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

312 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 312
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 98
Gots: 49 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

A new Vertical Epic will be released every year, with the goal being to collect them all and have a Vertical Epic tasting once the final Epic is released on 12/12/12. Each new Stone Vertical Epic Ale will be release one YEAR, one MONTH and one DAY apart. This time around we used some unmalted wheat, just the right touch of Kaffir Lime Leaf, and a really cool Belgian yeast. The result is a bit like a strong Biere de Garde / Saison-esque influenced beer coupled with some aromatic Bavarian Hefeweizen style phenolic banana esters, and a backnote hint of lime from the lime leaf.

(Beer added by: Todd on 04-07-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 312 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joecast
2.63/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

thin layer of foam over orange tinted fizzy yellow beer??? (from stone??)
aroma is pretty pronounced. definite fruity, spicy overtones but some sort of alcohol there as well. maybe nailpolish remover. whatever it is, it doesnt seem to go well.
flavor seems like it need a year or two cellaring. too many different things going on that need time to get to know each other so they can play well together. like the maltiness is trying to fight through the other styles. seems to be trying too hard and is too aggressive.
mouthfeel is on the thin, slippery side.
the drinkabilty is lower than any other score to reflect the fact that while some things worked ok, overall, it lacked any definite direction and lost its way somewhere...

Photo of ngandhi
2.7/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Green.

The low hopping strips this beer of any chance for head or flavor. The malts aren't rich enough to compensate, nor are they thin enough to really make this to style. The yeast dominates and is dull, but characteristically Belgian and accentuates some of the bland wheat profile.

Of course, VE04 relies on the Kaffir lime leaves -- that's why there's no hop flavor, I assume. Unfortunately, the lime contributes too much, not in terms of flavors, but in its overall parasitic presence. It's oversteeped, lacking any real freshness on the midpalate, and finishes dry and reprehensibly tannic.

The alcohol is brimming, but controlled. Phenols run wild, giving the beer an unpleasant smokiness that the distillate lime only comes to highlight. In some sense, this beer is harmonious because each flavor feeds the next; few of these flavors are desired.

I'm left with a void. This feels like a Florida orange grove stripped of its fruit by the hurricanes or a Burgundy vineyard hit with hail. There's an empty place here reserved for some fruit, something to round out the beer.

As this ages, I expect the lime to die off and the yeast to dominate -- leaving a dry, grainy broth of a beer.

Relax, relax.
ng

Photo of RenoZymurgist
2.7/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Ppured a thick one and a half inch head which subsided at a moderate pace atop an orange gold ale that is very clear. Aroma reminds me of Saaz hops on steroids. Very dry citrus aroma with a little bit of esters thrown in for good measure. The flavor is of alcohol a mild maltiness that is a little sweet matched with a strong dry citrus flavor and a small amount of regular hop bitterness. Overall i think the guys at Stone are correct that this beer needs to be aged as the flavors and aromas are very intense and if this beer was aged just one year i think it would be immensly better than the one i sampled. Still not a bad beer, you definetly get the lime flavors as long as it is served at a warmer temp than a fridge. Good addition to the Vertical Epic Saga although i can't get enough Stone to both sample and age as Stone is not shipped to Nevada. Thanks Stone!

Photo of mdaschaf
2.71/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12. Review from notes.

A: Pours a hazy golden color with a small white head with minimal retention or lacing.

S: Very chalky, sort of like baby powder. It is slightly floral, sort of like air freshener.

T: Not much going here at all. Some faint fruit, a little citrus and floral/grassy flavors.

M: Light to medium bodied with little carbonation.

O: Not very good, probably my least favorite of 3-12 that I was able to try.

Photo of Gonzoillini
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of waldowin
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

So much for 12.12.12. Doh! Couldn't wait.

Pours a hazy gold color, with a thick-as-paste white head several fingers thick, that constantly replenishes itself as it tries to fall. Took about 10 minutes before the head finally faded down enough to drink the beer itself.

Smells golden raisins, plums, toffee, and a bit of lime (not surprisingly, considering the ingredients).

Tastes of toffee, bananas, cherries, and a bit of lime, with almost no hops at all. The lime taste is fairly off-putting, for me anyways. I hesitate to make such a rare bottle a drain-pour, but i'm not sure I can get used to this taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy and heavily carbonated, almost like sipping foam. Very smooth and if it tasted better, would be easier to drink.

Photo of dmsohyea
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of HopsMatt
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of russwbeck
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Churchkey.

This one has a semi hazy yellow color and a small fizzy white head. While the head laces well, it doesn't stick around for very long. It smells very Belgian-like, with clove, banana, and Belgian yeast taking over. There's also a slight amount of booze and an overall sweetness. The taste is muted. It really doesn't taste like much of anything. Perhaps some hay, light spice, and lingering clove. It's light and uncarbonated, but pretty drinkable because it tastes like nothing. Not a fan. Again, too old.

Photo of PatronWizard
2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

See 06.06.06 review for background ...

Poured a golden bubbly with small spotty lacing. Looks good enough.

Smells of peaches with slight spice. Not bad. Or good.

Taste isn't very impressive. Peaches and car freshener is what I get.

Still has carbonation. What can I say? I bought these puppies for a mint and expected to be blown away. They were all "just" good beer. Nothing extraordinary.

