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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: 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: 309 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of corey0212
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finding this at The Publick House Provisions was definitely one of those "Wow!" beer shopping moments for me....

Pours a handsome burgundy/mahogany color, small tan head fades out pretty quickly into a nice collar around the glass, not a whole lot of lacing to speak of. Smell is outrageous. Chocolate/cocoa/carob smells, something earthy/woodsy about the whole thing, and a pronounced alcohol aroma wafting up. Lots of chocolate flavor, fruity...maybe raspberries? Some fig & plum, brown sugar. Finely carbonated, medium-bodied, very slightly sticky, lots of lingering spice. I'm really wishing I had bought some more of these...a very unique beer drinking experience for me.

corey0212, Oct 23, 2008
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 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 dill
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was looking forward to trying this one as I expected it to be drinking rather well at this time. It poured a deep amber color and smelled of toffee. The taste was a bit disappointing though as it had a bit of a metallic character to go along with the toffee that I was looking forward to. Not sure if the bottle had been compromised so I'd like to try it again sometime soon.

dill, Jun 04, 2008
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 peabody
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours out with a dark brown/red hue with very little head but it stays around for the entire drink.
Thanks to Kane for hooking me up with this one.
Smell is malt and sugar and caramel. A fruity alcohol presense is here too.
Taste is caramel and sugar and little else for a while then the black bitterness takes over.
I think this one is beyond it's prime.
Mouthfeel is very clean and the only drawback is the strong alcohol.
Drinkability is contingent on flavor.
Not enough to bother with.
the 04/40/04 is still the baddest boy I have tried.

peabody, Feb 21, 2008
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.

ojclark, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at winter storm.

Poured a brown color that was closer to black but it was pretty clear. There was some off white head that dissapeared quickly.

The smell was of fruits and chocolate with a touch of coffee (slight touch). It was a good smell but maybe not fantasitc. But what it did have going that set it apart from the rest of the belgian dark beers is that it hinted at a lot of complexity. The combination of smells coming out of the glass was quite intersting.

The flavor was similar to the smell. There was a small amount of hop presence still there after 2 years. I found that especially interesting considering its a belgian beer. Not really any hop flavor, just some bitterness. There was some chocolate, some fruit, some coffee, and a touch of yeast. I think the flavor is still developing and I would like to try some of the 6 bottles that I have over the next few years.

Overall a good beer but it was not what I was expecting, not that thats a bad thing.

t0rin0, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of brdc
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large capped bottle poured into a goblet.

Very dark, almost black
with mahogany highlights, topped by a foamy, clinging tan head that drops a bit too fast.
The nose already tells you this is not a "standard" belgian strong, if there is such a thing as a "standard belgian. It has the same malty, caramelized smell, the usual dark fruits, then some faint roastiness and maybe even chocolate, but also a fruity, grassy hoppiness.
It is medium to full bodied, and the taste is what the smell suggests, malty caramel, some dark fruits, and hoppiness! It has a dryer finish, a more refreshing character and a lot more bitterness than I expected, although it is still not exactly an overly hopped beer.
Out of the style, but quite interesting. Well crafted and better balanced now that it has aged.

brdc, Dec 30, 2007
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 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

Floydster, Sep 19, 2007
Photo of cabsandking
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black in color with ruby highlights and a thick milky tan head that fades but maintains some large surface bubbles. Rich, deep nose of mostly carob and dark dried fruits, with toffee and licorice mixed in. Deliciously deep flavors here, dark roasted malts, dark fruits, belgian yeast tartness, clove, and midway through some anise spiciness that numbs the palate a little. Mouthfeel is a very nice medium consistency that is cloying and a little oily...coats and lingers.

cabsandking, Aug 21, 2007
Photo of snpub540
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Couldn't wait until 2012 to open atleast 1 of my bottles. There was hardly a whisp of smoke as I opened the bottle. Out poured a deep, coffee brown topped off with a 1/4 inch tan head. The head didn't stick around long, but it did leave some nice lacing on the side of the glass. The aromas were very vinous with the addition of some roasted malts. Now I haven't been partial to belgian-style ales but this one didn't seem to have that same earthy charachteristic that I am not very fond of. The taste was bitter upfront, followed by a nuttiness, then sweet alcohol as it finishes. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied and smooth. This beer was very drinkable. There was nothing overwhelming about the flavors. I enjoyed this brew very much and we'll have to see how these bottle I have stand up with time.

