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

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BA SCORE
89
very good

216 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 216
Hads: 313
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 101
Gots: 58 | FT: 7
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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 05-06-2005

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 216 | Hads: 313
Photo of jeffjfindley
4.87/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Last week I struck gold at Valley Beverage in Sherman Oaks. Ruby to black in body with a head the color of parchment. The smell is absolutely alive with rich, chocolatey malts and dancing hops.

Upon consumption, one's tongue is caressed with cocoa and roasted malt. Later this gives way to a brilliant splash of hops, and a hint of anise. The mouthfeel is balanced to perfection, and with a sweet, mellow numbing sensation.

I went back to the store tonight and bought what remained of this beer. The last year in it's bottle has treated it very well, and I can't wait to see what it'll be like in '07. I have my doubts as to whether it will make it much further than that. I got lucky on this one, and wish you well in finding some yourself! (749 characters)

Photo of FARGO619
4.85/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serverd from a 22oz. bottle shared with some good friends.

A: Dark brown with a slight lighter head retention that went down slowly. Good carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel with some cherry-like flavor.

T: Malt, caramel, slight sweet, very easy to drink. Drank at 55degrees, and the taste got sweeter as the sips went along.

M-Light body with great carbonation.

Can't wait to try this again.

Serving type: bottle (415 characters)

Photo of soper2000
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
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+ (1,385 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby color, bright at sides, with a long-lasting, creamy tan head. Nice.

in the nose: ah...warm, soft, fruity, rich, malty, toffeeish, enticing...delicious...alive and invigorating...much appreciated.

...and smooth and tasty on the tongue, as well. Big, fat malty taste, nary a squeak out of hops...molasses, hint of anise, caramel...richness at play on the palate. Damnably tasty! And the high abv keeps quiet, at least, so far...

I'd love it if this were a regular brew, that I could down anytime I felt. It straddles a special place between abbey dubbel and baltic porter, with a kiss of coffee/chocolate/oatmeal/nut brown stout...if you know what I mean...yummy! (680 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer poured a small white head with a brown “root beer” like body.

The nose was a mix of alcohol, pungent musk like dark ripe fruits, apple cider, apples and phenols.

My notes say “crazy taste” Citrus hops and a Belgian dark strong ale phenolic touch. Big carbonation with a medium to full body. Dark chocolate, and molasses. Ripe dark fruits. A very sweet beer. A big bitterness, not at all overpowering, but it sits well. The amarillo citrus hop gives just a faint hint of citrus without the bite and for some reason blends amazingly well against the dark fruits, chocolate and characteristic Belgian flavors.

Basically it’s like this, “oh my fucking god is this a good beer!!!” Really an amazing beer. A perfect blend of big American malty strong ales or an IPA with a Belgian dubbel or abbey ale. This is what I would imagine a black and tan made with arrogant bastard and chimay blue to taste.

The scary thing about this beer is although it tastes great now you can just picture it aging just as well.
I loved the 03 VE, but this may be the new leader in the battle of Vertical Epics. I don’t know how 06-12 will be able to improve on this. (1,172 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - pours a dark reddish amber. A light tan head forms but quickly fades away leaving random lacing behind.

Aroma - molasses, chocolate, fig, a fine fine nose.

Taste - molasses, black licorice, dark sugars, all with a light roasted covering. A most distinctive tasting beer, unlike any in memory. There is a slight, slight funky feel in there somewhere, I can't pin it down though. Following the swallow is a brief coffee flavor imediately followed by some moderate hop flavor. The sweetness prevails but there is plenty of flavor to experience. The flavors are not real contiguous but as I said, this is a very interesting beer to taste.

Mouthfeel - full, thick and luciously smooth. Carbonation serves to further spice up the flavor and the hops.

Drinkability - the abv is barely noticeable here, but becomes more evident with warmth. Still, what a unique beer, I am very curious to see what aging will do to this. (937 characters)

Photo of cabsandking
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black in color with ruby highlights and a thick milky tan head that fades but maintains some large surface bubbles. Rich, deep nose of mostly carob and dark dried fruits, with toffee and licorice mixed in. Deliciously deep flavors here, dark roasted malts, dark fruits, belgian yeast tartness, clove, and midway through some anise spiciness that numbs the palate a little. Mouthfeel is a very nice medium consistency that is cloying and a little oily...coats and lingers. (471 characters)

Photo of mzwolinski
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a tough nut to crack. Dark brown in color with a surprisingly dark tan head -- moderate in size. Has strong dark ale written all over it.

The aroma, however, is surprisingly light and fruity. The fruits are more tropical than plum-like, with notes of bubble gum, banana and grape. More trippelish than the appearance would suggest.

