1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 103
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 309 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of johnnnniee
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate to try this last night at an epic tasting held by my good friend Mike, thanks for the opportunity MrBarleywine!
Pours a slightly hazy ruby brown color with a smallish off white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet caramel, chocolate, and light sugar with a bit of ashy, roasty, bubblegum, and molasses. Lightly spicy notes provide a balance to the sweetness and roast. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Sweet and sugary with caramel, chocolate, and cocoa with hints of spice, fruit and gingerbread. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet mouthfeel. We are starting to get a bit darker and this one is right up my alley. This is a nice beer that has held up well, I enjoyed it.

johnnnniee, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of mntlover
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate color with a small tan head that falls to a ring, not much lace but the color looks nice.

Aroma is malty, dark fruits, chocolate malts, light spice. Hearty aromas in this nice dark malty and inviting brew.

Taste is nice , a big malt base fruity with nice chocolate flavors pouring over the malt and fruit. Some nice subtle pepper, clove flavors from the yeast I am guessing. Overall nice only bought one and waited to try it as the other verticals could use some aging, now I am sad I only have this one this is the best vertical that I have had.

Mouthfeel is good big almost hitting full. Good carbonation lightly zesty, but feel is smooth and creamy even with the zest.

Drinkability is good, would mind to have more of these.

mntlover, Oct 17, 2006
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.

tar, Jan 08, 2006
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 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 flexabull
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting for a reason to try this. I just had a great weekend, so this will hopefully be a great way to wrap it up.

Pours a clear and dark brown color with a decent off white head.

Aromas are spicy, some bright fruits, apples, some cider, caramal and oak.

Taste is spicy, oaky, with some sweet caramel flavors. Pretty dry with some light boozy alcohol, chocolate, and and earthiness. Finish has a bit of a funky yeast like bite.

Mouthfeel is nice and full. Feels thick but not overly heavy.

All in all, a really interesting and tasty beer. Pretty unique, not my favorite epic, but a very solid one. I also think this one has legs to keep going for a few more years. It seems like it might make it to 2012.

flexabull, Mar 09, 2009
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.

GClarkage, Feb 05, 2006
Photo of Wildman
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a clear dark burgundy color and formed a small light tan foamy head that left circular lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, spices and plum. The flavor was of malt, and some dark fruit and chocolate with a touch of pepper. The body is medium light with some creamy touches to it. The finish was soft with a touch of pepper hiding the slightly astrigent nature. Will no doubt improve with some aging.

Wildman, May 06, 2005
Photo of axisjones
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass.

Pours a deep burgundy with a brownish head. While the color of the beer is penetrating and the initial pour is beautiful, the head is dead after a few minutes and there is no lacing to speak of.

The smell is signature Belgian. Malty, with a spicy caramel scent with loads of alcohol in the nose.

The first flavor to hit on the taste is the alcohol, which at 8.5 abv isn't excessively high, but really present in the taste. This was a drawback for me. Otherwise it is a bit fruity, heavy on the malty caramel with a bready dry finish.

Smooth and lush, this beer is drinkable considering its strength, but, once again, the alcohol detracts from the overall experience. Its good fresh, not great. I would want to sit on this for a year or two.

axisjones, Jun 09, 2005
Photo of Bitterbill
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle(room temp) a deep brown with a large head of foam that dissipated slowly leaving a solid layer with good lacing.

The smell is of sweet roasted malt, chocolate-cocoa and anise. Nice.

The taste is a very pronounced semi sweet roasted malt with notes of chocolate, some graininess, and good anise/licorice tones in the finish. Oh, and the 8.5% abv is noticeable but not intrusive. I had one of my bottles of this fresh but I didn't review it because that wouldn't have done it justice. In other words...the 1 year of aging has already done this brew a world of good. ;^)

Bottom line: It's just starting to get interesting 1 year after bottling so I say...if you see some buy some and cellar it. I think it's gonna be a winner.

Bitterbill, Jun 02, 2006
Photo of joeack
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a chalice. Color was dark ruby red and it had a slight hint of carbonation which produced a small amount of head which quickly disappeared. Smell was sweet and very malty. Taste was of carmel, raisons and a hint of bitterness at the end. Could barely taste the alcohol and overall an excellent beer.

joeack, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours mahogany with a medium white head, good head retention for how old it is, some lace.

S: Rum raisin, brown sugar.

T: Semi-sweet malt, lots of molasses, dark sugar cane, but never too cloying. Still rich in flavour, especially compared to the other VEs.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy, soft carbonation, delicate.

O: Arguably the best of the aged VEs, I've never got to try it fresh, but it's drinking well now.

Halcyondays, Dec 14, 2012
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.

Bumpon10s, Oct 06, 2005
Photo of TKEbeerman
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A. Poured into my VE glass this brew pours a darker brown with ruby tones. A small amount of yeasty floaties are noticable when held to the light.
S. The aroma has notes of hazel nuts and dark chocolate with burnt caramel apple.
T. The flavor has a good mix of oxidation with some belgium spic notes from the yeast.
Mf. Fully mouth feel, smooth carbination
Overall, the best one so far.