snpub540, Jul 02, 2007
Photo of doubleipa
2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

What a dissapointment. I was so looking forward to cellaring a bunch of these until 2012. Unfortunately I'm not too optimistic. Virtuallly zero head, though good lacing. Body was clear with an anlmost black color. Not much in the way of aroma. Mostly raisin and dark cherry. Very sweet flavor with a very long finish. Maybe a bit of coffee. Texture was watery and flat carbonation. I was unimpressed. It's not very good now so I don't see how it will get any better.

doubleipa, Jul 02, 2007
Photo of cracgor
2.88/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

So this is the only Vertical Epic I ever got...I was going to try and get them all at one point, but you can see three years later, I haven't even gotten the two newer ones. So I'm gonna drink it now.

Dark brown, coffee color, light barely makes it through, with a rich tan head with large bubbles. I don't really get a lot of smell to this at all. Maybe a little barley smell...but it's really pretty bland.

It is a fairly weak taste that takes, what it does have is not that remarkable. Has a dark, bitter flavor to it in the aftertaste, like the char on grilled meat. A little estery taste comes out after awhile, as does some vanilla like flavor reminding me of a good cigar. It is just too weak a flavor for me to go crazy for.

Huge amounts of alcoholic warming in this one. I think it's my favorite part. Has a smooth, medium to full mouthfeel to it as well.

Eh, it's not bad, but I'd probably rather throw down a dollar on some SNPA than go out of my way to get another bottle of this.

cracgor, Apr 28, 2007
Photo of canucklehead
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great example of a North American Belgian style beer that cellars exceptionally well. The smoothness and complexity of flavours involved are a real treat and I suspect the cellar has something to do with it. Dark brown ,almost black with some reddish highlights, the nose is one of toffee and dried fruit. The hops are still apparent though in the background compared to most stone beers. The finish is complex and much like an old Rochefort 10. Great beer

canucklehead, Apr 19, 2007
Photo of leedorham
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's been almost 2 years for this one. I don't think the others will make it to 2012.

Pours a very dark reddish brown. Heavy on the red. The light coming through the snifter casts a maroon circle on my counter. Minimal head but keeps such throughout.

Smell is slightly alcoholic and sweet. A bit of licorice.

At first sip this is a very smooth beer. I do not get any of the chocolate or roasted character advertised. Very citrusy and sweet to my palate. Reminds me of marmalade. As I get below 50% and the temperature rises the licorice really comes out and is the dominant taste by the end. Really a journey of tastes.

leedorham, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of RedHaze
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

RedHaze, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of Bierman9
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Again today (14NOV09) I say "screw it" to the concept of saving these suckers. Just drink 'em, dammit! Bottle # 2 is opened and ready for quaffing.

Pours a clear, deep ruby, with a lasting, frothy tan head. Lace clings to the glass lovingly. Dark fruit aromas still fill the air. Subtle clove and spice also hit the nostrils. Middle of the road bosy and feel on the tongue, as with the original. Flavor has clove and roasty, bitter chocolate. Dark fruit is present here, too, and it has a suggestion of mocha and rum. So, take a fruitcake soaked in rum and dribble some oozing, hot dark choco over it and let that park on your palate. Hmmm!! Still a very interesting bier at 4.5 years old. As for ratings, if anything I might flip-flop appearance and smell, but still same overall score in the end. Prosit!!

*** ***

03FEB07 - This is one of two bottles of 05.05.05 I've been sitting on.... no need to wait any longer to try this for the 1st time, eh? Back label blurb, in this case, is quite informative, as opposed to many other Stones which lead the reader/drinker on various journeys to the far reaches of the world and/or the imagination.

Poured into a chalice, it is a deep, dense, brown hue, akin to that of freshly fallen chestnuts. Head is a light brown, fine and creamy collection of bubbles, laying thin over the surface save for larger gatherings around the rim. There's a smidge of lacing, though not found far and wide at all. The aroma is distinctly spicy, with some cocoa, sweet malt and some hints of ground cloves. Verry enticing! Body was 'twixt thin and full, which means medium. Now, I'd have just said medium to begin with, but I had a hankerin' to use the word "'twixt" for some time now. Carry on.... The Epic travels rather well over the tongue, to boot.