Overall: wish I had the money instead

Photo of charlzm
2.89/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

Beer pours a clear, light medium-gold. Slightly hazy, no head.

The aroma is nebulous esters and phenols; the only thing I could definitely pick out was lime.

Flavor was slightly sweet with notes of clove, pepper and lime. Very low to no bitterness.

Mouthfeel was flat and otherwise unremarkable.

Sadly, this one doesn't seem to have aged very well.

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

On Tap

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

(Aged for 8 years)

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

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

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

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

Too sweet, too syrupy, though not offensive.

Photo of TKEbeerman
2.96/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A. Poured into my VE glass this brew pours a golden yellow with a little murky yeast. One of our tasters had a crystal clear pour.
S. The aroma is plain and bready. Some oxidization, but less than 02 and 03.
T. The flavor tastes of bready tones with notes of hops that used to be dominate. Again, no belgiumy tones.
Mf. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, a little rough on the finish.
Overall not as an impressive choice for aging.

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.98/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is bright orange and hazy with a thin white head. The aroma offers mint, tea, citrus, malt, lime, kiwi. The flavor is a bit odd, showing signs of age. Well water, oranges, light toffee. Light in body with low carbonation. This was ok.

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

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

Photo of dmarch
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I don't know why I thought this was barleywine, but it's definately a big beer with Belgian influences as BA indicated. First of all, the appearance is beautiful. Orangey-golden in color with a big blooming white head that diminishes into a fine lace. I have to be honest. It went down hill once the aroma hit my nose. I didn't enjoy this brew as much as I hoped. Sorry Greg, I'm a big fan, but this just didn't do it for me. Incredibly sweet. I couldn't pick out the flavor at first, but I think I figured it out. I am reminded of those little fruit candies you get at those grocery store vending machines. Those little bananna ones...that's this beer. It's definately got the strength, and it does have flavor. I would just want to see this beer a little more dry. Stone is a brewery that I feel guilty giving a bad review to. I'm a huge fan, but this is my first Vertical Epic. As of now, I think I favor their flagship beers.

Photo of orangesol
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of CelticAleMan
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of tommyguz
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of sweemzander
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a taster glass. Thanks to Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a murky golden orange color. Minimal white bubbles.

(S)- Kind of a hodge podge of dry resin, orange citrus, and an ever so earthy-like hint of lime.

(T)- Rather sweet in comparison to how dry the aroma was. Lots of honey and a sugary, almost candy-like orange and lime.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. Quite sweet with an interesting citrus flavor to it. A touch muddled though due to its age.

(O)- I think this one is showing its age too, though I did appreciate the kind of awkward orange and lime citrus this has taken on.

Photo of MasterSki
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle I got from KAME a long time ago. Served in a tulip.

A - White foam settles to a thin collar, wisps, and minimal lace. Hazed, dark apricot body.

S - Shockingly, the Kaffir lime leaf has held up, even after nine years. It doesn't really mix well with the stale oxidation, marmalade, and caramel flavors though. Not offensive, but a tad strange.

T - The taste isn't quite as distince, with more nebulous sweetness. Again, it's largely caramel, fruity oxidation, and perhaps a touch of lime.

M - Medium body, with less carbonation than the previous two years. Lightly sticky texture and finish, and again no obvious alcohol.

D - Very weird. If you like lime then this might still be somewhat palatable, but it's certainly not something I could drink in large quantities. Still, better than the 03.03.03 in my book.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a deep gold to orange with a small white head, some minor lace.

S: Kaffir lime, ethereal, interesting flowery character, hint of oxidation.

T: Lemon, grass, lime leaf. Somewhat bland, good tasting when I can find it, but a tired flavour.

M: Medium-bodied, very soft carbonation, a bit flabby.

O: Drinkable, but this has seen better days, nowhere near as good as the '05 was.

Photo of nomad
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Gotta break out the goblet for this special beer... it fills the glass with a dull golden liquid with little carbonation continuing beyond the initial explosion. Head keeps decently with a delicate, thin type of lace typical of a tripel.

Smells of a great lime scent, fulfilling on the promise of Kaffier limes that the bottle extols. Accompanying is a pepper-like spiciness with a real live edge. Sweet bready malt is the backdrop to complete a fairly simple profile.

Taste for the first half of the bottle relies on a large body of clove and yeasty witbier-like flavors. In time it gives into notes of lime and a mild honey flavor extending through the middle. Not much bready, pale, or other malt to speak of, though the alcohol is hidden quite well. Hops are found only in the dry and short finish with pleasant and appropriate European hop accents. Not much to speak of when you put it all together.

In sum, a pretty normal tripel, far from the scions of the style. I hope one of these Stone Verticals gets more than interesting and becomes truly tasty in the next few years. I'm starting to not believe in their limited edition beers.

Photo of peabody
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lots of bubbles in this slightly yellow amber liquid that adorns the glass with a few white bubbles and lacing around the rim.
Smell is grassy banana and yeast with a few spices and the alcohol burn.
Taste is kinda syrupy with a very slight hop bitterness but very little. Not much spice shows up anymore.
Mouthfeel is very sticky at first then the bitterness washes most of the syrup away.
Overall this is another FAILED attempt from Stone. This one is well over it's prime. Had it 4 years ago and it was a lot better. It has went downhill since.

Photo of Massbmx
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 312 ratings.