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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
868 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: 868 |  Reviews: 538
Photo of Gosox8787
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a bomber bottle into a pint glass in two parts.

Appearance was dark brown to black and opaque. There was a one finger mocha head and decent retention. Smell hit with nice notes of bananna and dark fruit. Some smokiness also makes it way through. Taste hits hard with the chocolate malt. Dark chocolate, espresso, and smoke notes all take center stage. They are balanced by the bananna and light citrus peel notes. Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth without much carbonation. Drinkability is good considering the ABV. The booze is hidden nicely, still cannot imagine having more than a bomber in a night.

Overall, a nice smokey, chocolate belgian beer with good balance. A good offering from Stone that would be even better with some years on it.

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Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass:

Pours opaque black with a nice brown well-retained head. Dotted, then some thin-lined, lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, roast, orange peel, spice, wood/oak/vanilla.

The taste is of chocolate, roast, bread/toast, vanilla, with some vinuous/woody notes with a subtle spiciness (cinnamon?). Not quite catching tthe banana and other flavours listed on the bottle (maybe a bit in the aftertaste). Chocolatey, but not overly so - it has a spicy, woody, dry balance.

It has a creamy, medium body with a nice carbonation level.

This is nicely done - sophisticated, and complex, sweetish but with a dry finish. Alcohol well-covered for strength.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a snifter the beer was dark brown/black with a thick mocha head that disappeared quickly. A lot of aromas: chocolate, roasted malt, fruit. A lot of tastes also. Chocolate and tangerine to start with, some other fruit, and a n espresso finish. Nice rich beer. Liked it a lot.

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Photo of cbutova
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black into the snifter with a two finger tan head that retains pretty well and leaves medium lacing. Smells and tastes of nice belgian yeast, roasted malts, dark fruits and good chocolate. I really like how the roast chocolate and malts come in a bit late. Smell was not very strong, but the elements there were good. Mouthfeel is a bit light for the flavor but has a very nice warmth and smooth carbonation. Drinkability is good, nice taste, price is alright, alcohol may take this over. Will definitely be aging this one.

UPDATE 02/02/2013.

T- Deep and roasty with a Belgian yeast influence. Cocoa and coffee roast malt notes, oxidation a bit, toasted nuts and some raisiny dark fruits. Good vanilla and oak feel as well.

Scored: 4.25, 3.75, 4.25, 4.0, 4.25

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A complex and stimulating dark ale. Worth enjoying now, and exciting to wait for its growth after a few years of aging.

Presentation: 22 Oz bottle. Vertical label design and narrative highlighting the year batch of the brew 2009 and as in these series reminds that each bottle is released one year, one moth, and one day from the preceding edition so 09.09.09. Quick and playful-pretentious narrative on the side, noting greatness, main ingredients, and style. Show beer freshness date (Jun 24, 2012) but lacks any other info other than Alc. by Vol (9.5%). Poured into a snifter.

A - Black color with a deep brown edge. Generous brown fine bubbled head that goes down slowly to a persistent cap leaving very rich lacing.

S - Sweetness around a middle malt roast, with some chocolate, maybe even a touch of coffee, A subtle and strange spices comes up with a resiny touch, maybe hoppy but tied to the spice profile.

T - Nice malt complexity. The roasted malt profile is in command with a sweet range that emerges slowly. Chocolate maltiness with a vanilla hint and nice profile of spices around some fruitiness. In particular there is a nice long lasting and lingering tingle of spices in the tongue. I can´t pinpoint it but there is a memory of pine, festive winter flavor that feels so familiar and at the same time remote. It is leaving me quite intrigued but it is a very nice memory to leave floating.

M - It´s fairly creamy and very smooth with generous carbonation that works very well in a subdued manner with the rhythm of the drink. In particular with the way that the spice profile lingers in the mouth.

D - Feeling great now. Starts a bit straightforward but does not take long to gain a rich range of tones. Looking forward to find out how it ages.

Notes: I had had others in the vertical series, but I recall little other than I was not too impressed. But I may have not been paying enough attention and certainly did not take notes back then. Things have changed and for one reason or another this one is clearly a great brew. Better enjoyed as a sipper, complexities and subtleties emerge slowly in what might seem otherwise a straight forward dark ale. The tingling spiciness is there at the end not leaving the tongue and quite a few flavors and in sync pushing to emerge. Without hesitation I´m getting at least one or two more of this and see if I can put them aside for a while and see how they behave.

