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:
277
For Trade:
15
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 868 |  Reviews: 538
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
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 -0.7%
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 +1%
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 -0.7%
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 -5.7%
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 billshmeinke
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
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 +23.2%
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 -6.4%
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 -26.4%
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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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown/black color with a good sized tan head, lingers for quite awhile and leaves a cap on top, fair amount of lacing.

Smell is mostly roasted malt and a bit of a metallic presence.

Taste is well carbonated, feels a bit on the thin side though, roasted malt is the primary flavor with an odd bitter aftertaste, kind of coffee-ish but not as pleasant.

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Photo of cratez
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The last beer from a ridiculous haul purchased by my girlfriend at Beer World in Largo, Florida. Pours an opaque black with a thin ring of mocha tan head and threads of lacing on the snifter. Smell and taste are floral hops, vanilla beans, oak barrel, sweet dried fruit, roasted and chocolate malts, biscuit, strong bitterness, and a touch of alcohol. I get some orange peel on the nose, but not in the flavour. Mouthfeel is medium, spicy, a bit hollow, sharp carbonation, chalky and dry finish. The bold, citrusy IBUs do not complement the old ale elements in this beer. It drinks like a stale and boozy porter with IPA bitterness. Not a BSDA by any stretch of the imagination. I never thought I'd be disappointed with a Stone beer, but this one doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of sitarist
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep plum color, a shade away from black, almost opaque. The head is an inch thick and falls quickly to a ring consisting of huge bubbles that leave some decent lacing.

The smell of this beer is wonderful and inviting. The first thing you smell is chocolate, its a sweet chocolate, there are some sweet fruit scents as well (banana, grapes, and a hint of citrus).

It taste wine-like to me, it has fruity flavor, with faint hints of coco. The hops add a tannin like bitterness. This could use some time for the flavors to marry.

Medium body that packs a punch, its dry and has an almost astringent finish.

The drinkability is high and they don't even recommend opening this beer until at least 12-12-12.

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Photo of gawylou
3.66/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

[A collaborative review with relenamor]

Appearance: Dark like a fine Dutch licorice, opaque as the antithesis of a polished window. The head: macchiato tan.

Smell: Sweet and toasty, i.e. campfire s'more, but only barely so, the sweet aromas were only discernible upon repeated nasal inhalations.

Taste: In chronological order: alcohol, belgian yeast, coffee. With a bitter hoppy finish. I must note the slight chocolate flavor, reminiscent of 80% cocoa Varlhona chocolate.

Mouth-feel: A shade syrupy, and lightly carbonated. As though my mother placed tiny frolicking angels on my sunday morning pancakes.

Drinkability: Exorbitantly alcoholic tasting for only an 8.6% beer. Prior to reading the bottle, I was stumbling about attempting to pounce upon with the nearest female. Later, as a friend read me the percentage, I felt a stone cold soberness fall upon me. I felt like a fool.

Overall, save your money for some Don Perignon and fresh caviar from the seas of Iran. If you prefer to expend your capital on fine ales, may I recommend Stone's Imperial Russian Stout.

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Photo of BarBEERian
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When I think of Belgian dark ales, I think of a slightly muddied version of an amber-at least a beer I can see a glimmer of light through. However, after pouring a pint of the 09.09.09, I already knew I was being slightly deceived by the title on the bottle: this was a porter or stout. It poured a delicious-looking midnight black color with a head that erupted like a volcano into a fluffy and succulent light brown froth.

The smell wasn't overpowering, though, with just a slight touch of cocoa and some sweeter citrus notes. The taste was immediately velvety soft, with a touch of vanilla bean and oaky-alcohol hitting up front. The following touches included sprinklings of orange zest, lemon, a thick yeasty layer, and the light finishing power of toned-down malt. Further sips revealed a boozier profile than I initially noted, with the smooth and filmy mouthfeel really becoming noticeable. As the beer warmed, the booze became even more pronounced, but the flavors seemed to separate even more. What was once a nice and subtle transition from vanilla and malt to citrus, was now a noticeable change, and the finishing notes were even more removed from the middle flourishes, with an abrupt and unwelcome splash of malt shielding the now odd citrus sprinklings.

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Photo of mountdew1
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark opaque brown, with a 1 finger light brown head. The head lasted for a long time, and clung to the sides well. Aroma reminded me of a chocolate stout. Small amounts of bitterness and burnt spiciness were also evident. Taste was a sweet slightly bitter milk chocolate, with a bit of white bread/all purpose flour in the end. Felt a bit off in the mouth. It was slightly dry, otherwise coated well and felt good. Surprisingly easy to drink, went down way faster than it should have.

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Photo of JoePat
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown almost black with a light tan head that sticks around.
Smells mostly of chocolate with some toasted malts and a slight bit of orange zest.
The main flavor is bitter chocolate with chalky malt taste.
The mouthfeel is dry and chalky but sweet.
This beer tastes great and is really smooth making for a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of semibaked
2.25/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Black with about a 1inch of so of light colored head .

S - Chocolate malts, molasses, but no whiff of tangerine peel or vanilla bean like the bottle says.

T - Very bitter tasting, definitely unpleasant like concentrate citrus peel and bad almost burnt chocolate.

