05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale
Stone Brewing

05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale
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Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
88
Avg:
3.95 | pDev: 12.41%
Reviews:
217
Ratings:
318
From:
Stone Brewing
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  102
Gots
  59
SCORE
88
Very Good
05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 217 | Ratings: 318 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by DavoleBomb:
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DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania

3.52/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

3.0 A: Moderately hazed semi-dried blood color. Short head that falls quickly.

3.5 S: Strong, musty "old beer" smell. Caramel, toasty, raisin. Pepper and clove spiciness. Cocoa powder, anise, and light roastiness. Overall, pretty decent - held up well.

3.5 T: Big toastiness, light roast, caramel, chocolate. Anise, pepper, clove. Tastes like a well aged beer that was pretty good fresh.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good spritzy carbonation. This is pretty damn good. Very impressed.

3.5 D: Easily my favorite so far. Not bad at all.

Jan 18, 2015
More User Reviews:
Photo of AlexJ
AlexJ from North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour with burgundany highlights and a tightly knit tan head that slowly slides down my glass.

Aroma is dark dried fruit, plum, prune, and berry with subtle yeasty spice and caramel undertones. Smells more Belgian than the 030303 did. There are subtle hints of dark, chocolatey malt with very soft coffee undertones and light floral and citrus hops.

Flavor is dark caramel and candi sugar with tons of fruit;sweet plum, dark cherry, scorched strawberry jam, and fig. It has a roasty, almost woody note with the distinct fruity yeast that was tasted in the 030303. It's well hopped for the style, with soft lavender and lilac floral notes and dry, grassy bitterness.

Body is leaning towards big, with tiny bobbles leading to a very soft, creamy mouthfeel and bubbly texture. Definately glad toi have the opportunity to try this. Thanks Ray!

Jul 18, 2006
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GClarkage from California

4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

02/03/06- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle poured into my Stone Levitation tulip.

Appearance- Dark copper in color with a large 2 inch at least head. Huge chunks stick to the side of my glass and make it a bitch to clean. Damn lacing ;) One of the tops I have seen for the style.

Smell- Lots of dark fruits mingling around. Hops as well...this is Stone...remember? Dates, raisins, plums...you name it.

Taste- The hops are here, but only a touch in the aftertaste. One of the least hoppy beers from Stone. Lots of fermemnted plums and dates with a nice little red box of raisins on the side.

Mouthfeel- This one gets very smooth as it really warms. Carbonation starts out mid level and gets cask smooth towards the end. Not really creamy, but super smooth.

Drinkability- This one contends with most of the top line Belgian brewed Dark Ales. Quite flavorful and highly recommended. Need to get a few more of these before I can't find them.

Feb 05, 2006
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MrSeth from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

May 23, 2005
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hero27 from Minnesota

4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. 8.5% abv.

Dark mahogany color with a thin tan head. Aroma of roasted malts and spiciness..however the bottle says they used no spices in this one, it's just the Belgian yeast. Pretty impressive. The taste follows in line, and has a very soft mouthfeel that holds all the great flavors together. Reminds me very much of Great Lakes Christmas Ale..the spices & cherry flavor are quite similar. Overall, this is definitely a keeper in my book. Damn, I guess I'm going to have to get a bottle of this every year now..

Mar 27, 2006
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Magery from Kentucky

4/5  rDev +1.3%

Nov 16, 2011
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doubleipa from Georgia

2.95/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

Jul 02, 2007
Photo of ddarden
ddarden from Alabama

4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a one year anniversary tasting of the 05-05-05. I had this last year on the 4th and remember thinking this beer needed some time to meld a little. After one year of aging, this beer was much better. It poured a very dark ebony with a little light getting through. Very nice head that lasted. The smell was classic of a Belgian Strong Ale - yeast, plums, candi sugar, sweet malt, and alcohol. The taste was close to the smell except with a little bit of hop bite. Although most of the hop flavor had mellowed and the beer was more complex than a year ago. The alcohol was very well hidden and had a medium mouthfeel. The drinkability was good. I have a few more of these in the cellar and will make a tradition of my 4th of July beer.

Jul 05, 2006
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foXXtail from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on 5-7-05, two days after release.

Aroma is quite spicy, hints of clove and pepper. The alcohol kick is quite noticeable, almost overpowering. The fruity malt is complex and dark. It has notes of plum, with some phenols backing everything up. Hop is there, but not a star player. Very rich and complex.

