Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
BA SCORE
84.8%
Liked This Beer
4.08 w/ 868 ratings
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
538
Ratings:
868
Liked:
736
Avg:
4.08/5
pDev:
10.54%
Alströms:
4.25
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
276
Trade:
15
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 868 |  Reviews: 538
Photo of edthered413
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber bottle into a Gulden Draak tulip glass. Pours very dark, almost black with garnet hues on the outside of the glass when help up to the light, Nice two finger head that holds up well. Smell is of chocolate, slight roasted coffee, slight vanilla and slightly orange. Taste up front is chocolate and roasted barley with some coffee, a little vanilla. I was sipping this slowly and as it warmed I could taste more of the vanilla and also some orange and some oak. Medium mouthfeel and smooth. Very drinkable but a sip and savor type of beer to me. I think this one will be better with some aging.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pored from a 1pt. 6oz. bottle into a Harpoon 100 Barrel series tulip glass.

The color is a complete black with about three fingers of foamy brownish head and some thin lacing.

The smell is chocolate with some nice Belgian flavor that is mixed with Belgian chocolate and some hard street flavors.

The taste is has some chocolate flavor that comes out in the chocolate flavor and really has a nice hard Belgian flavors that mixed well in the end.

The feel of this beer was hard to control at first but had a spark of of creativity and was there will the end.

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Photo of randawakes
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark pour, mild head, some lace. Tastes dark malty and chocolately, light vanilla flavors and creme. Faint wood chips/oak residual taste. Mild-low carbonation, smooth drinkability, enjoy, but not quite the '08 epic. Still looking forward to having my 2007 next year or the year after.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served in my Bruery tulip. Poured one shade shy of black with a two-inch, frothy, khaki-colored head embedded with tiny ringlets that eventually settles into a fairly consistent skim - a thick band of lacing coated the side opposite the tilt. Nose reveals cocoa, a roasty character, perhaps a little lactose and a hint of smoke. Taste follows nose, but a little less rich than anticipated, and also a little bittering hops that comes out at the end. Mouthfeel is just shy of medium, with a light, consistent background carbonation, with something of a creamy quality in the mix. Pretty tasty, but not what I would consider a Belgian Strong Dark; closer to an American Stout. Nonetheless, a pretty tasty brew.

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Photo of darklordlager
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an intriguing black, with brown edges when held up to the light. An initial lively medium-tan head, dying down to a mere coating within a minute or two.

S: Fruity, roasty, chocolatey. The fruitiness is beyond what you would expect from just the yeast--it has a bright character (from the tangerine?) which fits together well with the citric hop notes. The roasted and dark malts manifest as chocolate, and char. Overall, it reminds me very much of a variety of incense.

T: Light unsweetened chocolate flavour with a interesting fruitiness. Smoke, roasted character. The finish is of bittersweet chocolate. I think Stone came pretty close in their attempt to "imitate a chocolate bar with orange." The flavours imparted by the vanilla beans are not prevalent, and I didn't seem to taste them at all before searching for them. The toasty character from the French oak is definitely there--fitting in nicely with the dark chocolate and roasty/smoky malt.

M: Medium carbonation, and velvetty smooth on the tongue.

D: The roast/toasty flavour would get to me for sure after more than a glass or two. An interesting beer from Stone, one that's progress will be checked sometime in the future...

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark, nearly black, color. Nice tan head, but not the best retention. Becomes a thin film pretty quick.

Smell: Has an aroma of very strongly roasted malts... a bit of toffee too. A tad hint of sweetness in there.

Taste: Very strong and bold roasted flavors (a bit hard to identify what is roasted, though). Some bitterness, but not overwhelming. Hints of cream and/or some mild sweetness at the finish, and possibly an even smaller hint of yeast. Aftertaste continues with the roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with light carbonation. Pretty smooth too.

Drinkability: Strong ABV, but with the strong (& good) flavor it drinks slowly & nice.

The taste at first rather surprised me, as this is more like a Smoked Porter than a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. That being said, I am really enjoying it. Nothing mind-blowing, but a solid and enjoyable ale that can be consumed slowly. This is definitely the best of the Vertical Epics I've had, and I'll probably buy a few more before it goes off the shelves.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Stone snifter

A- pours a nearly pitch black color with a small khaki colored foamy head that reduces to a ring around the edges

S- chocolaty malt with some charred malt aroma, sweet vanilla with some fruity hop aroma, burnt sugar

T- fruity yeast mixes with some sweet dark chocolaty notes up front, hints of vanilla, orange peel and burnt sugar, chocolate continues to linger on the palate long after finishing with some lingering woodsy notes that compliments it nicely

M- medium body and carbonation lead to a foamy mouthfeel and a foamy , dry finish, just a hint of lingering alcohol

O- the chocolate malt is enhanced by the additional of vanilla, fruity yeast notes add a nice dimension

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle

A: Dark brown under a good sized light brown head. Great lace and retention.