TKEbeerman, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of TheBrewo
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was served from the tap at the Tap and Mallet Vertical Epic tasting event. It arrived in a tasting glass, showing a dark amber honey coloring. Whisps of lacing were left around the glass with a swirl, but no head was noted. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared average. The aroma gave booze, light vanillas, faint oak chip woodiness, big buttery diacetyls, and an onslaught of nectary fruits. The latter consisted of strawberry, cherry, and plum. Honey sweetness mixed with the heaviness of the caramel and pale malty mash and rich breadiness of grain. Our first impression was that there were great fruity syrups to hold against the bread and butter of the malts. The flavoring opened with booze, grapefruity hops, caramel, bites of soured yeast, and woody warmth. The peak came with cloying caramel sugars, pear, and a depth of coffee and metallic malts to pull to a boozy washing finish. This was cut by cleanliness of caramel malts, fainter grassy hops, and figgy oils. The aftertaste breathed of fusel booze, metallics, mineral, green grape skins, yeast, pumpkin fleshiness, and coffee malts. The body was medium, and the carbonation was full. There was big froth and slurp to each sip, with nice cream and pop on the back. The mouth was coated with an oiliness, with an ultimate boozy dryness. The abv was fine and this was an easy sipper

Overall, the best thing about this beer was the nose. It gave huge fruits and booze that have really blended expertly with this age on it, giving a mellow smoothness. This followed almost exactly on the palate, but the boozy bite did tend to drown some of the malts on the back by the end of the glass. This beer is great for a snowy night by the fire and good company.

TheBrewo, Dec 23, 2012
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.

Foxman, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of ejquin
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

ejquin, May 19, 2005
Photo of clvand0
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

clvand0, May 16, 2005
Photo of ddarden
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a one year anniversary tasting of the 05-05-05. I had this last year on the 4th and remember thinking this beer needed some time to meld a little. After one year of aging, this beer was much better. It poured a very dark ebony with a little light getting through. Very nice head that lasted. The smell was classic of a Belgian Strong Ale - yeast, plums, candi sugar, sweet malt, and alcohol. The taste was close to the smell except with a little bit of hop bite. Although most of the hop flavor had mellowed and the beer was more complex than a year ago. The alcohol was very well hidden and had a medium mouthfeel. The drinkability was good. I have a few more of these in the cellar and will make a tradition of my 4th of July beer.

ddarden, Jul 05, 2006
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.

kirok1999, Nov 26, 2005
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Its either a very dark brown with ruby highlights or a deep mahogoney with cherry highlights. Regardless, its filtered and brilliant when held to the light. The full, tan head is creamy and full of character. Good stuff

S: Molasses, cherry, vanilla, dark fruit and butter pecan.

T: Butterscotch is the first taste that crosses my palate. A milk chocolate impression mixes with the butterscotch to create a unique taste. From there a cherry cordial personality comes forth. These flavors all transition very well, with out a clear deliniation between where one starts and one stops. Pineapple, cherry, apricot and marmalade add a fruity complexity. Finishes with dark fruits and quite bitter actually.

M: Medium body with a full mouthfeel. Decent silkyness.

D: This beer was good once it opened up. The bitterness subsided as well. I think an additional 18 months would have helped this beer peak.

Westsidethreat, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of IceAce
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep mahagony with superb clarity. A seemingly endless supply of CO² streamers work diligently to replenish the thick, tan, two-finger collar of foam.

The nose catches up to me while the glass sits a full three feet away...sugary sweet dates, cloves, and fruity phenols are all surrounded with the funky aroma that can only belong to Belgian Yeast.

Entry is pure silk, with tiny CO² bubbles escourting the smooth roasted malt over the palate. Mid-taste is of cherries, burnt sugar, and allspice as the taste begins to crescendo in earthy goodness.

The finish is as complex as the mid, with a touch of soft hop ushering last call for smooth vanilla and malt notes before the funky yeast begins its long, slow fade. Mouthfeel is silky smooth and drinkability...well, let's just say I'd hit it daily if it were possible.

I know that with age this beer will 'round out' into something a whole lot different...but like Anchor OSA, I enjoy these beers when they're still young and flavor components can still be distinguished. Whichever you prefer, you will not come away disappointed with 5.5.5

IceAce, May 06, 2005
Photo of Truh
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yo quero cerveza with this one on 5/5/05, appropriately enough. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Huge root beer float plume of down head with a settling universe of pock-marked moonscape, Escher lace. Brownish red hue is almost claret, clear, and bubbles floating freely, unfettered. Light rock candy, caramel malt, and a nosegay of berry hints all mash together for a party in the nose. On the tongue, a very subtle mix of sugar syrup, light cinder, toffee, and eventually anis comes through as the pour warms; excellent combination.

Very drinkable; must get more to squirrel away for a rainy day.

Truh, May 07, 2005
Photo of Troyone
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly translucent coffee color with an amber hue, minimal head, and some carb action.

The smell has a roasted, slight molasses, caramel malt with a resin citrus hop aroma.

Lightly sweet and heavily bitter taste of a slightly burnt molasses and caramel malt with a resin, orange, and grapefruit hops aroma.

Medium to full body, dry slightly syrupy texture, soft almost flat carbonation, and a smooth slightly alcoholic finish.

Great drinkability for the style.

Troyone, Jun 02, 2005
Photo of TheJudge
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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

TheJudge, May 19, 2005
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.