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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

305 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 305
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 105
Gots: 51 | FT: 4
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: 305 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ahhdball
Ahhdball

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -9.7%

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

01-28-2006 01:54:52 | More by Ahhdball
Photo of kennyo
kennyo

New York

3.2/5  rDev -18.2%

dark mahogany brown with reddish undertones, pours with a small white head.

aroma is sweet malt, chocolate covered cherries, eisbock like

taste is malty, chocolate, hop bitterness, the right amount of carbonation for the style

I can see this beer turning very sherry like at the end of the aging period

01-25-2006 19:40:00 | More by kennyo
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -9.2%

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!

01-24-2006 00:44:02 | More by Derek
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.95/5  rDev -24.6%

Bottle: Poured a black color ale with a huge foamy dirty beige head with average retention. Aroma is quite hoppy which was kind of surprising for a Belgian Ale but then again I’m starting to get use to different with beers from Stone. Taste is a mix between roasted malt, caramel with a big heavy dose of citrus hops at the end that IMHO don’t mix very well with this beer. Body is above average and alcohol is not discernable. Overall, I guess I have a hard time with the heavy dose of hops in a Belgian Ale which is why this is not something I will seek in the future.

01-23-2006 18:10:38 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

4.65/5  rDev +18.9%

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.

01-22-2006 06:06:52 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.22/5  rDev +7.9%

Bomber bottle with usual stone brewery blather all over the bottle. Pours dark brown with a tan head evolving to the obligatory tiny bubble film and leaving some scattered and spotty lacing upon swirling the glass. Faint nose of cola and fruit. Chewy, lightly chocolaty brew. Notes of some vanila cola, bourbon, fruits and nuts. Thoroughly delicious. Rum soaked cherries in the finish. More top quality suds from the master brewers at Stone. Put some of this away or crack open and enjoy today.

01-21-2006 21:09:55 | More by Billolick
Photo of chilidog
chilidog

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +5.6%

I am also late with this, for this was my first beer of "06". I always open my Vertical on or as part of New Years.
Thisone, I thought, had a style likened by other Christmas ales.
After a really nice pour, of dark burgandy and tan on the head. The head,I thought, laced very well as carbonation was mild, as is the body.
The aroma was not overpowering but hints of malt, dark fruit, and spice could be picked up. The taste was spiced malts with hints of alcohol. Hops are there to balance and are mild on the mouthfeel.
Drinkability, oh yes. Easy on the mouth for the spice and malts smooth the drink well. The 8.5% abv. fits well too for this beer.
My only wonder, will this vertical stand the test of time? Is the 8.5% enough to hold this beer together over the seven to twelve year rest? We'll see!

01-14-2006 12:20:39 | More by chilidog
Photo of CharlesRiver
CharlesRiver

Connecticut

4.13/5  rDev +5.6%

22oz silk screened bottle. Same as the last 3 years. I am late this year reviewing this beer as I kind of forgot about it.

Pours out a beautiful dark brown with a large tan head that lasts. Much darker than I truly expected. Smell is malty and sweet. Figs, nuts and something a bit doughy. Moderate amount of bubbles make their way to the top.

First thing I notice about the taste is the smoothness. Very well balanced flavors. Chocolate, malt and some coffee give way to a slight hop profile. The slightest alcohol notes come through at the end. Also, a bit dry in the finish. The label also mentions some earthyness which I do pick up.

I think this is one of my favorites in this series. I haven't bought more than two of any of these but this one I might.

01-13-2006 22:58:31 | More by CharlesRiver
Photo of tar
tar

Bahamas

4.1/5  rDev +4.9%

22 oz. bottle. Pours a dark red brown, with a thin off-white head, which lingers as some minor lacing. Nice full roasted aroma, initially spicy with scents of cherries, plums, and other fruits. Hints of alcohol issue forth as well. Tastes sweet with some hop bitterness and a nice complexity of flavors, including plums and other fruits along black pepper and other spices. Finishes with a bit of "hot" alcohol. Medium bodied, slick and smooth in the mouth. Very tasting and complex.

01-08-2006 01:16:21 | More by tar
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +7.9%

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.

01-01-2006 01:50:51 | More by Sammy
Photo of tomParis
tomParis

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +1%

A very unique brew. The Belgian Bastard would be a good name for it.

A little too fresh right now, but this beer could be something special in a few years.