S: Sweet malt, dark fruit, hint of roasted character and nuttiness, mahybe a little bit of oak and a bit of banana and bubble gum. Malt still dominates here, so I'm interested to see if in a few years some of the other character will come out. Still a good aroma.

T: Sweet again, but this time a definite Belgian yeast character. Bitterness is fairly high, no surprise considering the brewer, roasted and chocolate character blend with the bitterness well. Alcohol is there, hint of oak. Dark fruit sticks to the tongue and appears in the aftertaste.

M/D: Full bodied, a little prickly on the tongue. Alcohol is apparent. Drinkability is nice, very complex beer. Will be interesting to see how these complexities evolve over time.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, goblet,

This Belgian Porter/BSDA nearly reaches Imperial Stout territory in the looks department. Dark Porter with a cappuccino head that is pleasantly persistent.

Chunks of moderately dark chocolate, a twinge of alcohol antagonizes the tangerine peel, vanilla bean, chocolate malt. Flowery vanilla and candied orange peel deep within.

More chocolate lands on the tongue gently and flows to the back to finish with vanilla and oily tangerine peel. The slightest bit of alcohol which only helps to weld the flavors together. The Belgian yeast seems to have made a minimal impact, yielding some sweet berry and fig flavors and not trying steal the show.

This fantastic beer falls slightly in the mouthfeel. The carbonation level is appropriately low, but the body is a bit thin.

I adore this beer. I hope that I can find some more bottles when I get home to CA, because this is drinking wonderfully right now.

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Photo of BierFan
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: One finger of tan foam. Black body. Spots of lacing.

Smell: Picking up the chocolaty malt immediately. Also getting the oak and a little vanilla. Imagine a milk stout aged in oak and you have an idea of what this is like.

Taste: Belgian yeast really adds some great complexity. Spicy yeast, bananas, chocolate, little bit of tangerine peel. Roasty bitter finish one would expect from an imperial stout.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Allowed this one to breathe quite a bit and poured it into a Duvel tulip...

Develops a very nice head - a full finger of maple/brown sugar goodness...very dough-like and gelatinous. Nice! Lacing and retention aren't bad, either. Body is dark and viscous...mildly espresso-like. Solid.

It seems as if the more it warms the more prominent the tangering peel is. Very good. The chocolate is well-refined and while in the background provides a creamy scent with a fair amount of bittersweet that plays well off the chocolate. I forget the candies my parents used to get back in the day but there was something shaped like an orange, but it was chocolate with infused orange and zest. Reminds me of this. Malt is roasted well and plays off some gentle hop pine. Belgian yeast strain creates a nice abbey feel to it all.

The creaminess hits the palate and brings along very solid chocolate malt flavors. Essence/zest is a little more quiet on the palate than on the nose. Hop profile adds in some grass to the aforementioned pine. Tannins from the dark-roasted malt are very soft but they engage the ever-increasing grassiness of the hops to provide solid synergies.

Palate feel on this one can't be improved too much. It has the hop bite and a little dryness but the creaminess of the chocolate and associated malt really smooth this to a velvet touch. Maybe a little lighter weight than desired but that is a minor beef. Spiciness of Belgian yeast and...Special B maybe (?)...really play this one up well.

Right about now I'm mentally smasing a newspaper over my head for not saving any of the VEs prior to 2007, 'cause I vaguely remember how enjoyable they were. Ahhh, whaddayagonnado. Either way, I enjoyed this one more than last year's upon release but I really should go back and snag yet another 08.08.08 to see how it's coming along. This one has a greater richness and creaminess that is nicely enjoyed.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 22-ounce screenprinted bomber bottle features scads of the usual Stone informative puffery, but with the crown pried off it's time to let the beer do the talking...let's roll.

09.09.09 pours ruby-hued roasted chestnut in color with a finger-thick topping of creamy light khaki-colored foam. The consistency of the crowning head is firm and silky, and as the bubble-cap slowly relaxes, it deposits rings of broken sheeted lacing onto the inner walls of my D-R snifter.

The aroma is quite fruity with a mango-spritzed note of chocolate-covered ripe banana firmly front-and-center. A crisp citrusy edge provides a whiff of countering tangerine tartness, and a darkly roasted component contributes savor and depth to the profile. As the drink warms a bit, a dry-toasted oaky note becomes increasingly prominent.