And then there's the flavor. More bubblegummy candi sugar flavors up front, which yield in the mid-palate and re-emerge briefly in the aftertaste. All kinds of yeasty characters to the flavor here -- they contribute much more to the overall flavor than either the malt or the hops, the the former is certainly more dominant than the latter. Nice roasted malt/burnt sugar flavors emerge in the finish and linger nicely into the aftertaste, giving the beer an almost smoky character.

Fairly creamy in the mouthfeel, and there's certainly a lot of big flavors going on here. Nevertheless, the beer doesn't feel heavy at all. Weird.

This is really good. Probably my favorite of the series so far. Can't wait to see how it develops! (1,080 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fiery dark bronze with molten lava edges that becomes deep, blood red when backlit. The head is golden ecru in color, firmly creamy in texture and is stubbornly persistent. In other words, typical Stone quality. Although it looks to be an extraordinary lacer early on, roughly half of the initially thick blanket melts away in the end. This is still great looking beer and is easily the equal of the Epics that preceded it.

I've been enjoying the nose from afar ever since the pour. Thankfully, it smells like a BSDA; never a certainty when it comes to American versions of this classically Belgian style. With no added spices, all I can say is that the yeast strain was an inspired choice. It provides complexity to a beer that wasn't going to get it from any of the other ingredients. The nose is mildly cocoa-like, dark fruity and clove spicy. My reservations about a lack of power and depth no longer apply once the beer has had the opportunity to lose its initial chill.

Excellent beer! Epic 05.05.05 tastes like a bona fide, world-class BSDA and is far away my favorite beer of the series. My first thought upon tipping the glass up was how beautifully integrated and harmonious the flavor profile is. I have a habit of drinking these Epics at about one year of age (1 year, 4 months in this case) and even though I didn't sample this one when it was young and brash, it's obvious that time has been kind.

The chocolatey, well-roasted maltiness would be reminiscent of a big, bruising doppelbock if it wasn't for the intriguing, spicy splendor of the yeast. How is it possible that a malt bill that contains roughly 90% pale malt, 9% caramel malt and only 1% chocolate wheat malt results in a beer that tastes this dark and fudge-like? Pureed dates and figs keep it deliciously fruity and well away from stout territory.

Amarillo hops seem like an odd choice for a BSDA. Given the malt dominance, their tangerine fruitiness isn't really appreciated (although I might pick up a twist of orange on the finish), but their bitterness is needed to offset the candi sugar, which it does with perfection. Sweet and bitter are both well accounted for, with sweet exerting its dominance from start to finish.

I flat out love the mouthfeel. Love. It. It's full and lush and velvety and sticky and melted chocolate gooey and is everything that I love about big beer mouthfeels. Frankly, it's the highlight of a beer that is full of highlights. I've just realized that I haven't commented on alcohol's role in the flavor profile. What alcohol?

Stone Vertical Epic 05.05.05 is an outstanding BSDA... right now! I have no idea how it will taste in 2012 (I can't wait to find out), but it's hard to imagine how it could be a better beer in six years than it is now. If I had had the foresight to purchase a case of this heavenly ale, it would have taken every ounce of my self control not to drain each and every bomber over the next few months. The best of the series by a country mile and the only one (so far) that can truly be considered epic. (3,056 characters)

Photo of ZX6Chris
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared at a Vertical Epic tasting with my friend Armand. This and the 03.03.03 were my favorites.

A-Very dark brown color, tight white/brownish head. Great carbonation.

S-Dark cherry sweet aroma. Carmel aroma.

T-I get alot of carmel flavor from this one too. I don't get alot of anything else but I like the flavors I get.

M-Light body with great carbonation.

D-I wish I had more of these! I could drink these all day. (423 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great example of a North American Belgian style beer that cellars exceptionally well. The smoothness and complexity of flavours involved are a real treat and I suspect the cellar has something to do with it. Dark brown ,almost black with some reddish highlights, the nose is one of toffee and dried fruit. The hops are still apparent though in the background compared to most stone beers. The finish is complex and much like an old Rochefort 10. Great beer (466 characters)

Photo of neonbrown82
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was acquired from a trade with mentor. Thanks alot. This is a great american belgian, especially considering last year's disappointment.

The beer pours to a dark nutty brown with a slight ruby hue. A nice creamy tan head forms and stays at about a centimeter throughout the drink. A spotty lacing forms, but most of it washes back down.

The smell is very spicy and grainy. Amazing that the bottle says no spices were added. That yeast has worked some magic. Also a bit of berry. Very nice.

The taste is great. Doesn't taste like candi sugar overdose, which is great. Dry with an intense yeasty spice. A lot of clove as well, and even the slightest hint of banana. Sweet and toasty caramel grainy up front with some berry esters but dries out quickly with a spiced hop and mild alcohol finish. Great stuff.