As for the flavor, well, there's a lot going on here. Some sweetness de malt, almost bordering on caramel; a bit of roasty, bitter choco/cocoa action; some hop florality and earthy character; a touch more of the clovey, spicy quality found in the nose.... I didn't get any kick, up-front, of the 8.5% abv. It may show in a bit, but this is verrry drinkable. Quite nice! No clue how it was at original release time, but at 21 months it is a keeper.

Prosit!!

overall: 4.35
appearance: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5

965

Bierman9, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of John1985
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ale pours with an attractive dark brown color and ample with head. Head disappears quickly without much lacing. Aroma was an incredible with scents of spicy dark bread. Taste was dominated by rich earthy malts with slight stings of alcohol at the back. Mouthfeel was rich without being cloying and was smooth and drinkable.

I am not very experienced with this style but am very glad I saved this for the last year or so. As with other reviews, I'm sure this ale would have improved for the next several years. Wish I would have bought more!

John1985, Jan 01, 2007
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.

Westsidethreat, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of jeffjfindley
4.88/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Last week I struck gold at Valley Beverage in Sherman Oaks. Ruby to black in body with a head the color of parchment. The smell is absolutely alive with rich, chocolatey malts and dancing hops.

Upon consumption, one's tongue is caressed with cocoa and roasted malt. Later this gives way to a brilliant splash of hops, and a hint of anise. The mouthfeel is balanced to perfection, and with a sweet, mellow numbing sensation.

I went back to the store tonight and bought what remained of this beer. The last year in it's bottle has treated it very well, and I can't wait to see what it'll be like in '07. I have my doubts as to whether it will make it much further than that. I got lucky on this one, and wish you well in finding some yourself!

jeffjfindley, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hardly any head after it was poured into my Leffe chalice. No head after the first sip. The only redeeming quality of this beer's appearance is its deep, brown blood color. It reminds of brandy a little when you get to the bottom. The aroma is of brown sugar, vanilla, and toasty malted caramel with a burny, alcohol finish. The taste is like a dark fruity brandy. Get some mild alcohol in the finish mixed with hints of pecan torty. Pretty clean palate but with strong, dark overtones. And a spicey, yet subtle alcoholic finish.

scruffwhor, Nov 04, 2006
Photo of tonytuffnuts
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this after clearing my mouth of a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc (Cakebread Cellar, one of the best American wines of its kind). So I'm riding a high, although Sauvignon Blancs are not a particularly prestigious style.

Out of the bomber it pours into a wonderfully dark brown/black (a shade blacker than the bottle itself) body with an 1/8 in. buff head. The pin-prick sized, pearly bubbles dissapate, leaving a residual ring around the edges of my glass and a faint lace.

What a wonderful smell! I've pinned the first impression as low-alcohol Rum. Maybe it's the hint of molasses or the bourbon-cask character? More precisely: warm, syrupy caramel trounced in cocoa, sugar-coated plum, and a faint floral hops.

A delightful taste that may not do justice to the smell's harbinger. Burnt toffe and sugar; Fig Newtons. Imagine the raisins in banana foster minus the banana influence. Cartainly ends with a spice's bite, cinnamon or nutmeg.

The burnt malt isn't quite chalky, but it's palpable and enveloped by an oily mouthfeel. I find this enveloping characteristic of American (as opposed to authentic Belgian) SDA's; a restrained "big beer." Lastly, a delicate carbonation ushers in the bitter hop finish and a spice upon the middle of my tounge.

Stone may be my go-to brewer, and I'm again impressed by the complex effrevescence and wonderful malt that I expect from them. It's a rich beer, but I still think I could go for one a night, sitting in a silk bathrobe in front of a fireplace in the mountains... delightful.

tonytuffnuts, Oct 31, 2006
Photo of mntlover
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate color with a small tan head that falls to a ring, not much lace but the color looks nice.

Aroma is malty, dark fruits, chocolate malts, light spice. Hearty aromas in this nice dark malty and inviting brew.

Taste is nice , a big malt base fruity with nice chocolate flavors pouring over the malt and fruit. Some nice subtle pepper, clove flavors from the yeast I am guessing. Overall nice only bought one and waited to try it as the other verticals could use some aging, now I am sad I only have this one this is the best vertical that I have had.

Mouthfeel is good big almost hitting full. Good carbonation lightly zesty, but feel is smooth and creamy even with the zest.

Drinkability is good, would mind to have more of these.

mntlover, Oct 17, 2006
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.