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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 axisjones
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass.

Pours a deep burgundy with a brownish head. While the color of the beer is penetrating and the initial pour is beautiful, the head is dead after a few minutes and there is no lacing to speak of.

The smell is signature Belgian. Malty, with a spicy caramel scent with loads of alcohol in the nose.

The first flavor to hit on the taste is the alcohol, which at 8.5 abv isn't excessively high, but really present in the taste. This was a drawback for me. Otherwise it is a bit fruity, heavy on the malty caramel with a bready dry finish.

Smooth and lush, this beer is drinkable considering its strength, but, once again, the alcohol detracts from the overall experience. Its good fresh, not great. I would want to sit on this for a year or two.

axisjones, Jun 09, 2005
Photo of Bitterbill
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle(room temp) a deep brown with a large head of foam that dissipated slowly leaving a solid layer with good lacing.

The smell is of sweet roasted malt, chocolate-cocoa and anise. Nice.

The taste is a very pronounced semi sweet roasted malt with notes of chocolate, some graininess, and good anise/licorice tones in the finish. Oh, and the 8.5% abv is noticeable but not intrusive. I had one of my bottles of this fresh but I didn't review it because that wouldn't have done it justice. In other words...the 1 year of aging has already done this brew a world of good. ;^)

Bottom line: It's just starting to get interesting 1 year after bottling so I say...if you see some buy some and cellar it. I think it's gonna be a winner.

Bitterbill, Jun 02, 2006
Photo of joeack
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a chalice. Color was dark ruby red and it had a slight hint of carbonation which produced a small amount of head which quickly disappeared. Smell was sweet and very malty. Taste was of carmel, raisons and a hint of bitterness at the end. Could barely taste the alcohol and overall an excellent beer.

joeack, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours mahogany with a medium white head, good head retention for how old it is, some lace.

S: Rum raisin, brown sugar.

T: Semi-sweet malt, lots of molasses, dark sugar cane, but never too cloying. Still rich in flavour, especially compared to the other VEs.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy, soft carbonation, delicate.

O: Arguably the best of the aged VEs, I've never got to try it fresh, but it's drinking well now.

Halcyondays, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of Bumpon10s
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours deep brown with a wispy head, reddish against the light.

S - Noticing malts and dark fruits, nothing suprising to me, but very nice no less.

T - A taste unlike the smell, tastes of hops and lighter sweeter fruits. Still has the malty character, but nowhere near the smell.

M -Nice and smooth, rolls right down, leaves a tingle on the tongue. Treats the mouth very nicely.

D - I will say this is pretty high, the ABV isn't very high and it doesn't destroy your taste for other beer, I would like to have this again, and will.

Bumpon10s, Oct 06, 2005
Photo of johnnnniee
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

johnnnniee, Jan 27, 2013
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
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 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 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 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
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 306 ratings.