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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

308 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 308
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
Gots: 47 | 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:
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
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Ratings: 308 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of waltonc
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this with joeyschlitz and abraser last night, thanks to ab's generosity, as part of the Vertical Epic tasting of 2004 through 2008.

A: Hazy golden color.

S and T: You definitely get a little of the lime, lots of honey, and some bread/yeast. Honey becomes more pronounced as this warms up.

M: Medium body and carbonation.

D: Not overwhelming in any direction, so pretty drinkable.

waltonc, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber served lightly chilled in a Raftsman tulip.

Appearance: Golden yellow topped by a healthy sized white head. Visible carbonation supports the retention of the head, which eventually settles down to a thick ring and a small film of bubbles in the glass. Large nets of lacing were left on the sides.

Smell: Yeasts, banana esters, coriander, hints of something like wintergreen, and pears waft upwards. As the beer warms, the kaffir becomes more apparent.

Taste: Sweet apple/pear juice with wackloads of banana and lime citrus flavors. Pepper and booze on the finish. Oddly, but pleasantly, reminiscent of banana bread.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light in body. Powerful carbonation on the tongue.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I wasn't impressed by 030303 in the least, so this is a marked improvement. Very potable now, but I don't think this will last to 2012. More like 2008 at the most.

ManekiNeko, May 07, 2004
Photo of TripelJ
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.

TripelJ, Sep 30, 2004
Photo of beergeek279
4.22/5  rDev +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!!

beergeek279, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on-tap at Anam Cara Public House.

This tripel poured a clear, golden color with light white foam that settled. The smell was slightly vinous, Belgian malt, with a light sweetness and a light fruitiness. The taste was malty (Belgian malt) with a light vinous character and a touch of sweetness. The finish was mildly hoppy. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and good carbonation. The flavors lingered nicely. This was a rather nice tripel.

UncleJimbo, Feb 14, 2005
Photo of scruffwhor
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle says a that it's saison-like with wheat. Hell yeah. I'm glad I could get my mits on this.

Appearance- Pours a nice fizzy head amongst the honey and almost opaque cantaloupe hue. The color is nice since its deep, but you can still see its bubbles. Very little lacing.

Smell- The lime mentioned on the bottle seems to become present in the nose only when the beer warms up. Could smell some wheaty godness as well and sweetened, herbal malts too.

Taste- Hints of spicey chammomile barce the tounge with hints of citrus and cyrstallized sugar malts. The lime hits a bit harder a it warms, but it always stays muted. I like that about this beer. It has a unique element, but it doesn't overwhelm.

Mouthfeel- Astringet, only a little. But cleaan and sweet. I like that citrusy, beery sweetness. Is best when sipped indeed.

scruffwhor, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Boto
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Bomber: Sampled 1/27/2005: This one poured a hazy, golden color. There was a fair amount of an off-white head on it, but it died down rather quickly. Interesting aroma. Some banana, breadiness, malt, yeast and definitely some spicy hop aroma (what else would you expect from Stone?). An interesting somewhat sweet taste. Hints of wheat and lemon also. Finishes with some dryness and tartness.

Boto, Jan 27, 2005
Photo of marburg
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Puffy, only somewhat sticky white head atop a browned golden body. Exotic nose consisting of mashed banana, creamsicle, citrus zest, and meringue. Surprisingly cohensive and floral. Perhaps a bit creamier than I'm used to in a tripel. Similarly, there's a creamy vanilla flavor to this -- fresh and a bit oaky -- with light bits of caramelized sugar in the background. Honey/sweet melon and tropical fruits. Dries out a bit with some yeasty spice and some flower petal. Remarkably heavy on the exotic flavors but nonetheless tasty. A solid Stone offering, but I'm wondering if this will really stand up for another 10 years or whatever it's supposed to do...

marburg, Nov 23, 2004
Photo of IceAce
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This Abbey Tripel poured into a beer-clean .5 litre glass provided a little over a two finger collar of foam which dissipated within 90 seconds leaving a quality trail of lace on the glass. The body is a slightly hazy (chill haze or intentional?) and moderately golden in color.

Aroma: True to its roots, this bad boy has a very complex nose. While the initial impression is banana esters (a la true German Hefeweizen), the backgroung is very busy with harmonious backnotes of fruits, yeast, and alcohol. Most positively an olfactory smorgasbord.

Taste: The first impression is simply one word...HUGE! This is a big, big beer with more personalities fighting for attention than Sybil. The banana shines through but the yeast refuses to release its hold on a starring role by adding hints of fruits from faraway islands in the pacific. Dryness in the finish is attributed to hops (Simcoe...Sterling...Saaz?)...just enough to balance but thankfully not enough to overpower.

