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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

309 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 98
Gots: 48 | 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: 309 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of waldowin
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

waldowin, Jan 03, 2006
Photo of mcowgill
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

mcowgill, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of nlmartin
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a wide mouthed goblet.

Appearance: This is a very good looking beer in the glass. The beer poured a very pleasing light amber. The head towered above the beer a lovely creamy banner. The beer leaves a road map of lacing on the side of the glass. Dam this beer is almost sexy.

Smell: A lovely perfume greats my nose. The beer has a very nice malty fruity lead in. I swear in addition to lime citrus I smell melons. The beer has a nice spicyness complementing the sweet.

Taste: The beer lives up to the smell. The beer has a biscuity malty sweetness. This gives way to a lime citrus bananna and melon fruityness. This gives way to a crisp spicyness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This is a meduim bodied beer. The beer has a very crisp and clean finish. A very tasty treat. I hope I can keep some until 2012.

nlmartin, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of becktone
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First things first, the head on this beer is incredible. I am not exaggerating when I say that the head is as big as the span from the bottom of my palm to the base of my fingers. I have poured this beer into a huge glass Hofbrauhaus Mug. The size of the head could have easily been because of my somewhat careless pour ( I didn't pour with any cares because I knew the brew wouldn't overflow). I think that it holds about a liter of beer. The color of the beer is a straw gold. I can see some type of particles suspended in the brew giving it a mildly hazy but still clear appearance. The head is white and creamy looking. Head retention is excellent. Lacing also clings to the side of my glass giving this beer an overfall stellar appearance.

The beer has a strong aroma. It smells of sweet malt. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of the aroma of belgian pale ales (Leffe and Grimbergen). I also smell a candy type of aroma, perhaps butterscotch. In addition to the candy smell I can detect a fresh fruity smell. Perhaps strawberry/kiwi?

I think that perhaps I would enjoy this beer a little more if there were some more hops to balance out the sweet malt taste of this beer. I has a pretty complex taste. I can easliy detect/taste the candy like butterscotch and fruit flavors that were evident to the nose. In the aftertaste it leaves behind first the candy taste which then changes to the fruity taste.

This beer is very lightly carbonated, so much so that it is hard to tell that it is carbonated. I think that it feels more like fruit juice on the palace than beer. The alcohol is evident as it goes down. You can feel it warm the throat and the stomach. A very pleasant sensation (this is what makes me give it a 4 in mouthfeel). In my opinion it has a dry finish, it leaves my palate dry after about a minute. This beer is easy to drink and goes down quite well. I would buy more of this except for the fact that I don't believe I can get anymore of this. I was lucky enough to have picked this up about a month and a half ago. I didn't even have to cellar it, it was already done for me. Unfortunately buying the beer a year to late means that I can't get anymore of it.

becktone, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of Goldorak
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Troubled pale orange, the head was pretty frail.

Smell: Lemon pepper at first, but then this strange aroma that I've never detected in a Beer before. It was hard to describe, soapy lavander is the best I can come up with. Maybe crushed szechuan pepper, but with an added perfume that made me think of that time I went to a Persian restaurant, the desserts were perfumed with rosewater and other flowers.

Taste: Matching the aroma, the flavors were like some strange concoction a holistic healer would make out of whatever weird herbs, magic powders and air freshener he had laying around his house (aka the Van down by the river). It had a taste of flowers and flour! It was quite complicated, and honestly, I can't even give you a verdict if I liked it or not. This truly is a case where giving this Beer a score is pointless for me, because the taste is something absolutely new to me and my brain is still processing it, trying to associate it with something and coming up with nada. I think at first my reaction wasn't too favorable (I would have given it a 3), but now a few days have past and I'd be willing to try it again, just to see how I would react to a second dose (I would have gone up to 4).

Goldorak, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of ejquin
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

ejquin, Oct 02, 2005
Photo of pentathlete
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden with a small white head. Smell is tangerine and Belgian yeast. Taste is zesty citrus with some hops(!?) and more of the Belgian candi feel. The zest really dominates. Mouthfeel is medium, long finish. Assertive as expected from Stone. Easy to drink. I was expecting a little more.

