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

Enjoyed a growler of this with my brother bought from The Charleston Beer Exchange (a must-visit) this past evening.

It pours dark brown with a smooth appearance and the head looks like a foamy edible dream come true.

The smell is nothing to shake a stick at for a porter, but it still has hints of roasted chocolate malts and a hint of alcohol. For a beer ranging in 8-9% ABV it is absolutely delicious and drinkable. For a porter, it warms the chest just the right amount leaving you crying with joy wanting more.

It goes down easy and a growler was no problem for my brother and I. Ranks in the top ten of best Porter's i've had and with its exclusive nature it is a must try if you can get your paws on it.

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

Poured in a 9 ounce tasting tumbler, number 1 in a series of tastings for the 2010 Holiday.

A- Deep blackness, but not pitch black- hints of opaque near the edges. Poured with almost no head, but what little head did form morphed to a thin lace that lingered.

S- Does not have an overpowering aroma at all- had to suck a good whiff to try to sense some smells. Chocolate, banana, slight malt.

T- Malty, slight bittersweet chocolate. Feels like a lighter stout rather than a strong dark ale (or better yet a porter). Very smooth- not overpowering at all. Slight hint of hop.

M- A bit on the flat side, but if you like a lighter mouth feel for a dark beer it's good.

D- High marks for drinkability- given that this is not overpowering or robust in some areas that could turn some folks off, this is one brew that is very repeatable and enjoyable for it's nuetrality.

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Photo of Viggo
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Coles.

Pours a very dark and opaque brown, almost black, thick tan head forms, settles down to a thick layer that lasts the whole glass, lots of lace, is this a stout or strong dark? Smell is neat, dark fruit and chocolate, raisins, banana bread, roast and charred wood, biscuit, vanilla, a bit of alcohol, very dry and toasty. Taste is similar, dry and toast, chocolate, roast, wood, light fruit, finish is bitter, like those thin chocolate wafers, grainy feel. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, almost a sandy mouthfeel, sweet banana finish, but very dry. Pretty nice, but isn't really a strong dark. More like a stout.

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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.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours out very dark, I mean, as black as some stouts, with a nice pillowy 2cm+ head. The bubbles seem to be kind of loose but cling moderately well. Looks pretty good. The smell has a ton of bitter roasted coffee and chocolate backed with an interesting fruity, yeasty component. Otherwise I can't detect a lot of the normal smells you get from a belgian strong dark. Still the smell is pleasant. The taste comes out with one thing in mind - chocolate-coated orange peels. Very bitter - like citrus bitter and chocolate bitter, but very reach and roasty, not overly bitter, also slightly fruity. I also get a finish with slightly pasty yeast, and boozy coffee flavors. As it warms some of the harsher flavors mellow out, giving way to a more grainy, syrupy sweetness, but there is still a hint of bitterness. This beer is quite more enjoyable as it warms, overall, I find it quite good. I would most likely drink it again, though I am certain I can find things that are better. The mouthfeel is strange. There is consistently this sharp little flavor in the background, but the body is medium, maybe a bit more full, and the carbonation is pleasantly on the low side of sharp. The drinkability is quite nice. Better than I expected, and quite good or an 8.6% beer, though my plan was to nurse it from the start. I still found myself wanting more and more as I drank.

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

22 oz bottle.

Pours a thick, dark brown with ruby tinges and a thin cream colored head. Aroma of cocoa, chocolate powder, orange, cinnamon and toffee. Slight ashiness to flavor with restrained sweetness. Powdery chocolate and cocoa, faint citrus. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Good, would happily drink again.

