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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.
very good

216 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 216
Hads: 314
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 15.01%
Wants: 101
Gots: 59 | FT: 7
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 216 | Hads: 314
Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, split

appearance: served in a great lakes chalice, muddy garnet body, very little head - light carbonation

smell: aromas of aged malts - smoke, anise, pepper, loads of dark fruit

taste: much like the 03 and 04, oxidation is not absent. smoky malts, booze soaked dark fruit, star of anise, cocoa. Probably my least favorite of the 3 i've had thus far in the vertical (of those tried after 12.12.12)

mouthfeel: dry, light bitterness, spicy

overall: meh

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Photo of ehammond1
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Tap

Stone Epic Festival 12-12-12
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 8 years)

A very dark ruby, bordering on brown, with a small cap of brown foam atop. Leaves the glass dotted, but there's not a lot of cling.

A sweet aroma of dark fruits, distinct clove, and some burnt wheat toast. Not quite as faint of an aroma as some of the other Vertical Epic beers sampled, but not particularly bold.

The flavor follows the aroma, with a yeasty/clove flavor combining with burnt wheat bread, moderate bitterness, and some mild dark fruit character.

Medium in bodied, slightly oily, with moderate carbonation.

I didn't really enjoy this, but it wasn't bad, by any means. This beer seems confused and an addition to an unnecessarily lame project.

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Photo of FosterJM
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1660th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass

Split with StarRaptor, Callmecoon & Smarcoly

App- Almost the color of a pure mahogany. A little brown, A little light around the edges with a bit of a cherry juice additional color to it. A small head was there and then gone. A bit more aggiation reveals a bit more head to it.

Smell- This was more of a sweet quad like BSDA. A little bit of the yeast opens and the goes more into a bit of a bread like malt. A little bit of bakers chocolate. I would say even like a faded dubbel.

Taste- This was much more of a dubbel in taste to me than a BSDA. With the fading of the flavors, much more of the fizzy yeast and strong fruited malts came out. Making this taste much more bubbly. A little bit more cherry than I wouldve thought as well.

Mouth- A bit of a lighter medium body with a more soft and smooth medium carbonation. A good bit of bakers chocolate and malts on the finish.

Drink- I thought it was a good beer. A lot of good flavors remained. Was up there with the other better of the bunch 06. Was still very glad I got to try the series on Saturday and no signs of drain pours.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of jaasen64
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Lord Hobo for their Vertical Epic Event on 12/12/12. Last beer of Flight "A" (03, 04, 05). 5oz serving in a flight glass.

A- Dark reddish mahogany, slightly translucent around the edges, fairly small head, not much head, darker then the 03 and 04.

S- Dark fruits, cherries, plums, fairly sweet, slightly more aromatic then the 03 and 04 and definitely more fruits.

T- Cherries, plums, some light spiciness. Roastiness and chocolate mostly faded away however dark fruits definitely take over to provide a nice taste. Still get some hints of earthiness that mixes well with the dark fruits.

M- Medium bodied, decent carbonation, smooth easy to drink.

O- I feel like there were a lot of flavors that disappeared in this beer however there were a lot of flavors that instead came out nicely from the age such as the dark fruits. I think I would have enjoyed it a little bit more fresh with the chocolate and roastiness, but it too a different complexity being aged that definitely tasted nice. Probably my favorite of the 03, 04, 05.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The last in an 03-05 flight of Vertical Epics at Alewife Queens.

2005 Vertical Epic pours ruby red, with no visibility through the glass. No real head or lacing to speak of. The nose has plenty of cherry led, oxidized dark fruits, along with a mild chocolate aroma. Not much changes in the flavor, though the dry chocolate note is a bit more potent. Still plenty of dried fruit as well though. The mouthfeel is plenty light and agile, but the carbonation falls just a bit flat. Surprisingly, the 05 Vertical Epic is my least favorite in the 03-05 flight.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing this, Mike!

