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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic AleStone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

316 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 316
Reviews: 218
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 96
Gots: 49 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 04-07-2004

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 some unmalted wheat, just the right touch of Kaffir Lime Leaf, and a really cool Belgian yeast. The result is a bit like a strong Biere de Garde / Saison-esque influenced beer coupled with some aromatic Bavarian Hefeweizen style phenolic banana esters, and a backnote hint of lime from the lime leaf.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 316 | Reviews: 218
Photo of GRG1313
3.66/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is not a 2015 review. This review is from found notes from tasting this beer shortly after it was released.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

3.5 A: Moderately hazed medium orange color. Didn't make much of a head.

3.5 S: Honey, lime, pepper, clove, and dog biscuit. Musty and simultaneously spicy. Smells almost like a much less old saison.

3.5 T: Tastes like the nose. A lot of lime and dog biscuit. Musty, a bit tangy, and spicy. Pepper, honey, and clove.

3.5 M: Medium body. Lightly spritzy with good moderate carbonation.

3.0 D: I wouldn't want to drink it again, but for an old ass beer it's not bad.

Photo of Stevedore
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Stone World Bistro in Escondido, CA.

A- Bright pale yellow-copper body, one finger white head, nice retention and longevity.

S- Crisp green apple skin tartness, Belgian yeast esters- banana, clove, mild acidity, white vinous character, a bit of citrus.

F- Clean crisp malt backbone evoking light toffee and bread; more of the cidery green apple skin tartness. Mild-moderate tartness. Less of the yeast esters are apparent on the palate though they are there- banana, cloves- but there seems to be a reasonably nice citrus character here, both lemon and lime.

M- Medium bodied, clean, crisp and refreshing on a warm day in Escondido. Nice carbonation. Very easy to drink with a lot of nice depth and complexity.

O- Very tasty and seems to have aged quite well. Nice hefeweizen-like character with a good bit of tartness. This has done well in the 10 years since it was initially released.

Final score: 3.85

Photo of BrewUSA
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look 10/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 33/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 16/20

Overall 85/100

Nice robust citrus taste... Almost like a starburst. I am enjoying it 10 year and on month after it was released... I have to think while it's very mellow, that it was better fresh. While I don't love the lime leaf and the kaffir or the other thai spices... If does make for one hell of a unique experience. It tastes much like a Lemon Lime starburst. This would probably be excellent with Thai food. Definitely has that sasion/Hefeweizen taste. Ginger, banana, Caramel, apple and cinnamon are also present. It is incredibly complex as all these vertical epic seem to be. I just wish that I personally love these flavors little bit more. Nevertheless, Stone gets huge points in the 'unique' department~

Photo of kingmaker
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Finally getting around to these beers for my birthday. 04 s now ten years old! I used a tulip glass.

A: Not much sediment at the bottom of the glass. It pours a golden amber/ copper color, pretty clear. A good finger of head appears and steadily fades leaving the thinnest of a ring of bubbles around the glass

S: A rich peppery Belgian smell rises up with a good deal of alcohol behind it. The alcohol begins to dominate as it warms.

T: The Belgian yeasts are heavy hitters up front. Some bananas and citrus towards the end and it ends on a nice rich malt. A little lime comes as it warms.

M: Smooth, smooth, smooth. Amazing carbonation for the age

O: I'm glad I was able to cellar this properly. It was interesting balance (or competitive evolution) of the saison and hefeweizen flavors. I was really impressed with the beer especially since I had no idea what to expect from this when I opened it.

Photo of scootny
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Darkish golden brew with a khaki head that stays for a bit. Streaks of lace here and there.

Nose carries some sweet honed notes and wheat malt. The lime brings some citrus.

Taste is a little angular at first as the Belgian profile sets you up to be caught unaware but the lime. After the first swallow however it comes into its own. Pale malt and Belgian yeast bring the typical malt and honey with light fruits. Finish is lightly bittered and the lime adds a punchy citrus.

Feel is lighter and mildly carbonated.

Easy drinking. Light weight

Pretty good stuff

Photo of blindtiger24
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

4oz draft pour into a tulip glass.

A: Apricot color, low carbonation, and spotty head.

S: Stone fruit smells like apricot, also apple and cinnamon.

T: Apricot, honey, graham cracker tastes.

M: Sweet bourbon mouthfeel with throat warming.

O: Manages to be refreshing and not overly sweet. Really enjoyed the aroma and taste.

Photo of KYGunner
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nine year old Four had an entrancing brightness of darkened gold color that was topped of with an effervescent bubbling head.

