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

313 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 313
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 101
Gots: 53 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 313 | Reviews: 216
Photo of stephendedalus
3.87/5  rDev -1%
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?

Photo of ILiveOffHops
3.87/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of Jason
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, obvious vintage date on the bottle. The usual short story on the bottle as well.

A- Feigned black with garnet hues when brought up to the light, decent head retention ... lacing drops a few rings on the glass.

S- Powdered carob, mild tropical fruit of mango and pineapple. Phenolic of cloves and black pepper ... faint on that though, hint of fusel alcohol as well.

T&M- Crisp within a full body, perfect level of carbonation. Earthy with a bittersweet chocolate powder up front. Plum pudding character throughout; candied fruit, cloves, spices, bit of alcohol. Slight brown malt flavor and anise in the drying finish.

D- Tasty without a doubt, for a little over a year old it has held up pretty well ... flavors seem to be meshed toge her with little to no "aged" character. Still a sipping brew but a tasty one at that.

Photo of mattmaples
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Brewing “Vertical Epic 5.5.05” 22oz:
I can not believe it, we actually got the Epic ON the release date!!! This years is dark and estery. It pours a deep mahogany color with a thin head. The aroma is fruity (plum/banana) and big spicy (clove/anise). The flavor has a touch of roastiness to it with sweet molasses tones. The fruitiness carries over in the flavor and it finishes with an ever so slight hop bitterness. IMHO this years has better aging potential than the others.

It is a good belgian with the possibility of being great with some aging and flavor integration. Only time will tell.

Photo of mentor
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Almost one-finger of fluffy dark brown head over an almost perfectly clear orange-brown liquid. Smells chocolatey flat hops and belgian funky/phenolic. Woody and dry.

Tastes smooth chocolate, milky character, and fuggle rounded hops. Molasses-figgy. Belgian funk is dry and a touch of biscuity Not a wicked edge belgian as I expected (or...feared?). Some roasted malts, but they are beneath the chocolate. Sweet and pleasant, yet dry and an edge I can't quite get a finger on.

Mouthfeel is md and carbonation is moderate. I see this beer as developing over the span of a few years, but am not sure how much past 5 years it can go.

Photo of ojclark
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Phenolic: nutmeg/cloves/banana notes dominate aroma. Translucent dark red/brown with mostly lasting tan head and decent lacing. Spicy flavor: nutmeg, cinammon and clove. Very malty with slight soy sauce overtone. Medium/light carbonation. Oily/slick mouthfeel and a fairly long finish. Aftertaste is an extension of the flavor but with some bitterness added to the mix. Nice, but this should get even better with some bottle age.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cherry wood color with deep brown streaks and a tightly carbonated tan head that kicks off just a wisp of occasional lace.
Aroma of chocolate, molasses or honey and some lightly roasted nuts with a earthy almost peaty note and a very spicy and dark fruit hit as well.
Flavors have clove-like Hefewezien or Dunkelweizen spiciness with dark and citrus fruit notes. Some chocolate notes, Belgian candi sugar as well as a resiny hop hit are also detected.
Mouthfeel has real alcoholic warming punch and has definitely not matured yet. Transitions between sweetness, spiciness and bittering are confused or non-existent but there remains a uniquely complex malt base that with some aging should amount to a pretty darn good beer. Think of it has a young pitcher throwing 98 MPH stuff just waiting to add a slider, splitter and change to reall foll the hitters. This one has some serious complexity buried between the medicinal alcoholic hit and should age well. In fact, my guess is that this one will age the best out of the VE's released so far.
Drinkability is decent considering it is way too young to drink. As the alcohol coats the palate the harsher flavors get softer and more enjoyable.

Photo of xgrigorix
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of scootny
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown liquid. Light khaki head. Nice lacing.

Nose has malt and chocolate with a heavy fruit component. Figs and dates with Belgian yeast. Caramel and faint alcohol.

Taste is like a hybrid Belgian stout/dubbel. Chocolate and coffee followed by a heavy fig and plum fruitiness. Some malt and grains. Molasses and alcohol. Finish is dry and earthy with a lingering light tannic sourness.

Feel is thick and viscous, well carbonated.

Pretty good stuff. I like the mocha rubble/stout thing

Photo of JackStraw22
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy dark, dark amber. A little bit of head, not too much but what was there seemed to last.

Smell: Very sweet. Lots of malt, bready. Not very spicy or herbal, but rich and deep.

Taste: Quite smooth, alcohol is present but warming and not in your face. Pleasant and remarkable drinkable.

Can't wait to try this in a couple years. Good now, but should get better.

Photo of ChuckD
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
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 OlieIPA
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Second to last...I must continue...