Mostly caramel and fruit flavors, with a nice kick of hops. More bitter hops, but definately some citrus flavors in there too. I think the fruit flavors will emerge a lot more as this ages. The alcohol is noticable but not overpowering.

12-19-2005 05:07:10 | More by tomParis
Photo of Naes
Naes

New York

3.3/5  rDev -15.6%

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.

12-11-2005 06:54:35 | More by Naes
Photo of kirok1999
kirok1999

Ohio

4.08/5  rDev +4.3%

Appearance is much like Arrogant Bastard, dark coppery with a mimimal head.
Smells of sweet malts, fruits and slight hops.
Mouthfeel was solid, nice carbonation.
Tasted of a young beer badly in need of aging. I'm glad I bought 2, and I hope I can hold out till 2012. Tasted of bananas, cranberries, cherry with a slight metallic twang and also a little cardboard. Taste masks the alcohol well. It was hard to notice this was almost 9%. Sufficient hops to back up the malts but it really needs some time to mature. I can't wait.

11-26-2005 01:32:23 | More by kirok1999
Photo of Lnedrive14
Lnedrive14

Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev -7.2%

It needs to age...

The alcohol is a bit too overwhelming. Other uses have descibed it as a bit too "heated" and I think I tend to agree. It looks like a typical strong ale, dark with a small head, not too much different from the Bastard. Smells a bit stronger, with the alcohol really taking presence. I think as this beer ages, its fruitiness will come out a bit more and the alcohol will die down. Until then, its worthy of a try, but certainly nothing spectacular.

I'll check back in 10 years.

UPDATE: Drank another one on 8/29/2006 - still had the same problem. too alcoholic.

11-06-2005 01:35:59 | More by Lnedrive14
Photo of bditty187
bditty187

Nebraska

4/5  rDev +2.3%

Dark brown in hue with ruby influences and a hint of copper; seems to be clear. Beige head, the foam reached almost three-fingers in height at its highest point. Head retention was excellent, the cap didn’t move much. I kept looking at it, waiting for it to fall… nothing. Okay, it was slow to subside; very impressive. Where was the subsequent lacing? I mean the head retention was great and thus I would think my glass is clean, as such, where is the lace? Disappointing, it would have been icing on the cake. On the whole, this is a good-looking beer… not perfect but it attracts the eye.

The nose is well rounded; I feared something more alcoholic, something messier. I am happy I was wrong. Cloves, spicy yeastiness starts the bouquet on the right note; it becomes maltier with a small does of chocolate and caramel at the back. Smoky fruit like plums, dates, and cherries. The potency is low; the nose is too soft for a Belgian-style ale. What I detect is nice but nice doesn’t cut it. Inviting but it errs on the side of underdone. I am surprised.

The palate is tasty but nothing really jumps out at me. Spicy and juicy… cloves, banana, dates, smoky cherries covered in chocolate, some caramel too with a kiss of alcohol. Vinous. Yeasty. Peppery at the finish, I really like this aspect. It is hot and kind of raw but not in an aggressive way. Moderate maltiness but, it seems to work fine. Dark malts add a solid foundation. There are no flaws in the palate but that doesn’t mean I am drinking perfection either, far from it really. If I could, I would drink this again, don’t get me wrong. I like it. Clearly Belgian influenced; I can ask for nothing more.

Medium/medium-light in body, low but prickly and fun carbonation, the mouthfeel is a bit too light for me. It is not detrimentally thin; all in all the mouthfeel is pleasant.

Drinkable? Yes. Give me some fruit and funky cheese and I would be very happy to quaff this beer. Hell, I am happy to quaff this beer solo. Honestly, this beer is good but forgettable. What about it am I going to remember? Sadly, I will remember that this beer was not a mess and that it was not too hot. Long, warm, spicy aftertaste with some malty sweetness… this might be the best aspect of the beer. This alone wants to inspire me to drink more! I purchased my bottle in Fort Collins, CO. Worth a try.

10-31-2005 13:50:37 | More by bditty187
Photo of kbub6f
kbub6f

New York

4.33/5  rDev +10.7%

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.

10-30-2005 19:20:27 | More by kbub6f
Photo of SixpointJMH
SixpointJMH

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +10.7%

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.

