Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

537 Reviews
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by superdedooperboy on 09-08-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 537 | Ratings: 867
Photo of bernardus1212
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into a chimay glass. Almost black in color with a slight tint of brown when inspected in light. A dusted brown head that lingered for about 5 mins. Smells of rich chocolate, spice i.e.. cinnamon and brown sugar. Taste like coffee with chocolate vanilla and cinnamon. Picture a Stout in the beginning and a Belgium Quad at the end. Enjoyed it very much. Got me the next day.

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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The dark beauty of this poor is something to behold with its frothy tan cap. The aromas of dark sweet malts, fuity hops, and chocolate are great in unison with a mild spice and vanilla accents. The taste enduces much salivation as the tartness is just barely dominant over the sweet roasted malt and cocoa flavors. The body is just south of bold and it is a great beer to savor and sip. A really good offering in Stone's tradition of great Vertical Epics.

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Photo of david18
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't know this was considered a strong dark belgian. After pouring and smelling it i got more of a stout quality. In any case this, like the other vertical epics, is an excellent beer. Great dark color and woody aroma. Pours a great head and the alcohol is perfectly balanced with the hops and malt.

I'd been waiting for this since September 9 and am glad it finally showed up somewhat that I shop, Whole Foods.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from backlog city

A - It pours black as night and is capped with a pillowy tan head; it looks like a Belgian Stout.

S - The aroma is slightly sweet in a milky sense, and it is also quite roasty, offering notes of coffee and bitter cocoa. Dark fruitiness, specifically prune and date, is the mainstay once it begins to air out.

T - The flavor follows the nose but expands the profile to include a sort of Imperial Stout big-deliciousness. Bold notes of unsweetened cocoa, toffee-caramel, carob covered raisin, and estery dark fruitiness are vibrant, and are joined by milder spice undertones.

M - The feel is excellent; very creamy and softly carbonated.

D - I am quite impressed with this beer, it is the best VE I've had so far.

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Photo of welldigger888
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque inky black with a slight tan brownish head that laces ok.
Roasty chocolatey,sour (wood),vanilla, coffee goodness. The oaking I think adds a touch of the sour mash flavor I really love. Slight belgian yeast aroma but very subtle, a dash of boozey goodness but real smooth.

Very smooth woody vanilla chocolate roast. A nice sour mash like flavor that gives it's self over to a subtle citrus like dark chocolate mix, think 1 of those chocolate oranges from a few yrs back, Nice.

Well the only thing even remotley laging in my opinion was the mouthfeel. Seemed as it should have had more, creamy fuller body. Nice non the less.

2 & 1/2 yrs did not harm in my opinion, having not had fresh though, who's to say. I enjoyed yet another FINE brew from STONE.

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Photo of Rhynes2
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Our local beer store just installed a bar in their shop and they have quite an impressive selection on tap. I was very happy to find the 09-09-09 Vertical Epic as one of the options. I had this in a beer flight with the 10-10-10 and 11-11-11. Nice dark color with a beautiful dark creamy head. Smell had hints of sweetness, chocolate and coffee. The taste was amazing as well. Roasted malts with a tinge of banana and toffee made this beers flavor very complex and enjoyable. I hope they have another one of these kegs for when the 12-12-12 is out.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black as a stout or porter, complete with a tan coloured semi-creamy head. Lacing is quite nice, and a collar rings the glass all the way down.

S: The oak scents stand out to my nose... chocolate, along with some citrus notes - orange/tangerine fruitiness. Something in there reminds me of nutmeg, but not quite. Nice, complex smelling beer.

T: Malts and citrus offering more of the zest bitterness in flavour. The oak / vanilla follows closely behind, though it smooths out to allow a bitter chocolate to finish

M + D: Carbonation is pretty much spot on for the body and flavours, and there's a bit of a slick feeling to it. There's enough going on in this beer that I feel the need to revisit it again to really feel like I got to know the brew. Very nicely done, and I look forward to more.

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Photo of nomomentwasted
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this out of the bottle last night on vacation. It's supposed to be aged, but how can you resist 09.09.09 on 09.09.09?

Appearance: Pours a dark brown slightly orange outer rings and a decently frothy tan head. Carbonation is swirly and laces decently, but the head disappears relatively quickly.

Smell: Chocolate with notes of vanilla, fired back with a spicy note as well. Belgian yeast peaks through with some banana and the citrus notes are just slightly there as a sweet hint.

