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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic AleStone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

309 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 103
Gots: 52 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

A new Vertical Epic will be released every year, with the goal being to collect them all and have a Vertical Epic tasting once the final Epic is released on 12/12/12. Each new Stone Vertical Epic Ale will be release one YEAR, one MONTH and one DAY apart. This time around, we used no spices in the brewing of this beer. If you've tasted the beer before reading this, that may surprise you. The special Belgian yeast we used adds a distinctively spicy aroma and flavor. Roastiness, clove, hops, fruitiness, and those other great and funky phenols abound in the nose. What's in the flavor? You certainly get some dark roasted malts and alcohol overtones. What else? Hints of earthiness, chocolate/cocoa, hop spiciness, maybe even anise, and ... the incredible variety of complexities from the classic brewing ingredients of barley malt, hops, yeast and water, when applied with an artistic brewer's talent never ceases to amaze.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 05-06-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 309 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mdaschaf:
Photo of mdaschaf
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12. Review from notes.

A: Burgundy/brown color with a small off-white head that reduces to a thin ring. Minimal lacing.

S: Chocolate, caramel, and some bread. Reminds me of a dubbel, sort of estery and phenolic.

T: Not as nice as the nose, some banana, chocolate, clove, and butterscotch. A little bit of raisin and dark fruit as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: One of the better "older" vintages.

mdaschaf, Apr 08, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought this for my Sunday tasting tonight to Garagekeggers house,poured a deep brown with some reddish hue with a light almond colored head.Aromas of spiced cherries and smoky clovy spiciness from the Belgian yeast dominate,flavors as well are dominated by spiced cherries and clovey spiciness I even got a touch of black licorace in the finish.I am glad I opened it up I was gonna wait but the big flavors and complexities are to much to pass up a real winner from Stone again.

oberon, Jun 06, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one is magnificent! The body is a dark, dirty brown in color and topped with a gorgeous brownish-white head. The head stayed up for a time and left some awesome pits on top of the liquid.

Smell – The rich Belgian malts are mixed with a smooth, baker’s-type of chocolate that give this bouquet a heavenly scent. The fruits are dark and open up as the ale warms. The even, ever-present yeast though is what does it for me. They really did an excellent job with that aspect of the nose. This is just marvelous!

Taste – Yes, heaven-sent this is. The malts are so smooth and so yeasty. The chocolate is mellow and perfectly blended. The fruits pull back a bit from the smell and are replaced by some serious sugars. The finish is a dry Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss.

Mouthfeel – This is almost full in the mouth with a bit of dryness at the finish. There is no indication of the high ABV and the flavors are blended nicely, although this ale is certainly a cellaring candidate.

The carbonation really did it for me here. It is substantial yet delicately playful, keeping the drinker almost constantly entertained. It is fluffy and light in the mouth, which I just love to no end.

Drinkability – I think two years in the cellar will make this my first perfect 5.0 Belgian Ale (from Cali, of course – hahahaha). Right now though it is very drinkable. It’s so smooth and delicious you almost feel guilty drinking it alone (yet you will).

Comments – My personal preference with the style is a concentration on the yeast with a very complex presentation. I like my BSDA’s well structured and rarely cellar them, although as I said I may make an exception in this case. Regardless, the mouthfeel and flavors of this ale are top notch. They hit the proverbial nail on the head with this effort.

RoyalT, May 29, 2005
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark reddish brown with an ample 1 inch tan head sitting on top. Spotty lacing all the way down the glass. Aromas burst forth of roasted caramel, black licorice, some cloves & spices along with dark fruits (black currant?). Herbal, fresh hops show up in the background along with hints of earthy yeast. Very enjoyable.

