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 oberon
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought this for my Sunday tasting tonight to Garagekeggers house,poured a deep brown with some reddish hue with a light almond colored head.Aromas of spiced cherries and smoky clovy spiciness from the Belgian yeast dominate,flavors as well are dominated by spiced cherries and clovey spiciness I even got a touch of black licorace in the finish.I am glad I opened it up I was gonna wait but the big flavors and complexities are to much to pass up a real winner from Stone again. (479 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial taste very chocolate. Well carbonated, then eased off. In a blind taste, I would believe it was a Rochfort. Abundant cocoa, and bittersweet. Well hopped but not overly so. Significant anise and spiciness at finish. I will look for this again in a couple of years. (271 characters)

Photo of abfraser
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tie for first place in the 2004 to 2008 tasting (see other posts)

A: Dark brown, with a reddish hue

S: Dark caramel malt, candied fruits, cloves

M: Full-bodied creamy mouthfeel

D: Very drinkable

Big fan of Belgian dark strong ales, so not altogether a surprise I thought this one was one of the best. Even still, great beer. Wish I had saved more than one. (361 characters)

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had outstanding depth and complexity of flavor - you name it, and search around a bit, you'll probably find it. Primary characteristic as a dark, ripe fruit that was right at home with a dark Belgian style. Malty flavors were also at play - some toffee and milk chocolate, and a not-quite coffee mocha note of some sort. What surpised me most was that, for a beer with this abv and intended to be aged, it did not come across as hot or young. In fact, I wonder what improvement age will bring, it already seems much more mellow than I expected. Nicely done, and ready to crack open right now. (602 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown ale that turns ruby colored when held up to the light. Light brown head.

Smell is clearly Belgian coriander is the first thing that hits your nose. Clear acid note to this similar to sour apples. Smells of apples and spice. Alcohol is detectable and it carries the scents of banana and mango.

Taste is fairly malty and more bitter than I would have expected. Intense flavor and a quite thick beer. Flavor isn't as complex as the smell at least partly because the bitterness level is hiding flavors still. I can taste coriander and fruitiness but I can ID any separate flavors. A citrus hop flavor appears in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good, and quite thick.

A good drinkable Belgian style beer already but this needs aged 2 or so years to rein in the hops and let the fruit flavors show up. (824 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/brown, small tan head, some decent lacing and good retention. Smell is sweet caramel, does of citrus and floral, dates and figs, real nice maltiness with a touch of yeast. Taste is caramel, fig and dates, floral, yeast, hint of alcohol, very nice and smooth. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with low carbonation. A nice effort, Stone never disappoints. Thanks DrJay! (380 characters)

Photo of Overlord
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, reddish amber. Thin crust; almost no head. Smells like 100% caramel malt and Belgian candi.

This is a very sweet brew; malt, Belgian candi, maybe a bit of balancing fruits (apricot? plums? dates?). Nice yeasty/bread aftertaste.

Enjoyed it quite a bit. (268 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not much UV gets through this one. The rays that do get through give this a burgandy type of a highlight. Appears quite clear. The head is frothy, light brown and long lasting. The lace comes in thick gobs. Thick and sweet malts on the nose. Prunes. Plum. Also a spiked punch kind of heat. I get a little char as well on the nose. Damn fine. I like the subdued roastiness on the palate. A slight nod to licorice as well. And dark, bready malts. Sweet candy sugar. And doughy yeastiness. The mouthfeel is rounded and smooth. Medium body. Light on the CO2. A little astringent with the upfront EtOH. There is a lingering bitterness from the alcohol. It's not evident till I take a long pause between sips. This is good. I forsee this getting much better however. (760 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one poured a glowing dark brown burgundy with a thin yellowish head that looked rather nice in a tulip.

Smelled of black liquorish, tootsie rolls, smooth oats and sweet barley. There was also this organic smell that I identified as an old mossy log that just got split open. My buddy called it a hike on a fall day. This smell is really on the money and superbly enjoyable.

Tasted honey sweet with dark malts and dark fruits that fades into a smoky birch bark and a really dirty lime or rhubarb sourness. Finishes with some coffee that picks up a little chocolate as it dwindles.

The mouth feel is medium to heavy bodied with very small bubbles. It just sort of felt heavy and dry and didn’t seem to interact with my palate, sort of like a distant conversation with a stranger.

I would have liked something with a little more substance in the mouth feel, but overall this was a pretty good sipper, its mossy smell being its highlight. (956 characters)

Photo of granger10
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer comes out a super dark purple color with a medium semi tan head which recedes to nothingness within a minute. Lacing is weak.

Aroma is not the strongest as well. After letting this beer warm a bit I get a phenolic yeasty character in the smell and a fruity flavor which comes in light and dark fruits. A little earthy as well.