$6.99 for a 22 oz bottle at Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville.

pentathlete, Sep 05, 2005
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

NearerMyBeerToMe, Sep 02, 2005
Photo of Wonka
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

Wonka, Aug 28, 2005
Photo of GClarkage
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/23/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 22oz bomber bottle poured into my Duvel tulip. No freshness date needed. Will save my other for 2012.

Appearance- Copper colored pour with a nice 1/2 inch head and light lace.

Smell- Odd scents going on here. Super scented confectioniers sugar, maybe a bit of cotton candy action as well. Maybe even a bit of vanilla.

Taste- Just as many other people pointed out...there is actually a lime rind like taste here along with lots of other spices. Some corriander, clove, nutmeg, pepper. Lots of stuff.

Mouthfeel- Average carbonation level.

Drinkability- Odd tasting brew to be sure. This is one of those that I am still trying to figure out if a really liked it as much as I am giving it credit for. Enigma so far. Maybe I'll know more in 7 years when I try my next one.

Re-review in year 2006.

Just finished off a bottle of the 2006. Seems as though a lot more of the sugary flavor comes out as well as some peaches and some rose water flavoring. Boosting this one up a tad due to good aging.

GClarkage, Aug 25, 2005
Photo of klewis
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with a small white head that quickly subsided but one that left good lacing. Light golden in color with lots of carbonation clinging to the sides of the goblet.

S: A very strong smell with aromas of dark fruit, yeast, and caramel.

T: A spicy shiraz-like kick instantly meets the tongue, giving way to dominating ginger flavors. Originally, I somehow missed the lime taste until I read the other reviews and the bottle, but now it seems very apparent to me. The finish reminisces of the classic Belgian yeast taste. The overall taste is definitely unique, but I'm not sure that I'm sold on it yet.

M: This one has a smooth medium body that balances the flavor nicely. After the pour, it looked like this one was going to be a little too carbonated for my taste, but it turned out to be just right.

D: This beer's strongest asset is its originality, but for that reason, I wouldn't want to drink this one too often. I would recommend this one to beer connoisseurs but would be reluctant to do the same to someone without an appropriate palate for unique brews.

klewis, Aug 18, 2005
Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz brown bomber with an obvious vintage date.

A- Bright pale copper hued brew, good head retention to say the least.

S- Malt aroma reminds me of fresh tapioca or plain Indian pudding made with lime pudding, tad bready / yeasty with some hot spice in the back.

T- Faint lime character, solid maltiness holds on to some sweetness. The lime character has more bite with the hops than anything else. Lots of spice flowing around which masks the malt for a second. Warming alcohol finally catches up mid-bottle, tad fruity ... plum-like. Finishes semi-dry with a light roughness of wheat and pale malt with a long lingering spicy lime character.

M- Oh so crisp and so damn smooth over the medium body.

D- At first I did not think I was going to drink the whole bottle, it slowly grew on me with each sip.

If my palate was not used to exotic beers I'd probably hit a brick wall here. Thankfully I can see where beer can go and has gone. I guess I will have to bum a sip from some one else on 12.12.12 as this was my last bottle.

Jason, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone's third release in the Vertical Epic series pours a clear, deep golden body that borders on amber. It's initially full and creamy head almost rises out of the glass but then slowly dwindles to an average collar. It does, however, leave some very nice lace in its wake.

The nose is malty with a touch of vanilla; and perfumey with some mild citrusy and floral notes, a waft of alcohol, and some clear peppery spice.

In the mouth, it's medium bodied and lightly zesty with a mildly effervescent natural carbonation that tingles the tongue before warming to become more creamy.

The flavor is very much (or should I say exactly) as the nose indicates with a mild note of vanilla, a touch of fruitiness (some watered down citrus and dull melon), and a burst of alcohol. It finishes dry, with some nice, peppery spiciness; and a wash of lingering alcohol. Perhaps a bit more aging will round it out... I'd enjoy the '03 now, but give this one a year, and maybe even more!

It pairs well with sweet and spicy Thai foods, and also makes a nice apertif on its own.

