Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
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
Ratings:
868
Reviews:
538
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
276
For Trade:
15
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 868 |  Reviews: 538
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of Bilco
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of poisoneddwarf
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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

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Photo of Beerbuddha
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- This beer poured a nice, rich black color with a huge, foamy brown head.

Smell- HUGE chocolate flavors with hints of roasted malt and spices. Nice hints of vanilla as well.

Taste- Interesting spiciness up front followed by the chocolate, vanilla and roasted malt. Hints of citrus and banana make this one unique brew.

Mouthfeel- Very thick body but smooth.

Overall- Another fantastic brew from Stone!

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Photo of Oakenator
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark - black in fact - with little to no light showing through. A finger of head on a 9 oz pour - cream clored. Great mouthfeel - solid carbonation up front with a rise towards the back end. Smell reveals spices and banana. Taste is sweet fruits on the front end with rich, dark malts dominating the finish. Another excellent and complex VE.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a bomber bottle into a pint glass in two parts.

Appearance was dark brown to black and opaque. There was a one finger mocha head and decent retention. Smell hit with nice notes of bananna and dark fruit. Some smokiness also makes it way through. Taste hits hard with the chocolate malt. Dark chocolate, espresso, and smoke notes all take center stage. They are balanced by the bananna and light citrus peel notes. Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth without much carbonation. Drinkability is good considering the ABV. The booze is hidden nicely, still cannot imagine having more than a bomber in a night.

Overall, a nice smokey, chocolate belgian beer with good balance. A good offering from Stone that would be even better with some years on it.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottle date is obvious. Pours pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense tan head with awesome retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some nice spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, prune, molasses, apple, biscuit, caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, light char, earth, and herbal. Very nice aromas with good strength, complexity, and balance; very inviting. Taste of big chocolate, biscuit, caramel, molasses, prune, apple, roasted malt, raisin, light char, vanilla, earth, oak, and herbal. Lingering notes of dark fruit, chocolate, caramel, biscuit, light char, earth, and roasted malt on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic flavor complexity and balance; with a very nice roasted malt flavor profile. Medium carbonation and body; with a very nice creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is completely hidden, with hardly any warming at all noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian dark ale. Great amount of complexity and robust roasted flavors; with great balance and very smooth drinking. Extremely enjoyable stuff!

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Photo of aubuc1
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to a chimay goblet.

Pours black with a thick steady head.

Smell is lightly roasty, then sweet citrus.

Taste is how they crafted it. Chocolate with a light orange twist. Roasty dry finish. Very interesting.

Good full mouthfeel and a dry finish leave me wanting more after each taste.

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Photo of cooncat
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Since I had 2 of these, decided to pop one open on Superbowl Sunday. Decanted at fridge temp into my SA glass.

A vigorous pour produces a nearly opaque beer, with garnet highlights at the edges. The head is a light suede brown, not particulary huge or long lasting. Guess that at 8.6%, that shouldn't be a big set back, but I've brewed beers of that size which had better head/retention.

The nose is malty with some dark fruit in it, along with some spiciness (probably from the Belgian yeast). Nose isn't huge, but it's there, and very inviting.

The taste first reminded me of my Baltic Porter. There's roasty malts in there, some dark fruit and cherries with just a hint of spice. Hard to tell if the spiciness if from the yeast or the hops, but its pleasant, and a nice balanced mix. If you like porters, you'll like this brew. Mouthfeel is medium. I guess that would be appropriate for this style ... I've never brewed a Strong Dark Belgian myself. All in all, quite a tasty brew, and the alcohol makes no appearance, except for perhaps a slight warming in the tummy. I'm going to finish this bomber, and could easily do another, so I'd say the drinkability is good. If it leaves you wanting more, that's a good thing.

Stone is one of my favorite craft brewers, and in general, I like most of their offerings. Guess I'll add this one to that column, and will look forward to trying this again next year for the vertical blast.

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice darker shade of brown with a nice tan head. Some nice lace was noted.

