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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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: 57 | 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 beersarang
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby with a quickly receding tan head. The crappy retention is the only thing marking down the score.

Bready yeasty aroma, pleasant.

Nice bready malt presence, light hopping, unable to discern but I believe the dominating hop flavor is floral. Finishes horrendously yeasty, very Belgian-esque. Just a touch too yeasty, might benefit from aging. Alcohol is not too noticable, until it warms.

Medium bodied, prickly belgian style carbonation.

Drinkability suffers from the yeastiness, otherwise a decent offering but does not live up to the hype. (569 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
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. (456 characters)

Photo of bnutz
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I opened this May 6th, 2005.

Not knowing anything about the style Stone was going after for this year's brew, I was suprised to see a deep caramelly, brown beer being poured into my glass. The head was light and frothy and didn't bother haning around.

The nose hinted around at banana and herbal tones but none of the aromas typically associated with Belgian-Style brown ales were present in great abundance. I got primarily a mild grassiness with a bit of alcohol.

After the first sip, I thought I may have chilled this beer too long. It seemed that the caramel, tangarine peel and celery flavors had been turned down. I let it warm up a bit and didn't find much improvement.

The beer had a nice viscosity in the mouth and an herbaceous, alcoholic and mildly hoppy finish.

I think this beer is just young. I thouroughly enjoyed it now(although not as much as initial tastings of the prior VE releases) but think it is going to age like a champion. I can't wait to try one in six months. (1,002 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hardly any head after it was poured into my Leffe chalice. No head after the first sip. The only redeeming quality of this beer's appearance is its deep, brown blood color. It reminds of brandy a little when you get to the bottom. The aroma is of brown sugar, vanilla, and toasty malted caramel with a burny, alcohol finish. The taste is like a dark fruity brandy. Get some mild alcohol in the finish mixed with hints of pecan torty. Pretty clean palate but with strong, dark overtones. And a spicey, yet subtle alcoholic finish. (529 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer appears chestnut brown with a thin tan collar. The aroma brings toffee, light spice, caramels, malt, age, brown sugar. The flavor is a tad sweet, with brown bread, a touch of basement musk, toffee. Pretty good. Thin body with low carbonation. Pretty good. (300 characters)

Photo of Derek
3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I love Stone brews, but I don't think this one lived up to their name (or my expectation).

A: Caramel colour with a slight ruby hue, off-white head.

S: Malty sweetness.

T: Very malty, and certainly balanced to the sweet side. There isn't a lot of flavour, but the alcohol content is well hidden.

M: Syrupy, moderately heavy body (unusual for this style), moderate carbonation.

D: Easily approached, but this is a big beer. It'd be a challenge to drink a lot.

Thanks DrJay! (490 characters)

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thus far, this is interesting.
Looks beautiful in the glass.
Though this is new and young there are flavors that make me think "skunked" here and there.
There are also flavors that make me think doppelbock.
I haven't quite sorted them out yet.
Hopefully, I'll be able to get my hands on this again, though it seems these vertical epics are becoming quite the hot item.
Deep roasted things are happening here and there.
Malts, slight hops (by Stone standards). Worth a try at the moment but I think this needs to age awhile longer. (537 characters)

Photo of Jredner
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly roasty/carmalelized notes. Caramel malts and a little cocoa. Rich ruby/brown in color with a tiny half dollar thick tan head. Fore is caramel malts and cocoa with hints of raisin and spice. Having just had the 03 03 03 the other day I can say, as others have mentioned, this is thin. At the least is much thinner than the 03. Lacks that incredible spicy flourish of the 03 as well. But this does have a very nice basic flavor. Comes off as cocoa infused caramel pumpernickel bread with just a very slight hint of spiciness in the finish. (546 characters)

Photo of asabreed
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a wine glass. Been waiting four years to try this.

Appearance: A nice and dark layered amber color with good lacing. Weird balance of dark on top of light, almost like a black and tan at a bar, made with a spoon between the beers.

Smell: Dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee. Good and balanced? Yes. A Belgian Strong Dark? Seriously?! More like a Porter, and one that I'm not going nuts about. Stone's always quality, but I expected more here.

