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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.
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 BeerFink
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We are going to try this one while its still young...

Pours deep brown reddish cola color with a slight tan head. Vinuous aroma of dark fruits and berries, mixed with alcohol and bready malt. Flavor begins a little small, but then moves into big bready malt. Acidic dark fruits come in and blend with spicy and bitter citrous rind hops. Finish is acidic and slightly dry in a vinuous style. Pretty good ale, I am glad I am some in the cellar. Can't wait to see what develops by 2012. (486 characters)

Photo of mzwolinski
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a tough nut to crack. Dark brown in color with a surprisingly dark tan head -- moderate in size. Has strong dark ale written all over it.

The aroma, however, is surprisingly light and fruity. The fruits are more tropical than plum-like, with notes of bubble gum, banana and grape. More trippelish than the appearance would suggest.

And then there's the flavor. More bubblegummy candi sugar flavors up front, which yield in the mid-palate and re-emerge briefly in the aftertaste. All kinds of yeasty characters to the flavor here -- they contribute much more to the overall flavor than either the malt or the hops, the the former is certainly more dominant than the latter. Nice roasted malt/burnt sugar flavors emerge in the finish and linger nicely into the aftertaste, giving the beer an almost smoky character.

Fairly creamy in the mouthfeel, and there's certainly a lot of big flavors going on here. Nevertheless, the beer doesn't feel heavy at all. Weird.

This is really good. Probably my favorite of the series so far. Can't wait to see how it develops! (1,080 characters)

Photo of frazbri
2.98/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Mahogany body and deep ruby accents with creamy off-white head. Rich, fruity aroma - curant, cherry and chocolate. Earthy start, bitter chocolate with bitter finish and a little metalic tinge. Low med carboantion with medium light body.

A beautiful looking beer that has a very appetizing aroma, but its flavor doesn't meet expectations. I applaud Stone's boldness, but this beer needs a little more finess. Maybe it needs a little time in the cellar, but now it is too thin, too bitter and a bit astringent. (511 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one is magnificent! The body is a dark, dirty brown in color and topped with a gorgeous brownish-white head. The head stayed up for a time and left some awesome pits on top of the liquid.

Smell – The rich Belgian malts are mixed with a smooth, baker’s-type of chocolate that give this bouquet a heavenly scent. The fruits are dark and open up as the ale warms. The even, ever-present yeast though is what does it for me. They really did an excellent job with that aspect of the nose. This is just marvelous!

Taste – Yes, heaven-sent this is. The malts are so smooth and so yeasty. The chocolate is mellow and perfectly blended. The fruits pull back a bit from the smell and are replaced by some serious sugars. The finish is a dry Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss.

Mouthfeel – This is almost full in the mouth with a bit of dryness at the finish. There is no indication of the high ABV and the flavors are blended nicely, although this ale is certainly a cellaring candidate.

The carbonation really did it for me here. It is substantial yet delicately playful, keeping the drinker almost constantly entertained. It is fluffy and light in the mouth, which I just love to no end.

Drinkability – I think two years in the cellar will make this my first perfect 5.0 Belgian Ale (from Cali, of course – hahahaha). Right now though it is very drinkable. It’s so smooth and delicious you almost feel guilty drinking it alone (yet you will).

Comments – My personal preference with the style is a concentration on the yeast with a very complex presentation. I like my BSDA’s well structured and rarely cellar them, although as I said I may make an exception in this case. Regardless, the mouthfeel and flavors of this ale are top notch. They hit the proverbial nail on the head with this effort. (1,824 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.17/5  rDev +5%
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 xgrigorix
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twenty two ounce brown bottle.

Dark auburn brown. Fluffy beige coloured head retains quite well, and leaves some spotty lace behind.

Cloves leap right out of the glass, but are backed up by aromas of dark fruit & some funky earthy notes as well.

