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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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

314 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 314
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 99
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
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Ratings: 314 | Reviews: 217 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SpdKilz
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of BuckTuckian
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

3.5/3.5/3.5/3.5/3.5

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

Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Geuzedad
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of mrmanning
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
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!

Photo of JTomczak
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of FosterJM
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1659th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass
22oz

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.

Photo of cadaugherty
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of MordorMongo
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of OlieIPA
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally...the last Belgian of the night...

A; Poured just like the 07' and 08' VE....golden with decent head with minimal lacing.

S: Read my 08' review...less hoppy...seriously.

T: An almost vanilla like sweetness to it...but very light; some pale ale qualities.

M: Normal...nothing special. Good carbonation for a 5-year old beer.

D: Good beer...that's it.

Overall: Try it...but get the 08' if you want to save money. Cheers!

Photo of TXhomebrewer
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of robbrandes
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of savagepm
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.51/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a light golden amber color with a bubbly white head that leaves a nice lace. There is a wide range of aromas to this brew from which I can come up with some banana, a big presence of yeast, hints of wheat, and a noticeable lime like aroma that comes from the kaffir lime leaves. To me this is kinda funky but hey lets move on. The flavor to this brew goes right along with the aforementioned aromas. There is a large wheaty flavor to this brew with a firm backing of yeasty banana. There is a subtle sweetness followed by some citrus notes, while the carbonation is just light enough that it tingles nicely on the tongue. The finish to this brew really shows off the kaffir lime leaves with a firm lime flavor that just sticks to the pallate, with some final notes sweetness and an almost juicy quality.
Overall I find this brew to be quite interesting and very fully flavorful, just its a bit too funky for me to drink on a regular basis. I bet this would probably go well with some thai food, or maybe something spicy...

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been wondering what style Stone settled on for their soon-to-be-released Vertical Epic 05.05.05. I then realized that I hadn't yet tasted the bottle of 04.04.04 that's been in my beer fridge since last summer. I won't be able to comment on how this tripel has changed over time, but given how long this series is built to last, it's still only in its infancy. Knowing Stone, it's sure to be an interesting ride.

Radiant amber with a hint of orange peel and a plethora of tiny, dust mote-like particles that catch and reflect the sun's rays so beautifully that it seems as if the beer contains its own inner light. A lovely looking head of alabaster foam possesses a creamy stiffness that gives it a chiseled, sculpted appearance as it slowly descends. An acceptable amount of lace in no discernable pattern completes the picture of a quality beer from a quality brewery.

The nose is unlike the nose on any beer in recent memory. First is a grassy, floral hoppiness that is similar to Saaz, yet different. Next is a 'white' spiciness reminiscent of white pepper and something musky, cardamon perhaps, though that's not quite it. Finally is a citrusiness that is unlike the hoppy citrusiness that one usually smells in most hoppy beer. I'm pretty sure that I'd be able to identify the citrusiness as lime, even without knowing that Kaffir lime leaf was used. It isn't a whiz-banger of a nose, but it is original and interesting.

Epic tastes pretty much like it smells. The first thing that I notice is its power. The flavor hits like a ton of bricks (a good thing), but the alcohol isn't cloaked quite well enough. It remains to be seen how the flavors, including the alcohol, meld with warming. I'll get back to that issue as I get deeper into the bottle. Like the nose, this is one original tripel. In fact, I have a hard time thinking of it as a tripel at all.

It's more hoppy than expected, but doesn't use a hop that I care for. It reminds me of a 'super noble' with elements of bitter grass and an austere floral quality. It seems to take the worst elements of the Saaz-type hops and amplify them. As a consequence, I'm finding it hard to find much to like. Clove is still going strong, as is cardamom. I don't mind that second spice in small doses, but it's too prominent here. I know that no actual cardamon was used, it just tastes like it to me.

The lime leaf is present and accounted for, but seems more like bitter citrus pith than sweet lime peel. That brings me to another concern. Tripels are best, I believe, when they contain a certain amount of candi sugar. This beer seems not to contain any sugar or sweetness at all, which hurts it significantly in my eyes. The bitterness is unrelenting and quickly grows tiresome without the balancing sweetness.

The alcohol still hasn't retreated. It's acceptable, but shows itself too prominently given what else is going on with the flavor as a whole. The finish is semi-dry with the ethanol coming to the fore to an even greater degree. The body is medium-full, though it drinks lighter than that thanks to the Belgian-like, exuberant carbonation. There isn't much wrong with the mouthfeel, but then I'd expect nothing less from Stone.

