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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
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 103
Gots: 54 | 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 ChuckD
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
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 savagepm
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

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 xgrigorix
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
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 Jason
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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 JackStraw22
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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 ojclark
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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 mentor
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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 Padron4KM
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber. Pours out a murky dark reddish brown, with a fluffy tan head.
lace coats the glass in a thin sheet. alcohol floats on top like a nicely aged port.
Aroma is roasty, dark fruits, some mustiness, and maybe a little alcohol.
flavor is fruity and sweet, followed by some roasty chocolate, and a little spice on the end.
Lots of flavors there but they haven’ t quite come together yet. I’ll be aging a couple 2 or 3 bottles for sure, and will re-rate in a year or 2.22 oz bomber. Pours out a murky dark reddish brown, with a fluffy tan head.

lace coats the glass in a thin sheet. alcohol floats on top like a nicely aged port.

Aroma is roasty, dark fruits, some mustiness, and maybe a little alcohol.

flavor is fruity and sweet, followed by some roasty chocolate, and a little spice on the end.

Lots of flavors there but they haven’ t quite come together yet. I’ll be aging a couple 2 or 3 bottles for sure, and will re-rate in a year or 2.

(re-rate feb 07) Flavors are coming together nicely. Roasty chocolate, spicy clove, dark fruits, yeast. Looks promising. unfortunately I only have 1 left
Original 3.5 - 4 - 3.5 - 3.5 - 3 - 3.55.

Photo of mattmaples
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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 Imstillthegman
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Boolshot for hooking me up with my first Verticals.

Pours a dark garnet, almost black in the center with a light tan head that only left a ring or two of lacing. Aroma is of raisins, figs, brown sugar, caramel, spice and some light floral scents. The taste is strong on dark fruits...raisins, dates, prunes, figs...with some dark chocolate and anise flavor as well. Nice mouthfeel...smooth with mild carbonation and a slightly dry, bitterfinish. It could probably use another year or two of aging so I think I stash my other bottle until then.

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.

Photo of stephendedalus
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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 Vancer
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good day lil' beer - you're looking good in the ol' Corsendonk tulip with your deep mahogany pour and rich tan head.

Aroma is BW style - sweet caramel, fig, cherry and orange licorice. Mellow quaff combines all these ingredients, but just a bit of orange medicine and hot alcohol in the finish. I was hoping the aging would benefit the brew, but I'm a bit disappointed in this one - a good beer but nothing outstanding.

Photo of Floydster
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle from Naja's Place in Redondo Beach

Poured into a pint glass with a 1/4 thick tan head and the color was an extremely dark brown, looked a little like Gulden Draak

Smell was very good with raisins, coffee, cocoa, and something that resembled a smore

Taste was nice and had a lot of malt and sweetness in it, taste did not last too long like other VEs I have had

You could finish a bomber of this problem, I shared this one with my buddy and wanted more afterwards, so pretty drinkable for how dark it is

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.

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the standard Stone 22oz bomber (adorned with the 05 VE screened label) into my Duvel tulip glass. Had a gorgeous impenetrable chestnut coloration, massive amounts of creeping carbonation, and a thick, creamy off-white head that displayed amazing retention. Scattered bits of lace clung and shrivelled on the glass' walls.
The nose was a bit subdued, IMO. I expected a lot more but was left wanting. Sure, there was some serious toasty malt aroma, a decent level of dark fruitiness and an enticing, beckoning earthiness but I just had trouble getting all that much complexity to be coaxed out of this BSDA. Boozy alcohol aroma permeates.
The taste was a different matter. More flavors eminated here. Nice toasted malt and semi-sweet chocolate up front. The '05 VE got more earthy mid-range and took on a peaty, faintly smokey flavor that had me thinking it was morphing into a wee heavy for a second. More booziness as it hit the home stretch - think rum-soaked prunes with a lurking bitterness from the hops. Bittering accelerated as each pull headed down. Alcohol left a stretch of warmth down to the stomach.
Feel: medium/full with a real prickly zap to the tongue from all the carbonation. A bit raw from the alcohol but well set for aging.
Overall: not bad now by any means but the potential for aging is tremendous. So far, the 05.05.05 VE has the biggest upside of all the VE series for surviving to 2012 and beyond. Nicely packaged now but exquisitely set for the future.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one a long while ago from Kahn's Fine Wine.. Pours dark brown and fairly clear.... nice tan head with good lacing.

