Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
BA SCORE
84.8%
Liked This Beer
4.08 w/ 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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
538
Ratings:
868
Liked:
736
Avg:
4.08/5
pDev:
10.54%
Alströms:
4.25
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
276
Trade:
15
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 868 |  Reviews: 538
Photo of curasowa
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just bought two bombers of this - one for now and one to cellar. Pours a dark, almost black color with 1 finger of creamy, brown head that faded slowely. Smells strongly of roasted malt and coffee grinds. The dominate flavor is dark roasted malt, with hints of caramel and vanilla. The texture is rich and creamy and coasts your mouth in deliciousness. The finish is bitter and lingering. This beer almost reminds me of a stout rather than a Belgian Dark. Regardless of style, the balance is very good and I can't wait to try the other bottle after it has mellowed for a few years.

 581 characters

Photo of thegodfather2701
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
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 Brad007
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color with a brown two-finger head into my fluted glass. The head fades down, leaving some lacing.

Aroma is full of roastiness with a bit of cream and and chocolate showing through. Seems enough like a stout, though it's not categorized as one.

Taste is what sets this apart from a stout. It's strong with candi sugar, chocolate, cream and dark fruits as the primary tastes. Just a bit of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering flavors as mentioned above but the roastiness lingers along with a bit of cream. Only minimal alcohol heat and carbonation seems right.

Very good and probably better fresh. I've had 08.08.08 and 07.07.07 and I'd say that this year's version is better than both.

 718 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Cole's. Chocolate quad. Very dark Belgian chocolate brown with thick lace. Full mouthfeel. Thick lace follows. Fruity, a sipper, there is chocolate and there is bitterness in the mouth. Vanilla in deep secondary. Bought a bottle to see how she ages.

 259 characters

Photo of microbrew52
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What an interesting brew. Its dark in the glass with a medium brown head with fine bubbles. When trying to pull the aroma from the glass, you get a nice mix of scents that keep you intrigued. I get mostly caramel and smoke. The taste is definitely smokey with caramel coming through for the balance. The finish is dry and slightly hoppy. A great beverage that is complex and very drinkable.

 390 characters

Photo of GordonQuid
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Murphy's pint glass.

Jet black with a nice thick one inch tan, rocky head. THICK lace.

Smells of roasted dark malts and buttery biscuit.

Taste is full bodied roasted chocolate and carmel with a touch of candied tangerine rind. Shape shifter as it warms the chocolate malts are huge and the fruity esters come out from the yeast profile. A bit of a hop edge in the finish as well.

Extremely satisfying and drinkable. Complex. Typical Stone goodness.

Cheers!

 476 characters

Photo of Kadonny
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap at TJs in Paoli PA. What a treat. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Jet black with a one finger light brown head. Full encompassing glass lacing.

S: Dark roasted malts, chocolate, yeast, spice and a touch of hops.

T: Dark roasted malts with flavors of dark bitter chocolate, dark fruits of plum, cherry and a bit of orange. I even get some coffee flavors. Some underlying sweetness of the fruit sticks around with that sweeter milk chocolate coming through. The Belgian yeasty flavor sticks around throughout and provides a unique twist. Finish brings on the hops (this is Stone of course) with grassy floral flavors and just a hint of alcohol. Wow, great beer.

M: Full, coating, sticky, prickly and a light alcohol, very nice mix.

D: Excellent for what this beer is. Amazing.

Overall this was a fabulous beer. This is really a Belgian porter or stout, but since there is not a category for this, it got put in the BSDA class. Such complexity from a great brewery, how can you not love this beer. I put aside a case to age, this beer will only get better. Pick it up if you see it.

 1,100 characters

Photo of Magpie14
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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 Beaver13
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Pours very dark brown with a frothy tan head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet grainy malts, a little woody fruitiness, and some gummy yeastiness.

The flavor is sweet chocolate malts, some dark fruits with a big roasted/charred bitter finish that's fairly harsh. The mouthfeel medium to full with soft carbonation.

Overall, an interesting beer. I kept not wanting to like it, but kept changing my mind. It's a bit harsh in the bitterness, but it'll be interesting to see how this ages.

 549 characters

Photo of thespaceman
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass:'

Appearance: Pours a midnight black in color, lots of tan head here and it builds as the pour continues. Head retention is perfect and leaves nice tan lacing in the glass.

Smell: Aromas are lots of chocolate malt and raisins. Lots of darker fruit floats around here, a touch of booziness and some malt sweetness.

