1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

308 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 308
Reviews: 215
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 308 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial taste very chocolate. Well carbonated, then eased off. In a blind taste, I would believe it was a Rochfort. Abundant cocoa, and bittersweet. Well hopped but not overly so. Significant anise and spiciness at finish. I will look for this again in a couple of years.

Sammy, Jan 01, 2006
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 UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Stone Company Store in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a hazy dark orange-red with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, and grape juice aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, dark fruit, and fruit juice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with nice fruity characteristics that are holding up surprisingly well for being over 9 years old at this point.

Serving type: on tap.

UCLABrewN84, Saturday at 05:58 AM
Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Thorpe429, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

zestar, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of spycow
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%

spycow, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

nmann08, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
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

brentk56, Oct 26, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fiery dark bronze with molten lava edges that becomes deep, blood red when backlit. The head is golden ecru in color, firmly creamy in texture and is stubbornly persistent. In other words, typical Stone quality. Although it looks to be an extraordinary lacer early on, roughly half of the initially thick blanket melts away in the end. This is still great looking beer and is easily the equal of the Epics that preceded it.

I've been enjoying the nose from afar ever since the pour. Thankfully, it smells like a BSDA; never a certainty when it comes to American versions of this classically Belgian style. With no added spices, all I can say is that the yeast strain was an inspired choice. It provides complexity to a beer that wasn't going to get it from any of the other ingredients. The nose is mildly cocoa-like, dark fruity and clove spicy. My reservations about a lack of power and depth no longer apply once the beer has had the opportunity to lose its initial chill.

Excellent beer! Epic 05.05.05 tastes like a bona fide, world-class BSDA and is far away my favorite beer of the series. My first thought upon tipping the glass up was how beautifully integrated and harmonious the flavor profile is. I have a habit of drinking these Epics at about one year of age (1 year, 4 months in this case) and even though I didn't sample this one when it was young and brash, it's obvious that time has been kind.

The chocolatey, well-roasted maltiness would be reminiscent of a big, bruising doppelbock if it wasn't for the intriguing, spicy splendor of the yeast. How is it possible that a malt bill that contains roughly 90% pale malt, 9% caramel malt and only 1% chocolate wheat malt results in a beer that tastes this dark and fudge-like? Pureed dates and figs keep it deliciously fruity and well away from stout territory.

Amarillo hops seem like an odd choice for a BSDA. Given the malt dominance, their tangerine fruitiness isn't really appreciated (although I might pick up a twist of orange on the finish), but their bitterness is needed to offset the candi sugar, which it does with perfection. Sweet and bitter are both well accounted for, with sweet exerting its dominance from start to finish.

I flat out love the mouthfeel. Love. It. It's full and lush and velvety and sticky and melted chocolate gooey and is everything that I love about big beer mouthfeels. Frankly, it's the highlight of a beer that is full of highlights. I've just realized that I haven't commented on alcohol's role in the flavor profile. What alcohol?

Stone Vertical Epic 05.05.05 is an outstanding BSDA... right now! I have no idea how it will taste in 2012 (I can't wait to find out), but it's hard to imagine how it could be a better beer in six years than it is now. If I had had the foresight to purchase a case of this heavenly ale, it would have taken every ounce of my self control not to drain each and every bomber over the next few months. The best of the series by a country mile and the only one (so far) that can truly be considered epic.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 06, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've tried this one twice now. I beleive that it is better the second time around. Looks brilliantly dark ruby and burgundy like, tan head, lingers and laces nicely. Smells of dark fruits, powder sugar, spicy hops, and maple syrup. Tastes fully malty in the range of molassas. Fruity of prunes, plumbs, dates, raisons, nuts, and red wine. Candy sugars can be tasted before the spiciness. Hops and spices ride the thick sweetness through the body and into the aftertaste. Alcohol (fusal) rises as the body gives way. Finishes warm and fruity. A good Strong Belgian, I would also agree that it could be a Barleywine as well. Should improve with cellering.

BEERchitect, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a black color ale with a huge foamy dirty beige head with average retention. Aroma is quite hoppy which was kind of surprising for a Belgian Ale but then again I’m starting to get use to different with beers from Stone. Taste is a mix between roasted malt, caramel with a big heavy dose of citrus hops at the end that IMHO don’t mix very well with this beer. Body is above average and alcohol is not discernable. Overall, I guess I have a hard time with the heavy dose of hops in a Belgian Ale which is why this is not something I will seek in the future.

