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 arizcards
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at AJ's recently. If it is Stone, one must try it.

This golden orange beer is clouded by it's unfiltered Belgian yeast presenting a very interesting display. It initially poured a nice head leaving a nice lacing. Nose is wonderful, of sweet fruits but noticably having banana overtones. Taste is smooth, not the usual bite of the wonderful Stone hops, but of the wonderful Belgian yeast surrounded by a beautiful medly of malts, hops, and hints of spices and fruits. Mouthfeel is very good, quite lively but smooth. Overall drinkability is near perfect. I would be interested to try one a year from now! (631 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange/straw color, with a thick white foamy head. The head disappeared rather quickly, leaving a small amount of lace on the glass. Smells similar to a wheat beer, in that there is a strong banana note. Also a hint of citrus, and possibly a small amount of spice. Taste is slightly tart, with a slight citrus note. Somewhat dry and yeasty in the finish. Very smooth, and could use more carbonation for this style. Overall, an interseting beer. Whe I think Stone, I think of big, hoppy beers, and this one is not hoppy, or bitter at all. Still, I think this was a good idea by Stone, and it should age nicely. The alcohol presence is there, yet it is pretty drinkable. Seems like a saison on steroids. (714 characters)

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very non-typical for this brewery, a beer with little bitterness. A decent example of a Belgian-styled beer, but rather flat and ordinary. Head disappeared almost immediately, and there was less carbonation than you usually expect in a tripel. Reminded me of the Don de Dieu that I followed it with, but the Unibroue is far superior, IMO. Stone is great for IPA's, but this offering falls short. (395 characters)

Photo of xgrigorix
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twenty two ounce brown bottle.

Medium amber in colour. Pours with a huge creamy white head, & fast moving lines of carbonation.

Nose is fruity & slightly herby. Something else is going on too - is this the lime leaf?

Big round soft yeast induced orange flavours dominate all over this thing. Some hints of herbiness hide in the background. Medium bodied with robust carbonation. (387 characters)

Photo of cbl2
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:

Medium to light straw in color with a half inch of head. Fluid is crystal clear, and bursting with carbonation.

Smell:

Sweet candied malts with some strong spice scent as well (possibly the Keffir Lime).

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Very intriguing. Super smooth mouthfeel coupled with sweet malt characteristic, and some definite banana-hefeweizen flavors. High alcohol content is completely masked, and the lime flavor just peeks in.

03-03-03 is a tough act to follow, and this one doesn't quite live up to its predecessor. It is an excellent (albeit odd) beer however, and I can't wait to see how it ages. (629 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 jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two-fingered white head, fades quickly to a ring and leaves no lace. Clear amber color. Nose is alcohol and hints of apple cider. Alcohol is right there at the start along with some sweetness, alcohol finish. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Totally different from last year's 03.03.03. $8.00 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. (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 marc77
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear deep golden hue. Frothy, pitted, porcelain white head yields muddled, loose lace. Wafts of lemon zest and lavender honey hit the nose incipiently. Promptly ensuing are mellow notes of herbal phenol, green banana and trace, sweet doughy malt. Clean, but tame aromawise. In flavor, upfront is an impression of bitter citrus pith softened with honey. When combined with the static, citric, lime leaf derived undertone, malt character is of an understated, lightly sweetened lemon cookie impression. Firm, but not obtrusive in hop bitterness, which along with the high attenuation helps facilitate a parching dryness. Subtle, but perceptibly grassy hop flavor. Lightly bodied, but an appropriate match in that regard to the brisk, soft malt character. Finishes with ashen notes of clove and trace cidery sweetness. A surprisingly understated tripel in ester and malt charcter, but agreeably so, due to the overall balance. Quite dry and ominously thirst quenching. Cellaring may dry out the flavor profile a touch, but I don't see this improving markedly. Tasty, soft on the palate and clean. Surprisingly similar to New Belgium Tripel in overall character. (1,167 characters)

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour was a light yellow with a slight amount of sediment. Had a good three-quarter inch head that quickly dissapated and left a white ring around the top of the beer.

The smell was very malty with a strong fruit overtone, hidden somewhere in the back of my nose was a light hop spice.

The drink started with a malt kick followed by more malt in the middle with light hops. The finish was a lingering oily fruit.

This was a very refreshing beer. I hope to find it again and put it up for a few years, just to see what it does. (538 characters)

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

I must first premise this review with the fact that I have not had many Belgian Style Tripels in my life, so I will do the best to describe this beer with my limited experience.

