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 TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of HopHed
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Dark brown, nearly black, but with a very subtle burgundy hue. Very Clear. Noticeably tan head.

AROMA: A very malty, caramelly smell, with a slight coffee note and with some definite alcohol notes present.

FLAVOR: Malt, malt, more malt. Wonderfully smooth, rich, and somewhat sweet, but not cloyingly so. Subtle hints of caramel, chocolate, molasses, and (maybe) a slight coffee-ish note. Some noticeable bitterness of hops, but they were not overwhelming.

PALATE: Definitely leaning toward full-bodied, but extremely well balanced. There was a noticeable, but light, heat (of alcohol) about it. Would love to know where it was at ABV when we cracked it open.

NOTES: I could easily make this a session beer, but it would be a session beer that rendered me completely stupid drunk after two or three pints. It was full, but very enjoyable, and very rich.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Second to last...I must continue...

A: Poured similar to the 06' VE, but with an exceptional head....superb! The lacing is thick and clinging, similar to a double IPA. WOW!

S: Smell the 06'...but more potent...and more soy-saucy as well.

T: I am actually impressed by this beer...a very complex and musky flavor profile. An enhanced version to the 06' VE, but obviously more advanced. Robust fig flavor along with brown sugar qualities that personified the least in my opinion.

M: Another WOW for me...viscous, well-carbonated, with some creamy qualities.

D: Overly impressed...alcohol is hidden...good on a warm summer night.

Overall: Really good...a try it beer. Cheers!

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Photo of gford217
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber courtesy of sunnydlyte23 poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, clear copper underneath a healthy tan head that lingers as a cap for the duration and leaves good lacing.

The aroma is sweet with lots of dark fruits - figs, raisins, pears - soaked in booze. Plenty of brown sugar and some licorice and spices. It actually has a slight hint of oxidation in the nose with a bit of stale cardboard coming through.

The taste has the same booze-soaked fruity sweetness as the aroma. There is plenty of dark malts forming a solid backbone along with Belgian sugars before the spices leave a slight tingle on the palate in the finish. Again, signs of oxidation in the taste, just as in the aroma.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with decent carbonation and the oxidation seems to have thinned it out slightly. The alcohol is definitely present in the finish.

This is a very good beer that I think is probably a little past it's prime. Very sweet with a good spice presence to mix it up a bit.

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Photo of flexabull
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting for a reason to try this. I just had a great weekend, so this will hopefully be a great way to wrap it up.

Pours a clear and dark brown color with a decent off white head.

Aromas are spicy, some bright fruits, apples, some cider, caramal and oak.

Taste is spicy, oaky, with some sweet caramel flavors. Pretty dry with some light boozy alcohol, chocolate, and and earthiness. Finish has a bit of a funky yeast like bite.

Mouthfeel is nice and full. Feels thick but not overly heavy.

All in all, a really interesting and tasty beer. Pretty unique, not my favorite epic, but a very solid one. I also think this one has legs to keep going for a few more years. It seems like it might make it to 2012.

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Photo of Vancer
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark amber color with garnet highlights; with over three years under its belt, I suspect the head is no longer what it used to be but it does produce a bit of lacing as it quickly fades to a ringlet

Smell: Dark fruit dominates, primarily figs and prunes; caramel, brown sugar and hints of anise

Taste: Rum-soaked dark fruit opens the fray, with bitter zest arriving by mid-palate (its Stone after all); rich caramel spice cake; after the swallow, the flavors mellow into a subdued but complex mix, with deep undertones

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This beer has held up remarkably well; one has to wonder why Stone doesn't brew a BSDA as part of its regular line-up

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Photo of corey0212
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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Photo of abfraser
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of waltonc
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of dill
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

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Photo of Overlord
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of peabody
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

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Photo of ojclark
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of brdc
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of joeack
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of Floydster
3.89/5  rDev -1%
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

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Photo of cabsandking
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

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Photo of snpub540
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of doubleipa
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

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Photo of cracgor
2.85/5  rDev -27.5%
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.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
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

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Photo of leedorham
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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