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
88
very good

309 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 103
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 Jredner
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.

Photo of neonbrown82
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.

Photo of GClarkage
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.

Photo of DrJay
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.

Photo of Ahhdball
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

Photo of kennyo
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

Photo of Derek
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!

Photo of Phyl21ca
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.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
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.

Photo of Billolick
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.

Photo of chilidog
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!

Photo of CharlesRiver
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.

Photo of tar
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.

Photo of Sammy
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.

Photo of tomParis
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.

Photo of Naes
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.

Photo of kirok1999
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.

Photo of Lnedrive14
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.

Photo of bditty187
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.

Photo of kbub6f
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.

Photo of SixpointJMH
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.

Photo of Goldorak
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of Foxman
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of ChuckD
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Photo of Bumpon10s
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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