Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
869 Ratings
Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic AleStone 09.09.09 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:
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Ratings: 869 |  Reviews: 538
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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Photo of JamisonM
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass

A: black color in the glass nice brown head

S: roasted malt complex coco and orange peel sweet vanilla in there

T: bitter sweet taste with orange vanilla with bitter chocolate very complex and great taste

M: med mouth feel

D: super drinkable

overall: having tried this one it makes me mad at myself I did not get any of the older beers from this series. this is a great beer well thought out and well brewed cheers to stone for this one I cant wait to try this on 12-12-12

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Photo of javincik
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to drinking this.

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A-Color is a deep, dark brown that appears nearly opaque black when the pour is finished. Results in a towering brown head that slowly settles into little islands of thin foam.

S-Absolutely the strongest aspect of this beer. Tons of good stuff going on. Chocolate is the most prominent. Vanilla, brown sugar, bread, coriander and faint fruit aromas (banana?) also come through. Perhaps a touch of roasted coffee. Quite complex.

T-Taste is lots of chocolate up front with some coffee and a bit of roastiness. Some brown sugar and bread comes thru also, with the yeast lending "Belgian" characteristics. In the middle, I get lots of fruit flavors; some banana and orange along with less prominent citrus characteristics. Vanilla is present underneath all this with the faintest hint of some oakiness. Finishes with a nice balance of hop bitterness, roastiness, and coffee. Slight alcohol burn at the end, although nothing off putting.

M-Probably the weakest aspect. Medium bodied, low to medium carbonation. With everything going on in the nose and taste, it just feels thin in the mouth. I feel like it should be more substantial; would love some more chewiness to savor the flavor.

D-Makes a great dessert beer. The flavors really make it a sipper and something to savor, but it certainly goes down easily. There is a slight hint of alcohol in the finish, but it doesn't really detract from the drink-ability at all. The thin mouthfeel allows it to go down easier than one would think at first appearance.

Looking forward to seeing what the other bottle does in two and a half years.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
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 nrbw23
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Of the ones of the Epic I've had this one so far is my favorite.

A- Pours a dark color almost black with a nice brown foamy head. Retention is very good and lacing was thick and sticky.

S- Chocolate, coffee, and a touch of spices. A bit of alcohol in here and some what smells like Belgian yeast.

T- Chocolate and coffee seem to dominant this one. Touch of alcohol and a bit of yeast. A little sweet but thought it worked well together.

M- Medium in body and low in carbonation.

D- Fairly easy to drink. Not something I'd have on a regular basis but its still pretty solid.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into an oversized wine glass. bought one bomber for drinking now and one for aging along with my epic from last year. beer at cellar temp.

pours pretty much opaque black, very similar to a imperial stout, with a deep mocha colored head. a good 3 fingers of head or so that fades to a fairly nice foamy layer. pretty good lace and some nice head retention. doesnt look like your usual belgian dark, but looks delicious non the less.

some cocoa and dark chocolate, some roasted malt. a little bit of flouride from the belgian yeast, maybe a touch of bubblegum. the citrus orange peel comes through nicely. a touch of dark fruit. a little alcohol noticable as well, but nothing offensive.

ahhh that taste is soo much more than the aroma would have suggested. tons of chocolate in the taste. everything from dark dark chocolate, cocoa or cooking chocolate to even milk chocolate. a nice dose of roasted malt and coffee. tastes of vanilla. hints of citrus orange peel. subtle a very very mild flavor of a spicy belgian yeast. hints of dark fruit. also has a tiny bit of a hoppyness to it.finishs with bitter roast and dark chocolate. this beer more reminds me of a baltic porter than a belgian dark.

medium bodied. good carb. has kind of a chalky finish. overall a nice pleasing mourthfeel.

one bomber is enough. lays a touch heavy in your stomach, but still is fairly easy drinking. no real tastes of alcohol which helps.

this is an interesting beer, definatly worth checking out. not really blowing me away, but still pretty good. and if you are going to buy this, buy 2 bottles one to drink now and take notes and one to age. after all, the whole point of this beer is to be aged.

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

09.09.09 pours a dark mahogany color. Looks a little cola-esque. It's nearly opaque, save for a few burgundy highlights at the edges. A very attractive mocha head tops it off. It's big and stands about three fingers tall. Retention is very good and lacing was thick and sticky. Good lookin' stuff.

