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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 867 |  Reviews: 537
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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!

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Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -1.5%

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

Photo of mothman
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Pours 1 finger of tan head. Pretty decent retention with very nice lacing. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Lots of roasted malts, nut flavors, grassy hops, chocolate, caramel, and slight coffee notes. Pretty decent.

Taste: Lots of roasted and burnt malts again. I get a bunch of burnt brown sugar and caramel flavors. Tons of grassy hops to balance it out. Nice coffee notes. Not to bad.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smooth, and refreshing. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends super dry and roasted.

Overall, I would not age this beer. The flavors taste fine and I don't expect this one getting and better. Glad I got to try this one fresh.

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

A - Pours with half a finger of light tan foam on top of a opaque, black body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace.

S - chocolate, nutty malt, and a touch of vanilla.

T - Smooth chocolate, caramel, and smoky coffee up front. Some molasses and dry roasted malt in the middle and a finish of spicy yeast, and more bakers chocolate.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - This has not only held up well, but improved dramatically with age. The dark malt is smooth and complex and it is a very well balanced, drinkable beer.

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

I missed last years VE so I grabbed this as soon as I saw it.Poured into a chalice a deep dark brown,nearly black, with a thinner deep tan colored head.Aromas of candied sugar,dark fruit,caramel.and light phenolic spice,a good mix of aromas for the style.Phenols are bigger on the palate giving off a clovey-like spice,alcohol dipped dark fruit with a tinge of earth round out the flavors.Its a tad hot but its new so its understandable,a very nice rich flavored brew brew here.

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Photo of jlindros
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

had as part of a big VE tasting at the end of the world party, thanks to Mark for this one.

Nice fluffy dark head, creamy but only 1/3 or so finger head, light lacing, dark black color.

Nose dark malts, syrupy, caramel, over aged malts, slightly oxidized, little earthy and dirty, faint chocolate, a little chalky too.

Taste brings toffee, dark malts, char, chocolate, caramel, light chewy oats, light earthy flavors, a little yeast like spices too.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent enough carb for the age.

Overall not bad, another one that would have been better fresh or 1 year on it instead of 3.

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

On-tap 10/1/09 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a large flute glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, Belgian yeast, spices, caramel, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty and bready with a strong flavor of Belgian yeast. Then there are flavors of dark chocolate, spices and some fruit that add some semi-sweetness and complexity. The hops presence is mild but complementary and helps provide some balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, while this beer does have a complexity in flavor, I was expecting a little more harmony amongst the different flavors, which may improve with age. Overall, it's a good beer to drink for a while and it will be interesting to see how some time will effect it.

 1,039 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber - $7.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a near black body with a large, burbling head of tan foam.

Smell: Deep notes of roast and smoke and wood -- it's like strolling through a former-cabin that had an all-too tragic accident. Lesser notes of spice, fruit, and Dutch cocoa seem buried within the smoldering rubble.

Taste: Roast leads to toast which leads to a resounding wooden taste and long-lasting, spicy tastes of smoked black licorice and ground pepper. Lesser hints of dark chocolate and vanilla and sweet molasses dare try to peak out from under these heady flavors. I must say, it is quite smoky throughout. Curiously arranged, subtle mix of dark fruits, banana, and citrus from those added tangerine peels. Earthy bitterness leaking out amongst all the staunch roastiness. Some alcohol warmth and further fruitiness on the spicy, drying, malt-riddled finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmm. Well, it's certainly different and very complex, though I'm not quite sure what to make of it at this stage three months from its initial release. Of the more recent Epic Ale releases (minus the 08.08.08 which I still haven't had, unfortunately), this is the one I most curious to see how it'll age. Let's hope for great things, eh?

 1,355 characters

Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

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

Polished mahogany with black cherry highlights when viewed with late afternoon sunshine behind the glass. The golden brown sugar colored crown isn't Belgianesque, but it's close. The foam is lightly creamy and marshmallow sticky, which is leading to lots of eye pleasing lace.

So this is what a Belgian Imperial porter smells like. It doesn't seem that different from an American Imperial porter since the Belgian yeast isn't going great guns.... at least where the aroma is concerned. Dark chocolate and coffee are easily appreciated, but the more exotic ingredients (see below) aren't. It's still wonderful smelling beer.

