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
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Ratings: 867 |  Reviews: 537
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.

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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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Pours a very dark brown, almost appearing to be black until you give it a closer inspection. On top of that sits a thick light brown head which unfortunately turns into a thin film rather quickly. it does leave behind sheets of sticky tan lacing.

Roasted malt along with a bit of chocolate make up the aroma. Not especially complex in this regard, yet still rather inviting.

Tasted also of malts and chocolate, with somewhat of a root beer quality in the background. I was quite pleased that this beer didn't lean heavily in the coffee flavor department as so many brews of this style do. The alcohol is very well integrated and you feel it rather than taste it.

Mouthfeel was good but not great. Slightly thinner than I'd like in a beer of this type, yet it did go down smooth.

Overall this beer was pleasant to drink, but didn't knock my socks off. I might buy another bottle just to put away for a while and see if it matures and develops over time.

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

A - This beer poured a black color that produced a fluffy tan head which had great retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer were very complex, roasted malts, vanilla, bitter chocolate, sour citrus, and Belgian yeast

T - The taste of this beer was just as complex as the nose, roasted malts and bitter chocolate, vanilla, a subtle note of sour tangerine and finish with the dominate Belgian yeast

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body and a light to moderate amount of carbonation

D - This beer was one of the most unique and flavorful beer that I have ever had, if I had to describe this to someone it would be a Belgian Porter

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Photo of photomike
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of mwa423
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- It's that time of year again so time to pick up the new VE. Pours like a heavily carbonated imperial stout, jet black and some dark tan head.

S- Roasted malt some belgian yeast with mild hints of smoke

T- Starts with the malt forward flavor of an imperial stout with hints of coriander and an aftertaste of smoke.

M/D - The mouthfeel is very rich coating the mouth and tongue. I would call this as drinkable as you get with any imperial stout or smoked porter. I really could have done without the smoke.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of jgasparine
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured with a 3/4" rocky tan head, which was exceptionally well-retained. Beautiful lacing throughout. The body was a dark opaque brown... almost black. Just beautiful to look at.

S- Smells Belgian... I'm getting Belgian yeast and candy sugar off the nose. It's sufficiently roasty and spicy (nutmeg?). I also conjure up memories of Torrone Italian nougat candy when sniffing this beer. Smells absolutely delicious!

T- Big and malty up front with substantial burnt candy sugar flavor... this sweetness is wonderfully balanced with dryness that seems to come more from spices than hops (strangely). The particular spice is hard to identify... it's somewhat like nutmeg. A friend suggested "Allspice"... but I cannot identify with this spice- I've never smelled it alone. Once this sublime sip is swallowed, you're rewarded with a long, spicy and dry finish. Amazing!

M- Thick and firm with tons of unattenuated sugar and lots of soft carbonation... wonderfully textured and very chewy! Again, this is just a pleasure to be sipping!

D- What's not drinkable about this beer? Nothing I suppose! This is my first Vertical Epic (and hopefully not my last). What a treat!

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What the f to open? Yes, sure, why not? Not even sure if I've had a taste of this creature before.
When it pours black, I yearn for comfort. There is no quarter to be found here, the rockiness of black ice on the mountain.
Roast and wood astringency with some bitter chocolate up front and through and through. There is some dark fruited malt and orange peel somewhere in the middle of the beverage, but it fades out again and gives way to the sledge of the bitter chocolate, lasting eternally. Much more stout quality than BSDA, and it is a quality belgian imperial stout. A little less "epic" than Weyerbacher 13 or Black Albert, sure, but damn fine, and certainly will hold up well through the vertical and beyond.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance- dark black with beautiful tan head that nicely fades and disipates away,

Smell- delicious smell of sweet malts, plenty of chocolate, roasted notes, slight smokiness,little bit of citrus,

taste- very beautifully flavored beer, very sweet and malty but yet still has good firm bitter astringcy that long lingers on the finish, the finish is very long and beautifully integrated, get a slight oakiness and definite smokiness as well, no alcohol to be noticed what so ever, definite slight chocolate notes and roasted malts, can still notice the unique belgian kind of flavor still kind of there but with a beautiful bitterness to it to, what i love about this flavor on top of the long finish is just how the bitterness and sweetness are waging a battle on your palate, such balance,

Mouthfeel- Smooth slick and overall light to medium bodied, not overwhelming, but nice and soft

Drinkability- what can i say I really love this beer, its very porter like yet still has that little twinge of a belgian style beer, but this is certainly a unique american interpertation you would probably only get from someone like stone, I gotta say i really love stone and they havent disappointed me here at all, I bought a few extra to see how they are with some age as that bitterness maybe softens up a bit, beer just seems to me like would be a beautiful pair with a nice smokey bbq meal but for now ill savior sipping it on its own, cheers to stone !

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Photo of sitarist
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep plum color, a shade away from black, almost opaque. The head is an inch thick and falls quickly to a ring consisting of huge bubbles that leave some decent lacing.

The smell of this beer is wonderful and inviting. The first thing you smell is chocolate, its a sweet chocolate, there are some sweet fruit scents as well (banana, grapes, and a hint of citrus).

It taste wine-like to me, it has fruity flavor, with faint hints of coco. The hops add a tannin like bitterness. This could use some time for the flavors to marry.

Medium body that packs a punch, its dry and has an almost astringent finish.

The drinkability is high and they don't even recommend opening this beer until at least 12-12-12.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle, split.

A: Thick oily black with a cappuccino head. Really nice lacing on this.

N: Cocoa, licorice, oxidation, char, anise, some cola and vanilla.

T: Very bitter with a balancing touch of sweetness. Heavy on the oak and hops. Hints of oxidation. Pretty nice.

M: Thick and oily. Has a full mouthfeel.

O: One of my favorites of the series. Has aged well at approximately 3 years old. More of a hoppy stout to my palate.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

07/13/10- Had this one on-tap at Bodega.
A: Black with a thin ruby hue and good tan lacing but not a lot of head.
S: Roasted cocoa beans, sweet caramel, banana alcohol, raisins, brown sugar, oats, and very welcoming.
T: Roasted chocolate over molasses with raisins, banana, cherry, and lingering roasted malt.
M: Mildly frothy and slightly sticky.
D: Very good.

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Photo of ajtorres311
2.75/5  rDev -32.3%

Photo of thegodfather2701
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Very dark, but not pitch black. Tan head that dissipates quickly, but leaves some lacing.

S-Clove, banana, some moderate spiciness. Smells similar to a Belgian beer.

T-Clove, dark bitter chocolate, coffee, metalic, and some Belgian spiciness. This is one of the most unique tasting beers I've ever had.

M-Thin and carbonated.

D-Pretty drinkable even given its high abv.

Overall, I was dissapointed with this beer. I was expecting something richer, thicker, and more complex.

 481 characters

Photo of EFR94
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

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