1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale 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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

312 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 312
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 103
Gots: 53 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 312 | Reviews: 216
Photo of kennyo
3.24/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

Photo of ebrifan
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of JackStraw22
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy dark, dark amber. A little bit of head, not too much but what was there seemed to last.

Smell: Very sweet. Lots of malt, bready. Not very spicy or herbal, but rich and deep.

Taste: Quite smooth, alcohol is present but warming and not in your face. Pleasant and remarkable drinkable.

Can't wait to try this in a couple years. Good now, but should get better.

Photo of ejquin
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks beautiful with a deep brown / caramel color with a thick off white head. Smells of molasses, hops, and malt. The taste is of hop bitterness and malt. Alcohol overtones, and molasses with a semi-dry finish. This beer also has a slight metallic aftertaste when cold, but disappeared as beer warmed. Mouthfeel is very chewy, with the perfect amount of carbonation.

I really wasn't crazy about this beer at first, but as it warmed it seemed to open up, and by the end of the bottle I thought it was an extremely solid offering.

Photo of oxmasterscream
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark, cherry-brown. Beautiful color. Cherry glow surrounds the glass. Inviting.
Smell is big-time fruity... I want to say black cherry but after pondering it for sometime now, it's definitely a deep, intense aroma of ripe strawberries, and man does it smell good. There's a candy-ish backbone with some musty banana as well. Amazing smell.
Taste is great, even just out of the fridge. Roasty, quite spicy (although the bottle says no spice was added) and overripe fruits akin to the smell up front. Then it turns bitter fairly quickly. One to make you suck the bitterness from your mouth - no doubt. Candyish at times. Sour cherries and a bit of dark roast coffee at the finish. Really complex and hard to describe. I'm not doing it much justice here.
Mouth is thick and silky with a touch of zingy carbonation. Alcohol warms the stomach right off.
This stuff is so good that my second glass barely had time to warm before it was gone. Props to Stone once again.

Photo of dksl16
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of dbfp210
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of unklesyd
4.42/5  rDev +13%
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.

Cheers!

Photo of ZX6Chris
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared at a Vertical Epic tasting with my friend Armand. This and the 03.03.03 were my favorites.

A-Very dark brown color, tight white/brownish head. Great carbonation.

S-Dark cherry sweet aroma. Carmel aroma.

T-I get alot of carmel flavor from this one too. I don't get alot of anything else but I like the flavors I get.

M-Light body with great carbonation.

D-I wish I had more of these! I could drink these all day.

Photo of xymyl
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of sandiego67
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of ChillMike
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brownish red with a nice tan head and lots and lots of lacing, good looking beer. Upon smelling I’m overcome by raisins, dough and malt. The main flavors I get out of this are dough and raisin, not as hoppy as I’ve come to expect out of Stone brews but still a very nice taste, ooh just noticed a very nice chocolaty flavor as well. Huge bouquet of flavors here! Not a beer I could drink every night or more than one of but wow I really ejoyed this.

Photo of tar
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ChuckD
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TheJudge
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet, an extremely dark brown that pours with little head. The label says store till 2012. Sure pal. I have that kind of patience.
Smell is sweet chocolate, no real hop presence. Something else comes through spice wise, but I cannot put my finger on it.

Tastes thick. Bitter chocolate like baking chocolate or cocoa powder dominates, front to back of the mouth. Strong alcohol comes forward. no sweetness at all. Pretty good.

This beer flows evenly over the mouth, getting into every part. Stimulates the taste buds well, decent if not quite perfect carbonation, much moreso than it appeared. somewhat too heavy to drink all night, but this is a nice beverage

Photo of ojclark
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Phenolic: nutmeg/cloves/banana notes dominate aroma. Translucent dark red/brown with mostly lasting tan head and decent lacing. Spicy flavor: nutmeg, cinammon and clove. Very malty with slight soy sauce overtone. Medium/light carbonation. Oily/slick mouthfeel and a fairly long finish. Aftertaste is an extension of the flavor but with some bitterness added to the mix. Nice, but this should get even better with some bottle age.

Photo of dill
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was looking forward to trying this one as I expected it to be drinking rather well at this time. It poured a deep amber color and smelled of toffee. The taste was a bit disappointing though as it had a bit of a metallic character to go along with the toffee that I was looking forward to. Not sure if the bottle had been compromised so I'd like to try it again sometime soon.

Photo of Bumpon10s
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of blindtiger24
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

4oz draft pour into a tulip glass.

A: Claret colored, splotchy head.

S: Rum raisin smell that signals a boozy flavor.

T: Gingerbread and raisin flavor.

M: Sweet, boozy, warming mouthfeel that is creamy.

O: Raisin flavors and smells are not the most enticing. Nice mouthfeel and appearance.

Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.36/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

Photo of ddarden
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a one year anniversary tasting of the 05-05-05. I had this last year on the 4th and remember thinking this beer needed some time to meld a little. After one year of aging, this beer was much better. It poured a very dark ebony with a little light getting through. Very nice head that lasted. The smell was classic of a Belgian Strong Ale - yeast, plums, candi sugar, sweet malt, and alcohol. The taste was close to the smell except with a little bit of hop bite. Although most of the hop flavor had mellowed and the beer was more complex than a year ago. The alcohol was very well hidden and had a medium mouthfeel. The drinkability was good. I have a few more of these in the cellar and will make a tradition of my 4th of July beer.

Photo of beercollector
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a case last weekend. This one pours with a large creamy lasting off white head. It has good lacing and clear body. A pleasant dark brown.

The initial smell is molasses or carmel. There is also a light hop odor. The first taste had a medium body and soft carbonation. You can tell this one has some alcohol.

The flavor is moderatley sweet molasses with a light bitterness. I expect this one will hold for a good aging.

Photo of FARGO619
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serverd from a 22oz. bottle shared with some good friends.

A: Dark brown with a slight lighter head retention that went down slowly. Good carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel with some cherry-like flavor.

T: Malt, caramel, slight sweet, very easy to drink. Drank at 55degrees, and the taste got sweeter as the sips went along.

M-Light body with great carbonation.

Can't wait to try this again.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of jaybrough
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of axisjones
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass.

Pours a deep burgundy with a brownish head. While the color of the beer is penetrating and the initial pour is beautiful, the head is dead after a few minutes and there is no lacing to speak of.

The smell is signature Belgian. Malty, with a spicy caramel scent with loads of alcohol in the nose.

The first flavor to hit on the taste is the alcohol, which at 8.5 abv isn't excessively high, but really present in the taste. This was a drawback for me. Otherwise it is a bit fruity, heavy on the malty caramel with a bready dry finish.

Smooth and lush, this beer is drinkable considering its strength, but, once again, the alcohol detracts from the overall experience. Its good fresh, not great. I would want to sit on this for a year or two.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 312 ratings.