NeroFiddled, Aug 13, 2005
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 MUSHROOMCLOUD
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Vertical Epic 04 was a tale of two beers for me.

The first glass I poured into a (recommended) goblet. The beer was clear gold with hardly any head at all. No lacing.
The second glass I poured into a tulip and the beer was hazy apricot orange color with a 1" head that had some staying power and left good lace.(I know the yeast poured in to the second glass played a part).

The first glass held a nose of yeast, grain, and slight citrus aromas.
The second had yeast, tangerine, lime, banana, bubble gum,powder and a honey sweet aroma.

The initial taste held banana, alcohol, yeast and a grainy bite in the finish.
Second glass held the same plus a hint of lime and bubble gum.

The beer is unique, an odd combination of a hefe and a tripel. The first glass I drank was (forgive me Steve and Lee!!) like a New Belgium Tripel. The second glass was more of the unique beer I was expecting. I wonder if this beer needs to be somehow agitated before pouring any of it, because it definitely benefited from the bit of yeast in the second glass. I have two more in the "cellar" and I am looking forward to the future to see how these age. By the way the 05 is the bomb!!

MUSHROOMCLOUD, Jul 24, 2005
Photo of UncleFlip
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice golden yellow with hints of orange. May appear darker in a larger glass, but my tasting cup was rather small. The head didn't stick around terribly long.

The aroma was hops, spice, and orange- with a bit of alcohol smell throughout.

On first taste, spiciness and cloviness hit right up front. There's a fruity bottom which has a bit of banana on the back end.

The mouthfeel was nice- with a good, even body- sort of mellow, but seeming just right.

Drinkability is high on this one. I'd definitely like to have more.

Be well
-UF

UncleFlip, Jul 11, 2005
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After cracking a VE03 tonight, why the hell not go the whole hog!? Some 1 year and 2 months [07.03.05] after I first [05.17.04] sampled this one I fancied cracking one of the 04’s out of my stash as well to see how it fared out of interest, especially as I felt the 03 had improved. My original Review had 3.5/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.0 scores with an overall rating of 3.95.

Appearance: Murky looking golden peach body with a Robertsons Golden Shred Marmalade hue when backlit. Thin head forms and slacks down to a lazy looking scummy covering rather quickly. Dissolved carbonation is enough to keep things alive with a gentle swirl, but it looks tired. Stays at 3.5, but only just.

Nose: Nose is still lively and retains a strong odor Kaffir Lime Leaf that I recall from my first sampling. Spicy hops and a mild yeast character fight to contend with the Lime, which still dominates the VE04. Stays at 4.0.

Taste: Bitter entrance remains, so does the Tripel feel but there is much more lime in here than I recall, right from the from the start and even in the ending…..this one now reeks of lime, a tad overpowering at times I have to say. Wheat-beer like middle with some light floral perfumed bitterness which in turn has a slight black pepper feel in the finish. Lingering sharp lime in the end. Stays at 4.0.

Mouthfeel: Starting to wane slightly, not as big as I recall, the residual lime carries this one through but the feel, once examined closely, is rescinding I think. Dropped this to a 4.0.

Drinkability: Still feels a tad harsh on the tongue and the lime is rasping and way too overpowering for my tastes, yet I still managed the 22 ounce all to myself, but only just. Dropped this to a 3.5, maybe a tad harsh but I struggled with this a little in the finish.

Overall: No better, not that much worse either to be honest, but not as appealing as it was, for me it has dropped 0.1 ticks after just over a year. It is no secret that this is probably my least favorite of the four VE’s to date, though I have to add here that I have only had one VE02. I’m not sure how this one will turn out, but I’m not holding on to too many of these.

Music: Pink Floyd - Great Gig in the Sky (rather loud)

TheLongBeachBum, Jul 04, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a hazy golden with a strong carbonation with a white cream thin head.

S- Very clean light bread aroma with a hit of lime and some soft wheat notes.

T- This beer has a light wheat taste with a crisp lime leaf taste. There are some peppery notes with some bright citrus almost lemon notes. The alcohol is very gentle but has a nice warming

M- medium body with not a fizzy taste and no alcohol heat.

