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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

305 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 305
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
Gots: 48 | 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: 305 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle

A-Golden orange beer with a pure white head that stays lingered throughout and slowly dissipated with nice lacing throuhout-Vanilla aroma. Banana mildly sweet like silk candy.

T-Vanilla flavor, a with a spicy undertone.

M-Light body, still well carbonated.

D-Very smooth with hint of vanilla that was enjoyable all the way through. Very easy to drink. Can't wait to try this one again.

Serving type: bottle

FARGO619, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of cncbofh
4.97/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Almost a perfect 5 here.

You don't notice the 8.5%. This beer is dangerous.
It's a summer beer that is light but fairly complex. It goes down way too easy and has an unmistakable lemon zest that is absolutely thrilling. I love the fresh taste and light mouthfeel... It has an herbal lemongrass aftertaste that is neither harsh nor unpleasant.

I'm saving 6 of these for the cellar.
Way to go Stone Brewing Co.!

cncbofh, Apr 28, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
4.88/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Evidently made with Kaffir Lime leaves. Limited 5000 case release. 22oz.bottle, 8.5% ABV. See http://www.stonebrew.com/epic/040404/recipe.html
for the homebrew recipe.


SG=1.076, FG=1.011, IBU=35.
Brewed with:
- Pale 2-row malt (95%)
- Unmalted wheat flakes(5%)
- Sterling hops(35 IBUs)
- Kaffir lime leafs(about 3 grams per 5 gallons)
- Bastogne Belgian yeast from Whitelabs

Filtered (for something that is supposed to be drank 8 years from now?). Pours out to a brilliantly clear light honey-colored caramel, forming a medium-sized rocky light-beige head with excellent retention and clumpy kibbles and bits of sticky lace. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is immediately recognizable as Bavarian (i.e-Weinhestephaner) hefe-weizen yeast strain, with that unique abundance of bananas and cloves. This is coupled to a very delicate toast, and when swirled, honey and caramel notes are produced. Wonderful nose....It's hard to believe that the bad boys of brewing, "Stone"...are capable of pulling off something so subtle, yet so powerful. Mouthfeel is initially fizzy and powdery with a medium body which envelopes the senses. Starts out in flavor like a classic, albeit heavily malted, Bavarian Weisse, and then somewhere in the middle, a wierd bitter root flavor pops out...I'm attributing this to the Kaffir leaves, not having distinctly tasted them before. This yeast strain is subtley located between a Belgian triple and the aforementioned strain, but leans towards the latter. Smacking the roof of the mouth with the tongue minutes after the drink produces an odd, distant flavor of bitter root. Bitterness is light and floral, providing a nice backdrop to the deceivingly hefty malt bill. This is really interesting...it floats tenously between a Franziskaner and a Grimbergen. Ahha!..that is exactly what this reminds me of!...the Grimbergen (which I bought in Venice, and is not to be confused with the version I later bought in the US which tasted completely different). It goes without saying that this is expertly fermented with no off-flavors and the alcohol is hidden nearly completely.

At any rate, this is really fucking good shit (imperative). I'll give you some really good advice. Don't bother waiting to drink this later...suck it up now, it's not gonna get any better with time. I'm blown away that Stone pulled this one off so fluently...they've earned some new-found respect from me. Put on your favorite music and winamp plugin (in my case, Meshuggah).

This beer is an experience larger than the bottle and it's contents...this is some amazing shit. Stock up. Now.

Mitchster, Nov 04, 2004
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!

Dmann, Apr 12, 2004
Photo of andysc83
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

andysc83, Jun 14, 2013
Photo of kbub6f
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear, gold beer with hints of orange sports a big, dense, yellowy-white, creamy, fine head that leaves runny spots of lacing. Gorgeous. Candy sugar in the sweet, spicy, citrus, buttery nose. Wow. Bubblegum and spice in the front. A full, foamy, hugely buttery/sweet creamy middle. Spicy, dry, grainsy finish is quite bitter, with alcohol aplenty. More bubblegum in the aftertaste with some nice corn and butter. I can appreciate that this beer might not turn everyone's crank, but it really pushes all of my buttons. Absolutely delicious. Not too sweet, with a nice bitter finish. Spicy, buttery, bubblegummy with a fantastic sweet creamy middle. Give the DBF keys to my wife 'cause I can't be trusted.

kbub6f, Jun 04, 2004
Photo of Oxymoron
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been sitting on this for a while so Im looking forward to this one. Pours a mostly cloudy lemony yellow color with copper hues when held to the light. A good head and decent lacing.