The taste is richly deep and chocolatey with an edging of vanilla-infused dark-roast coffee. A mellow backing of banana lingers underneath the darkness, resting atop a long, oaky-dry finish that is laced with a touch of snappy spice and a drop of bittering citrus peel oil. Any detectable alcohol is virtually non-existent, save the warming sensation in my belly and a fleeting flash-in-the-pan flavor that comes on late in the encounter to interject the vaguest notion of plum wine.

The drink is lush, fluffy, and fullish in body with excellent, extremely fine-grained carbonation. Highly drinkable, even given the 8.9% ABV, but I'd really expect nothing less from Stone.

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Dark orange-brown with tan head

S: Cocoa, chocolate orange, dairy cream, roasty malt, banana, clove, peppery spices, aged oak, timid coffee and a pinch of cayenne.

T/M: Chocolate sheet cake, cocoa powder, chocolate orange, orchard fruit, hints of vanilla bean. Creamy but grainy feel in a full body with prickly carbonation. Smooth finish of chocolate and oak.

O: Huge chocolate base with varying types and a good oak aged flavor that developed nicely. Bold flavors and one to really enjoy.

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Photo of natelocc787
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Far from a chocolate quad, not a quad at all. Definitively a BSDA from start to finish. Dark brown, close to black in appearance. Had to give this one a 4.5 score in the taste category because of the complexity it offered. It has a very sharp tobacco bite, black malt, roasted malts, maple syrup, overripe banana, chocolate covered blackberries, Belgian yeast notes and even more. One of those beers you could pull all night from. Definitely young, still a pleasure, the mouthfeel should improve with age as well, understated carbonation with a small bubble feel on the lip but a bigger bubble feel as it's swallowed. I still think this would have been better using any yeast strain that wasn't Belgian.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Chouffe tulip

A deep, dark brown, borderline black on the pour with a huge khaki head that fills the tulip perfectly. Some pretty fantastic retention and lacing, this guy holds shape really well.

Bittersweet dark chocolate notes right off the bat. The Belgian yeast strain adds a bit of tang and a noticeable presence of orange peel. Deep roast, tiptoeing char, and a herbal, earthy hop presence. A lot to offer here.

The flavors do not disappoint. Deep roasted malt with dark Belgian chocolate up front and orange peel throughout. The yeast adds a level of tartness that melds well with the sweetness of the chocolate. Dark fruits make an appearance briefly before a dry, coffee flavor grabs hold for the finish.

Smooth and lush. The carbonation is near perfect giving this a well balanced mouthfeel. Hearty and full, but light and playful in the right spots.

Some warming in the finish, but not a lot. The flavors really complement each other nicely and make this a fine drinking stout, er, belgian porter.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

Pitch black with a tight tan colored head that thinned out to a ring leaving patches of lacing.
Smell is dark fruits (dates, raisins, figs) and yeast.
Taste follows through on the aroma with some smokiness tossed in. The finish is not bitter but far from being overly sweet.
Medium/Full bodied with a rich, creamy feel.
Easy to drink as the abv is very well hidden.

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Photo of bonkers
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a bomber into a snifter. It pours a deep opaque black with a fluffy white head. The aroma is strong deep dark chocolate. The flavor has a few levels, chocolate, vanilla and a bit of alcohol. The beer is creamy, rich, smooth and the alcohol is a bit hot. The flavor profile is similiar to a stout. The residual alcohol makes it a bit of a sipper, but a damn fine beer overall.

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Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On 9-9-09 Stone brewery released the eighth edition of their Vertical Epic Series exactly 1 year, 1 month and 1 day from the previous years release. These beers are built and designed to be aged until sometime after 12-12-2012, but good luck keeping your hands off of it. This years release is a Belgium style ale brewed with spices and is in fact a complex and layered beer. This beer pours toasty brown color with a creamy caramel colored head. Aromas of vanilla, chocolate and citrus leap out of the glass and make the first sip intriguing. Smooth chocolate malts meld well with the Belgium yeast giving it slight banana flavor and hints of baking spice. The addition of tangerine peel balances the palate with notes citrus. The finish is smooth and lingering with additional flavors of vanilla and toasty french oak.

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Photo of danielharper
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black body, very thin brown head that dissipates quickly. Body is completely opaque and allows no light through. Head should be much greater for a Belgian-style ale.

Smell: Rich chocolate backbone, some spices (coriander?) on top. Notes of chocolate-covered cherries, sweet, inviting. Some alcohol astringency.

Taste: Alcohol astringency is very present in the flavor, particularly in the finish. Otherwise strong flavors of chocolate malt, with a nice bitterness and some vanilla-like spicy undertones. Finish is strongly of vanilla. No tartness present at all, which leads me to suspect that an American-style yeast was used.

Mouthfeel: Thick, luxurious. Low carbonation, mild hops. Slightly chewy.

