Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

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.
very good

216 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 216
Hads: 313
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 101
Gots: 59 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 216 | Hads: 313
Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer emerges from the 22-ounce brown bottle a cloudless mahogany with an impressive semi-creamy light tan head, as it erodes the resultant lace forms a fine curtain to drape the glass. Nose is rich in malt with sweet plum like aromas, earthy aroma of Belgian yeast, citrus like in its crispness, fresh, with the start rich in malt and somewhat sweet, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is meaningful in its acidity, the hops delectable and the aftertaste dry and long lasting, so far of the Epics I’ve sampled this is my favorite, damn just think how good this will be in coming years.

 606 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Again today (14NOV09) I say "screw it" to the concept of saving these suckers. Just drink 'em, dammit! Bottle # 2 is opened and ready for quaffing.

Pours a clear, deep ruby, with a lasting, frothy tan head. Lace clings to the glass lovingly. Dark fruit aromas still fill the air. Subtle clove and spice also hit the nostrils. Middle of the road bosy and feel on the tongue, as with the original. Flavor has clove and roasty, bitter chocolate. Dark fruit is present here, too, and it has a suggestion of mocha and rum. So, take a fruitcake soaked in rum and dribble some oozing, hot dark choco over it and let that park on your palate. Hmmm!! Still a very interesting bier at 4.5 years old. As for ratings, if anything I might flip-flop appearance and smell, but still same overall score in the end. Prosit!!

*** ***

03FEB07 - This is one of two bottles of 05.05.05 I've been sitting on.... no need to wait any longer to try this for the 1st time, eh? Back label blurb, in this case, is quite informative, as opposed to many other Stones which lead the reader/drinker on various journeys to the far reaches of the world and/or the imagination.

Poured into a chalice, it is a deep, dense, brown hue, akin to that of freshly fallen chestnuts. Head is a light brown, fine and creamy collection of bubbles, laying thin over the surface save for larger gatherings around the rim. There's a smidge of lacing, though not found far and wide at all. The aroma is distinctly spicy, with some cocoa, sweet malt and some hints of ground cloves. Verry enticing! Body was 'twixt thin and full, which means medium. Now, I'd have just said medium to begin with, but I had a hankerin' to use the word "'twixt" for some time now. Carry on.... The Epic travels rather well over the tongue, to boot.

As for the flavor, well, there's a lot going on here. Some sweetness de malt, almost bordering on caramel; a bit of roasty, bitter choco/cocoa action; some hop florality and earthy character; a touch more of the clovey, spicy quality found in the nose.... I didn't get any kick, up-front, of the 8.5% abv. It may show in a bit, but this is verrry drinkable. Quite nice! No clue how it was at original release time, but at 21 months it is a keeper.


overall: 4.35
appearance: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


 2,337 characters

Photo of unklesyd
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a couple bottles on the release date and put 'um in the beer cooler. A few weeks later, I was in Whole Foods and a guy from Stone was there giving samples. I grabbed one of the VE's and got really excited. My plans for storing them went out the window.

I drank a Chimay Blue yesterday, and I figured that the weather here warranted another excursion into the BDSA category, so with little else to do, I cracked this one.

The color was similar to the Chimay, although it was a bit darker, and no sediment traces. Matte:glossy::Chimay:Stone for you analogists. Very small head as well when compared to the Belgian.

Taste was excellent and easily drinkable. Hoppier than the standard Belgian dark, but well balanced. Not quite so nutty as the usual, a bit more bite, but still restrained. The ABV was well hidden until 10 minutes in, when the warm-up hit my esophogas. What a glorious sensation in any event. I know that I'm dealing with a quality brew when I get this.

There was no hurry to finish, but not because I wanted to move on, nor because it was abhorrent. The desire to savour was natural and inclinational based on the brew; came from our symbiance, not from me, not from it. Tra-la-la.

Nice brew, great experience, and I'm Oh So Happy that I have another bottle of this in the fridge for another day.


