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
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Ratings: 319 |  Reviews: 216
Photo of canucklehead
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great example of a North American Belgian style beer that cellars exceptionally well. The smoothness and complexity of flavours involved are a real treat and I suspect the cellar has something to do with it. Dark brown ,almost black with some reddish highlights, the nose is one of toffee and dried fruit. The hops are still apparent though in the background compared to most stone beers. The finish is complex and much like an old Rochefort 10. Great beer

 466 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am sampling a room temp bottle in a snifter.
The beer pours a deep mahogany color with rich ruby highlights throughout.

A fluffy beige head foams up 2 cm easily and fades very slowly leaving some larger craters in the surface and also some nice lattice on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is brown sugar and toffee some raisin and spices, cloves mostly. QUite appealing.
First sip reveals an average body with fine tingly carbonation. The texture is smooth and easy to drink. There is a pretty intense amount of warming on the swallow that carries from back of my throat to my belly.
Flavor is malty sweet up front with toffee and some sugar, this mixes with a bit of dark fruit and some other spices. I also get a rather bitter finish just before the alcohol warmth kicks in. I feel like the bitternes is from hops not alcohol. Definitely a little grapefruity on the bitterness. I enjoy this beer and it is my favorite of the VE series so far (didnt get any 020202). A bit of a sipper with the heat on the finish, but this may mellow out some prior to the sampling with its bretheren.

 1,093 characters

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had outstanding depth and complexity of flavor - you name it, and search around a bit, you'll probably find it. Primary characteristic as a dark, ripe fruit that was right at home with a dark Belgian style. Malty flavors were also at play - some toffee and milk chocolate, and a not-quite coffee mocha note of some sort. What surpised me most was that, for a beer with this abv and intended to be aged, it did not come across as hot or young. In fact, I wonder what improvement age will bring, it already seems much more mellow than I expected. Nicely done, and ready to crack open right now.

 602 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%

Photo of Adamostella
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of mikeincharleston
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%

Photo of merlin48
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served chilled in a St Bernardus goblet, 05-05-05 pours a very dark body that appears opaque in the glass, but reveals a radiant ruby color when held to the light. Head is minimal, beige in color, has little retention and minimal lacing.
Aroma, when cold, has prominent notes of spice, yeast, and fruits. As it warms, malty notes come forth with chocolate and dark fruits soaked in rum. Yeasty character emits some wool sweater aromas. Mango and melon fruit esters are delightful to the nose.
Mouthfeel has a medium heavy body and moderate carbonation.
Taste is complex and quite good. Figs, prunes, and raisins drenched in rum. Spicy and earthy yeast and hops climb aboard and add a pleasant complexity. Strong rum notes make you aware that this one packs a punch. Bittersweet dark roasted malts emerge as it warms, along with a hint of orange and stronger prunes. Stone says this edition contains no spices, but there are notes of coriander, white pepper, and anise. Bitter chocolate and fusel alcohol on the finish, with a long bitter chocolate and spice aftertaste.
This year's Vertical Epic is deep and complex. A very good strong dark Belgian ale that is going to get much better with some age. Highly recommended!

 1,224 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 420 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - pours a dark reddish amber. A light tan head forms but quickly fades away leaving random lacing behind.

Aroma - molasses, chocolate, fig, a fine fine nose.

Taste - molasses, black licorice, dark sugars, all with a light roasted covering. A most distinctive tasting beer, unlike any in memory. There is a slight, slight funky feel in there somewhere, I can't pin it down though. Following the swallow is a brief coffee flavor imediately followed by some moderate hop flavor. The sweetness prevails but there is plenty of flavor to experience. The flavors are not real contiguous but as I said, this is a very interesting beer to taste.

Mouthfeel - full, thick and luciously smooth. Carbonation serves to further spice up the flavor and the hops.

Drinkability - the abv is barely noticeable here, but becomes more evident with warmth. Still, what a unique beer, I am very curious to see what aging will do to this.

 937 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Tap

Stone Epic Festival 12-12-12
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 8 years)

A very dark ruby, bordering on brown, with a small cap of brown foam atop. Leaves the glass dotted, but there's not a lot of cling.

A sweet aroma of dark fruits, distinct clove, and some burnt wheat toast. Not quite as faint of an aroma as some of the other Vertical Epic beers sampled, but not particularly bold.

The flavor follows the aroma, with a yeasty/clove flavor combining with burnt wheat bread, moderate bitterness, and some mild dark fruit character.