Taste: Layered with a lot of complexity. First up comes the chocolate, which, as the label implies, is indeed enhanced by the vanilla-bean taste as well. The middle of the beer is spicier, with hints of citrus, finishing again with the chocolate roastiness. Complexity is high here, and I am definitely impressed.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. For the carbonation that is there, the flavors really smooth it all out it goes down perfectly between dry and wet. As a beer really should be. Just slightly weaker in the aftertaste than I'd hoped, but otherwise, it's pretty brilliant.

Drinkability: Nice. Almost even very nice. I drank my share very quickly, and would go back for another very soon. Although I have two more bottles of this, I may have to run back to the brewery and pick up 2-3 more, with a couple to stock and a couple to rock more immediately. Definitely, definitely a fun try, and it'll be great to see how this brew ages. Recommended.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 09/09/09 Vertical Epic

Had this out of a snifter at Holiday Wine Cellar's special event for San Diego Beer Week 2010: "Stone Vintage Archives & Decadent Chocolate Pairings" hosted by Dr. Bill Sysack of Stone Brewing. Paired with North Park's Eclipse Chocolat - Black Sesame Anise Truffle. Dr. Bill presented it as a Belgian Porter style ale.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thin head revealing brown hues when held up to the light, leaving decent lacing in my glass.

S: Sweet and smoky malt, grainy and earthy.

T: Toasted grains, sweet malt, smoky woodiness, bready biscuit finish.

M: Medium-bodied with some viscosity - mellow carbonation with a smooth finish.

D: Surprisingly easy to drink, especially as it warms up a bit. Really not a fan of the style, but really enjoyed this one a lot.

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Photo of tko741
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aged until 9/9/10 (don't worry, I have enough until 12/12/12)

Pours a rich, deep black, with a thin tobacco head that slowly dissipates. Very little in the way of lacing. Some deep red hues linger around the edges when held up to light.

Strong caramel, graham cracker, and kona coffee beans seduce you upon taking a whiff. Wonderful.

Instant hits of dry citrus, followed by full, marbly notes of espresso, bittersweet chocolate, and malt are what greet your taste buds. The finish is a bit smoky, with fleeting vanilla. Quite fantastic stuff. Mouthfeel is full with a slight tingle from the carbonation.

If this stuff didn't cost so much and wasn't brewed once, oh, what an evening it would be with more.

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Photo of babaracas
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black (really a very dark brown) with a one finger tan head, fine lacing. Smell: high cocoa dark chocolate, lots of roasted, a little smoky wood scent, yeasty. Taste: dark and bitter chocolate, roasted, some fruitiness from the belgian yeast - banana, in the finish slight coffee, citrus peel, and vanilla-ish touch of alcohol. Medium-full bodied, but the very soft carbonation makes it quite light, in a good way. Seriously drinkable, slight alcohol contributes to the flavor rather than standing on it's own. A tasty beer, I'm not really reviewing to style because I'm not sure what style this is... somewhere between an amped stout and an amped porter (very porter like finish, stout elsewhere) and brewed with belgian yeast. As it heads towards room temp, banana shows up in the nose and a dark brown sugar flavor emerges.

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Photo of Dijeriduster
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

In the fridge for one year....
A - dark, dark beer with a big foamy head filled with the roasty colors of a coffee stout or RIS. Faded to a nice creamy cap that stuck around for the duration of the tasting.
S - again roasty flavours dominate, hints of coffee even though there is none in the beer. Oaky notes are faintly evident in the nose too.
T - Wow, after a year in the bottle this thing is even more of a monster than it was before. The citrus notes are all but gone - odd given the recipe included tangerine peel. Vanilla and mellow French oak come thru very strong now, making the beer somewhat sweet vs. its younger form. Shocking how much oak is evident, still some hop bitterness as well but that quickly fades as the beer heats up a bit, making the oak, vanilla and coffeeish notes spring forward.
M - I loved the mouthfeel, very creamy almost like a nitro stout at first which then thinned just a little on the back of a palate. The combo of a creamy feel with the oak and vanilla nose / taste is just killer.
O - Overall I think this is a brilliant beer. Its def close to being a RIS so not for the faint of heart. The oak notes are really nice, quite mellow as its French vs the harsher bourbon notes of most oaked beers. Based one how its improved in just a year I can't wait to see what this is like on the big day - 12-12-12.

