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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

304 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 304
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: 304 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%

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%

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%

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%

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
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

TheBeerAlmanac, Apr 29, 2013
Photo of PhineasGage
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

PhineasGage, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of randylangford
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

randylangford, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of Boolshot
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

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.

Boolshot, May 07, 2006
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

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!

orbitalr0x, Jan 09, 2005
Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

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.

Billolick, Jul 02, 2004
Photo of Zorro
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

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.

Zorro, May 04, 2004
Photo of lackenhauser
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

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.

lackenhauser, May 15, 2004
Photo of brdc
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

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.

brdc, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of sideshowrob
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

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!

sideshowrob, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of FormatKid
4.45/5  rDev +15%

Oh yeah, I’m really interested to see Stone’s interpretation on a Belgian Tripel when it is so far from their standard offerings. I have faith in them though. Presentation is 22oz bomber with horizontal labeling.

I poured this one out into my La Trappe goblet. The body is a honeyed light golden color. A nice head rolls up but quickly dissipates into next to nothing. A single small stream of carbonation streams to the top from the middle of the goblet.

The smell is right on par with other examples I’ve experienced of the style. Big musty and doughy yeast presence. Sweet banana and peppery alcohol bite in the nose. Maybe, just maybe I’m picking up on that lime leaf that’s proudly advertised on the bottle.

The taste correlates with the smell almost 100%. Maybe a little thinner than I’m used to with a tripel in mouthfeel though. I was hoping it would be a little more creamy. Doughy rye bread taste throughout. Musty yeast becomes apparent in the middle. In the finish I can definitely pick up the pungent, tart, green lime leaf flavors. Zig-zags of earthen hop bitterness become apparent in the finish as well. Really delicious.

Besides the mouthfeel being a tad on the thin side I think this was an excellent representation of a Belgian Tripel. Now I just have to figure out how to get another bottle of this.

Thanks John!

FormatKid, Sep 11, 2004
Photo of arizcards
4.45/5  rDev +15%

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at AJ's recently. If it is Stone, one must try it.

This golden orange beer is clouded by it's unfiltered Belgian yeast presenting a very interesting display. It initially poured a nice head leaving a nice lacing. Nose is wonderful, of sweet fruits but noticably having banana overtones. Taste is smooth, not the usual bite of the wonderful Stone hops, but of the wonderful Belgian yeast surrounded by a beautiful medly of malts, hops, and hints of spices and fruits. Mouthfeel is very good, quite lively but smooth. Overall drinkability is near perfect. I would be interested to try one a year from now!

arizcards, Jul 31, 2004
Photo of Gusler
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%

The beer as it jettisons from the 22 ounce brown bottle a somewhat hazy amber with a mountainous light tan and spumescent head, the lace a thick sealing sheet to conceal the glass. Nose is sweet malt with a nice hint of yeast, biscuit like, also a smidgeon of hop spiciness noted, quite crisp and clean to the senses, start is rich in malt, somewhat sweet and the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish has a stern acidity, and a pleasing hop bite, quite dry and lingering aftertaste, another great beer from a great brewery, having said that I do think like the 03 that it will benefit greatly from a few years in the cellar.

Gusler, Apr 18, 2004
Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%

Cloudy, gold to orange color with a foamy head and nice lace. Citrus and banana aroma. Slight wheat scent. Very smooth, creamy feel that is balanced by a strong alcohol taste. Very lightly hopped, spicy citric ale which happens to have a great kick. Bottle reads that is a mutt. Wheat malt, Belgian yeast land lime leaf. Comes out to me close to a Saison.

BobLuvBeer, Apr 23, 2005
Photo of tavernjef
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%

Hazy pale golden yellow color, finger high, tight foamy white cap, resides to an ever present skim and the lacing sticks in moderate stringy patches.
Aroma is quite nice with a dried pepper toastiness over the base of lively citrus of lemon and lime skins. Strong and pleasingly persistant nose on this one.
Complexingly layered flavors within every sip, quite a nice brigade of dried pepper and clove spice, maybe a pinch of salt too, make for a pleasing finish. The forefront is built up of a solid mild citrus fruit salad of lemon and lime zest mixed with some banana underneath.
Feel is about medium bodied with a firm carbonation thats not overly biting, which I like, most triples have either too much ot not enough. This is just about right, a bit more creamy feel and body and it would be terrific for me.
I really enjoyed the finish on this, spicy of pepper and citrus zest thats drying yet the body remains wet and firm. And has just enough alcoholic/ethanolic kick to keep you in check. Nicely done. All in all, this is one well put together, spicy little Abbey Triple. A bit out of the realm for Stone, but bless their hearts for being such pioneers of trying new dimensions in the brewing universe. Hmmm....no matter how hard I try, I just can't be as wordy as their back labels, always a fun read!

tavernjef, May 09, 2004
Photo of rajendra82
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%