Medium in bodied, slightly oily, with moderate carbonation.

I didn't really enjoy this, but it wasn't bad, by any means. This beer seems confused and an addition to an unnecessarily lame project.

 751 characters

Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of yemenmocha
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Deep brown cloudy nectar in my goblet. Thin head disappears completely in short time.

Aroma is quite comple mix of clove, cinnamon, tea leaves, christmas cake and more. Also a bit alcoholy.

Taste is disturbingly similar to root beer. I never thought it would be so but it is. Root Beer. There's clove, nutmeg, some wild flavors from the belgian yeast but it has a distinct root beer with Lipton iced tea flavor.

Finish is long, soft and a bit chewy with the flavors. Very sticky, and in a good way. A lot of hype for this beer so my expectations were a bit inflated.

 575 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass crystal celar deep amber brown with a tan lasting head that worked it's magic in coating the glass.

The aroma was molasses and brown sugar with dark caramel and a slight spicy phenolic from alcohol.

The flavor was mostly molasses with strong dark caramel and some dark fruit flavors.

The finish was dry with lasting molasses and lasting spiciness into the aftertaste. The body was medium full. A good beer, not overly complex however. Quite a bit of alcohol warming after consumption.

22 ounce bottle. Thanks CSquared!

 561 characters

Photo of unclekeith
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Been waiting for a reason to try this. I just had a great weekend, so this will hopefully be a great way to wrap it up.

Pours a clear and dark brown color with a decent off white head.

Aromas are spicy, some bright fruits, apples, some cider, caramal and oak.

Taste is spicy, oaky, with some sweet caramel flavors. Pretty dry with some light boozy alcohol, chocolate, and and earthiness. Finish has a bit of a funky yeast like bite.

Mouthfeel is nice and full. Feels thick but not overly heavy.

All in all, a really interesting and tasty beer. Pretty unique, not my favorite epic, but a very solid one. I also think this one has legs to keep going for a few more years. It seems like it might make it to 2012.

 715 characters

Photo of Floydster
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle from Naja's Place in Redondo Beach

Poured into a pint glass with a 1/4 thick tan head and the color was an extremely dark brown, looked a little like Gulden Draak

Smell was very good with raisins, coffee, cocoa, and something that resembled a smore

Taste was nice and had a lot of malt and sweetness in it, taste did not last too long like other VEs I have had

You could finish a bomber of this problem, I shared this one with my buddy and wanted more afterwards, so pretty drinkable for how dark it is

 522 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cherry wood color with deep brown streaks and a tightly carbonated tan head that kicks off just a wisp of occasional lace.
Aroma of chocolate, molasses or honey and some lightly roasted nuts with a earthy almost peaty note and a very spicy and dark fruit hit as well.
Flavors have clove-like Hefewezien or Dunkelweizen spiciness with dark and citrus fruit notes. Some chocolate notes, Belgian candi sugar as well as a resiny hop hit are also detected.
Mouthfeel has real alcoholic warming punch and has definitely not matured yet. Transitions between sweetness, spiciness and bittering are confused or non-existent but there remains a uniquely complex malt base that with some aging should amount to a pretty darn good beer. Think of it has a young pitcher throwing 98 MPH stuff just waiting to add a slider, splitter and change to reall foll the hitters. This one has some serious complexity buried between the medicinal alcoholic hit and should age well. In fact, my guess is that this one will age the best out of the VE's released so far.
Drinkability is decent considering it is way too young to drink. As the alcohol coats the palate the harsher flavors get softer and more enjoyable.

 1,209 characters

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

Photo of kmpitz2
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep deep rubied brown color with a finger of head that stays around nicely. The nose is very nice, with molasses, sweet raisineyness, almost a slight nutmeg spiceyness. I like it. Lots going on. The flavor is pretty nice too. Some burnt caramel with slight sweet fig with a nice spiceyness. The feel is nice and thick. Right where it ought to be. It leaves a slight bitter on the tongue as well after swallowing. Overall, a nice beer. Smooth and drinkable. I like it and I think that time will do it good.

 514 characters

Photo of MickeyHops
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Magery
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Overlord
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, reddish amber. Thin crust; almost no head. Smells like 100% caramel malt and Belgian candi.

This is a very sweet brew; malt, Belgian candi, maybe a bit of balancing fruits (apricot? plums? dates?). Nice yeasty/bread aftertaste.

Enjoyed it quite a bit.

 268 characters

Photo of funkel81
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of SFC21
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

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