09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
870 Ratings
09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 870 |  Reviews: 538
Photo of silentjay
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours like a stout. almost black color with a decent sized tan head that quickly recedes, but leaves tons of sticky lacing on the glass.

aroma is that of a belgian dubbel. very fruity. figs, raisins, dates, dark berries. also lots of molasses. some chocolate and citrus in there as well.

taste is in between the two, not far from a "belgian stout" such as Weyerbacher Tiny or Alagash Black. roastiness that didnt present itself in the aroma comes through first. Fruitiness is there, but not as strong as in the aroma, and has a bit of a lighter fruit flavor (citrus, apple, pear, banana) added to the darker fruits. Chocolate is sweet, not bitter. Very nice.

medium-full bodied with ample carbonation and a dry chalky finish with some chocolate remaining in the back of the mouth.

goes down rather well. 8.6% ABV is already well integrated, even though this is intended to be aged for another 2 years. lots of flavor and a pleasant beer. Will pick another up to age correctly.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into 300mL Krusovice chalice.

Appearance: Very, very dark black color with a large, thick brown head that dissipates fairly slowly and leaves behind a thick ring of lace.

Smell: Rich chocolate malt with vanilla notes and slight hop spice.

Taste: Starts chocolatey with a vanilla backbone, finishing with roasted chocolate notes with vanilla and citrus hints.

Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth body with light carbonation and a very thick finish that dries out. Warming alcohol.

Drinkability: This is a very good beer, and tastes like it would be perfect for again- maybe I'll pick up a bottle for that purpose. Aged or not, this is very tasty and should be had.

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Photo of Liverpool08
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a DARK brown with a hint of red. Small tan/mocha colred head. Nice aroma, dark cherries and dried fruits. Taste is roasted malt with hints of cocoa, backed up by dark cherries and more roasted coffe notes. A very interesting brew. At first it has that dark Belgian Ale flavor, but then it almost morphs into a nice malty porter. Very good. The only thing I didn't like was the mouthfeel was a little syrupy. Flat at first and then a little thick. But its not enough to prevent the enjoyment. Definately worth stocking up on, especially a 7.95$ a bomber.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
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 dpcoz
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Originally Reviewed on 05/01/2010)

Stone vertical epic - 09/09/09 release

$8 (Pinocchio's beer garden)
Glass - yuengling black & tan pint glass
1 pt 6 fl oz

A - licorice black, no light passing through. Alabaster head that dissapates quickly.

S - mocha, cocoa, vanilla and citrusy hops. Belgian-like yeast recognizable. I think I sense some caramel as well. Nice aroma, add it to my 'candle scent series'. Belgian aspects give it that 'banana bread' aroma

T - deep roasted malts first recognizable flavor - nice combination of coffe and dark cocoa. Dark fruits, maybe vanilla. Carmel is present, coats the mouth well

M - medium to full body, not very hoppy, decent carbonation, chalky but the flavor does stay with you. Warming.

D - hey, it's a stone's product. Not one of their monster hop products but full of flavor as expected from stone. Good drink worthy of storing for a year or two or 2012 as recommended by the brewery. I will likely buy another and find the strength to store it until 2012

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Photo of Phelps
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks: I was worried at first because the bottle released such a pitiful hiss of air when I removed the cap, I thought it might've gone flat. But, my fears were unfounded -- a bubbly, cappuccino-colored head rises to cap the liquid as I pour. The beer below is of the deepest purple, revealing cranberry highlights when held to a lamp. The head, now a simple but persistent ring, grips the sides of the glass tightly, leaving layers of lace.

Smells: interesting. Lots and lots of milk chocolate, sweet orange juice, plums, red wine, oak, and a hint of bananas.

Tastes: like a porter with Belgian yeast. A slight metallic tinge. Heavily roasted grains impart a chocolate char, while a surge of dark fruit sweetness hits at the swallow, while waves of chocolate and hop bitterness wash across the mouth in the aftermath. The bright flavors of orange peel, paired with the chocolate, are really working here. I'm still getting the faintest bit of grassy hops and even a little bit of vanilla and oak.

