Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale: Mitch's Tasting Notes


The Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale is a bit of departure from the last two Stone Vertical Epic Ale editions, which were golden in color. The newest one can best be described as a Belgian style Imperial Porter. The beer is deep brown, with intense roasted character provided by chocolate malt.

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

During the brewing process, we also added dark candi sugar, vanilla bean, and tangerine peel to complement the flavors of the porter. The vanilla bean addition is fascinating, as it actually enhances the chocolate character from the roasted malts, and the candi sugar adds a nice hint of molasses flavor to the finish. The tangerine actually turned out to be quite subtle on the finish (and didn’t impart as much of an orange flavor as we reported earlier), and combines nicely with the chocolate malt character. We aged this beer on French Oak chips, which contributes a smooth and subtle woody undertone and even more vanilla flavors.

Mitch and the brew crew proudly displaying their newest creation

Mitch and the brew crew proudly displaying their newest creation. From left to right: Mitch Steele, Sean Brennan, John Egan, Jessica Gilman, Jeremy Moynier, Laura Ulrich, and Justinian Caire.

All in all the Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale is a very complex beer, the flavors evolve and develop as the beer warms in your glass, making the enjoyment of it a very fun and delicious experience!

Appearance:
This beer pours deep brown with a thick, frothy, creamy head of tan foam.

Aroma:
Many layers, starting off with chocolate and coffee from the chocolate malt, and vanilla notes from both the vanilla bean and French Oak. A balanced oak flavor comes through in the mix. As the beer warms, the influence of the Belgian yeast is more evident, as tropical fruit and spice flavors become more pronounced.

Flavor:
Begins with chocolate roast malt character and vanilla. The vanilla accentuates the chocolate nicely. Layered in are banana esters, and hints of clove, and then the finish is a bit stronger on the oak with hints of molasses and citrus from the tangerine peel.

Palate:
Medium body, very complex, and finishes very smooth. The 8.6% alcohol is not overly evident, and the flavors blend together nicely.

Overall:
A delicious, complex beer. It should age nicely over the next three years, and the flavors should continue to meld together wonderfully.

-Mitch Steele


Editor’s Note: Look out for Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale on September 9, 2009, and check the website for the latest info.

18 comments

  1. Matt, this sounds like a tasty brew. AZ is waiting patiently. Would you classify this as sweet ?

    I had the 07 the other day and it is aging nicely.

  2. Jonpol,
    We wouldn’t go as far as to classify it as anything. All of the Stone Vertical Epic Ales stand alone as their own unique twist on a Belgian style beer. We love sharing our impressions/tasting notes with you guys, but we encourage you all to figure out the flavor profile for yourselves. Let us know what you find in the beer when you taste it on or after 09.09.09. Cheers!

  3. WOW—I am waiting not so patiently way out on the east coast for the release—i wonder if a belgian yeast strain was used…

  4. Joshua Blackburn
    /

    I can not wait for the homebrew recipe for this ale and i haven’t even tried it. dark candi sugar, vanilla bean, tangerine peel and french oak? sounds like fun!

  5. Don Larsen
    /

    Hi Matt, I’m a Stone fan from So. Cal. moved to Idaho.I have many of your Anniversary and VE and also a couple of bottles of Sawyers Triple. I want to know what we can do to get Stone specialty brews to Idaho faster or at all. It took almost 3 week to get 13th here and nobody can tell me when VE 09 will get here.

  6. Don,
    Your best bet is to keep nagging your local retailers. When they see there is demand for Stone beer they’re more likely to carry it and more likely to bug their distributor to hurry up and deliver it. However, three weeks is a fairly standard amount of time to wait for our special releases to make it to far away places like Idaho. We also encourage you to keep lobbying for great craft beer by drinking local and requesting better beer in your area. The more successful craft beer is in a certain area, the more likely it is that craft breweries will distribute there. Cheers!
    -Matt

  7. Enjoying one right now! Quite a joy after a couple IPA’s and dinner. Let me finish this one and maybe another and I’ll post back with some thoughts. So far, so good…
    -Steve

  8. Pingback: Appellation Beer: Beer From a Good Home » Blog Archive » Stone Vertical Epic Ale 09.09.09

  9. James S
    /

    Picked mine up today here in Ventura County.
    Can’t wait to get off work!

  10. I’m all the way over in eastern PA, I’ll be watching very closely for this to show up! Just had 07 and 08 last week as set-up for the 09 release. We have some GREAT east coast craft brews, but you guys are making amazing stuff, you represent the west coast very well. Thanks for all your hard work!

  11. David
    /

    Picked one up today. Just had a taste. The roasted character was almost overpowering at first. Great finish.

    This one will age perfectly!!

  12. Jason
    /

    Had two of the Epic 09 today. A great beer as are all Stone beers. I would give the 08 a much higher rating, but that is because it was more the style of beer that I prefer. If you like a chocolate porter this is probably one of the best (I don’t like chocolate so it is hard for me to be a fair judge).

    Looking forward to the Kona. I just hope I can get my hands on a couple bottles.

  13. Mitch
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    The question everyone will be asking is: Can I get the vertical sampler come 2012? Is it part of your plan to to release this a sampler?

  14. Tried one about a week ago, very tasty. I purchased six more. We ran out of the 13th Anniversary in Boulder stores within a couple of weeks.

    Keep up the good work and I will keep converting folks.

  15. I know this one’s best enjoyed in the bottle… aging and all that good stuff. I just hooked up my first keg of this (to replace the 13th Anniversary Ale) in our restaurant and it’s disappearing quick! Stone hasn’t made a single beer yet I’ve disliked. If you’re not getting this in your area, go demand it. Rich, roasty complexity balanced out with that sweetness and spice. It reminds me of being in Germany, eating Ritter Sport Cappuccino chocolates… but darker and much more complex. I’m also reminded of a line in the movie “Beerfest.” Something about placing certain body parts in beer and vice-versa… Probably the best beer I’ve had all year. Period. Thank you, Stone!

  16. Nothsa
    /

    I just finished a pint of the 08 not more than an hour ago tonight, and it’s the most interesting beer I’ve tasted in years. I’m looking forward to trying the 09 and aging a couple bottle of it myself. Good work on these Vertical Epic recipes guys.

  17. Critical Failure
    /

    This beer is great! Just bought a couple of bottles but they were consumed quickly. Had to order 5 more from another town since they ran out of stock so quickly :)

    If I see any other beer labeled Stone Brewing I will buy it without hesitating.

    You rock guys and gals! :D

    And Stone Vertical Epic Ale IS EPIC.

    Please; please; make this ale every year.

  18. Pingback: Review: Stone Vertical Epic 09.09.09 | THE BEER ALMANAC

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