1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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
87
very good

316 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 316
Reviews: 218
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 97
Gots: 48 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 316 | Reviews: 218
Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of soper2000
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a golden/orangish color with a minimum head into my Gulden Draak goblet. Aroma had notes of grass and citrus reminding me of a hefe. Taste was mildly citric with some pleasant notes of yeast and bannana rounding out the palate. Very different from the tripels i've previously had. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. Drinakability is decent, alcohol isn't very evident, but the flavor is kind of tiring. A very solid and different brew from Stone.

Photo of rkhaze
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy peach color. Medium sized off white head. Smells of sweet malt, bananas and juicy yellow stone fruits. A hint of clove and that tangy belgian yeast. Nice mixture of aromas, like a cross between a Belgian and a Hefeweizen. Apparently this is what they were shooting for, and they acheived it nicely.
The taste at the start and middle mimiced the great smells. There was an almost bubblegum like hint as well. Unfortunately a raw bitterness showed up mid finish and threw it all out of balance. The lime showed up at the end but more in a bitter zest way, than in a clean citrusy way.
Light bodied with a rich tangy mouthfeel and lots of carbonation.
The harsh bitterness hurt the drinkibility for me.
This tasted young and raw. I like the idea behind it and it should mature into a dynamite beer.

Photo of snpub540
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Held out from opening this one for as long as I could...

Poured an orange color, that turned more of an amber when held up to light. Mostly clear with a slight amount of haze. Small white head that fizzled into tiny bubbles on the edge.

Smell was fruity and spicy. Orange and clove are present in my first whiff and I detected some earthiness, which I am guessing is the yeast.

Taste was complex. Some sips I had were bitter like sour apple, while others were more earthy. Dry finish and warming alcohol taste as it goes down.

Mouthfeel felt kind of flat, but I'm guessing thats because of the almost 5 years in the bottle. Very good beer though and I believe it stood up well for its time in the bottle... I'll have to see how it tastes in 2012!

Photo of RedDiamond
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ’04 looks largely lager-like with its pale yellow body capped with a foamy white head. It was very clear until I let all the yeasties spill in. It has a peculiar herb / spice aroma with a strong Belgian accent and tastes much like it smells.

This is brewed with something called Kaffir lime leaf. I have no idea what that is, but its infusion into an otherwise pale Trappist ale is remarkably complimentary and satisfying. The unique taste contributes to a beverage that is highly drinkable. This brew also stands up to food well in that it is prominent and herbal without being overly domineering.
Though the ’04 could benefit from some maturing, I don’t think I’ll wait eight years to try this one again.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Spoils of Charlottesville Run, 4.30.04.

22 oz. bomber

Golden in color with a large, foamy white head after a semi-aggressive pour. A strong aroma of yeast and citrus fruit sweetness.

This is a very interesting beer. The dominant flavor is definitely the banana esters, but they take on a new character in the absence of the strong, wheaty backbone of hefes that I usually associate themn with. The lime leaf adds an almost sour crispness, like biting into a lime. There's also something almost medicinal about that's a little strange, but I like it--maybe not as much as I would have predicted I would, but I like it nonetheless.

Overall, the beer does seem a bit "too fresh." I can't wait to see how it ages if I get the chance--with a little mellowing on the lime and bananas, this could be awesome.

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opted today (27DEC08) to quaff my second (and last) bottle of 04.04.04. Still shines with a lovely, clear golden hue. Fine bubbles stream steadily topside, towards a miniscule layer of white bubbles, most of which cling to the rim, lacing up the sides. Lime is still present in the aroma, which also has a subtle, earthy, horse-blanket quality to it. Mouthfeel is still a fairly smooth feel, and medium bodied.

Light, bready, malty sweetness lands softly on the palate, with a smidge of limey citrus following. Faint banana lurks in the background, and there is still a smidge of spiciness present. The finish is crisp and dry. Still a decent, tasty Epic offering, though I don't think that 4+ years of aging have done anything to make this a better bier. And, I wouldn't expect another 4 years to help. If I were rating this now, I'd likely rate it the same is on 2004.

