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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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%

Photo of vfgccp
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- Pardon the abbreviated review, this was sampled at a free Stone tasting. Special thanks to Big Z's in Huntington NY -

A - Black with mocha highlights. Bone-white head.

S - Mellow marshmallow, brown sugar. Dried plum notes.

T - Nice chocolate character. Smooth toast. Gentle hop backdrop.

M - Smooth

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Photo of russpowell
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to colonelforbin for this one!

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & some herbal hops

T: Charred wet grain, dark fruit, especially raisin & a touch of coffee up front. Dryness & coffee dominate as this warms, plus more dark fruit, leafy hops & some baker's chocolate & a touch of white pepper, vanilla & cherry. Finishes dry, fruitty & with much coffee & some cherry

MF: Fairly chewy, low carbonation & great balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV, not getting a ton of Belgian character here, but I didn't expect a literal interpretation from these guys anyhow. A tasty dark brew that I'd say is more of a big stout with some Belgian tendencies. One I would consider stockpiling if feasible, cuts the chill nicely!

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

Good tight, beige head and excellent ring lace. Nearly black color where no light can shine through.

Dark malt aromas with a light yeast smells in the background. Light yeast.

Very strong alcohol warmth on the initial sip. Relatively thin body with a low level of carbonation. Burnt coffee flavor with a hop kick which shows up nicely in the swallow and aftertaste. Lots of yeast bite as well.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber - $7.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a near black body with a large, burbling head of tan foam.

Smell: Deep notes of roast and smoke and wood -- it's like strolling through a former-cabin that had an all-too tragic accident. Lesser notes of spice, fruit, and Dutch cocoa seem buried within the smoldering rubble.

Taste: Roast leads to toast which leads to a resounding wooden taste and long-lasting, spicy tastes of smoked black licorice and ground pepper. Lesser hints of dark chocolate and vanilla and sweet molasses dare try to peak out from under these heady flavors. I must say, it is quite smoky throughout. Curiously arranged, subtle mix of dark fruits, banana, and citrus from those added tangerine peels. Earthy bitterness leaking out amongst all the staunch roastiness. Some alcohol warmth and further fruitiness on the spicy, drying, malt-riddled finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly different and very complex, though I'm not quite sure what to make of it at this stage three months from its initial release. Of the more recent Epic Ale releases (minus the 08.08.08 which I still haven't had, unfortunately), this is the one I most curious to see how it'll age. Let's hope for great things, eh?

 1,355 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12, review from notes.

A: Quite dark, pretty much black with a small tan head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some random lacing down the glass.

S: Some light Belgian yeast, a bit of chocolate, roasted malt, banana, and some wood.

T: Quite similar to the aroma, some banana, more dark fruit in the flavor profile than the aroma, with a bit of chocolate, cloves, and raisins.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a little thin. Slightly dry finish.

O: This one was fine, not my favorite, but not bad overall.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Polished mahogany with black cherry highlights when viewed with late afternoon sunshine behind the glass. The golden brown sugar colored crown isn't Belgianesque, but it's close. The foam is lightly creamy and marshmallow sticky, which is leading to lots of eye pleasing lace.

So this is what a Belgian Imperial porter smells like. It doesn't seem that different from an American Imperial porter since the Belgian yeast isn't going great guns.... at least where the aroma is concerned. Dark chocolate and coffee are easily appreciated, but the more exotic ingredients (see below) aren't. It's still wonderful smelling beer.

Vertical Epic 09.09.09 doesn't quite measure up to the recent excellence of this series. Having said that, there's still more than 20 ounces to go and a whole lot more time to be impressed. At least the spiciness of the Belgian yeast has made an appearance on the palate.

Regarding style, Belgian Imperial porter or Belgian stout work as well as anything. There is too much roasted malt for it to be a BSDA. In any case, the beer isn't as complex as its ingredients list would suggest. Still, Stone deserves kudos for brewing (slightly) outside the box. No 'same old, same old' for these guys.

Specifics include chocolate wafer cookies, dark caramel, black tea leaves, ground clove, black pepper, vanilla beans and several staves worth of oak. Tangerine peel is nowhere to be found. In addition, there's a surprising amount of bitterness for a beer that is approaching six months of age. Alcohol masking is expertly done.

The mouthfeel barely hangs onto the score seen above. More heft and more creaminess would have made it a solid 4.0 rather than a tenuous one. The bubbles are slightly harsh early and settle down nicely in the bottom half of the bomber.