Slightly hazy medium gold with a minimal head. Slow bubbles rise to the top of the glass. Tropical fruit esters; bananas and cloves most dominant. Hints of bubblegum. Acidity up front lends to a thick, candylike palate. Bananas everywhere. Slight citrus tones from the lime leaves. Flavorful and coating mouthfeel, but not too thick. Bright, somewhat acidic finish. I really like the beers from Stone, and this one is no exception. Mostly, this style is difficult for me. Very enjoyable, and I am looking forward to sampling this one over the years. (730 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a St Bernardus goblet, this Tripel pours a clear, apricot colored body. Small white head leaves a frothy collar and attractive sheets of lace. Active carbonation is very apparent, with scores of tiny bubbles rushing up from the bottom.

Aroma evokes Juicy Fruit chewing gum, with a strong banana essence. Wheat notes are also picked up, with a nice array of Belgianesque spices. Clove, coriander, and freshly ground white peppercorns lead the spice component.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Carbonation level is ideal for style.

Banana is up front in the taste, but the Juicy Fruit chewing gum flavor is as prominent as in the aroma. The yeast plays a prominent role here, and lends a dirty carpet presence that nicely compliments the sweet fruitiness. I just can't pick up the lime.

Excellent drinkability and another high quality product from the folks at Stone. This one should improve with age, and the bottle sardonically suggests saving this until 12-12-12. (993 characters)

Photo of beergeek279
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber into a goblet. The color is hazy copper, with a wispy white head. The smell is an estery, candi sugar sweetness. The taste is estery and sugar sweet, with a strong yeasty characteristic and just a hint of the lime sweetness. Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability-wise, I'd definitely have many more of these.

04.04.04 for 07.04.04...a fine choice for 4th of July! What better way to celebrate independence than enjoying one of (if not the most) independent breweries out there. A fine tripel, and hopefully I can give this one a try at the end of 2012!! (581 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Woohoo what a brew! Another fine Stone brew for Belgian lovers (like me). Tried it on tap at the BT in NYC. Poured into a Belgian type glass, basically no head, just that typical Stone tiny bubble film. Light Golden in color, with perhaps a melon shimmer. I got Bubblegum in the nose, along with some yeast. Warming, strong, crisp and tasty. Typical Belgian (If such a thing exists) yeasty, spicy, phenolic notes. Suffice to say that If you like Belgians, this one is well worth seeking out. A very tasty and wicked Stone creation. (531 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice wheaty scent that boasts of bananas and cloves; very fruity. The taste is good. It has a rich, yet fruity wheat flavor with all the trimmings (bananas, cloves). It goes down slow and warms on the finish. It is highly smooth despite the high abv. . The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an awesome concept, I only wish I could have waited a few years to see how it ages. Anyway, this is just another great beer from Stone. (589 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 BeerManDan
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured the color was a medium golden yellow with a little foam that disapated. The smell of spices filled the nose along with a hint of fruitiness. The taste was spicy and malty in nature, with a hint of orange peel. Also, a sort of creamy sensation on the tongue and palate. The balance of sweetness and bitterness was extremely good. A little short on the finish, but the taste will drinking Stones Epic Ale, made it pleasant.

In general, a fruity aroma and a soft, sweet maltiness. (492 characters)

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Yeasty, doughy, banana aroma with a drop of lime. Yellowish, off-white head, left a thick coat of lace. Golden mandarin colored beer, slightly hazy with fine streams of carbonation. Light, creamy mouthfeel. Fleshy fruit flavor, a bit of alcohol, some banana bread, mildy bitter into the finish. Description on the bottle hits it right on the head. Maybe it was a freak occurence, but this beer at this time was just awesome, combining characteristics of some of my favorite styles. (481 characters)

Photo of Ellbert
2.63/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: This was good. It was a very clear yellow/gold beer with a white head. There wasn't much lace however.

Smell: The smell was like no other beer I have smelled before. There was aromas of sweet malt and the lime that just overpowered a lot of the aroma. This was fairly unpleasanct.

Taste: The taste was ok at first. There was a malty sweetness followed by some spices. It was very crisp and fairly refreshing except for the lemon that took complete control in the end. Very unbalanced which maybe years in the cellar could fix. This made it very unpleasant and almost undrinkable.

