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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
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
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
Ratings: 309 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
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 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 Treebs
2.55/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a dark plum color with some ruby highlights around the edges. An offwhite head forms on the pour and recedes to a thin ring. Some splotchy lace is left down the glass.

S: Grainy malt bills, some light rice cake with some wet paper. This one did not age all that well.

T: More of the same. A ton of cardboard, rice cake, and a little cocoa. Sweet cereal malts. The oxidation has really taken this one over.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation level. Wet paper finish.

O: All the bottles had been stored the same so I don't know this was a product of a poorly sealed cap, or the beer wasn't strong enough from the onset to hold onto an semblance of the original flavor profile.

Treebs, Feb 13, 2013
Photo of SixpointJMH
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surprise...another great offering from Stone.

This one pours an outstandingly awesome very, very dark brown to near black colour, which was darker than expected overall. A foamy, somewhat creamy tan head sits atop this one. There is a nice silky stickiness as well.

The aroma is balanced with nothing in the mix being overpowering and the overall blended aroma is not overpowering at all either. It's strong, but subtle at the same time. I picked up everything from spice (although the claim is that this one was brewed without any), malt, cherry, banana and other fruit, clove, licourice and chocolate.

The flavour takes on these aromas and adds a bit of smoked roastiness as well. Chocolate is a bit more noticeable here. There's some spice flavour presumably from the hops and a slight touch of alocohol as well.

This one is medium bodied and silky smooth and provides for a great, balanced body and flavour. It's a nice treat that is damn good freash but should also age nicely. Make sure you sample this year's Epic.

SixpointJMH, Oct 25, 2005
Photo of Foxman
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep rich ruby with playful amber glints. Two fingers of frothy beige head crop up and settle sleepily to a soft film. Hearty but pretty lacing adorns the inside of the glass.

The aroma fields a mist of toasted malt along with cloves, raisins, vanilla, and hints of earthy fruits. A vague presence of hops slides through, and a thinly veiled current of alcohol winds about as well.

On first taste, a tide of toasted malt sweetness buoys veritable notes of currants, dark cherries, and other indistinct dusky fruits. A fleeting glimpse of general hops and spiciness dives away to let a rigid column of alcohol to set and permeate the fibers of the flavor. The finish is decently lingering, with a rounded bitterness that is shadowed by the continued press of alcohol. The poignant flavor profile is somewhat mitigated by the pushy alcohol presence.

Medium bodied, it takes on a creamy feel as it coats and caresses the palate. A fruity but dry glow lays long across the tongue.

It starts strong and earthy, promising rich and just desserts, and it fairly comes through. But, and a big but it is, the sinewy tendon of alcohol dulls some of the beer’s finer edges. There’s certainly nothing to scare one away, but the ABV keeps the drink ability to a rather limited factor. Aging might mellow the warming trend, but it’s worth working around to enjoy what the rest offers. Moderation is the key here, as it is for so many things in life, and will allow a pleasurable experience.

Foxman, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of goodbyeohio
2.68/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

strikes a deep red, iced coffee pose in my cup. thin wispy belgian style foaming process in effect. some floating islands of bubble lie in wait on the beer's surface.

smell on this one is strong... sweet malt with a slight tinge.. bretty sourness in the nose as well. as the label says it lacks spice but bears some heavy beery scents.

taste is chocolatey with malts, raisins and plums. i am struck by an alcohol fist that is wholly unwelcome for 8.5%. too fresh is what they tell me. by 2012, this beer will benefit from further sweetness, complexity and mellowness (much-needed). ill try one again in a year or two. a noble work in progress for sure.

oh, and where does the bitterness come from? the alcohol? an undigested malt ingredient? powerful. hmm. what am i talking about?

on second thought, this should be referred to as an empty belgian base beer.. a beer mixer! my recommendation, improv! throw some kriek in there.. maybe a little bit of witbier. who the hell knows. have fun. drink stone.

dont hate my low scores, ill edit them in a year or seven.

goodbyeohio, May 17, 2005
Photo of jkball01
4/5  rDev +2.3%

jkball01, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of russwbeck
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Churchkey

05.05.05 pours out a red-brown color with a small, light brown head. The head both lasts and laces well. It smells of booze and malt with some really dark fruits. It's almost wine-like. The taste is all dark malt that's very roasty on the backend. The dark fruits are there, but aren't that great. Really disjointed with a bad aftertaste Medium body, but the bad aftertaste kills any drinkability. Again, as has been the case with these 7-9 year old Vertical Epics, it's too old.

russwbeck, Jan 06, 2013
Photo of jmccraney
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

jmccraney, May 09, 2013
Photo of CityofBals
2/5  rDev -48.8%

CityofBals, Sep 12, 2013
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 Magery
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Magery, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +2.3%

SPRichard, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of BuckTuckian
4/5  rDev +2.3%

BuckTuckian, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of TXhomebrewer
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

TXhomebrewer, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a creamy, thin tan head. Some light lacing. Smell is rich caramel. Light dark fruit aromas. Toffee and a light earthiness.

Taste takes the smell and extrapolates it to higher levels. More rich caramel and toffee. Lightly spicy (clove, black pepper and cinnamon). Hint of dark chocolate (!). Strident hops as it finishes. Warming alcohol. Mouth is rich and thick. Sticky finish and aftertaste. All things said, damn yummy. Very enjoyable beer and goes down way too smooth for words. Good stuff.

