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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic AleStone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale
BA SCORE
3.91/5
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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
216
Ratings:
319
pDev:
12.53%
Bros Score:
3.85
 
 
Wants:
102
Gots:
59
Trade:
6
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 319 |  Reviews: 216
Photo of mendvicdog
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12. Review from notes.

A: Burgundy/brown color with a small off-white head that reduces to a thin ring. Minimal lacing.

S: Chocolate, caramel, and some bread. Reminds me of a dubbel, sort of estery and phenolic.

T: Not as nice as the nose, some banana, chocolate, clove, and butterscotch. A little bit of raisin and dark fruit as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: One of the better "older" vintages.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fiery dark bronze with molten lava edges that becomes deep, blood red when backlit. The head is golden ecru in color, firmly creamy in texture and is stubbornly persistent. In other words, typical Stone quality. Although it looks to be an extraordinary lacer early on, roughly half of the initially thick blanket melts away in the end. This is still great looking beer and is easily the equal of the Epics that preceded it.

I've been enjoying the nose from afar ever since the pour. Thankfully, it smells like a BSDA; never a certainty when it comes to American versions of this classically Belgian style. With no added spices, all I can say is that the yeast strain was an inspired choice. It provides complexity to a beer that wasn't going to get it from any of the other ingredients. The nose is mildly cocoa-like, dark fruity and clove spicy. My reservations about a lack of power and depth no longer apply once the beer has had the opportunity to lose its initial chill.

Excellent beer! Epic 05.05.05 tastes like a bona fide, world-class BSDA and is far away my favorite beer of the series. My first thought upon tipping the glass up was how beautifully integrated and harmonious the flavor profile is. I have a habit of drinking these Epics at about one year of age (1 year, 4 months in this case) and even though I didn't sample this one when it was young and brash, it's obvious that time has been kind.

The chocolatey, well-roasted maltiness would be reminiscent of a big, bruising doppelbock if it wasn't for the intriguing, spicy splendor of the yeast. How is it possible that a malt bill that contains roughly 90% pale malt, 9% caramel malt and only 1% chocolate wheat malt results in a beer that tastes this dark and fudge-like? Pureed dates and figs keep it deliciously fruity and well away from stout territory.

Amarillo hops seem like an odd choice for a BSDA. Given the malt dominance, their tangerine fruitiness isn't really appreciated (although I might pick up a twist of orange on the finish), but their bitterness is needed to offset the candi sugar, which it does with perfection. Sweet and bitter are both well accounted for, with sweet exerting its dominance from start to finish.

I flat out love the mouthfeel. Love. It. It's full and lush and velvety and sticky and melted chocolate gooey and is everything that I love about big beer mouthfeels. Frankly, it's the highlight of a beer that is full of highlights. I've just realized that I haven't commented on alcohol's role in the flavor profile. What alcohol?

Stone Vertical Epic 05.05.05 is an outstanding BSDA... right now! I have no idea how it will taste in 2012 (I can't wait to find out), but it's hard to imagine how it could be a better beer in six years than it is now. If I had had the foresight to purchase a case of this heavenly ale, it would have taken every ounce of my self control not to drain each and every bomber over the next few months. The best of the series by a country mile and the only one (so far) that can truly be considered epic.

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Photo of drewone
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Jason
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, obvious vintage date on the bottle. The usual short story on the bottle as well.

A- Feigned black with garnet hues when brought up to the light, decent head retention ... lacing drops a few rings on the glass.

S- Powdered carob, mild tropical fruit of mango and pineapple. Phenolic of cloves and black pepper ... faint on that though, hint of fusel alcohol as well.

T&M- Crisp within a full body, perfect level of carbonation. Earthy with a bittersweet chocolate powder up front. Plum pudding character throughout; candied fruit, cloves, spices, bit of alcohol. Slight brown malt flavor and anise in the drying finish.

D- Tasty without a doubt, for a little over a year old it has held up pretty well ... flavors seem to be meshed toge her with little to no "aged" character. Still a sipping brew but a tasty one at that.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From 10/04/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey for the Stone Tap Takeover event.

a - Pours a dark amber color with 1 inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, sweet dark fruits, and a little bit of alcohol.

t - Tastes of dark fruit, sugar, bready and caramel malts. Not bad but a little too sweet.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A decent strong dark ale, but it seemed more like a barelywine to me after these 5 years. I thought the taste was too sweet. Probably wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

well it is time for me to start opening up some of these older beers i have been cellaring for a long time. this now with 6 years on it, lets see what it can do. opened on cinco de mayo.