The beer pours a murky dark amber color without much of a head. There is a definite oxidation to the aroma. Lots of cardboard with the stale sugar and toffee notes. A bit of fruit, maybe some chocolate. The flavor is fairly boring, mostly due to the oxidation. Just sort of sweet and muddled with a bit of cardboard to it. Might be some dark fruit notes and yeast in there.

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Photo of FARGO619
4.85/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serverd from a 22oz. bottle shared with some good friends.

A: Dark brown with a slight lighter head retention that went down slowly. Good carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel with some cherry-like flavor.

T: Malt, caramel, slight sweet, very easy to drink. Drank at 55degrees, and the taste got sweeter as the sips went along.

M-Light body with great carbonation.

Can't wait to try this again.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  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

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Photo of cjacobsen
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark, hazy brown with a very little yellowish head that diminished quickly after poured.

Smelled of raisin and dark dried fruits. Roasted malts added some depth to it and prune and some alcohol rounded it out.

The taste wasn't nearly as much as the smell was. The raisin and plum came about in the back of the taste and in the aftertaste more than upfront like I had originally thought. There was a surprising chocolate flavor that was noticed first upon tasting. The roasted malts give way in the middle of the drink.

This beer was very smooth. The carbonation was there but not very apparent.

For being 5 and half years old, this brew has held up pretty well. I think when kept under the ideal conditions it will do well for another 2 for the VE run.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 rate.

Pours a dark opaque brown with crimson edges and a creamy tan head. Malty and boozy on the nose. Some nice sweet dark fruits, but not a ton of complexity going on. Thin and a bit shallow in the mouth. Big malt but the sugars have faded. This actually needs to be sweeter. Some faded hops sit around, and some interesting spices ride in a long finish. Kind of interesting.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.


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Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the 05, 07 and 07 wine barrel all side by side at Churchkey the other night, and those three were all rather disappointing.

I have a bottle of this in my "cellar" and I'm not sure I want it now. This beer was oxidized (IN A KEG) and really oddly sweet. It was dark amber and mildly hazy. Spicy, sort of, and mostly malty. THere is a decayed hop background to the beer that indicated that one day, perhaps 5 years in the past, this beer was palatable.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From 10/04/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey for the Stone Tap Takeover event.

a - Pours a dark amber color with 1 inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, sweet dark fruits, and a little bit of alcohol.

t - Tastes of dark fruit, sugar, bready and caramel malts. Not bad but a little too sweet.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A decent strong dark ale, but it seemed more like a barelywine to me after these 5 years. I thought the taste was too sweet. Probably wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.93/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Church Key today. I haven't had this before, but I can say with certainty that this hasn't aged well.

Brilliant ruby red with a dense, light brown head with great retention and lacing, this looks great. It smells great too. Despite being rather sweet with a rather noticeable caramel and toffee character without much yeast, this is enjoyable. Brandy, fruity oxidation is present. The palate really is a disappointment. Cardboard and fruity oxidation with some fruit and some caramel and chocolate dominate. The finish is sweet, rather strongly cardboard-like and rather unpleasant. Medium in body and rather over-carbonated, the poor finish is also to this beer's detriment. The finish has flavors of brandy, fruit, caramel and cardboard. Not particularly enjoyable, this.

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Photo of ZX6Chris
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared at a Vertical Epic tasting with my friend Armand. This and the 03.03.03 were my favorites.

A-Very dark brown color, tight white/brownish head. Great carbonation.

S-Dark cherry sweet aroma. Carmel aroma.

T-I get alot of carmel flavor from this one too. I don't get alot of anything else but I like the flavors I get.

M-Light body with great carbonation.

D-I wish I had more of these! I could drink these all day.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Shared at a tasting.

A: Pours a translucent maroon body that glows faintly ruby against the light. Carbonation filled the glass on the generous, vigorous pour that I received.

S: Wow, well-oxidized. In the good way (sherry, port-like aromas) instead of cardboard -- but it's very overwhelming. I never had the beer fresh, so I can't compare. It's very dark-fruit dominated. I searched for spices but I couldn't detect any.

