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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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

297 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 297
Reviews: 213
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%


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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 297 | Reviews: 213 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dmarch
dmarch

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2004 00:01:38 | More by dmarch
Photo of abfraser
abfraser

California

3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An exceptional beer tasting evening with joeyschlitz and waltonc included a bottle of 2004 through 2008. Wasn't prescient enough to save the 2002 or 2003, but still ended up great

A: Orange, murky, yeasty

S: Honey, butterscotch, faint lime

T: Candi sugar, caramel malt, wheat, honey

M: Mouth was a little flat--made me wonder if this one was going to hold up for the 2012 grand vertical

D: Smooth and easy drinking; no complaints

This one ranked 3rd out 5 for me; 2005, 2007 and 2006 were better

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2008 03:36:50 | More by abfraser
Photo of lou91
lou91

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2004 05:56:14 | More by lou91
Photo of BeerFink
BeerFink

Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2005 03:09:24 | More by BeerFink
Photo of TKEbeerman
TKEbeerman

Florida

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 01:42:35 | More by TKEbeerman
Photo of kmcnair
kmcnair

California

4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing this one as sampled from a Chimay goblet out of a 22oz bomber.

This ale is a light golden to copper color and makes a thin off white head. Boquet is rather nice, light malty and hoppy and slightlysweet. Banana esters, coriander spice, hints of orange-lemon-lime citrus, nice even hop/malt balance. Has a sweetness to the finish. Body is medium to full and lightly warms the palate and throat as it goes down. Another fine brew from Stone, that is rather easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2004 05:14:48 | More by kmcnair
Photo of jeffjfindley
jeffjfindley

California

4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a find. More than 3 years after it's release this was astoundingly good. Peachy orange, and cloudy. Head not great, but decent. What did stick around stuck around for the duration, and left some nice sticky lacing. Smell is fresh, and crisp with big fruit notes, notably peach. The taste was frickin' awesome, alive with Thai spice, but matched with a thick wheaty malt presence. After 3 years the hops are still prevelant, and leave their mark at the finish along with a blast of lemongrass. Mouthfeel manages to be rich, and crispily refreshing at once. It doesn't get much better than this, if you like Thai food. If you like Thai, and kick ass witbier, you'll devour this.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2007 22:52:03 | More by jeffjfindley
Photo of FormatKid
FormatKid

Tennessee

4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh yeah, I’m really interested to see Stone’s interpretation on a Belgian Tripel when it is so far from their standard offerings. I have faith in them though. Presentation is 22oz bomber with horizontal labeling.

I poured this one out into my La Trappe goblet. The body is a honeyed light golden color. A nice head rolls up but quickly dissipates into next to nothing. A single small stream of carbonation streams to the top from the middle of the goblet.

The smell is right on par with other examples I’ve experienced of the style. Big musty and doughy yeast presence. Sweet banana and peppery alcohol bite in the nose. Maybe, just maybe I’m picking up on that lime leaf that’s proudly advertised on the bottle.

The taste correlates with the smell almost 100%. Maybe a little thinner than I’m used to with a tripel in mouthfeel though. I was hoping it would be a little more creamy. Doughy rye bread taste throughout. Musty yeast becomes apparent in the middle. In the finish I can definitely pick up the pungent, tart, green lime leaf flavors. Zig-zags of earthen hop bitterness become apparent in the finish as well. Really delicious.

Besides the mouthfeel being a tad on the thin side I think this was an excellent representation of a Belgian Tripel. Now I just have to figure out how to get another bottle of this.

Thanks John!

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2004 03:55:29 | More by FormatKid
Photo of Wonka
Wonka

Maryland

4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 Pt. 6Fl. Oz.
8.5% Alc. Vol.

Appearance – opaque gold/light orange body with some glass-clinging carbonation and a reasonable amount of particulates; smooth, white 2.5-finger thick head breaks down early to expose the body; lace isn’t anything to write home about

Smell – a deep bucket of activity for the nose; big fat malt backbone; spicy candy; citrus; pumpernickel; here is a good tripel cologne; put it in a spray bottle

Taste – spicy candy; lively fruit; tempered yeast; pleasant balance of candy and hop at close; honestly, this flavor package is a bit more tolerable for my palate than some of the old-school traditional tripels

Mouthfeel – moderate overall; crisp and bit lively early and smoother late; more mellow and not as full as some recent quality tripels I’ve enjoyed, but this isn’t really a negative

Drinkability – ‘afterfeel’ is surprisingly so far moved from dry so I had some time to sit back and savor the aftertaste and ponder the full experience; the carbonation doesn’t kill turnover

Pay attention to the aftertaste and feel. Its some good stuff. Is there a bad olfactory bottled experience placed on the market by Stone? I haven’t experienced one yet. Stone is on a roll and is getting deserved attention.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2005 02:49:55 | More by Wonka
Photo of ejquin
ejquin

Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

App: Pumpkin orange with a thin white bubly head that fades quickly. Little lacing

Smell: I thought the smell was very nice. Very malty with a good dose of citrus and some spiceiness.

