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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
88
very good

217 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 217
Hads: 316
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 10.66%
Wants: 95
Gots: 55 | 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 MasterSki
3.14/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle I got from KAME a long time ago. Served in a tulip.

A - White foam settles to a thin collar, wisps, and minimal lace. Hazed, dark apricot body.

S - Shockingly, the Kaffir lime leaf has held up, even after nine years. It doesn't really mix well with the stale oxidation, marmalade, and caramel flavors though. Not offensive, but a tad strange.

T - The taste isn't quite as distince, with more nebulous sweetness. Again, it's largely caramel, fruity oxidation, and perhaps a touch of lime.

M - Medium body, with less carbonation than the previous two years. Lightly sticky texture and finish, and again no obvious alcohol.

D - Very weird. If you like lime then this might still be somewhat palatable, but it's certainly not something I could drink in large quantities. Still, better than the 03.03.03 in my book. (822 characters)

Photo of Treebs
2.49/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a hazy apricot color with a ton of yeasty floaters in the pour. Some light splotches of lace are left down the glass.

S: Flowery and herbal with some light fruity undertones. Some plum with stale, oaty malts.

T: Paper and light oxidation with some light caramel malts. Flowery notes with some mild glue and light lime. A little prune-like oxidation.

M: Medium to light bodied with a medium carbonation level. Not much remaining on the flavor.

O: Did not enjoy this one at all. The lime notes seemed out of placed and it made the overall taste take on an Elmers glue-like flavor profile. (639 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate to try this last night at an epic tasting held by my good friend Mike, thanks for the opportunity MrBarleywine!
Pours a slightly hazy medium golden color with a smallish off white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet caramel and light sugar with a bit of cherry and sherry notes. Hint of lime and spicy yeast notes provide a nice contrast to the sweetness within. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Sweet and sugary with caramel and sherry notes balanced by peppery spicy bready yeast flavors. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet spicy mouthfeel. This was a nice beer and over the years the flavors have melded quite nicely. The lime aroma and flavor are different, but work against the backdrop of the other flavors. (784 characters)

Photo of charlzm
2.89/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

Beer pours a clear, light medium-gold. Slightly hazy, no head.

The aroma is nebulous esters and phenols; the only thing I could definitely pick out was lime.

Flavor was slightly sweet with notes of clove, pepper and lime. Very low to no bitterness.

Mouthfeel was flat and otherwise unremarkable.

Sadly, this one doesn't seem to have aged very well. (421 characters)

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (441 characters)

Photo of TKEbeerman
2.96/5  rDev -24.9%
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. (426 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the 'Most Arrogant Bar in America', Barley's Pizzeria & Taproom in Greenville, SC! Served from tap into a tulip. Poured golden yellow with a one finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Based on the style of this brew and the age, I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. I know that the 03.03.03 had changed quite a bit over time so I expected more of this with the 04.04.04. However I found that this one really hadn’t changed too much based on the style. This one wasn’t hugely complex, but did manage to stay quite well balanced though. Just wish that it would have taken it to another level though. Worth your time trying this one if you get the opportunity. (1,000 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
2.31/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours a clear golden orange with a thin bubbly off white head. Nose is minty and medicinal, with some strawberry and green tea. Odd. Syrupy body with minimal carbonation. Very sweet, cloying flavor. Sort of like the juice from a can of pineapples or peaches. Watery, stale and sticky. Pass. (305 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.01/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is bright orange and hazy with a thin white head. The aroma offers mint, tea, citrus, malt, lime, kiwi. The flavor is a bit odd, showing signs of age. Well water, oranges, light toffee. Light in body with low carbonation. This was ok. (279 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
2.8/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Churchkey.

This one has a semi hazy yellow color and a small fizzy white head. While the head laces well, it doesn't stick around for very long. It smells very Belgian-like, with clove, banana, and Belgian yeast taking over. There's also a slight amount of booze and an overall sweetness. The taste is muted. It really doesn't taste like much of anything. Perhaps some hay, light spice, and lingering clove. It's light and uncarbonated, but pretty drinkable because it tastes like nothing. Not a fan. Again, too old. (527 characters)

Photo of portia99
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass.

A - Pours a clear amber tinted gold with fine floating particles throughout the body of liquid. Low white head fades quickly leaving behind faint traces of lacing on the glass.

S - Malty sweet, honey is quite prominant in the aroma, lite touches of lime, bit of earth, peppery and spicy, some earthy aromas and mild alcohol presence.