Feels: lightly carbonated, medium body, smooth. Love the way this rolls about the mouth. A slight warmth flows down the throat and warms the chest.

Drinks: Nearly a year of age seems to have done a bit of melding to this beer, and all the flavors seem to be in great balance. The sweetness never gets cloying; the bitterness never gets overpowering. Good across the board. I'm interested to see if the subtle fruit flavors remain when I open my second bottle in 2012.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

A- pours jet black with a paper thin brown colored head which fades quickly. No lacing.

S- getting a lot of dark cherries and chocolate, with a good bit of booziness in there too. Smells ridiculously powerful.

T- I'm getting a lot of VERY bitter chocolate. Some booziness...hints of cherries and dark fruits...its nice. Not outstanding

M- feel is really good. Carbonation is nice, has a decent thickness to it.

D- definitely a sipper, and the bitterness makes it even more so...but its very, very tasty. Yummy

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.44/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours a black color without much highlighting visible. Fluffy brown foam has decent retention and lacing. Neither great looking, nor has any negatives either.

Belgian trappist-like yeast greets the nose with maybe some cloves, cinnamon and cardamom spices. Chocolate maltiness is there and the hops are rather restrained for a Stone brew.

Can definitely taste some spices in here, kind of clovey and sweet cinnamon-sugar. Yeast does not seem overly estery and had some breadiness. Malts lean towards baking cocoa and a little roasty. Drinking really smooth right now, couldnt imagine it improving too much with some age as it is delicious right now. Bittering hops are in there and give it kind of an earthy, dusty grab on the finish. Just the right amount of sweetness. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer - more than I thought I would actually, and would love to snag a bottle or two more. Solid 'A' in my book...well done Stone.

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed this one on tap last fall a couple times. Interested to see how this compares.

A: Deep black with a thin tan head that retreats to a light collar.

S: Initial alcohol burn followed by anise, coffee, oak, orange peel and a little chocolate. Lots there to enjoy, although the strong ethanol detracts somewhat.

T: Burnt chocolate malt, licorice, bitter coffee grounds and woodieness, with a little vanilla attempting to pull it together. Long bitter finish with a definite alcohol bite. A little sweetness in there with all that bitterness and roasted flavor. Complex, but harsh.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

This was much better on tap for me when I could pick out more of what I got in the smell in the flavor. This is kind of rough and hot right now (a la Stone RIS). No clue how it will turn out down the road.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found one last bottle of this hiding in the bottom of a cooler at a little tiny, overlooked carry out. Unfortunately I dont really have the space or the means to age this one until 12.12.12 so Im cracking it now. Perhaps I will come across another one of these for cellaring in the near future.

A- Deep black with a patchy, cocoa colored froth on top.

S- This totally should warm up to get the full effect. Its very rich and complex. Raw cocoa, vanilla beans, a touch of coffee and spicy yeast.

T- Lots more raw chocolate thats actually quite bitter. Lots of spice, earth and yeast. There is a touch of bitter espresso. The tangerine peel comes around, but just slightly and it seems to get tied up in the spice from the yeast. The beer leaves you with lots of tobacco and bitter citrus.

M- Nearly full body with a pretty darn dry finish.

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drizzam, You're aaalright.

A - Dark as the night with a thick medium to dark brown frothy, long-lived head. This is not a brew for the meek.

S - Fantastically long roasted malts with great aromas of smoke and oak.

T - This is a great tasting beer with burnt flavors of pork and crispy campfire that has burned through a misty night of mid july. The humidity brings a uniques flavor not found in any beer I've ever before enjoyed. The chocolote too is nothing short of strong in the flavor.

M - Smooth and easy going considering the complexity this brew holds.

~ This one I would definitely have again. I'd say this is something I would enjoy every month or so in order to really smooth an edge.

