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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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 Doppelbockulus
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pored into the Vertical Epic glass carfully to avoid clouding the beer with yeast.

Without the yeast the beer is a is a medium dark brown with an appealing ruby background.

I smell a pastry shop in this beer. It smells like buttery raspberry pastries with raisins and brown sugar.

The taste includes dark earthy malt with a light sweetness. I also get tea in the taste.

The carbonation creates a medium tingle, and there is a light tanninc feel.

Photo of TinusTime
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a darker than dark ruby brown.. Almost black with a soft off khaki head. Nose is prune with some spice and toffee in the aroma.

Taste is dark sugars and dark fruits.. Plums, prunes, molasses all over the place. Yeasty madness also enters into the mix.

Mouthfeel-- good.. Not too carbonated, it tis fine

Drinkability-- Probably the most drinkable of all the Verticle off the bat.. This thing is gonna get silly good in time. The sweetness from the sugars will prolly die down leaving this a tasty treasure.. Glad I got 6 bottles to check out how this one ages.. The 04 was better first.. but this one can sit and age and maybe maybe make it to 12 12 12

Photo of xymyl
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium carbonation with small to medium sized bubbles, dark red/crimson color with a thick tan head that settles to a film quickly.

Aromas of dried fruits, chocolate, coffee, caramel, spices and light floral notes.

Starts out wet, sweet and fruity then sweetness steps forward even more with malt and other sugar notes (at the this point the spices come forward the most) then roasty/toasty(TM) flavors blend with the hoppy bitterness that dominates the long finish.

This feels a bit lighter than it did a year ago. It's getting to the zone I really like. Once the floral notes of the hops fully integrate and the bitterness mellows out a bit more it will be perfect. Now I wish I had kept one of these in the fridge to compare. Oh, well. With how fast this is maturing I give it another year (maybe two tops) before it is ready.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a creamy, thin tan head. Some light lacing. Smell is rich caramel. Light dark fruit aromas. Toffee and a light earthiness.

Taste takes the smell and extrapolates it to higher levels. More rich caramel and toffee. Lightly spicy (clove, black pepper and cinnamon). Hint of dark chocolate (!). Strident hops as it finishes. Warming alcohol. Mouth is rich and thick. Sticky finish and aftertaste. All things said, damn yummy. Very enjoyable beer and goes down way too smooth for words. Good stuff.

Photo of Dithyramb
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of kmo1030
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of granger10
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought this for my Sunday tasting tonight to Garagekeggers house,poured a deep brown with some reddish hue with a light almond colored head.Aromas of spiced cherries and smoky clovy spiciness from the Belgian yeast dominate,flavors as well are dominated by spiced cherries and clovey spiciness I even got a touch of black licorace in the finish.I am glad I opened it up I was gonna wait but the big flavors and complexities are to much to pass up a real winner from Stone again.

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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 abfraser
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tie for first place in the 2004 to 2008 tasting (see other posts)

A: Dark brown, with a reddish hue

S: Dark caramel malt, candied fruits, cloves

M: Full-bodied creamy mouthfeel

D: Very drinkable

Big fan of Belgian dark strong ales, so not altogether a surprise I thought this one was one of the best. Even still, great beer. Wish I had saved more than one.

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had outstanding depth and complexity of flavor - you name it, and search around a bit, you'll probably find it. Primary characteristic as a dark, ripe fruit that was right at home with a dark Belgian style. Malty flavors were also at play - some toffee and milk chocolate, and a not-quite coffee mocha note of some sort. What surpised me most was that, for a beer with this abv and intended to be aged, it did not come across as hot or young. In fact, I wonder what improvement age will bring, it already seems much more mellow than I expected. Nicely done, and ready to crack open right now.

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/brown, small tan head, some decent lacing and good retention. Smell is sweet caramel, does of citrus and floral, dates and figs, real nice maltiness with a touch of yeast. Taste is caramel, fig and dates, floral, yeast, hint of alcohol, very nice and smooth. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with low carbonation. A nice effort, Stone never disappoints. Thanks DrJay!