Nose is spicy with raisin and dark brown sugar.... a bit plummy.. hints of tawny port.

Flavor is better with much more pronounced BSDA elements... nice phenolic spiciness is a bit surprising after all these years.. clove and cardamom, but the fruitiness is sorta heavy fig and dark raisin..

Overall, there are hints of oxidation.. but I've been keeping the bottles certainly on the cool side of things. Sherry is very minor... and Port is a little bit more present, but still very minor.

4/3.5/4/4/4

Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a clear ruby color with a one finger head that falls quickly to a surface foam. No lacing develops.

Smell: load of pitted fruits and alcohol.

Taste: the sweet malt is paired with black cherry, prunes, pepper, mild bitterness, and noticeable alcohol. The flavors are wrapped in a mild earthiness.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smooth at the finish. Aftertaste is long on the fruits and alcohol. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: this is a beer that will improve with some aging. The alcohol at times seems to dominate. Definite slow sipper here.

Photo of WetCoaster
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep clear cola red with a dense, foamy tan/espresso swirled head. Moderate size, good retention. Sticky root beer lace on the glass wall. Moderately carbonated.

Smell: Spiced yeast and all that entails, slightly vegetal, bready/cakey, and fruity in a sort of cherry vain. As it stands, though, it's all presented in a thick block, none is really defined; you sort of pick out points on one scent.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Whoa. Goddamn, that is BEEFY, freakin' massive. I see from the description it's a BSDA, but honestly it tastes more like an eisenbock brewed with Belgian yeast topped with a imperial stout floater. Very dense mouthful of chocolate malt, roasty and stoutlike, a slightly boozy Chambord flavor. It's actually a bit similar to Ommegang's Three Philosophers quad. Mouthfeel is rich and thick.

Drinkability: It depends. I like it, but it's a bit much for your Wednesday night poker marathon. Price is good, though.

This is not a pure BSDA; it's a big, somewhat baffling beer. Unlike last year's, I have NO doubt this will last seven years. It currently tastes as though three distinct style are blended -- and a bit awkwardly at that. This is a good drinker, but a better cellar candidate. Open 12/12, or at least wait a year.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled May 2005
Pours a deep, rich, amber color that shows ruby highlights when held up to the light. It is topped by a frothy light brown to amber colored head that dissapears after a couple of minutes. As I pour this beer I get a definite note of cloves. As I go in deeper I get notes of concentrated plum, raisins, figs, chocolate and alcohol. The taste is sweet and fruity up front, but then moves to a spicy slightly harsh note in the finish. The rich fruitiness is quite good and reminds me of raisins, and figs. The finish is astringent with notes of higher alcohols, spicy notes of pepper and clove, and hints of roasted malt and chocolate.

I will say this, this is the first one of these that I actually see lasting a couple of years, it is still a bit young and harsh around the edges. This should be quite nice once the harsh notes in the finish mellow out and the fruitiness comes to the fore.

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!

Photo of Crosling
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep burgundy color with a gigantic, creamy and rocky head of foam. This looks like a Belgian for sure. Aromatically speaking, it’s a bit dusty and dull, but still bursting with character with hints of sugared plums, pumpkin, chocolate, raspberries, almonds, bubble gum and toffee. Flavor is interesting, as each sip is different, some reassuring, some disappointing. The flavor is full of alcohol, but not harsh, loaded with notes of roast, chocolate, coffee, toffee and bright red fruit, with various yeast attributes. I don’t know a lot about Belgian yeast, but the yeast used in this just seems a little strange to me. Palate is noticibly thin compared to most Belgians. I’m pretty impressed overall, but I am sure Stone can do much better, especially if they brewed a Belgian style beer more than every 13 months.

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.