Cider is evident in the nose with a peppery spiciness and then a dry cereal malt finish.

The flavors are interesting in that they don't really go together yet they seem to flow effortlessly. It starts with a lavender taste with some juniper. Then a wine like fruit flavor followed by toffee and pecans. Finally it ends in a peppermint like coolness which lends to feel.

You never know what your going to get after almost a decade but this one still looks and tastes good.

Photo of kaseydad
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had a few of these through the years...time to review today.

Pours a pretty clear amber/copper color with a nice sized off-white foamy head. Still carbonated nicely for being almost 10 years old. A few cloudys in the bottle where they shall stay. A touch of lacing.

The aroma consists of belgian yeast, banana, orange, apple and grape. Getting a large fruit forward whiff. Hefe style aroma.

The aroma is still very belgian yest forward. More subtle banana. Lime and slight lemon. Wheat. Good tangerine and orange flavors. A touch of bitterness on the swallow and yeasty finish.

The mouthfeel is well carbonated for the age. Proper cellaring folks!

Overall this is still holding up nicely. I was hoping for the best, but my expectations were exceeded. Sure it's not fresh, but I appreciate it for the longevity and changes that have occured. More fruit and belgian yeast are shining through. I tell ya...cellar these correctly and you have a treat on your hand. Albeit an older treat.

Photo of mdaschaf
2.7/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

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

A: Pours a hazy golden color with a small white head with minimal retention or lacing.

S: Very chalky, sort of like baby powder. It is slightly floral, sort of like air freshener.

T: Not much going here at all. Some faint fruit, a little citrus and floral/grassy flavors.

M: Light to medium bodied with little carbonation.

O: Not very good, probably my least favorite of 3-12 that I was able to try.

Photo of sweemzander
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a taster glass. Thanks to Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a murky golden orange color. Minimal white bubbles.

(S)- Kind of a hodge podge of dry resin, orange citrus, and an ever so earthy-like hint of lime.

(T)- Rather sweet in comparison to how dry the aroma was. Lots of honey and a sugary, almost candy-like orange and lime.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. Quite sweet with an interesting citrus flavor to it. A touch muddled though due to its age.

(O)- I think this one is showing its age too, though I did appreciate the kind of awkward orange and lime citrus this has taken on.

Photo of MasterSki
3.14/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle I got from KAME a long time ago. Served in a tulip.

A - White foam settles to a thin collar, wisps, and minimal lace. Hazed, dark apricot body.

S - Shockingly, the Kaffir lime leaf has held up, even after nine years. It doesn't really mix well with the stale oxidation, marmalade, and caramel flavors though. Not offensive, but a tad strange.

T - The taste isn't quite as distince, with more nebulous sweetness. Again, it's largely caramel, fruity oxidation, and perhaps a touch of lime.

M - Medium body, with less carbonation than the previous two years. Lightly sticky texture and finish, and again no obvious alcohol.

D - Very weird. If you like lime then this might still be somewhat palatable, but it's certainly not something I could drink in large quantities. Still, better than the 03.03.03 in my book.

Photo of Treebs
2.49/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a hazy apricot color with a ton of yeasty floaters in the pour. Some light splotches of lace are left down the glass.

S: Flowery and herbal with some light fruity undertones. Some plum with stale, oaty malts.

T: Paper and light oxidation with some light caramel malts. Flowery notes with some mild glue and light lime. A little prune-like oxidation.

M: Medium to light bodied with a medium carbonation level. Not much remaining on the flavor.

O: Did not enjoy this one at all. The lime notes seemed out of placed and it made the overall taste take on an Elmers glue-like flavor profile.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | 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 medium golden color with a smallish off white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet caramel and light sugar with a bit of cherry and sherry notes. Hint of lime and spicy yeast notes provide a nice contrast to the sweetness within. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Sweet and sugary with caramel and sherry notes balanced by peppery spicy bready yeast flavors. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet spicy mouthfeel. This was a nice beer and over the years the flavors have melded quite nicely. The lime aroma and flavor are different, but work against the backdrop of the other flavors.

Photo of charlzm
2.89/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

Beer pours a clear, light medium-gold. Slightly hazy, no head.

The aroma is nebulous esters and phenols; the only thing I could definitely pick out was lime.

Flavor was slightly sweet with notes of clove, pepper and lime. Very low to no bitterness.

Mouthfeel was flat and otherwise unremarkable.

Sadly, this one doesn't seem to have aged very well.

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into the Vertical Epic Glass.