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Photo of CheckMate
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased at Tully's in Wells, ME. Split with BA member MrHurmateeowish. we figured it would be an appropriate way to say Goodbye to 2009. pours an opaque ebony color with a quarter of an inch of tan head that quickly dissipated. scents of dark chocolate, espresso, and toffee immediately hits the nose with nut, date and a bit of alcohol in the background but not really strong. tastes of dark chocolate and dates immediately grace the tongue with tinges of espresso, wood, and nuts. Moderate carbonation and full bodied. definitely a sipper the alcohol is very warming but leaves no traces of it in the taste. Quite an exceptional beer. Two Thumbs up to Stone!


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Photo of EgadBananas
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black for the most part, with some browning around the edges of the glass. Pronounced stout-colored head, very creamy. Retention is good, with some pretty tan splotches of lace.

S - Has a very dark smell to it. You can definitely make out the sweetness of chocolate and roastiness. Theres a tiny sting of spice, with mixed in bitterness. It smells mighty tasty.

T - This is an intense beer. The spices jump out at me first, immediately following a chocolate sweetness mixed with some bitterness of some coffee or expresso. Theres an underlying fruitiness to it that adds to the complexity. With all the other flavors, it's hard to detect much, if any, alcohol.

M - Medium to full body; rests comfortably inbetween in my opinion. Goes down smooth without feeling too heavy or filling.

D - With nearly every Stone, one just never seems enough. I wish I had the patience (or means to acquire all vintages of the "Epics") to see this 10 year concoction in its full glory.

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Photo of biggred1
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a finger of thick, creamy dark fudge foam that leaves sheets of mocha lace on the glass. Anise, cocoa, vanilla, coffee and faint citrus peel make for a great nose. Charred and caramelized chocolate malty flavors with orange peel, vanilla and sprucy hops. Good heft and body with a mildly bright carbonation. A fantastic and different beer for sure.

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Photo of gunnerman
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Lodge in Boca Raton, FL. Poured into a chalice pours a pitch black with a serious fluffy head that leaves much lace on the glass. Smell is of dark roasted chocolate with underlying hints of citrus fruits. Taste upfront has a choclate character to it, followed with slight hints of orange peel, a peppery finish toward the back end. All the flavors came together nicely. This would probably be even better with some age on it, overall a very good sipping beer.

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Photo of jlpayne
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Two-finger, mocha head. Body is pitch black and completely opaque. Thin lacing.

S - Nuanced: Booze. Caramel. Dark Chocolate.

T - Brings me back to childhood: Tastes just like a "Sugar Daddy." Delicious. Subtle hints of mint.

M - Smooth, round, buttery, and full-bodied.

D - This is a heavy beer, which suits the style. I loved it, but could only drink one.

Great beer. Definitely pick one up while they're still around.

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Photo of kurp001
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep brown with scant ruby highlights. A one finger tan head sticks around for a while before receding, with a fair amount of lacing left on the glass.

Smell consists of hints of fruit and dark chocolate, with a slight citrus presence.

The chocolate hints become more apparent after taking a sip, along with more of a spice kick and a pronounced orange peel essence. The finish is smooth, with a slight hop bitterness. As the beer warms, a coffee flavor seems to pull through as well.

The mouthfeel is full-bodied and smooth, with lively carbonation but not enough to overpower the flavors of the beer.

Drinkability is excellent for the considerable ABV, I can't really detect any sort of alcohol burn, nor do I find the strong flavors to become too much to handle at any point. I split the bomber with a friend, but I think I could have finished this myself. Overall, I'd have to say I was very happy with this beer, and am looking forward to see how it will do with a bit of age on it.

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Photo of Cavery
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes, shared with Klym and Sunday Sour. Poured into a Stone Nonic glass.

A: Coffee black with creamy coffee bubbles. Two finger bean stock head raised up like baked brownies. Lacing featuring horizontal sticking lines. All in all it looks scrumdidliumptious..

S: High quality vanilla bean that paints a delicious picture. Light notes of figs, dark raisins, and perhaps some sweet sugared prunes. A middle of deep molasses medjool dates enters with warmer temperatures. A wonderful end suggestion of Bananas foster as I focus.

T: Coffee black with some shots of espresso. A really deep nutmeg/cardamom spiced woodiness. There is a super subtle roast flavor that sweetens with roasted marshmallows. Remnants of lingering cigar smoke burn through the warming beer. Amazing drinkability.

M: The mouth is phenomenal. This beer is just right as it is now. I think there could be a loss of some carbonation without a hit to the quality of the drink. So solid it hurts.

