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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

310 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 310
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 104
Gots: 54 | FT: 6
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: 310 | Reviews: 216 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of MrSeth
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

App: A half inch white-tan head forms over a deep dark brown color with some crimson highlights. Head retention is decent, leaves some lace and spots of suds inside the glass.

Sm: Spiced bread, fresh apples, cherries, anise.. definitely delivers what the label promises. Pungent alcohol.

Ta: Starts with sweet malt, then rich dried fruits - dates and figs, finishes with dry roasty malt.

Mf: Medium bodied, by the end there is no apparent carbonation, but it can still be felt on the tongue. Has a decent length, but it could be a bit longer.

Da: Would work well as a digestif.

Comments: This is a good example of the Belgian-style strong dark ales, but it left me with some questions. It isn't as full flavored, nor as long as other good examples of the style. And it's a bit expensive ($7-$8/bomber), with Belgian imports costing only a dollar or so more.

Photo of scooter231
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This guy is still a little young, but I've gotta say I liked it- and I think this is going to get even better as it ages. Will have to make a note to try it again in a year or so.

Pours a dark ruby color with light head, pretty. Smells sweet, floral, maybe hints of caramel in there. Taste is again sweet, and light. Coffee is in there, caramel again, a nice bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is bubbly and chewy, very nice feel. Highly drinkable as well, and can't taste the alcohol in here, though you can certainly feel it. A tasty guy.

Photo of NorCalYeti
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

taste- candi sugar, sweet malt, citrus in the finish

color- light brown amber

clarity- pours clear and dark

smell- chocolate, cake, cereal, flowers, nuttiness, biscuits

body- some hop bite still left in the front of the mouth, medium-length finish, smooth on the palate

appearance- nice off-white head when first poured, medium-light, creamy, fine lacing in glass, active carbonation throughout the session

overall impression- mellow, drinkable beer. really impressed for a beer with 7+ years of age. very approachable and still enjoyable beer. alcohol is still present

notes and comments- audible carbonation when i popped the top

beer spy- bevmo, walnut creek ca, may 2005, $4.89, 22oz

glassware: tulip

Photo of kmpitz2
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep deep rubied brown color with a finger of head that stays around nicely. The nose is very nice, with molasses, sweet raisineyness, almost a slight nutmeg spiceyness. I like it. Lots going on. The flavor is pretty nice too. Some burnt caramel with slight sweet fig with a nice spiceyness. The feel is nice and thick. Right where it ought to be. It leaves a slight bitter on the tongue as well after swallowing. Overall, a nice beer. Smooth and drinkable. I like it and I think that time will do it good.

Photo of RedHaze
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep dark brown with some faint ruby highlights. The head comes to a finger in height at it's apex, but fades rapidly to a thin soapy head. The lacing is thin and tattered.

Smell; on the first couple of sniffs chocolate covered, rum soaked cherries come to mind. A little bit of vanilla and cloves are present as well, along with some hints of pepper. Very nice!

Taste; the chocolate is definitely present right away, along with a bit of coffee with touch of a chalky/yeasty flavor. Some dark fruits come out, with cherries and raisins mixed with a bit of alcohol. Even though I can taste a bit of alcohol, it doesn't give any of the alcohol burn. The finish is sweet caramel and candied sugar.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; the mouthfeel is a bit thin due to a fairly low carbonation, but it is very smooth. With the smoothness of the mouthfeel, and the flavor of this beer it is pretty darn drinkable.

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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.

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

Photo of AlexJ
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour with burgundany highlights and a tightly knit tan head that slowly slides down my glass.

Aroma is dark dried fruit, plum, prune, and berry with subtle yeasty spice and caramel undertones. Smells more Belgian than the 030303 did. There are subtle hints of dark, chocolatey malt with very soft coffee undertones and light floral and citrus hops.

Flavor is dark caramel and candi sugar with tons of fruit;sweet plum, dark cherry, scorched strawberry jam, and fig. It has a roasty, almost woody note with the distinct fruity yeast that was tasted in the 030303. It's well hopped for the style, with soft lavender and lilac floral notes and dry, grassy bitterness.

Body is leaning towards big, with tiny bobbles leading to a very soft, creamy mouthfeel and bubbly texture. Definately glad toi have the opportunity to try this. Thanks Ray!

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was a very dark/thick mahogany red with a two finger head that quickly dissapated and left a thin white white lace on top of the beer. Very nice laceing that held on throughout the drink.

The smell was very strong with alcohol overtones mixed tightly with sweet malt and dates. Hidden in the rear of the nose were hints of hop spice and wooden undertones.

The drink started with a strong hit of alcohol heat that was gone as quickly as it arrived. This followed by a very sweet fruity explosion and then a quick bite of hops. The finish is very clean and non-lingering.

All and all a very good and clean tasting beer. I thought it was quite odd that the only hit of alcohol heat was at the front and not the finish. I'm still quite impressed by this one and I can't wait to try it in 2012.

Photo of ejquin
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of sulldaddy
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of waltonc
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Photo of bennetj17
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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...

Photo of TheBrewo
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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.

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 310 ratings.