Taste: Same here. Initial chocolate and coffee and roasted malts. Phenolic activity's providing pretty much absolutely nothing. I'd say this was a 6.5% ABV Porter if this was some challenge to guess what's going on. Lingering sourness and roasted malts and sweetness. Again, balanced, but not a lot going on to the point where I'm excited about it.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation seems like it's really trying to push through the body, and though it's almost there, there's still a bit of a watery nature to the brew by the end that I'm confused by, especially since it's been sitting here for over four years. Or was it supposed to be like this?

Drinkability: There's nothing to complain about necessarily regarding this brew, but I don't know if age has done anything for it. I do have a bottle left. And yes, I'll wait until 2012. But what's going to happen? How much more complex and nuanced is it going to get? I feel like if this wasn't Stone, people would be giving it less of a rating overall, in some ways. I'm not sure. How long should we wait, though, really? (1,537 characters)

Photo of Ahhdball
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark amber light tan head forms on top
chocolate, dark fruit (plums, maybe cherry) aroma
taste is decent not the best but there's pepper, some other spices along with maybe a fig and hints of chocolate, small hop bite in the end
mouthfeel was smooth drinkability was decent but my next will be opened in 2015 like the bottle says (332 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Stone Company Store in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a hazy dark orange-red with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, and grape juice aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, dark fruit, and fruit juice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with nice fruity characteristics that are holding up surprisingly well for being over 9 years old at this point.

Serving type: on tap. (669 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

3.0 A: Moderately hazed semi-dried blood color. Short head that falls quickly.

3.5 S: Strong, musty "old beer" smell. Caramel, toasty, raisin. Pepper and clove spiciness. Cocoa powder, anise, and light roastiness. Overall, pretty decent - held up well.

3.5 T: Big toastiness, light roast, caramel, chocolate. Anise, pepper, clove. Tastes like a well aged beer that was pretty good fresh.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good spritzy carbonation. This is pretty damn good. Very impressed.

3.5 D: Easily my favorite so far. Not bad at all. (782 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, split

appearance: served in a great lakes chalice, muddy garnet body, very little head - light carbonation

smell: aromas of aged malts - smoke, anise, pepper, loads of dark fruit

taste: much like the 03 and 04, oxidation is not absent. smoky malts, booze soaked dark fruit, star of anise, cocoa. Probably my least favorite of the 3 i've had thus far in the vertical (of those tried after 12.12.12)

mouthfeel: dry, light bitterness, spicy

overall: meh (468 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the 'Most Arrogant Bar in America', Barley's Pizzeria & Taproom in Greenville, SC! Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured a deep ruby red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, caramel hop, sweet alcohol, and earth. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, earth, and spices. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. I really went into this one not expecting much with it being so old at the time of sampling, but knew that it would be intriguing based on what I found. The good news is that all of the notes that one would expect from the style were still present and accounted for. However, the caramel note was definitely dominant and made its presence known throughout each sip. This was a bit of a letdown, but overall this one has held up pretty well in the keg. Worth your time trying if you are a fan of the style or brews with a dominance of caramel. (1,062 characters)

Photo of JAXSON
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 rate.

Pours a dark opaque brown with crimson edges and a creamy tan head. Malty and boozy on the nose. Some nice sweet dark fruits, but not a ton of complexity going on. Thin and a bit shallow in the mouth. Big malt but the sugars have faded. This actually needs to be sweeter. Some faded hops sit around, and some interesting spices ride in a long finish. Kind of interesting. (383 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber courtesy of sunnydlyte23 poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, clear copper underneath a healthy tan head that lingers as a cap for the duration and leaves good lacing.

The aroma is sweet with lots of dark fruits - figs, raisins, pears - soaked in booze. Plenty of brown sugar and some licorice and spices. It actually has a slight hint of oxidation in the nose with a bit of stale cardboard coming through.