A: Poured similar to the 06' VE, but with an exceptional head....superb! The lacing is thick and clinging, similar to a double IPA. WOW!

S: Smell the 06'...but more potent...and more soy-saucy as well.

T: I am actually impressed by this beer...a very complex and musky flavor profile. An enhanced version to the 06' VE, but obviously more advanced. Robust fig flavor along with brown sugar qualities that personified the beer...at least in my opinion.

M: Another WOW for me...viscous, well-carbonated, with some creamy qualities.

D: Overly impressed...alcohol is hidden...good on a warm summer night.

Overall: Really good...a try it beer. Cheers!

Photo of pentathlete
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of blindtiger24
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

4oz draft pour into a tulip glass.

A: Claret colored, splotchy head.

S: Rum raisin smell that signals a boozy flavor.

T: Gingerbread and raisin flavor.

M: Sweet, boozy, warming mouthfeel that is creamy.

O: Raisin flavors and smells are not the most enticing. Nice mouthfeel and appearance.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
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!

Photo of porterman
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got 3 bombers from a friend. Poured into my La Chouffe glass. Pours a nice ruby red with little head and doesnt leave much lacing. not much carbonation to speak of.

It smells alot like it tastes very fruity with a little strange chemical smell in the background

The taste is very similar to the smell:) Plums and malt and fruits with some strange aftertaste slightly bitter and harsh. Taste the alcohol more than in other similar styles that have more alcohol.

The mouthfeel is nice. thin maybe a little flat but very enjoyable

Drinkability is decent. a little heavy on the alcohol taste. but i drank 2 bombers back to back so it cant be too bad.

The first thing i thought of when i had my first sip was this tastes like it needs some aging. The more i drank the more this was confirmed. Tastes immature. Needs to smooth out some. It says on the bottle best drank in 2012 and i think they know what they are talking about. Hey its not bad now. But some aging will make this one alot better.

Photo of portia99
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass.

A - Pours a dark brown color with a touch of amber on the edges. Body is clear but has lots of large floating yeast clumps in it. Small tan head lingers briefly and leaves some webby lacing on the glass.

S - Slightly astringent, chocolate and cocoa powder, sweet malt, a bit of peppery spiciness. Overall, quite malty on the nose.

T - Bitter hops, cocoa powder, raisins, a bit of booze, some phenolics, sweet maltose, a bit of roasty malt too.

M - Medium body with a low-midlevel carbonation that gives just a bit of a tingle on the tongue. Feel is a bit slick and oily and there is a peppery spicy tingle on the tongue.

O - Good dark roasted, chocolatey, spicy and malty sweet beer. When this first came out in '05 I found this be a very good beer and went thru a number of these bottles. Seems to have fallen off over the years, but still solid.

Photo of yourefragile
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a thin tan head. Mild aroma of caramel malt, nuts, baker's chocolate, and bread. Much sweeter flavor than expected. Toffee and caramel, brown sugar and figs. Medium thick and moderate carbonation. A little stale in the finish, but enjoyable.

Photo of snpub540
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Couldn't wait until 2012 to open atleast 1 of my bottles. There was hardly a whisp of smoke as I opened the bottle. Out poured a deep, coffee brown topped off with a 1/4 inch tan head. The head didn't stick around long, but it did leave some nice lacing on the side of the glass. The aromas were very vinous with the addition of some roasted malts. Now I haven't been partial to belgian-style ales but this one didn't seem to have that same earthy charachteristic that I am not very fond of. The taste was bitter upfront, followed by a nuttiness, then sweet alcohol as it finishes. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied and smooth. This beer was very drinkable. There was nothing overwhelming about the flavors. I enjoyed this brew very much and we'll have to see how these bottle I have stand up with time.

Photo of Goldorak
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
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 HappyHourHero
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small, dense foamy, light brown colored head that didn't last very long, and left only a few specs of lace. Deep mahogany colored beer with a ruby hue. Vanilla/butterscotch and some apple in the aroma. Fairly sweet sugary raisins, a dash of apple, and just a pinch of vanilla yeastyness before the bitter chocolate flavor kicks in. There's a biting bitter saltiness towards the end that carries over into the finish, which fades as the beer warms. Starts like a Belgian strong dark ale and finishes like a bitter barleywine. Mouthfeel is soft and just barely slick, while the body is moderately full. Most of the aromas and flavors were great, but the bitterness at the end kind of killed it for me.

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured in a sampling glass.

Pours a dark brown ruby with a tinge of brown and ivory head. Nose is diacetyl and sweet, a bit malty.

Taste is a bit buttery and sharp, noot that belgian but still very nice. For a 4 year old brew this is gonna be awesome in 2012

Photo of Lnedrive14
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
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 lackenhauser
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 313 ratings.