A rich, deep, dark brown was shown right before me, just barely letting the slightest bit of color come through to give it a nice tint to the reddish side. Lots of carbonation rippling up toward the surface though out. The head was enormous, towering to a height of at least four inches before finally settling down

Big aroma of raisins, and figs started it off, with a nice little hint of spice and just the tiniest bit of alcohol way in the back making it a touch bigger. There was the unmistakable aroma of cocoa in there as well, which really threw me for a loop. Nice subtle earthy tones as well, overall this was extremely well done. The flavor started out very nice. A rich, warming palate of dark fruits washed over the tongue from the very first sip. It had loads of rum soaked raisins, figs, plums, and was just very dark overall in its profile. The cocoa then showed up again as well, very sweet, and creamy hints of chocolate showing out here

saying this held up well is an understatement. this beer was sublime still cannt wait to see a couple more years on my pther bottle

 1,278 characters

Photo of orangesol
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of womencantsail
3.08/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing this, Mike!

The beer pours a murky dark amber color without much of a head. There is a definite oxidation to the aroma. Lots of cardboard with the stale sugar and toffee notes. A bit of fruit, maybe some chocolate. The flavor is fairly boring, mostly due to the oxidation. Just sort of sweet and muddled with a bit of cardboard to it. Might be some dark fruit notes and yeast in there.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer appears chestnut brown with a thin tan collar. The aroma brings toffee, light spice, caramels, malt, age, brown sugar. The flavor is a tad sweet, with brown bread, a touch of basement musk, toffee. Pretty good. Thin body with low carbonation. Pretty good.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of chippo33
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark ruby caramel cola tone with a tan frothy head about an inch thick, leaves some fine lacing around the chalice. Aroma: Slight medicinal clove tones along with some herbal tea and vinous sweetness which takes on a raisiny phenolic note. Taste: Spots of dark chocolate with a drier finish touch of honey and caramel sweetness with fruit phenols maybe some cherry here and there with a mix of cocoa powder and alcohol in the finish dark roasts play a nice mix with the belgian yeast character of this brew. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with an airy carbonation not bad coats the palate very well. Drinkability: Complex and somewhat difficult to describe flavor, I'm sure this one will be changing with time some brashness but should definitely mellow out (I'm sure this is the plan only needs to make it to December 12th, 2012.

 836 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Billolick
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle with usual stone brewery blather all over the bottle. Pours dark brown with a tan head evolving to the obligatory tiny bubble film and leaving some scattered and spotty lacing upon swirling the glass. Faint nose of cola and fruit. Chewy, lightly chocolaty brew. Notes of some vanila cola, bourbon, fruits and nuts. Thoroughly delicious. Rum soaked cherries in the finish. More top quality suds from the master brewers at Stone. Put some of this away or crack open and enjoy today.

 494 characters

Photo of imperialking
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of malfunxion
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby color, bright at sides, with a long-lasting, creamy tan head. Nice.

in the nose: ah...warm, soft, fruity, rich, malty, toffeeish, enticing...delicious...alive and invigorating...much appreciated.

...and smooth and tasty on the tongue, as well. Big, fat malty taste, nary a squeak out of hops...molasses, hint of anise, caramel...richness at play on the palate. Damnably tasty! And the high abv keeps quiet, at least, so far...

I'd love it if this were a regular brew, that I could down anytime I felt. It straddles a special place between abbey dubbel and baltic porter, with a kiss of coffee/chocolate/oatmeal/nut brown stout...if you know what I mean...yummy!

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Photo of GClarkage
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Don't even remember where I got this one - probably Discount Liquor or something. Served in a tulip.

A - Tan-brown foam settles to a thick collar, wisps, and minimal lacing. Dark and hazy amber-brown body.

S - Just a vague sweetness, with perhaps a touch of chocolate amid the fruity oxidation and caramel flavors.

T - The taste is worse - there's a note of dishwater and cardboard among the standard 'old beer' caramel, honey, and fruitiness combo. I don't get any of the advertised flavors from the bottle - it's all just very muddled.

M - Chewy texture, lower carbonation, smooth, medium body, and no alcohol.

D - Boring. The taste is kind of unpleasant and the rest of the beer is just old and faded. Probably my least favorite so far.

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Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Gavage
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a clear ruby color with a one finger head that falls quickly to a surface foam. No lacing develops.

Smell: load of pitted fruits and alcohol.

Taste: the sweet malt is paired with black cherry, prunes, pepper, mild bitterness, and noticeable alcohol. The flavors are wrapped in a mild earthiness.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smooth at the finish. Aftertaste is long on the fruits and alcohol. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: this is a beer that will improve with some aging. The alcohol at times seems to dominate. Definite slow sipper here.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the 05, 07 and 07 wine barrel all side by side at Churchkey the other night, and those three were all rather disappointing.

I have a bottle of this in my "cellar" and I'm not sure I want it now. This beer was oxidized (IN A KEG) and really oddly sweet. It was dark amber and mildly hazy. Spicy, sort of, and mostly malty. THere is a decayed hop background to the beer that indicated that one day, perhaps 5 years in the past, this beer was palatable.

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Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 319 ratings
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