Taste: I thought it was nice and more blanced than your average stone brew. After a year and a half of again anyways. citrus and malt hit first. Fades to spiciness and a touch of bitterness. Alcohol was hid well. Faintly sweet.

Mouth: Good carbonation but a bit thin to me

Drink: Spiciness cuts down a bit on the drinkability but you could still easily take down a bomber

Overall: I had this fresh and remembered liking it, but I never reviewed it. After a year I think it's tamer than it was before. It balanced pretty well. It's definitely unique and a solid beer. Reminds me a bit of the South Hampton Grand Cru, but tastes much better.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2005 22:30:07 | More by ejquin
Photo of oxmasterscream
oxmasterscream

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mrpicklerelish, big up.

Appearance: Poured a dark golden color, with a strange irredescent-like quality and just a thin, white ring.

Aroma: Big aromas of apples and cloves, something sweet and honey-like, with some lime in the backround.

Taste: A big blast of spicy cloves and sour apples, all wrapped in a pineapple juice envelope and sealed with a kiss of lime (like biting into a lime and tasting the sour-sweet lime peel followed by the bitter pith). Finish was similar to other Stone brews I've had; solidly bitter. I can't describe what's different about the bitterness in Stone's brews. It's just very pronounced and tight and very distinguishable from others. ABV barely noticeable.

Mouth: Medium body, tight cabonation, and slightly viscous leads to a smooth mouthfeel. Nice.

Drinkability: Good stuff. I'd definitely have it again but I'll most likely never see it again. Allegedly the Vertical Epic series beers are meant to be aged until 2012 but I couldn't wait (and it was my birthday). I can see how aging might mellow out some of the bitterness

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2004 10:46:15 | More by oxmasterscream
Photo of TripelJ
TripelJ

Florida

4.22/5  rDev +9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2004 02:31:58 | More by TripelJ
Photo of waldowin
waldowin

Washington

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2006 08:12:43 | More by waldowin
Photo of MrNuggets
MrNuggets

Oregon

3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is spicy with a shot of strong yeast. A swirl of clove and bannana dominate at first. This goes from spicy to sweet, not sure how that works but it does. Heavy malt presence is felt. More hops than I was expecting. They bitter but leave almost no flavor. A little harsh in the mouthfeel department. Flavors don't seem to fit together well. It'll be a while before I open another bottle of this.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2004 19:54:28 | More by MrNuggets
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
NearerMyBeerToMe

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent schoolbus orange with highlights of brass. A 1/8th inch deep head of pure white foam fades quickly to a skim of bubbles, under which very sparse lines of carbonation float lazily to the surface. Seems kind of uncharacteristic for Stone... Very fragrant aroma, full of honey and emergent nectarine flesh. Finishing with tangy fumes of lime juice and menthol (or perhaps vermouth?), the whole thing conjures an image of a banana split with vanilla ice cream topped by creme de menthe. Groovy. The flavor is a pleasant contest of sweet vs. spice, far more assertive than the typical Belgian Tripel. The taste of green tea abounds, as does poached peach with honey, with mango at the sides of the tongue. The spiciness of ginger and nutmeg lingers slightly in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel has a filmy, sweet finish, but desperately needs carbonation--or something to lift the flavors back up from the tongue. With the alcohol more or less undetectable, this is quite the drinker. I'd like to try this with creme brulee or mascarpone. A fun beer, this one.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2005 03:20:33 | More by NearerMyBeerToMe
Photo of tar
tar

Bahamas

4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on 12/31/04; with at least one bottle in the cellar for the long haul. Pours a clear light golden with a nice white head which diminishes fairly quickly to nothing more than a ring around the glass and a remnant collection of bubbles just off-center in the glass. Great smelling. Aromas of lime, maybe a bit of mint, and some crisp lemony/fruity notes. The smell actually reminds me quite a bit of lemon flavored ricola cough drops (which I like, so this is a good thing). Some alcohol notes also come through. The taste is sharp, but very pleasant, and I can see that this will mellow with aging. Minty and lemony flavors come out with a nice tingle on the tongue. This is already quite a smooth and drinkable beer, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how it may change in years to come.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2005 15:58:22 | More by tar
Photo of jvajda
jvajda

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light golden with a three finger head. Lots of yeast that sinks to the bottom of the glass.
Smell: Very malty with a hint of alcohol.
Taste: Very bitter with fruity tastes and alcohol finish. Surprisingly light flavor. Maybe aging will help this one ripen up.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy.
Drinkability: This one might get boring after a few days.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2004 02:30:09 | More by jvajda
Photo of BierManVA
BierManVA

Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bier certainly defies a hard-line style. It is a hybrid bier by design...somewhere between an Abbey Trippel and a Bier de Garde/Saison. The lime leaf probably does it in for a Trippel but this is all beside the point.