The first pour out of the 24 oz bottle with vertical lettering was of deep golden color with slight chill haze and a tiny little head. The second pour, on the other hand, graced my goblet with a tall head, and oodles of yeast induced cloudiness. In both cases, the head died down to a thin ring of bubbles around the edge in a relatively short time. The carbonation in the underlying brew was minimal but steady. There was some fleeting lacing left around the glass. The aroma was dominated by the Belgian yeast, with banana, apples, and pears on the nose. The taste was sweet and spicy with the aforementioned fruits supplemented by snappy flavors of clove, cinnamon, and anise. The Kaffir Lime leaves also made themselves known on the palette in a tart-sour taste quite similar to lemon peel. The mouthfeel was quite creamy and a tad chalky, with some alcohol burn in the aftertaste. I will keep the remaining two bombers in the cool and dark place in my house, as this beer is supposed to get better over time. I would love for the flavors to sing together in a harmony, and cover the alcohol even more than they do now. Unlike the Old Guardian, this is still very drinkable when fresh. Stay tuned, as more opinions will come later. Praise is deserved once again to Liquid Solutions for shipping into Georgia.

rajendra82, May 01, 2004
Photo of MarkBlackout
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%

The 04.04.04 is ready.

I had this right around August 04, when Stone brews became easily available to me. I recall liking it, though I thought it was slightly sharp and unrefined. Time has done this brew much good, though I can't help but wonder if 7 or 8 more years could improve it much more! The flavors have melded and what results is a nice soft, light, but very flavorful beer. Yeast presence is somewhat less than most belgian-style beers, though it makes an appearance. Less sweetness than most belgians too, which I REALLY appreciate. Spicy, lightly sour flavors tie it all together. If you can still buy this, do so immediately.

MarkBlackout, May 21, 2005
Photo of BierManVA
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%

This bier certainly defies a hard-line style. It is a hybrid bier by design...somewhere between an Abbey Trippel and a Bier de Garde/Saison. The lime leaf probably does it in for a Trippel but this is all beside the point.

"Is it good?"....Yes
"Is it young?"....Yes
"Bold and brash?....You know the answer
"Will it lay down and improve?"....Yes (time will tell)
"What is it?"...Another fine bier from an excellent brewery that defies traditional concepts and proves that the American craft bier movement produces some damn good shit.

Buy three, drink two, lay one down and wait....Mmmmm

John

BierManVA, May 27, 2004
Photo of becktone
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%

First things first, the head on this beer is incredible. I am not exaggerating when I say that the head is as big as the span from the bottom of my palm to the base of my fingers. I have poured this beer into a huge glass Hofbrauhaus Mug. The size of the head could have easily been because of my somewhat careless pour ( I didn't pour with any cares because I knew the brew wouldn't overflow). I think that it holds about a liter of beer. The color of the beer is a straw gold. I can see some type of particles suspended in the brew giving it a mildly hazy but still clear appearance. The head is white and creamy looking. Head retention is excellent. Lacing also clings to the side of my glass giving this beer an overfall stellar appearance.

The beer has a strong aroma. It smells of sweet malt. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of the aroma of belgian pale ales (Leffe and Grimbergen). I also smell a candy type of aroma, perhaps butterscotch. In addition to the candy smell I can detect a fresh fruity smell. Perhaps strawberry/kiwi?

I think that perhaps I would enjoy this beer a little more if there were some more hops to balance out the sweet malt taste of this beer. I has a pretty complex taste. I can easliy detect/taste the candy like butterscotch and fruit flavors that were evident to the nose. In the aftertaste it leaves behind first the candy taste which then changes to the fruity taste.

This beer is very lightly carbonated, so much so that it is hard to tell that it is carbonated. I think that it feels more like fruit juice on the palace than beer. The alcohol is evident as it goes down. You can feel it warm the throat and the stomach. A very pleasant sensation (this is what makes me give it a 4 in mouthfeel). In my opinion it has a dry finish, it leaves my palate dry after about a minute. This beer is easy to drink and goes down quite well. I would buy more of this except for the fact that I don't believe I can get anymore of this. I was lucky enough to have picked this up about a month and a half ago. I didn't even have to cellar it, it was already done for me. Unfortunately buying the beer a year to late means that I can't get anymore of it.

becktone, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of chilidog
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%

Happy New Year, Break out & open the 04 V.Epic. so thats what we did..
The beer poured a hazy gold with a bit of cloud. Yeast could be seen in the bottle but not noticed in the glass. The head started out good-sized with big white bubbles as a slight "fizz" could be heard as it faded to a nice thin film accross the top. The film climbs and clings to the glass as if feeding the lace in spots.
The aroma was citric wheat that favored lime. The taste starts off with a lime based citric balanced with the hop then followed by a balance of sweeted malt and the warming of alcohol. The taste has an oaky sweetness with hints of vanilla and brown sugar. The mouthfeel is soft and mellow which aids the drinkability and your left with a finish of wheat cloves, lime & spice. Oh ya, the warmth of the alcohol is nice too.
A nice Stone to bring in the new year. Here's to 05, bring it on!!

chilidog, Jan 02, 2005
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 304 ratings.