Photo of Overlord
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, reddish amber. Thin crust; almost no head. Smells like 100% caramel malt and Belgian candi.

This is a very sweet brew; malt, Belgian candi, maybe a bit of balancing fruits (apricot? plums? dates?). Nice yeasty/bread aftertaste.

Enjoyed it quite a bit.

Photo of Bighuge
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not much UV gets through this one. The rays that do get through give this a burgandy type of a highlight. Appears quite clear. The head is frothy, light brown and long lasting. The lace comes in thick gobs. Thick and sweet malts on the nose. Prunes. Plum. Also a spiked punch kind of heat. I get a little char as well on the nose. Damn fine. I like the subdued roastiness on the palate. A slight nod to licorice as well. And dark, bready malts. Sweet candy sugar. And doughy yeastiness. The mouthfeel is rounded and smooth. Medium body. Light on the CO2. A little astringent with the upfront EtOH. There is a lingering bitterness from the alcohol. It's not evident till I take a long pause between sips. This is good. I forsee this getting much better however.

Photo of Billolick
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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 xcondonex
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours deep, nearly opaque mahogany with garnet highlights. Delightful ½” beige head stands for a minute before subsiding into thin patchy foam. Excellent carbonation.

Smell: Fruity phenols—banana like a Weizen Bock—with notes of molasses and chocolate sweetness.

Taste: Start is clean followed by notes of dried fruit—plum, raisin—with subtle sugary sweetness that finishes dry. Very interesting.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Phenolic and sweet. Complex and quenching. Pure pleasure.

Comments: This was my first Belgian Strong Dark Ale so I didn’t quite know what to expect. I’ll have to try a few authentic samples to be able to rate justly but nonetheless, I can definitely appreciate this beer. Strangely, I was reminded of Aventinus while drinking this beer.

Photo of Dogbrick
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Why wait? This stuff is good NOW. Not like I’ll ever find the 02.02.02 anyway. The beer is a dark reddish-brown color with a thick and foamy beige head. Thick and sticky lacing. Aroma of roasted malt, spice (what? there are no spices in this beer?) and raisin. Rich body with an immediately noticeable Belgian character. Yeast, spices and malt are prevalent, along with a bit of fruit in the background. The finish is spiced and hoppy. Definitely the best VE I have tried so far.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

well it is time for me to start opening up some of these older beers i have been cellaring for a long time. this now with 6 years on it, lets see what it can do. opened on cinco de mayo.

A rich, deep, dark brown was shown right before me, just barely letting the slightest bit of color come through to give it a nice tint to the reddish side. Lots of carbonation rippling up toward the surface though out. The head was enormous, towering to a height of at least four inches before finally settling down

Big aroma of raisins, and figs started it off, with a nice little hint of spice and just the tiniest bit of alcohol way in the back making it a touch bigger. There was the unmistakable aroma of cocoa in there as well, which really threw me for a loop. Nice subtle earthy tones as well, overall this was extremely well done. The flavor started out very nice. A rich, warming palate of dark fruits washed over the tongue from the very first sip. It had loads of rum soaked raisins, figs, plums, and was just very dark overall in its profile. The cocoa then showed up again as well, very sweet, and creamy hints of chocolate showing out here

saying this held up well is an understatement. this beer was sublime still cannt wait to see a couple more years on my pther bottle

Photo of WesWes
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a rich and creamy roasted malt scent along with a fruity yeast aroma. There appears to be a mild hop aroma as well. The taste is good. It has a very smooth roasted malt flavor that goes down smooth and finishes earthy with a slight bitter hop aftertaste. It has a mild yeast fruitiness as well. It is warm on the finish, but very smooth for an abv. of 8.5%. The mouthfeel is great. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very tastey brew. It is rich and hearty; a good drinker on those cold days.

Photo of chaz01
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Good sized (4-5 ounce) pour at a Stone Vertical Tasting Event sponsored by Belmont Party Supplies on 5/12/2010, served in a very cool Stone Vertical Epic tasting glass.