ViveLaChouffe, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the standard Stone 22oz bomber (adorned with the 05 VE screened label) into my Duvel tulip glass. Had a gorgeous impenetrable chestnut coloration, massive amounts of creeping carbonation, and a thick, creamy off-white head that displayed amazing retention. Scattered bits of lace clung and shrivelled on the glass' walls.
The nose was a bit subdued, IMO. I expected a lot more but was left wanting. Sure, there was some serious toasty malt aroma, a decent level of dark fruitiness and an enticing, beckoning earthiness but I just had trouble getting all that much complexity to be coaxed out of this BSDA. Boozy alcohol aroma permeates.
The taste was a different matter. More flavors eminated here. Nice toasted malt and semi-sweet chocolate up front. The '05 VE got more earthy mid-range and took on a peaty, faintly smokey flavor that had me thinking it was morphing into a wee heavy for a second. More booziness as it hit the home stretch - think rum-soaked prunes with a lurking bitterness from the hops. Bittering accelerated as each pull headed down. Alcohol left a stretch of warmth down to the stomach.
Feel: medium/full with a real prickly zap to the tongue from all the carbonation. A bit raw from the alcohol but well set for aging.
Overall: not bad now by any means but the potential for aging is tremendous. So far, the 05.05.05 VE has the biggest upside of all the VE series for surviving to 2012 and beyond. Nicely packaged now but exquisitely set for the future.

Boilermaker88, Jun 08, 2005
Photo of HappyHourHero
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small, dense foamy, light brown colored head that didn't last very long, and left only a few specs of lace. Deep mahogany colored beer with a ruby hue. Vanilla/butterscotch and some apple in the aroma. Fairly sweet sugary raisins, a dash of apple, and just a pinch of vanilla yeastyness before the bitter chocolate flavor kicks in. There's a biting bitter saltiness towards the end that carries over into the finish, which fades as the beer warms. Starts like a Belgian strong dark ale and finishes like a bitter barleywine. Mouthfeel is soft and just barely slick, while the body is moderately full. Most of the aromas and flavors were great, but the bitterness at the end kind of killed it for me.

HappyHourHero, May 06, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was acquired from a trade with mentor. Thanks alot. This is a great american belgian, especially considering last year's disappointment.

The beer pours to a dark nutty brown with a slight ruby hue. A nice creamy tan head forms and stays at about a centimeter throughout the drink. A spotty lacing forms, but most of it washes back down.

The smell is very spicy and grainy. Amazing that the bottle says no spices were added. That yeast has worked some magic. Also a bit of berry. Very nice.

The taste is great. Doesn't taste like candi sugar overdose, which is great. Dry with an intense yeasty spice. A lot of clove as well, and even the slightest hint of banana. Sweet and toasty caramel grainy up front with some berry esters but dries out quickly with a spiced hop and mild alcohol finish. Great stuff.

The body is fairly big, and the spices, alcohol, and hops are intense combined with the dryness. All these things mixed with the carbonation unleashed a barrage of interesting flavors washing over my palate.

I wish I had more of this. I'm sure this one could stand up for 6 more years, and I would love to sample its progress in between.

neonbrown82, Feb 13, 2006
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade - thanks to mcallister! I've heard a lot about the epic series but never had one.

A - Nice ruby black color. Pours a nice frothy tan head. A delight to look at.

S - Rich inviting malts and ripe fruit. Undertone of alcohol but a year in the bottle seems to work for this brew.

T - Similar to how it smells. The belgian character shines in teh yeast and belgian candi sugar touches rounding out this brew.

M - Nice medium body with a pleasing warming effect.

D - Very drinkable! Some strong beers just don't work at 22oz - too much in one sitting. This one was a hit through and through.

Although advertised as designed for 2012 I thought this brew was good now. If I had 6 I would make it an annual tasting to see how well it holds up to the advertised date. I don't so it was nice to have one of these now. Recommended.

barleywinebrewer, Jul 05, 2006
Photo of axeman9182
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

axeman9182, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of meathookjones
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After the mess I thought last years Vertical Epic was fresh I went against my gut feeling at tried this fresh. It turned out to be a good idea. Dark brownish red with light foamy tan head of decent stature. Lace webbing was left around the glass. Sweet candy sugar with a mix of dark ripe fruit notes. Some spice is kicking around as well. Flavor was full of sweetness from dark fruits, caramel and candy sugars. Alcohol was definitely there. Nice light spiciness mellows the sweetness. Good mix of flavors that should meld well over the next few months. Fairly thick and creamy. I could have had another after this. My favorite vertical epic so far. I am thinking this one could easily go for several years and turn into something great.

meathookjones, Jun 03, 2005
Photo of ommegangpbr
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thus far, this is interesting.
Looks beautiful in the glass.
Though this is new and young there are flavors that make me think "skunked" here and there.
There are also flavors that make me think doppelbock.
I haven't quite sorted them out yet.
Hopefully, I'll be able to get my hands on this again, though it seems these vertical epics are becoming quite the hot item.
Deep roasted things are happening here and there.
Malts, slight hops (by Stone standards). Worth a try at the moment but I think this needs to age awhile longer.

ommegangpbr, May 22, 2005
Photo of kingmaker
4/5  rDev +2.3%

kingmaker, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of scootny
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown liquid. Light khaki head. Nice lacing.

Nose has malt and chocolate with a heavy fruit component. Figs and dates with Belgian yeast. Caramel and faint alcohol.

Taste is like a hybrid Belgian stout/dubbel. Chocolate and coffee followed by a heavy fig and plum fruitiness. Some malt and grains. Molasses and alcohol. Finish is dry and earthy with a lingering light tannic sourness.

Feel is thick and viscous, well carbonated.

Pretty good stuff. I like the mocha rubble/stout thing

scootny, Feb 03, 2014
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.