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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

309 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 104
Gots: 52 | 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 beertaster13
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep rich brown with a mocha head that dominates the glasss. The smell is of strong deep molasses and roasted nuts. A hint of citrus hops will pleasure the nose. The taste is deep and rich of roasted caramel with almonds. The biscuity taste is pleasant with a nice hop ending. A full bodied thick brown ale, great for by the fire or with a thick rich dessert.

beertaster13, Sep 23, 2005
Photo of lackenhauser
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown color with a fantastic tan head that starts out huge and remains 1/4" high all the way down. Huge assault on the nose as poured. Big malty and raisen like aroma. Spicy and heavy scented-very molasses like. Malt flavor dominates. Somewhat peppery flavor. Spicy. Slight astringency and dry finish. Good body-the dryness in the finish knocks it down a smudge for me. A damn fine beer. Id like to think som age will help this one. Well worth getting for now and later.

lackenhauser, Sep 11, 2005
Photo of skotster13
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours with very little head...and what there is dissipates quickly. The color is a deep and attractive brownish red. It smells obnoxiously malty with the alcohol coming out in the background...almost smells of fried brown-sugar bananas...wonderfully dark and enticing. Upon tasting it the maltiness is definitely there but becomes more subtle as you drink on. There is much molasses that hangs around long after the last drop. The mouthfeel is nice and thick...slides slowly over the sides of the tongue...gives it the feeling of being dressed for winter. Very nice effort this time around...but I liked the '03 best so far. Aging this beer for a year or more definitely helps the overall enjoyment.

skotster13, Sep 11, 2005
Photo of Dithyramb
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from Midtown Wine in Nashville for $6.Poured a bit thick from the bottle, becoming a beautiful dark chestnut with thick tan head.
Syrupy aroma that came off being molasses and alcohol laden.
Spicy (cloves, peppery yeast and fennel), sugary (molasses and dark malts) and chewy (mmm nutty, full of figs and raisins) with an alcohol burn. Finishes sweet with a nice alcohol warmth. Don't know how much aging this will improve it, perhaps probably just ease the alcohol burn just a bit.

Dithyramb, Sep 08, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased somewhere local, Spirit Haus, Town & Country, or Julio's, most likely.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" of brown head over the burgundy brew. Head hangs around nicely, with average to good lacing. Aroma is spicy bread. The taste is yeasty raisin bread, with a tempered alcohol finish. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good, but could smooth out a bit. I expect the some age will do this.

ppoitras, Aug 28, 2005
Photo of BadBadger
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque dark color. The head was not overly foamy but present and relatively long lasting. The smell of alcohol is permeating. The vapors hit the palatine taste buds before the liquid touches the tongue-unfortunately. The taste is some what on the sweet side but rather pleasant. The alcohol taste is nicely blended within the sweetness, A nice smooth mouthfeel. Certainly worth buying two bottles and comparing the taste differences over time. Enjoy!

BadBadger, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of Zorro
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown ale that turns ruby colored when held up to the light. Light brown head.

Smell is clearly Belgian coriander is the first thing that hits your nose. Clear acid note to this similar to sour apples. Smells of apples and spice. Alcohol is detectable and it carries the scents of banana and mango.

Taste is fairly malty and more bitter than I would have expected. Intense flavor and a quite thick beer. Flavor isn't as complex as the smell at least partly because the bitterness level is hiding flavors still. I can taste coriander and fruitiness but I can ID any separate flavors. A citrus hop flavor appears in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good, and quite thick.

A good drinkable Belgian style beer already but this needs aged 2 or so years to rein in the hops and let the fruit flavors show up.

Zorro, Aug 23, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

NeroFiddled, Aug 21, 2005
Photo of scooter231
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

scooter231, Aug 20, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

BEERchitect, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of pentathlete
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

pentathlete, Aug 06, 2005
Photo of SacoDeToro
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

SacoDeToro, Aug 05, 2005
Photo of granger10
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer comes out a super dark purple color with a medium semi tan head which recedes to nothingness within a minute. Lacing is weak.