First sip brings a roasty, toasty maltiness along with a deep dark fruitiness featuring cherry and black currant. Some cocoa and spice with hints of black licorice dance on the palate before flowing into a molasses finish that has just a touch of hops. Spicy, earthy yeastiness throughout. Quite a nice brew here. One of my favorite Vertical Epics so far.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy with smooth carbonation that flows delicatly over the tongue. Tasty now, it will be interesting to see how this ages. I'm glad I have two more for future enjoyment. Thanks to kmpitz2 yet again for this one.

orbitalr0x, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of dill
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was looking forward to trying this one as I expected it to be drinking rather well at this time. It poured a deep amber color and smelled of toffee. The taste was a bit disappointing though as it had a bit of a metallic character to go along with the toffee that I was looking forward to. Not sure if the bottle had been compromised so I'd like to try it again sometime soon.

dill, Jun 04, 2008
Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, obvious vintage date on the bottle. The usual short story on the bottle as well.

A- Feigned black with garnet hues when brought up to the light, decent head retention ... lacing drops a few rings on the glass.

S- Powdered carob, mild tropical fruit of mango and pineapple. Phenolic of cloves and black pepper ... faint on that though, hint of fusel alcohol as well.

T&M- Crisp within a full body, perfect level of carbonation. Earthy with a bittersweet chocolate powder up front. Plum pudding character throughout; candied fruit, cloves, spices, bit of alcohol. Slight brown malt flavor and anise in the drying finish.

D- Tasty without a doubt, for a little over a year old it has held up pretty well ... flavors seem to be meshed toge her with little to no "aged" character. Still a sipping brew but a tasty one at that.

Jason, Jun 21, 2006
Photo of merlin48
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served chilled in a St Bernardus goblet, 05-05-05 pours a very dark body that appears opaque in the glass, but reveals a radiant ruby color when held to the light. Head is minimal, beige in color, has little retention and minimal lacing.
Aroma, when cold, has prominent notes of spice, yeast, and fruits. As it warms, malty notes come forth with chocolate and dark fruits soaked in rum. Yeasty character emits some wool sweater aromas. Mango and melon fruit esters are delightful to the nose.
Mouthfeel has a medium heavy body and moderate carbonation.
Taste is complex and quite good. Figs, prunes, and raisins drenched in rum. Spicy and earthy yeast and hops climb aboard and add a pleasant complexity. Strong rum notes make you aware that this one packs a punch. Bittersweet dark roasted malts emerge as it warms, along with a hint of orange and stronger prunes. Stone says this edition contains no spices, but there are notes of coriander, white pepper, and anise. Bitter chocolate and fusel alcohol on the finish, with a long bitter chocolate and spice aftertaste.
This year's Vertical Epic is deep and complex. A very good strong dark Belgian ale that is going to get much better with some age. Highly recommended!

merlin48, May 26, 2005
Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle with usual stone brewery blather all over the bottle. Pours dark brown with a tan head evolving to the obligatory tiny bubble film and leaving some scattered and spotty lacing upon swirling the glass. Faint nose of cola and fruit. Chewy, lightly chocolaty brew. Notes of some vanila cola, bourbon, fruits and nuts. Thoroughly delicious. Rum soaked cherries in the finish. More top quality suds from the master brewers at Stone. Put some of this away or crack open and enjoy today.

Billolick, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of warriorsoul
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked a few of these up at the Stone tasting at Bauer Wine & Spirits (thanks Nick & Mike).
Pours a real dark brown w/ some rust color shining thru w/ help from the light...a nice full finger of light tan head forms and quickly disappears except for a slight covering.
Aroma is pleasant...wine-like w/ sweet malts hitting the nose.
Taste is packed w/ flavor...more sweet as it hits room temperature.
Definite spiced flavor, which claims to be due to the yeast...no spices added, eh? Very nice....a touch of hops to keep this one from being overly sweet. I also detect some smokiness, but very faint.
The mouthfeel may be thin for the style, but I find it perfect to make this Strong ale highly drinkable...despite the ABV%, I would have no problem making a session brew out of this one...this 22oz. is going bye-bye real fast. It is a good thing that I bought 3 of these...I feel # 2 will be gone tonight as well. We'll save # 3 for 12.12.12 or I will simply buy more.
Great job Stone!

warriorsoul, Jun 03, 2005
Photo of kingcrowing
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured in a sampling glass.

Pours a dark brown ruby with a tinge of brown and ivory head. Nose is diacetyl and sweet, a bit malty.

