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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

301 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 301
Reviews: 213
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 101
Gots: 47 | FT: 2
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: 301 | Reviews: 213 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of czechsaaz
czechsaaz

Washington

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2006 07:02:05 | More by czechsaaz
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

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

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2007 16:28:09 | More by Floydster
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2006 05:31:26 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of UncleFlip
UncleFlip

Alabama

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

Serving type: on-tap

07-11-2005 01:44:09 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of ZX6Chris
ZX6Chris

California

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!

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2010 01:30:12 | More by ZX6Chris
Photo of RootedFool
RootedFool

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2004 03:43:33 | More by RootedFool
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2008 19:02:43 | More by flexabull
Photo of dave750
dave750

Rhode Island

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2004 19:46:17 | More by dave750
Photo of HappyHourHero
HappyHourHero

Indiana

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2004 03:08:20 | More by HappyHourHero
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

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!!

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2004 04:11:18 | More by RoyalT
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2004 19:29:41 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of nlmartin
nlmartin

Ohio

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2005 15:40:10 | More by nlmartin
Photo of ejquin
ejquin

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2005 22:30:07 | More by ejquin
Photo of imblane
imblane

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2004 03:31:19 | More by imblane
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

05-27-2013 12:10:43 | More by zeff80
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
TheBeerAlmanac

Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

04-29-2013 01:43:57 | More by TheBeerAlmanac
Photo of PhineasGage
PhineasGage

Iowa

4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

01-27-2012 18:54:28 | More by PhineasGage
Photo of randylangford
randylangford

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

12-22-2012 04:48:14 | More by randylangford
Photo of Boolshot
Boolshot

California

4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice cloudy orange. Very light and transparent, crystal clear yellow with a light creamy head. Smelled like spice, banana and candy. First sip was banana, cloves, brown sugar and a little citrus. Really delicious overall, I look forward to seeing how this one ages.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2006 04:58:55 | More by Boolshot
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

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!

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2005 04:20:44 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-02-2004 12:24:40 | More by Billolick
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

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

Pours a cloudy golden brew with no head at all.

Smell is sweet and super fruity with a bit of spice and a shot of coriander thrown it to. Earthy smells are in here to like raw honey and an oak/cork smell. Malt and banana smells are strongest.

Taste is lightly sweet with a pineapple flavor I didn't expect. There is a complex blend of flavors in this. I can taste clove, pineapple, banana, coriander, some raw alcohol flavor, and something else I name at the moment.

Mouthfeel is thick almost syrup.

Drinkability is very good, considering the power of this brew two bombers will put you in bed.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2004 04:43:59 | More by Zorro
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

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

Nice orangeish color.Great fluffly head the lingers on the way down.Aroma of spices,malt.Somewhat yeasty.Hint of vanilla?Wonderful flavor.Malty profile upfront.Has the typical "Belgian" taste to it fron the yeast.Nice spiciness-coriander?Great silky smooth mouthfeel to it.Really quite lovely all the way down.Very very drinkable beer-I dont find it to be as in your face as Stone might have you believe.Its going to be a long wait till 2012 to have my other bottle.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2004 02:21:58 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

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

Large capped bottle, poured into a goblet.

Glowing golden in color, would be spectacular if it had a little bit more head; the minimal off-white collar produced is a bit disappointing.
Sweetish aroma, honey, tropical fruits, minimal yeastiness.
Nearly full bodied, the flavor is predominantly sweet; honey is one of the predominant notes, along with sweet bread, plums, sweet apples. It manages to not be overly sweet, somehow - perhaps due to the delicate spiciness and citric notes.
It is amazing this beer lasted this long, as based on prior reviews I thought this would be really bad by now. It seems to be improving, amazingly, but unfortunately, this one was my only bottle - none had earlier, none to be had later.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 00:56:21 | More by brdc
Photo of sideshowrob
sideshowrob

Maryland

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

I was happy to find this beer in my neck of the woods (Wash DC)without too much problem. Hopefully the fact that Stone is expanding their distribution won't affect the beer at all. (No evidence of that yet!!!) Onto the Epic...

Bottle design is a little bit more sedate than other Stone Brews. Again with the endless text on the side. Brew pours very clean, a hazy golden-amber. Some sediment is evident, though It's probably my fault for decanting every last drop of a bottle-conditioned beer. Smell is wonderfully aromatic. Very zesty with a hint of banana. Taste was well balanced, especially for a "young" beer. Very reminiscent of a weiss-bock. Very Belgium. Hints of citrus and a pop of hops. Just a hint of lime, but more of a "lime-ness" than lime itself, which, it seems is what Stone was going for. Reports of Banana are greatly exagerated. Good mouthfeel, very easy to drink, if only it were more availiable. Overall a very balanced and easy-to-drink beer. Very civilized. Can't wait to see what time will do to it!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2004 00:46:40 | More by sideshowrob
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.