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Photo of aristeros
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet for lack of a tulip. Pours nearly black, with two fingers of a tan head from a vigorous pour. Settled to suds in about a minute and a half while I let it wam from fridge temp.

Smells of cocoa and sweet dark fruit, hints of creamed coffee and citrus. Some cloves. Reminds me of Christmas lebkuchen. Complex, in a good way.

Big bittering hop presence and dark chocolate or coffee up front, followed by a progression of sweet red and dark fruit--red was a surprise!--and citrus, with a spice back, nutmeg and cloves, I think. Warming alcohol finish, fairly well masked, better than many examples of the style. There's a lot going on.

Fuller body, light-moderate carbonation more like a Belgian pale but works for the beer. Slightly creamy texture. Alcohol and hops make for a dry finish.

Awesome. Going to age a few until 12-12-12 and see how that goes.

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Photo of STEG
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured pitch black with a khaki head, smells mainly of chocolate coffee and almonds with orange rind in the background Taste is coffee and chocolate up front with a lingering orange background adding a nice subtle complexity a little nuttiness/almond/marzipan towards the end as well with a, dare I say bubblegum finish and aftertaste. Mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth with pleasant carbonation, can't see drinking more than the bomber but the bomber itself was quite nice and lasted quite a while.

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

I love me some dark Belgians. This one has a dark brown/ruby/blackish body to it with a choppy, off tan head that had density just shy of being rocky. Lacing is thin after the initial head calms down.
First aroma I got was banana, then a wave of black plum and alcohol. The banana gives way to clove and some soft vanilla hints. Very complex.
Taste is layered. A quick jolt of coffe and it's off to banana. Vanilla and lightly baked caramel moves in. Vanilla is subtle and background-ish. Bready throughout and some coriander kicks in towards the end. very soft chocolate finishes it off.
A dry finish. Alcohol is there, but it works well with flavors. This one will age well methinks

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Photo of cleverbeername
4.9/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drinkin in Bordeaux glass. Large head, 1.5 inches. Moter oil appearance, tan bubbly head.

Smells wonderful, obvious coffee notes and hidden scents.

Initially mouthfeel is great, redonkulous 30 sec. plus finish. dark, roasted coffee notes with orange citrus peel undertones. Great, but young. I would recommend this now, but buy a case to cellar for a few years.

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Photo of BierFan
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: One finger of tan foam. Black body. Spots of lacing.

Smell: Picking up the chocolaty malt immediately. Also getting the oak and a little vanilla. Imagine a milk stout aged in oak and you have an idea of what this is like.

Taste: Belgian yeast really adds some great complexity. Spicy yeast, bananas, chocolate, little bit of tangerine peel. Roasty bitter finish one would expect from an imperial stout.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark cocoa brown color, minimal khaki colored head, good lacing. Smell is a mild blend of roasted coffee, ground cocoa with a subdued background of dark fruit, earth, smoke, spice. Taste is more assertive than smell but follows the same progression. Ground cocoa and Belgian yeasts are the star, but a complex blend of roasted coffee, dark fruit, smoke, earth, spicy and citrus hops hold it together. Medium bodied, good carbonation, easy drinking. Great brew, could sip on this all night, even with the high ABVs.

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

22 oz. bomber poured into a Stone IRS tulip

Appearance: Very dark brown almost opaque with frothy persistent deep brown head. Pretty syrupy.

Smell: Rich malty coffee-like aroma. Lots of fruity esters, orange peel and plum. Very sweet but slightly bitter as well. Belgian yeast characters.

Taste: Roasted dark coffee malty chocolate-like flavors with a hint of orange peel. Cand sugar-like sweetness, very rich. Fruity esters, plum, raisin, orange peel.

Mouthfeel: Full body, low carbonation. Very smooth.

Very rich complex beer with aromatic coffee chocolate flavors. Delicious. I'll look forward to aging the beer and try.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok, maybe its a Belgian, maybe it's a Sout, maybe it's hoppy, maybe it's got some Smoked Porter in there... There's a lot going on here.

The beer pours with a froathy and hearty weight; giving up a great head of tan foam and a ton of lacing. The dark brown and opaque nature of the beer certainly stands up to any great Porter or Stout.

