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
88
very good

217 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 217
Hads: 316
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 10.66%
Wants: 95
Gots: 54 | 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
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Reviews: 217 | Hads: 316
Photo of oxmasterscream
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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 (1,093 characters)

Photo of TripelJ
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (1,188 characters)

Photo of waldowin
2.84/5  rDev -27.9%
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. (755 characters)

Photo of MrNuggets
3.79/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (400 characters)

Photo of ZX6Chris
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
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! (312 characters)

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
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. (1,068 characters)

Photo of tar
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (804 characters)

Photo of jvajda
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
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. (366 characters)

Photo of BierManVA
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
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 (604 characters)

Photo of sideshowrob
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
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! (1,028 characters)

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
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! (439 characters)

Photo of markman
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
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… (549 characters)

Photo of malthead
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper color, white head which dies too quickly. Smell starts like Duvel and the like, but then there's a strong apple smell is the background, and maybe a little lime bitterness? (although that could just be the power of suggestion from the label...) Taste is much sweeter than I expected, but surprisingly nice. There's some complex spiciness going on under the apple-y sweetness, but it's too hard for me to identify. Nice mouthfeel, its got some good carbonation there. I'm going to knock it a little on drinkability - it's great at first, but the sweetness is overpowering after a while... so enjoy it with food or split it with friends. Decent beer, though. (668 characters)

Photo of mcowgill
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (434 characters)

Photo of cncbofh
4.97/5  rDev +26.1%
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.! (418 characters)

Photo of blindtiger24
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

4oz draft pour into a tulip glass.

A: Apricot color, low carbonation, and spotty head.

S: Stone fruit smells like apricot, also apple and cinnamon.

T: Apricot, honey, graham cracker tastes.

M: Sweet bourbon mouthfeel with throat warming.

O: Manages to be refreshing and not overly sweet. Really enjoyed the aroma and taste. (333 characters)

Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy, gold to orange color with a foamy head and nice lace. Citrus and banana aroma. Slight wheat scent. Very smooth, creamy feel that is balanced by a strong alcohol taste. Very lightly hopped, spicy citric ale which happens to have a great kick. Bottle reads that is a mutt. Wheat malt, Belgian yeast land lime leaf. Comes out to me close to a Saison. (355 characters)

Photo of irishmoss
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a deep gold or a light brass in color, with a bright white head that quickly dissipated down to a ring and a few clouds. I have to comment on the amazingly clear appearance of this beer, crystal. The smell is sweet fruits and malt, somewhat yeasty. This has a little banana, clove, and spice undertones to the flavor, but there is a malt backbone to this. Also a slight bitterness, and I know that this is probably a psychological effect of reading the label, but I sense a little lime rind. Great mouthfeel, clean and easy to drink.
Great beer, and I’ll hang on to a couple to try down the line. (611 characters)

Photo of MarkBlackout
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The 04.04.04 is ready.

I had this right around August 04, when Stone brews became easily available to me. I recall liking it, though I thought it was slightly sharp and unrefined. Time has done this brew much good, though I can't help but wonder if 7 or 8 more years could improve it much more! The flavors have melded and what results is a nice soft, light, but very flavorful beer. Yeast presence is somewhat less than most belgian-style beers, though it makes an appearance. Less sweetness than most belgians too, which I REALLY appreciate. Spicy, lightly sour flavors tie it all together. If you can still buy this, do so immediately. (642 characters)

Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle

A-Golden orange beer with a pure white head that stays lingered throughout and slowly dissipated with nice lacing throuhout-Vanilla aroma. Banana mildly sweet like silk candy.

T-Vanilla flavor, a with a spicy undertone.

M-Light body, still well carbonated.

D-Very smooth with hint of vanilla that was enjoyable all the way through. Very easy to drink. Can't wait to try this one again.

Serving type: bottle (439 characters)

Photo of imblane
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Bought 3 bottles of this from Old Town Liquor, here in Temecula, CA. The proprietor their told me this was almost like a wheat beer, but it poured into a Stone IPA glass a medium golden color with about a finger and a half of crisp head which dissipated in a minute or two. Smell was citrusy crisp with hints of earthiness and a pleasing bite of alcohol; very pleasing overall. taste was initially much like a good Abbey Trippel, then moved to a warm alcohol and finally a slight crisp lime. I tend to agree with the other reviewers, that this beer has a young, very fine taste that will only improve as the flavors meld together. I must confess, the 3 bottles lasted only a matter of hours, as I thoroughly enjoyed getting familiar with this complex offering. I went back and bought a case to age appropriately; however, this beer may be hard to keep out of my glass. Very well done, another worthy effort from Stone!!!

101004
Cracked opened an 040404 after 6 months plus and found a somewhat different beer waiting. The kafir lime hints have disappeared, there is a somewhat toffee hint to the smell. The smell is now a mild barleywine and prominent fusel alcohol. The mouthfeel is somewhat less carbonated but mellow at the same time. I am having a hard time with this offering now, but suffice to say it is far more enjoyable than at the original release date. I think this will become one of the true "Epic" Stone offerings in the months and years to come. (1,470 characters)

Photo of poundboy
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden color with hints of amber. Minimal head disapated quickly. Nose quite stuffy tonight, so I can't really comment on the smell other than I didn't smell anything bad.
At first all I could tast was hints of fruitiness and the a strange, not all together pleasant bitterness which I assume comes from the lime leaves. As it warmed, the true character of the beer came out however. Very much in the belgian tripel style, though less complex than most. Very smooth mouthfeel. the lime leaves are what make this beer unique, but I did not altogether enjoy it. The bitterness just lingers on the tongue in a way I am not used to. However, otherwise this is a very well crafted beer, and I wish I had more that I could let age and check again in few years.
Thank Mrpicklerelish for the bottle (801 characters)

Photo of HellsBELLS24
2.51/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This edition of the vertical epic was not so impressive.

Upon pouring, the scent from the beer was rather pungent. I smelt like an old rotten pile of wheat. The color poured a nice copper with a white head. Again, I was still taken aback by the smell. As I tasted the brew it was rather hard to finish my 11 ounce portion. It had the feel of a dilute old wheat beer. I recommend this beer to keep for the series however I hope it gets better with age. (I find that hard to believe)

I do love most of the Stone beers, just not this one (540 characters)

Photo of dave750
4.59/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a wide mouth goblet from the 22 oz. bottle. It has a hazy red-gold color with a medium, but loose head that disappears quickly. A nice deep aroma of fresh melon and banana is joined by a roasted malt quality as it warms and a little later by a hint of menthol.
The initial flavor is of toasted, grainy malt along with bitter hops and spearmint. An herby hop taste and nice alcohol warmth emerge at midtaste along with a smooth chocolate maltiness and a citrusy tartness that remains in the background to the finish. Alcohol flavor gains strength as the flavor fades.
The beer has a moderately thick body with outstanding carbonation and balance. A very complex and everchanging flavor make this go down easy. (720 characters)

Photo of bigchris1313
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (1,144 characters)

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