Aroma is not the strongest as well. After letting this beer warm a bit I get a phenolic yeasty character in the smell and a fruity flavor which comes in light and dark fruits. A little earthy as well.

Taste is much stronger on the dark fruits. Plums are definitely the main flavor here. Residual sugars are abound. A Belgian characteristic comes more in the middle along with some roasted chocolate flavors. But they are soon wiped out with a hop bitterness and acidic hit in the finish. Alcohol is almost nowhere to be found.

The body on this beer is heavy and thick. Really heavy and thick imo for the flavors. High viscosity. But I'm enjoying it. It's nice and creamy and will support a multitude of development of flavors in the beer as it ages.

As for drinkability, the deucer went down and I enjoyed it. But it took some time and I was satisfied after one. Good beer all around but I could definitely see it developing into a great beer in about a year or two.

granger10, Aug 03, 2005
Photo of arizcards
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up from AJ's for $5.79.

This is a dark brown colored brew with red undertones when held up to the light. Pour was OK, not as much head as true Belgians. Nose is sweet, of candied sugar and dark fruits. Taste is initially met with a blast of alcohol but finishes smooth with a chocolate fruit slight hop finish. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth and full. Overall drinkability is good. This is a very good beer that one should try. I know I have gone out of my way a few times to pick this up!

arizcards, Jul 28, 2005
Photo of coasterfreak75
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

coasterfreak75, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of oxmasterscream
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark, cherry-brown. Beautiful color. Cherry glow surrounds the glass. Inviting.
Smell is big-time fruity... I want to say black cherry but after pondering it for sometime now, it's definitely a deep, intense aroma of ripe strawberries, and man does it smell good. There's a candy-ish backbone with some musty banana as well. Amazing smell.
Taste is great, even just out of the fridge. Roasty, quite spicy (although the bottle says no spice was added) and overripe fruits akin to the smell up front. Then it turns bitter fairly quickly. One to make you suck the bitterness from your mouth - no doubt. Candyish at times. Sour cherries and a bit of dark roast coffee at the finish. Really complex and hard to describe. I'm not doing it much justice here.
Mouth is thick and silky with a touch of zingy carbonation. Alcohol warms the stomach right off.
This stuff is so good that my second glass barely had time to warm before it was gone. Props to Stone once again.

oxmasterscream, Jul 26, 2005
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

orbitalr0x, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of ILiveOffHops
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

ILiveOffHops, Jul 21, 2005
Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light brown but parks in the glass a dark cherrywood tar with a low watt lamp glow. Firm, yellow-tanned creamy froth sits about a half inch tall, folds down to a light skim and skinny collar. Microcosmicly thin sheeting is placed ever so lightly around the edge with some normal looking ink blobs sticking in a few areas.

Aroma is airy and pleasantly rounded in a soft display of tootsie roll chocolate, tender black licorice spice, plum, pale raisin, and the lightest of light hint of raspberry.

Taste plays a little bit different then what the aroma leads to with more of a pale nut and light enduced roasty realm mixing with a milder tone of dark fruity malts. Banana, dull plum, even more so dulled raisin, slender nut bread and doughy hints of sweetness with puffs of dark cherry, licorice, and anise on the back end trailing into very deep and dark tanged molasses hangs on to a dry airy roast of an empty coffee can. Very subtle flavors continue to emerge and layer into some fairly complex characteristics as slick dark chocolate mingles into some of the flavors once it warms, as does alcoholic esters and dry yeast effects. Beautifully subtle and soft.

Feel is about medium with just the right amount of give and take on the carbonation as its mildly effervescent and malty rich with smooth, soft, and slippery tones. Ghostly dark in character without giving away the farm with over abundant flavors or body. Its subtlety is amazingly complex and rich with style. Damn good stuff! Appreciation is in full mode for this finely crafted brew.

Super large and in charge thanks to warriorsoul for the acquisition!

tavernjef, Jul 19, 2005
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Drank from larger Stone bottle, poured into chalice.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown.

