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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

310 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 310
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 98
Gots: 49 | FT: 4
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:
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 added by: Todd on 04-07-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 310 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by NearerMyBeerToMe:
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent schoolbus orange with highlights of brass. A 1/8th inch deep head of pure white foam fades quickly to a skim of bubbles, under which very sparse lines of carbonation float lazily to the surface. Seems kind of uncharacteristic for Stone... Very fragrant aroma, full of honey and emergent nectarine flesh. Finishing with tangy fumes of lime juice and menthol (or perhaps vermouth?), the whole thing conjures an image of a banana split with vanilla ice cream topped by creme de menthe. Groovy. The flavor is a pleasant contest of sweet vs. spice, far more assertive than the typical Belgian Tripel. The taste of green tea abounds, as does poached peach with honey, with mango at the sides of the tongue. The spiciness of ginger and nutmeg lingers slightly in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel has a filmy, sweet finish, but desperately needs carbonation--or something to lift the flavors back up from the tongue. With the alcohol more or less undetectable, this is quite the drinker. I'd like to try this with creme brulee or mascarpone. A fun beer, this one.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an orange/gold color with not much head to speak of wich was somewhat suprising for the style,aromas of honey and sweet,ripe fruit aong with a little spice.Flavors of bubblegum really stick ouot up front along with some honey and cloves with a little alcohol burn as I drink more.A good beer but not any better than some good Belgian Triples for sure,not worth the hype but a good brew none the less.

Photo of RoyalT
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This poured a lovely, very hazy Belgian orange with a nice, white, frothing head that left little lava pits on top of the liquid.

Smell – This has a big, Abbey Tripel nose full of sweet tangerine and orange peel along with traditional Belgian spices. There was a touch of coriander and white pepper along with a dash of cinnamon and maybe a few others.

The big news here though was the lovely yeast backbone. Stone nailed this aroma to the wall. I could hang my nose over this all day. The wonderful yeast and big orange mixture was awesome.

Taste – Man, is this good. This is an incredibly successful attempt at (at least in my opinion) the ideal of this style.

The orange is more bitter (and pale) than sweet, but there’s enough sweetness there to make it sticky and chewy. The huge yeast backbone is large and in charge. The spices aren’t over the top but just right. The finish is dry.

Mouthfeel – The flavors come together perfectly in the mouth for this medium to full-bodied Abbey Tripel. It may benefit a bit from aging.

Drinkability – One of the best Abbey Tripels that I’ve had, and certainly one of the most successful stateside efforts at the style.

Comments – No, I’m not one of those whiny West Coasters that fall over anything made by Stone. This AT is excellent, though. This is not a half-baked effort. This is the real deal, and it rivals almost every other AT that I’ve had to date. Another amazing ale by Stone. Why would you want to wait eight years to drink this?

I have a reputation for having deviant tastes on this style (read, Elysian’s Bete Blanche or Mad Bitch) but this bottle was awesome! Stone does it again!!

Photo of Dmann
4.8/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another unique brew from Stone. This one poured a clear golden color with a nice white head that left a little lace down the glass. The first scent that jumped out was banana and a peppery scent as the beer warmed. The flavor reminded me slightly of last years VE in the pepper department, but other than that it is totally different. The beer has a very good malty flavor and a fruity(cantelope?) flavor that mix very well. There is not much hops at all which is supprising for a Stone brew, and the 8.5% abv is hidden very well. I can see this beer only getting better with age. Another great offering from our friends at Stone!

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hanging onto this one for a bit now..and finally decided it's time. Crisp bright golden yellow pour with a nice bubbly 1" head sitting on top. Vibrant. Banana, clove, some citrus...quite a complex nose. Hints of fresh baked wheat bread.

First sip is refreshing mix of banana bread, hints of citrus fruits...I do get a hint of lime on the back of the palate. A nice spiciness runs throughout the brew, including cloves and yeast notes. I really enjoy the flavor here, everything works well together. Some nice citric hop bitterness on the way down as well.

Smooth, creamy, easy to drink here....a nice body as well. No complaints from me. I could easily drink this one all night...another very tasty brew from the Stone crew. I have one sitting in the cellar for 2012...how will it hold up?? I have no clue. However I do know that it's a damn good beer right now!

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz brown bomber with an obvious vintage date.