Taste is much stronger on the dark fruits. Plums are definitely the main flavor here. Residual sugars are abound. A Belgian characteristic comes more in the middle along with some roasted chocolate flavors. But they are soon wiped out with a hop bitterness and acidic hit in the finish. Alcohol is almost nowhere to be found.

The body on this beer is heavy and thick. Really heavy and thick imo for the flavors. High viscosity. But I'm enjoying it. It's nice and creamy and will support a multitude of development of flavors in the beer as it ages.

As for drinkability, the deucer went down and I enjoyed it. But it took some time and I was satisfied after one. Good beer all around but I could definitely see it developing into a great beer in about a year or two. (1,117 characters)

Photo of Dithyramb
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from Midtown Wine in Nashville for $6.Poured a bit thick from the bottle, becoming a beautiful dark chestnut with thick tan head.
Syrupy aroma that came off being molasses and alcohol laden.
Spicy (cloves, peppery yeast and fennel), sugary (molasses and dark malts) and chewy (mmm nutty, full of figs and raisins) with an alcohol burn. Finishes sweet with a nice alcohol warmth. Don't know how much aging this will improve it, perhaps probably just ease the alcohol burn just a bit. (501 characters)

Photo of kmo1030
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazed dark brown with some hints of ruby. nice tan looking tan head.
brown sugary plums and figs dominate the nose. there is an odd chocolate character that is similar to a malt ball, but somehow not. hints of raspberry and black ripe cherries. the faintest bit of must sort of weaves in and out. with a big sniff there are some grainy qualities, and oh yeah alcohol. there are some spicy hop notes and faint perfumy clove too.
the taste is a good deal fruitier than the aroma. the plum, raspberry and cherry each take their turn. the fruit is followed up by slightly chocolate tinged brown sugary earthy malts. once in a while it gets a little boozy, but on the whole it's at an ok level. some clove qualities get through here and there.
pretty full bodied with seemingly fairly strong carbonation.
this one seems to have become a little more robust than the first time i had it soon after it's initial release. this one will definitely utilize some more time in the cellar well though. i'm gonna save my last one for late 2007 maybe. (1,039 characters)

Photo of Doppelbockulus
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pored into the Vertical Epic glass carfully to avoid clouding the beer with yeast.

Without the yeast the beer is a is a medium dark brown with an appealing ruby background.

I smell a pastry shop in this beer. It smells like buttery raspberry pastries with raisins and brown sugar.

The taste includes dark earthy malt with a light sweetness. I also get tea in the taste.

The carbonation creates a medium tingle, and there is a light tanninc feel. (449 characters)

Photo of TinusTime
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a darker than dark ruby brown.. Almost black with a soft off khaki head. Nose is prune with some spice and toffee in the aroma.

Taste is dark sugars and dark fruits.. Plums, prunes, molasses all over the place. Yeasty madness also enters into the mix.

Mouthfeel-- good.. Not too carbonated, it tis fine

Drinkability-- Probably the most drinkable of all the Verticle off the bat.. This thing is gonna get silly good in time. The sweetness from the sugars will prolly die down leaving this a tasty treasure.. Glad I got 6 bottles to check out how this one ages.. The 04 was better first.. but this one can sit and age and maybe maybe make it to 12 12 12 (667 characters)

Photo of xymyl
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium carbonation with small to medium sized bubbles, dark red/crimson color with a thick tan head that settles to a film quickly.

Aromas of dried fruits, chocolate, coffee, caramel, spices and light floral notes.

Starts out wet, sweet and fruity then sweetness steps forward even more with malt and other sugar notes (at the this point the spices come forward the most) then roasty/toasty(TM) flavors blend with the hoppy bitterness that dominates the long finish.

This feels a bit lighter than it did a year ago. It's getting to the zone I really like. Once the floral notes of the hops fully integrate and the bitterness mellows out a bit more it will be perfect. Now I wish I had kept one of these in the fridge to compare. Oh, well. With how fast this is maturing I give it another year (maybe two tops) before it is ready. (838 characters)

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a creamy, thin tan head. Some light lacing. Smell is rich caramel. Light dark fruit aromas. Toffee and a light earthiness.

Taste takes the smell and extrapolates it to higher levels. More rich caramel and toffee. Lightly spicy (clove, black pepper and cinnamon). Hint of dark chocolate (!). Strident hops as it finishes. Warming alcohol. Mouth is rich and thick. Sticky finish and aftertaste. All things said, damn yummy. Very enjoyable beer and goes down way too smooth for words. Good stuff. (518 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
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 +8.1%
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)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
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 +8.3%
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 SixpointJMH
4.31/5  rDev +8.6%
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 merlin48
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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 +8.8%
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 +8.8%
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 +8.8%
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)

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