Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
88
very good
319 Ratings
Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic AleStone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by xlperro on 05-06-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
319
Reviews:
216
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
12.47%
 
 
Wants:
102
Gots:
57
For Trade:
6
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 319 |  Reviews: 216
Photo of BuckTuckian
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

 537 characters

Photo of CityofBals
2/5  rDev -49.1%

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, here's my background here (I admit this is mostly for my future reference). Reviewed "Fresh" on 05-16-05 as a baseline for future reviews. I admit it, I am hooked on the Vertical Epic mindset. But alas, I only found out about it last year, and wasn't hip to the plan yet, so I only have 2 bottles of 04-04-04 that I am hoarding (only thought it was ok, good, kind of odd, but interested in tasting later) but since I only have 2 left, I'm afraid to try again. So this is my test on the 05- if I like it, I'll get a bunch more. Well, good news here- this is a good one!

Appearance: A relatively clean, clear brown that really is more red than brown- I use brown because of its darkness- does that mean auburn? Mahogany? Some other color I can never remember? But to be honest, it's really pretty. A nice tan head that quickly becomes a thin cover.

Aroma- I am a sucker for great aroma, and this is one of the better ones. I didn't read the label first, but I picked up brown sugar, caramel, dark chocolate, and more than anything else, sweet dark raisins (I haven't seen anyone else mention that).

Flavor- overall, this is good stuff, but first impressions- brandied plums, rich malts, chocolate, and a spicy alcohol kick at the back of the throat. I'm not good at describing which spices, but they are there. OK, I'm assuming that this means that it's young and raw, and this will mellow out nicely with time.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice, full, but harsh from the spicy alcohol.

Drinkability is that this one is pretty smooth, and I can see it getting better. High marks!

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Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of TXhomebrewer
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the standard Stone 22oz bomber (adorned with the 05 VE screened label) into my Duvel tulip glass. Had a gorgeous impenetrable chestnut coloration, massive amounts of creeping carbonation, and a thick, creamy off-white head that displayed amazing retention. Scattered bits of lace clung and shrivelled on the glass' walls.
The nose was a bit subdued, IMO. I expected a lot more but was left wanting. Sure, there was some serious toasty malt aroma, a decent level of dark fruitiness and an enticing, beckoning earthiness but I just had trouble getting all that much complexity to be coaxed out of this BSDA. Boozy alcohol aroma permeates.
The taste was a different matter. More flavors eminated here. Nice toasted malt and semi-sweet chocolate up front. The '05 VE got more earthy mid-range and took on a peaty, faintly smokey flavor that had me thinking it was morphing into a wee heavy for a second. More booziness as it hit the home stretch - think rum-soaked prunes with a lurking bitterness from the hops. Bittering accelerated as each pull headed down. Alcohol left a stretch of warmth down to the stomach.
Feel: medium/full with a real prickly zap to the tongue from all the carbonation. A bit raw from the alcohol but well set for aging.
Overall: not bad now by any means but the potential for aging is tremendous. So far, the 05.05.05 VE has the biggest upside of all the VE series for surviving to 2012 and beyond. Nicely packaged now but exquisitely set for the future.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a creamy, thin tan head. Some light lacing. Smell is rich caramel. Light dark fruit aromas. Toffee and a light earthiness.

Taste takes the smell and extrapolates it to higher levels. More rich caramel and toffee. Lightly spicy (clove, black pepper and cinnamon). Hint of dark chocolate (!). Strident hops as it finishes. Warming alcohol. Mouth is rich and thick. Sticky finish and aftertaste. All things said, damn yummy. Very enjoyable beer and goes down way too smooth for words. Good stuff.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small, dense foamy, light brown colored head that didn't last very long, and left only a few specs of lace. Deep mahogany colored beer with a ruby hue. Vanilla/butterscotch and some apple in the aroma. Fairly sweet sugary raisins, a dash of apple, and just a pinch of vanilla yeastyness before the bitter chocolate flavor kicks in. There's a biting bitter saltiness towards the end that carries over into the finish, which fades as the beer warms. Starts like a Belgian strong dark ale and finishes like a bitter barleywine. Mouthfeel is soft and just barely slick, while the body is moderately full. Most of the aromas and flavors were great, but the bitterness at the end kind of killed it for me.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

 1,168 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade - thanks to mcallister! I've heard a lot about the epic series but never had one.

A - Nice ruby black color. Pours a nice frothy tan head. A delight to look at.

S - Rich inviting malts and ripe fruit. Undertone of alcohol but a year in the bottle seems to work for this brew.

T - Similar to how it smells. The belgian character shines in teh yeast and belgian candi sugar touches rounding out this brew.

M - Nice medium body with a pleasing warming effect.

D - Very drinkable! Some strong beers just don't work at 22oz - too much in one sitting. This one was a hit through and through.

Although advertised as designed for 2012 I thought this brew was good now. If I had 6 I would make it an annual tasting to see how well it holds up to the advertised date. I don't so it was nice to have one of these now. Recommended.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The last in an 03-05 flight of Vertical Epics at Alewife Queens.

2005 Vertical Epic pours ruby red, with no visibility through the glass. No real head or lacing to speak of. The nose has plenty of cherry led, oxidized dark fruits, along with a mild chocolate aroma. Not much changes in the flavor, though the dry chocolate note is a bit more potent. Still plenty of dried fruit as well though. The mouthfeel is plenty light and agile, but the carbonation falls just a bit flat. Surprisingly, the 05 Vertical Epic is my least favorite in the 03-05 flight.