Taste is a bit buttery and sharp, noot that belgian but still very nice. For a 4 year old brew this is gonna be awesome in 2012

kingcrowing, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of ehammond1
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Tap

Stone Epic Festival 12-12-12
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 8 years)

A very dark ruby, bordering on brown, with a small cap of brown foam atop. Leaves the glass dotted, but there's not a lot of cling.

A sweet aroma of dark fruits, distinct clove, and some burnt wheat toast. Not quite as faint of an aroma as some of the other Vertical Epic beers sampled, but not particularly bold.

The flavor follows the aroma, with a yeasty/clove flavor combining with burnt wheat bread, moderate bitterness, and some mild dark fruit character.

Medium in bodied, slightly oily, with moderate carbonation.

I didn't really enjoy this, but it wasn't bad, by any means. This beer seems confused and an addition to an unnecessarily lame project.

ehammond1, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of BadBadger
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque dark color. The head was not overly foamy but present and relatively long lasting. The smell of alcohol is permeating. The vapors hit the palatine taste buds before the liquid touches the tongue-unfortunately. The taste is some what on the sweet side but rather pleasant. The alcohol taste is nicely blended within the sweetness, A nice smooth mouthfeel. Certainly worth buying two bottles and comparing the taste differences over time. Enjoy!

BadBadger, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of TKEbeerman
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A. Poured into my VE glass this brew pours a darker brown with ruby tones. A small amount of yeasty floaties are noticable when held to the light.
S. The aroma has notes of hazel nuts and dark chocolate with burnt caramel apple.
T. The flavor has a good mix of oxidation with some belgium spic notes from the yeast.
Mf. Fully mouth feel, smooth carbination
Overall, the best one so far.

TKEbeerman, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark ruby caramel cola tone with a tan frothy head about an inch thick, leaves some fine lacing around the chalice. Aroma: Slight medicinal clove tones along with some herbal tea and vinous sweetness which takes on a raisiny phenolic note. Taste: Spots of dark chocolate with a drier finish touch of honey and caramel sweetness with fruit phenols maybe some cherry here and there with a mix of cocoa powder and alcohol in the finish dark roasts play a nice mix with the belgian yeast character of this brew. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with an airy carbonation not bad coats the palate very well. Drinkability: Complex and somewhat difficult to describe flavor, I'm sure this one will be changing with time some brashness but should definitely mellow out (I'm sure this is the plan only needs to make it to December 12th, 2012.

WVbeergeek, Jun 20, 2005
Photo of chinchill
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

At 2014 Most Arrogant Bar Bash (Barleys in Greenvillle,SC)

Pours black and opaque, with a good head.

This slr shows obvious barrel aging effects, including a smooth feel and well blended flavors. It's warm with an estery finish and aftertaste; otherwise the high ABV is well hidden. Flavors include vanilla, toffee, dried fruit and light spicing. Semi-dry finish.

chinchill, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of OStrungT
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark red, with a ruby like tint to it. The head is brown, thick and creamy. There is a very slight orange tint to it. It fades very slowly. It dosent look like it will ever go away. It leaves thick laces. Very impressive. It smells hoppy. It has a strong clove aroma. It also smells quite sweet, and fruity. It tastes strongly of cloves. Very clovelike. It tastes malty with a good hop balance. It also had a slight plum or raisin taste to it. This beer goes down very smooth. It is carbonated to perfection. It leaves a spicy aftertaste on the palate. It is a full bodied beer. The alcohol content is only slightly high, 8.5 %, so this might make a decent session beer.This one is definately a winner. If you ever see it, buy a few. I am going to buy some more as soon as possable. It will age very well.

OStrungT, May 07, 2005
Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +2.3%

SPRichard, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a teku)
Drank on 3/31/13
A- This beer pours a hazy light walnut brown body with a bubbly light tan head and a strong carbonation that pops to the surface.

S- The hint of sherry and wet old wood has a light sweet malt note and a butter hint in the finish. Some soft cellar notes come through as it grows.