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Photo of fastsrt
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle poured in duvel tulip
A: opaque black, poured rather rough to make a billowing 3 soapy brown head. looked sexy in the glass.
S: belgian yeasts, coriander mostly, background banana, in the initial nose. smells great, roasted chocolate malts. my mouth started to water.
T: not what i expected form the nose, it caught me off guard. very stout like, interesting with the combinations of yeasts and spices, tastes green like the flavors have potential but, have not yet balanced out yet, the beer lacks balance that i look for in Belgian style ales.
M: the malts coat the mouth and does not let go, it finishes dry and bitter. which both the malts and hops contribute, full body that the carbonation does allot to lift for a lighter feel.
D: drinks like 10% alcohol. Astringent tastes, goes down but its a bit harsh would be better in 2012. (if you think this is an A+ give rochefort 8 or even chimay blue a try)

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Photo of beersensei305
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark color with hints of red, the ale has a tan head that laces nicely. The smell is of malts, fruit, and some sweetness. Dark Chocolate and malty flavor off the bat, and some citrus notes at the end. Very complex yet surpising light for its color. Tastey.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16's CT launch party for Stone into a 12oz pint-style glass.

A: Black body with brown highlights, topped by a quarter-inch of fine brown foam with admirable retention and good lace.

S: Roasted malts up front (chocolate and coffee), backed up with some rich yeast and a hint of citrus.

T: A lot like the nose, with malt leading off ahead of a rich fruity yeast flavor and a supremely dry bitter finish. A fair amount of alcohol heat at the end. Complex, but not entirely harmonious.

M: Medium-bodied with abundant soft carbonation; nice.

D: A little bitter and hot to score well here; will probably impress with age, however.

Notes: Certainly a unique beer - I love the combination of the Belgian yeast and the roasted malts. The citrus and vanilla don't to much for me in the style, though. I get this one will be awesome in three years, though.

Cheers!

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black body with a small, but dense tan head that patiently gives way to a thin layer of lacing that floats around the glass and atop the beer for the duration.

Aroma consists of dark fruits and dark malts, but also a fair amount of spicy or earthy hops. There are some underlying sweet notes, perhaps molasses.

Rich malt, dark fruit, sweet cocoa nibs, and vanilla, all highlight the palate, but also some nice earthy hop presence, similar to the aroma.

A bit drying at the finish with a bite that is somewhere between hops meets abv, with a medium body and generous carbonation.

Although this may not hit the Strong Dark style dead on, it is a tasty beer with a lot to offer. Certainly well made and a great sipper.

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Photo of akorsak
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

VE09, another Belgian-style stout.

A: The BSDA has the look of a stout, all murky and black as night. An appropriate tan-colored head lingers around.

S: The nose is sweet chocolate and roasted malts. Spices linger behind the sweetness, but it is easy to get sidetracked amongst all the dark aromas.

T: The rich chocolates, chewy malt and burnt aromas take control early. A bready graham flavor, nutty, balances out the chocolate. Spices and hops hang around, a citrusy addition to the stout.

M: The mouthfeel could pass for a few imperial stouts that I've had, a full, warming feel that seems stronger than it is.

D: Order-wise, this one falls right in the middle. I like the bold flavors but I struggle with the drinkability of dark behemoths like this.

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Photo of Diablerie
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Alright, so where to begin? I'm a big fan of the Vertical Epic Ales--they're very innovative concoctions and tend to "break the mold", if you don't mind me using a cliche. I managed to procure a few bottles from the local Beverages & More, which had literally received its shipment but minutes before I walked in. Such sweet serendipity.

Anyway, enough of my banter...on to the important stuff.

Appearance -
The look of this beer was quite inviting, having a subtle orange tint to an otherwise dark coloration. It looks thick, and, misleadingly enough, it appears heavier than it actually tastes. An ephemeral, tan head appears.

Aroma -
I smell banana, cloves, maybe a bit of hazelnut, and a predominant note of smoke. I don't really catch a vanilla aroma, although I do catch the sweet scent of the Belgian yeast. The chocolate malts aren't as noticeable here as they are in the taste (ostensibly)--I think the scent of smoke overpowers it.

Taste -
There's a nice harmony of chocolate, zesty citrus, some vanilla (though, again, I struggle to taste it--I kind of expected it to be less subtle, I guess?), balanced out hoppiness, and of course, smoke (akin to slightly burnt coffee grounds).