The smell is very Belgium. The yeast has a strong flavor. Also fruity aromas like peach and apricot. Touches of bananas and plums mixes well with spice touches as well. Not much of a candi smell but more of a sweet smell to it. Good!

The taste feels more like a Biere de Garde, though listed as a triple. The fruity tastes are more prominent. Big tropical fruits, apricot and bananas mainly, are noticeable. A touch of lime and cherries are noticeable in the back. The malt is balanced well with good complexity. Belgium pale with biscuit flavor. The sweet candi taste is blend really well. Some hoppy taste with a light bite at the front. Great taste.

The body is medium to full. A little hot on the taste from the high ABV. But very crisp and a smooth finish. A worthy wait for a fantastic beer.

Oxymoron, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of kmpitz2
4.72/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I couldn't wait any longer to try this one. The beer pours a cloudy golden yellow with a finger and a half of nice creamy head. The nose is full of sweet fruity tones, something I'm not used to in a Stone beer. Well, the flavor is pretty awesome if you ask me. The initial flavor is a blast of sweet hop, but it finishes with a hefe banana cream essence. I can taste just a hint of the lime leaf used as well, but it is a bit of an afterthought. I think the balance is just great in this beer. The beer is nicely thick and creamy. Very nice! The more I drink this beer, the more of it I want. I'm glad I found a shop in town that carres it still. I think a few more of these will have to come home with me soon.

kmpitz2, Sep 19, 2004
Photo of jeffjfindley
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a find. More than 3 years after it's release this was astoundingly good. Peachy orange, and cloudy. Head not great, but decent. What did stick around stuck around for the duration, and left some nice sticky lacing. Smell is fresh, and crisp with big fruit notes, notably peach. The taste was frickin' awesome, alive with Thai spice, but matched with a thick wheaty malt presence. After 3 years the hops are still prevelant, and leave their mark at the finish along with a blast of lemongrass. Mouthfeel manages to be rich, and crispily refreshing at once. It doesn't get much better than this, if you like Thai food. If you like Thai, and kick ass witbier, you'll devour this.

jeffjfindley, May 24, 2007
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous pale orange coloration, slight haze, under a firm cap of creamy froth. Nose is smoothly citric, just-so spicy, crammed with yeast, a fresh-cracked new loaf of lemon bread, right from the oven. Herbal and even a touch minty, with fruit aplenty stirring about, this is a complex and abundantly pleasant aroma. Has the character of a wit, mixed with a saison, wrapped in the guise of a tripel.
Masterful mouthfeel, commands the palate at once, spills pleasure all along the senses, with a nearly sharp citric twang, then cool and mellow fading out. Rings in again with each new encounter on the tongue, oozes enchantment, drips with delight. Body is medium, finish long and fruit-astic, with the alcohol content, average for the style, never stinging or standing at attention.
That said, it's my kind of tripel all right, exquisite, and tasty to say the least. Another class act from Stone, and I'm doubly glad I have another to sit still for the journey to 2012!
Actually, I ought to procure another pallet-ful, I'm liking this so much!
Cheers to the one called the Bum, for helping a Brother out!

feloniousmonk, Sep 24, 2004
Photo of czechsaaz
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

As we approach the release of 06-06-06, thought I'd dig one of these out and see how it's doing.

Aroma is very spicey. Still get a huge aroma from the lime leaves that makes me think of Indian food. So basically a lot of citrus with some yeast esters and brown sugary malt underneath. I'm a bit surprised that the lime aroma hasn't faded.

Appearance is light amber and very clear with very light rising bubbles. Had a small head which faded quickly but there's a rim of white that lasts around the side of the glass.

Fist sip, I notice the lime flavor but I'm now getting a lot more crystal malt flavor which I don't remember from when it was released. But the lime flavor on later sips is more like candy than fresh lime. Maybe it's the more prominant malt flavors that's doing that. Not sure. I get a ginger flavor too which I don't remember. There's a lingering aftertaste of fresh lime that I really like. There's no noticeable harsh alcohol flavor and all the citrus and spice is really starting to blend well.

