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 KiMiRaiK
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

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

A: Pours a slightly viscous texture into my glass. The color is jet black. With a pour right down the middle, I get a beautiful frothy inch of creamy, dark head that is perched majestically on top of my beer, just a touch below the rim of the glass. Lacing is delicate and wispy.

S: A very complex marriage of aromas emanates from my beer. I can make out definite notes of chocolate and citrus, no surprise from what Stone told us about the style. However, there is much more as well. An almost barrel-aged vanilla character is also present, and the spicy flavors of the Belgian yeasts that have become a staple of this line pour forth.

T: Chocolate, vanilla bean, and a light mild citrus flavor that seems more like tangerine than orange provide the first impression. These three give way to the yeasty spice from the Belgian yeasts and the piney hops that are a go-to for Stone. The chocolate comes back in the finish providing a very nice balance for this beer. This is phenomenal now. I can't wait to try it aged.

M/D: The feel is smooth and resinous. Very little carbonation is present. The texture is very thick. I can't really imagine having more than one of these in one night, but I am very happy that I grabbed 2 cases of this!

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Photo of waltonc
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been looking forward to trying this after reading all of the feverish praise on the forums. Pours very dark brown to black in color with robust tan head. Smells of charred malts, porter-like, with an orange-peel twist. Taste is more of the charred malt, chocolate, strong orange presence, reminds me a bit of Von Diemen black saison. A tad of vanilla and coffee here as well. Flavor is somewhat bitter. Medium thickness, fairly high carbonation. Interesting brew, but it doesn't entice me to finish the whole bomber, making this a partial drainpour given the unnecessary 22 oz bottling. Why, other than the fact that prior VE entries have been in bombers, is this in a bomber?

 681 characters

Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of brywhite
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of obywan59
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/21/2010

I went into Kroger tonight intending to get 2 10.10.10s and didn't realize that one row was still the 09s. Lucky break. I had tried this several times, but never reviewed it.

Pours darkly into my Duvel tulip, with a 1 to 1 1/2 finger tan head that recedes rather quickly to a ring around th4 glass and slight haze over the surface of the beer. Good lacing.

A wonderfully fruity, chocolaty aroma reminiscent of cheesecake. A nicely sweet Belgian aroma.

A bit of sweetness, but nearly overpowered by the bitterness. Tastes of bitter chocolate, burnt malt, and a hint of coffee. I get no hops--unusual for a Stone brew. The malts reign supreme.

Medium-bodied. Just slightly sticky. Nice warming alcohol burn in the throat.

A good drinker, but the ABV slows you down.

I took no notes, but I seem to remember this being sweeter before. Like my last homebrew (a Baltic Porter) it seems to be less sweet, more bitter, and more Kick-Ass, now.

03/21/13

This time around, I get a 4 finger tight, tan colored head that becomes chunky as it recedes, leaving some magnificent lacing. The body is black with no highlights.

Overall, the aroma reminds me of chocolate milk. Still, I can almost get my original impression of cheesecake. Hints of vanilla, chocolate, and oak, with tropical fruits and spice.

Light sweet malt upfront, but soon followed by bitter chocolate and roasted flavors. A hint of coffee, and some tart citrus aspects as well. A bit of dark molasses and vanilla shine through. Caramel and oak in the finish.

I call it medium-thick this time around. Moderate syrup becoming drying in the end. Light warming alcohol in the throat.

Not only does this beer smell like chocolate milk, but the thick tan head acturally looks like frothy chocolate milk. I think both the bitterness and the alcohol have mellowed in the two years and four months since I first reviewed this. Unlike the "08, this beer has improved, I believe it's a better beer now. I've knocked the taste up to a 4.5 from a 4.0. This is an elegant brew. Nothing harsh about it. I wish I'd saved more. I guess I'll have to brew it myself.

With 3 more of the series to resample, I'm saying this is likely the best brew of the the VEs I've tried (2007-2012)

 2,242 characters

Photo of bluesplit63
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of kegger22
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a moderate head that faded to fat collar. The aroma was coffee and chocolate. The taste closely followed the aroma, chocolate and coffee. I had also heard rumors of chocolate covered oranges and I thought that would have been interesting, but I couldn't find the oranges in aroma or flavor. The feel was medium bodied with a reasonable, not overwhelming, amount of carbonation. Drinkability was good. Overall, this is not a typical BSDA, and I am a little disappointed with 09.09.09. I was really looking forward to the rumored marriage of oranges and chocolate. However, I am going to buy two more bottles and cellar for 1 year and 2 years. Based on the fresh taste, I'm pretty sure I can wait.

BTW, the 4.0 might be a little generous for taste.

 773 characters

Photo of ROBSTARR
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of mikey711
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I guess it is pretty fitting to enjoy this beer today.

It a very dark brown that cannot be seen through with a big tan two finger thick head. The head is very lacing, taking plenty of time to simmer.

S: Chocolate vanilla, some wheat perhaps, roastiness, fruitiness. Many things going on at once.