T- The nice soft malt flavor has note of toffee and a cherry stone note with a sugar flavor that is not really sweet. There are some dark ester notes with a sherry quality growing as it opens. There is a dry wood and slightly pungent herbal note in the finish. It also has a hint of brine as it that takes on an iodine hint but it fades and a tart hint shows up.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat noticed and a tight fizz that slows over time. There is a slight slippery texture aswell.

O- This has nice yeast and malt characteristics with a bitterness that fades in the finish and some nice biere de garde cellar characteristics that are tasty but a bit hard to describe.

rhoadsrage, Apr 23, 2013
Photo of porterman
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got 3 bombers from a friend. Poured into my La Chouffe glass. Pours a nice ruby red with little head and doesnt leave much lacing. not much carbonation to speak of.

It smells alot like it tastes very fruity with a little strange chemical smell in the background

The taste is very similar to the smell:) Plums and malt and fruits with some strange aftertaste slightly bitter and harsh. Taste the alcohol more than in other similar styles that have more alcohol.

The mouthfeel is nice. thin maybe a little flat but very enjoyable

Drinkability is decent. a little heavy on the alcohol taste. but i drank 2 bombers back to back so it cant be too bad.

The first thing i thought of when i had my first sip was this tastes like it needs some aging. The more i drank the more this was confirmed. Tastes immature. Needs to smooth out some. It says on the bottle best drank in 2012 and i think they know what they are talking about. Hey its not bad now. But some aging will make this one alot better.

porterman, Jun 12, 2005
Photo of weonfire
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

weonfire, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of ggaughan
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled with my brother and cousin before a wedding. The beer poured a dark, redish amber color with a slight white head and a bubbly body. The aroma was malty, spicey and had a bit of dried fruit tones, mainly raisins. The taste is true to the aroma with malty sweetness, raisins and other fruit flavors, figs probably. This beer has a medium body with the carbonation character and there is a hint of the high abv on the tongue as the beer goes down. This is the first of the 05 that I have tried but it won't be the last as I have a few more in the basement.

ggaughan, May 22, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very unusual brew.
Pours a dark, dark red amber...chill cloudy...with a half finger head that melts quickly to nothing...no lacing.
Aroma is sweet malt, raisins, dried fruit, light cinamon spice.
Taste is sweet mostly raisins, prunes, dried fruit, cinammon spice (like aroma) followed with a slight hops bitter aftertaste. Definately a toasted almost smoked malt flavor hidden in here.
Mouthfeel is rich and smooth with tiny tingly carbonation and light alcohol burn as you swallow.
Aftertaste lingers of both sweet raisin and bitter hops with warming alcohol. No alcohol taste,.... just warmth.
Very interesting and distinctive. I'm looking forward to trying a vertical tasting between the 04, 05, and 06 later this year.

IntriqKen, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of soper2000
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The third Vertical Epic for me in my beer adventures. Picked up from the Hop Shop in Indianapolis. I was originally planning on aging the 03 and 04 epics but that didn't work, so I just plan on consuming the 05's as soon as the need strikes.

Pours a nice ruby tinged brown with a slow beige head. The head diminishes but doesn't disappear. Nose has a nice earthy Brasserie Caracole property. It's a warm wet woodiness that I find in all of Caracole's beer and now i'm finding it in Stone's offering. Notes of plum and raisin remain in the background. A slight yeasty spiciness becomes prevalent in the nose as the beer warms. Taste is quite interesting to me. It starts off with a slight roastiness fading sweetly into the dark fruit categories. Plums, figs, and raisins invade the palate until something brillantly shocking takes over; grey tea! The hints of tea from the still fresh amarillos (?) give this beer an amazing refreshing quality. (see Three Floyd's Pride and Joy for more of this tea flavor) Alcohol is only detectable in the warmth this beer gives while sliding down the back of your throat. Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Drinkability is insanely great.

This is an absolute masterpiece. Superbly complex, yet drinkable at the same time. Stone outdid theirselves on this one. I love the combination of fresh bold American hops with traditional Belgian styling. A+

soper2000, Jun 11, 2005
Photo of MrVonzipper
5/5  rDev +27.9%

MrVonzipper, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

SoCalBeerIdiot, Oct 15, 2014
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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.