Vertical Epic 04.04.04 is notable (to me at least) because it's a rare disappointment from one of my favorite breweries. I applaud Stone for their grand vision and for attempting something as audacious as this series. It remains to be seen whether or not every beer is successful and whether or not they actually improve with age. Or if some of the early iterations are even drinkable by 2012. Nevertheless, my respect for this brewery is such that I'll anticipate each and every release and will relish the thought of popping the cap on the latest (and hopefully greatest) Vertical Epic.

Photo of avylover
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

cellar for 8 years eh? Not in this house...

Anyhow, this brew pours out a golden orange color, with just a slight haze to it. The head is small but rough, like a mountainous landscape on top. Aroma is yeast & bready, with some spicyness showing up. Some mandarin orange aromas showing up. Taste is also full of orange rind. This is like a overhopped belgian ale to me. There is a lot of delicate taste going on back there, but combined with the american hopping style you end up with something like sour fruit. Piney hops, some bready malt. Aftertaste is non-existent. This is like a beer that can't make up it's mind. Stone IPA mixed with La Fin Du monde = this beer. Not offensive, just strange. Decent bubbly mouthfeel. This will take some getting used to. After all, this is Stone, generally over the top.

Photo of orfeu
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I saw a recent thread about the Vertical Epic series in which a few posters indicated that this one had either passed its peak or was right about there, never to get any better. I only managed to grab one bottle when a few of these were still floating around back in 2005 anyway, so I figure I might as well open it up and give it a try...

Well chilled, poured into an AleSmith tulip, this over three-year-old golden Belgian ale is indeed rather gold in color -- a hazy peach hue, with a substantial cap of slightly yellowing, dense white froth sitting on top, fluffy and creamy at the same time. The head has a noticeable longevity and sticky, clumpy lacing. Sticky-sweet fruits in the aroma: overripe apricots and fermenting muskmelon rinds. Slight banana scent along with white peppercorns and a musty-earthy coriander character. Mashed banana and peach syrup thickness on the palate. Sharp carbonation up front and through the middle of the sip. Very difficult-to-identify spice melange emerges rather strongly after the fruity beginning: ground pepper, a bit of cilantro leaf. A bit of doughy wheatiness in the taste, too. I only get the merest hint of the Kaffir lime leaf flavor, right before a jarring mineral finish that smacks of the start of oxidization. Interestingly fruity and tart burps in my sinuses, though. Much as with the latest VE (07.07.07), this failed to impress me. I haven't tried the bottles of 05.05.05 and 06.06.06 I've got sitting in my cellar yet, and perhaps it's the case that Stone does dark Belgian ales better than the pale counterparts. I suppose this could pass through the next five years and meld into something interesting, but I have serious doubts about the staying power of 04.04.04. Anyway, I'm glad I tried it now.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am sampling one of my bottles of this beer. Almost on its one year anniversary. THe beer is at room temp and I am drinking from a pint glass. The beer pours a bright clear gold color with 2 cm of bleached white head foaming up easily and resting on the surface.
Aroma is rather mild, but I detect some wheat twang, a bit of sugar sweetness and general sweet spiciness, cloves perhaps, also a bit of citusy lemon.
First sip reveals a fine tingly carbonation and average body. Flavor is light and crisp with some lemon and white grape fruitiness and again sweet spices that I cant place. OVerall the beer is very light and doesnt feel or taste like a tripel. Leaves a sweet coating on my tongue after each swallow. A decent beer but I hope it improves on its quest for 12.12.12. vertical.

Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Vertical Epic 04 was a tale of two beers for me.

The first glass I poured into a (recommended) goblet. The beer was clear gold with hardly any head at all. No lacing.
The second glass I poured into a tulip and the beer was hazy apricot orange color with a 1" head that had some staying power and left good lace.(I know the yeast poured in to the second glass played a part).

The first glass held a nose of yeast, grain, and slight citrus aromas.
The second had yeast, tangerine, lime, banana, bubble gum,powder and a honey sweet aroma.

The initial taste held banana, alcohol, yeast and a grainy bite in the finish.
Second glass held the same plus a hint of lime and bubble gum.

The beer is unique, an odd combination of a hefe and a tripel. The first glass I drank was (forgive me Steve and Lee!!) like a New Belgium Tripel. The second glass was more of the unique beer I was expecting. I wonder if this beer needs to be somehow agitated before pouring any of it, because it definitely benefited from the bit of yeast in the second glass. I have two more in the "cellar" and I am looking forward to the future to see how these age. By the way the 05 is the bomb!!

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 314 ratings.