09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale
870 Ratings
09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale09.09.09 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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 870 |  Reviews: 538
Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of bigred89
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of drabmuh
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle (of course) into a Vertical Epic Ale glass (don't you just love the correct glassware). Beer is dark, black, head is tight brown bubbles that is full at first but falls back to form a uniform layer of tiny bubbles that covers the top of the beer, lacing formed on glass. Aroma is nice. I was expecting to pick up some roasted malts in the aroma, due to the color, but instead was hit with the classic etherial aromas of a strong Belgian ale. Invites me to drink it. Second smell reveals minimal smoke and some sweetness (probably alcohol).
Delicious, not usually a fan of the darker beers but apparently I'm coming around. There are roasted malts on the back of the flavor, but the beer is full bodied and nice. It finishes with a little bit of an aftertaste. The roast builds on you as you drink. I believe this beer will age well. Looking forward to the rest of the series and 12.12.12 vertical epic ale tastings. Cheers!

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Photo of tobelerone
3.62/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black bodied beer with a smallish tan head. Not much retention, minimal lacing. Aroma is roasty, with bittersweet chocolate, orange peel, slightly vinous and fruity. There’s also a spicy note and a hint of wood or tobacco that’s kind of hard to put a finger on.

Interesting but not entirely satisfying taste; perhaps a little oxidized after 3 years in the bottle; not sure how this one will hold up till the end of the entire Vertical Epic series.
There’s dark, bitter chocolate, orange and peel flavor, as well as other more vague fruit notes; again a vinous quality, with oakiness, char, a hint of a metallic/mineral aspect; phenolic spiciness, overall very dry; could actually use a bit more sweetness. Maybe a touch chalky. Alcohol well-masked. Not terrible, just a little odd.

Medium-bodied and carbonated with that very dry finish. Feels like it could be a bit heavier and smoother in the mouth. Interesting beer I didn’t particularly love but it definitely made me think and dig in, examining its many layers.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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 Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +22.9%

Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ordered a glass at Tap and Table in Emmaus - very, very tasty. This is a big chocolatey, but balanced and dry, beer with a little Belgian influence. It's not that close to the few Belgian stouts, but it's also no traditional double stout. The flavor is dominated by semi-sweet dark chocolate and cocoa powder while citrus-orange hops peek through and leave a bitter finish. Yum.

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Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
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 flagmantho
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: utterly black with a two-finger beige head which clings to the glass as though for dear life. If I didn't know better, I'd call this a Russian Imperial Stout based on appearance.

Smell: the aroma is considerably more subtle than the appearance, and is one of chocolate and a tiny hint of coffee. Again, I'm expecting a stout.

Taste: now, this is a good beer. Wow. Here's the strong dark Belgian: immediate tree fruit followed by more complex esters and alcohol bite. At the end the malt is sweet and, again, has some chocolate to it. It's great now; I can only imagine the good some cellaring would do it.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body with a nice level of carbonion to make it good and creamy.

Drinkability: pretty drinkable, but this is an intense beer with an intense flavor.

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Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

Photo of mrn1ceguy
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

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

I am saddened that this is the first time I have seen this annual brew from Stone. But I do not believe this is available in New Hampshire where I live. I found this one on a visit to Vermont. It pours a very dark brown to almost charcola black with about a half-inch of creamy tan had that is long lasting. The aroma is of banana bread, chocolate malts, and vaguely sweet as well. The taste is a complex combo of sour hops and chocolate malts. This was a nice brew.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note: Had this in an aged bottle - don't know why it won't let me post another bottle review

Poured a blackish body w/ a tan head and lace sheaths on top of a bready and sweet malt aroma. Bitter chocolate, wood, roasted malts, hints of vamilla and some minimal hops are all prevelant. A thicker body than the sweetness allows, my first thought is that the aging (especially since last time I tried it) as allowed for a more dry, toasted and bitter sweet taste as well as alcohol to soak in. Still, I pick up a great balance of bitter chocolate and vanilla for a sweet edge and the beer is still a smooth passer and balanced with notes of roasted and espresso malts. I also pick up a little mild dark fruit notes as well. Amazingly, as you slowly sip on the beeer it gets sweeter and milder for an enjoyable drink. I would say not too much has changed since I had this last but that the beer's maltier base comes out as a little more dry and rough, but also the alcohol seems to have risen b/c this beer slowly but surely put me down for the count.