M - Nice and full bodied, easily the best part of this montrosity.

D - Pretty much no drinkability for this beer, I just can't get over the bitterness. Very disappointed, I usually really like Stone beers too.

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Photo of hardy008
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark black color with a dark tan head with a lot of small tight bubbles. Nice retention on the head. Smells of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, and dark fruit. The coffee smell does not seem to fit the style, but still smells good. Seems more like a Porter.

The flavor has coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and there is a little bit of smoke. Very interesting. Fairly smooth to drink with a medium body and good carbonation. Nicely drinkable, even if it is not exactly to style.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. I was saving this for a vertical tasting, but seriously... it's never going to happen. Time to start plowing through these.

A: Pours a very, very dark brown (with associated translucence at the edges), appearing nearly black in the glass. Light beige head consisting of large bubbles that leave a foamy cap and collar on the brew.

S: Roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, a nice woodsiness, and spice.

T: The Belgian part has been mostly overpowered here; it drinks like a really nice porter. Coffee, crushed cacao beans, a leafy, tannic bitterness, and vanilla. A small citric character that could be hops or the tangerine peel that Stone claimed to throw in there -- but it's really restrained, and works very well with the chocolate (I was honestly expecting a clash). I don't get any of the influence of the Belgian yeast in here, besides a little phenolic spice bite in the finish.

M: Medium-bodied, but full in flavor. Carbonation is higher than I'd expect in a porter, which is a nod to the Belgian influence and bottle conditioning. Restrained ABV.

D: I was apprehensive about trying this, because I don't think chocolates and orange flavors (which were strongly advertised) go well together. The actual execution is better than I expected. My hat is off to Stone.

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Photo of jsh420
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours dark brown with ruby highlights - big 2+ finger tan head that leaves plenty of lacing

smell is ok - smells more like a wit then a strong dark - it has some dark fruit (figs) but not a lot

taste - wow this beer is not even close to a belgian strong dark - lots of chocolate and tobacco - at the very end i get the dark fruity malts - while the taste is good i marked it down

mouthfeel is medium - again most belgians have some life unless they are aged for a while - this is more like a stout very low on carbonation and very smooth and creamy

drinkability is so so - i doubt i would buy this again

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Photo of SanAnMan
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - dark, rich, and bold. Deep black with a thin, foamy white head. Poured into a Belgian-style snifter. Although light, the foam stays through and adheres slightly to the glassware.

S - roasted coffee comes through at first, followed by bits of dark chocolate and burnt wood. Continued whiffs bring memories of a good quality dark chocolate bar. I'm quickly falling in love here.

T - ok, the dark roasted notes I mentioned earlier SCREAM out loud in the taste. Slightly bittersweet, with taste of dark cocoa and a strong earthy balance. A nice mellow alcohol taste comes through in the finish, with some dryness. Really good stuff here.

M - the dark hues make it hard to take on too much of this beer at once. But if you take the time and appreciate a good quality porter, this is one to enjoy. The alcohol content provides a nice warmth to a very savory beer.

T - as someone who LOVES porters and stouts, this is a must try, even if it is in limited release. I wouldn't have even known this was brewed in a Belgian style if I hadn't known any better. Classic porter flavors that borders into stout characteristics. If you like your beer big, black, and bold, you gotta give this a try.

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Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Chip Shop, Brooklyn, NYC.

Poured a deep black hue with a half finger foamy tan head there was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a roasted malt and slight ester.

The taste consisted of a full roasted malt, some smoke, a touch of sugar and a bit of ester.

The mouthfeel was full and finished dry.

Overall a tasty delight.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok, Stone is a very good brewery and colleagues at work know that I'm a big fan. One colleague offered me this beauty as a gift!

The color is dark black. This looks like a stout. The head is brown and very nice looking. It sticks quite well to the glass too. Almost perfect to my eyes. In the aroma, I get some yeasts which is typical of belgian beers. Chocolates notes too and some hops (Stone always some hops in the aroma).

On the taste side, it is chocolaty with some espresso notes. Nice bitterness which reminds me of espresso coffee. Moreover, I get some fruity/banana notes but not too strong. I would say the taste is complex. Oh yeah, I get some spicy notes too... my god this a complex beer! Awesome.

The body of this beer is medium with some carbonation that is present in the mouth. Also, the taste lingers in the mouth for quite a long time. Good mouthfeel.

Overall this is almost prefect! I don't know how somebody could hold on this one until 2012... impossible!

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Photo of NickMunford
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a standard pint glass. Has a dark amber/red color when pouring. Finished with a one finger head that dissipates after about a minute. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Smells a bit spicy. Peppery hints maybe?

T: To me, this seems to have a big hop taste up front, which is followed by a sort of bitter bakers chocolate flavor.

M: This has a moderate amount of carbonation, with an excellent mouthfeel.

D: More drinkable than the last couple VE's.

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Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an appropriately dark color and impenetrable consistency. There was a half inch of light brown colored head and very good lacing.

S: A good aroma of coffee, chocolate, malt and some other spices.

T: This beer had a big taste that reminded more of a porter than of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Dark chocolate, coffee, malt, mild spices, and some other indeterminate ingredients. Complex, with lots of focus.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a very dry finish.

D: Another extremely drinkable beer from Stone.

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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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