The body is fairly big, and the spices, alcohol, and hops are intense combined with the dryness. All these things mixed with the carbonation unleashed a barrage of interesting flavors washing over my palate.

I wish I had more of this. I'm sure this one could stand up for 6 more years, and I would love to sample its progress in between. (1,168 characters)

Photo of OStrungT
4.56/5  rDev +14.9%
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. (823 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (1,824 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light brown but parks in the glass a dark cherrywood tar with a low watt lamp glow. Firm, yellow-tanned creamy froth sits about a half inch tall, folds down to a light skim and skinny collar. Microcosmicly thin sheeting is placed ever so lightly around the edge with some normal looking ink blobs sticking in a few areas.

Aroma is airy and pleasantly rounded in a soft display of tootsie roll chocolate, tender black licorice spice, plum, pale raisin, and the lightest of light hint of raspberry.

Taste plays a little bit different then what the aroma leads to with more of a pale nut and light enduced roasty realm mixing with a milder tone of dark fruity malts. Banana, dull plum, even more so dulled raisin, slender nut bread and doughy hints of sweetness with puffs of dark cherry, licorice, and anise on the back end trailing into very deep and dark tanged molasses hangs on to a dry airy roast of an empty coffee can. Very subtle flavors continue to emerge and layer into some fairly complex characteristics as slick dark chocolate mingles into some of the flavors once it warms, as does alcoholic esters and dry yeast effects. Beautifully subtle and soft.

Feel is about medium with just the right amount of give and take on the carbonation as its mildly effervescent and malty rich with smooth, soft, and slippery tones. Ghostly dark in character without giving away the farm with over abundant flavors or body. Its subtlety is amazingly complex and rich with style. Damn good stuff! Appreciation is in full mode for this finely crafted brew.

Super large and in charge thanks to warriorsoul for the acquisition! (1,638 characters)

Photo of cbl2
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

5/23/2005 $6.49 22 oz. 8.50% Intended to last until at least 12.12.12.

Appearance:

Pours a dark brown, almost black that lets through just a touch of light to yield a ruby red backdrop. Adorned by a light tan head that rapidly dissipates. Nicely carbonated.

Aroma:

Caramelly sweet with notes of ripe fig. Hints of cocoa, nutmeg & licorice. I can't believe no spicing was used to brew this.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Very complex with flavors including, but not limited to (in no particular order): figs, chocolate, coffee, nutmeg, sherry, anise. Nicely sweetened, with just a touch of bitterness to temper it. Alcohol is present, but nicely masked.

Stone has done it again, churning out yet another world class beer! The flavors they are capable of wringing from nothing more than water, malts, hops and yeast are phenomenal. I can't wait until 12.12.12. (870 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
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. (728 characters)

Photo of tonytuffnuts
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this after clearing my mouth of a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc (Cakebread Cellar, one of the best American wines of its kind). So I'm riding a high, although Sauvignon Blancs are not a particularly prestigious style.

Out of the bomber it pours into a wonderfully dark brown/black (a shade blacker than the bottle itself) body with an 1/8 in. buff head. The pin-prick sized, pearly bubbles dissapate, leaving a residual ring around the edges of my glass and a faint lace.

What a wonderful smell! I've pinned the first impression as low-alcohol Rum. Maybe it's the hint of molasses or the bourbon-cask character? More precisely: warm, syrupy caramel trounced in cocoa, sugar-coated plum, and a faint floral hops.

A delightful taste that may not do justice to the smell's harbinger. Burnt toffe and sugar; Fig Newtons. Imagine the raisins in banana foster minus the banana influence. Cartainly ends with a spice's bite, cinnamon or nutmeg.

The burnt malt isn't quite chalky, but it's palpable and enveloped by an oily mouthfeel. I find this enveloping characteristic of American (as opposed to authentic Belgian) SDA's; a restrained "big beer." Lastly, a delicate carbonation ushers in the bitter hop finish and a spice upon the middle of my tounge.

Stone may be my go-to brewer, and I'm again impressed by the complex effrevescence and wonderful malt that I expect from them. It's a rich beer, but I still think I could go for one a night, sitting in a silk bathrobe in front of a fireplace in the mountains... delightful. (1,529 characters)

Photo of Hopswagger
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Deep clear amber body with a huge creamy copper tone head that stay with it for a spell. Beautiful looking beer.

S: Burnt molasses, dark roasted coffee, candied banana, toffee, and bready yeast.

T/M: Follows the nose with some additional fruit profiles, figs, raisins, chocolate orange, smoked barley, old leather, and dark bread. Has a nice aged flavor that compliments the complex layers that develop throughout. Once warmed even more chocolate, toffe and coffee flavors arrive and add another level of complexity. Medium creamy body with clean finish of chocolate, cocoa and aged wood.