O: I will look forward to this vertical again on 12/12/12. One of the better stone verticals to be had to date. Just a wonderful beer that encompasses a whole buffet of delicious chocolatey baked goods. Bravo stone, a fine year indeed.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost "thick" out of the bottle. very dark in color with a somewhat tan head. Decent aroma of dried fruit and dark chocolate. Very smooth, sort of roasted malt/chocolate flavors. Trace of fruit flavor-plums perhaps? Somewhat earthy and a touch of sulfury Belgian flavors. Quite malty. Long lingering dark chocolate flavor. Improves greatly as it warms. Excellent mouthfeel-quite smooth and silky feeling. Very, very drinkable. Has to be the best Vertical I have had.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into 300mL Krusovice chalice.

Appearance: Very, very dark black color with a large, thick brown head that dissipates fairly slowly and leaves behind a thick ring of lace.

Smell: Rich chocolate malt with vanilla notes and slight hop spice.

Taste: Starts chocolatey with a vanilla backbone, finishing with roasted chocolate notes with vanilla and citrus hints.

Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth body with light carbonation and a very thick finish that dries out. Warming alcohol.

Drinkability: This is a very good beer, and tastes like it would be perfect for again- maybe I'll pick up a bottle for that purpose. Aged or not, this is very tasty and should be had.

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Photo of obireidkenobi
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hope I'm not breaking BA protocol by reviewing this a year later. Here it goes -

Aged 1 year to the day 09.09.10. Poured into tulip.

Appearance - Carbonation still strong. Almost 2 finger white foam head.

Smell - Chocolate nose. With some roasty coffee

Taste - Bitter baking chocolate. Coffee flavor comes through, tastes almost burnt. In a tasty way. Some dark fruiits, slight raisin. Sweetness has appeared. Spices have faded some. Which is good, bringing the above flavors forward making this beer even better. Tastes less like a Belgian in my opinion.

Mouthfeel - Not heavy. Almost typical for a stout.

Drinkability - 3/4 way through bomber, still enjoying it. Looking forward to revisiting in 2011.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is poured an almost pitch black. When it's poured I can't see through it at all. It looks like an imperial stout. The smell on the beer is so complex I don't even know what to think about it. Some phenols, some esters (very little), and a bit of roastiness. The combination of all three seem like they'd oppose each other, but it ends up working very well. Nice and balanced.

After taking a few sips of the beer, I think I can understand what's going on. The beer doesn't have a Gaussian type flavour, it's more multi modal, to use a statistical term. Initially there is a tone of roasted malts, but in a few seconds you get a bunch of esters and phenols from the Belgian yeast. However, in the background there is a SLIGHT bit of tangerine. I don't think this is from the orange peel or the yeast, but a combination of both of them. It's quite tasty.

The mouthfeel on this beer is superb. It's exactly what I'd expect on this size of a beer. Also, as weird as this brew is, I could drink it all night. No doubt!

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Photo of bs870621345
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a small tan head that fades to a collar, leaving nice lacing down the glass.

Smells like molasses, plums, light spice, and roasty.

Taste is lightly spiced, heavy on the molasses, roast, and plum flavors. Light oxidation, but it really works. Alcohol is present too.

Mouthfeel is full, nicely carbonated.

Drinkability is great, this stuff is extremely inviting and the alcohol is nicely warming.

A really nice offering from Stone, I wished the IRS tasted more like this.

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Photo of Kadonny
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap at TJs in Paoli PA. What a treat. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Jet black with a one finger light brown head. Full encompassing glass lacing.

S: Dark roasted malts, chocolate, yeast, spice and a touch of hops.

T: Dark roasted malts with flavors of dark bitter chocolate, dark fruits of plum, cherry and a bit of orange. I even get some coffee flavors. Some underlying sweetness of the fruit sticks around with that sweeter milk chocolate coming through. The Belgian yeasty flavor sticks around throughout and provides a unique twist. Finish brings on the hops (this is Stone of course) with grassy floral flavors and just a hint of alcohol. Wow, great beer.

M: Full, coating, sticky, prickly and a light alcohol, very nice mix.

D: Excellent for what this beer is. Amazing.

Overall this was a fabulous beer. This is really a Belgian porter or stout, but since there is not a category for this, it got put in the BSDA class. Such complexity from a great brewery, how can you not love this beer. I put aside a case to age, this beer will only get better. Pick it up if you see it.

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
4.06 out of 5 based on 867 ratings.
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