Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
867 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:
867
Reviews:
537
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
278
For Trade:
15
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 867 |  Reviews: 537
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

 259 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of GRG1313
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: half finger head on a near jet black body with slight tinge of light getting through. scattered lacing.

S: dark fruit, mostly strawberry and cherry, dark chocolate, oak

T: dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, minimal dark fruit, oak, breads.

M: full body, light to moderate carbonation.

Overall: pretty flavorful, has held over very well. complex and memorable. Nicely made.

 385 characters

Photo of jaydoc
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 2 inch dark tan head that fades to a thin cap. Thin clumps and broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark fruits (raisins/plums), brown sugar, vanilla, and citrus zest. Taste is of dark fruits and citrus zests, burnt sugar, with some chocolate and vanilla flavors. Mild citrus zest bitterness after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a lot going on. I was expecting a standard BSDA but this one has a lot of different smells and flavors intermixed. This one has aged well.

 633 characters

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of Knapp85
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark brew here with a nice thick tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer has some coffee notes and chcoclate along with a healty dose of hops and Belgian yeast. The taste of the brew is a little citrusy with the roasted malts following up in the dry aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the brew is quite nice, rich and semi-thick feeling. Overall this was a really nice brew and I'm glad to have had it.

 408 characters

Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
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.?

 1,594 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of kojevergas
2.91/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A local bar put this keg on draught to celebrate the completion of the Vertical Epic series. Cost was $6.00. Served on-draught into a New Belgium branded stem-goblet in Southern California in 2013. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention for the ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Raisin, vine, spice/mulled character, caramel, dark malts, must, brown or refined sugar, buried roast, and milk. A somewhat messy aroma, but a generally appealing one. Above average in strength.

T: Vinous, medicinal, and herbal. That's a hell of a shrewd start. Dark malts and caramel in the body. Vinous on the finish. Light raisin throughout. Some spicing. Chocolate malt. Some grainy bitterness in the third act. Strange indeed. It's off-putting. Too heavy on the spices; it's a bit earthy and grainy probably from nutmeg/coriander/other spices. Messy and imbalanced in classic Stone fashion. I like the experimentation, but this didn't turn out great.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and caramel heavy. Decently carbonated. Pretty good thickness.

Dr: Drinkable but underwhelming. Even aged (albeit in a keg), it leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn't have it again. Another merely decent offering from Stone.

C

 1,340 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
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

 739 characters

Photo of oline73
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some pretty good lacing. Aroma of chocolate malt with some notes of roasted malt though bitterness is pretty tame. Taste is quite enjoyable with lots of black chocolate notes with a nice touch of roasted malt - not sure I could taste the vanilla or orange notes. Body is about average with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done though a bit shy of character and I still have to wonder how this is going to improve with time.

 537 characters

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown, nearly opaque in the glass and topped by a small coffee-colored head that holds up nicely.

Aromatically it's nice but a bit muted, with fig and berry-like esters being most prominent, along with traces of chocolate and vanilla. As it warms the orange peel and vanilla take the forefront.

The taste is a pleasant and well-balanced mix of fruity esters, roast, vanilla, chocolate, citrus and resiny hops. Sweetness is restrained up-front and the mid-palate and finish are surprisingly bitter, both from roasted malt and hops. Finishes dry with a lasting coffee-like bitterness, vanilla popping up again in the far aftertaste. Very solid stuff, my favorite vertical epic so far.

 707 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 1-30-11 along with an 08 and 10.

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - A lot of woody notes up front wit hints of chocolate. There is a mild dried fruit flavor, too.

T - Good chocolate flavor with a woody taste. More dried fruit flavor comes through here with some plum and currants.

M - A dry beer with a sharp, crisp bite. A medium bodied ale that hides its ABV quite well.

D - This is a really tasty brew. it exceeded my expectations.

 539 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottle date is obvious. Pours pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense tan head with awesome retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some nice spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, prune, molasses, apple, biscuit, caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, light char, earth, and herbal. Very nice aromas with good strength, complexity, and balance; very inviting. Taste of big chocolate, biscuit, caramel, molasses, prune, apple, roasted malt, raisin, light char, vanilla, earth, oak, and herbal. Lingering notes of dark fruit, chocolate, caramel, biscuit, light char, earth, and roasted malt on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic flavor complexity and balance; with a very nice roasted malt flavor profile. Medium carbonation and body; with a very nice creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is completely hidden, with hardly any warming at all noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian dark ale. Great amount of complexity and robust roasted flavors; with great balance and very smooth drinking. Extremely enjoyable stuff!

 1,118 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico back in 2009.

Poured near black with same faint garnet highlights. A nice, big tan head with a lot of lacing as it went down. Smelled of roasted malt, Belgian yeast, chocolate, orange, vanilla, and a bit of oak. The taste was quite similar, with the oak and orange peel really coming out. Medium mouthfeel, but a bit too dry, likely from the oak. Overall, a very nice and interesting addition to the series, and I'm looking forward to tasting it again over the next few years.

 495 characters

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Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
4.06 out of 5 based on 867 ratings.
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