The beer is pretty light in body considering it's 8+%. Very easy going down (again partly due to the citrus effect like an adult lemonade.) Carbonation level is light but definitely lively.

I think this is drinking fantastically now (at just over 2 years.) Whether or not it has peaked I'll have to wait and see. Right now it comes across as a very unique flavor profile but all the components seem to fit. I REALLY like it.

czechsaaz, May 21, 2006
Photo of Floydster
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle from Naja's Place for sixteen dollars last night

Poured into a pint glass with a cloudy golden color, similiar to a wheat beer with a foamy head

Smell was filled with bananas and citrus

Taste was very nice and smooth, had a hint of lime and ginger, more like a Belgian than anything

Could drink a lot of these and unfortunately I drank my bomber way too fast and wanted more

This one will probably be even better after it sits a while

Amazing how good these beers taste three and half years after they were bottled

Floydster, Sep 19, 2007
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.

IntriqKen, May 21, 2006
Photo of UncleFlip
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice golden yellow with hints of orange. May appear darker in a larger glass, but my tasting cup was rather small. The head didn't stick around terribly long.

The aroma was hops, spice, and orange- with a bit of alcohol smell throughout.

On first taste, spiciness and cloviness hit right up front. There's a fruity bottom which has a bit of banana on the back end.

The mouthfeel was nice- with a good, even body- sort of mellow, but seeming just right.

Drinkability is high on this one. I'd definitely like to have more.

Be well
-UF

UncleFlip, Jul 11, 2005
Photo of ZX6Chris
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared at a Vertical Epic Tasting.

A-Golden orange beer with a pure white head that stays around. Nice lacing.

S-Vanilla aroma. Banana mildly sweet.

T-Vanilla flavor, a bit spicy. Estery and smooth.

M-Light body, still well carbonated.

D-Nice beer, I really enjoyed the vanilla and could drink this all day!

ZX6Chris, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of RootedFool
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I literally yelped aloud when I saw bombers of this at my local beer Mecca, the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass, the head is three-quarter inches tall, frothy and bright white, lots of pea-sized bubbles. The head falls within minutes leaving a modest amount of bubbly film on the brew's surface. Minor strips of lace hold to the glass. The body is bright copper.

Smell is upfront spicy sweet, like a freshly halved honeydew melon beside a warm of batch of ginger snap cookies; the middle is slightly briny, almost like sea water; the finish is buttery sourdough bread with a background of bananas. I kept wanting to pick up on the lime leaf mentioned on the bottle as an ingredient, but couldn't.

Taste opens with a round and full sweep of bitter-sweetness --caramelized bananas, black pepper, watermelon. The middle turns a sharp corner into a blast of bitterness, not at all piercing -- it massages with strength over my entire palate. Aftertaste is a rich, bready background spiked with a high-pitched swing of bitterness, and lingering somewhere along the periphery...lime leaf? There's definitely a down-played note of juicy, citrusy bitter-sweetness here, toward the close.

Mouthfeel is perfectly palate-coating, without being sticky.

An incredible ride -- talk about twists and turns, this brew has it. Truly epic, no doubt.

RootedFool, Jun 05, 2004
Photo of flexabull
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When this was released, I was only able to get one bottle. So I have never tried this beer until now. And thanks to a trade about a year ago, I got another bottle. I THINK it was from AdamB84. Whoever it was... thanks again!

So what the heck, I've been looking for something interesting to drink, so I figured why not, I've still got one left to sit on until 2012. This should be interesting now that this one has 4+ years under it's belt. Here goes...

Cap pops off with a pretty good hiss. Aromas are very strong even with the bottle sitting a couple of feet from me, and I haven't even poured it yet.

Beer pours a bright gold color, with a slight haze, and a nice head.

Aromas are strong, and quite unique. A bit sour, citrus like, yeasty, spicy, cloves, and a touch of honey.

Flavors are complex, but not at all overpowering. Lots of subtle flavors in this one. Lots of mellow spices, cloves, yeast, and a touch of lime, along with some sweet honey like malt notes. The finish is crisp and tangy.

Mouthfeel is good. The carbonation is still going strong, and the feel is full and thick in the mouth.

Drinkability is top notch. A very flavorful beer, that isn't too high on the alcohol. A very pleasant sipper, I will really enjoy the rest of this bottle.

