Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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
88
very good

217 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 217
Hads: 316
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 10.66%
Wants: 95
Gots: 55 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 217 | Hads: 316
Photo of gford217
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber courtesy of sunnydlyte23 poured into a snifter.

Pours a bright, clear golden amber with a soapy yellowish-white head that recedes to a small cap and leaves a bit of lacing.

The aroma is extremely sweet with honey and some sweet citrus aromas, maybe oranges. There is a spiciness in the nose as well but the sweetness of the phenols really comes out as it warms, bananas especially.

The taste has the same semi-hefe characteristics of sweet bananas and some clove-like spices. But there is a much thicker sweetness from the honey and the Belgian yeast backbone is definitely there as well. Very complex taste.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of things with a little bit of soft carbonation. The palate gets sticky with the honey which builds up after each sip.

I really enjoyed this one and it has held up extremely well over 5 years, much better than the 03 I had a few months ago. Very unique and highly recommended. (938 characters)

Photo of nortmand
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like other nice North American Tripels, fizzy, yellow and with a thin layer of white foam.
Smell deliciously sweet and spicy, with a dominant clove presence. Very much in the spirit of Belgian beer.
Spicy strong flavor, with a warming alcohol presence. Very delicious and balanced considering the number of flavors happening here. Banana, allspice, clove flavors all blend together rather nicely.
I'm not real high in the tripels, but this one is damned fine and quite drinkable. As far as tripels go, second only to Unibroue's Eau Benite. (549 characters)

Photo of blindtiger24
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (333 characters)

Photo of deejaydan
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note-- Aged in cellar for 1 year

Appears golden in color, slightly hazy from the yeast. Wonderful sticky lacing. Large fisheye bubbles pop through the surface of the head.

Aroma is funky belgian yeast. Not anything easily recognizable. No bubblegum, clove or banana. Just funky yeast, but pleasant.

Taste-- I get some Lime. Some alcohol is present, but not upfront and aggresive. Slight sour finish, yet not dry like other tripples I've tried.

Mouthfeel-- Good, medium body, not overly thined out by sugar. Carbonation is pleasant, non obtrusive.

Drinkablilty. Well, I like this one. I'm going to wait until 2012 to crack my other bottles though. (661 characters)

Photo of BeerFink
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After lying dormant for over a year, its time to crack this bomber open...

Appears hazy and very golden with a sticky white head. Very inviting... Nose is yeasty and malty with hints of bread, bananas, and alcohol. Taste is much smoother than I would have expected. Creamy malts lead the way into yeasty breadiness. A little lemon zestiness mixes with spices, sugar, and alcohol. Slight hops finish in a spicy manner. Big smooth mouthfeel with low carbonation magnifying the creaminess. Finish is warm with alcohol mixing with spicy hops and a touch of sweet bananas. I was wondering how well Stone was going to pull off the Belgian styles, but they definitely did a kick ass job. A good blend of American and Belgian takes on the tripel. (741 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone's third release in the Vertical Epic series pours a clear, deep golden body that borders on amber. It's initially full and creamy head almost rises out of the glass but then slowly dwindles to an average collar. It does, however, leave some very nice lace in its wake.

The nose is malty with a touch of vanilla; and perfumey with some mild citrusy and floral notes, a waft of alcohol, and some clear peppery spice.

In the mouth, it's medium bodied and lightly zesty with a mildly effervescent natural carbonation that tingles the tongue before warming to become more creamy.

The flavor is very much (or should I say exactly) as the nose indicates with a mild note of vanilla, a touch of fruitiness (some watered down citrus and dull melon), and a burst of alcohol. It finishes dry, with some nice, peppery spiciness; and a wash of lingering alcohol. Perhaps a bit more aging will round it out... I'd enjoy the '03 now, but give this one a year, and maybe even more!

It pairs well with sweet and spicy Thai foods, and also makes a nice apertif on its own. (1,072 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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. (993 characters)

Photo of beergeek279
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber into a goblet. The color is hazy copper, with a wispy white head. The smell is an estery, candi sugar sweetness. The taste is estery and sugar sweet, with a strong yeasty characteristic and just a hint of the lime sweetness. Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability-wise, I'd definitely have many more of these.