Taste: Hoppiness up front is pretty large, leading way to some decent doses of sweet malt, lots of chocolate, caramel and toffee. I also get alot of darker fruits like plum, prune and some dark grapes. A lighter fruit tone comes through in the finish and brightens up the hop profile. A touch of alcohol in the finish is spot on!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonation is medium and the hops add just the right around of bitterness. This beer sits on the tongue perfect, not too thick yet it's bold and rich in the mouth.

Drinkability: This is an awesome limited release beer that is just begging to be aged. The mouthfeel and the sweet maltiness really makes this beer a standout. I love how the hops really balance everything out. An exceptional beer that is one of the best limited release beers I've tried this year! Very sessionable, be careful with this, it's overly drinkable for the ABV.

 1,257 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.08/5  rDev 0%
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 biggred1
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a finger of thick, creamy dark fudge foam that leaves sheets of mocha lace on the glass. Anise, cocoa, vanilla, coffee and faint citrus peel make for a great nose. Charred and caramelized chocolate malty flavors with orange peel, vanilla and sprucy hops. Good heft and body with a mildly bright carbonation. A fantastic and different beer for sure.

 364 characters

Photo of alexgash
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle.

Dark milk chocolate-y brown body with a tall, thick, creamy, dirty khaki head. Great lacing. Intriguing nose of cocoa, milk chocolate, vanilla, light roasted coffee, cardamom, anise, and maybe a hint of orange zest. Very interesting and nice. Toasted, nutty malts, and licorice up front. Scorched brown sugar provides some sweetness. Coffee and dark chocolate bitterness picks up and swells to the finish. More dark chocolate and notes of vanilla, root beer, and cardamom. Citrus and herbal bitterness come on strong (joining the coffee) and linger for a long time. Tobacco, and minty, spicy accents also stick around for the finish. Very interesting and quite delicious. Medium-full body with a slightly creamy feel. This may be my favorite VE yet...

 767 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

 395 characters

Photo of kmo1030
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a rich dark brown with good sized khaki head that sticks around and leaves a little lacing as well.
the aroma is soft and darkly fruity, with chocolate, nuttiness, vague bubblegum and candy sugar type qualities. there is something tempering some of the sweeter aromas, but i can't quite put my finger on it. floral orange develops with some warmth.
what jumps out to me about the taste is that there is a fair amount of smoke to be detected, that when coupled with some of the dark belgian qualities, creates a really interesting beer. you find dark fruit tinged roasty chocolate, rootbeer, licorice, caramel, plum, raisin, a little banana, and the aformentioned burnt, smokey flavor. a little spicy becomes noticable after a while. a good dose of nebulous hop bitterness gives the sweetness a run for it's money. this one's touted as a belgian porter, which i'm pretty certain has zero legitimacy as a style, if such a thing exists this is surely it. take one taste and you'll get it. i wonder which came first, recipe or concept?
the mouthfeel is full and slick with soft carbonation.
the drinkability is good. it's full of flavor, and unique to be sure. this is one of those beers that provides some food for thought. i can see this one aging fantastically

 1,265 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown bordering on black with a creamy tan head that slowly dissipates to form a cap on top. Smells of chocolate right off the bat. Licorice, oranges and creme soda come to mind as well. Taste is creamy chocolaty with a slight phenolic and spicy earthy yeast. Slight astringency mixed with some citrusy hop bitterness in the finish. Creamy mouthfeel with a dry finish. Lightly carbonated with a medium body. Stone calls this a belgian porter, I think they nailed it. Its a nice take on a style that really doesn't exist. I liked it.

 545 characters

Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hopefully this review won't be inadvertently purged like my last review of this beer was. On tap at Max's the other night.

The beer pours a darkish brown color with OK head retention and decent lacing. On the nose I get an intriguing aroma of rootbeer, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, but with a considerable hop bite in the finish (naturally; after all, this is Stone). This beer has at most moderate sweetness, and it's quickly pushed asided by the drying, hoppy bitterness on the finish. In addition, there's also something of a sour apple, cardboard flavor to this beer. Hmmmm...mouthfeel is medium bodied, and I have to say that the bittersweet chocolate and somewhat noticeable alcohol detract just a bit from this beer's drinkability.

This is a nice enough beer, though one at a sitting is probably all I could ever see myself managing.

Edit from 3/15/13. Sampled at a recent vertical epic event at Pacific Coast brewing, this beer showed its age fairly well. My score was nearly identical to what I gave this beer back in 2009, with much of the original hop bite now nicely tamed by flavors of milk chocolate, vanilla and light burnt toast. The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but that was really the only sign of "old age" in this beer.

 1,297 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9*9*09 hopes to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange. I haven't tried the real thing, but I can try it in liquid form tonight. On to the beer:

Into a globe it goes, the beer is black...pitch black. The head is lightly tanned, has a rocky lid, and has very good retention. Spiced like licorice upfront in the nose. Very citric orange as well. Faint powdery cocoa.

