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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 biegaman
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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 rab53
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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 billab914
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
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 Viggo
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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 Rhettroactive
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Bighuge
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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 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 johnnnniee
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
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 Derek
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
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 chippo33
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

Photo of drummermattie02
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Gusler
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
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 TurdFurgison
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
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 Bitterbill
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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 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 scruffwhor
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
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 kscaldef
2/5  rDev -48.8%

Photo of DefenCorps
2.85/5  rDev -27.1%
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.

Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light brown but parks in the glass a dark cherrywood tar with a low watt lamp glow. Firm, yellow-tanned creamy froth sits about a half inch tall, folds down to a light skim and skinny collar. Microcosmicly thin sheeting is placed ever so lightly around the edge with some normal looking ink blobs sticking in a few areas.

Aroma is airy and pleasantly rounded in a soft display of tootsie roll chocolate, tender black licorice spice, plum, pale raisin, and the lightest of light hint of raspberry.

Taste plays a little bit different then what the aroma leads to with more of a pale nut and light enduced roasty realm mixing with a milder tone of dark fruity malts. Banana, dull plum, even more so dulled raisin, slender nut bread and doughy hints of sweetness with puffs of dark cherry, licorice, and anise on the back end trailing into very deep and dark tanged molasses hangs on to a dry airy roast of an empty coffee can. Very subtle flavors continue to emerge and layer into some fairly complex characteristics as slick dark chocolate mingles into some of the flavors once it warms, as does alcoholic esters and dry yeast effects. Beautifully subtle and soft.

Feel is about medium with just the right amount of give and take on the carbonation as its mildly effervescent and malty rich with smooth, soft, and slippery tones. Ghostly dark in character without giving away the farm with over abundant flavors or body. Its subtlety is amazingly complex and rich with style. Damn good stuff! Appreciation is in full mode for this finely crafted brew.

Super large and in charge thanks to warriorsoul for the acquisition!

Photo of WOLFGANG
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of RoyalT
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one is magnificent! The body is a dark, dirty brown in color and topped with a gorgeous brownish-white head. The head stayed up for a time and left some awesome pits on top of the liquid.

Smell – The rich Belgian malts are mixed with a smooth, baker’s-type of chocolate that give this bouquet a heavenly scent. The fruits are dark and open up as the ale warms. The even, ever-present yeast though is what does it for me. They really did an excellent job with that aspect of the nose. This is just marvelous!

Taste – Yes, heaven-sent this is. The malts are so smooth and so yeasty. The chocolate is mellow and perfectly blended. The fruits pull back a bit from the smell and are replaced by some serious sugars. The finish is a dry Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss.

Mouthfeel – This is almost full in the mouth with a bit of dryness at the finish. There is no indication of the high ABV and the flavors are blended nicely, although this ale is certainly a cellaring candidate.

The carbonation really did it for me here. It is substantial yet delicately playful, keeping the drinker almost constantly entertained. It is fluffy and light in the mouth, which I just love to no end.

Drinkability – I think two years in the cellar will make this my first perfect 5.0 Belgian Ale (from Cali, of course – hahahaha). Right now though it is very drinkable. It’s so smooth and delicious you almost feel guilty drinking it alone (yet you will).

Comments – My personal preference with the style is a concentration on the yeast with a very complex presentation. I like my BSDA’s well structured and rarely cellar them, although as I said I may make an exception in this case. Regardless, the mouthfeel and flavors of this ale are top notch. They hit the proverbial nail on the head with this effort.

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