Prosit!!

*** *** ***

I finally found some VE04 - only a month late (03MAY04), but nbd....

Pours an attractive, bright golden color, and is clear throughout (at this point). Head is a 1/4" layer of fine, white bubbles at the start, fading to a thin layer fairly soon after the pour. A healthy amount of bubbling congregates around the rim, with a nice lacework pattern left behind. The nose is wheaty, like a Hefe-, and it has a distinct fruity tang, which must be the lime noted in the recipe. I also get a bit of a yeasty, somewhat spicy character typical to Tripels. Body was a good, solid medium, and it was relatively smooth on the tongue, especially considering the bier has a steady stream of carbonation rising up within. I expected more roughness, but it went down nicely.

It has a slight crackery malt taste, with a wheaty dryness. I do pick up the lime in the flavor as well, melding with other tropical fruit notes. VE04 finishes dry on the palate, with a subtle fruit essence and peppery character lingering somewhat. The 8.5% abv seems well cloaked, as I don't really pick up on it at all. I find this to be a good bier, a solid bier, yet not one (at this point, anyhow) that knocks my socks off or overly wows me.

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

709

Photo of dagubna
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of neonbrown82
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial tasting: I wasn't exactly too impressed by the appearance or smell of this tripel, especially after having recently gone on a Belgian marathon over the past month. The head was very minimal compared to any Belgian tripel. This was my first try at an american tripel, but nonetheless, I would have expected at least some head, especially after the aggressive pour of the latter half of the bomber to try and induce a more healty looking head. The smell was also neigh undetectable for the style, but I did notice a little of that lime leaf and banana.

The taste was interesting. It was similar to the traditional Belgian tripel taste with the intense barley maltiness and all sorts of citrusy, sweet and sour flavors, yet you could definately tell there was a fair amount of hops in this beer. The bitterness was more apparent than I expect in a tripel.

I still have another bomber of this that I will attempt to save for at least a year, but I'll be damned if it makes it through the long haul to 2012. As of now, I'm not quite so concerned that this is a limited edition and that I only have one more chance to experience it, at which time it most likely won't be optimally aged (I mean, let's be realistic... I haven't technically started my cellaring collection, and I'm still kind of paranoid about pulling it from the fridge and placing it somewhere where I might forget it in the basement). Nonetheless, worth the price of having ordered it on-line. Further judgements are pending, hopefully until 2012, but most likely around New Year's 2006.

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9/19/09: Instead of going to GABF this year, we're having our own craft beer weekend at the beach. Thus I'm breaking out an '04 VE for the first time in a few years to see how it's changed. And changed it has. Color remains the same golden, with a significant amount of suspended yeast floating throughout. Spiciness of the Belgian yeast still comes though in the aroma, as do soft floral notes, alcohol and a lot of vanilla. This vanilla flavor is also present in the flavor. The lime has faded to be nearly undetectable. Still very good carbonation upon first pour with a good head, but quickly fades to lace. Very smooth on the mouthfeel. I think I liked a fresh sample better and this may be on its way down, however still very tasty and very drinkable. No change to my original ratings.

4/15/04: Ah, a fresh '04. Typical tripel golden color with a moderate fluffy white head. Sweet malty and yeasty aroma, with notes of banana and clove. Still nothing out of the ordinary. Flavor of citrus and spice come out, with just a faint hint of what tastes like those lime flavored Tostitos in the very end of the finish. The after-after taste, if you will. I guess that's the wee lime leaf. Alcohol is easily detectable in the flavor but certainly not overdone or taking away from the other flavors. You'll know it's there though. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a surprising amount of low carbonation, considering it is so young. This will be interesting to age, and I look forward to seeing how the other bottles I have come out over the years. More extensive reviewing to follow.