04.04.04 for 07.04.04...a fine choice for 4th of July! What better way to celebrate independence than enjoying one of (if not the most) independent breweries out there. A fine tripel, and hopefully I can give this one a try at the end of 2012!! (581 characters)

Photo of BeerManDan
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured the color was a medium golden yellow with a little foam that disapated. The smell of spices filled the nose along with a hint of fruitiness. The taste was spicy and malty in nature, with a hint of orange peel. Also, a sort of creamy sensation on the tongue and palate. The balance of sweetness and bitterness was extremely good. A little short on the finish, but the taste will drinking Stones Epic Ale, made it pleasant.

In general, a fruity aroma and a soft, sweet maltiness. (492 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear tan body with a small white head.

The nose to this beer is amazing and disgusting at the same time. Solvent like with cinnamon mixed with lime peel. A bizarre mix of tropical fruits; it sort of smells like a jolly rancher that’s gone bad. Very slight touch of phenols. Banana, yeast, butter, fresh lime, tropical flowers, fruit juice, berries and other fruit.

The taste was medium to full bodied. The taste is almost identical to the nose. It starts very sweet and somewhat limey, then proceeds through layers of tropical fruits and then ends very smooth with a pure triple taste. Big malt, wheat, tropical fruits, banana, lime peel, limejuice, dirt, lime leaves, tea leave, flowery hops. A FIRM bitterness, with a faint hint of metal, sits slightly above the malt, but is never distracting. Somewhat tannic as it begins to warm.

What a fucking amazing beer. Not because it’s good, or bad, but because it’s so different. It’s a study in analyses of beer. So many flavors, so complex, they may not all fit; yet they do. With every single sip and whiff I got a different flavor or smell. Amazing. I guess if I had to summarize the taste of this beer I’d say, mix a Belgian triple with a fresh German weis, toss in some tea bags and limes you’ve got vertical epic 2004. I’d really like to try pairing this with something. A must try beer. (1,377 characters)

Photo of marburg
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Puffy, only somewhat sticky white head atop a browned golden body. Exotic nose consisting of mashed banana, creamsicle, citrus zest, and meringue. Surprisingly cohensive and floral. Perhaps a bit creamier than I'm used to in a tripel. Similarly, there's a creamy vanilla flavor to this -- fresh and a bit oaky -- with light bits of caramelized sugar in the background. Honey/sweet melon and tropical fruits. Dries out a bit with some yeasty spice and some flower petal. Remarkably heavy on the exotic flavors but nonetheless tasty. A solid Stone offering, but I'm wondering if this will really stand up for another 10 years or whatever it's supposed to do... (658 characters)

Photo of IceAce
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This Abbey Tripel poured into a beer-clean .5 litre glass provided a little over a two finger collar of foam which dissipated within 90 seconds leaving a quality trail of lace on the glass. The body is a slightly hazy (chill haze or intentional?) and moderately golden in color.

Aroma: True to its roots, this bad boy has a very complex nose. While the initial impression is banana esters (a la true German Hefeweizen), the backgroung is very busy with harmonious backnotes of fruits, yeast, and alcohol. Most positively an olfactory smorgasbord.

Taste: The first impression is simply one word...HUGE! This is a big, big beer with more personalities fighting for attention than Sybil. The banana shines through but the yeast refuses to release its hold on a starring role by adding hints of fruits from faraway islands in the pacific. Dryness in the finish is attributed to hops (Simcoe...Sterling...Saaz?)...just enough to balance but thankfully not enough to overpower.

Mouthfeel: Thanks to a quality malt, the mouthfeel is right in line with some of the best Tripels...and the complexity makes each taste a joy. CO² and yeast are very well balanced giving this beer a smooth coating without undesireable side effects.

Drinkability: Not only is it super today, this brew will (by design) have legs for many years to come. This should be outstanding to sample as a rounded mature offering in about three years. (1,436 characters)

Photo of scottoale
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this 04.04.04 edition at a lliquor store in East County this past week-end. Poured a medium amber-gold with 1/2 inch of white foamy head. Nice lacing and heaps of micro tiny carbonation bubbles, rising from the depths of my 20oz tulip.

Nice sturdy malt nose initially, that's quickly overtaken by sweet banana, bubblegum, corriander, lime, grassy hops and yeast. Smells very Belgian-like.