Drinkability: Very nice beer, although perhaps slightly misclassified as a Belgian-style. It'd be interesting to see how it ages (which is, after all, the point).

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Photo of timtim
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
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?

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown coffee, tan head, attractive pour. Healthy, billowing head on this one.

S- I pick up barrel/smoke qualities on top of roasted malts, sugary sweetness, and a fruity essence.

T- A smoky, roasted brew. Tastes like a chocolate rauchbier. Hmm. I like it. Mild spice/sweet notes, not sure if its the tangerine zest or whatever, but its good times.

M- Moderate carbonation but it works for the beer.

D- Moderate but enjoyable. I was pleasantly suprised by this beer, it definitely impressed me. I will be buying more of this.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It took me a couple months to track this one down, I really wasn't hunting it down like years past. The series lost it's appeal for me after I drank my cellar empty of the 03,04, 05, and 06 I was holding onto after I graduated nursing school. Regardless I have to try these brews fresh in case it's something that I think should be tucked away. I had good results with my last four VEs that I cellared for some time.

My birthday month, this one appears pitch black with absolutely no ruby highlights when held toward a bright light, large mocha tan head forms after a vigorous pour into my Gulden Draak chalice, dwindles slow leaves big chunky layers of lace sporadically clinging to the sides of the glass.

Nice glowing citrus peels with roasted dark malts bring some recently tasted Swiss truffles with citrus peels to mind. A mild mineral metallic character with more roasted malt and lively fruit notes, a definite creamy mingling of dark chocolate with a touch of roasted coffee, charred oak, and soothing vanilla. A leafy herbal mint quality sticks out as well in the aromatics.

Flavor dark black patent malt has some acrid sharp tanginess to it with the citrus peels intermingling quite nicely with that dark chocolate and creamy effervescence. A Belgian approach, that may be the most believable effort from Stone yet, since the hops actually are chilled out here. Those oak barrel effects are minimal with traces of vanilla and charred oak, in addition to that actual vanilla beans that have been tossed in to the mix. A nice sugary sweetness is carried along throughout the charred dark malt and tangerine peel bitterness to end in a creamy blend of vanilla and oak characteristics, with a fresh blast of herbal mint from the hop additions here.

Mouthfeel overall is creamy slightly effervescent with a medium to fuller bodied approach. Really nice feeling overall besides that touch of acidic twang I spoke about with the harsh dark malt bitterness. The finish does strike some notes of charred oak and herbal mint that seem like they are going to show up like hop burps.

Drinkability is quality share with friends complexity and cohesion make for a good time, you can have loads of different flavors that may not work well together. This vertical epic ale decided to make familiar flavors glide together and intermingle off one another to provided the type of complexity that will lead to emptied glasses rather than drain pours like their 13th Anniversary release. I enjoyed the citrus and dark chocolate with a vanilla slightly charred oak finish.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pouring into my Piraat tulip glass gives a very fluffy tan head atop a beautiful black beer.

S: The first whiff reveals tons of chocolate and dark fruits. Further sniffs give coffee, toffee, spice, and sweet malt. A mild citrus aroma is present, but certainly not a major player.

T: The flavor is very interesting. A slight coffee bitterness pairs well with sweetness from chocolate, fruit, and caramel malt. The spice is a bit more subdued than in the nose, but lends a little something to the beer.

M: This is a very full bodied beer. The carbonation is moderate and quite appropriate for this beer.

D: While this is a "Belgian" beer, the porter characteristics come through much more than the Belgian yeast and spice. This is certainly a "different" beer, but one that I enjoyed and look forward to trying with some age on it.

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Photo of erikm25
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep darkened brown that is just the smallest shade short of black. Head is pillowing a oaked caramel color with strong retention. Lacing is mediocre. After the initial pour both the body and head reminded me of the Abyss. Overall, very nice looking and having not known anything about what to expect the appearance got me psyched more than the previous Verticals.

S: Chocolate with dark cherries and grapes. Roasted bananas peppered in smoked cloves. A strong coffee aroma with oak undertones. As it warms there are more mango and pineapple smells yet they are still well coated with vanilla and spice. Like a porter mixed with a Belgian.

T: This is one, at times almost too, complex tasting beer. My initial impression was a great woody and nutty upfront taste with ginger. A wild ride between candy sweetness, burnt tangerines, and vanilla creaminess. Cocoa and molasses tastes are subtle and warming. This beer isn't so much layered as it is a whirlwind of flavor. Even the much anticipated slight hops finish is present towards the end.

M: Good mouth feel without being to overwhelming. Solid carbonation.

D: This is a very interesting and impressive beer and the idea that this will improve with age is enough to get your hands on a couple. Great tasting but one to be enjoyed at a reasonable pace.

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 84.8% out of 100 with 868 ratings
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