Photo of bigchris1313
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden. Plenty darker than the Natural Light I watch everyone around me drink. *shudder*

Smell: Fruity! This was quite a shock for me, because as a hophead I was expecting the beer to be bitter like every other Stone Brew I'd had, save the porter and stout.

Taste: As a hophead I was at first weary of the sweeter flavor. As I continued to drink the beer, I began to embrace this style that was strange to me. Much fruitness gave the beer a smooth taste, but unlike the smooth tastes advocated by advertising campaigns for such brews as Keystone Light, this beer was full-flavored and sweet.

Mouthfeel: I think Stone does a great job with their brews as far as mouthfeels are concerned. The carbonation, when the brew is cool, lets the beer flow through one's mouth and across the tongue fluidly, for lack of a better term. Of all the categories, I gave this my highest score of 4.5

Drinkability: The beer is good, and for drinkers who adore fruitiness, this could be consumed for a long time. However, as hop-head, I wasn't fully enamored with the beer, but I put my prejudice aside the rated this category adequately.

Photo of WetCoaster
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Apricot gold and crystal clear, with very active fine carbonation. Thick, dense pure white head with moderate duration. Sounds typical, but it's a uniquely pretty beer.

Smell: I just had nasal sex with a supermodel. Wonderful, powerful blend of Belgian yeast, honey, apricot, green apple, clove, fruitcake spice, pale malt with a mild solvent/alcohol scent underneath. It's awesome--I can't get my nose out of the glass.

Taste: Oddly, the first flavor is an un-Belgian caramel malt. The usual spice/clove, honey, a bit of sour fruit. It's good, but it doesn't live up to the scent's promise. The mouthfeel is crisp, but also medium bodied and slightly coating. A medicinal phenol taste lingers very long into the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Make of this one what you will. It's listed as a tripel, they call it a saison, or a bier de garde--they're not sure. I'm not either. Whatever it is, it's a solid Belgian-style beer, though not really a stellar example of any specific style. I like it, but it's not quite the knockout I expected.

Finally, I have real trouble believing this is going to last eight years. If you want to save it for the 2012 Vertical Epic, rock on, but I just can't imagine this is going to drinkable. Prove me wrong.

Photo of beerinator
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orangey yellow. Clear. Nice off-white head, with tiny little bubbles.

Aroma: Very fragrant. Smells 'stone-y'. Perfumey floral smells. Aroma is fairly fruity (pear) with clove and banana smells. Deep aromas.

Taste: Depth of taste is impressive. Good body with a bit of spice in the middle of the tongue. Banana-y sweetness, with a pretty quick finish. Apples and pears are predominant fruits in the flavor.

Notes: Fun beer. This beer is like a spiced fruit pie. I'm not too sure if this one is made to last the long haul, but the depths of flavor and aroma make me really want to see what this one will be like in a year or two.

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours an appealing crisp amber colour with loas of carbonation, which creeps to the soapy head atop the glass. the smell is a bold mixture of banana, spice, yeast and some malt. it's a touch earthy as well. good stuff. the flavour is much like the smell, being a balanced blend of fruitiness and spice, thoug ha bit more citrus based than the smell and having a more solid bread flavour at the finish. alcohol is noticeable yet not intrusive. carbonation levels are nice and high and spot on for the style. this one is easy drinking (much easier than i expected) and is a nice representation of the style, especially so as an american version of it.

Photo of cjever19
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

My Uncle pulled out a treat from his cellar for Thanksgiving. He bought this new and had held on to it for 5 or so years. This review is from memory. Drank with 4 others out of

A- Light, amber with orange tint. Didn't get a big enough pour to get a nice head, but did leave a nice lace in my glass.
S- Didn't get much in the nose on this one.
T- HONEY and bananas, nicely balanced though. Not overly sweet Didn't taste the lime at all.
M- Very crisp and refreshing.
D- Amazing, would have loved to have some more of these.

Hopefully he bought a few and will pull another out in a few years. Aging nicely but definitely great now.

Photo of Southernbrew
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of talk about limes on the bottle as well as Belgian yeast, interested to see how this tastes.