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Photo of meathookjones
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After the mess I thought last years Vertical Epic was fresh I went against my gut feeling at tried this fresh. It turned out to be a good idea. Dark brownish red with light foamy tan head of decent stature. Lace webbing was left around the glass. Sweet candy sugar with a mix of dark ripe fruit notes. Some spice is kicking around as well. Flavor was full of sweetness from dark fruits, caramel and candy sugars. Alcohol was definitely there. Nice light spiciness mellows the sweetness. Good mix of flavors that should meld well over the next few months. Fairly thick and creamy. I could have had another after this. My favorite vertical epic so far. I am thinking this one could easily go for several years and turn into something great.

 738 characters

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A. Poured into my VE glass this brew pours a darker brown with ruby tones. A small amount of yeasty floaties are noticable when held to the light.
S. The aroma has notes of hazel nuts and dark chocolate with burnt caramel apple.
T. The flavor has a good mix of oxidation with some belgium spic notes from the yeast.
Mf. Fully mouth feel, smooth carbination
Overall, the best one so far.

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Photo of weonfire
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of dcisco44
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of moonknight31
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of kbub6f
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A small, tan, bubbly head leaves a few Ms of lacing. The beer is dark brown with dark red highlights. Nose. Is. Huge. Toffee, caramel, sweet yeasty toffee. Gorgeous. Sweet butter toffee kicks it off, leading to a thick, toffee, caramel, butter middle. Finish shows tangy, sour, overripe fruit and more caramel. Alcohol in the bitter aftertaste. Holy smokes. That's a delicious, huge, toffee, super-thick, buttery beer. Very old Englishy.

 437 characters

Photo of cbl2
4.49/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

5/23/2005 $6.49 22 oz. 8.50% Intended to last until at least 12.12.12.

Appearance:

Pours a dark brown, almost black that lets through just a touch of light to yield a ruby red backdrop. Adorned by a light tan head that rapidly dissipates. Nicely carbonated.

Aroma:

Caramelly sweet with notes of ripe fig. Hints of cocoa, nutmeg & licorice. I can't believe no spicing was used to brew this.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Very complex with flavors including, but not limited to (in no particular order): figs, chocolate, coffee, nutmeg, sherry, anise. Nicely sweetened, with just a touch of bitterness to temper it. Alcohol is present, but nicely masked.

Stone has done it again, churning out yet another world class beer! The flavors they are capable of wringing from nothing more than water, malts, hops and yeast are phenomenal. I can't wait until 12.12.12.

 870 characters

Photo of hero27
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
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..

 530 characters

Photo of kirok1999
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance is much like Arrogant Bastard, dark coppery with a mimimal head.
Smells of sweet malts, fruits and slight hops.
Mouthfeel was solid, nice carbonation.
Tasted of a young beer badly in need of aging. I'm glad I bought 2, and I hope I can hold out till 2012. Tasted of bananas, cranberries, cherry with a slight metallic twang and also a little cardboard. Taste masks the alcohol well. It was hard to notice this was almost 9%. Sufficient hops to back up the malts but it really needs some time to mature. I can't wait.

 531 characters

Photo of OStrungT
4.56/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark red, with a ruby like tint to it. The head is brown, thick and creamy. There is a very slight orange tint to it. It fades very slowly. It dosent look like it will ever go away. It leaves thick laces. Very impressive. It smells hoppy. It has a strong clove aroma. It also smells quite sweet, and fruity. It tastes strongly of cloves. Very clovelike. It tastes malty with a good hop balance. It also had a slight plum or raisin taste to it. This beer goes down very smooth. It is carbonated to perfection. It leaves a spicy aftertaste on the palate. It is a full bodied beer. The alcohol content is only slightly high, 8.5 %, so this might make a decent session beer.This one is definately a winner. If you ever see it, buy a few. I am going to buy some more as soon as possable. It will age very well.

 823 characters

Photo of kmo1030
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazed dark brown with some hints of ruby. nice tan looking tan head.
brown sugary plums and figs dominate the nose. there is an odd chocolate character that is similar to a malt ball, but somehow not. hints of raspberry and black ripe cherries. the faintest bit of must sort of weaves in and out. with a big sniff there are some grainy qualities, and oh yeah alcohol. there are some spicy hop notes and faint perfumy clove too.
the taste is a good deal fruitier than the aroma. the plum, raspberry and cherry each take their turn. the fruit is followed up by slightly chocolate tinged brown sugary earthy malts. once in a while it gets a little boozy, but on the whole it's at an ok level. some clove qualities get through here and there.
pretty full bodied with seemingly fairly strong carbonation.
this one seems to have become a little more robust than the first time i had it soon after it's initial release. this one will definitely utilize some more time in the cellar well though. i'm gonna save my last one for late 2007 maybe.

 1,039 characters

Photo of Jredner
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly roasty/carmalelized notes. Caramel malts and a little cocoa. Rich ruby/brown in color with a tiny half dollar thick tan head. Fore is caramel malts and cocoa with hints of raisin and spice. Having just had the 03 03 03 the other day I can say, as others have mentioned, this is thin. At the least is much thinner than the 03. Lacks that incredible spicy flourish of the 03 as well. But this does have a very nice basic flavor. Comes off as cocoa infused caramel pumpernickel bread with just a very slight hint of spiciness in the finish.

 546 characters

Photo of Rothobinide
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.93 out of 5 based on 319 ratings.
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