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 nmann08
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok, maybe its a Belgian, maybe it's a Sout, maybe it's hoppy, maybe it's got some Smoked Porter in there... There's a lot going on here.

The beer pours with a froathy and hearty weight; giving up a great head of tan foam and a ton of lacing. The dark brown and opaque nature of the beer certainly stands up to any great Porter or Stout.

The aromas don't exactly jump out at me, allowing the malty, bready, yeast character to come through just before the other scents come to the rim. Then, and slow and steady progression of smoke, roast, toast, coffee, cocoa, berries, spicy white pepper, currants, plumbs, grapes, earthy hops, and anise flow into the olfactories. No doubt this is a multi-sensory type of beer.

The Sout-like roasty-toasty, coffee-cocoa, dried fruit-oriented character takes center stage in taste. The hop flavor and bitterness then increase while dragging the phenolic spices and smoke with it. Other ripe fruits fall in line and follow the beer deep into the complex and malty-dry finish.

Hard to say if this beer is dry or malty to the finish. The heavy breads, toast, melanoidins, and overall maltiness keeps the beer very Dopplebock-like. But the charred grains, bitter hops, and alcohol keeps the beer a bit on the dry side. Otherwise very full, rich, and robust up front and fading slowly into the dry-malty debate.

A very good beer, but what is it. The Belgian character doesn't come through as much as I'd like- maybe more of a Cuvee van der Kaiser estery and yeasty character would suit my fancy more. Maybe when everything stands out, then nothing stands out.?

 1,594 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.91/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A local bar put this keg on draught to celebrate the completion of the Vertical Epic series. Cost was $6.00. Served on-draught into a New Belgium branded stem-goblet in Southern California in 2013. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention for the ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Raisin, vine, spice/mulled character, caramel, dark malts, must, brown or refined sugar, buried roast, and milk. A somewhat messy aroma, but a generally appealing one. Above average in strength.

T: Vinous, medicinal, and herbal. That's a hell of a shrewd start. Dark malts and caramel in the body. Vinous on the finish. Light raisin throughout. Some spicing. Chocolate malt. Some grainy bitterness in the third act. Strange indeed. It's off-putting. Too heavy on the spices; it's a bit earthy and grainy probably from nutmeg/coriander/other spices. Messy and imbalanced in classic Stone fashion. I like the experimentation, but this didn't turn out great.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and caramel heavy. Decently carbonated. Pretty good thickness.

Dr: Drinkable but underwhelming. Even aged (albeit in a keg), it leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn't have it again. Another merely decent offering from Stone.

C

 1,340 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a midnight brown color with a rocky head that is not overly impressive for the style though it does manage to deposit some speckles of foam on the sides of my snifter

Smell: Roasty and chocolatey, with an undertone of black tea and tobacco

Taste: Dark chocolate and roasted malt, up front, with an edge into the smoked Porter territory that appears by mid-palate; after the swallow, the black tea and tobacco element adds a bit of complexity

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I don't get the sense that this is a BSDA at all; it is almost a combination of a chocolate stout and a smoked porter with no real Belgian yeast aspect; having said that, I really enjoyed it on that level

 739 characters

Photo of oline73
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some pretty good lacing. Aroma of chocolate malt with some notes of roasted malt though bitterness is pretty tame. Taste is quite enjoyable with lots of black chocolate notes with a nice touch of roasted malt - not sure I could taste the vanilla or orange notes. Body is about average with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done though a bit shy of character and I still have to wonder how this is going to improve with time.

 537 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 1-30-11 along with an 08 and 10.

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - A lot of woody notes up front wit hints of chocolate. There is a mild dried fruit flavor, too.

T - Good chocolate flavor with a woody taste. More dried fruit flavor comes through here with some plum and currants.

M - A dry beer with a sharp, crisp bite. A medium bodied ale that hides its ABV quite well.

D - This is a really tasty brew. it exceeded my expectations.

 539 characters

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown, nearly opaque in the glass and topped by a small coffee-colored head that holds up nicely.

Aromatically it's nice but a bit muted, with fig and berry-like esters being most prominent, along with traces of chocolate and vanilla. As it warms the orange peel and vanilla take the forefront.

The taste is a pleasant and well-balanced mix of fruity esters, roast, vanilla, chocolate, citrus and resiny hops. Sweetness is restrained up-front and the mid-palate and finish are surprisingly bitter, both from roasted malt and hops. Finishes dry with a lasting coffee-like bitterness, vanilla popping up again in the far aftertaste. Very solid stuff, my favorite vertical epic so far.

 707 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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!

 1,118 characters

Photo of mothman
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Pours 1 finger of tan head. Pretty decent retention with very nice lacing. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Lots of roasted malts, nut flavors, grassy hops, chocolate, caramel, and slight coffee notes. Pretty decent.

Taste: Lots of roasted and burnt malts again. I get a bunch of burnt brown sugar and caramel flavors. Tons of grassy hops to balance it out. Nice coffee notes. Not to bad.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smooth, and refreshing. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends super dry and roasted.

Overall, I would not age this beer. The flavors taste fine and I don't expect this one getting and better. Glad I got to try this one fresh.

 686 characters

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico back in 2009.

Poured near black with same faint garnet highlights. A nice, big tan head with a lot of lacing as it went down. Smelled of roasted malt, Belgian yeast, chocolate, orange, vanilla, and a bit of oak. The taste was quite similar, with the oak and orange peel really coming out. Medium mouthfeel, but a bit too dry, likely from the oak. Overall, a very nice and interesting addition to the series, and I'm looking forward to tasting it again over the next few years.

 495 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

had as part of a big VE tasting at the end of the world party, thanks to Mark for this one.

Nice fluffy dark head, creamy but only 1/3 or so finger head, light lacing, dark black color.

Nose dark malts, syrupy, caramel, over aged malts, slightly oxidized, little earthy and dirty, faint chocolate, a little chalky too.

Taste brings toffee, dark malts, char, chocolate, caramel, light chewy oats, light earthy flavors, a little yeast like spices too.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent enough carb for the age.

Overall not bad, another one that would have been better fresh or 1 year on it instead of 3.

 610 characters

Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I missed last years VE so I grabbed this as soon as I saw it.Poured into a chalice a deep dark brown,nearly black, with a thinner deep tan colored head.Aromas of candied sugar,dark fruit,caramel.and light phenolic spice,a good mix of aromas for the style.Phenols are bigger on the palate giving off a clovey-like spice,alcohol dipped dark fruit with a tinge of earth round out the flavors.Its a tad hot but its new so its understandable,a very nice rich flavored brew brew here.

 478 characters

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.

 576 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 10/1/09 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a large flute glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, Belgian yeast, spices, caramel, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty and bready with a strong flavor of Belgian yeast. Then there are flavors of dark chocolate, spices and some fruit that add some semi-sweetness and complexity. The hops presence is mild but complementary and helps provide some balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, while this beer does have a complexity in flavor, I was expecting a little more harmony amongst the different flavors, which may improve with age. Overall, it's a good beer to drink for a while and it will be interesting to see how some time will effect it.

 1,039 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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