Light orange with a minimal head.

I sure smell that lime along with banana and clove hefeweizen-like aromas. There's a light "Belgian" aroma too.

Medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation. That lime really shows up carrying a lot of bitterness. This tastes like a strong hefeweizen more than a tripel to me, with all the banana/clove/spice flavors. Definitely Belgian flavors, but the biscuit flavors and lime alter the taste. Very biting lime flavor in the finish.

A good beer, actually fairly refreshing. I question how well this would hold up for 8 years.

A big thanks to Rajendra82 for the trade!

Photo of lou91
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured like a textbook triple with alcohol and sweet honey in the nose and a golden/orange glow with minimal head. Initial taste are also textbook with crisp clean flavors of Belgian yeast and sugar and a tart back of the tongue astringency. As it warms it showed greater depth of flavors and is a much better contender to last until 12/12/12 than the first two. As far as Kaffir lime leaves go – I know what they taste like and they were too faint to be noticeable. But this would be good with thai food with its sweetness and crisp clean tastes.

Photo of SheepNutz
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a medium gold color with two fingers of fluffy white head. There is a bit of lacing left on the glass. The smell is malty and sweet, with lots of fruit. White grapes, apple, and pear are all in there. Just a hint of yeast character and alcohol too. The taste is also sweet and fruity. More of the white grape and yeast character comes through. A touch of citrus and spice there on the finish as well. Not a bit of alcohol in sight. The mouthfeel is thick and full-bodied, yet smooth. The drinkability is really great, you'd never know this was 8.5% abv. Another good one from the guys and gals at Stone.

Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with good head, bright orangy colour. Excellent aroma, jam packed with fruity notes, coriander and a bold Belgian yeast musk. Very strong wheat character, certainly an easy beer to get a grip on. Yeast really dominates (stronger still, considering it has aged 2 years) Some more subtle malt in the backbone. Exceptional flavour, long resonance, absolutely no alcohol. Mouthfeel great on the front end of the mouth. Not exactly how I like my wits/tripels/Belgian pale ales (or whatever!), I can see where others might find room to criticize. But I rather enjoy this yeast and the Belgian tang it leaves. Certainly not as refreshing as others in the style, to that I think we owe the big hops (ohh Stone, you and your hops!) But I think it works. Who knows what style this fits under - ah cool, they created something original. A tasty ale I was very grateful to try, wish I got to try fresh and hope I'll get to try again! Thanks Dr.Jay!

Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazy amber/gold, small white head forms, some nice lace. Smell is caramel, pine/floral, spices, vanilla, yeast and wheat. Taste is wheat, caramel, floral/citrus, and some yeast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Very nice, not sure of it as a tripel, but a damn tasty beer nonetheless. Thanks DrJay!

Photo of beertaster13
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange/gold with white froth head that is great to the eye then foils down to a thin lining. Lacing is average. The smell is complex and unique, a spice, caramel and banana fruit upfront and dry oaked aged wheat to the end. The taste is of banana and cinnamon spices, a hint of pine from the hops, slight citrus taste as well, a little wheat grain detected, slight scotch hints, oaked aged, unique and good.

Photo of stewart124
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange.

Nose has tons of lime and citrus in general. Some farmhouse characters, hay possibly.

Taste is sweeter than I anticipated but delicious. Almost a candied sweetness. Thin but very drinkable. The kaffir lime comes through strong and obviously fruity, citrusy in general.

This is delicious. I could put back a few of these. Alas, is not available. So easy drink. There is little to no trace of alcohol and it's hard to believe that this is 8.5%.

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large off-white head that dissipates slowly to a small head. Pours a clear light golden amber leaves minimal lacing. Nice small bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is of caramel, lots of yeast, some banana, clove and a slight hint of vinyl.

Taste is midly sweet malts in the beginning with atouch of lemon, lots of yeast in the taste. Not really any hop noticed.

Good carbonation, light to medium body.

Nice ale!

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 316 ratings.