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

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BA SCORE
88
very good

313 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 313
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 101
Gots: 53 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 313 | Reviews: 216
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer appears chestnut brown with a thin tan collar. The aroma brings toffee, light spice, caramels, malt, age, brown sugar. The flavor is a tad sweet, with brown bread, a touch of basement musk, toffee. Pretty good. Thin body with low carbonation. Pretty good.

Photo of Gavage
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a clear ruby color with a one finger head that falls quickly to a surface foam. No lacing develops.

Smell: load of pitted fruits and alcohol.

Taste: the sweet malt is paired with black cherry, prunes, pepper, mild bitterness, and noticeable alcohol. The flavors are wrapped in a mild earthiness.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smooth at the finish. Aftertaste is long on the fruits and alcohol. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: this is a beer that will improve with some aging. The alcohol at times seems to dominate. Definite slow sipper here.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of Billolick
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle with usual stone brewery blather all over the bottle. Pours dark brown with a tan head evolving to the obligatory tiny bubble film and leaving some scattered and spotty lacing upon swirling the glass. Faint nose of cola and fruit. Chewy, lightly chocolaty brew. Notes of some vanila cola, bourbon, fruits and nuts. Thoroughly delicious. Rum soaked cherries in the finish. More top quality suds from the master brewers at Stone. Put some of this away or crack open and enjoy today.

Photo of yourefragile
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a thin tan head. Mild aroma of caramel malt, nuts, baker's chocolate, and bread. Much sweeter flavor than expected. Toffee and caramel, brown sugar and figs. Medium thick and moderate carbonation. A little stale in the finish, but enjoyable.

Photo of corby112
2.45/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy, dark chestnut brown color with a half finger beige head that immediately fizzles away into a thin ring. No lacing to speak of.

Slightly spicy, leathery malt aroma that makes it seems more like a barley wine than anything else at this stage. Earthy malts with hints of leather, toffee, subtle dark fruit and lots of alcohol. Faint piney nag grassy hops provide somewhat of an herbal character that's followed by pepper anise and licorice. Not very impressive.

Fuller bodied than expecting and thankfully more interesting than the aroma suggests. Decent balance of dark malt, earthy hops and zesty spice. None of the flavors have seemed to have held up very well, however, with somewhat stale and faded character. The malt profile stands out more than in the nose but it is earthy and leathery like a barley wine and lacking in sweetness and roast. Kind of watered down as well with faded spicy, grassy hop flavor. Slightly earthy and resinous complimented by a peppery spice presence that gives off some clove and anise. As with most of the beers inths series, this beer which was interesting upon release is kind if a faded mess at this point. I wish I would have opened it few years ago.

Photo of weeare138
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark reddish brown with a 2 inch tan head. No signs of lacing.
Smells of dark fruit (figs, and raisins), toasty malt, rich molasses, and spicy clove.
The taste is of a full bodied alcohol taste of all the aforementioned aromas swirling within a rich, hearty mixture.
The mouthfeel is smooth with spiciness and alcohol that runs through the palate with roastiness and a nuttiness that lingers shortly.
Drinkability is good. A Belgian style that comes through even better as it warms, relasing phenols of biscuit and cocoa.

Finger licking good.

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown ale that turns ruby colored when held up to the light. Light brown head.

Smell is clearly Belgian coriander is the first thing that hits your nose. Clear acid note to this similar to sour apples. Smells of apples and spice. Alcohol is detectable and it carries the scents of banana and mango.

Taste is fairly malty and more bitter than I would have expected. Intense flavor and a quite thick beer. Flavor isn't as complex as the smell at least partly because the bitterness level is hiding flavors still. I can taste coriander and fruitiness but I can ID any separate flavors. A citrus hop flavor appears in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good, and quite thick.

A good drinkable Belgian style beer already but this needs aged 2 or so years to rein in the hops and let the fruit flavors show up.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a teku)
Drank on 3/31/13
A- This beer pours a hazy light walnut brown body with a bubbly light tan head and a strong carbonation that pops to the surface.

S- The hint of sherry and wet old wood has a light sweet malt note and a butter hint in the finish. Some soft cellar notes come through as it grows.

T- The nice soft malt flavor has note of toffee and a cherry stone note with a sugar flavor that is not really sweet. There are some dark ester notes with a sherry quality growing as it opens. There is a dry wood and slightly pungent herbal note in the finish. It also has a hint of brine as it that takes on an iodine hint but it fades and a tart hint shows up.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat noticed and a tight fizz that slows over time. There is a slight slippery texture aswell.

O- This has nice yeast and malt characteristics with a bitterness that fades in the finish and some nice biere de garde cellar characteristics that are tasty but a bit hard to describe.

Photo of biegaman
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A darker pour, some head but not much. Beautiful red hue when held to the light. Huge maltiness off the bat. Followed by definite detection of hops. How do they continuously fit both these in one sitting? Malt huge in the backdrop and hops big in the front end of the mouth. Aroma not perfect (on Stone standards which are significantly higher than others) but not too far from it! Hops found in the aftertaste too, lends bitterness. A great finish. Seems to be holding up well. Very lively, makes for a great drink to share with friends. Kudos again to Stone and big thanks again Dr. Jay!

Photo of johnnnniee
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate to try this last night at an epic tasting held by my good friend Mike, thanks for the opportunity MrBarleywine!
Pours a slightly hazy ruby brown color with a smallish off white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet caramel, chocolate, and light sugar with a bit of ashy, roasty, bubblegum, and molasses. Lightly spicy notes provide a balance to the sweetness and roast. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Sweet and sugary with caramel, chocolate, and cocoa with hints of spice, fruit and gingerbread. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet mouthfeel. We are starting to get a bit darker and this one is right up my alley. This is a nice beer that has held up well, I enjoyed it.

Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased somewhere local, Spirit Haus, Town & Country, or Julio's, most likely.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" of brown head over the burgundy brew. Head hangs around nicely, with average to good lacing. Aroma is spicy bread. The taste is yeasty raisin bread, with a tempered alcohol finish. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good, but could smooth out a bit. I expect the some age will do this.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

4/3.5/4/4/4

Photo of Derek
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I love Stone brews, but I don't think this one lived up to their name (or my expectation).

A: Caramel colour with a slight ruby hue, off-white head.

S: Malty sweetness.

T: Very malty, and certainly balanced to the sweet side. There isn't a lot of flavour, but the alcohol content is well hidden.

M: Syrupy, moderately heavy body (unusual for this style), moderate carbonation.

D: Easily approached, but this is a big beer. It'd be a challenge to drink a lot.

Thanks DrJay!

Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear ruby brown with a dark tan head and spotty lace. Rich caramel and toffee aroma with some figs and cocoa. Malty sweetness dominates with plenty of caramel/toffee character and a bit of nuttiness and chocolate. This is balanced to some degree by mild spice. The texture's a bit syrupy, palate coating, and smooth, moderately low carbonation. Not bad at all.

Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/brown, small tan head, some decent lacing and good retention. Smell is sweet caramel, does of citrus and floral, dates and figs, real nice maltiness with a touch of yeast. Taste is caramel, fig and dates, floral, yeast, hint of alcohol, very nice and smooth. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with low carbonation. A nice effort, Stone never disappoints. Thanks DrJay!

Photo of Bighuge
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not much UV gets through this one. The rays that do get through give this a burgandy type of a highlight. Appears quite clear. The head is frothy, light brown and long lasting. The lace comes in thick gobs. Thick and sweet malts on the nose. Prunes. Plum. Also a spiked punch kind of heat. I get a little char as well on the nose. Damn fine. I like the subdued roastiness on the palate. A slight nod to licorice as well. And dark, bready malts. Sweet candy sugar. And doughy yeastiness. The mouthfeel is rounded and smooth. Medium body. Light on the CO2. A little astringent with the upfront EtOH. There is a lingering bitterness from the alcohol. It's not evident till I take a long pause between sips. This is good. I forsee this getting much better however.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle(room temp) a deep brown with a large head of foam that dissipated slowly leaving a solid layer with good lacing.

The smell is of sweet roasted malt, chocolate-cocoa and anise. Nice.

The taste is a very pronounced semi sweet roasted malt with notes of chocolate, some graininess, and good anise/licorice tones in the finish. Oh, and the 8.5% abv is noticeable but not intrusive. I had one of my bottles of this fresh but I didn't review it because that wouldn't have done it justice. In other words...the 1 year of aging has already done this brew a world of good. ;^)

Bottom line: It's just starting to get interesting 1 year after bottling so I say...if you see some buy some and cellar it. I think it's gonna be a winner.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.59/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hardly any head after it was poured into my Leffe chalice. No head after the first sip. The only redeeming quality of this beer's appearance is its deep, brown blood color. It reminds of brandy a little when you get to the bottom. The aroma is of brown sugar, vanilla, and toasty malted caramel with a burny, alcohol finish. The taste is like a dark fruity brandy. Get some mild alcohol in the finish mixed with hints of pecan torty. Pretty clean palate but with strong, dark overtones. And a spicey, yet subtle alcoholic finish.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Drank from larger Stone bottle, poured into chalice.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown.

Smell: Smells kind of barley winish or scottish ale-ish.

Taste: See smell above. Tastes like a strong scottish ale to me (not what I expected). Good though. Definitely molasses-like flavor, with some plummy fruitiness thrown in.

Notes: Pretty good as a wee heavy or barley wine I think. Doesn't match my expectation as a belgian strong dark ale.

Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer emerges from the 22-ounce brown bottle a cloudless mahogany with an impressive semi-creamy light tan head, as it erodes the resultant lace forms a fine curtain to drape the glass. Nose is rich in malt with sweet plum like aromas, earthy aroma of Belgian yeast, citrus like in its crispness, fresh, with the start rich in malt and somewhat sweet, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is meaningful in its acidity, the hops delectable and the aftertaste dry and long lasting, so far of the Epics I’ve sampled this is my favorite, damn just think how good this will be in coming years.

Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
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

Photo of DefenCorps
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
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.

Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the 'Most Arrogant Bar in America', Barley's Pizzeria & Taproom in Greenville, SC! Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured a deep ruby red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, caramel hop, sweet alcohol, and earth. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, earth, and spices. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. I really went into this one not expecting much with it being so old at the time of sampling, but knew that it would be intriguing based on what I found. The good news is that all of the notes that one would expect from the style were still present and accounted for. However, the caramel note was definitely dominant and made its presence known throughout each sip. This was a bit of a letdown, but overall this one has held up pretty well in the keg. Worth your time trying if you are a fan of the style or brews with a dominance of caramel.

Photo of Dogbrick
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Why wait? This stuff is good NOW. Not like I’ll ever find the 02.02.02 anyway. The beer is a dark reddish-brown color with a thick and foamy beige head. Thick and sticky lacing. Aroma of roasted malt, spice (what? there are no spices in this beer?) and raisin. Rich body with an immediately noticeable Belgian character. Yeast, spices and malt are prevalent, along with a bit of fruit in the background. The finish is spiced and hoppy. Definitely the best VE I have tried so far.

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 313 ratings.