Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
88
very good
216 Reviews
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic AleStone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by xlperro on 05-06-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
216
Ratings:
318
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
12.47%
 
 
Wants:
102
Gots:
58
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 216 | Ratings: 318
Photo of GClarkage
4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

02/03/06- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle poured into my Stone Levitation tulip.

Appearance- Dark copper in color with a large 2 inch at least head. Huge chunks stick to the side of my glass and make it a bitch to clean. Damn lacing ;) One of the tops I have seen for the style.

Smell- Lots of dark fruits mingling around. Hops as well...this is Stone...remember? Dates, raisins, plums...you name it.

Taste- The hops are here, but only a touch in the aftertaste. One of the least hoppy beers from Stone. Lots of fermemnted plums and dates with a nice little red box of raisins on the side.

Mouthfeel- This one gets very smooth as it really warms. Carbonation starts out mid level and gets cask smooth towards the end. Not really creamy, but super smooth.

Drinkability- This one contends with most of the top line Belgian brewed Dark Ales. Quite flavorful and highly recommended. Need to get a few more of these before I can't find them.

 998 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a rich and creamy roasted malt scent along with a fruity yeast aroma. There appears to be a mild hop aroma as well. The taste is good. It has a very smooth roasted malt flavor that goes down smooth and finishes earthy with a slight bitter hop aftertaste. It has a mild yeast fruitiness as well. It is warm on the finish, but very smooth for an abv. of 8.5%. The mouthfeel is great. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very tastey brew. It is rich and hearty; a good drinker on those cold days.

 643 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a clear ruby color with a one finger head that falls quickly to a surface foam. No lacing develops.

Smell: load of pitted fruits and alcohol.

Taste: the sweet malt is paired with black cherry, prunes, pepper, mild bitterness, and noticeable alcohol. The flavors are wrapped in a mild earthiness.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smooth at the finish. Aftertaste is long on the fruits and alcohol. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: this is a beer that will improve with some aging. The alcohol at times seems to dominate. Definite slow sipper here.

 587 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled May 2005
Pours a deep, rich, amber color that shows ruby highlights when held up to the light. It is topped by a frothy light brown to amber colored head that dissapears after a couple of minutes. As I pour this beer I get a definite note of cloves. As I go in deeper I get notes of concentrated plum, raisins, figs, chocolate and alcohol. The taste is sweet and fruity up front, but then moves to a spicy slightly harsh note in the finish. The rich fruitiness is quite good and reminds me of raisins, and figs. The finish is astringent with notes of higher alcohols, spicy notes of pepper and clove, and hints of roasted malt and chocolate.

I will say this, this is the first one of these that I actually see lasting a couple of years, it is still a bit young and harsh around the edges. This should be quite nice once the harsh notes in the finish mellow out and the fruitiness comes to the fore.

 910 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one a long while ago from Kahn's Fine Wine.. Pours dark brown and fairly clear.... nice tan head with good lacing.

Nose is spicy with raisin and dark brown sugar.... a bit plummy.. hints of tawny port.

Flavor is better with much more pronounced BSDA elements... nice phenolic spiciness is a bit surprising after all these years.. clove and cardamom, but the fruitiness is sorta heavy fig and dark raisin..

Overall, there are hints of oxidation.. but I've been keeping the bottles certainly on the cool side of things. Sherry is very minor... and Port is a little bit more present, but still very minor.

4/3.5/4/4/4

 628 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a thin tan head. Mild aroma of caramel malt, nuts, baker's chocolate, and bread. Much sweeter flavor than expected. Toffee and caramel, brown sugar and figs. Medium thick and moderate carbonation. A little stale in the finish, but enjoyable.

 289 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours mahogany with a medium white head, good head retention for how old it is, some lace.

S: Rum raisin, brown sugar.

T: Semi-sweet malt, lots of molasses, dark sugar cane, but never too cloying. Still rich in flavour, especially compared to the other VEs.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy, soft carbonation, delicate.

O: Arguably the best of the aged VEs, I've never got to try it fresh, but it's drinking well now.

 440 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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 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 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 corby112
2.45/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy, dark chestnut brown color with a half finger beige head that immediately fizzles away into a thin ring. No lacing to speak of.