T: Sherry, as the nose suggested, but it's also going toward wet cardboard, which the nose didn't suggest. It's spicier than I picked up on the nose; it delivers pepper in the finish with a touch of clove (?). Lots of dark fruit here: raisins, dates, figs, maybe plums.

M: Not austere, but it's not sugary. I'd call it semi-dry or a touch drier. The oxidation really dominates the flavor and the taste buds. This affects the...

Drinkability: This would be a pretty decent sipper, but a large pour at this tasting wound up getting tossed into the bushes since I just didn't care to have it anymore. Glad I tried it, also very glad I don't have any more.

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Photo of largadeer
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Arbitrator shared this one. Thanks, buddy.

Dark translucent mahogany brown with amber highlights. Still lively and well-carbonated after 5 years.

Big sherry and dark fruit aroma. Lots of oxidation, raisins, dates, blackberry preserves. Strong esters and oxidation cover up most of the malt and hop character.

Very oxidized palate. Sherry, perhaps a bit of wet paper. Heavy on the esters and phenols, spicy and peppery but simultaneously sweet. Dates, figs, berries. A bit thin. Finishes peppery, phenolic, spicy. Hints of clove, some grainy astringency. Not bad, this has held up fairly well, though I don't think I'd care much for the beer fresh or aged.

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Photo of chaz01
4.17/5  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.

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Photo of JoePat
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a kaki head that dissipates quickly leaving some lacing. Pretty good for its age.
Smells of roasted malts, raisons and an absinth like anise smell that makes the aroma really complex.
The taste is just as complex if not more. Anise, hop bitterness, earthy, spicy, and a sweet malty finish.
The mouth feel is dry which helps it go down pretty well.
This was a little oxidized and flat but considering the age it is expected.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks DrJay for the sample! Dark mahogony body topped with a thin mocha ring. Plums, brown sugar, yeast and hops in the aroma. This beer is sweet, sugared fruit and candy, with an approriate spicy profile to balance out the sweetness. Slight acidity, bitter/sweet finish, leaving a spiced malt aftertaste. Pretty damn good

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Photo of asabreed
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a wine glass. Been waiting four years to try this.

Appearance: A nice and dark layered amber color with good lacing. Weird balance of dark on top of light, almost like a black and tan at a bar, made with a spoon between the beers.

Smell: Dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee. Good and balanced? Yes. A Belgian Strong Dark? Seriously?! More like a Porter, and one that I'm not going nuts about. Stone's always quality, but I expected more here.

Taste: Same here. Initial chocolate and coffee and roasted malts. Phenolic activity's providing pretty much absolutely nothing. I'd say this was a 6.5% ABV Porter if this was some challenge to guess what's going on. Lingering sourness and roasted malts and sweetness. Again, balanced, but not a lot going on to the point where I'm excited about it.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation seems like it's really trying to push through the body, and though it's almost there, there's still a bit of a watery nature to the brew by the end that I'm confused by, especially since it's been sitting here for over four years. Or was it supposed to be like this?

Drinkability: There's nothing to complain about necessarily regarding this brew, but I don't know if age has done anything for it. I do have a bottle left. And yes, I'll wait until 2012. But what's going to happen? How much more complex and nuanced is it going to get? I feel like if this wasn't Stone, people would be giving it less of a rating overall, in some ways. I'm not sure. How long should we wait, though, really?

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured in a sampling glass.

Pours a dark brown ruby with a tinge of brown and ivory head. Nose is diacetyl and sweet, a bit malty.

Taste is a bit buttery and sharp, noot that belgian but still very nice. For a 4 year old brew this is gonna be awesome in 2012

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Photo of PatronWizard
3.41/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

See 06.06.06 review for background story....

Well, it pours a burgandy dark with a great head. Chunks of lacing, nice looking brew.

Smell reminds me of a quad. Musty dark fruits, subtle but earthy, again with the tea leaves.

Big bite of caramel and dark fruits. Not bad but ....

Good carbonation, especially considering the age. Feels decent enough I guess.

Overall: expected EPIC, got good

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Photo of bennetj17
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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...

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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 216 ratings.