A- Bright pale copper hued brew, good head retention to say the least.

S- Malt aroma reminds me of fresh tapioca or plain Indian pudding made with lime pudding, tad bready / yeasty with some hot spice in the back.

T- Faint lime character, solid maltiness holds on to some sweetness. The lime character has more bite with the hops than anything else. Lots of spice flowing around which masks the malt for a second. Warming alcohol finally catches up mid-bottle, tad fruity ... plum-like. Finishes semi-dry with a light roughness of wheat and pale malt with a long lingering spicy lime character.

M- Oh so crisp and so damn smooth over the medium body.

D- At first I did not think I was going to drink the whole bottle, it slowly grew on me with each sip.

If my palate was not used to exotic beers I'd probably hit a brick wall here. Thankfully I can see where beer can go and has gone. I guess I will have to bum a sip from some one else on 12.12.12 as this was my last bottle.

Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a St Bernardus goblet, this Tripel pours a clear, apricot colored body. Small white head leaves a frothy collar and attractive sheets of lace. Active carbonation is very apparent, with scores of tiny bubbles rushing up from the bottom.

Aroma evokes Juicy Fruit chewing gum, with a strong banana essence. Wheat notes are also picked up, with a nice array of Belgianesque spices. Clove, coriander, and freshly ground white peppercorns lead the spice component.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Carbonation level is ideal for style.

Banana is up front in the taste, but the Juicy Fruit chewing gum flavor is as prominent as in the aroma. The yeast plays a prominent role here, and lends a dirty carpet presence that nicely compliments the sweet fruitiness. I just can't pick up the lime.

Excellent drinkability and another high quality product from the folks at Stone. This one should improve with age, and the bottle sardonically suggests saving this until 12-12-12.

Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Woohoo what a brew! Another fine Stone brew for Belgian lovers (like me). Tried it on tap at the BT in NYC. Poured into a Belgian type glass, basically no head, just that typical Stone tiny bubble film. Light Golden in color, with perhaps a melon shimmer. I got Bubblegum in the nose, along with some yeast. Warming, strong, crisp and tasty. Typical Belgian (If such a thing exists) yeasty, spicy, phenolic notes. Suffice to say that If you like Belgians, this one is well worth seeking out. A very tasty and wicked Stone creation.

Photo of ehammond1
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On Tap

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

(Aged for 8 years)

Cloudy golden with a whisper of an off-white head. Leaves irregular spots and lines of stick down the glass. Pretty enough, and appropriate.

The Belgian yeast presents sweet banana character along with some mild pepper notes, a touch of citrus (though I wouldn't say lime if I was given this blind), and distinct banana. There's also a substantial amount of simple sweetness that covers up much of the complexity that may be there. The aroma is still very strong and expressive after all these years. A bit too much alcohol heat and overbearing sweetness to score particularly well.

The flavor follows the aroma. A flavorful, bold combination of banana, booze, mild citrus, and tangy Belgian yeast character. Like with the aroma, there's an overbearing sweetness that dominates.

Though I never had the opportunity to try this fresh, this is now a thick, heavy, nearly-flat beer reminiscent of a syrup. The low point of this beer.

Too sweet, too syrupy, though not offensive.

Photo of far333
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruddy chestnut color with a lumpy, foamy beige head that sinks fast, but leaves a fine cap across the top. Aroma is sweet, full of sweet pear, cinnamon, and fruit. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, low carbonation. Flavor is sweet and lightly yeasty, a little cloying for my tastes. Finish is interesting as honey, banana, and clove rise to the top, but a tinny aftertaste lingers. I expected much more.

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 WVbeergeek
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of those beers that can easily be classified as a trippel, however there's so much more going on in this EPIC release. At first sight deep honey golden slightly hazed body with a white chunky head forming on the crown sporadic but chunky lacing this is a beautiful specimen of a beer. Aromatics consist of deep alcohol infused banana and cloves with the kaffir lime highlights alcohol syrup with a plethora of fruit is a good way to describe the smell. Flavor profile complex as all hell, rich syrup wtih banana clove and kaffir lime the alcohol is very evident. This beer shows signs that it will mellow out with age not bad at all. Mouthfeel: Full bodied brew that is a bit syrupy textured excellent, not a disappointment I love wheat beers and Saisons/Biere de Gardes so this is amazing to me. Drinkability: Way to easy to consume a great beer from the Stone Brewing Co. excited to taste what this will be like in 12/12/12 what an adventure, possibly an epic one at that.