S: Aromas of chocolate, mild coffee and banana like Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of chocolate covered dark fruit. Hints of anise, light smoke and a touch of Belgian yeast.

M: Medium in body, smooth nice carbonation.

D: Good my favorite of the series. Pretty tasty beer.

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Photo of mikedepue
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into pint glass

A - very dark with tan head, looks like a stout

S - Coffee mainly, some hops and spices

T - Tastes like a great black and tan, a near perfect combo of hops and malts

M - medium body, carb was a little much for the first couple minutes then it smoothed out

D - High, hides the alcohol well

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Photo of thespaceman
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass:'

Appearance: Pours a midnight black in color, lots of tan head here and it builds as the pour continues. Head retention is perfect and leaves nice tan lacing in the glass.

Smell: Aromas are lots of chocolate malt and raisins. Lots of darker fruit floats around here, a touch of booziness and some malt sweetness.

Taste: Hoppiness up front is pretty large, leading way to some decent doses of sweet malt, lots of chocolate, caramel and toffee. I also get alot of darker fruits like plum, prune and some dark grapes. A lighter fruit tone comes through in the finish and brightens up the hop profile. A touch of alcohol in the finish is spot on!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonation is medium and the hops add just the right around of bitterness. This beer sits on the tongue perfect, not too thick yet it's bold and rich in the mouth.

Drinkability: This is an awesome limited release beer that is just begging to be aged. The mouthfeel and the sweet maltiness really makes this beer a standout. I love how the hops really balance everything out. An exceptional beer that is one of the best limited release beers I've tried this year! Very sessionable, be careful with this, it's overly drinkable for the ABV.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 9/25/2009. Bottle. Pours black with a pretty, small chocolate colored head. Aroma of rich roasted malt, smoke, bitter chocolate, roasted nuts, and a touch of Belgian yeast. Flavor of roasted and charred malt and wood/cedar with some roasted nuts/peanut butter notes. Subtle notes of citrus eventually make their presence. Very nice, great beer from Stone.

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Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with half a finger of light tan foam on top of a opaque, black body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace.

S - chocolate, nutty malt, and a touch of vanilla.

T - Smooth chocolate, caramel, and smoky coffee up front. Some molasses and dry roasted malt in the middle and a finish of spicy yeast, and more bakers chocolate.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - This has not only held up well, but improved dramatically with age. The dark malt is smooth and complex and it is a very well balanced, drinkable beer.

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Photo of BobZ
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Very dark brown almost black with a nice small 1/2” head that recedes to a 1/16” cap. Nice lacing.

Smell: Roasted malt with chocolate, those two aromas dominate the nose.

Taste: Follows the aroma with a chocolaty rich roasted malt flavor. Also getting a mild licorice flavor. Very well balanced and delicious, the flavors work very well together.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with good body and carbonation.

Overall: Very good beer, somewhere between a stout and a porter. Glad to have a few bottles tucked away.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark pour, opaque body, and a khaki head were more reminiscent of a RIS than a BSDA. The smell was sweet dark fruits, like plums and cherries, and some lurking hops. The taste was quite a bit more hoppy than I was expecting it to be, but the dark fruits and milk chocolate sweetness made this a very balanced beer. There was some roast grain astringency, which was most apparent at the end of each sip. The aftertaste was a bit spicy. A soft feel in the mouth, and chewy body. Not much alcohol burn. Delicious, now, and will likely get more vinous and interesting with some age.

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Photo of GodOfBeer
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first and only Vertical Epic I will be drinking from Stone. And what an epic beer it is indeed. Aged for almost 3 years, couldn't be bothered with waiting to open it after the 12th of December..

As I pour this epic ale darkness overtakes my Duvel tulip glass. A deep dark black colour with a thick whitish-brown head that just doesn't care about fading away.

Smells of coffee, molasses, dark fruity hops, milky chocolate. Nothing really special here about the aroma. Average for a BSDA.