This beer is more spiced than expected. Spiced upfront, then a touch of the yeast adds a layer of creamy banana. Bitter citric acid touches down and creates the bitterenss to the beer. The malt creates an astrignent bitter chocolate flavor which lightly lingers in and into the aftertaste. Very soft in the mouth, silky feel.

It doesn't remind me of a fruit infused gourmet chocolate as much as I expected. It will, however, remind me of another quality beer from Stone I've tried.

 874 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 OlieIPA
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my Bruery tulip glass.

A: Poured fairly rigorously, this beer exhibited a beautiful tan colored head that slowly subdued itself down towards it's near black body. The lacing left behind looked appetizing as well.

S: A robust roasted malt character upfront that seems to pick more chocolate and citrus-like aromas as times goes on.

T: The chocolate comes out a bit more as does the orange/mango hit towards the tail end of the beer, but that roasted malt character definitely dominants the overall taste. This over abundance of "roastiness" reminds of Stone's Imperial Russian Stout in many ways. Incredibly full-flavored, but doesn't sit heavy on the palate either.

M: Full-body, but as I stated before...it doesn't feel like I'm trying to chew through this beer.

D: Almost Imperial Stout-ish...love the flavor...and doesn't feel like I'm having an entire meal with this brew.

Overall: The best of the VE's I've had to date and something I will be cellaring until 12/12/12. Cheers!

 1,026 characters

Photo of sirdrinkwell
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: poured from a 22oz bottle, the 090909 hits the glass as a deep chocolate mahogany, topped by a tasty tan head which recedes to leave modest lacing aroung the edges of the glass.

s: a spiced orange, yeasty chocolate aroma hits the nose immediately; a longer whiff reveals the malts and a bit of vanilla as well.

t: a vanilla, chocolate, yeast and malt all find their way onto the tongue in short order. the spiciness of the nose are present only as the most subtle undertone in the taste, nothing compared to what i would have expected given its prominence in the scent.

m: smooth, cool, and well balanced on the palate...

d: this is an entirely drinkable brew from Stone, the only downside is that it will be gone soon! i'm calling the store to get a case of this stuff tomorrow...we'll see if i can learn enough beer discipline so that i can hold onto at least one bottle until after 12/12/12.

salud!

 911 characters

Photo of spacewolf
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first review. Here goes:

Pours a dark chocolate/cola with a one finger tan head that dissipated in 10 seconds.

Nice aroma of deep roasted malt, dark chocolate, and baked beans (?)

The taste is dark malt and cacao that deepens to a fig/plum and finishes with a slightly bitter orange/vanilla/oak & alcohol which lingers for a long time.

This brew gets better as it warms up a bit with more pronounced banana & vanilla flavors coming forward.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin but pleasant and does not detract from the overall enjoyment of this beer. You can tell its a thoughtful and well crafted beer from the first sip to the last. I will definitely try and grab another bottle to cellar for a while.

 700 characters

Photo of JBogan
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

 957 characters

Photo of Celt44
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a dark fudge brown with a nice frothy tan head. Lacing lasts throughout...

Aroma - Strong chocolately malts - fruity flavors pierce through - slight banana w/citrus hints.

Taste - chocolate malty sweetness up front....raison/plum fruity sweetness in the center...complimented by a nice hop alcohol bite at the end...

Mouthfeel - Silky smooth with a nice warming alcohol bite....not too much

Overall an excellent strong ale - not a huge fan of the style but this one is tasty....

 502 characters

Photo of caddybuyer
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay Chalice at cellar temperature

A-Pours a deep opaque black with a creamy tan head

S-Roasted coffee and malts, smoke, yeast, some dark fruits in the background.

T-Bittersweet chocolate covered dark fruits begin then hops take over the palate. A slightly acidic tartness midway, and a long, bitter astringent finish with warming and numbing alcohol completing the journey. This is very decent, but slightly hot, and I can only imagine what some age will do to this. More hops than I was expecting, but this is, after all, a Stone product.

M-Decent overall mouthfeel on this for the style.

D-I like this, and I'm glad I tried this while it was young, but feel that it is a bit of a shame because this will likely be fantastic with age. Everything is sold out near me, but I will keep my second bottle for a few years and crack it open to see how well it does. I think it will be excellent. As for now, I am content with this bomber but will buy some more if I run across it.

Updated 1.9.11. This has mellowed dramatically with age. The hops have receded and it no longer feels hot. Seems slighly undercarbonated now. Age has made this a mellower beer, but not necessarily a better one. I'm thinking this may have been better fresh.

 1,254 characters

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 84.8% out of 100 with 868 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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