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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

217 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 217
Hads: 317
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 16.2%
Wants: 95
Gots: 56 | 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: 317
Photo of waldowin
2.84/5  rDev -27%
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.

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Photo of charlzm
2.89/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

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Photo of PatronWizard
2.91/5  rDev -25.2%
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

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Photo of TKEbeerman
2.96/5  rDev -23.9%
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.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
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.

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Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.01/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.06/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

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Photo of dmarch
3.06/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.14/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.15/5  rDev -19%
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.

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Photo of nomad
3.23/5  rDev -17%
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.

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Photo of peabody
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of far333
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruddy chestnut color with a lumpy, foamy beige head that sinks fast, but leaves a fine cap across the top. Aroma is sweet, full of sweet pear, cinnamon, and fruit. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, low carbonation. Flavor is sweet and lightly yeasty, a little cloying for my tastes. Finish is interesting as honey, banana, and clove rise to the top, but a tinny aftertaste lingers. I expected much more.

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Photo of mschofield
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium amber-gold, topped with a three finger puffy off-white head, left partial rings of lacing.
Spicy, yeasty, lime aroma, banana and flowers.
Robustly flavored, very yeasty - seems a little "wild" maybe it needs time to settle itself down. Lime, wet bread, wheat and flowers. More hop flavor than bitterness, although the bitterness does come out more when it warms.
Medium-full bodied, I've got a couple of bottles in the cellar it will be interesting to see how the compare to the fresh draft over time.

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Photo of TubaManJack
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - wow very little carbonation and no head from this draft pour. The body is a very hazy yellow body

Smell- Almost lactose sugar sweet with a little funk. There is a medium banana ripeness to it. Very strange and yet intreging.

Taste- somewhat like the nose. There is a bit of funk and ripeness that.
I have never encountered before. There is a bspa yeast element and then a wet mop of a mouthfeel. Kinda of a disappoint because I feel like there is something there.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I will defer to some of the more experienced reviewers below, since this is my #50 review- only 750 to go to catch up to EyeChartBrew!

Seriously, I decided to try this brew "fresh" because of the previous reviews- saving some for later. Pours a almost clear gold color that is ever so slightly cloudy, from a 22 oz. breown bottle. There is an immediate (but not terribly strong) belgian yeast aroma, with nice carbonation and a nice head. Head starts out moderate size and settles to a small white covering in a few minutes. Aroma is nice, with sugars and citrus (orange, sour lime?) and some banana.

Flavor is sharp, with wheat, citrus, banana, and lots of things I knew were there but could not identify. There were some hops bite, with an overall mustiness and earthiness from the yeast. Surprising lack of sweetness.

Overall I did not really care for it. Based on previous discussion, I guess it is from it being young, and will get better. But I guess I compare it to a Rochefort 10, which is great fresh and gets better from there. This one is ok fresh, and supposed to get better from there. Will it? Don't know.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

3.5 A: Moderately hazed medium orange color. Didn't make much of a head.

3.5 S: Honey, lime, pepper, clove, and dog biscuit. Musty and simultaneously spicy. Smells almost like a much less old saison.

3.5 T: Tastes like the nose. A lot of lime and dog biscuit. Musty, a bit tangy, and spicy. Pepper, honey, and clove.

3.5 M: Medium body. Lightly spritzy with good moderate carbonation.

3.0 D: I wouldn't want to drink it again, but for an old ass beer it's not bad.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
3.44/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Suprisingly sweet and balanced for a Stone product! Pours a cloudy copper in color with a thin white head that dissapated quickly after the pour. Nose s quite sweet, notes of citrus and other fruit, quite nice actually. Taste is surprisingly light, complex and even a bit mellow to start but then the action begins. Notes of banana, golden raisin, fig and clove are present. The taste is very multi-tiered, one taste hitting right after another, very nice. The bad is that as it warms there is a nasty astringent hoppiness present in the finish and the alcohol really makes itself known.

Not bad overall, but unless kept chilled it's flaws really become a problem to my palate. Not something I'll seek out again.


