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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

313 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 313
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
Gots: 49 | FT: 4
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: 313 | Reviews: 217 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of abfraser
3.83/5  rDev -1%
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

Photo of BeerFink
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of kmcnair
4.14/5  rDev +7%
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.

Photo of jeffjfindley
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
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.

Photo of FormatKid
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!

Photo of ebrifan
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of ejquin
4.54/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

Photo of Wonka
4.31/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of oxmasterscream
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

Photo of TripelJ
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Photo of waldowin
2.84/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

Photo of MrNuggets
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Photo of ZX6Chris
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!

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of sandiego67
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of tar
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.

Photo of jvajda
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of BierManVA
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
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

Photo of sideshowrob
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!

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!

Photo of markman
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…

Photo of malthead
3.87/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of mcowgill
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of cncbofh
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.!

Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 313 ratings.