Vertical Epic 09.09.09 doesn't quite measure up to the recent excellence of this series. Having said that, there's still more than 20 ounces to go and a whole lot more time to be impressed. At least the spiciness of the Belgian yeast has made an appearance on the palate.

Regarding style, Belgian Imperial porter or Belgian stout work as well as anything. There is too much roasted malt for it to be a BSDA. In any case, the beer isn't as complex as its ingredients list would suggest. Still, Stone deserves kudos for brewing (slightly) outside the box. No 'same old, same old' for these guys.

Specifics include chocolate wafer cookies, dark caramel, black tea leaves, ground clove, black pepper, vanilla beans and several staves worth of oak. Tangerine peel is nowhere to be found. In addition, there's a surprising amount of bitterness for a beer that is approaching six months of age. Alcohol masking is expertly done.

The mouthfeel barely hangs onto the score seen above. More heft and more creaminess would have made it a solid 4.0 rather than a tenuous one. The bubbles are slightly harsh early and settle down nicely in the bottom half of the bomber.

Stone Vertical Epics from 2005 to 2008 were outstanding. Unfortunately, this 2009 version doesn't quite reach that level of excellence. My hopes aren't high that it will improve by the 2012 vertical tasting, but stranger things have happened.

 2,030 characters

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12, review from notes.

A: Quite dark, pretty much black with a small tan head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some random lacing down the glass.

S: Some light Belgian yeast, a bit of chocolate, roasted malt, banana, and some wood.

T: Quite similar to the aroma, some banana, more dark fruit in the flavor profile than the aroma, with a bit of chocolate, cloves, and raisins.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a little thin. Slightly dry finish.

O: This one was fine, not my favorite, but not bad overall.

 543 characters

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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

Good tight, beige head and excellent ring lace. Nearly black color where no light can shine through.

Dark malt aromas with a light yeast smells in the background. Light yeast.

Very strong alcohol warmth on the initial sip. Relatively thin body with a low level of carbonation. Burnt coffee flavor with a hop kick which shows up nicely in the swallow and aftertaste. Lots of yeast bite as well.

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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.

 1,212 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 999th review -Stone VE 9-9-09
I picked this bottle up at Atlantic liquors in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Poured the 22oz bomber chilled into my La fin du Monde tulip.

A - The beer is practically black except for a toffee brown shade near the base of the glass. The appearance is thick and opaque with a band of medium brown cream which has a slightly rocky appearance. The foam is about 2.5 fingers and creates a film of lace on the collar of the glass, the bead is pin sized.

S - Wow, earthy chocolatey + spicy w/ mild vanilla bean + vanill from the oak the trademark hop in the nose tells you it is a Stone Ale. The aroma is roasty w/ a mild caramel and creamy odor w/ mild accents of dark sugar and alcohol

M - A rich roasted feel, med full w/ med carbonation and a blend of creamy, fruity and bitter textures. The finish is long and robust

T - A great roasted malt and sweet caramel wrapped in cocoa flavor initially. The mildness of the roasted taste comes w/ a light creamy vanilla taste an the malt has bitterness like very dark cocoa and spiced complexity in the yeast. The flavor fades into a hop + citrus peel flavor toward the middle and light toffee-like buttery taste is noted under the dark cocoa. The flavor has a mild tang of tangerine peel, but really have to look hard as the alcohol and oak combined with dark rich malty flavors give you a lot of complexity and becomes almost overwhelming mid-bottle. The taste does have similarity to baked brownie w/ light pepper and mild stone fruit - like cherry w/ a light coconut tinge and mellow woody hop accent

D - This porter has a good deal of complexity, a tasty Vertical Epic -9-9-09 is both spicy and malty w/ a subdued alcohol flavor. It is nice to see a dark brew come out after many light and hoppy Vertical epics. This is very drinkable, a tasty imperial porter-kudos!

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Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber.

Light brown lacing wraps around the inside of the glass almost all the way down. As close to black as you can get. Chocolatey nose, dark with some burnt sugar ... Edge of citric peel and esters. Soft and smooth creamy fullish body. Dry and spicy, maltiness ranges from dark chocolate to toasted bread to light molasses. Oaky, pulls the dryness in. Citric peel, wild herbs and vanilla show a grounded complexity. Big chocolatey finish.

One of my favorites of this series, a year of cellaring did no harm either.

 531 characters

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