Cloves, phenols, & plenty spicy. Earthy hop flavours lead to a dry finish. Full bodied w/ gentle carbonation. Hoping this gets a bit more interesting with some age. (419 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served chilled in a St Bernardus goblet, 05-05-05 pours a very dark body that appears opaque in the glass, but reveals a radiant ruby color when held to the light. Head is minimal, beige in color, has little retention and minimal lacing.
Aroma, when cold, has prominent notes of spice, yeast, and fruits. As it warms, malty notes come forth with chocolate and dark fruits soaked in rum. Yeasty character emits some wool sweater aromas. Mango and melon fruit esters are delightful to the nose.
Mouthfeel has a medium heavy body and moderate carbonation.
Taste is complex and quite good. Figs, prunes, and raisins drenched in rum. Spicy and earthy yeast and hops climb aboard and add a pleasant complexity. Strong rum notes make you aware that this one packs a punch. Bittersweet dark roasted malts emerge as it warms, along with a hint of orange and stronger prunes. Stone says this edition contains no spices, but there are notes of coriander, white pepper, and anise. Bitter chocolate and fusel alcohol on the finish, with a long bitter chocolate and spice aftertaste.
This year's Vertical Epic is deep and complex. A very good strong dark Belgian ale that is going to get much better with some age. Highly recommended! (1,224 characters)

Photo of stephendedalus
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber (1 pint, 6 ounces) purchased in Pittsburgh (see reviews of Dee's for more information) into a goblet. The pour is a nice garnet-leather color that (not surprisingly) darkens in the glass. There is a little head -- small crisp bubbles that quickly fade to a dubbel-like "film." The aroma is sweet and fruity/floral at first sniff, but upon really taking in its aroma my nose detects caramalized bananas and some spice -- black pepper and star anise come to mind. The taste is almost exactly what you would expect from the aroma -- some pretty nice esters that will develop (and probably grow more complex) with aging, I think. Good yeast. Definitely the caramalized banana -- and adjacently, some brown sugar, possibly some currant. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but appropriate for the style. Overall, a very drinkable beer and a nice addition to the vertical epic series. It is always an adventure with Stone...What will 06.06.06 bring? (956 characters)

Photo of MrSeth
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

App: A half inch white-tan head forms over a deep dark brown color with some crimson highlights. Head retention is decent, leaves some lace and spots of suds inside the glass.

Sm: Spiced bread, fresh apples, cherries, anise.. definitely delivers what the label promises. Pungent alcohol.

Ta: Starts with sweet malt, then rich dried fruits - dates and figs, finishes with dry roasty malt.

Mf: Medium bodied, by the end there is no apparent carbonation, but it can still be felt on the tongue. Has a decent length, but it could be a bit longer.

Da: Would work well as a digestif.

Comments: This is a good example of the Belgian-style strong dark ales, but it left me with some questions. It isn't as full flavored, nor as long as other good examples of the style. And it's a bit expensive ($7-$8/bomber), with Belgian imports costing only a dollar or so more. (872 characters)

Photo of lou91
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally the ’05 has arrived in the bay! Picked up a bottle at Berkeley bowl and had to have it immediately. Dark brown with a red glow with very little head on the pour. Wow what a great nose of Belgian candy sugar, malt and alcohol. I should have let it warm up but I couldn’t wait and drank it cold. Rich, creamy and oh so tasty. As it warms, Chimay blue comes to mind although far from a perfect match. Still it had a similar profile with hints of raisins and bittersweet chocolate with a dry hop finish. I can’t wait to try it again next year. (550 characters)

Photo of TinusTime
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a darker than dark ruby brown.. Almost black with a soft off khaki head. Nose is prune with some spice and toffee in the aroma.

Taste is dark sugars and dark fruits.. Plums, prunes, molasses all over the place. Yeasty madness also enters into the mix.