10-25-2005 01:44:04 | More by SixpointJMH
Photo of Goldorak
Goldorak

Quebec (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -6.6%

Appearance: Dark ruby, reminiscent of a port, but with a clingy brownish head.

Smell: Caramel, scotch ale sweet, but with a twist of mirabelle (some weird fruit they use to make booze in europe), some plums and a nice alcohol finish.

Taste: Profound maltyness, like a granola bar with nothing but specialty malts and caramel/nougat, dipped in a bit of alcohol to round it all off and make it rich and warming.

10-24-2005 23:26:02 | More by Goldorak
Photo of Foxman
Foxman

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev +4.3%

It pours a deep rich ruby with playful amber glints. Two fingers of frothy beige head crop up and settle sleepily to a soft film. Hearty but pretty lacing adorns the inside of the glass.

The aroma fields a mist of toasted malt along with cloves, raisins, vanilla, and hints of earthy fruits. A vague presence of hops slides through, and a thinly veiled current of alcohol winds about as well.

On first taste, a tide of toasted malt sweetness buoys veritable notes of currants, dark cherries, and other indistinct dusky fruits. A fleeting glimpse of general hops and spiciness dives away to let a rigid column of alcohol to set and permeate the fibers of the flavor. The finish is decently lingering, with a rounded bitterness that is shadowed by the continued press of alcohol. The poignant flavor profile is somewhat mitigated by the pushy alcohol presence.

Medium bodied, it takes on a creamy feel as it coats and caresses the palate. A fruity but dry glow lays long across the tongue.

It starts strong and earthy, promising rich and just desserts, and it fairly comes through. But, and a big but it is, the sinewy tendon of alcohol dulls some of the beer’s finer edges. There’s certainly nothing to scare one away, but the ABV keeps the drink ability to a rather limited factor. Aging might mellow the warming trend, but it’s worth working around to enjoy what the rest offers. Moderation is the key here, as it is for so many things in life, and will allow a pleasurable experience.

10-22-2005 18:57:28 | More by Foxman
Photo of ChuckD
ChuckD

New York

3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Bomber purchased at Shoreline. The bottle text recommends drinking in 2012, so I bought two - one for now.

This is an unceremonious pour. Very little head - what's there leaves quickly. Beautiful, dark ruby color - approaching black.

I love the top smell of this one. The sweetness is pronounced - but you know there will be some bite to it as the alcohol is lurking - not overwhelming to the nose, but you know it's in there.

The first sip verifies the malts - but then melds into a more hoppy mixture that is highly drinkable. The texture in the mouth is perfect for this style. Not too syrupy - but enough guts to let you enjoy it. Thoroughly enjoyable.

I agree with a previous review about the '03 Epic - it's been my fave to date. However, I think given a little time, this one could best it.

10-10-2005 20:48:59 | More by ChuckD
Photo of Bumpon10s
Bumpon10s

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +4.9%

A - Pours deep brown with a wispy head, reddish against the light.

S - Noticing malts and dark fruits, nothing suprising to me, but very nice no less.

T - A taste unlike the smell, tastes of hops and lighter sweeter fruits. Still has the malty character, but nowhere near the smell.

M -Nice and smooth, rolls right down, leaves a tingle on the tongue. Treats the mouth very nicely.

D - I will say this is pretty high, the ABV isn't very high and it doesn't destroy your taste for other beer, I would like to have this again, and will.

10-06-2005 04:19:14 | More by Bumpon10s
Photo of beertaster13
beertaster13

Washington

3.3/5  rDev -15.6%

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.

09-23-2005 03:48:20 | More by beertaster13
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.63/5  rDev -7.2%

Pours a deep brown color with a fantastic tan head that starts out huge and remains 1/4" high all the way down. Huge assault on the nose as poured. Big malty and raisen like aroma. Spicy and heavy scented-very molasses like. Malt flavor dominates. Somewhat peppery flavor. Spicy. Slight astringency and dry finish. Good body-the dryness in the finish knocks it down a smudge for me. A damn fine beer. Id like to think som age will help this one. Well worth getting for now and later.

09-11-2005 20:48:28 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of skotster13
skotster13

California

4.4/5  rDev +12.5%

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.

09-11-2005 07:23:59 | More by skotster13
Photo of Dithyramb
Dithyramb

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

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.

09-08-2005 12:12:55 | More by Dithyramb
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 305 ratings.