The aromas don't exactly jump out at me, allowing the malty, bready, yeast character to come through just before the other scents come to the rim. Then, and slow and steady progression of smoke, roast, toast, coffee, cocoa, berries, spicy white pepper, currants, plumbs, grapes, earthy hops, and anise flow into the olfactories. No doubt this is a multi-sensory type of beer.

The Sout-like roasty-toasty, coffee-cocoa, dried fruit-oriented character takes center stage in taste. The hop flavor and bitterness then increase while dragging the phenolic spices and smoke with it. Other ripe fruits fall in line and follow the beer deep into the complex and malty-dry finish.

Hard to say if this beer is dry or malty to the finish. The heavy breads, toast, melanoidins, and overall maltiness keeps the beer very Dopplebock-like. But the charred grains, bitter hops, and alcohol keeps the beer a bit on the dry side. Otherwise very full, rich, and robust up front and fading slowly into the dry-malty debate.

A very good beer, but what is it. The Belgian character doesn't come through as much as I'd like- maybe more of a Cuvee van der Kaiser estery and yeasty character would suit my fancy more. Maybe when everything stands out, then nothing stands out.?

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Photo of ColdBeer30
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

It was dark in the bar but I want to say the color of the beer was a dark cocoa with a dark tan creamy dense head on top. It was served to me in a wide mouth Chalice. Carbonation was low from the look but there was a full thick ring of lacing.

The smell was of dark coffee grounds and espresso at first followed by chocolate of the more bitter sweet kind. Smell finishes with roasted malts and subtle grassy or leafy hops.

The taste comes in opposite. First came a blend of chocolates (dark and heavy cream milk chocolate) then the roasted malts, strong coffee (the kind you want to wake up to) and a touch of bitter or slightly briny hops which hardly lingers, there just long enough that you are looking even more forward to that next hit of cocoa.

The mouthfeel is well balanced and extremely creamy. Carbonation is pretty mild but the beer isn't flat. With everything else your mouth is experiencing you don't really even notice it.

The beer is full bodied as any porter or dark belgian would be, coming out of the tap I could drink several easily.

Seeing as this beer is meant to be aged about 3 years I am definitely going to stash one away for later. I can see the potential for it getting even better.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first sampling of the Vertical Epic series from Stone. I definitely like the idea, but unfortunately the oldest VE I have in my cellar is the '08, which I was able to pick up at the same time as the '09. I guess I'll just have a somewhat stunted vertical, but even four Stone beers in a row is a tasty treat.

Poured this guy into a wide tulip glass. Very dark in color with a foamy, chocolaty head that leaves silky lacing along the sides of the glass.

I'm getting a lot of bready malt notes on the nose. Some roasty ones too and a bit of fruity esters. Interesting.

Speaking of interesting, I feel like I'm drinking this beer through two slices of whole wheat bread. Lots of bread, but beyond that is a fairly complex flavor. I'm picking up on some chocolate malts, a bit of roastiness again. Also, the finish contains some fruitiness, maybe even a hint of orange peel and then some warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth, which helps make this ale pretty drinkable. I'm splitting this bomber with another BA at the moment, but I could also enjoy drinking the entire thing over the course of the evening.

Overall, this is my first VE and I'm definitely digging it. Not the most stand out beer by Stone, but a still a very good one. Glad I have another aging in the cellar.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Body is a dark opaque brown with thick tan head. Smells roasted and smoked masking floral hop notes along with a touch of sweetness.

Tastes roasted and smoked, primarily, with a burnt caramel sweetness and solid bitterness at the end. There is some serious flavor in this beer. It gets you right up front. The bitterness is almost numbing at the end. Carbonation is fairly light and makes way for medium body with a smooth but dry mouthfeel. The tastes are all great, but so strong that I couldn't drink much of this brew unless it were ice cold. That being said, what's there is worth trying. There is a little funky plastic/rubbery aftertaste to this particular bottle.

If there could be a category for imperial or tripel belgian strong dark ale, I would totally put this beer there. For what it is, it's a beast.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

redoing since my review was erased.

appearance: loaded head and creamy froth deep dark black, pure ebony

smell: dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate

taste: loads of dry roasted coffee flavors

mouthfeel: decent carbonation and medium to full bodied

drinkability: started off alright but ended up loving it as the beer warmed.

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Photo of joepais
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Finished the night with this one for a desert and I was glad I did. It worked extremely well.
Bottle poured into a tulip produced three fingers worth of tan head that settled to a thin lace. It was the obvious black stout colored brew as well.

