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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:
Photo of MrVonzipper
5/5  rDev +27.9%

MrVonzipper, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of BrewinHeadBanger
5/5  rDev +27.9%

BrewinHeadBanger, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of dksl16
5/5  rDev +27.9%

dksl16, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of jeffjfindley
4.88/5  rDev +24.8%
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!

jeffjfindley, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of FARGO619
4.88/5  rDev +24.8%
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

FARGO619, Jun 24, 2011
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 feloniousmonk
4.78/5  rDev +22.3%
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!

feloniousmonk, Jul 10, 2005
Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

nmann08, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of taez555
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

taez555, May 16, 2005
Photo of cabsandking
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

cabsandking, Aug 21, 2007
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

brewdlyhooked13, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of canucklehead
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
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

canucklehead, Apr 19, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 06, 2006
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 neonbrown82
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

neonbrown82, Feb 13, 2006
Photo of ZX6Chris
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

ZX6Chris, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of mzwolinski
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
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!

mzwolinski, Jun 02, 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 fsck
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

fsck, May 11, 2013
Photo of rogueleonardi
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

rogueleonardi, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of leedorham
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

leedorham, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of heresy22
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

heresy22, Apr 07, 2013
Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
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!

tavernjef, Jul 19, 2005
Photo of jaybrough
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

jaybrough, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of PhineasGage
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

PhineasGage, Jan 27, 2012
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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.