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 bditty187
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (2,368 characters)

Photo of kbub6f
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (437 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 Goldorak
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (415 characters)

Photo of Foxman
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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. (1,504 characters)

Photo of ChuckD
3.77/5  rDev -5%
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. (810 characters)

Photo of Bumpon10s
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (546 characters)

Photo of beertaster13
3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (367 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (483 characters)

Photo of skotster13
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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. (708 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 ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
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 BadBadger
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque dark color. The head was not overly foamy but present and relatively long lasting. The smell of alcohol is permeating. The vapors hit the palatine taste buds before the liquid touches the tongue-unfortunately. The taste is some what on the sweet side but rather pleasant. The alcohol taste is nicely blended within the sweetness, A nice smooth mouthfeel. Certainly worth buying two bottles and comparing the taste differences over time. Enjoy! (465 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 NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear ruby-mahogany robe is capped by a massive head of rocky tan foam that holds quite well and leaves some very nice lace about the glass. The nose is yeasty, fruity (figs, prunes), and malty with caramel and darker malt character but no chocolate... just the suggestion of some roastiness. It's smooth and creamy in the mouth with a delicate carbonation and dextrinous, medium-almost--medium/full body. The flavor is rich with dark fruit juiciness and bitter skins upfront, followed by a touch of alcohol that turns it more vinous than juicy. Dark caramel malts sneak in, and some yeasty "pepper" rises along with a healthy dose of low-key, drying bitterness. Some sticky malt lingers in the finish along with some berry-like fruitiness and residual peppery spiciness. It's balanced, and yet it seems like it needs some more time to "finish". I'd keep this one in the cellar for at least another year to soften it and round it out a bit more. (947 characters)

Photo of scooter231
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This guy is still a little young, but I've gotta say I liked it- and I think this is going to get even better as it ages. Will have to make a note to try it again in a year or so.

Pours a dark ruby color with light head, pretty. Smells sweet, floral, maybe hints of caramel in there. Taste is again sweet, and light. Coffee is in there, caramel again, a nice bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is bubbly and chewy, very nice feel. Highly drinkable as well, and can't taste the alcohol in here, though you can certainly feel it. A tasty guy. (541 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've tried this one twice now. I beleive that it is better the second time around. Looks brilliantly dark ruby and burgundy like, tan head, lingers and laces nicely. Smells of dark fruits, powder sugar, spicy hops, and maple syrup. Tastes fully malty in the range of molassas. Fruity of prunes, plumbs, dates, raisons, nuts, and red wine. Candy sugars can be tasted before the spiciness. Hops and spices ride the thick sweetness through the body and into the aftertaste. Alcohol (fusal) rises as the body gives way. Finishes warm and fruity. A good Strong Belgian, I would also agree that it could be a Barleywine as well. Should improve with cellering. (653 characters)

Photo of pentathlete
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, big head, falls to a 75% covering table. Sticky. Smell is licorice and malt. Taste is more anise and a carbonic spicy character that I'm just not a fan of. Certainly has a lot of attitude. I have another bottle for a future tasting. Mouthfeel is medium full. Drinkability, for me is not too fine. If you like peppery licorice, then this is your beer. The spouse loved it. (383 characters)

Photo of SacoDeToro
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a big beer, but would you expect anything less from the homeboys at Stone? Of course not you numbskull! The beer pours a deep ruby brown with a small head that quickly collapses. The nose is dominated by caramel malt and alcohol. A slight hop spice resides in the background of the smell. Mouthfeel is full and somewhat chewy. Despite the fact that this is brewed with Belgian Candi sugar it's still pretty heavy. It leaves your lips with sticky feeling. The bulk of the flavor is toffeeish followed by a burst of Amarillo hops that quickly dissipate. I'm drinking this one quite young - only 3 months out. I'm certain that this will mellow and get complex with age, much like a raging frat boy from Harvard (if there is such a thing). Balls to the walls beeotch! (771 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 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 coasterfreak75
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was a very dark/thick mahogany red with a two finger head that quickly dissapated and left a thin white white lace on top of the beer. Very nice laceing that held on throughout the drink.

The smell was very strong with alcohol overtones mixed tightly with sweet malt and dates. Hidden in the rear of the nose were hints of hop spice and wooden undertones.

The drink started with a strong hit of alcohol heat that was gone as quickly as it arrived. This followed by a very sweet fruity explosion and then a quick bite of hops. The finish is very clean and non-lingering.

All and all a very good and clean tasting beer. I thought it was quite odd that the only hit of alcohol heat was at the front and not the finish. I'm still quite impressed by this one and I can't wait to try it in 2012. (807 characters)

Photo of oxmasterscream
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
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. (972 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark reddish brown with an ample 1 inch tan head sitting on top. Spotty lacing all the way down the glass. Aromas burst forth of roasted caramel, black licorice, some cloves & spices along with dark fruits (black currant?). Herbal, fresh hops show up in the background along with hints of earthy yeast. Very enjoyable.

First sip brings a roasty, toasty maltiness along with a deep dark fruitiness featuring cherry and black currant. Some cocoa and spice with hints of black licorice dance on the palate before flowing into a molasses finish that has just a touch of hops. Spicy, earthy yeastiness throughout. Quite a nice brew here. One of my favorite Vertical Epics so far.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy with smooth carbonation that flows delicatly over the tongue. Tasty now, it will be interesting to see how this ages. I'm glad I have two more for future enjoyment. Thanks to kmpitz2 yet again for this one. (929 characters)

Photo of ILiveOffHops
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quite a Belgian Dark...this one I paired with a 6 month aged Gorgonzola.

This brew pours brownish red in color...once it fills my goblet, it is completely opaque. The minimal head dissapates fairly quickly leaving only some foam around the rim of the glass. Even still, this looks like a serious beer due to its color. No surprise for a beer from Stone. Tastes sugary and sweet...a lot of esthery action going on here. The fullness of the fruit is very deep. Due to the high booze level, the alcohol warms the mouth quite a bit.

The main aspect I like here is depth of the fruity flavors in this brew. (608 characters)

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