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Photo of brentk56
4.07/5  rDev 0%
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

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Photo of Krevee
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank: 24 June, 2010 @ My Home
Serving Type / Glass: 22 oz bottle / Bruery tulip
Vintage: N/A
Price: $
From Notes: Y

A - Dark brown with a small beige head. And a small amount of lacing.

S- Belgian yeast. Sweet caramel. Roasted malts. Chocolate and several fruits including citrus.

T - Similar to smell. The flavor is dark chocolate and roasted malts upfront. Some molasses and bread comes through along with Belgian yeast flavor. In the middle there is lots of fruit flavors; some orange along with other citrus flavors. There is vanilla and a slight oak flavor present throughout. Finishes with a mixture of light bitterness and roast, along with that there is a slight alcohol burn, but is not some much as to be unpleasant.

M - Medium bodied and quite Smooth. Normal amount of carbonation.

D - Pretty easy drink. Not as good as the 07 in the series. But another pretty good entry in the Vertical Epic series for stone. Not my favorite but not bad by any stretch of the imagination, and I will definitely be drinking more of these.

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Photo of Vengeance526
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a moderately sized dark tan head that holds up well and leaves a good bit of lacing.

Smells of chocolate and dark fruits all around.

Taste starts with dried fruits, raisins and rig are very prominent. Some dark cherries with nutmeg and cinnamon follow and the finish reveals a hint of dark chocolate.

Medium to full body with moderate carbonation. Overall, not as exciting as I had hoped but still enjoyable. Great to try but I'm not too interested in having again until it has enough age on it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
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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Photo of NealVsBeer
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown, with slight head upon pouring and nice lace afterwards

S - Can really smell the chocolate malt, also hints of citrus

T - Malty, smooth and chocolatey, slight alcohol taste at the end

M - Rich and smooth on the palate

D - Very drinkable, at 8.9% I may be able to drink more than 1 but I don't see the point

This is overall a fantastic beer. Rich, smooth, and chocolately this is a terrific dessert beer.

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Photo of larryi86
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a snifter

A- A nice dark brown/black with a dark tan three finger head.

S- Malts, dark chocolate, with hints of different fruit ranging from citrus to dark fruits.

T- A rich roasted chocolate taste that surrounds a Belgian Ale with different fruit hints that remind of cherries and oranges.

M- Heavy, but not as heavy as it looks, and a little chewy

D- This is a unique and complex beer that is worth trying. Looking to get a few more while they are easy to find and let them age.

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Photo of BeerPig317
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a double deuce in a pint glass.

A-Nice dark brown/black; 1st pour was too cold and head didn't stand up. After that, nice thick dark tan head.

S- Not as aromatic as I thought it would be considering the taste. Very interesting smell(s), roasted malts, undefined sweetness, some alcohol, still pleasent.

T- This drank great, many different feelings and tastes from beginning to end; light chocolate, roasted malt, fig or prune, maybe black cherry, some honey or molasses, as it got further back, some bitterness from hops and malts, with a mild alcohol taste along the back sides of the tongue.

M- See above; real easy to drink, especially as it got warmer. Lightly carbonated, as not to make it harsh to drink. Finishes clean with a slight bittersweet ending that lingers. I definately could drink more, it asks you to, as it changes in complexity.

D- I really enjoyed this beer, and I drank the whole thing myself. It drinks better as it gets warmer. I have a feeling that this will hold up and deliver over the next few years. I hope I have enough to get me to 12/12/12.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A very nice dark brown looking beer with a pretty big tan head. Nice retention with a decent amount of thin lacing.

S - A lot of chocolate and molasses. Dark fruit, bitter roasted malts.

T - I was nicely surprised by this drink. The cocoa is very prominent, and the fruit tasted ended up being a nice cherry flavor. Almost a chocolate covered cherry taste that was quite enjoyable. A little bit of roasted/bitter malts on the finish, that complimented quite nicely.

M - Heavier end of medium bodied with moderate carbonation that worked well.

D - Highly enjoyed and drank it quite easily, though it did seem to be a higher alcohol beer than it was, knocking this score down just a little bit.