Photo of OStrungT
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice golden with a white head that disapears fast leaving laces on the glass. It looks unfiltered, but not as unfiltered as a hefe wiezen. Smells fruity and spicy. Hints of lime in the taste. Also ginger. Tastes very clovey. It leaves a sweet aftertaste. It goes down nicely. This beer could be consumed all night. The alcohol content is above average, but it doesnt taste like it. I would drink this beer again. Too bad it will probably never come out again.

Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Belgian style, obvious Belgian influences, with the yeast and orange peel characters. But i tasted a lot of American style hops in here (could be wrong, i dunno). Didn’t taste particularly Belgian to me. Interesting all same. Probably have to hang on to a bottle to let in soften. A little too much alcohol showing in the finish.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a hazy golden with a strong carbonation with a white cream thin head.

S- Very clean light bread aroma with a hit of lime and some soft wheat notes.

T- This beer has a light wheat taste with a crisp lime leaf taste. There are some peppery notes with some bright citrus almost lemon notes. The alcohol is very gentle but has a nice warming

M- medium body with not a fizzy taste and no alcohol heat.

D- This has some nice triple qualities but the bitter lime taste is a little to overpowering. It might be much better after some aging. Definitely an interesting beer just not a great beer yet.

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of weonfire
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of IntriqKen
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a BEAUTIFUL golden orange with a nice half finger head that melts to a decent thin head.
Aroma...ahhh...aroma gorgeous sweet malt and fresh fruits.
Taste is remarkable....sweet malt...fresh tropical fruits...a little alcohol.
Aftertaste of tropical fruit and alcohol.
Nice alcohol burn afterwards.
This is a sin...it is really a wonderful triple.

Photo of mdaschaf
2.71/5  rDev -30%
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 soper2000
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a golden/orangish color with a minimum head into my Gulden Draak goblet. Aroma had notes of grass and citrus reminding me of a hefe. Taste was mildly citric with some pleasant notes of yeast and bannana rounding out the palate. Very different from the tripels i've previously had. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. Drinakability is decent, alcohol isn't very evident, but the flavor is kind of tiring. A very solid and different brew from Stone.

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Metalmonk
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drinking Stone stuff always seems like an event, and the Vertical Epics even more so. Yeah, I'm psyched to open this 04.04.04.

There isn't much head on this despite a vigorous pour. But the beautiful clear sunburst orange/yellow color is quite nice. Aroma is springy and pleasant: a cool and sweet spice blend, everything so perfectly incorporated I'm having a hard time picking out exact references. Nice to have the yeast making an appearance. After 2+ years, it liiiives!

And no surprise, the flavor delivers some real nice stuff. The lime leaves used in brewing are obvious, delicious, and non-intrusive to the overall vibe. Belgian candy sugar and flowery spices are balanced with a light wheat earthiness. The spices are particularly airy, with nutmeg and white pepper coming to mind/tastebuds immediately.

A microscopically small hint of citrus acidity is found in the finish, and together with a super-light, buoyant mouthfeel, this isn't as heavy an offering as everything else I've had from Stone. Make no mistake, it's very very nice. I hope this bottle never ends...

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Spoils of Charlottesville Run, 4.30.04.

22 oz. bomber

Golden in color with a large, foamy white head after a semi-aggressive pour. A strong aroma of yeast and citrus fruit sweetness.

This is a very interesting beer. The dominant flavor is definitely the banana esters, but they take on a new character in the absence of the strong, wheaty backbone of hefes that I usually associate themn with. The lime leaf adds an almost sour crispness, like biting into a lime. There's also something almost medicinal about that's a little strange, but I like it--maybe not as much as I would have predicted I would, but I like it nonetheless.

Overall, the beer does seem a bit "too fresh." I can't wait to see how it ages if I get the chance--with a little mellowing on the lime and bananas, this could be awesome.

Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had in March 2009, days short of the five-year mark of the bottle. First impression: It can't be a hefe, but it strongly smells and tastes like a hefe, with orange and a unique kick-in of lime taste. Marvelous one-of-a-kind. Not lasting head, lighter colour.Above average mouthfeel.

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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 310 ratings.