T: The first sip was quite a surprise. While there are alot of different aromas, it wasn't all that intense. This however was a bit like a punch in the face with big bold flavors of coffee, chocolate, vanilla. There is a nice bittern roastiness in the back ground and some fruitiness to go along with it.

M: Pretty hot. This one was fun to try but needs some time to mature. The flavors are very intense at this point.

D: I wish I had someone to share this with.

Overall, I think this was a very young beer that clearly needs more time to mellow out.

 854 characters

Photo of berley31
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a tan, moderate-large head that had tight bubbles. Creamy, thick, and long-lasting. Body is jet-black and opaque. Not as much lacing left behind as I would have thought.

S: Dark fruit, milk chocolate, hints of vanilla, and maybe even a touch of citrus in there, too.

T: As complex, if not more so, as the aroma. Chocolatey, with dark fruit. Slight roasted flavor in the finish. When held in the mouth, a touch of orange is apparent, but only slightly so.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium-bodied.

D: An extremely complex BSDA; I was very impressed. Wish I could get my hands on more of this!

 609 characters

Photo of jp312
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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

I kept this bottle in the fridge at 40-ish for the past year. poured into a snifter.

Wow, very frothy head. looks great, large bubbles, very dark with some browning around the edges.

Im surprised i don't notice any orange on the nose or tongue, but i would believe it has faded out by now, at the 13 month mark. This is such a smooth creamy milk chocolate powered beer, almost all those words were taken to the max with this one, but the chocolate never gets cloying like some other chocolate beers, such smooth creamy chocolate that ends with a light espresso kiss to keep it from going over board on sweetness.

I had 2 bottles, now i have one that i'll save for the end, i would have grabbed more had i tasted one right away. great stuff.

 743 characters

Photo of dtx00
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of diamondlie
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%

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

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 22 oz. bottle served in a Duvel tulip. Poured a deep black with a bit more than a finger of tan head. Nice aroma of chocolate and a bit of licorice. Medium bodied and rich. Flavor has more chocolate. Some fruity Belgian yeasty flavors as well. Bitterness from hops and maybe some from chocolate as well. Long dry finish of chocolate malt. A little spice as well. This seems more age worthy than the last couple of VE editions. Unique and interesting beer.

 488 characters

Photo of ClePaul
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

My first sampling of the Vertical Epic series from Stone. I definitely like the idea, but unfortunately the oldest VE I have in my cellar is the '08, which I was able to pick up at the same time as the '09. I guess I'll just have a somewhat stunted vertical, but even four Stone beers in a row is a tasty treat.

Poured this guy into a wide tulip glass. Very dark in color with a foamy, chocolaty head that leaves silky lacing along the sides of the glass.

I'm getting a lot of bready malt notes on the nose. Some roasty ones too and a bit of fruity esters. Interesting.

Speaking of interesting, I feel like I'm drinking this beer through two slices of whole wheat bread. Lots of bread, but beyond that is a fairly complex flavor. I'm picking up on some chocolate malts, a bit of roastiness again. Also, the finish contains some fruitiness, maybe even a hint of orange peel and then some warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth, which helps make this ale pretty drinkable. I'm splitting this bomber with another BA at the moment, but I could also enjoy drinking the entire thing over the course of the evening.

Overall, this is my first VE and I'm definitely digging it. Not the most stand out beer by Stone, but a still a very good one. Glad I have another aging in the cellar.

 1,297 characters

Photo of seand
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours black, white a generous amount of foamy dark tan head. Retains a layer pretty well, and leaves nice lacing. Looks like an imperial stout.

S: Roasted malts, and spices.

T: Complex, and subtly different than any stout or belgian dark I've had before; somewhere in the middle, yet with its own twist. Sweet roasted malts leading into a coffee like bitter finish, with a component of interesting spices.

M: Low carbonation, smooth, very full bodied.

D: Need to go slow to get the flavor, and due to the ABV.

I have a hard time explaining this beer very well, since it's got some things going on that I don't think I've ever tasted in a beer before, yet it's also not that far off of a more traditional stout or Belgian dark. It's also nothing like any other Stone beer I've tried (though I've not had any other Epic).

 827 characters

Photo of mountdew1
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark opaque brown, with a 1 finger light brown head. The head lasted for a long time, and clung to the sides well. Aroma reminded me of a chocolate stout. Small amounts of bitterness and burnt spiciness were also evident. Taste was a sweet slightly bitter milk chocolate, with a bit of white bread/all purpose flour in the end. Felt a bit off in the mouth. It was slightly dry, otherwise coated well and felt good. Surprisingly easy to drink, went down way faster than it should have.

 532 characters

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

(From notes)

A - Rich tan head; great retention and curtains of lacing; deep mahogany brown color; quite dense

S - Yeasty; woody; dark fruits; and only a hint of sweetness from the malt

T - Chocolately at first; dark grape/fruit flavors; richly malty; bit bittersweet and roasted; dry finish

M - Medium MF; creamier; subtle and soft carbonation

D - Good, and pretty quaffable given the overall heft; tasty and interesting

Overall, very enjoyable and interesting, but still accessible.

 490 characters

Photo of sailorastro
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of bradfordjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of DRTBrewster
4/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

 567 characters

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