 1,346 characters

Photo of skotster13
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours with very little head...and what there is dissipates quickly. The color is a deep and attractive brownish red. It smells obnoxiously malty with the alcohol coming out in the background...almost smells of fried brown-sugar bananas...wonderfully dark and enticing. Upon tasting it the maltiness is definitely there but becomes more subtle as you drink on. There is much molasses that hangs around long after the last drop. The mouthfeel is nice and thick...slides slowly over the sides of the tongue...gives it the feeling of being dressed for winter. Very nice effort this time around...but I liked the '03 best so far. Aging this beer for a year or more definitely helps the overall enjoyment.

 708 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Pulled out the Chez Bum cupboard cum 11th floor Cellar, a little over One Year after its release.

Appearance: Thick looking but crystal clear dark brown body with a mahogany reflection when backlit. Thicker light tan colored head is stupendously attractive and leaves some awesome lacing in its wake. Tonnes of resilient dissolved carbonation reinstate a creamy head with the gentlest of swirls

Nose: Sweet concentrated sugar beet molasses mixes with lots of dark fruits, gelatinous caramels and a healthy dollop of raisins. Prune juice looks run through to the final vapors from the aromas.

Taste: Profuse molasses and a syrup-like middle rich with dark chocolates, bonfire toffee, raisins, prunes and figs. Gorgeous rich liquorice traits rasp the back end with some bitterness. The finish lingers, long after the swallow, an affluent ending from an aristocratic brew.

Mouthfeel: Thick (I’m going to have to using that word thick but it really does apply in so many aspects of this brew) body. Feels way above the 8.5% that it started as, it now exhibits an “Imperial” feel that bodes well for future aging.

Drinkability: A little heavy for the finishing beer of the night but an easy one to slowly work through whilst typing up a few BeerFlys. A hefty nightcap but a damn fine one nonetheless.

Overall: A year has certainly not done any damage to the VE05.0505, and if I dare say so, I think it has improved more than a little. The dark fruits and thick molasses body combined with the solid conditioning all lends me to think that there is plenty of life in the VE05.05.05. This will be one to watch for sure.

 1,648 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

 929 characters

4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Vertical Epic 05.05.05 ---- I can't remember a beer I have been more jacked up to drink. It does not disappoint!
The beer poured out a nice mahogany color in my tulip glass. The actual color when held to the light is a deep amber. A nice 1" tan head fell to a cap and rode the Epic all the way down.
I took the first whiff straight out of the bottle and found a beautiful spicy yeast aroma. After being poured out the smell of the yeast was intensified and some fruity aromas along with some clove were released. The bottle states that no spices were used in brewing --- that is a trip!! What a strain of yeast that must be!!
The taste of this brew was full of spicy yeast, a little banana and clove. There was some raisin apparent as the beer warmed. The hopping seems very, very light to me. There is a nice slightly roasted earthy flavor to this beer. An awesome lingering aftertaste finishes this off. There is more going on here than I can actually pin down.
The mouthfeel is creamy and a little thinner than I expected with medium carbonation.
I am very impressed with this offering from Stone. I hope I can save the three other bombers I have for tasting at different intervals during the aging process. It will be a challenge!

 1,246 characters

Photo of John1985
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ale pours with an attractive dark brown color and ample with head. Head disappears quickly without much lacing. Aroma was an incredible with scents of spicy dark bread. Taste was dominated by rich earthy malts with slight stings of alcohol at the back. Mouthfeel was rich without being cloying and was smooth and drinkable.

I am not very experienced with this style but am very glad I saved this for the last year or so. As with other reviews, I'm sure this ale would have improved for the next several years. Wish I would have bought more!

 544 characters

Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Clear ruby brown, nice fluffy tan head. Subdued Belgian trappist like aroma, sweet malty fruitiness, slightly musty like a basement. Big smoothly sweet malty flavor. Lots of fruityness in the flavor, with a good amount of sweetness. Big mouth feel. Not very assertive, but the flavors blend well, almost like an aged Rochefort. May over oxidize with time, but we shall see. My favorite of the Vertical Epics thus far.

 417 characters

Photo of HopHed
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Dark brown, nearly black, but with a very subtle burgundy hue. Very Clear. Noticeably tan head.

