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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
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.79%
Wants: 103
Gots: 54 | 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
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Ratings: 309 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cabsandking
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

Photo of John1985
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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!

Photo of BadBadger
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
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!

Photo of frazbri
2.9/5  rDev -25.8%
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.

Photo of JackTheRipper
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of Lnedrive14
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Photo of robbrandes
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of chaz01
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of Litterbean
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of cracgor
2.88/5  rDev -26.3%
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.

Photo of Doppelbockulus
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pored into the Vertical Epic glass carfully to avoid clouding the beer with yeast.

Without the yeast the beer is a is a medium dark brown with an appealing ruby background.

I smell a pastry shop in this beer. It smells like buttery raspberry pastries with raisins and brown sugar.

The taste includes dark earthy malt with a light sweetness. I also get tea in the taste.

The carbonation creates a medium tingle, and there is a light tanninc feel.

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was a very dark/thick mahogany red with a two finger head that quickly dissapated and left a thin white white lace on top of the beer. Very nice laceing that held on throughout the drink.

The smell was very strong with alcohol overtones mixed tightly with sweet malt and dates. Hidden in the rear of the nose were hints of hop spice and wooden undertones.

The drink started with a strong hit of alcohol heat that was gone as quickly as it arrived. This followed by a very sweet fruity explosion and then a quick bite of hops. The finish is very clean and non-lingering.

All and all a very good and clean tasting beer. I thought it was quite odd that the only hit of alcohol heat was at the front and not the finish. I'm still quite impressed by this one and I can't wait to try it in 2012.

Photo of rogueleonardi
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of lou91
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally the ’05 has arrived in the bay! Picked up a bottle at Berkeley bowl and had to have it immediately. Dark brown with a red glow with very little head on the pour. Wow what a great nose of Belgian candy sugar, malt and alcohol. I should have let it warm up but I couldn’t wait and drank it cold. Rich, creamy and oh so tasty. As it warms, Chimay blue comes to mind although far from a perfect match. Still it had a similar profile with hints of raisins and bittersweet chocolate with a dry hop finish. I can’t wait to try it again next year.

Photo of abfraser
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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

We are going to try this one while its still young...

Pours deep brown reddish cola color with a slight tan head. Vinuous aroma of dark fruits and berries, mixed with alcohol and bready malt. Flavor begins a little small, but then moves into big bready malt. Acidic dark fruits come in and blend with spicy and bitter citrous rind hops. Finish is acidic and slightly dry in a vinuous style. Pretty good ale, I am glad I am some in the cellar. Can't wait to see what develops by 2012.

Photo of BrewinHeadBanger
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of MrSeth
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

App: A half inch white-tan head forms over a deep dark brown color with some crimson highlights. Head retention is decent, leaves some lace and spots of suds inside the glass.

Sm: Spiced bread, fresh apples, cherries, anise.. definitely delivers what the label promises. Pungent alcohol.

Ta: Starts with sweet malt, then rich dried fruits - dates and figs, finishes with dry roasty malt.

Mf: Medium bodied, by the end there is no apparent carbonation, but it can still be felt on the tongue. Has a decent length, but it could be a bit longer.

Da: Would work well as a digestif.

Comments: This is a good example of the Belgian-style strong dark ales, but it left me with some questions. It isn't as full flavored, nor as long as other good examples of the style. And it's a bit expensive ($7-$8/bomber), with Belgian imports costing only a dollar or so more.

Photo of beersarang
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby with a quickly receding tan head. The crappy retention is the only thing marking down the score.

Bready yeasty aroma, pleasant.

Nice bready malt presence, light hopping, unable to discern but I believe the dominating hop flavor is floral. Finishes horrendously yeasty, very Belgian-esque. Just a touch too yeasty, might benefit from aging. Alcohol is not too noticable, until it warms.

Medium bodied, prickly belgian style carbonation.

Drinkability suffers from the yeastiness, otherwise a decent offering but does not live up to the hype.

Photo of jeffjfindley
4.88/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Last week I struck gold at Valley Beverage in Sherman Oaks. Ruby to black in body with a head the color of parchment. The smell is absolutely alive with rich, chocolatey malts and dancing hops.

Upon consumption, one's tongue is caressed with cocoa and roasted malt. Later this gives way to a brilliant splash of hops, and a hint of anise. The mouthfeel is balanced to perfection, and with a sweet, mellow numbing sensation.

I went back to the store tonight and bought what remained of this beer. The last year in it's bottle has treated it very well, and I can't wait to see what it'll be like in '07. I have my doubts as to whether it will make it much further than that. I got lucky on this one, and wish you well in finding some yourself!

Photo of mattmaples
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Brewing “Vertical Epic 5.5.05” 22oz:
I can not believe it, we actually got the Epic ON the release date!!! This years is dark and estery. It pours a deep mahogany color with a thin head. The aroma is fruity (plum/banana) and big spicy (clove/anise). The flavor has a touch of roastiness to it with sweet molasses tones. The fruitiness carries over in the flavor and it finishes with an ever so slight hop bitterness. IMHO this years has better aging potential than the others.

It is a good belgian with the possibility of being great with some aging and flavor integration. Only time will tell.

Photo of JoePat
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a kaki head that dissipates quickly leaving some lacing. Pretty good for its age.
Smells of roasted malts, raisons and an absinth like anise smell that makes the aroma really complex.
The taste is just as complex if not more. Anise, hop bitterness, earthy, spicy, and a sweet malty finish.
The mouth feel is dry which helps it go down pretty well.
This was a little oxidized and flat but considering the age it is expected.

Photo of kennyo
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

dark mahogany brown with reddish undertones, pours with a small white head.

aroma is sweet malt, chocolate covered cherries, eisbock like

taste is malty, chocolate, hop bitterness, the right amount of carbonation for the style

I can see this beer turning very sherry like at the end of the aging period

Photo of ebrifan
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of JackStraw22
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy dark, dark amber. A little bit of head, not too much but what was there seemed to last.

Smell: Very sweet. Lots of malt, bready. Not very spicy or herbal, but rich and deep.

Taste: Quite smooth, alcohol is present but warming and not in your face. Pleasant and remarkable drinkable.

Can't wait to try this in a couple years. Good now, but should get better.

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.