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Photo of levifunk
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sample poured from a 22oz bomber

a - dark black, thick. tan head.

s - chocolate, dark fruit, some booze.

t - prunes, cocoa. spices and some fruitiness. sweet.

m - med/thick body. good carbonation.

o - tasty beer. very drinkable. rich flavor, so its probably best split with a friend.

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Photo of klikger
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

4 oz pour into a standard pint glass

A - Dark brown, small white head, and quality lacing

S - Honey, roasted grains

T - Medium-roast malt, vanilla, and smoke. It's not too bitter nor too sweet, which lets one concentrate on the interesting combo of flavors.

M - Medium-heavy and a bit hot

D - Middle of the pack. This is good, but I doubt that I'd want a bomber to myself.

Enjoyable beer here. It didn't blow me away, but the variety of flavors kept me intrigued.

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Photo of DanOLeary
4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Grainy and slightly roasted barley malt with some herbal wood character as well. Alcohol spices float around the glass with some dark fruit, though these lean mostly toward dark cherry. No hop aroma. Oddly there seems to be a phenolic yeast presence that comes off as dark bread. While the aroma's are complex, they are generally light all around.

Appearance: Pours a thick black with a prominent nut brown head. Excellent head retention, holding well with about half a finger width. Light lacing.

Flavor: Heavy dark chocolate melted into molasses. Alcohol pulls the malt sweetness back and bites the top of the mouth with more spice than I expected from an 8.9% ABV brew. Dark cherries back again, bitter chocolate nibs accompanied by an earthy and drying hop bitterness toward the finish. Finish is drying at the back of the throat with a lingering heavy roast throughout the palate.

Mouthfeel: Full body with light carbonation. You can practically chew on the malt in this beer, and while the sweetness lingers somewhat there's enough alcohol and hop bitterness to clean the palate out in the finish. Carbonation is quite light, but no more is needed because the malt speaks for itself.

Overall: Given the complexity of the flavor profile in this beer I am a little surprised at the faintness in aroma. Yes there is a lot going on in the nose as well, but you really have to look for it. Nothing jumps out overall there. Beer snobbery aside on the aroma, this is a fantastic demonstration of a full bodied beer with complexity in flavor so deep I feel it exceeds my vocabulary. Everything balanced, nothing over powering. Where many "Big" beers seem to fall short on mouthfeel, this one exceeds expectations.

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Photo of Darien
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass and quickly built up a nice 3 finger think dark tan head, very dark brown color like a Porter. Smells lightly roasted and nutty with some type of citrus smell (odd). Tastes of toasted caramel upfront with sort of a piney citrusy aftertaste, these flavors don't mesh well together in my opinion. Mouthfeel is very smooth and light to medium, just looking at this beer in the glass I expected it to be heavier but it's still nice. Very easy to drink but nothing really stands out to me and the citrus aftertaste I could do without. A good beer overall though.

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Photo of chaz01
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Good sized (4-5 ounce) pour at a Stone Vertical Tasting Event sponsored by Belmont Party Supplies on 5/12/2010, served in a very cool Stone Vertical Epic tasting glass.

A: Very dark and thick and rich looking with a full foamy tan head.

S: Vanilla bean and orange/tangerine notes in the aroma.

T: Vanilla and tangerine are easily detected in this yummy brew and they combine nicely together. In addition, woody oak flavor, roasted malts and chocolate notes detected.

M: Medium bodied, very well carbonated.

D: Perhaps my favorite in the series so far, along with the 05.05.05. Picked up a few bottles, but the beer works really well right now. Would pair nicely with a grilled steak or pork chops.

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Photo of armock
3.11/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a very dark brown color with a tan head that fades to just a thin layer quickly and leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off chocolate with some spices

T - This is a little bit of a let down its like drinking a home brew version of the style theres roasted malt with some spice and alcohol

M - This beer has a medium full body with medium carbonation to it

D - To me this is kinda hard to drink its like a bottle of home brew that has some weird flavors in it that just don't make it enjoyable I usually like just about everything from stone but this one isn't that good to me

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09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 870 ratings