Phyl21ca, Jan 23, 2006
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 womencantsail
3.08/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

womencantsail, Jan 24, 2012
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
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of largadeer
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

largadeer, Jun 25, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +2.3%

zeff80, May 27, 2013
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear ruby-mahogany robe is capped by a massive head of rocky tan foam that holds quite well and leaves some very nice lace about the glass. The nose is yeasty, fruity (figs, prunes), and malty with caramel and darker malt character but no chocolate... just the suggestion of some roastiness. It's smooth and creamy in the mouth with a delicate carbonation and dextrinous, medium-almost--medium/full body. The flavor is rich with dark fruit juiciness and bitter skins upfront, followed by a touch of alcohol that turns it more vinous than juicy. Dark caramel malts sneak in, and some yeasty "pepper" rises along with a healthy dose of low-key, drying bitterness. Some sticky malt lingers in the finish along with some berry-like fruitiness and residual peppery spiciness. It's balanced, and yet it seems like it needs some more time to "finish". I'd keep this one in the cellar for at least another year to soften it and round it out a bit more.

NeroFiddled, Aug 21, 2005
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark ruby caramel cola tone with a tan frothy head about an inch thick, leaves some fine lacing around the chalice. Aroma: Slight medicinal clove tones along with some herbal tea and vinous sweetness which takes on a raisiny phenolic note. Taste: Spots of dark chocolate with a drier finish touch of honey and caramel sweetness with fruit phenols maybe some cherry here and there with a mix of cocoa powder and alcohol in the finish dark roasts play a nice mix with the belgian yeast character of this brew. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with an airy carbonation not bad coats the palate very well. Drinkability: Complex and somewhat difficult to describe flavor, I'm sure this one will be changing with time some brashness but should definitely mellow out (I'm sure this is the plan only needs to make it to December 12th, 2012.

WVbeergeek, Jun 20, 2005
Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, obvious vintage date on the bottle. The usual short story on the bottle as well.

A- Feigned black with garnet hues when brought up to the light, decent head retention ... lacing drops a few rings on the glass.

S- Powdered carob, mild tropical fruit of mango and pineapple. Phenolic of cloves and black pepper ... faint on that though, hint of fusel alcohol as well.

T&M- Crisp within a full body, perfect level of carbonation. Earthy with a bittersweet chocolate powder up front. Plum pudding character throughout; candied fruit, cloves, spices, bit of alcohol. Slight brown malt flavor and anise in the drying finish.

D- Tasty without a doubt, for a little over a year old it has held up pretty well ... flavors seem to be meshed toge her with little to no "aged" character. Still a sipping brew but a tasty one at that.

Jason, Jun 21, 2006
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 MasterSki
2.91/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Don't even remember where I got this one - probably Discount Liquor or something. Served in a tulip.

A - Tan-brown foam settles to a thick collar, wisps, and minimal lacing. Dark and hazy amber-brown body.

S - Just a vague sweetness, with perhaps a touch of chocolate amid the fruity oxidation and caramel flavors.

T - The taste is worse - there's a note of dishwater and cardboard among the standard 'old beer' caramel, honey, and fruitiness combo. I don't get any of the advertised flavors from the bottle - it's all just very muddled.

M - Chewy texture, lower carbonation, smooth, medium body, and no alcohol.

D - Boring. The taste is kind of unpleasant and the rest of the beer is just old and faded. Probably my least favorite so far.

MasterSki, Mar 06, 2013
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.78/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby color, bright at sides, with a long-lasting, creamy tan head. Nice.

in the nose: ah...warm, soft, fruity, rich, malty, toffeeish, enticing...delicious...alive and invigorating...much appreciated.

...and smooth and tasty on the tongue, as well. Big, fat malty taste, nary a squeak out of hops...molasses, hint of anise, caramel...richness at play on the palate. Damnably tasty! And the high abv keeps quiet, at least, so far...

I'd love it if this were a regular brew, that I could down anytime I felt. It straddles a special place between abbey dubbel and baltic porter, with a kiss of coffee/chocolate/oatmeal/nut brown stout...if you know what I mean...yummy!

feloniousmonk, Jul 10, 2005
Photo of drabmuh
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

drabmuh, Oct 06, 2010
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +2.3%

oline73, Mar 07, 2012
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.