Slightly spicy, leathery malt aroma that makes it seems more like a barley wine than anything else at this stage. Earthy malts with hints of leather, toffee, subtle dark fruit and lots of alcohol. Faint piney nag grassy hops provide somewhat of an herbal character that's followed by pepper anise and licorice. Not very impressive.

Fuller bodied than expecting and thankfully more interesting than the aroma suggests. Decent balance of dark malt, earthy hops and zesty spice. None of the flavors have seemed to have held up very well, however, with somewhat stale and faded character. The malt profile stands out more than in the nose but it is earthy and leathery like a barley wine and lacking in sweetness and roast. Kind of watered down as well with faded spicy, grassy hop flavor. Slightly earthy and resinous complimented by a peppery spice presence that gives off some clove and anise. As with most of the beers inths series, this beer which was interesting upon release is kind if a faded mess at this point. I wish I would have opened it few years ago.

 1,206 characters

Photo of Derek
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
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 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 Bitterbill
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle(room temp) a deep brown with a large head of foam that dissipated slowly leaving a solid layer with good lacing.

The smell is of sweet roasted malt, chocolate-cocoa and anise. Nice.

The taste is a very pronounced semi sweet roasted malt with notes of chocolate, some graininess, and good anise/licorice tones in the finish. Oh, and the 8.5% abv is noticeable but not intrusive. I had one of my bottles of this fresh but I didn't review it because that wouldn't have done it justice. In other words...the 1 year of aging has already done this brew a world of good. ;^)

Bottom line: It's just starting to get interesting 1 year after bottling so I say...if you see some buy some and cellar it. I think it's gonna be a winner.

 756 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased somewhere local, Spirit Haus, Town & Country, or Julio's, most likely.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" of brown head over the burgundy brew. Head hangs around nicely, with average to good lacing. Aroma is spicy bread. The taste is yeasty raisin bread, with a tempered alcohol finish. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good, but could smooth out a bit. I expect the some age will do this.

 426 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
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 DrJay
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear ruby brown with a dark tan head and spotty lace. Rich caramel and toffee aroma with some figs and cocoa. Malty sweetness dominates with plenty of caramel/toffee character and a bit of nuttiness and chocolate. This is balanced to some degree by mild spice. The texture's a bit syrupy, palate coating, and smooth, moderately low carbonation. Not bad at all.

 361 characters

Photo of sweemzander
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a taster. Thanks to Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a murky and dark mahogany color. Minimal tan froth and lacing.

(S)- Again, plenty of oxidized leather and prune in this. Subtle bits of cocoa on the backend.

(T)- Like the smell, plenty of raisin/prune with leathered oxidation. Distinct yeasty bitter cocoa shows as it warms.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. All together kind of muddled together with obvious oxidation.

(O)- Like the 03 & 04, this one is definitely showing its age.

Original review from Jan, 2011:

(A)- Pours a very dark brown, almost black color. Produced some off-white to tan colored foam that dissipated quickly.

(S)- Very rich. Lots of raisin and prune aromas. Very rich actually. Hints at plums as it warmed up.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A big burst of cocoa up front that blends into the raisin and prune/plum aspect from the smell. Very rich, but restrained at the same time.

(M)- A decent carbonation level that might start showing decline from aging. Smooth, yet rich as well with alot of dark fruits and cocoa.

(D)- An interesting beer considering the style and age on this. Smooth and rich with still some life left in it. If stored ideally for the next two years, this should still be solid for the vertical in 2012.

 1,284 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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 Bighuge
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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 DefenCorps
2.93/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Church Key today. I haven't had this before, but I can say with certainty that this hasn't aged well.

Brilliant ruby red with a dense, light brown head with great retention and lacing, this looks great. It smells great too. Despite being rather sweet with a rather noticeable caramel and toffee character without much yeast, this is enjoyable. Brandy, fruity oxidation is present. The palate really is a disappointment. Cardboard and fruity oxidation with some fruit and some caramel and chocolate dominate. The finish is sweet, rather strongly cardboard-like and rather unpleasant. Medium in body and rather over-carbonated, the poor finish is also to this beer's detriment. The finish has flavors of brandy, fruit, caramel and cardboard. Not particularly enjoyable, this.

 784 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.32/5  rDev -15.5%
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 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 dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
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 -10.9%
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

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