Mouthfeel: Thanks to a quality malt, the mouthfeel is right in line with some of the best Tripels...and the complexity makes each taste a joy. CO² and yeast are very well balanced giving this beer a smooth coating without undesireable side effects.

Drinkability: Not only is it super today, this brew will (by design) have legs for many years to come. This should be outstanding to sample as a rounded mature offering in about three years.

IceAce, May 10, 2004
Photo of woemad
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Re-taste on 7/9/08 - score changed to reflect
Cracked open my 2nd bottle tonight. Midway through it's suggested aging, this pours a dark honey color with a better head than I got with a bottle consumed in 2004. Some floaties can be seen, but not nearly as many as I thought there'd be after nearly four years of aging.

Both in the nose and in the taste, hops stick out more than I think they did when I last reviewed it, which is odd, as I'd think it would be the other way around. Also spices and a honey-ish maltiness are on hand in a fairly up-front way. Seems more boozy than I noted in my original review, with a definite warming alcohol sensation.

The body is a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps I hadn't had so many tripels when I first had this, but the mouthfeel now seems too heavy for the style.

Today I find this less drinkable than I did in 2004. The body and mouthfeel are too thick, and the booziness of this one makes me not want another one, which is fine, as I've only one left, and I'm going to try to sit on it for a few more years.

___

Dedicated to Dimebag Darrell and all the victims of senseless violence.

Bomber purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $6.96 (I've got two more stashed for aging).

Poured a honeyish gold color, with a minor white head that still managed to leave a fair amount of lace.

Smells quite tasty. The first thing that grabs the attention is the hefe-ish odors of earthy wheat and cloves. There is spicyness, but it's fairly subdued. There's also a honeyish, floral scent and a slight citrus aroma.

The taste is quite similar to the aromas mentioned above, except that the lime flavor (undoubtebly from the vaunted Kaffir Lime leaves) is much more distinctive. There's also a noticeable yeasty presence. This is like an Hefe on steroids.

A medium bodied beer, it's a little bit heavier than most wheat beers I've consumed, but nothing too thick, to be sure.

This is a damn tasty beer. Maybe a little too thick to be a great summer beer, but I bet it would go great with spicy food. I'm not a big Thai fan (peanut allergy) but I bet it would go great with Indian food, which is pretty much my favorite cuisine.

woemad, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of irishmoss
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

irishmoss, Jul 16, 2004
Photo of stewart124
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange.

Nose has tons of lime and citrus in general. Some farmhouse characters, hay possibly.

Taste is sweeter than I anticipated but delicious. Almost a candied sweetness. Thin but very drinkable. The kaffir lime comes through strong and obviously fruity, citrusy in general.

This is delicious. I could put back a few of these. Alas, is not available. So easy drink. There is little to no trace of alcohol and it's hard to believe that this is 8.5%.

stewart124, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy, honey colored body with lots of tight, tiny white bubbles; a decent head that quickly fades and leaves spotty lacing around the glass

Smell: Lots of aroma; filled with overripe bananas, a touch of clove and coriander and a bit of floral citrus from the kaffir lime leaves

Taste: Starts with a sweet, banana/bubblegum flavor which, after a prolongued wait, is matched by some astringent sour/herbacious notes that are a touch too dominant into the finish; the kaffir lime presents a very interesting twist with its floral tones

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, soft body; modest carbonation

Drinkability: I am not a big tripel fan but this one is particularly good

brentk56, May 05, 2005
Photo of cbl2
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

cbl2, Jul 20, 2004
Photo of ommegangpbr
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, orange marmalade in appearance, rather like a bright IPA.Orange peel... or perhaps lime seeing as how lime leaf is used in this, as well as coriander in the smell and taste. The smell has wanderlust. You can pick it up from quite far away.
The flavor reminds me of South Hampton's 2005 Grand Cru (and also of their Cuevee des Fleurs and Double White) but where the grand cru was very thick and unbalanced, this is not. There is a bit of apple juice going on but it is not domineering. Some have found bubblegum in the flavor and I can't really argue.
The mouthfeel is soft and pillowy, with some hops dryness and bitterness in the finish.
This brew shows Stone's potential versatility... as it seems the other vertical epics do. Stone is usually very ballsy-American, and this is pretty classy-Belgian. Go Stone, go!

ommegangpbr, Jul 25, 2005
Photo of kmcnair
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.

kmcnair, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of kaseydad
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had a few of these through the years...time to review today.

