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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

216 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 216
Hads: 313
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 101
Gots: 58 | 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: 313
Photo of IceAce
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep mahagony with superb clarity. A seemingly endless supply of CO² streamers work diligently to replenish the thick, tan, two-finger collar of foam.

The nose catches up to me while the glass sits a full three feet away...sugary sweet dates, cloves, and fruity phenols are all surrounded with the funky aroma that can only belong to Belgian Yeast.

Entry is pure silk, with tiny CO² bubbles escourting the smooth roasted malt over the palate. Mid-taste is of cherries, burnt sugar, and allspice as the taste begins to crescendo in earthy goodness.

The finish is as complex as the mid, with a touch of soft hop ushering last call for smooth vanilla and malt notes before the funky yeast begins its long, slow fade. Mouthfeel is silky smooth and drinkability...well, let's just say I'd hit it daily if it were possible.

I know that with age this beer will 'round out' into something a whole lot different...but like Anchor OSA, I enjoy these beers when they're still young and flavor components can still be distinguished. Whichever you prefer, you will not come away disappointed with 5.5.5 (1,121 characters)

Photo of xgrigorix
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twenty two ounce brown bottle.

Dark auburn brown. Fluffy beige coloured head retains quite well, and leaves some spotty lace behind.

Cloves leap right out of the glass, but are backed up by aromas of dark fruit & some funky earthy notes as well.

Cloves, phenols, & plenty spicy. Earthy hop flavours lead to a dry finish. Full bodied w/ gentle carbonation. Hoping this gets a bit more interesting with some age. (419 characters)

Photo of palliko
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There was about an inch of foam when poured but it disappeared quickly, leaving very little lacing. The initial nose is spicy, with floral/herbal hints of ANISE/CLOVES and some caramel. SERIOUS alcohol! I am having trouble spelling! Fruity malt, and raisin dominate the first sip with Belgian phenols underlying all, with faint support from hops. Deep mahogany brown appearance, and just-right carbonation. Complex on the palate, slightly sweet but with a nice dry finish. After it mellows a while, it should balance out to be outstanding! Stone is the best brewery, bar none! (576 characters)

Photo of TinusTime
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a darker than dark ruby brown.. Almost black with a soft off khaki head. Nose is prune with some spice and toffee in the aroma.

Taste is dark sugars and dark fruits.. Plums, prunes, molasses all over the place. Yeasty madness also enters into the mix.

Mouthfeel-- good.. Not too carbonated, it tis fine

Drinkability-- Probably the most drinkable of all the Verticle off the bat.. This thing is gonna get silly good in time. The sweetness from the sugars will prolly die down leaving this a tasty treasure.. Glad I got 6 bottles to check out how this one ages.. The 04 was better first.. but this one can sit and age and maybe maybe make it to 12 12 12 (667 characters)

Photo of 99bottles
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Taken in a tulip glass, this beer is quite stunning. The body is a deep ruby-brown color and a head of light tan sits atop. The retention is very good, as the head finally settles to a persistent lace cover of the surface. Beautiful.

Smell: A deep whiff lets you know this is a Belgian for sure. Sweet, sugary malts smell of candied apples, dried fruit and hide behind the strong scent of some otherworldly yeast. Really, even without tasting this you get a sense that the yeast is driving this wagon.

Taste: Whew. What can be said? It's complex for sure. The dark malt exhibits some roasted notes, some coffee and dark chocolate. Next the phenols kick in strong and range from spicy and fruity (cherries, licorice) to biting and medicinal. Sweet, sour, spicy, even a bit of hops to add a bitter finish before the taste of yeast sweeps everything back into place. Alcohol is apparent, but they even warn you on the label that it's a "hot" beer and needs 7 years to settle. I imagine this will be an absolute gem if left to age that long. Think you've got some tastebuds? Wrap them around this for a workout.

Mouthfeel: Good body, slightly viscous but really dead on for the style. Not cloying, although the alcohol is apparent. Moderate carbonation keeps things moving.

Drinkability: I really like it. I don't know that I could have too much of it, and the bomber itself is a bit much for one person, but it's not because it aint good. It's just a handful, and a whopping good handful at that. Good for Stone. Props for including a homebrew along recipe online. Stone Brewing are fishers among men. (1,622 characters)

Photo of soper2000
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The third Vertical Epic for me in my beer adventures. Picked up from the Hop Shop in Indianapolis. I was originally planning on aging the 03 and 04 epics but that didn't work, so I just plan on consuming the 05's as soon as the need strikes.