AROMA: A very malty, caramelly smell, with a slight coffee note and with some definite alcohol notes present.

FLAVOR: Malt, malt, more malt. Wonderfully smooth, rich, and somewhat sweet, but not cloyingly so. Subtle hints of caramel, chocolate, molasses, and (maybe) a slight coffee-ish note. Some noticeable bitterness of hops, but they were not overwhelming.

PALATE: Definitely leaning toward full-bodied, but extremely well balanced. There was a noticeable, but light, heat (of alcohol) about it. Would love to know where it was at ABV when we cracked it open.

NOTES: I could easily make this a session beer, but it would be a session beer that rendered me completely stupid drunk after two or three pints. It was full, but very enjoyable, and very rich.

 873 characters

Photo of corey0212
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finding this at The Publick House Provisions was definitely one of those "Wow!" beer shopping moments for me....

Pours a handsome burgundy/mahogany color, small tan head fades out pretty quickly into a nice collar around the glass, not a whole lot of lacing to speak of. Smell is outrageous. Chocolate/cocoa/carob smells, something earthy/woodsy about the whole thing, and a pronounced alcohol aroma wafting up. Lots of chocolate flavor, fruity...maybe raspberries? Some fig & plum, brown sugar. Finely carbonated, medium-bodied, very slightly sticky, lots of lingering spice. I'm really wishing I had bought some more of these...a very unique beer drinking experience for me.

 677 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear ruby-mahogany robe is capped by a massive head of rocky tan foam that holds quite well and leaves some very nice lace about the glass. The nose is yeasty, fruity (figs, prunes), and malty with caramel and darker malt character but no chocolate... just the suggestion of some roastiness. It's smooth and creamy in the mouth with a delicate carbonation and dextrinous, medium-almost--medium/full body. The flavor is rich with dark fruit juiciness and bitter skins upfront, followed by a touch of alcohol that turns it more vinous than juicy. Dark caramel malts sneak in, and some yeasty "pepper" rises along with a healthy dose of low-key, drying bitterness. Some sticky malt lingers in the finish along with some berry-like fruitiness and residual peppery spiciness. It's balanced, and yet it seems like it needs some more time to "finish". I'd keep this one in the cellar for at least another year to soften it and round it out a bit more.

 947 characters

Photo of merlin48
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
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!

 1,224 characters

Photo of ggaughan
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

 561 characters

Photo of carln26
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured from the bottle into the snifter a deep brown, very clear with garnet highlights. It was topped with a thick tan head that showed great retention. The aroma is similar to a Trappist Dubbel I had yesterday. It has a little bread dough up front with a bright citrus/orange aroma. This is followed by a sweet malt character (dates), and just a light touch of spice. The taste has a great zesty spice up front followed by the dates and the orange. Very interesting beer. More depth of flavor than many of Stones offerings. It has a nice peppery finish, a rich mouth feel and good drinakbility

 605 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade - thanks to mcallister! I've heard a lot about the epic series but never had one.

A - Nice ruby black color. Pours a nice frothy tan head. A delight to look at.

S - Rich inviting malts and ripe fruit. Undertone of alcohol but a year in the bottle seems to work for this brew.

T - Similar to how it smells. The belgian character shines in teh yeast and belgian candi sugar touches rounding out this brew.

M - Nice medium body with a pleasing warming effect.

D - Very drinkable! Some strong beers just don't work at 22oz - too much in one sitting. This one was a hit through and through.

Although advertised as designed for 2012 I thought this brew was good now. If I had 6 I would make it an annual tasting to see how well it holds up to the advertised date. I don't so it was nice to have one of these now. Recommended.

 859 characters

Photo of Freshie
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown colour, with tan bubbly head.

Smells of fruit and roasted malt. Very nice.

The taste was very powerful with carmel malt and strong hop influence, There was also a fruit character.

There is a kick and it caught me unawares, but I should have expected that from Stone. It pared very well with my Turkey Burger.

