bitter/ hoppy similar to the bitterness of an orange rind aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with minimal carbonation and smooth.

Drinkability: Personally I would have this again but not in the near future. Worth the try if you havent had it.

Sep 21, 2009
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TheBeerAlmanac from Kentucky

5/5  rDev +22.2%

Apr 29, 2013
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lccrunchy from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +22.2%

Jan 11, 2012
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ChadQuest from Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Oct 10, 2010
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hopkrid from Florida

4/5  rDev -2.2%

Sep 18, 2013
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NittanyBeerFan from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly viscous texture into my glass. The color is jet black. With a pour right down the middle, I get a beautiful frothy inch of creamy, dark head that is perched majestically on top of my beer, just a touch below the rim of the glass. Lacing is delicate and wispy.

S: A very complex marriage of aromas emanates from my beer. I can make out definite notes of chocolate and citrus, no surprise from what Stone told us about the style. However, there is much more as well. An almost barrel-aged vanilla character is also present, and the spicy flavors of the Belgian yeasts that have become a staple of this line pour forth.

T: Chocolate, vanilla bean, and a light mild citrus flavor that seems more like tangerine than orange provide the first impression. These three give way to the yeasty spice from the Belgian yeasts and the piney hops that are a go-to for Stone. The chocolate comes back in the finish providing a very nice balance for this beer. This is phenomenal now. I can't wait to try it aged.

M/D: The feel is smooth and resinous. Very little carbonation is present. The texture is very thick. I can't really imagine having more than one of these in one night, but I am very happy that I grabbed 2 cases of this!

Oct 10, 2009
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BayouBengal1537 from Louisiana

4/5  rDev -2.2%

Nov 17, 2013
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Beer4Baltimore from Maryland

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- from the notes and a bomber bottle
A - dark to near black with a brownish frothy head.
S - chocolate roasted malts dominate.
T - chocalate, vanilla, roasted malts and fruit tinted malts dominate.
M - heavier bodied with a lower carbonation and a very smooth feel.
D - quite drinkable but the heaviness will certainly catch up to you.

Jun 13, 2011
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bunnyhustle from Michigan

3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The always anticipated VE was a bit of a let down to me. I guess it was a good let down, but still...Poured into tulip, dark as night with mocha head. Good retention and lacing. The smell was very unique I thought. A very bready and yeasty smell at first led way to a banana and bubblegum smell with some chocolate. Perhaps the most smells I've ever had in a single beer. Taste was alright but I feel it needs to age, but I guess thats what this beer is supposed to do. I think there were too many flavors to really focus on anthing particular. Chocolate, hops, orange, citrus, oak, vanilla, toasted malt...you name it! I actually thought there was a bit of smokiness to it that I did enjoy. Just a little too much. Mouthfeel was fuller but not too heavy. Overall an easy drinker. I did enjoy the beer and am very curious to see how it ages. I think this one will get much better with age.

Sep 20, 2009
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OldSchoolGamer from Ohio

3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Stone Vertical series continues with this new release. A Belgian style Imperial Porter. Here is my review:

A: Pours a deep black. Pretty thick looking. Head sticks around nicely and leaves nice lacing.

S/T: The Belgian character is the first thing I notice on the nose. Yeast and spice. Along with that is a very smokey and roasted character. The aroma is a little lacking in intensity. The taste is also somewhat lacking. The beer is very smokey with a nice roastyness. A little coffee. The Belgian character is just as prominant as the Porter characteristics. Yeast and spice. Maybe some brown sugar in there with a touch of cherry. Somewhat metallic. Its definetly a unique beer, but doesn't come together as well as I would like. Seems more like a Yin and Yang with the Porter and Belgian characteristics.

M/D: Nice and creamy mouthfeel. Thicker than a lot of stouts I have had. Pretty smooth drinking beer. I could drink a bomber, but not something I would want to revisit often.

I have very fond memories of Stones 08.08.08 because that is the day I turned 21, the legal drinking age. I remember that one being superior to this. This is okay, but it just lacked the quality and flavor blending I have come to expect from great craft brewers.

Sep 18, 2009
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Kanmekaz from Indiana

5/5  rDev +22.2%

Nov 23, 2011
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timtim from District of Columbia

4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

wow. nuff said. some great reviews. the nose is fantastic, and the vanilla really brings out the orange kind of like the smell from your mom's baking when you were a kid. taste and smell are just unbalanced perfectly for development, and i can't wait to try my other one in a few years. i kind of dig this one. more please. is it 101010 yet?

Sep 22, 2009
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jdflyer06 from Ohio

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. into a snifter.

A: Nice and black. Very little head shortly after the pour, the etching at the bottom of my glass keeping some alive but that's it. Light isn't getting through on this one.

S: Some nice belgian sugar/sweetness overpowers the traditional stout notes of coffee and chocolate, but they're still present. Picking up some cherry, dark fruit and some nice roasted/smoky malt. Banana esters make their way in there but not quite as pronounced as I would have thought.

M: Very dry when it hits the palate. Somewhat thin. Pretty aggressive carbonation for the style, although I'm not sure what style this really is. Definitely more of a belgian in this area.

T: Smoky at the start, and the alcohol is very well hidden at the end. In between, coffee notes, but nothing too terribly complex in the taste arena here. Has the qualities of a slightly toned downed smoked porter. As it warms, the vanilla becomes more present but I'm not yet picking up the citrus that was promised me.

O: Very drinkable, but needs some time to bring out its latent complexities. The carbonation should tone down a bit with age, and this should do just fine in a cellar. I commend Stone on brewing a solid beer, albeit falling a bit short on what I was promised on the back of the bottle right now.

Nov 07, 2009
09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 877 ratings