Mouthfeel-- good.. Not too carbonated, it tis fine

Drinkability-- Probably the most drinkable of all the Verticle off the bat.. This thing is gonna get silly good in time. The sweetness from the sugars will prolly die down leaving this a tasty treasure.. Glad I got 6 bottles to check out how this one ages.. The 04 was better first.. but this one can sit and age and maybe maybe make it to 12 12 12 (667 characters)

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thus far, this is interesting.
Looks beautiful in the glass.
Though this is new and young there are flavors that make me think "skunked" here and there.
There are also flavors that make me think doppelbock.
I haven't quite sorted them out yet.
Hopefully, I'll be able to get my hands on this again, though it seems these vertical epics are becoming quite the hot item.
Deep roasted things are happening here and there.
Malts, slight hops (by Stone standards). Worth a try at the moment but I think this needs to age awhile longer. (537 characters)

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very brown. Light seeps in around the edges--just barely. Thin layer for head, no lace. And ther head is spotty at that. The aroma makes me think of rasin nut bread or the brown bread my Mom used to feed me as a kid (it came out of a can--have not seen it in years). Taste is the high point, Lots of fruit--mostly dried. We have raisins, prunes and prunes. Also chocolate, but chocolate that has been dipped in raspberries. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a nice alochol kick at the end. Very drinakble, but this beer will put me to bed if not careful. (557 characters)

Photo of TheJudge
4.05/5  rDev +2%
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 (683 characters)

Photo of ejquin
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (533 characters)

Photo of goodbyeohio
2.71/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

strikes a deep red, iced coffee pose in my cup. thin wispy belgian style foaming process in effect. some floating islands of bubble lie in wait on the beer's surface.

smell on this one is strong... sweet malt with a slight tinge.. bretty sourness in the nose as well. as the label says it lacks spice but bears some heavy beery scents.

taste is chocolatey with malts, raisins and plums. i am struck by an alcohol fist that is wholly unwelcome for 8.5%. too fresh is what they tell me. by 2012, this beer will benefit from further sweetness, complexity and mellowness (much-needed). ill try one again in a year or two. a noble work in progress for sure.

oh, and where does the bitterness come from? the alcohol? an undigested malt ingredient? powerful. hmm. what am i talking about?

on second thought, this should be referred to as an empty belgian base beer.. a beer mixer! my recommendation, improv! throw some kriek in there.. maybe a little bit of witbier. who the hell knows. have fun. drink stone.

dont hate my low scores, ill edit them in a year or seven. (1,078 characters)

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, here's my background here (I admit this is mostly for my future reference). Reviewed "Fresh" on 05-16-05 as a baseline for future reviews. I admit it, I am hooked on the Vertical Epic mindset. But alas, I only found out about it last year, and wasn't hip to the plan yet, so I only have 2 bottles of 04-04-04 that I am hoarding (only thought it was ok, good, kind of odd, but interested in tasting later) but since I only have 2 left, I'm afraid to try again. So this is my test on the 05- if I like it, I'll get a bunch more. Well, good news here- this is a good one!

Appearance: A relatively clean, clear brown that really is more red than brown- I use brown because of its darkness- does that mean auburn? Mahogany? Some other color I can never remember? But to be honest, it's really pretty. A nice tan head that quickly becomes a thin cover.

Aroma- I am a sucker for great aroma, and this is one of the better ones. I didn't read the label first, but I picked up brown sugar, caramel, dark chocolate, and more than anything else, sweet dark raisins (I haven't seen anyone else mention that).

Flavor- overall, this is good stuff, but first impressions- brandied plums, rich malts, chocolate, and a spicy alcohol kick at the back of the throat. I'm not good at describing which spices, but they are there. OK, I'm assuming that this means that it's young and raw, and this will mellow out nicely with time.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice, full, but harsh from the spicy alcohol.

Drinkability is that this one is pretty smooth, and I can see it getting better. High marks! (1,588 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a dark brown color with a small head that doesn't fall fast and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma has a sweetness along with a subtle malt character and a touch of raisin. The flavor has an obvious amount of alcohol to go with some dark malts and some Belgian yeast spices. Very warming. Mouthfeel is moderate and the drinkability suffers a bit from the high alcohol, but I think this will get better with time. (439 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer poured a small white head with a brown “root beer” like body.

The nose was a mix of alcohol, pungent musk like dark ripe fruits, apple cider, apples and phenols.

