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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

306 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 306
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 105
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: 306 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

oberon, Jun 06, 2005
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.

Billolick, Jan 21, 2006
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.

Sammy, Jan 01, 2006
Photo of abfraser
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

abfraser, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of Brent
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Brent, Jun 13, 2005
Photo of Viggo
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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!

Viggo, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of Overlord
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Overlord, May 25, 2008
Photo of Doppelbockulus
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Doppelbockulus, Jan 20, 2013
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 DarkerTheBetter
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

DarkerTheBetter, Mar 15, 2006
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.

xcondonex, May 14, 2005
Photo of Bighuge
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Bighuge, Jun 06, 2005
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.

Dogbrick, May 09, 2005
Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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

mikesgroove, May 19, 2011
Photo of WesWes
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

WesWes, May 28, 2005
Photo of chaz01
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

chaz01, May 16, 2010
Photo of hero27
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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..

hero27, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of warriorsoul
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked a few of these up at the Stone tasting at Bauer Wine & Spirits (thanks Nick & Mike).
Pours a real dark brown w/ some rust color shining thru w/ help from the light...a nice full finger of light tan head forms and quickly disappears except for a slight covering.
Aroma is pleasant...wine-like w/ sweet malts hitting the nose.
Taste is packed w/ flavor...more sweet as it hits room temperature.
Definite spiced flavor, which claims to be due to the yeast...no spices added, eh? Very nice....a touch of hops to keep this one from being overly sweet. I also detect some smokiness, but very faint.
The mouthfeel may be thin for the style, but I find it perfect to make this Strong ale highly drinkable...despite the ABV%, I would have no problem making a session brew out of this one...this 22oz. is going bye-bye real fast. It is a good thing that I bought 3 of these...I feel # 2 will be gone tonight as well. We'll save # 3 for 12.12.12 or I will simply buy more.
Great job Stone!

warriorsoul, Jun 03, 2005
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
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!

Dukeofearl, May 17, 2005
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from Solomon420, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit, Belgian yeast, caramel, brown sugar and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is sweet up front with flavors of caramel, dark fruit and brown sugar that are quickly followed by a good Belgian yeast breadiness and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is a very nice dark Belgian that has help up very nicely for 4 years. Overall it's a very good beer to drink for a long time.

TheManiacalOne, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of waltonc
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second in abfraser's Vertical Epic tasting.

A: dark, mahogany, with some lacing

S: I was not a huge fan of the smell. Chocolate and fruit.

T: But I was a fan of the taste. More chocolate, alcohol, fruit, sweet.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

waltonc, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of JackTheRipper
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

JackTheRipper, Jun 06, 2005
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.

CharlesRiver, Jan 13, 2006
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!

chilidog, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of bennetj17
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Solomon420 for sending me this a few years back. He must have a bunch of these still. Dark amber colored with nice clarity. Thin, tan head develops but is short-lasting, leaving behind a ring. The aroma seems a bit ripe, so I'm hoping it's not past its prime. Sweet and malty smelling, with caramel and dark fruits, plus touches of roast. The alcohol is somewhat evident also.

The taste suggests this has held up well, in fact it has mellowed nicely. The flavor is sweet with a keen dryness. It's very rasiny and doughy, almost chocolatey. The finish is really nice as the bitterness is lasting and complements the sweet malt character. The only thing lacking is that it doesn't come off as distinctly Belgian. You could probably convince me this is a Scotch Ale or maybe a Barleywine, as the yeast character isn't evident enough to set it apart. Nevertheless it is good. The mouthfeel is not heavy, in fact it's very smooth, with fairly sharp carbonation that foams up just slightly on the palate.

Glad this one tastes good after 4 years. It was the only 05' I have ever had (and probably the last), so I don't have to kick myself for not trying it sooner. This is better than the last three...

bennetj17, Aug 09, 2009
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 306 ratings.