Pours a pretty clear amber/copper color with a nice sized off-white foamy head. Still carbonated nicely for being almost 10 years old. A few cloudys in the bottle where they shall stay. A touch of lacing.

The aroma consists of belgian yeast, banana, orange, apple and grape. Getting a large fruit forward whiff. Hefe style aroma.

The aroma is still very belgian yest forward. More subtle banana. Lime and slight lemon. Wheat. Good tangerine and orange flavors. A touch of bitterness on the swallow and yeasty finish.

The mouthfeel is well carbonated for the age. Proper cellaring folks!

Overall this is still holding up nicely. I was hoping for the best, but my expectations were exceeded. Sure it's not fresh, but I appreciate it for the longevity and changes that have occured. More fruit and belgian yeast are shining through. I tell ya...cellar these correctly and you have a treat on your hand. Albeit an older treat.

kaseydad, May 09, 2013
Photo of cjever19
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

My Uncle pulled out a treat from his cellar for Thanksgiving. He bought this new and had held on to it for 5 or so years. This review is from memory. Drank with 4 others out of

A- Light, amber with orange tint. Didn't get a big enough pour to get a nice head, but did leave a nice lace in my glass.
S- Didn't get much in the nose on this one.
T- HONEY and bananas, nicely balanced though. Not overly sweet Didn't taste the lime at all.
M- Very crisp and refreshing.
D- Amazing, would have loved to have some more of these.

Hopefully he bought a few and will pull another out in a few years. Aging nicely but definitely great now.

cjever19, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of clvand0
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a very bright golden color with a large head with good retention and it leaves nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is really strong with Belgian spices and sweet fruit. The flavor was sweet and very fruity. Lots of flavor. Spicy from the yeast. The body was medium and it's smooth to drink. I actually liked the 03.03.03 better, but this is still a great brew.

clvand0, Nov 12, 2004
Photo of Longstaff
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A pretty good example of a well made US belgian style that only needs a little adjustment to be a great one. I had to pour this one roughly just induce a little head, but it fell quickly. Aromas were wonderful and full of bubblegum and spicy alcohol from the Belgian yeast. Nice golden color. Cotton candy like flavors mix well with the cookie dough flavored malt. Somewhat complex already and I'm sure with a little more age, it would be even more so. The mouthfeel on this is perfect for the first few sips, but seems to loose too much carbonation at the end, leaving it feeling thin. I think a touch more carbonation will turn this from being pretty good to being outstanding. They should make this one a regular.

Longstaff, Apr 27, 2004
Photo of lou91
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.

lou91, Apr 23, 2004
Photo of neonbrown82
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial tasting: I wasn't exactly too impressed by the appearance or smell of this tripel, especially after having recently gone on a Belgian marathon over the past month. The head was very minimal compared to any Belgian tripel. This was my first try at an american tripel, but nonetheless, I would have expected at least some head, especially after the aggressive pour of the latter half of the bomber to try and induce a more healty looking head. The smell was also neigh undetectable for the style, but I did notice a little of that lime leaf and banana.

The taste was interesting. It was similar to the traditional Belgian tripel taste with the intense barley maltiness and all sorts of citrusy, sweet and sour flavors, yet you could definately tell there was a fair amount of hops in this beer. The bitterness was more apparent than I expect in a tripel.

I still have another bomber of this that I will attempt to save for at least a year, but I'll be damned if it makes it through the long haul to 2012. As of now, I'm not quite so concerned that this is a limited edition and that I only have one more chance to experience it, at which time it most likely won't be optimally aged (I mean, let's be realistic... I haven't technically started my cellaring collection, and I'm still kind of paranoid about pulling it from the fridge and placing it somewhere where I might forget it in the basement). Nonetheless, worth the price of having ordered it on-line. Further judgements are pending, hopefully until 2012, but most likely around New Year's 2006.

neonbrown82, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of Viggo
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazy amber/gold, small white head forms, some nice lace. Smell is caramel, pine/floral, spices, vanilla, yeast and wheat. Taste is wheat, caramel, floral/citrus, and some yeast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Very nice, not sure of it as a tripel, but a damn tasty beer nonetheless. Thanks DrJay!

Viggo, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of beertaster13
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange/gold with white froth head that is great to the eye then foils down to a thin lining. Lacing is average. The smell is complex and unique, a spice, caramel and banana fruit upfront and dry oaked aged wheat to the end. The taste is of banana and cinnamon spices, a hint of pine from the hops, slight citrus taste as well, a little wheat grain detected, slight scotch hints, oaked aged, unique and good.

beertaster13, Aug 19, 2004
Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
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!

Wolfsdenbrew, Jan 27, 2005
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.