This beer looks mouthwatering! Clear, deep ruby brown with an immense rocky off-white head that just dosn't quit. Effervescene is high, and lacing is impressive.

Deep plummy fruit with some dark caramel like sweetness, all very deeply malty. The spiciness is hefty, and bosts the cloves hinted at in the nose. A hop bitterness bites at the back of the throat in the after taste. Rich alcohol is powerful - almost overwhelming. Quite complex overall, there's a lot of things to taste here! Effervesence is medium-heavy, but does not interfere with the medium mouthfeel. A good balance between thickness and effervesence.

Pretty good, but the hefty alcohol needs a chance to mellow. Looking forward to trying this one in a year or so after it calms down and blends a bit.

May 09, 2005
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Litterbean from New York

4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Jun 13, 2005
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porterman from Ohio

3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got 3 bombers from a friend. Poured into my La Chouffe glass. Pours a nice ruby red with little head and doesnt leave much lacing. not much carbonation to speak of.

It smells alot like it tastes very fruity with a little strange chemical smell in the background

The taste is very similar to the smell:) Plums and malt and fruits with some strange aftertaste slightly bitter and harsh. Taste the alcohol more than in other similar styles that have more alcohol.

The mouthfeel is nice. thin maybe a little flat but very enjoyable

Drinkability is decent. a little heavy on the alcohol taste. but i drank 2 bombers back to back so it cant be too bad.

The first thing i thought of when i had my first sip was this tastes like it needs some aging. The more i drank the more this was confirmed. Tastes immature. Needs to smooth out some. It says on the bottle best drank in 2012 and i think they know what they are talking about. Hey its not bad now. But some aging will make this one alot better.

Jun 12, 2005
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BeerFink from Ohio

4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Jun 02, 2005
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pentathlete from Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, big head, falls to a 75% covering table. Sticky. Smell is licorice and malt. Taste is more anise and a carbonic spicy character that I'm just not a fan of. Certainly has a lot of attitude. I have another bottle for a future tasting. Mouthfeel is medium full. Drinkability, for me is not too fine. If you like peppery licorice, then this is your beer. The spouse loved it.

Aug 06, 2005
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JackStraw22 from Virginia

3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Jun 19, 2005
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Vancer from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good day lil' beer - you're looking good in the ol' Corsendonk tulip with your deep mahogany pour and rich tan head.

Aroma is BW style - sweet caramel, fig, cherry and orange licorice. Mellow quaff combines all these ingredients, but just a bit of orange medicine and hot alcohol in the finish. I was hoping the aging would benefit the brew, but I'm a bit disappointed in this one - a good beer but nothing outstanding.

Mar 08, 2009
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neonbrown82 from Nebraska

4.57/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Feb 13, 2006
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xymyl from Arizona

4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium carbonation with small to medium sized bubbles, dark red/crimson color with a thick tan head that settles to a film quickly.

Aromas of dried fruits, chocolate, coffee, caramel, spices and light floral notes.

Starts out wet, sweet and fruity then sweetness steps forward even more with malt and other sugar notes (at the this point the spices come forward the most) then roasty/toasty(TM) flavors blend with the hoppy bitterness that dominates the long finish.

This feels a bit lighter than it did a year ago. It's getting to the zone I really like. Once the floral notes of the hops fully integrate and the bitterness mellows out a bit more it will be perfect. Now I wish I had kept one of these in the fridge to compare. Oh, well. With how fast this is maturing I give it another year (maybe two tops) before it is ready.

May 30, 2006
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beersarang from California

3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

May 15, 2005
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unklesyd from Oregon

4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a couple bottles on the release date and put 'um in the beer cooler. A few weeks later, I was in Whole Foods and a guy from Stone was there giving samples. I grabbed one of the VE's and got really excited. My plans for storing them went out the window.

I drank a Chimay Blue yesterday, and I figured that the weather here warranted another excursion into the BDSA category, so with little else to do, I cracked this one.

The color was similar to the Chimay, although it was a bit darker, and no sediment traces. Matte:glossy::Chimay:Stone for you analogists. Very small head as well when compared to the Belgian.