Pours a nice ruby tinged brown with a slow beige head. The head diminishes but doesn't disappear. Nose has a nice earthy Brasserie Caracole property. It's a warm wet woodiness that I find in all of Caracole's beer and now i'm finding it in Stone's offering. Notes of plum and raisin remain in the background. A slight yeasty spiciness becomes prevalent in the nose as the beer warms. Taste is quite interesting to me. It starts off with a slight roastiness fading sweetly into the dark fruit categories. Plums, figs, and raisins invade the palate until something brillantly shocking takes over; grey tea! The hints of tea from the still fresh amarillos (?) give this beer an amazing refreshing quality. (see Three Floyd's Pride and Joy for more of this tea flavor) Alcohol is only detectable in the warmth this beer gives while sliding down the back of your throat. Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Drinkability is insanely great.

This is an absolute masterpiece. Superbly complex, yet drinkable at the same time. Stone outdid theirselves on this one. I love the combination of fresh bold American hops with traditional Belgian styling. A+ (1,385 characters)

Photo of WetCoaster
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep clear cola red with a dense, foamy tan/espresso swirled head. Moderate size, good retention. Sticky root beer lace on the glass wall. Moderately carbonated.

Smell: Spiced yeast and all that entails, slightly vegetal, bready/cakey, and fruity in a sort of cherry vain. As it stands, though, it's all presented in a thick block, none is really defined; you sort of pick out points on one scent.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Whoa. Goddamn, that is BEEFY, freakin' massive. I see from the description it's a BSDA, but honestly it tastes more like an eisenbock brewed with Belgian yeast topped with a imperial stout floater. Very dense mouthful of chocolate malt, roasty and stoutlike, a slightly boozy Chambord flavor. It's actually a bit similar to Ommegang's Three Philosophers quad. Mouthfeel is rich and thick.

Drinkability: It depends. I like it, but it's a bit much for your Wednesday night poker marathon. Price is good, though.

This is not a pure BSDA; it's a big, somewhat baffling beer. Unlike last year's, I have NO doubt this will last seven years. It currently tastes as though three distinct style are blended -- and a bit awkwardly at that. This is a good drinker, but a better cellar candidate. Open 12/12, or at least wait a year. (1,263 characters)

Photo of NorCalYeti
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

taste- candi sugar, sweet malt, citrus in the finish

color- light brown amber

clarity- pours clear and dark

smell- chocolate, cake, cereal, flowers, nuttiness, biscuits

body- some hop bite still left in the front of the mouth, medium-length finish, smooth on the palate

appearance- nice off-white head when first poured, medium-light, creamy, fine lacing in glass, active carbonation throughout the session

overall impression- mellow, drinkable beer. really impressed for a beer with 7+ years of age. very approachable and still enjoyable beer. alcohol is still present

notes and comments- audible carbonation when i popped the top

beer spy- bevmo, walnut creek ca, may 2005, $4.89, 22oz

glassware: tulip (714 characters)

Photo of snpub540
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
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. (801 characters)

Photo of OlieIPA
3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
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 beer...at 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! (689 characters)

Photo of Freshie
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown colour, with tan bubbly head.

Smells of fruit and roasted malt. Very nice.

The taste was very powerful with carmel malt and strong hop influence, There was also a fruit character.

There is a kick and it caught me unawares, but I should have expected that from Stone. It pared very well with my Turkey Burger.

Not as smooth as I would have liked it, but it was still very drinkable, nonetheless. Maybe I am just a pansy? Haha (457 characters)

Photo of Troyone
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly translucent coffee color with an amber hue, minimal head, and some carb action.

The smell has a roasted, slight molasses, caramel malt with a resin citrus hop aroma.

Lightly sweet and heavily bitter taste of a slightly burnt molasses and caramel malt with a resin, orange, and grapefruit hops aroma.

Medium to full body, dry slightly syrupy texture, soft almost flat carbonation, and a smooth slightly alcoholic finish.

Great drinkability for the style. (482 characters)

Photo of Ahhdball
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark amber light tan head forms on top
chocolate, dark fruit (plums, maybe cherry) aroma
taste is decent not the best but there's pepper, some other spices along with maybe a fig and hints of chocolate, small hop bite in the end
mouthfeel was smooth drinkability was decent but my next will be opened in 2015 like the bottle says (332 characters)

Photo of cjacobsen
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (765 characters)

Photo of corey0212
4.34/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (677 characters)

Photo of doubleipa
2.95/5  rDev -25.7%
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. (466 characters)

