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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

216 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 216
Hads: 315
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 15.01%
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: 315
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

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Photo of hero27
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. 8.5% abv.

Dark mahogany color with a thin tan head. Aroma of roasted malts and spiciness..however the bottle says they used no spices in this one, it's just the Belgian yeast. Pretty impressive. The taste follows in line, and has a very soft mouthfeel that holds all the great flavors together. Reminds me very much of Great Lakes Christmas Ale..the spices & cherry flavor are quite similar. Overall, this is definitely a keeper in my book. Damn, I guess I'm going to have to get a bottle of this every year now..

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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.

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Photo of Crosling
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep burgundy color with a gigantic, creamy and rocky head of foam. This looks like a Belgian for sure. Aromatically speaking, it’s a bit dusty and dull, but still bursting with character with hints of sugared plums, pumpkin, chocolate, raspberries, almonds, bubble gum and toffee. Flavor is interesting, as each sip is different, some reassuring, some disappointing. The flavor is full of alcohol, but not harsh, loaded with notes of roast, chocolate, coffee, toffee and bright red fruit, with various yeast attributes. I don’t know a lot about Belgian yeast, but the yeast used in this just seems a little strange to me. Palate is noticibly thin compared to most Belgians. I’m pretty impressed overall, but I am sure Stone can do much better, especially if they brewed a Belgian style beer more than every 13 months.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of ChillMike
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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Photo of Jredner
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly roasty/carmalelized notes. Caramel malts and a little cocoa. Rich ruby/brown in color with a tiny half dollar thick tan head. Fore is caramel malts and cocoa with hints of raisin and spice. Having just had the 03 03 03 the other day I can say, as others have mentioned, this is thin. At the least is much thinner than the 03. Lacks that incredible spicy flourish of the 03 as well. But this does have a very nice basic flavor. Comes off as cocoa infused caramel pumpernickel bread with just a very slight hint of spiciness in the finish.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was acquired from a trade with mentor. Thanks alot. This is a great american belgian, especially considering last year's disappointment.

The beer pours to a dark nutty brown with a slight ruby hue. A nice creamy tan head forms and stays at about a centimeter throughout the drink. A spotty lacing forms, but most of it washes back down.

The smell is very spicy and grainy. Amazing that the bottle says no spices were added. That yeast has worked some magic. Also a bit of berry. Very nice.

The taste is great. Doesn't taste like candi sugar overdose, which is great. Dry with an intense yeasty spice. A lot of clove as well, and even the slightest hint of banana. Sweet and toasty caramel grainy up front with some berry esters but dries out quickly with a spiced hop and mild alcohol finish. Great stuff.

The body is fairly big, and the spices, alcohol, and hops are intense combined with the dryness. All these things mixed with the carbonation unleashed a barrage of interesting flavors washing over my palate.

I wish I had more of this. I'm sure this one could stand up for 6 more years, and I would love to sample its progress in between.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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Photo of kennyo
3.24/5  rDev -17.6%
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

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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!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of Billolick
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of chilidog
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of tar
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of tomParis
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of Naes
3.29/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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