"Is it good?"....Yes
"Is it young?"....Yes
"Bold and brash?....You know the answer
"Will it lay down and improve?"....Yes (time will tell)
"What is it?"...Another fine bier from an excellent brewery that defies traditional concepts and proves that the American craft bier movement produces some damn good shit.

Buy three, drink two, lay one down and wait....Mmmmm

John

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2004 02:01:15 | More by BierManVA
Photo of sideshowrob
sideshowrob

Maryland

4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was happy to find this beer in my neck of the woods (Wash DC)without too much problem. Hopefully the fact that Stone is expanding their distribution won't affect the beer at all. (No evidence of that yet!!!) Onto the Epic...

Bottle design is a little bit more sedate than other Stone Brews. Again with the endless text on the side. Brew pours very clean, a hazy golden-amber. Some sediment is evident, though It's probably my fault for decanting every last drop of a bottle-conditioned beer. Smell is wonderfully aromatic. Very zesty with a hint of banana. Taste was well balanced, especially for a "young" beer. Very reminiscent of a weiss-bock. Very Belgium. Hints of citrus and a pop of hops. Just a hint of lime, but more of a "lime-ness" than lime itself, which, it seems is what Stone was going for. Reports of Banana are greatly exagerated. Good mouthfeel, very easy to drink, if only it were more availiable. Overall a very balanced and easy-to-drink beer. Very civilized. Can't wait to see what time will do to it!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2004 00:46:40 | More by sideshowrob
Photo of ZX6Chris
ZX6Chris

California

4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared at a Vertical Epic Tasting.

A-Golden orange beer with a pure white head that stays around. Nice lacing.

S-Vanilla aroma. Banana mildly sweet.

T-Vanilla flavor, a bit spicy. Estery and smooth.

M-Light body, still well carbonated.

D-Nice beer, I really enjoyed the vanilla and could drink this all day!

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2010 01:30:12 | More by ZX6Chris
Photo of Doppelbockulus
Doppelbockulus

Florida

3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into the Vertical Epic Glass.

First pour was careful so as not to disturb the yeast. It poured a very clear coppery gold with no retained head.

The smell was surprising, and included light minty and buttery qualities. Some swwetness is also present.

Very subdued peach is detected among the hop flavor. The taste is light with mild tannin.

The tannin is present on the feel, but other than that, it is clean and slightly warming.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 18:46:13 | More by Doppelbockulus
Photo of mcowgill
mcowgill

Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oops, I couldn't wait until 2012. This beer poured very nicely for me although I noticed not much of a head which I thought was strange. The beer looks a very attractive coppery color with many active bubbles ascending. The beer smelled of a mixture of fruit and malt. Tasting this beer was the best part. The lime fruitiness is quite enjoyable. This beer is quite smooth and drinkable considering the spice involved. Wish I had more.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2005 23:30:58 | More by mcowgill
Photo of cncbofh
cncbofh

Colorado

4.97/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Almost a perfect 5 here.

You don't notice the 8.5%. This beer is dangerous.
It's a summer beer that is light but fairly complex. It goes down way too easy and has an unmistakable lemon zest that is absolutely thrilling. I love the fresh taste and light mouthfeel... It has an herbal lemongrass aftertaste that is neither harsh nor unpleasant.

I'm saving 6 of these for the cellar.
Way to go Stone Brewing Co.!

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2004 15:31:14 | More by cncbofh
Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
Wolfsdenbrew

New Mexico

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2005 01:55:53 | More by Wolfsdenbrew
Photo of markman
markman

Connecticut

3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale:

OK, here we go. Nice alabaster head on a crystal clear brass body…very inviting. Yeasty fruity nose is big, with hints of bubblegum . Up front the taste is slickly bitter, hoppier than most triples…Stone, no shit. Creamy middle leads to a spicy-sweet finish that coats the tongue…well. This puts me in the mind of a tripel wheat, like Unibroue’s Don de Dieu but not as well integrated. Not a bad beer, but not one I’m in a hurry to return to as there are so many other better tripels out there.

Cheers…

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2004 19:17:09 | More by markman
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 297 ratings.