A: Very dark brown mahogany with a thin tan head.

S: chocolate, alcohol, caramel and dark fruits in the aroma.

T: Chocolate and caramel with some spices reminding me of soy sauce.

M: Better carbonated than previous beers in the series, but just a bit thin. Nice finish with raisins , dark fruit flavors and chocolate cocoa.

D: Very nice beer -- so far, this was my favorite of the series of the ones tasted.

Photo of hero27
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. 8.5% abv.

Dark mahogany color with a thin tan head. Aroma of roasted malts and spiciness..however the bottle says they used no spices in this one, it's just the Belgian yeast. Pretty impressive. The taste follows in line, and has a very soft mouthfeel that holds all the great flavors together. Reminds me very much of Great Lakes Christmas Ale..the spices & cherry flavor are quite similar. Overall, this is definitely a keeper in my book. Damn, I guess I'm going to have to get a bottle of this every year now..

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, here's my background here (I admit this is mostly for my future reference). Reviewed "Fresh" on 05-16-05 as a baseline for future reviews. I admit it, I am hooked on the Vertical Epic mindset. But alas, I only found out about it last year, and wasn't hip to the plan yet, so I only have 2 bottles of 04-04-04 that I am hoarding (only thought it was ok, good, kind of odd, but interested in tasting later) but since I only have 2 left, I'm afraid to try again. So this is my test on the 05- if I like it, I'll get a bunch more. Well, good news here- this is a good one!

Appearance: A relatively clean, clear brown that really is more red than brown- I use brown because of its darkness- does that mean auburn? Mahogany? Some other color I can never remember? But to be honest, it's really pretty. A nice tan head that quickly becomes a thin cover.

Aroma- I am a sucker for great aroma, and this is one of the better ones. I didn't read the label first, but I picked up brown sugar, caramel, dark chocolate, and more than anything else, sweet dark raisins (I haven't seen anyone else mention that).

Flavor- overall, this is good stuff, but first impressions- brandied plums, rich malts, chocolate, and a spicy alcohol kick at the back of the throat. I'm not good at describing which spices, but they are there. OK, I'm assuming that this means that it's young and raw, and this will mellow out nicely with time.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice, full, but harsh from the spicy alcohol.

Drinkability is that this one is pretty smooth, and I can see it getting better. High marks!

Photo of JackTheRipper
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thirty fifth Birthday present to myself.

A: Dark burgundy with a bighuge head that leaves a good amount of lacing. Really nice retention, suds last and last.

S: Almost too complex to describe. Big malt smell. Notes of fruit all over the place. Smell of fruitcake (the good homemade kind, not that abomination sold in stores) are strong here. Spicy, almost meaty aroma that is faintly like a rauschbier in the jerky aroma (this smell is faint and seems to augment the sweet fruity aromas very well).

T: Complexity never ends. Tons of winelike fruity flavors with just a touch of a smoky spiciness. Big malty base here. Bitterness is low and late and faintly coffee like. The only detractor is a bit of a metallic aftertaste that I think will disappear over the course of aging.

M: Full bodied without being too heavy. Fairly high level of carbonation. Alcohol feel is really big and warms oh so nicely.

D&N: How the heck do you gauge a beer like this? To call this beer special is an understatement of the highest magnitude. Drinkability? I have four bottles of this brew to last until the final tasting in 2012. Maybe the Mayans are right, maybe at the penultimate tasting party the world has ever seen, the world will end. I feel almost special to drink this beer, one beer in a series that will, I'm hopeful, shake the foundations of the beer cosmos. Yes, I'm rambling, but with this one, I feel like using those 5000 characters. Bacchus seems to be strong now, and this beer is the vapor that lets the Delphic oracle speak. All in all, a wonderful beer, and it's making me tingle with anticipation of the 03 and the 04 I have carefully hidden away, and weep for the lack of the 02. I'm now one of the few, the proud, the Vertical Epic drinkers.
Cheers, my friends.

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