The taste has a bit more complexity than the smell reveals, especially as it warms a bit, then the alcohol becomes more evident and enhances the forementioned aromas. It really has some nice flavors at just over two years in the bottle, excellent carbonation also. It's hard for me too guess just how well it would age for six more years as suggested, but it's hard to believe it could get any better than it is today. Time will tell...

Good mouthfeel and pretty heavy body to this Triple, very sweet overall and rather potent. Of the first three years of the Vertical Epic Ale, I enjoyed this one the most.

If you can find it or are cellaring 04.04.04, now is a good time to give it a whirl...cheers! (1,124 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this with joeyschlitz and abraser last night, thanks to ab's generosity, as part of the Vertical Epic tasting of 2004 through 2008.

A: Hazy golden color.

S and T: You definitely get a little of the lime, lots of honey, and some bread/yeast. Honey becomes more pronounced as this warms up.

M: Medium body and carbonation.

D: Not overwhelming in any direction, so pretty drinkable. (392 characters)

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber served lightly chilled in a Raftsman tulip.

Appearance: Golden yellow topped by a healthy sized white head. Visible carbonation supports the retention of the head, which eventually settles down to a thick ring and a small film of bubbles in the glass. Large nets of lacing were left on the sides.

Smell: Yeasts, banana esters, coriander, hints of something like wintergreen, and pears waft upwards. As the beer warms, the kaffir becomes more apparent.

Taste: Sweet apple/pear juice with wackloads of banana and lime citrus flavors. Pepper and booze on the finish. Oddly, but pleasantly, reminiscent of banana bread.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light in body. Powerful carbonation on the tongue.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I wasn't impressed by 030303 in the least, so this is a marked improvement. Very potable now, but I don't think this will last to 2012. More like 2008 at the most. (914 characters)

Photo of TripelJ
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Stone Vertical Epic 04.04.04

Poured from a simple, yet classy silk-screened 650ml bomber. Hazy apricot, peppered with particles, happily floating around in this thick golden goodness. The head recedes rather quickly with little lacing. The aroma is pretty potent. Grassy, hay, definitely Saison-like with heavy perfume in the background. This one definitely prickles the tongue with each sip--nice and crisp. Its upon the swallow that this beer makes its own path. The foreign perfumey spice makes its presence known in a smooth, dry finish. I didn't read the bottle until I encountered this unfamiliar flavor and aroma. Apparently, this beer is spiced with Kaffir Lime Leaves from Indonesia--that is what I call unique. I can taste a little lime there, but it is perfumey and minty, unlike anything I've tasted in a beer before. The flavors mellow out nicely as the beer warms, but it was enjoyable in its agressive, chilled state at the beginning as well. Overall I enjoyed this beer for the unique experience that it was. I could pick this tripel out of others in blind taste test and that is a welcomed respite from some of the belgian brewed tripels. Nice job Stone. (1,188 characters)

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on-tap at Anam Cara Public House.

This tripel poured a clear, golden color with light white foam that settled. The smell was slightly vinous, Belgian malt, with a light sweetness and a light fruitiness. The taste was malty (Belgian malt) with a light vinous character and a touch of sweetness. The finish was mildly hoppy. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and good carbonation. The flavors lingered nicely. This was a rather nice tripel. (457 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle says a that it's saison-like with wheat. Hell yeah. I'm glad I could get my mits on this.

Appearance- Pours a nice fizzy head amongst the honey and almost opaque cantaloupe hue. The color is nice since its deep, but you can still see its bubbles. Very little lacing.

Smell- The lime mentioned on the bottle seems to become present in the nose only when the beer warms up. Could smell some wheaty godness as well and sweetened, herbal malts too.

Taste- Hints of spicey chammomile barce the tounge with hints of citrus and cyrstallized sugar malts. The lime hits a bit harder a it warms, but it always stays muted. I like that about this beer. It has a unique element, but it doesn't overwhelm.