Overall a brew that has potential but is not very good. I would be interested to see how this beer changes during it's aging period. (734 characters)

Photo of RenoZymurgist
2.73/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Ppured a thick one and a half inch head which subsided at a moderate pace atop an orange gold ale that is very clear. Aroma reminds me of Saaz hops on steroids. Very dry citrus aroma with a little bit of esters thrown in for good measure. The flavor is of alcohol a mild maltiness that is a little sweet matched with a strong dry citrus flavor and a small amount of regular hop bitterness. Overall i think the guys at Stone are correct that this beer needs to be aged as the flavors and aromas are very intense and if this beer was aged just one year i think it would be immensly better than the one i sampled. Still not a bad beer, you definetly get the lime flavors as long as it is served at a warmer temp than a fridge. Good addition to the Vertical Epic Saga although i can't get enough Stone to both sample and age as Stone is not shipped to Nevada. Thanks Stone! (869 characters)

Photo of CBFanWish
3.64/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was lucky enough to hook up with two bottles of this thanks to david23. My buddy and I had a bottle today and are cellaring the other.
So here we are at Fat Andy's house. I poured half into his glass and half into mine. A thick white foamy head bellowed from the glass even with a careful pour. The colour was a hazy pale amber. a fine lace wove throught the glass as I drank it.
I wasn't impressed with the aroma. It was very yeasty to the point it was almost like a white bread. It wasn't too pleasing.
The taste was at first overpowering bannana.The yeast then kicked in to give it a wonderful bannana bread taste. Quite pleasant.
Give it a couple years and it will be close to perfect. I hope I can wait. (714 characters)

Photo of nomad
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Gotta break out the goblet for this special beer... it fills the glass with a dull golden liquid with little carbonation continuing beyond the initial explosion. Head keeps decently with a delicate, thin type of lace typical of a tripel.

Smells of a great lime scent, fulfilling on the promise of Kaffier limes that the bottle extols. Accompanying is a pepper-like spiciness with a real live edge. Sweet bready malt is the backdrop to complete a fairly simple profile.

Taste for the first half of the bottle relies on a large body of clove and yeasty witbier-like flavors. In time it gives into notes of lime and a mild honey flavor extending through the middle. Not much bready, pale, or other malt to speak of, though the alcohol is hidden quite well. Hops are found only in the dry and short finish with pleasant and appropriate European hop accents. Not much to speak of when you put it all together.

In sum, a pretty normal tripel, far from the scions of the style. I hope one of these Stone Verticals gets more than interesting and becomes truly tasty in the next few years. I'm starting to not believe in their limited edition beers. (1,149 characters)

Photo of ngandhi
2.68/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Green.

The low hopping strips this beer of any chance for head or flavor. The malts aren't rich enough to compensate, nor are they thin enough to really make this to style. The yeast dominates and is dull, but characteristically Belgian and accentuates some of the bland wheat profile.

Of course, VE04 relies on the Kaffir lime leaves -- that's why there's no hop flavor, I assume. Unfortunately, the lime contributes too much, not in terms of flavors, but in its overall parasitic presence. It's oversteeped, lacking any real freshness on the midpalate, and finishes dry and reprehensibly tannic.

The alcohol is brimming, but controlled. Phenols run wild, giving the beer an unpleasant smokiness that the distillate lime only comes to highlight. In some sense, this beer is harmonious because each flavor feeds the next; few of these flavors are desired.

I'm left with a void. This feels like a Florida orange grove stripped of its fruit by the hurricanes or a Burgundy vineyard hit with hail. There's an empty place here reserved for some fruit, something to round out the beer.

As this ages, I expect the lime to die off and the yeast to dominate -- leaving a dry, grainy broth of a beer.

Relax, relax.
ng (1,230 characters)

Photo of beerinator
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (648 characters)

Photo of joecast
2.67/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

thin layer of foam over orange tinted fizzy yellow beer??? (from stone??)
aroma is pretty pronounced. definite fruity, spicy overtones but some sort of alcohol there as well. maybe nailpolish remover. whatever it is, it doesnt seem to go well.
flavor seems like it need a year or two cellaring. too many different things going on that need time to get to know each other so they can play well together. like the maltiness is trying to fight through the other styles. seems to be trying too hard and is too aggressive.
mouthfeel is on the thin, slippery side.
the drinkabilty is lower than any other score to reflect the fact that while some things worked ok, overall, it lacked any definite direction and lost its way somewhere... (735 characters)

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