 1,048 characters

Photo of LoveStout
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of WesWes
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice roasted and chocolate malt scent along with a subtle Belgian yeast fruitiness. The taste is much the same. It's incredibly complex with loads of roasted and chocolate malt flavors. It goes down easy with a dry, chocolatey finish. The yeast creates a bit of fruitiness, but nothing that really deters the main taste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good beer. It's basically a chocolate stout with Belgian yeast character.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9*9*09 hopes to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange. I haven't tried the real thing, but I can try it in liquid form tonight. On to the beer:

Into a globe it goes, the beer is black...pitch black. The head is lightly tanned, has a rocky lid, and has very good retention. Spiced like licorice upfront in the nose. Very citric orange as well. Faint powdery cocoa.

This beer is more spiced than expected. Spiced upfront, then a touch of the yeast adds a layer of creamy banana. Bitter citric acid touches down and creates the bitterenss to the beer. The malt creates an astrignent bitter chocolate flavor which lightly lingers in and into the aftertaste. Very soft in the mouth, silky feel.

It doesn't remind me of a fruit infused gourmet chocolate as much as I expected. It will, however, remind me of another quality beer from Stone I've tried.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
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 BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of rudzud
3.26/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed while doing a 07-12Belgian vertical.

A - Poured into a palm tulip a nice dark brown hue with a good one finger mocha head that left a light blanket and light side lacing.

S - Aromas of faint chocolate and esters...smells over aged?

T - Taste is a bit old light roasted malts, chocolate, faint citrus. Really did not hold up to the aging.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated but solid albeit meh for the style.

O - Overall this was an okay beer nicely smokey with chocolate and citrus. Still though there's better Belgian strongs.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at the Old Chicago on Market St in Denver Sept 26, 2009.

The pint arrived with a near pitch black, actually extremely dark brown but I had to hold it up to light in the low lighted room to see that. 1/2" of foam was brownish, as expected.

I forgot which style the 09.09.09 was supposed to be so I wnet in "blind"..I found the smell very roasted malty with notes of dark chocolate and maybe a bit of some dark fruits. It smelled good and I was hoping that it would taste good as the pint was nearly $9.

I took some sips and what I got in the smell, I got in the taste. Very roasty with chcocolate notes running second, some toffee ran third, err..this wasn't a horse race, Bill! lol.

All in all, it was a tasty brew that had a good medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Drinkability? Though the alcohol wasn't a big factor, I found that 1 pint was sufficient. I guess I'd rather drink a roasty stout than a BSDA that is *that* much of roasted malt monster, if that makes any sense, which it probably doesn't. ;^)

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Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
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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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Please note that there is a pretty big difference between the Kegged and Bottled versions. My bottled review was lost in a data crash this is for the Kegged version only.

Poured on-tap into a snifter. Pours a dark motor oil in color with a small brownish head.

Aroma of coffee, chocolate malts, slight tobacco.

Flavor centers around a smokey/roasted malt profile. Hops have died down to just an earthy flash of bitterness. Unsweetened chocolate is on the back end, with a slight smokey/cured meat flavor. Port like wine finish. Hearty.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and drinks pretty smooth overall.

A good beer for sure, but decidedly different that its bottled counterpart, which I enjoyed more. The bottled version had more of a piney hop character and also offered more fruityness and complexities. Still, the keg has a rauchbier meets stout like character and drinks well enough.

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09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 870 ratings