Mouthfeel -
Contrary to other reviewers and patrons here, I have to say that I thought the mouthfeel was a bit rough from what the VE's usually present. The alcohol was, I'm sorry to say, a bit too noticeable, and that accompanied with a bit of a heavy hand on the carbonation contributed, I felt, to a bit of an unpleasant feel. The taste definitely helps buttress this fault though, so it's certainly not a defeat for Stone here.

Drinkability -
After considering the mouthfeel, its drinkability was a bit impaired. However, after the taste and the complexity factor in, the beer is a very interesting and engaging experience. I, without a doubt, enjoyed the hour spent sipping it.

As a closing thought, while I still think that the '07 VE was by the far the best yet, this is a formidable addition to the ranks. I recommend trying it, if you can.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of chugalug06
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice brown soapy head. Looks like ginger bread. Brew is jet black. Thin viscosity.

S - Nutty. Bananas. Chocolate. Slightly homebrew-y... Some vanilla, not much.

T - Very nutty. Rich milk chocolate. I could see slight orange too, nothing overwhelming. Not over spiced. Not too much hop, most by now have faded. Lots of vanilla.

M - Smooth and rich. Big complexity. Perfect carbonation, no heat, and amazing bitterness.

O - A well brewed beer by Stone. Nice Job. Very much enjoyed this brew. Good thing I have a few more ;) Very Unique.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at the Old Chicago on Market St in Denver Sept 26, 2009.

The pint arrived with a near pitch black, actually extremely dark brown but I had to hold it up to light in the low lighted room to see that. 1/2" of foam was brownish, as expected.

I forgot which style the 09.09.09 was supposed to be so I wnet in "blind"..I found the smell very roasted malty with notes of dark chocolate and maybe a bit of some dark fruits. It smelled good and I was hoping that it would taste good as the pint was nearly $9.

I took some sips and what I got in the smell, I got in the taste. Very roasty with chcocolate notes running second, some toffee ran third, err..this wasn't a horse race, Bill! lol.

All in all, it was a tasty brew that had a good medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Drinkability? Though the alcohol wasn't a big factor, I found that 1 pint was sufficient. I guess I'd rather drink a roasty stout than a BSDA that is *that* much of roasted malt monster, if that makes any sense, which it probably doesn't. ;^)

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Photo of NCBeernut
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy New Years! Grabbed a bomber of this at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville. Poured into a Unibroue tulip. Pours thick and black with a big fluffy head with excellent retention. Looks rich and dessert-like. Aroma is subdued. Bits of spices with the contribution of a very slight phenolic yeast character. A little chocolaty on the nose.

Heavy roasted flavors and caramel of decent strength. Definite alcohol. Thick heavy extra dark chocolate takes the lead. Hop bitterness is present but not overwhelming. Slight spiciness, with a very subtle hint of cinnamon. Rich and decadent. Tastes a lot like a heavy imperial stout - I would actually classify it as such if it were me. Flavors are still a bit muddled, this beer is still coming together, but pretty good. Really creamy, velvety and big-bodied with a definite alcoholic edge.

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Photo of russpowell
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to colonelforbin for this one!

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & some herbal hops

T: Charred wet grain, dark fruit, especially raisin & a touch of coffee up front. Dryness & coffee dominate as this warms, plus more dark fruit, leafy hops & some baker's chocolate & a touch of white pepper, vanilla & cherry. Finishes dry, fruitty & with much coffee & some cherry

MF: Fairly chewy, low carbonation & great balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV, not getting a ton of Belgian character here, but I didn't expect a literal interpretation from these guys anyhow. A tasty dark brew that I'd say is more of a big stout with some Belgian tendencies. One I would consider stockpiling if feasible, cuts the chill nicely!

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Photo of Mosley1212
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Completely opaque. Rich black color with a full inch of brown head.

S - Roasted malt, chocolate, coffe, and a hint of fruit? Banana maybe?

T - A lot like it smells. You first get a taste of the roasted malt with hints of black coffee and bitter chocolate. It's an ok taste, not the best.

M - Really bitter taste. I'm not that big of a fan.

D - It's on ok brew, but I prefer Stone's other products. I love this brewery, but I'm not a fan of this one. Overall, it's ok. Not much else to say.