Stone Vertical Epics from 2005 to 2008 were outstanding. Unfortunately, this 2009 version doesn't quite reach that level of excellence. My hopes aren't high that it will improve by the 2012 vertical tasting, but stranger things have happened.

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Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber.

Light brown lacing wraps around the inside of the glass almost all the way down. As close to black as you can get. Chocolatey nose, dark with some burnt sugar ... Edge of citric peel and esters. Soft and smooth creamy fullish body. Dry and spicy, maltiness ranges from dark chocolate to toasted bread to light molasses. Oaky, pulls the dryness in. Citric peel, wild herbs and vanilla show a grounded complexity. Big chocolatey finish.

One of my favorites of this series, a year of cellaring did no harm either.

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

Picked up my stock of this one today at State Spirits and popped one open the second I got home. Served into a chalice, this one was consumed on 09/21/2009.

Not really sure what to make of this one here. Great pour, dark as night with a big tan head on the top that would not quit. Huge lacing up and down the sides of the glass throughout really just capped it off nicely. On looks alone this was stellar. Aroma was intrsting I pick up astringent vanilla bean, molasses, hints of chocolate and a touch of citrus, maybe?? Not sure but there is something light in there for sure. Smooth, even flavor, but the bitterness seems a bit off to me. Had it stuck to the rich molasses and vanilla I think I would have been inclined to rate it much higher, still though it is a very, very good beer, no mistaking that. The citrus hop note just seems not right for me, and I try to look past that and it still creates a fine drink. Bitter aftertaste, almost an IPA like feel to it with most of the sweetness washed to the side.

Overall I thought this was good, but not great. I think with time the citrus will fade and the malts will shine leaving a fine and very sweet porter in its wake and I really look forward to it.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 999th review -Stone VE 9-9-09
I picked this bottle up at Atlantic liquors in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Poured the 22oz bomber chilled into my La fin du Monde tulip.

A - The beer is practically black except for a toffee brown shade near the base of the glass. The appearance is thick and opaque with a band of medium brown cream which has a slightly rocky appearance. The foam is about 2.5 fingers and creates a film of lace on the collar of the glass, the bead is pin sized.

S - Wow, earthy chocolatey + spicy w/ mild vanilla bean + vanill from the oak the trademark hop in the nose tells you it is a Stone Ale. The aroma is roasty w/ a mild caramel and creamy odor w/ mild accents of dark sugar and alcohol

M - A rich roasted feel, med full w/ med carbonation and a blend of creamy, fruity and bitter textures. The finish is long and robust

T - A great roasted malt and sweet caramel wrapped in cocoa flavor initially. The mildness of the roasted taste comes w/ a light creamy vanilla taste an the malt has bitterness like very dark cocoa and spiced complexity in the yeast. The flavor fades into a hop + citrus peel flavor toward the middle and light toffee-like buttery taste is noted under the dark cocoa. The flavor has a mild tang of tangerine peel, but really have to look hard as the alcohol and oak combined with dark rich malty flavors give you a lot of complexity and becomes almost overwhelming mid-bottle. The taste does have similarity to baked brownie w/ light pepper and mild stone fruit - like cherry w/ a light coconut tinge and mellow woody hop accent

D - This porter has a good deal of complexity, a tasty Vertical Epic -9-9-09 is both spicy and malty w/ a subdued alcohol flavor. It is nice to see a dark brew come out after many light and hoppy Vertical epics. This is very drinkable, a tasty imperial porter-kudos!

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with one finger of tan head that lasts for several minutes and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of toasted malts, roasted malts, chocolate, bready malts, and a little smokey.

t - Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, smoke, toasted malts, hints of fruit and coffee.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent beer but smelled and tasted more like a porter to me. Didn't really get much Beglian spice/yeast or fruits at all. Have another bottle I'll hold onto until 2012.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.18/5  rDev +3%
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 orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

My first VE (sadly). It pours a nearly completely opaque dark brown capped by over a finger of thick tan foam. The nose comprises figs, oak, rye bread, nutmeg, dark fruits, wheat, walnuts, and roasted malts. The taste holds notes of everything listed above, along with some bits of hoppy bitterness, raisins, and an increased oak influence. The body is a hefty medium, with light carbonation and a thick, semi-chewy feel. Overall, a pretty solid offering, but not as good as I was expecting.

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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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