The nose is good. It kicks off with a nice, sweet mix of chocolate and caramel. The chocolate scent is very cocoa like. There's an interesting, and delicious smelling, coffee presence. It's fairly strong in the overall mix. Yeast is easily noted, and it smells a little like Belgian yeast. I'm hopeful it's stronger in flavor. There is some evidence of spices, but not much. Alcohol is blended very well.

The flavor is quite good. Cocoa and coffee seem to be the most prominent flavors throughout. There is a hint of sweet caramel, but it's subtle. A little more sweetness might just be a good thing. I am getting more Belgian yeast in flavor, but it doesn't seem to work its usual magic. Perhaps the strong coffee flavor is responsible. I'm a big fan of all things coffee, so it still works pretty well for me. Maybe a little less coffee would help though. As far as spices go, I'm getting a little pepper and clove, but not much else. Alcohol seems light as well. Nice job there.

09.09.09 has a medium body. Carbonation is light and helps give it a really smooth feel. Drinkability is quite good. The flavor is growing on me more and more, and it's going down easy. A bomber = no trouble.

To date, I haven't been blown away by any of the Vertical Epic releases. While I do like 09.09.09 quite a bit, I'm still not blown away. For what it is, it just seems a little too simple. I like the combo of chocolate, coffee, and Belgian yeast, but it doesn't come together perfectly. Maybe the respective proportions need to be adjusted just a bit. It could also use a little something extra in terms of spices. Still good stuff that's definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
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 billshmeinke
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Duvel tulip. I've had a few of these, but this is the first time I've gotten around to reviewing it.

Pours a VERY dark brown, so dark it looks black. Fat three finger bubbly tan head. Takes quite awhile to die down. Five minutes have gone by and still there's like a half a finger of head. Finally dies down to a soupy layer of foam on top with really crucial lacing.

Smells of coco, vanilla, banana bread and some slight citrus hops bitterness.

It taste of dark chocolate, some vanilla beans come through. Also some bananas, some spiciness, and some bread-i-ness from the Belgian yeast. Citrusy bitterness that is probably part tangerine peel and part hops. Some lingering smokiness. I almost get some oak flavor as well.

The mouthfeel is full bodied. Slightly viscous. Well carbonated which helps with the the full body of this one. Prickly, assertive bubbles. Decently smooth.

I honestly forgot how good this beer is. I can still get it pretty easily, and I think I might buy a bunch to age. I've only had the good fortune to try 08 and 09 of the Stone Vertical Epic series, but damn, I don't know how the other vintages are, but it is hard for me to imagine that the blow this one out of the water. Stone kills it, nuff said.

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Photo of AsymptoticOrbit
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark brown with thin dark tan head.

S - Dark fruit with a hint of sweetness.

T - Lots of chocolate with dark fruit. Not much hops. Hints of Belgian spices. Finish is reminiscent of coffee.

M - Smooth and robust.

D - I love this beer. It's definitely delicious and very drinkable. I'll open another in a few years to see how it ages.

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Photo of thisisxxmyIPA
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with a dark tan head that pours thin but lasts

S- Citrus and dark fruits with dark malts

T- Heavy chocolate malt with dark fruit Belgian flavors from the yeast. Finishes a bit more roasty than I would have expected. Low hop flavors. The Belgian flavors battle with the dark malts. Dark malts seem to dominate the Belgian flavors too much.

M- Creamy at first then thins.

D- Very drinkable, just not as impressive as I would have hoped it had been.

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Photo of scottfrie
2.99/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown with two fingers of foamy light brown-orange head that reduced down into a thick film leaving some streaky lacing.
S: Dark fruits and Belgium spices. Slight sweetness and faint yeast. Not potent smelling.
T: Woody, toasted grains, some fruit, hints of Belgium spices, with some alcohol notes. Leaves a dark coffee aftertaste in your mouth. Also has chocolate notes, especially in the aftertaste. None of these flavors are huge however. Aftertaste is slightly off-putting.
M: Surprisingly thin. Not much flavor either. Has a predominantly toasted flavor.
D: This might be an okay porter, but this was a very unimpressive Belgium strong dark ale. Not much flavor was present and it has a disappointingly thin body. Flavor was surprisingly toasted without a lot of sweet fruits, spices or yeast. This beer didn't have much of a smell either. What flavors were present were decent though. I was pretty let down by this Stone offering.

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 869 ratings
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