First pour was careful so as not to disturb the yeast. It poured a very clear coppery gold with no retained head.

The smell was surprising, and included light minty and buttery qualities. Some swwetness is also present.

Very subdued peach is detected among the hop flavor. The taste is light with mild tannin.

The tannin is present on the feel, but other than that, it is clean and slightly warming.

Photo of TKEbeerman
2.96/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A. Poured into my VE glass this brew pours a golden yellow with a little murky yeast. One of our tasters had a crystal clear pour.
S. The aroma is plain and bready. Some oxidization, but less than 02 and 03.
T. The flavor tastes of bready tones with notes of hops that used to be dominate. Again, no belgiumy tones.
Mf. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, a little rough on the finish.
Overall not as an impressive choice for aging.

Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
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 tulip. Poured golden yellow with a one finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Based on the style of this brew and the age, I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. I know that the 03.03.03 had changed quite a bit over time so I expected more of this with the 04.04.04. However I found that this one really hadn’t changed too much based on the style. This one wasn’t hugely complex, but did manage to stay quite well balanced though. Just wish that it would have taken it to another level though. Worth your time trying this one if you get the opportunity.

Photo of yourefragile
2.31/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours a clear golden orange with a thin bubbly off white head. Nose is minty and medicinal, with some strawberry and green tea. Odd. Syrupy body with minimal carbonation. Very sweet, cloying flavor. Sort of like the juice from a can of pineapples or peaches. Watery, stale and sticky. Pass.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.01/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is bright orange and hazy with a thin white head. The aroma offers mint, tea, citrus, malt, lime, kiwi. The flavor is a bit odd, showing signs of age. Well water, oranges, light toffee. Light in body with low carbonation. This was ok.

Photo of russwbeck
2.8/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Churchkey.

This one has a semi hazy yellow color and a small fizzy white head. While the head laces well, it doesn't stick around for very long. It smells very Belgian-like, with clove, banana, and Belgian yeast taking over. There's also a slight amount of booze and an overall sweetness. The taste is muted. It really doesn't taste like much of anything. Perhaps some hay, light spice, and lingering clove. It's light and uncarbonated, but pretty drinkable because it tastes like nothing. Not a fan. Again, too old.

Photo of portia99
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass.

A - Pours a clear amber tinted gold with fine floating particles throughout the body of liquid. Low white head fades quickly leaving behind faint traces of lacing on the glass.

S - Malty sweet, honey is quite prominant in the aroma, lite touches of lime, bit of earth, peppery and spicy, some earthy aromas and mild alcohol presence.

T - The kaffir lime comes thru well despite the age of the bottle, lots of honey as was found in the aroma, some pepper. Overall sweet and very honey dominant flavor.

M - A bit syrupy in feel, body is medium-full, carbonation is low-medium and tingly on the tongue, a bit of a spicy burn on the back of the throat on the swallow.

O - Super sweet and honey dominant. Lime holds up nicely and comes thru to compliment the honey. A bit unusual overall.

Photo of peabody
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lots of bubbles in this slightly yellow amber liquid that adorns the glass with a few white bubbles and lacing around the rim.
Smell is grassy banana and yeast with a few spices and the alcohol burn.
Taste is kinda syrupy with a very slight hop bitterness but very little. Not much spice shows up anymore.
Mouthfeel is very sticky at first then the bitterness washes most of the syrup away.
Overall this is another FAILED attempt from Stone. This one is well over it's prime. Had it 4 years ago and it was a lot better. It has went downhill since.

Photo of Hopswagger
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Pours a bright effervescent golden body with sudsy white head.

S: Spicy, citrus soap aroma, clove, powdery yeast, bubblegum, pepper corns, lime, bananas and a touch of oxidation.

T/M: Dull fruit flavors, citrus, lime zest, honey wheat bread, booze and timid tartness. Body is medium and has gritty soap chalkiness. Carbonation level is nice a crisp.

O: Flavors are dialed down but after 9 years a truly impressive beer that was a treat to enjoy. Line was the key ingredient in this brew and the spices really complimented it. Easy drinking and smooth.

Photo of TubaManJack
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - wow very little carbonation and no head from this draft pour. The body is a very hazy yellow body

Smell- Almost lactose sugar sweet with a little funk. There is a medium banana ripeness to it. Very strange and yet intreging.

Taste- somewhat like the nose. There is a bit of funk and ripeness that.
I have never encountered before. There is a bspa yeast element and then a wet mop of a mouthfeel. Kinda of a disappoint because I feel like there is something there.

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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 316 ratings.