O: Wow this has everything and continues to challenge the palate with layer upon layers of flavors and complexity. With the multitude of flavors I would expect a sloppy mess but this has developed nicely and aged to perfection. This was my favorite of all the Veryical Epics. Glad I was able to try this. (958 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark amber color with garnet highlights; with over three years under its belt, I suspect the head is no longer what it used to be but it does produce a bit of lacing as it quickly fades to a ringlet

Smell: Dark fruit dominates, primarily figs and prunes; caramel, brown sugar and hints of anise

Taste: Rum-soaked dark fruit opens the fray, with bitter zest arriving by mid-palate (its Stone after all); rich caramel spice cake; after the swallow, the flavors mellow into a subdued but complex mix, with deep undertones

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This beer has held up remarkably well; one has to wonder why Stone doesn't brew a BSDA as part of its regular line-up (728 characters)

Photo of ChillMike
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brownish red with a nice tan head and lots and lots of lacing, good looking beer. Upon smelling I’m overcome by raisins, dough and malt. The main flavors I get out of this are dough and raisin, not as hoppy as I’ve come to expect out of Stone brews but still a very nice taste, ooh just noticed a very nice chocolaty flavor as well. Huge bouquet of flavors here! Not a beer I could drink every night or more than one of but wow I really ejoyed this. (469 characters)

Photo of leedorham
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's been almost 2 years for this one. I don't think the others will make it to 2012.

Pours a very dark reddish brown. Heavy on the red. The light coming through the snifter casts a maroon circle on my counter. Minimal head but keeps such throughout.

Smell is slightly alcoholic and sweet. A bit of licorice.

At first sip this is a very smooth beer. I do not get any of the chocolate or roasted character advertised. Very citrusy and sweet to my palate. Reminds me of marmalade. As I get below 50% and the temperature rises the licorice really comes out and is the dominant taste by the end. Really a journey of tastes. (628 characters)

Photo of 99bottles
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Taken in a tulip glass, this beer is quite stunning. The body is a deep ruby-brown color and a head of light tan sits atop. The retention is very good, as the head finally settles to a persistent lace cover of the surface. Beautiful.

Smell: A deep whiff lets you know this is a Belgian for sure. Sweet, sugary malts smell of candied apples, dried fruit and hide behind the strong scent of some otherworldly yeast. Really, even without tasting this you get a sense that the yeast is driving this wagon.

Taste: Whew. What can be said? It's complex for sure. The dark malt exhibits some roasted notes, some coffee and dark chocolate. Next the phenols kick in strong and range from spicy and fruity (cherries, licorice) to biting and medicinal. Sweet, sour, spicy, even a bit of hops to add a bitter finish before the taste of yeast sweeps everything back into place. Alcohol is apparent, but they even warn you on the label that it's a "hot" beer and needs 7 years to settle. I imagine this will be an absolute gem if left to age that long. Think you've got some tastebuds? Wrap them around this for a workout.

Mouthfeel: Good body, slightly viscous but really dead on for the style. Not cloying, although the alcohol is apparent. Moderate carbonation keeps things moving.

Drinkability: I really like it. I don't know that I could have too much of it, and the bomber itself is a bit much for one person, but it's not because it aint good. It's just a handful, and a whopping good handful at that. Good for Stone. Props for including a homebrew along recipe online. Stone Brewing are fishers among men. (1,622 characters)

Photo of beercollector
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a case last weekend. This one pours with a large creamy lasting off white head. It has good lacing and clear body. A pleasant dark brown.

The initial smell is molasses or carmel. There is also a light hop odor. The first taste had a medium body and soft carbonation. You can tell this one has some alcohol.

The flavor is moderatley sweet molasses with a light bitterness. I expect this one will hold for a good aging. (428 characters)

Photo of oxmasterscream
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark, cherry-brown. Beautiful color. Cherry glow surrounds the glass. Inviting.
Smell is big-time fruity... I want to say black cherry but after pondering it for sometime now, it's definitely a deep, intense aroma of ripe strawberries, and man does it smell good. There's a candy-ish backbone with some musty banana as well. Amazing smell.
Taste is great, even just out of the fridge. Roasty, quite spicy (although the bottle says no spice was added) and overripe fruits akin to the smell up front. Then it turns bitter fairly quickly. One to make you suck the bitterness from your mouth - no doubt. Candyish at times. Sour cherries and a bit of dark roast coffee at the finish. Really complex and hard to describe. I'm not doing it much justice here.
Mouth is thick and silky with a touch of zingy carbonation. Alcohol warms the stomach right off.
This stuff is so good that my second glass barely had time to warm before it was gone. Props to Stone once again. (972 characters)

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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 216 ratings.