The aroma was a mix of Belgian yeast character sweet and fruity. You also got a good mixture of stout aromas of chocolate and espresso. The flavors were much like the nose but as it warmed the wonderful sweet chocolate just filled your mouth. I would say it was a medium to full felling in the mouth with ok carbonation for a stout.
Nice drinking brew one full glass was perfect to end the drinking session with. I was glad I have another bottle put aside

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vertical Epic 09.09.09 pours inky black with a big, frothy tan head on top. The foam dissolves slowly leaving behind a glass covered in patches and netted patterns of lace.

The aroma reminds me of a Belgian ale. Some chocolate and roasted malt with hints of orange peel, clove and pepper.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer has a soft velvet feel with a mild fizz on the sides of the tongue. The flavor is subtle and well balanced. Notes of chocolate and roasted malt with a blend of Belgian spices such as pepper and clove. It finishes with hints of dark fruit. Once gone a chocolate and clove flavor lingers on the palate.

I liked this beer. It's easy to drink and not over loaded with Belgian spices. Well balanced and tasty. I've saved a bottle to open after 12.12.12. I'm curious to see how it ages.

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

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Pours a deep black color with a finger of off-white head that is slow to dissipate and leaves awesome sticky lacing all down the glass.

Smells strongly of coffee, roasted malts, and dark fruit. Spiciness is also present in the nose.

Dark chocolate is present all throughout the taste, followed by some roasted malts and dark fruits that help finish up the taste. A little bitterness lingers at the end of the sip.

Nice medium body with a decent amount of carbonation as well. creamy mouthfeel that goes down smooth.

This is good, but only moderately drinkable with the high ABV and all the maltiness. One bomber will do it for me.

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Photo of ImusBeer
3.15/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

It was dark at the table and the glass (11oz) although thin was completely black. The tan head seemed constant at first with about a quarter inch but did eventually die.

The aroma was just about only smoke IMHO, maybe some dark molasses or fruits. The taste was dominated by burnt malt and a finish of bitterness.

Mouthfeel was thin with the bitter aftertaste. I hoped for more but all in all a good sipping Dark Ale.

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

Part of an '07, '08, '09 vertical.

I was really glad to see this one was a porter!

A - Dark brown with auburn accents. Light brown head with sticky Brussels lace as you drink.

S - Major burnt coffee, caramel, and vanilla aromas.

T - Chocolate, coffee, and some roasted qualities. Finishes with some burnt toast flavors. Very enjoyable. A beer to drink and enjoy with too much thought.

M/D - Medium to heavy body and extremely drinkable. Wonderful porter and my favorite of my vertical.

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Photo of tjsprague
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer is a dark dark dark brown almost black color with a mocha colored head.

The smell is rich and malty with hints of fruity sweetness from the Belgium yeast.

The taste is big. There malts taste dark and very toasted. Its almost a little bit burnt tasting, but it seems like it will mellow out after time. The toastiness is almost smokey. The aftertaste is very sweet and pleasant. It almost tastes like a very dark bitter chocolate with a fruit finish.

The mouthfeel is very thick and pleasant, almost creamy. This beer tastes like it looks. It delivers.

This is not the kind of beer you are going to want to drink all night, but is perfect for a night cap. For how strong this beer is it is very drinkable.

Another excellent offering from Stone and a beer that is very good today but will be incredible in three years.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always look forward to this release, and its so nice to just be ablee to drive down to my local beer store in Georgia and get this now. I like this year's release. Pours a rich dark brown, almost black. Smells of licorice and coffee with some piney hops and port wine notes in the mix. Very nice. Very smooth, and with similar tastes as the aroma, but the licorice and coffee are more muted and the piney hops are much more present. Nice bitterness in the finish. Very nice.

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Photo of Destral
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the 09.09.09 on tap in a goblet from Aces & Ales

Dark, with a medium brown head that fades quickly, leaving moderate lacing.

Had a mild chocolate aroma, slightly smokey or roasted (almost like Starbucks coffee to me).

Chocolate seems to overpower the other flavors, with roasted malt and a hint of bitterness following. Subtle alcohol kick, but nothing overwhelming.

There was a surprising bit of carbonation (very fine bubbles), but full bodied and smooth.

The 09.09.09 tops the list of Stone beers I've had. The richness of the flavors really hide the alcohol well, and it would be easy to have several of these sneak up on you if you're not careful.

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 868 ratings
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