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Photo of Beejay
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very dark black. A little coaxing and a nice tan head develops..

S: Spice, yeast and ripe fruit come out. After I let it sit for a bit, I gave it a good swirl to coax some more head out of it, and it smelled a bit like a chocolate or milk stout.. a very odd brew.

T: This is a complex one innit? Starts mellow and fruity at the front of the tongue, progresses to a roasted malty carmel flavor, and finished with some hops. There's a lot to sort out there...

M: Semi thick, that coats as it goes down, but with plenty of carbonation.

D: A nice bottle to crack for an occasion or tasting, that being said, I do not think it is an everyday beer. It's a bit of a complicated mess right now, way too many flavors coming in. I can't wait to see how this ages though.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 8.6% ABV, Age at cellar temp 55°F or below, Limited Release, no date.

Though 10-10-10 would be a good day to review this one. :P

A - Deep black in color with no light shining through at all, it pours with a dense tan head. Moderate retention with some patchy, thin lace on the glass.

S - Deep, rich roasted malts and a metallic hint on the finish. Hints of Belgian yeast but not as much as should be there. No real hop aroma. Cocoa and bittersweet chocolate malts with a hint of molasses in there.

T - Lots of roasted malts. Cocoa and chocolate with a hint of coffee as well. Very roasted. No real Belgian yeast or attributes through. It's more reminiscent of a rich porter. A little bit of hops poke through on the back end of the flavor.

M - Full-bodied and smooth with a round feel and roasted, dry, and bitter finish from both the malts and the hops that poke through.

D - Solid drinkability for the % it's a as well as how roasted the flavor is. No real Belgian qualities though which I find odd.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer is all about banana and coconut, with a sprinkling of baker's chocolate and belgian dubbel-y sharp tartness/metallic quality. sippable for sure, enjoyable- yes. especially (as loren recommended) as it warms. i'm not getting any of the orange peel at all.. the vanilla.. maybe- is it the tartness? it looks like a porter and reminds me of some impy porters i've had in my day. it's schizophrenic but tasty. i'm not sure this beer will make it to 2012 in one piece but what do i care, i'm ebaying my 2nd bottle.

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Photo of Vengeance526
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
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 jacobseyb
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Dark brown, slightly opaque. Tan head of about 3 fingers, laces nicely throughout. Initial malt tones in the aroma followed by peppery spiciness, with some slight citrus notes. Taste is peppery and spicy, with the malts balancing nicely. Feels smooth with a crisper finish, and light carbonation. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of Vec2267
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure when I bought this, not sure how it was stored prior to that ...

A - jet black, tan lacing that persists well given the age

S - chocolate, fruit/citrus, slight spice - one of those chocolate oranges

T - burnt coffee/chocolate, some smoke, given the smell the taste is surprisingly sour/bitter, alcohol completely hidden

M - lush and smooth

O - another strange mix of flavors that meld into an interesting drink - once again, the whole is greater than the parts

This certainly does not fit into my definition of a BSDA. More of a stout/porter/black lager mash. After reading the description on the Stone site I see the smell and sour taste comes from the tangerine peel.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up my stock of this one today at State Spirits and popped one open the second I got home. Served into a chalice, this one was consumed on 09/21/2009.

Not really sure what to make of this one here. Great pour, dark as night with a big tan head on the top that would not quit. Huge lacing up and down the sides of the glass throughout really just capped it off nicely. On looks alone this was stellar. Aroma was intrsting I pick up astringent vanilla bean, molasses, hints of chocolate and a touch of citrus, maybe?? Not sure but there is something light in there for sure. Smooth, even flavor, but the bitterness seems a bit off to me. Had it stuck to the rich molasses and vanilla I think I would have been inclined to rate it much higher, still though it is a very, very good beer, no mistaking that. The citrus hop note just seems not right for me, and I try to look past that and it still creates a fine drink. Bitter aftertaste, almost an IPA like feel to it with most of the sweetness washed to the side.

Overall I thought this was good, but not great. I think with time the citrus will fade and the malts will shine leaving a fine and very sweet porter in its wake and I really look forward to it.

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