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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

303 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 303
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 105
Gots: 51 | FT: 4
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 303 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 03:38:30 | More by Crosling
Photo of kmo1030
kmo1030

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2006 23:45:49 | More by kmo1030
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
DarkerTheBetter

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2006 22:10:15 | More by DarkerTheBetter
Photo of ChillMike
ChillMike

Alabama

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2006 05:00:38 | More by ChillMike
Photo of Jredner
Jredner

Florida

3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2006 23:09:50 | More by Jredner
Photo of neonbrown82
neonbrown82

Nebraska

4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2006 06:10:43 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 04:39:37 | More by GClarkage
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2006 02:21:52 | More by DrJay
Photo of Ahhdball
Ahhdball

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2006 01:54:52 | More by Ahhdball
Photo of kennyo
kennyo

New York

3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2006 19:40:00 | More by kennyo
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.55/5  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!

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2006 00:44:02 | More by Derek
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2006 18:10:38 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2006 06:06:52 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2006 21:09:55 | More by Billolick
Photo of chilidog
chilidog

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2006 12:20:39 | More by chilidog
Photo of CharlesRiver
CharlesRiver

Connecticut

4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2006 22:58:31 | More by CharlesRiver
Photo of tar
tar

Bahamas

4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 01:16:21 | More by tar
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2006 01:50:51 | More by Sammy
Photo of tomParis
tomParis

Massachusetts

3.95/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2005 05:07:10 | More by tomParis
Photo of Naes
Naes

New York

3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 06:54:35 | More by Naes
Photo of kirok1999
kirok1999

Ohio

4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2005 01:32:23 | More by kirok1999
Photo of Lnedrive14
Lnedrive14

Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2005 01:35:59 | More by Lnedrive14
Photo of bditty187
bditty187

Nebraska

4/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2005 13:50:37 | More by bditty187
Photo of kbub6f
kbub6f

New York

4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2005 19:20:27 | More by kbub6f
Photo of guinness33
guinness33

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2005 01:44:04 | More by guinness33
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 303 ratings.