Taste was excellent and easily drinkable. Hoppier than the standard Belgian dark, but well balanced. Not quite so nutty as the usual, a bit more bite, but still restrained. The ABV was well hidden until 10 minutes in, when the warm-up hit my esophogas. What a glorious sensation in any event. I know that I'm dealing with a quality brew when I get this.

There was no hurry to finish, but not because I wanted to move on, nor because it was abhorrent. The desire to savour was natural and inclinational based on the brew; came from our symbiance, not from me, not from it. Tra-la-la.

Nice brew, great experience, and I'm Oh So Happy that I have another bottle of this in the fridge for another day.

Cheers!

Jun 06, 2005
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ChuckD from New York

3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased at Shoreline. The bottle text recommends drinking in 2012, so I bought two - one for now.

This is an unceremonious pour. Very little head - what's there leaves quickly. Beautiful, dark ruby color - approaching black.

I love the top smell of this one. The sweetness is pronounced - but you know there will be some bite to it as the alcohol is lurking - not overwhelming to the nose, but you know it's in there.

The first sip verifies the malts - but then melds into a more hoppy mixture that is highly drinkable. The texture in the mouth is perfect for this style. Not too syrupy - but enough guts to let you enjoy it. Thoroughly enjoyable.

I agree with a previous review about the '03 Epic - it's been my fave to date. However, I think given a little time, this one could best it.

Oct 10, 2005
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stephendedalus from Pennsylvania

3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber (1 pint, 6 ounces) purchased in Pittsburgh (see reviews of Dee's for more information) into a goblet. The pour is a nice garnet-leather color that (not surprisingly) darkens in the glass. There is a little head -- small crisp bubbles that quickly fade to a dubbel-like "film." The aroma is sweet and fruity/floral at first sniff, but upon really taking in its aroma my nose detects caramalized bananas and some spice -- black pepper and star anise come to mind. The taste is almost exactly what you would expect from the aroma -- some pretty nice esters that will develop (and probably grow more complex) with aging, I think. Good yeast. Definitely the caramalized banana -- and adjacently, some brown sugar, possibly some currant. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but appropriate for the style. Overall, a very drinkable beer and a nice addition to the vertical epic series. It is always an adventure with Stone...What will 06.06.06 bring?

May 24, 2005
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beercollector from Oregon

4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a case last weekend. This one pours with a large creamy lasting off white head. It has good lacing and clear body. A pleasant dark brown.

The initial smell is molasses or carmel. There is also a light hop odor. The first taste had a medium body and soft carbonation. You can tell this one has some alcohol.

The flavor is moderatley sweet molasses with a light bitterness. I expect this one will hold for a good aging.

May 15, 2005
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've tried this one twice now. I beleive that it is better the second time around. Looks brilliantly dark ruby and burgundy like, tan head, lingers and laces nicely. Smells of dark fruits, powder sugar, spicy hops, and maple syrup. Tastes fully malty in the range of molassas. Fruity of prunes, plumbs, dates, raisons, nuts, and red wine. Candy sugars can be tasted before the spiciness. Hops and spices ride the thick sweetness through the body and into the aftertaste. Alcohol (fusal) rises as the body gives way. Finishes warm and fruity. A good Strong Belgian, I would also agree that it could be a Barleywine as well. Should improve with cellering.

Aug 16, 2005
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ommegangpbr from New York

3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

May 22, 2005
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mushroomcloud from Texas

4.37/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Vertical Epic 05.05.05 ---- I can't remember a beer I have been more jacked up to drink. It does not disappoint!
The beer poured out a nice mahogany color in my tulip glass. The actual color when held to the light is a deep amber. A nice 1" tan head fell to a cap and rode the Epic all the way down.
I took the first whiff straight out of the bottle and found a beautiful spicy yeast aroma. After being poured out the smell of the yeast was intensified and some fruity aromas along with some clove were released. The bottle states that no spices were used in brewing --- that is a trip!! What a strain of yeast that must be!!
The taste of this brew was full of spicy yeast, a little banana and clove. There was some raisin apparent as the beer warmed. The hopping seems very, very light to me. There is a nice slightly roasted earthy flavor to this beer. An awesome lingering aftertaste finishes this off. There is more going on here than I can actually pin down.
The mouthfeel is creamy and a little thinner than I expected with medium carbonation.
I am very impressed with this offering from Stone. I hope I can save the three other bombers I have for tasting at different intervals during the aging process. It will be a challenge!

Jun 13, 2005
05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 318 ratings