My notes say “crazy taste” Citrus hops and a Belgian dark strong ale phenolic touch. Big carbonation with a medium to full body. Dark chocolate, and molasses. Ripe dark fruits. A very sweet beer. A big bitterness, not at all overpowering, but it sits well. The amarillo citrus hop gives just a faint hint of citrus without the bite and for some reason blends amazingly well against the dark fruits, chocolate and characteristic Belgian flavors.

Basically it’s like this, “oh my fucking god is this a good beer!!!” Really an amazing beer. A perfect blend of big American malty strong ales or an IPA with a Belgian dubbel or abbey ale. This is what I would imagine a black and tan made with arrogant bastard and chimay blue to taste.

The scary thing about this beer is although it tastes great now you can just picture it aging just as well.
I loved the 03 VE, but this may be the new leader in the battle of Vertical Epics. I don’t know how 06-12 will be able to improve on this. (1,172 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
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 beercollector
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
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. (428 characters)

Photo of twelvsies
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh bomber, 05.15.05.
I'd never had their Vertical Epic line before, but since this one came out I thought I'd jump on the opportunity. Impressive. A nice stab at the Belgian Style by Stone. Pours a pitch dark brown color, light brown head floating. Smells rich and malty, and with a fair amount of spicy hops for the style. Taste is similar, big malt up front. Nice raisin and molases character, and nice bready spicing. There's more hops in there than the smell might suggest... a big hoppy finish is a nice compliment, herbal and spicy. Mouthfeel is pretty heavy and slick, but it works with this beer. I'm interested in laying a few of these down to see how they age, as that is the purpose of these beers. Time will tell... (731 characters)

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

Pours a dark ruby with a quickly receding tan head. The crappy retention is the only thing marking down the score.

Bready yeasty aroma, pleasant.

Nice bready malt presence, light hopping, unable to discern but I believe the dominating hop flavor is floral. Finishes horrendously yeasty, very Belgian-esque. Just a touch too yeasty, might benefit from aging. Alcohol is not too noticable, until it warms.

Medium bodied, prickly belgian style carbonation.

Drinkability suffers from the yeastiness, otherwise a decent offering but does not live up to the hype. (569 characters)

Photo of xcondonex
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours deep, nearly opaque mahogany with garnet highlights. Delightful ½” beige head stands for a minute before subsiding into thin patchy foam. Excellent carbonation.

Smell: Fruity phenols—banana like a Weizen Bock—with notes of molasses and chocolate sweetness.

Taste: Start is clean followed by notes of dried fruit—plum, raisin—with subtle sugary sweetness that finishes dry. Very interesting.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Phenolic and sweet. Complex and quenching. Pure pleasure.

Comments: This was my first Belgian Strong Dark Ale so I didn’t quite know what to expect. I’ll have to try a few authentic samples to be able to rate justly but nonetheless, I can definitely appreciate this beer. Strangely, I was reminded of Aventinus while drinking this beer. (789 characters)

Photo of Padron4KM
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber. Pours out a murky dark reddish brown, with a fluffy tan head.
lace coats the glass in a thin sheet. alcohol floats on top like a nicely aged port.
Aroma is roasty, dark fruits, some mustiness, and maybe a little alcohol.
flavor is fruity and sweet, followed by some roasty chocolate, and a little spice on the end.
Lots of flavors there but they haven’ t quite come together yet. I’ll be aging a couple 2 or 3 bottles for sure, and will re-rate in a year or 2.22 oz bomber. Pours out a murky dark reddish brown, with a fluffy tan head.

lace coats the glass in a thin sheet. alcohol floats on top like a nicely aged port.

Aroma is roasty, dark fruits, some mustiness, and maybe a little alcohol.

flavor is fruity and sweet, followed by some roasty chocolate, and a little spice on the end.

Lots of flavors there but they haven’ t quite come together yet. I’ll be aging a couple 2 or 3 bottles for sure, and will re-rate in a year or 2.

(re-rate feb 07) Flavors are coming together nicely. Roasty chocolate, spicy clove, dark fruits, yeast. Looks promising. unfortunately I only have 1 left
Original 3.5 - 4 - 3.5 - 3.5 - 3 - 3.55. (1,168 characters)

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