Smell: Smells kind of barley winish or scottish ale-ish.

Taste: See smell above. Tastes like a strong scottish ale to me (not what I expected). Good though. Definitely molasses-like flavor, with some plummy fruitiness thrown in.

Notes: Pretty good as a wee heavy or barley wine I think. Doesn't match my expectation as a belgian strong dark ale.

TurdFurgison, Jul 16, 2005
Photo of weeare138
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark reddish brown with a 2 inch tan head. No signs of lacing.
Smells of dark fruit (figs, and raisins), toasty malt, rich molasses, and spicy clove.
The taste is of a full bodied alcohol taste of all the aforementioned aromas swirling within a rich, hearty mixture.
The mouthfeel is smooth with spiciness and alcohol that runs through the palate with roastiness and a nuttiness that lingers shortly.
Drinkability is good. A Belgian style that comes through even better as it warms, relasing phenols of biscuit and cocoa.

Finger licking good.

weeare138, Jul 15, 2005
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.78/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby color, bright at sides, with a long-lasting, creamy tan head. Nice.

in the nose: ah...warm, soft, fruity, rich, malty, toffeeish, enticing...delicious...alive and invigorating...much appreciated.

...and smooth and tasty on the tongue, as well. Big, fat malty taste, nary a squeak out of hops...molasses, hint of anise, caramel...richness at play on the palate. Damnably tasty! And the high abv keeps quiet, at least, so far...

I'd love it if this were a regular brew, that I could down anytime I felt. It straddles a special place between abbey dubbel and baltic porter, with a kiss of coffee/chocolate/oatmeal/nut brown stout...if you know what I mean...yummy!

feloniousmonk, Jul 10, 2005
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass crystal celar deep amber brown with a tan lasting head that worked it's magic in coating the glass.

The aroma was molasses and brown sugar with dark caramel and a slight spicy phenolic from alcohol.

The flavor was mostly molasses with strong dark caramel and some dark fruit flavors.

The finish was dry with lasting molasses and lasting spiciness into the aftertaste. The body was medium full. A good beer, not overly complex however. Quite a bit of alcohol warming after consumption.

22 ounce bottle. Thanks CSquared!

GCBrewingCo, Jun 26, 2005
Photo of sulldaddy
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am sampling a room temp bottle in a snifter.
The beer pours a deep mahogany color with rich ruby highlights throughout.

A fluffy beige head foams up 2 cm easily and fades very slowly leaving some larger craters in the surface and also some nice lattice on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is brown sugar and toffee some raisin and spices, cloves mostly. QUite appealing.
First sip reveals an average body with fine tingly carbonation. The texture is smooth and easy to drink. There is a pretty intense amount of warming on the swallow that carries from back of my throat to my belly.
Flavor is malty sweet up front with toffee and some sugar, this mixes with a bit of dark fruit and some other spices. I also get a rather bitter finish just before the alcohol warmth kicks in. I feel like the bitternes is from hops not alcohol. Definitely a little grapefruity on the bitterness. I enjoy this beer and it is my favorite of the VE series so far (didnt get any 020202). A bit of a sipper with the heat on the finish, but this may mellow out some prior to the sampling with its bretheren.

sulldaddy, Jun 21, 2005
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark ruby caramel cola tone with a tan frothy head about an inch thick, leaves some fine lacing around the chalice. Aroma: Slight medicinal clove tones along with some herbal tea and vinous sweetness which takes on a raisiny phenolic note. Taste: Spots of dark chocolate with a drier finish touch of honey and caramel sweetness with fruit phenols maybe some cherry here and there with a mix of cocoa powder and alcohol in the finish dark roasts play a nice mix with the belgian yeast character of this brew. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with an airy carbonation not bad coats the palate very well. Drinkability: Complex and somewhat difficult to describe flavor, I'm sure this one will be changing with time some brashness but should definitely mellow out (I'm sure this is the plan only needs to make it to December 12th, 2012.

WVbeergeek, Jun 20, 2005
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.