This beer seems to be holding up just fine. When I tasted the 03 last year, it felt like it might be peaking, but this one seems to have legs, and can sit quite a bit longer.

flexabull, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of dave750
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a wide mouth goblet from the 22 oz. bottle. It has a hazy red-gold color with a medium, but loose head that disappears quickly. A nice deep aroma of fresh melon and banana is joined by a roasted malt quality as it warms and a little later by a hint of menthol.
The initial flavor is of toasted, grainy malt along with bitter hops and spearmint. An herby hop taste and nice alcohol warmth emerge at midtaste along with a smooth chocolate maltiness and a citrusy tartness that remains in the background to the finish. Alcohol flavor gains strength as the flavor fades.
The beer has a moderately thick body with outstanding carbonation and balance. A very complex and everchanging flavor make this go down easy.

dave750, Jul 19, 2004
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Yeasty, doughy, banana aroma with a drop of lime. Yellowish, off-white head, left a thick coat of lace. Golden mandarin colored beer, slightly hazy with fine streams of carbonation. Light, creamy mouthfeel. Fleshy fruit flavor, a bit of alcohol, some banana bread, mildy bitter into the finish. Description on the bottle hits it right on the head. Maybe it was a freak occurence, but this beer at this time was just awesome, combining characteristics of some of my favorite styles.

HappyHourHero, Jun 23, 2004
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!!

RoyalT, May 01, 2004
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.

WVbeergeek, May 02, 2004
Photo of nlmartin
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a wide mouthed goblet.

Appearance: This is a very good looking beer in the glass. The beer poured a very pleasing light amber. The head towered above the beer a lovely creamy banner. The beer leaves a road map of lacing on the side of the glass. Dam this beer is almost sexy.

Smell: A lovely perfume greats my nose. The beer has a very nice malty fruity lead in. I swear in addition to lime citrus I smell melons. The beer has a nice spicyness complementing the sweet.

Taste: The beer lives up to the smell. The beer has a biscuity malty sweetness. This gives way to a lime citrus bananna and melon fruityness. This gives way to a crisp spicyness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This is a meduim bodied beer. The beer has a very crisp and clean finish. A very tasty treat. I hope I can keep some until 2012.

nlmartin, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of ejquin
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

App: Pumpkin orange with a thin white bubly head that fades quickly. Little lacing

Smell: I thought the smell was very nice. Very malty with a good dose of citrus and some spiceiness.

Taste: I thought it was nice and more blanced than your average stone brew. After a year and a half of again anyways. citrus and malt hit first. Fades to spiciness and a touch of bitterness. Alcohol was hid well. Faintly sweet.

Mouth: Good carbonation but a bit thin to me

Drink: Spiciness cuts down a bit on the drinkability but you could still easily take down a bomber

Overall: I had this fresh and remembered liking it, but I never reviewed it. After a year I think it's tamer than it was before. It balanced pretty well. It's definitely unique and a solid beer. Reminds me a bit of the South Hampton Grand Cru, but tastes much better.

ejquin, Oct 02, 2005
Photo of imblane
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Bought 3 bottles of this from Old Town Liquor, here in Temecula, CA. The proprietor their told me this was almost like a wheat beer, but it poured into a Stone IPA glass a medium golden color with about a finger and a half of crisp head which dissipated in a minute or two. Smell was citrusy crisp with hints of earthiness and a pleasing bite of alcohol; very pleasing overall. taste was initially much like a good Abbey Trippel, then moved to a warm alcohol and finally a slight crisp lime. I tend to agree with the other reviewers, that this beer has a young, very fine taste that will only improve as the flavors meld together. I must confess, the 3 bottles lasted only a matter of hours, as I thoroughly enjoyed getting familiar with this complex offering. I went back and bought a case to age appropriately; however, this beer may be hard to keep out of my glass. Very well done, another worthy effort from Stone!!!

101004
Cracked opened an 040404 after 6 months plus and found a somewhat different beer waiting. The kafir lime hints have disappeared, there is a somewhat toffee hint to the smell. The smell is now a mild barleywine and prominent fusel alcohol. The mouthfeel is somewhat less carbonated but mellow at the same time. I am having a hard time with this offering now, but suffice to say it is far more enjoyable than at the original release date. I think this will become one of the true "Epic" Stone offerings in the months and years to come.

imblane, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of zeff80
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

zeff80, May 27, 2013
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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 305 ratings.