T - The kaffir lime comes thru well despite the age of the bottle, lots of honey as was found in the aroma, some pepper. Overall sweet and very honey dominant flavor.

M - A bit syrupy in feel, body is medium-full, carbonation is low-medium and tingly on the tongue, a bit of a spicy burn on the back of the throat on the swallow.

O - Super sweet and honey dominant. Lime holds up nicely and comes thru to compliment the honey. A bit unusual overall. (835 characters)

Photo of peabody
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lots of bubbles in this slightly yellow amber liquid that adorns the glass with a few white bubbles and lacing around the rim.
Smell is grassy banana and yeast with a few spices and the alcohol burn.
Taste is kinda syrupy with a very slight hop bitterness but very little. Not much spice shows up anymore.
Mouthfeel is very sticky at first then the bitterness washes most of the syrup away.
Overall this is another FAILED attempt from Stone. This one is well over it's prime. Had it 4 years ago and it was a lot better. It has went downhill since. (548 characters)

Photo of Hopswagger
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Pours a bright effervescent golden body with sudsy white head.

S: Spicy, citrus soap aroma, clove, powdery yeast, bubblegum, pepper corns, lime, bananas and a touch of oxidation.

T/M: Dull fruit flavors, citrus, lime zest, honey wheat bread, booze and timid tartness. Body is medium and has gritty soap chalkiness. Carbonation level is nice a crisp.

O: Flavors are dialed down but after 9 years a truly impressive beer that was a treat to enjoy. Line was the key ingredient in this brew and the spices really complimented it. Easy drinking and smooth. (616 characters)

Photo of TubaManJack
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - wow very little carbonation and no head from this draft pour. The body is a very hazy yellow body

Smell- Almost lactose sugar sweet with a little funk. There is a medium banana ripeness to it. Very strange and yet intreging.

Taste- somewhat like the nose. There is a bit of funk and ripeness that.
I have never encountered before. There is a bspa yeast element and then a wet mop of a mouthfeel. Kinda of a disappoint because I feel like there is something there. (480 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
2.98/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On Tap

Stone Epic Festival 12-12-12
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 8 years)

Cloudy golden with a whisper of an off-white head. Leaves irregular spots and lines of stick down the glass. Pretty enough, and appropriate.

The Belgian yeast presents sweet banana character along with some mild pepper notes, a touch of citrus (though I wouldn't say lime if I was given this blind), and distinct banana. There's also a substantial amount of simple sweetness that covers up much of the complexity that may be there. The aroma is still very strong and expressive after all these years. A bit too much alcohol heat and overbearing sweetness to score particularly well.

The flavor follows the aroma. A flavorful, bold combination of banana, booze, mild citrus, and tangy Belgian yeast character. Like with the aroma, there's an overbearing sweetness that dominates.

Though I never had the opportunity to try this fresh, this is now a thick, heavy, nearly-flat beer reminiscent of a syrup. The low point of this beer.

Too sweet, too syrupy, though not offensive. (1,069 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1659th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass
22oz

Split with StarRaptor, Callmecoon & Smarcoly

App- A bit of an apple juice color with a bit of density behind it. A bit more golden than I wouldve thought. A small ring of bubbles was there and was gone quite quickly.

Smell- I didnt get any of the lime on this bottle. I got more of a malty, sweet a little bit of a saison note with some small peppery bits and then moved into a bit of sweet apple notes.

Taste- I thought it was a nice beer. Wasnt overly oxidized and didnt have the usual pop that a BSPA would have. The lime was gone and tasted more like a juice or a white wine to me. (Having 11-11-11 in white wine 2 after this. I still agree) The malts were much more pronounced and this had lost a lot of the nuance of the style.

Mouth- A bit of a syrupy medium body with a medium carbonation. The residual flavors are there with only a touch of the spicy and body of a saison. A little bit of sweetness and apple.

Drink- Probably my least favorite of the earlier bottles. I would say that it was 06-05-03-04. Was a lot of fun to do this tasting. (1,100 characters)

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

040404, consumed 121312

appearance: served in my lost abbey teku glass - hazy straw orange body

smell: herbal, lime, citrus, flowers

taste: the kaffir lime leaf is very evident - honey, grass, straw, clove, light belgian yeast. Held up fairly well - these ancient VE beers are seeming to surpass my quite low expectations

mouthfeel: light, herbal

overall: interesting stuff - the lime leaf phase is so 2004 though (418 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.15/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a deep gold to orange with a small white head, some minor lace.

S: Kaffir lime, ethereal, interesting flowery character, hint of oxidation.