Mouthfeel- Astringet, only a little. But cleaan and sweet. I like that citrusy, beery sweetness. Is best when sipped indeed. (843 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Bomber: Sampled 1/27/2005: This one poured a hazy, golden color. There was a fair amount of an off-white head on it, but it died down rather quickly. Interesting aroma. Some banana, breadiness, malt, yeast and definitely some spicy hop aroma (what else would you expect from Stone?). An interesting somewhat sweet taste. Hints of wheat and lemon also. Finishes with some dryness and tartness. (398 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy, honey colored body with lots of tight, tiny white bubbles; a decent head that quickly fades and leaves spotty lacing around the glass

Smell: Lots of aroma; filled with overripe bananas, a touch of clove and coriander and a bit of floral citrus from the kaffir lime leaves

Taste: Starts with a sweet, banana/bubblegum flavor which, after a prolongued wait, is matched by some astringent sour/herbacious notes that are a touch too dominant into the finish; the kaffir lime presents a very interesting twist with its floral tones

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, soft body; modest carbonation

Drinkability: I am not a big tripel fan but this one is particularly good (692 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a very bright golden color with a large head with good retention and it leaves nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is really strong with Belgian spices and sweet fruit. The flavor was sweet and very fruity. Lots of flavor. Spicy from the yeast. The body was medium and it's smooth to drink. I actually liked the 03.03.03 better, but this is still a great brew. (371 characters)

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, orange marmalade in appearance, rather like a bright IPA.Orange peel... or perhaps lime seeing as how lime leaf is used in this, as well as coriander in the smell and taste. The smell has wanderlust. You can pick it up from quite far away.
The flavor reminds me of South Hampton's 2005 Grand Cru (and also of their Cuevee des Fleurs and Double White) but where the grand cru was very thick and unbalanced, this is not. There is a bit of apple juice going on but it is not domineering. Some have found bubblegum in the flavor and I can't really argue.
The mouthfeel is soft and pillowy, with some hops dryness and bitterness in the finish.
This brew shows Stone's potential versatility... as it seems the other vertical epics do. Stone is usually very ballsy-American, and this is pretty classy-Belgian. Go Stone, go! (826 characters)

Photo of woemad
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Re-taste on 7/9/08 - score changed to reflect
Cracked open my 2nd bottle tonight. Midway through it's suggested aging, this pours a dark honey color with a better head than I got with a bottle consumed in 2004. Some floaties can be seen, but not nearly as many as I thought there'd be after nearly four years of aging.

Both in the nose and in the taste, hops stick out more than I think they did when I last reviewed it, which is odd, as I'd think it would be the other way around. Also spices and a honey-ish maltiness are on hand in a fairly up-front way. Seems more boozy than I noted in my original review, with a definite warming alcohol sensation.

The body is a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps I hadn't had so many tripels when I first had this, but the mouthfeel now seems too heavy for the style.

Today I find this less drinkable than I did in 2004. The body and mouthfeel are too thick, and the booziness of this one makes me not want another one, which is fine, as I've only one left, and I'm going to try to sit on it for a few more years.

___

Dedicated to Dimebag Darrell and all the victims of senseless violence.

Bomber purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $6.96 (I've got two more stashed for aging).

Poured a honeyish gold color, with a minor white head that still managed to leave a fair amount of lace.

Smells quite tasty. The first thing that grabs the attention is the hefe-ish odors of earthy wheat and cloves. There is spicyness, but it's fairly subdued. There's also a honeyish, floral scent and a slight citrus aroma.

The taste is quite similar to the aromas mentioned above, except that the lime flavor (undoubtebly from the vaunted Kaffir Lime leaves) is much more distinctive. There's also a noticeable yeasty presence. This is like an Hefe on steroids.

A medium bodied beer, it's a little bit heavier than most wheat beers I've consumed, but nothing too thick, to be sure.

This is a damn tasty beer. Maybe a little too thick to be a great summer beer, but I bet it would go great with spicy food. I'm not a big Thai fan (peanut allergy) but I bet it would go great with Indian food, which is pretty much my favorite cuisine. (2,172 characters)

Photo of BrewUSA
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%
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~ (869 characters)

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour was a light yellow with a slight amount of sediment. Had a good three-quarter inch head that quickly dissapated and left a white ring around the top of the beer.

The smell was very malty with a strong fruit overtone, hidden somewhere in the back of my nose was a light hop spice.

The drink started with a malt kick followed by more malt in the middle with light hops. The finish was a lingering oily fruit.

This was a very refreshing beer. I hope to find it again and put it up for a few years, just to see what it does. (538 characters)

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 217 ratings.