Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
867 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:
867
Reviews:
537
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
278
For Trade:
15
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 867 |  Reviews: 537
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 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 ClePaul
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of taigor
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 8oz glass.

A - Poured jet black non-transparent color with high ruby frosty head that slowly dissipated leaving average amount of lacing around the glass.

S - Malts, coffee and chocolate scents. Very complex.

T - Slightly sweet to start with and tons of roasted malts with a coffee, dark chocolate bitter finish.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation.

D - Definitely a sipper but very enjoyable. Looks and tastes more like RIS instead of Strong Dark Ale. Highly recommend it if you can get it.

 512 characters

Photo of Magpie14
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: wow, is this really a Belgian Dark? I poured this in low lights and I was convinced this was a mild mannered stout. The pour was rather lethargic with a muddy brown complexion. After examining my glass with a better light source I found no transparency apparent. Pretty much an inky brew. A nice dirty gold colored head fluffed up and dissolved away leaving some remnants glued to the glass

S: sweet chocolate malts with a light kiss of fruitiness, most notably oranges. My nose also gathered a faint whiff of fresh baked grainy breads with some grassy hops. That fruitiness has a bubblegum depth to it

T: this is an admirably complex brew. Judging by the bodies hue and from what I smelled, the flavors are pretty dark as guessed. At first sip, the maltiness pairs with a burnt bread-like character, somewhat of a rugged baked dry yeasty character. This mainstay flavor is augmented by a light bakers chocolate character. And then, on the other hand, you have some spicy mellow dark fruit characters with a hop presence all its own working about. The hops are more or less grassy and florally

However, the overall profile is just kind of clammy and dark, if that makes sense. Things are briefly bitter after each sip and then a battle of chocolate and spices pursue the tongue. Warming proves to accentuate flavors in a good-natured way with alcohol unfortunately popping up

M: a medium to full body makes things pretty smooth. Carbonation is in the tongue tickler category, maybe a bit strong for how fat the body is. I always associate most Belgians as fuzzy or full of life, this one is doing moderate work during my consumption

D: wow, a rather interesting complex beer. I was assuming a usual Belgian type of beer when I bought it. I guess what surprised me the most was the girth of the beer, which is a good surprise. This baby drinks good and I might try to grab another before the next one rolls around, better make work of that soon

 1,952 characters

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

 930 characters

Photo of danielharper
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
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).

 882 characters

Photo of Anthony1
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark brown color with good carbonation and a tannish head. Nose is spice, light on alcohol, vanilla, cocoa and a belgian yeast strain with some hops. Taste is so nice with cinnamon, spice, some citrus, bitter chocolate, tobacco..alot going on yet balanced ad the ABV is well hidden. Mouthfeel is nice, not to hefty or alcoholic but thought it would have been a little creamier. The spice, cocoa showed through.

 424 characters

Photo of switzer
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Photo of cratez
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The last beer from a ridiculous haul purchased by my girlfriend at Beer World in Largo, Florida. Pours an opaque black with a thin ring of mocha tan head and threads of lacing on the snifter. Smell and taste are floral hops, vanilla beans, oak barrel, sweet dried fruit, roasted and chocolate malts, biscuit, strong bitterness, and a touch of alcohol. I get some orange peel on the nose, but not in the flavour. Mouthfeel is medium, spicy, a bit hollow, sharp carbonation, chalky and dry finish. The bold, citrusy IBUs do not complement the old ale elements in this beer. It drinks like a stale and boozy porter with IPA bitterness. Not a BSDA by any stretch of the imagination. I never thought I'd be disappointed with a Stone beer, but this one doesn't do it for me.

 768 characters

Photo of Casey10
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice beer can't wait to see how this one tastes in a couple of years.

A - pours very dark with a very brown head with nice lacing. As others have noted reminds me of a stout. Very nice though

S - faint notes of chocolate other faint spices as well.

T - good although well definately have to follow up with a review after ageing. Light chocolate, after warming up can definately taste the Belgian spices which gives it a slight banana like taste in the background.

M - Creamy again feel of the Belgian spice is there slight banana stings a bit as well.

D - I really liked this looking forward to seeing what some ageing will do to this.

 645 characters

Photo of RyanGoodman
5/5  rDev +23.2%

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

My first Vertical Epic and it does not disappoint. Pours a dark black with a nice foamy head that recalls a porter or a stout. Aroma is chocolatey but with a lot of hops mixed in. Some Belgian sugars in there with an almost earthen-like aroma. Very porter-like in taste but also very wood-aged, oaky taste is there before a nice spicy bitterness takes over. Also finishes very dry, like some porters. Finish is smooth but bitter.

A lot of things to like here, sort of a hoppy, Belgian porter-like brew here. Might have to set down a bottle for a while to see how it changes.

 575 characters

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
4.06 out of 5 based on 867 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe