Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic AleStone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale

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BA SCORE
88
very good

309 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 104
Gots: 54 | FT: 5
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: 309 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fiery dark bronze with molten lava edges that becomes deep, blood red when backlit. The head is golden ecru in color, firmly creamy in texture and is stubbornly persistent. In other words, typical Stone quality. Although it looks to be an extraordinary lacer early on, roughly half of the initially thick blanket melts away in the end. This is still great looking beer and is easily the equal of the Epics that preceded it.

I've been enjoying the nose from afar ever since the pour. Thankfully, it smells like a BSDA; never a certainty when it comes to American versions of this classically Belgian style. With no added spices, all I can say is that the yeast strain was an inspired choice. It provides complexity to a beer that wasn't going to get it from any of the other ingredients. The nose is mildly cocoa-like, dark fruity and clove spicy. My reservations about a lack of power and depth no longer apply once the beer has had the opportunity to lose its initial chill.

Excellent beer! Epic 05.05.05 tastes like a bona fide, world-class BSDA and is far away my favorite beer of the series. My first thought upon tipping the glass up was how beautifully integrated and harmonious the flavor profile is. I have a habit of drinking these Epics at about one year of age (1 year, 4 months in this case) and even though I didn't sample this one when it was young and brash, it's obvious that time has been kind.

The chocolatey, well-roasted maltiness would be reminiscent of a big, bruising doppelbock if it wasn't for the intriguing, spicy splendor of the yeast. How is it possible that a malt bill that contains roughly 90% pale malt, 9% caramel malt and only 1% chocolate wheat malt results in a beer that tastes this dark and fudge-like? Pureed dates and figs keep it deliciously fruity and well away from stout territory.

Amarillo hops seem like an odd choice for a BSDA. Given the malt dominance, their tangerine fruitiness isn't really appreciated (although I might pick up a twist of orange on the finish), but their bitterness is needed to offset the candi sugar, which it does with perfection. Sweet and bitter are both well accounted for, with sweet exerting its dominance from start to finish.

I flat out love the mouthfeel. Love. It. It's full and lush and velvety and sticky and melted chocolate gooey and is everything that I love about big beer mouthfeels. Frankly, it's the highlight of a beer that is full of highlights. I've just realized that I haven't commented on alcohol's role in the flavor profile. What alcohol?

Stone Vertical Epic 05.05.05 is an outstanding BSDA... right now! I have no idea how it will taste in 2012 (I can't wait to find out), but it's hard to imagine how it could be a better beer in six years than it is now. If I had had the foresight to purchase a case of this heavenly ale, it would have taken every ounce of my self control not to drain each and every bomber over the next few months. The best of the series by a country mile and the only one (so far) that can truly be considered epic.

Photo of cbl2
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

5/23/2005 $6.49 22 oz. 8.50% Intended to last until at least 12.12.12.

Appearance:

Pours a dark brown, almost black that lets through just a touch of light to yield a ruby red backdrop. Adorned by a light tan head that rapidly dissipates. Nicely carbonated.

Aroma:

Caramelly sweet with notes of ripe fig. Hints of cocoa, nutmeg & licorice. I can't believe no spicing was used to brew this.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Very complex with flavors including, but not limited to (in no particular order): figs, chocolate, coffee, nutmeg, sherry, anise. Nicely sweetened, with just a touch of bitterness to temper it. Alcohol is present, but nicely masked.

Stone has done it again, churning out yet another world class beer! The flavors they are capable of wringing from nothing more than water, malts, hops and yeast are phenomenal. I can't wait until 12.12.12.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a creamy, thin tan head. Some light lacing. Smell is rich caramel. Light dark fruit aromas. Toffee and a light earthiness.

Taste takes the smell and extrapolates it to higher levels. More rich caramel and toffee. Lightly spicy (clove, black pepper and cinnamon). Hint of dark chocolate (!). Strident hops as it finishes. Warming alcohol. Mouth is rich and thick. Sticky finish and aftertaste. All things said, damn yummy. Very enjoyable beer and goes down way too smooth for words. Good stuff.

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

Dark brown pour with burgundany highlights and a tightly knit tan head that slowly slides down my glass.

Aroma is dark dried fruit, plum, prune, and berry with subtle yeasty spice and caramel undertones. Smells more Belgian than the 030303 did. There are subtle hints of dark, chocolatey malt with very soft coffee undertones and light floral and citrus hops.

Flavor is dark caramel and candi sugar with tons of fruit;sweet plum, dark cherry, scorched strawberry jam, and fig. It has a roasty, almost woody note with the distinct fruity yeast that was tasted in the 030303. It's well hopped for the style, with soft lavender and lilac floral notes and dry, grassy bitterness.

Body is leaning towards big, with tiny bobbles leading to a very soft, creamy mouthfeel and bubbly texture. Definately glad toi have the opportunity to try this. Thanks Ray!

Photo of SupaCelt
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown. Pours almost purple. A tan head forms and holds as a steady cap. Some lace proliferates. The nose is dark fruit laden. Very fermented fruitish. Sweet. Figs. The taste is spicy. None added, but the yeast has given these impressions. At least that is what the bottle says. Sweet and dark. Brown sugar. Very natural. Very raw. Mouthfeel is medium. Drinkability is decent. This is not a chugger of a beer. Good.

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 barleywinebrewer
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade - thanks to mcallister! I've heard a lot about the epic series but never had one.

A - Nice ruby black color. Pours a nice frothy tan head. A delight to look at.

S - Rich inviting malts and ripe fruit. Undertone of alcohol but a year in the bottle seems to work for this brew.

T - Similar to how it smells. The belgian character shines in teh yeast and belgian candi sugar touches rounding out this brew.

M - Nice medium body with a pleasing warming effect.

D - Very drinkable! Some strong beers just don't work at 22oz - too much in one sitting. This one was a hit through and through.

Although advertised as designed for 2012 I thought this brew was good now. If I had 6 I would make it an annual tasting to see how well it holds up to the advertised date. I don't so it was nice to have one of these now. Recommended.

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Boolshot for hooking me up with my first Verticals.

Pours a dark garnet, almost black in the center with a light tan head that only left a ring or two of lacing. Aroma is of raisins, figs, brown sugar, caramel, spice and some light floral scents. The taste is strong on dark fruits...raisins, dates, prunes, figs...with some dark chocolate and anise flavor as well. Nice mouthfeel...smooth with mild carbonation and a slightly dry, bitterfinish. It could probably use another year or two of aging so I think I stash my other bottle until then.

Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, obvious vintage date on the bottle. The usual short story on the bottle as well.

A- Feigned black with garnet hues when brought up to the light, decent head retention ... lacing drops a few rings on the glass.

S- Powdered carob, mild tropical fruit of mango and pineapple. Phenolic of cloves and black pepper ... faint on that though, hint of fusel alcohol as well.

T&M- Crisp within a full body, perfect level of carbonation. Earthy with a bittersweet chocolate powder up front. Plum pudding character throughout; candied fruit, cloves, spices, bit of alcohol. Slight brown malt flavor and anise in the drying finish.

D- Tasty without a doubt, for a little over a year old it has held up pretty well ... flavors seem to be meshed toge her with little to no "aged" character. Still a sipping brew but a tasty one at that.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of xymyl
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
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 ggaughan
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled with my brother and cousin before a wedding. The beer poured a dark, redish amber color with a slight white head and a bubbly body. The aroma was malty, spicey and had a bit of dried fruit tones, mainly raisins. The taste is true to the aroma with malty sweetness, raisins and other fruit flavors, figs probably. This beer has a medium body with the carbonation character and there is a hint of the high abv on the tongue as the beer goes down. This is the first of the 05 that I have tried but it won't be the last as I have a few more in the basement.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Pulled out the Chez Bum cupboard cum 11th floor Cellar, a little over One Year after its release.

Appearance: Thick looking but crystal clear dark brown body with a mahogany reflection when backlit. Thicker light tan colored head is stupendously attractive and leaves some awesome lacing in its wake. Tonnes of resilient dissolved carbonation reinstate a creamy head with the gentlest of swirls

Nose: Sweet concentrated sugar beet molasses mixes with lots of dark fruits, gelatinous caramels and a healthy dollop of raisins. Prune juice looks run through to the final vapors from the aromas.

Taste: Profuse molasses and a syrup-like middle rich with dark chocolates, bonfire toffee, raisins, prunes and figs. Gorgeous rich liquorice traits rasp the back end with some bitterness. The finish lingers, long after the swallow, an affluent ending from an aristocratic brew.

Mouthfeel: Thick (I’m going to have to using that word thick but it really does apply in so many aspects of this brew) body. Feels way above the 8.5% that it started as, it now exhibits an “Imperial” feel that bodes well for future aging.

Drinkability: A little heavy for the finishing beer of the night but an easy one to slowly work through whilst typing up a few BeerFlys. A hefty nightcap but a damn fine one nonetheless.

Overall: A year has certainly not done any damage to the VE05.0505, and if I dare say so, I think it has improved more than a little. The dark fruits and thick molasses body combined with the solid conditioning all lends me to think that there is plenty of life in the VE05.05.05. This will be one to watch for sure.

Photo of Boto
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle: This one pours a dark mahogany with ruby tints to it. There was a fairly strong tan head on mine, that does subside after awhile. The aroma is pretty much that of a standard Belgian Strong Ale. I get caramel, raisins, some spiciness, and some other dark fruits. The body is actually a bit lighter than I expected. Certainly not light at all, but I expect these beers to be more of a "liquid bread". The taste is good, with some roastiness coming out on top of the caramel and fruits that you normally find in this style. Certainly a decent beer, but I’m not sure that it will make it another 7 years.

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

Very unusual brew.
Pours a dark, dark red amber...chill cloudy...with a half finger head that melts quickly to nothing...no lacing.
Aroma is sweet malt, raisins, dried fruit, light cinamon spice.
Taste is sweet mostly raisins, prunes, dried fruit, cinammon spice (like aroma) followed with a slight hops bitter aftertaste. Definately a toasted almost smoked malt flavor hidden in here.
Mouthfeel is rich and smooth with tiny tingly carbonation and light alcohol burn as you swallow.
Aftertaste lingers of both sweet raisin and bitter hops with warming alcohol. No alcohol taste,.... just warmth.
Very interesting and distinctive. I'm looking forward to trying a vertical tasting between the 04, 05, and 06 later this year.

Photo of biegaman
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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!

Photo of mentor
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Almost one-finger of fluffy dark brown head over an almost perfectly clear orange-brown liquid. Smells chocolatey flat hops and belgian funky/phenolic. Woody and dry.

Tastes smooth chocolate, milky character, and fuggle rounded hops. Molasses-figgy. Belgian funk is dry and a touch of biscuity Not a wicked edge belgian as I expected (or...feared?). Some roasted malts, but they are beneath the chocolate. Sweet and pleasant, yet dry and an edge I can't quite get a finger on.

Mouthfeel is md and carbonation is moderate. I see this beer as developing over the span of a few years, but am not sure how much past 5 years it can go.

Photo of Viggo
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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!

Photo of Freshie
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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

Photo of hero27
4.15/5  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..

Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  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.

Photo of Crosling
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of kmo1030
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of ChillMike
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.