Not as smooth as I would have liked it, but it was still very drinkable, nonetheless. Maybe I am just a pansy? Haha

 457 characters

Photo of JoePat
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a kaki head that dissipates quickly leaving some lacing. Pretty good for its age.
Smells of roasted malts, raisons and an absinth like anise smell that makes the aroma really complex.
The taste is just as complex if not more. Anise, hop bitterness, earthy, spicy, and a sweet malty finish.
The mouth feel is dry which helps it go down pretty well.
This was a little oxidized and flat but considering the age it is expected.

 452 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A darker pour, some head but not much. Beautiful red hue when held to the light. Huge maltiness off the bat. Followed by definite detection of hops. How do they continuously fit both these in one sitting? Malt huge in the backdrop and hops big in the front end of the mouth. Aroma not perfect (on Stone standards which are significantly higher than others) but not too far from it! Hops found in the aftertaste too, lends bitterness. A great finish. Seems to be holding up well. Very lively, makes for a great drink to share with friends. Kudos again to Stone and big thanks again Dr. Jay!

 589 characters

Photo of kbub6f
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A small, tan, bubbly head leaves a few Ms of lacing. The beer is dark brown with dark red highlights. Nose. Is. Huge. Toffee, caramel, sweet yeasty toffee. Gorgeous. Sweet butter toffee kicks it off, leading to a thick, toffee, caramel, butter middle. Finish shows tangy, sour, overripe fruit and more caramel. Alcohol in the bitter aftertaste. Holy smokes. That's a delicious, huge, toffee, super-thick, buttery beer. Very old Englishy.

 437 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surprise...another great offering from Stone.

This one pours an outstandingly awesome very, very dark brown to near black colour, which was darker than expected overall. A foamy, somewhat creamy tan head sits atop this one. There is a nice silky stickiness as well.

The aroma is balanced with nothing in the mix being overpowering and the overall blended aroma is not overpowering at all either. It's strong, but subtle at the same time. I picked up everything from spice (although the claim is that this one was brewed without any), malt, cherry, banana and other fruit, clove, licourice and chocolate.

The flavour takes on these aromas and adds a bit of smoked roastiness as well. Chocolate is a bit more noticeable here. There's some spice flavour presumably from the hops and a slight touch of alocohol as well.

This one is medium bodied and silky smooth and provides for a great, balanced body and flavour. It's a nice treat that is damn good freash but should also age nicely. Make sure you sample this year's Epic.

 1,033 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

 1,017 characters

Photo of rousee
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

24-25 oz. bomber purchased on release night at one of the finest beer stores in the area- Bauer.

Dark cherry/currant/plum color. Small head-light ruby or fruit punch hues on the bottom inch of chalice. Very thin lace.

Cherry syrup and malt on nose. Clean and fruity on the tongue-chewy & nutty too, but also has cider-like elements. Mouthfeel is kind of like an assault on the tongue. Not really, but thats how my friend who drinks Heinekin and Guinness only, described it--also " fancier than I expected, etc". I think the mouthfeel is probably the best trait of this beer right now just like the 04-04-04 and just like 04, I believe this will truly hit its stride when it has aged for 6-? months. Pretty damn tasty anyway.

BTW-Seems 04 VE is hard to find these days. So stock up on this 05 shit while you can.

 821 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark reddish brown with a 2 inch tan head. No signs of lacing.
Smells of dark fruit (figs, and raisins), toasty malt, rich molasses, and spicy clove.
The taste is of a full bodied alcohol taste of all the aforementioned aromas swirling within a rich, hearty mixture.
The mouthfeel is smooth with spiciness and alcohol that runs through the palate with roastiness and a nuttiness that lingers shortly.
Drinkability is good. A Belgian style that comes through even better as it warms, relasing phenols of biscuit and cocoa.

Finger licking good.

 560 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up from AJ's for $5.79.

This is a dark brown colored brew with red undertones when held up to the light. Pour was OK, not as much head as true Belgians. Nose is sweet, of candied sugar and dark fruits. Taste is initially met with a blast of alcohol but finishes smooth with a chocolate fruit slight hop finish. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth and full. Overall drinkability is good. This is a very good beer that one should try. I know I have gone out of my way a few times to pick this up!

 500 characters

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