T: Lemon, grass, lime leaf. Somewhat bland, good tasting when I can find it, but a tired flavour.

M: Medium-bodied, very soft carbonation, a bit flabby.

O: Drinkable, but this has seen better days, nowhere near as good as the '05 was. (411 characters)

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

This bottle sat in my cellar - two different cellars, actually, as I moved in 2011 - until 12/11/12, when it moved into my fridge. Consumed on 12/12/12 - not a day sooner - as per the directions on the bottle. This is my 998th beer review on BeerAdvocate.com.

A: Poured into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass that has served me well all these years. Body is hazy orangeish-amber with a small white head.

S: Oxidation is noted in the nose - some wet cardboard and sherry-like scents. Also a lot of sweet malt in general, along with a hint of lime or citrus. Alcohol is noted as well.

T: Follows the nose a little - sherry-like from the oxidation and an almost vanilla-like sweetness. Surprised at the heat from the 8.5% ABV - it finishes a little bit hot. Lacking in hoppy bitterness, which is not surprising, but it doesn't finish in a cloyingly sweet way at all.

M: About medium in heft, maybe a little lighter. Smooth, bordering on syrupy, feel - which, combined with the ABV, makes it feel like a sipper despite the heft.

O: Interesting. Certainly drinkable, but I'm curious as to what the beer tasted like fresh (I didn't drink a bottle 8+ years ago). Glad I tried the experiment, but I'm not blown away by this one on 12/12/12. . . . (1,244 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Lord Hobo's Vertical Epic Event on 12/12/12. This was part of flight "A" (03, 04, 05). 5oz serving in a flight glass.

A- Light straw colored translucent golden without much carbonation or head.

S- Lightly soured presence of honey, straw, faint hint of lime, and light esters, not overly aromatic. I feel as if this definitely got a little bit soured/funked as it aged (which I kind of expected).

T- Lemons, straw, hint of lime, some faint esters, finishes lightly sour with a hint of tartness. Interesting, definitely a nice sour pale ale presence that is attributed from the aging.

M- Light, low carbonation, easy drinking.

O- This was an interesting beer and perhaps the beer that changed the most in the series (although I never had any of the earlier ones fresh). It definitely took over a nice sour tart presence that fit well with the beer but didn't make it anything special. I liked this beer and I definitely enjoyed drinking it. It took a very nice presence aging, but it still definitely isn't my favorite in the series. (1,046 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a flight at the Alewife Queens Vertical Epic event.

04 Vertical Epic pours an opaque goldenrod, with minimal head or lacing (partly a function of the pour?). The aroma has plenty of banana, with a bit of lime noticeable also. The lime peel is a bit more present in the flavor, probably sharing equal billing with the banana esters. A touch of sherry like oxidation adds a bit of subtle complexity to everything. Mouthfeel wise the carbonation doesn't jump out right away, but it's plenty lively. The body is just a tad heavy though. It's remarkable how well 04VE has held up. (584 characters)

Photo of stewart124
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
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%. (466 characters)

Photo of Auracom
2.54/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Talk about the most random bottle ever. Shared by Jeff near the end of a very long night. Thanks bro. 3-4 oz. poured into a FFF Teku on June 9th, 2012.

A - Very clear, bright-golden coloring. Great looking one finger eggshell head. Marginal lacing, slight legs.

S - Faded hops, a bit of wet cardboard, port-like oxidation, underlying Belgian yeast banana aroma. Part blah, part "Okay I can live with this."

T - Blended light fruit juice, pears, further oxidized cherry peel, definite clove and yeast flavor with a hint of buttered bread. Lightly bitter aftertaste.

M - Light-medium body, good carbonation for the age, semi-dry finish.

D - Ages more gracefully than I'd expected, but I'm not sure why something like this really exists. Despite its docile nature you can tell where this came from and compared to where it is now, it's not horrible. (852 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 JohnGalt1
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ditmier pulled this one out of his cellar for our recent VE tasting.. thanks buddy!!! I will save mine for the End of the World Party!!

Pours hazy orange... okay 1/2" head.. no real retention or lacing..

Nose is lite phenolic spicy... pretty sweet.. very dusty... bits of citrus.

Flavor is mildly oxidized.... some cardboard... but the backbone is still there.. sweet pale malts with some background pear ester.. banana shows more with warmth.. despite the dust, there is still some green apple..

Body and carbonation are still about right... but the oxidation is definitely there.. I doubt this was ever good after a year or so.

3.5/3.5/3.5/3.5/3.5

Oh well... we cracked it a couple of years early... I can only guess we did things right. (747 characters)

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