As I begin to taste the darkness, bitter coffee and hops overwhelm my palate. My god, this tastes more like a stout. than a belgian dark ale. But either way it is a tasty treat. I'm sure the aging helped here. Lots a dark burnt malty notes, fruity hops and thick molasses on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, thick and sassy. Very nice on the tongue, something to be savoured.

Overall a very good beer. Pretty opulent, I must say. If only I had the opportunity to try their other beers in this Epic series..

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Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a deep dark brown body that is opaque in the glass. Medium tan head leaves island chain lacing.

Interesting and complex aroma. Chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruits, ripe bananas, and some charred wood.

Medium body has a solid smooth carbonation.

Taste has a roasted coffee bitterness, dark chocolate, malty nuttiness,smoke, Belgian yeast, a hint of licorice, ripe bananas,a hint of vanilla, and some citrusy hops. Alcohol is hidden very well. I don't pick up the tangerine peel.

Very nicely done. Certainly one of the better VE's in my book. Tasty and complex.

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Photo of Sangrejoven
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of heebes
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pint

Pours dark black with a thick foamy tan head. The nose is roasted chocolate, spices, light malts, sweet fruitiness. Taste is where the orange peels comes in, a bitterness in the middle still roasted malts throughout adding chocolate slightly. Very subtle and blended well tastes. Smooth and warming mouthfeel makes this a delicious beer to enjoy. I think this beer achieves what Stone set out to brew. A highlight in the series I would wager when verticals take place.

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Photo of microbrew52
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What an interesting brew. Its dark in the glass with a medium brown head with fine bubbles. When trying to pull the aroma from the glass, you get a nice mix of scents that keep you intrigued. I get mostly caramel and smoke. The taste is definitely smokey with caramel coming through for the balance. The finish is dry and slightly hoppy. A great beverage that is complex and very drinkable.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank 1/27/13
(Served in a bowtie glass)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a lumpy coco tan head that sticks in sheets to the glass leaving only a thin ring of head on the beer. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide up the glass.

S- There is a chalky hint to the chocolate malt aroma with hints of deep caramel coming through as it opens.

T- The mellow chocolate malt flavor is the main player. It has some soft dark roasted coffee malt bitterness in the finish with a slight tart hint. As it opens it takes on more of a watery taste and some stale qualities in the finish. There are also some graham notes that come through as it warms. Clean finish.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a gentle fizz that takes on a flat texture on the tongue.

O- This beer is a bit 1-dimentional much more so that when it was fresh. I don’t get any yeast characteristics just the chocolate malt. The watery and stale taste were a bit off putting.

---
(Poured into a tulip)
drank 11/30/09
A- This beer has a jet black body with a coco powder tan head that is creamy and last for a good bit.
S- The black roasted malt notes have a cream quality to them and then give way to a stronger berry aroma with some black licorice notes.
T- The smooth chocolaty velvet flavor has some ink and dry prune qualities to it with a soft fruity note that finishes the malt. The taste of pineapple without the acid mixes with roasted bitterness in the finish. There is some tartness that comes through with the bitterness and the both linger for a moment.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.
D- This beer is a big tasty stout with nice roasted qualties and a good Belgian yeast mystique that is almost fruity but not jammy.

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Photo of Gmann
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an almost near black color with a brown head that quickly settles into a light ring. Very much looks like a stout. The aroma is of roasted malt and milk chocolate and that is pretty much all that I am picking up. The taste is of a beautiful chocolate flavor, milk and dark chocolate with what I am thinking is a belgian candi sugar sweetness. There is some caramel and toffee characteristics to this brew. I believe that Stone is going for a Belgian stout on this one. The flavors are that of a stout but with none of the bitterness. A nice chewy feel with plenty of carbonation to make this quite drinkable. This is a damn tasty beer which is heavy yet drinkable. To me it is more stout like but has none of the roasted malt bitterness and is just darn delious. Good show.

# 800 y'all!!

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
4.06 out of 5 based on 868 ratings.
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