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Photo of jrallen34
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap into a taster...Medium tan beer with a very low carbonation level, not much head, no lacing...A malty aroma of bread, pineapple, honey and a touch of hops. Sounds like it would be really enticing but its not strong or defined enough...The taste is super light, misses most of the aroma, light wheat, floral and a little honey.

Maybe its past its prime, maybe its just not great. Either way 6 years later don't waste much to get it.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the 'Most Arrogant Bar in America', Barley's Pizzeria & Taproom in Greenville, SC! Served from tap into a tulip. Poured golden yellow with a one finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Based on the style of this brew and the age, I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. I know that the 03.03.03 had changed quite a bit over time so I expected more of this with the 04.04.04. However I found that this one really hadn’t changed too much based on the style. This one wasn’t hugely complex, but did manage to stay quite well balanced though. Just wish that it would have taken it to another level though. Worth your time trying this one if you get the opportunity.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Troubled pale orange, the head was pretty frail.

Smell: Lemon pepper at first, but then this strange aroma that I've never detected in a Beer before. It was hard to describe, soapy lavander is the best I can come up with. Maybe crushed szechuan pepper, but with an added perfume that made me think of that time I went to a Persian restaurant, the desserts were perfumed with rosewater and other flowers.

Taste: Matching the aroma, the flavors were like some strange concoction a holistic healer would make out of whatever weird herbs, magic powders and air freshener he had laying around his house (aka the Van down by the river). It had a taste of flowers and flour! It was quite complicated, and honestly, I can't even give you a verdict if I liked it or not. This truly is a case where giving this Beer a score is pointless for me, because the taste is something absolutely new to me and my brain is still processing it, trying to associate it with something and coming up with nada. I think at first my reaction wasn't too favorable (I would have given it a 3), but now a few days have past and I'd be willing to try it again, just to see how I would react to a second dose (I would have gone up to 4).

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ditmier pulled this one out of his cellar for our recent VE tasting.. thanks buddy!!! I will save mine for the End of the World Party!!

Pours hazy orange... okay 1/2" head.. no real retention or lacing..

Nose is lite phenolic spicy... pretty sweet.. very dusty... bits of citrus.

Flavor is mildly oxidized.... some cardboard... but the backbone is still there.. sweet pale malts with some background pear ester.. banana shows more with warmth.. despite the dust, there is still some green apple..

Body and carbonation are still about right... but the oxidation is definitely there.. I doubt this was ever good after a year or so.


Oh well... we cracked it a couple of years early... I can only guess we did things right.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Blankboy for being generous enough to send this my way. Pours a slight hazed orange with a creamy one finger froth, that recedes and leaves minute lace. Aromas are a blast of pineapples, yeasty esters, mint sprigs, banana. and malts. Sweet fruity mint flavours are nice. Lots of plum, pineapple, yeasty with white bread. Sugared citrus fruit finish. A good example, glad I drank it now, as I don't see it lasting too much longer. Thanks for the opportunity Paul!

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Photo of FosterJM
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1659th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass

Split with StarRaptor, Callmecoon & Smarcoly

App- A bit of an apple juice color with a bit of density behind it. A bit more golden than I wouldve thought. A small ring of bubbles was there and was gone quite quickly.

Smell- I didnt get any of the lime on this bottle. I got more of a malty, sweet a little bit of a saison note with some small peppery bits and then moved into a bit of sweet apple notes.

Taste- I thought it was a nice beer. Wasnt overly oxidized and didnt have the usual pop that a BSPA would have. The lime was gone and tasted more like a juice or a white wine to me. (Having 11-11-11 in white wine 2 after this. I still agree) The malts were much more pronounced and this had lost a lot of the nuance of the style.

Mouth- A bit of a syrupy medium body with a medium carbonation. The residual flavors are there with only a touch of the spicy and body of a saison. A little bit of sweetness and apple.

Drink- Probably my least favorite of the earlier bottles. I would say that it was 06-05-03-04. Was a lot of fun to do this tasting.

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