The taste has the same booze-soaked fruity sweetness as the aroma. There is plenty of dark malts forming a solid backbone along with Belgian sugars before the spices leave a slight tingle on the palate in the finish. Again, signs of oxidation in the taste, just as in the aroma.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with decent carbonation and the oxidation seems to have thinned it out slightly. The alcohol is definitely present in the finish.

This is a very good beer that I think is probably a little past it's prime. Very sweet with a good spice presence to mix it up a bit. (997 characters)

Photo of peabody
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours out with a dark brown/red hue with very little head but it stays around for the entire drink.
Thanks to Kane for hooking me up with this one.
Smell is malt and sugar and caramel. A fruity alcohol presense is here too.
Taste is caramel and sugar and little else for a while then the black bitterness takes over.
I think this one is beyond it's prime.
Mouthfeel is very clean and the only drawback is the strong alcohol.
Drinkability is contingent on flavor.
Not enough to bother with.
the 04/40/04 is still the baddest boy I have tried. (541 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From 10/04/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey for the Stone Tap Takeover event.

a - Pours a dark amber color with 1 inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, sweet dark fruits, and a little bit of alcohol.

t - Tastes of dark fruit, sugar, bready and caramel malts. Not bad but a little too sweet.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A decent strong dark ale, but it seemed more like a barelywine to me after these 5 years. I thought the taste was too sweet. Probably wouldn't seek out again. (539 characters)

Photo of PatronWizard
3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

See 06.06.06 review for background story....

Well, it pours a burgandy dark with a great head. Chunks of lacing, nice looking brew.

Smell reminds me of a quad. Musty dark fruits, subtle but earthy, again with the tea leaves.

Big bite of caramel and dark fruits. Not bad but ....

Good carbonation, especially considering the age. Feels decent enough I guess.

Overall: expected EPIC, got good (395 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Arbitrator shared this one. Thanks, buddy.

Dark translucent mahogany brown with amber highlights. Still lively and well-carbonated after 5 years.

Big sherry and dark fruit aroma. Lots of oxidation, raisins, dates, blackberry preserves. Strong esters and oxidation cover up most of the malt and hop character.

Very oxidized palate. Sherry, perhaps a bit of wet paper. Heavy on the esters and phenols, spicy and peppery but simultaneously sweet. Dates, figs, berries. A bit thin. Finishes peppery, phenolic, spicy. Hints of clove, some grainy astringency. Not bad, this has held up fairly well, though I don't think I'd care much for the beer fresh or aged. (658 characters)

Photo of beertaster13
3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep rich brown with a mocha head that dominates the glasss. The smell is of strong deep molasses and roasted nuts. A hint of citrus hops will pleasure the nose. The taste is deep and rich of roasted caramel with almonds. The biscuity taste is pleasant with a nice hop ending. A full bodied thick brown ale, great for by the fire or with a thick rich dessert. (367 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the 05, 07 and 07 wine barrel all side by side at Churchkey the other night, and those three were all rather disappointing.

I have a bottle of this in my "cellar" and I'm not sure I want it now. This beer was oxidized (IN A KEG) and really oddly sweet. It was dark amber and mildly hazy. Spicy, sort of, and mostly malty. THere is a decayed hop background to the beer that indicated that one day, perhaps 5 years in the past, this beer was palatable. (455 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Drank from larger Stone bottle, poured into chalice.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown.

Smell: Smells kind of barley winish or scottish ale-ish.

Taste: See smell above. Tastes like a strong scottish ale to me (not what I expected). Good though. Definitely molasses-like flavor, with some plummy fruitiness thrown in.

Notes: Pretty good as a wee heavy or barley wine I think. Doesn't match my expectation as a belgian strong dark ale. (456 characters)

Photo of Naes
3.29/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is almost black in color with a tall tan head that quickly disappeared. Lacing is minimal.
Its aroma is yeasty and candy sweet.
Its flavor starts out quite malty, then has a dark fruit quality (raisin, black cherry) with some alcohol warming and finishes with a milk chocolate like presence.
Mouth feel is medium to full bodied and moderately carbonated.

Not like anything I have had from stone. (414 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.28/5  rDev -17.4%
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. (751 characters)

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