Photo of SacoDeToro
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a big beer, but would you expect anything less from the homeboys at Stone? Of course not you numbskull! The beer pours a deep ruby brown with a small head that quickly collapses. The nose is dominated by caramel malt and alcohol. A slight hop spice resides in the background of the smell. Mouthfeel is full and somewhat chewy. Despite the fact that this is brewed with Belgian Candi sugar it's still pretty heavy. It leaves your lips with sticky feeling. The bulk of the flavor is toffeeish followed by a burst of Amarillo hops that quickly dissipate. I'm drinking this one quite young - only 3 months out. I'm certain that this will mellow and get complex with age, much like a raging frat boy from Harvard (if there is such a thing). Balls to the walls beeotch! (771 characters)

Photo of John1985
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
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! (544 characters)

Photo of cabsandking
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
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. (471 characters)

Photo of BadBadger
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque dark color. The head was not overly foamy but present and relatively long lasting. The smell of alcohol is permeating. The vapors hit the palatine taste buds before the liquid touches the tongue-unfortunately. The taste is some what on the sweet side but rather pleasant. The alcohol taste is nicely blended within the sweetness, A nice smooth mouthfeel. Certainly worth buying two bottles and comparing the taste differences over time. Enjoy! (465 characters)

Photo of frazbri
2.98/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Mahogany body and deep ruby accents with creamy off-white head. Rich, fruity aroma - curant, cherry and chocolate. Earthy start, bitter chocolate with bitter finish and a little metalic tinge. Low med carboantion with medium light body.

A beautiful looking beer that has a very appetizing aroma, but its flavor doesn't meet expectations. I applaud Stone's boldness, but this beer needs a little more finess. Maybe it needs a little time in the cellar, but now it is too thin, too bitter and a bit astringent. (511 characters)

Photo of JackTheRipper
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thirty fifth Birthday present to myself.

A: Dark burgundy with a bighuge head that leaves a good amount of lacing. Really nice retention, suds last and last.

S: Almost too complex to describe. Big malt smell. Notes of fruit all over the place. Smell of fruitcake (the good homemade kind, not that abomination sold in stores) are strong here. Spicy, almost meaty aroma that is faintly like a rauschbier in the jerky aroma (this smell is faint and seems to augment the sweet fruity aromas very well).

T: Complexity never ends. Tons of winelike fruity flavors with just a touch of a smoky spiciness. Big malty base here. Bitterness is low and late and faintly coffee like. The only detractor is a bit of a metallic aftertaste that I think will disappear over the course of aging.

M: Full bodied without being too heavy. Fairly high level of carbonation. Alcohol feel is really big and warms oh so nicely.

D&N: How the heck do you gauge a beer like this? To call this beer special is an understatement of the highest magnitude. Drinkability? I have four bottles of this brew to last until the final tasting in 2012. Maybe the Mayans are right, maybe at the penultimate tasting party the world has ever seen, the world will end. I feel almost special to drink this beer, one beer in a series that will, I'm hopeful, shake the foundations of the beer cosmos. Yes, I'm rambling, but with this one, I feel like using those 5000 characters. Bacchus seems to be strong now, and this beer is the vapor that lets the Delphic oracle speak. All in all, a wonderful beer, and it's making me tingle with anticipation of the 03 and the 04 I have carefully hidden away, and weep for the lack of the 02. I'm now one of the few, the proud, the Vertical Epic drinkers.
Cheers, my friends. (1,783 characters)

Photo of Lnedrive14
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It needs to age...

The alcohol is a bit too overwhelming. Other uses have descibed it as a bit too "heated" and I think I tend to agree. It looks like a typical strong ale, dark with a small head, not too much different from the Bastard. Smells a bit stronger, with the alcohol really taking presence. I think as this beer ages, its fruitiness will come out a bit more and the alcohol will die down. Until then, its worthy of a try, but certainly nothing spectacular.

I'll check back in 10 years.

UPDATE: Drank another one on 8/29/2006 - still had the same problem. too alcoholic. (590 characters)

Photo of chaz01
4.17/5  rDev +5%
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. (582 characters)

Photo of Litterbean
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A damn fine looking beer, black with shades of brown on the edges, with a stark white head that forms a nice cap on this one. Very mature smell, a touch of yeast and a sweet ripe fruit aroma. The alcohol is hidden fairly well, but manages to warm the throat all the way down. Chalky yeast flavors along with some fruity orange, raisins, and prunes. Very sweet but with a puckering tartness towards the middle. A thick brew that leaves a bit of a residual film on the tongue afterwards. The heaviness of this one makes it a sipping beer, nothing more. Impossible to put down while the bottle still has contents, but once finished, so are you. (641 characters)

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