D- This has some nice triple qualities but the bitter lime taste is a little to overpowering. It might be much better after some aging. Definitely an interesting beer just not a great beer yet.

rhoadsrage, Jun 16, 2005
Photo of BeerFink
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

BeerFink, Jun 02, 2005
Photo of MarkBlackout
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

MarkBlackout, May 21, 2005
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled May 2005
This beer pours with a prodigious pale tan head that is held up by a medium level of carbonation. The head sits atop a slightly hazy orange-gold beer. The aroma is softly spicy with notes of vanilla, ginger, soft yeasty notes, and a note that is unmistakably from the Kaffir Lime leaf (a mix of lime and woody lime pith). The taste is dominated by the lime leaf up front, it actually seems to have intensified in the past year. This beer has a soft creamy mouthfeel to it, which is accentuated by a hint of vanilla. There are some nice herbal notes here that finish off with a bit of balancing sharp astringency in the finish. This is my favorite vertical epic so far, I don't see it lasting all that long, but it is pretty good now.

Gueuzedude, May 20, 2005
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 deejaydan
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note-- Aged in cellar for 1 year

Appears golden in color, slightly hazy from the yeast. Wonderful sticky lacing. Large fisheye bubbles pop through the surface of the head.

Aroma is funky belgian yeast. Not anything easily recognizable. No bubblegum, clove or banana. Just funky yeast, but pleasant.

Taste-- I get some Lime. Some alcohol is present, but not upfront and aggresive. Slight sour finish, yet not dry like other tripples I've tried.

Mouthfeel-- Good, medium body, not overly thined out by sugar. Carbonation is pleasant, non obtrusive.

Drinkablilty. Well, I like this one. I'm going to wait until 2012 to crack my other bottles though.

deejaydan, May 04, 2005
Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

BobLuvBeer, Apr 23, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been wondering what style Stone settled on for their soon-to-be-released Vertical Epic 05.05.05. I then realized that I hadn't yet tasted the bottle of 04.04.04 that's been in my beer fridge since last summer. I won't be able to comment on how this tripel has changed over time, but given how long this series is built to last, it's still only in its infancy. Knowing Stone, it's sure to be an interesting ride.

Radiant amber with a hint of orange peel and a plethora of tiny, dust mote-like particles that catch and reflect the sun's rays so beautifully that it seems as if the beer contains its own inner light. A lovely looking head of alabaster foam possesses a creamy stiffness that gives it a chiseled, sculpted appearance as it slowly descends. An acceptable amount of lace in no discernable pattern completes the picture of a quality beer from a quality brewery.

The nose is unlike the nose on any beer in recent memory. First is a grassy, floral hoppiness that is similar to Saaz, yet different. Next is a 'white' spiciness reminiscent of white pepper and something musky, cardamon perhaps, though that's not quite it. Finally is a citrusiness that is unlike the hoppy citrusiness that one usually smells in most hoppy beer. I'm pretty sure that I'd be able to identify the citrusiness as lime, even without knowing that Kaffir lime leaf was used. It isn't a whiz-banger of a nose, but it is original and interesting.

Epic tastes pretty much like it smells. The first thing that I notice is its power. The flavor hits like a ton of bricks (a good thing), but the alcohol isn't cloaked quite well enough. It remains to be seen how the flavors, including the alcohol, meld with warming. I'll get back to that issue as I get deeper into the bottle. Like the nose, this is one original tripel. In fact, I have a hard time thinking of it as a tripel at all.

It's more hoppy than expected, but doesn't use a hop that I care for. It reminds me of a 'super noble' with elements of bitter grass and an austere floral quality. It seems to take the worst elements of the Saaz-type hops and amplify them. As a consequence, I'm finding it hard to find much to like. Clove is still going strong, as is cardamom. I don't mind that second spice in small doses, but it's too prominent here. I know that no actual cardamon was used, it just tastes like it to me.

The lime leaf is present and accounted for, but seems more like bitter citrus pith than sweet lime peel. That brings me to another concern. Tripels are best, I believe, when they contain a certain amount of candi sugar. This beer seems not to contain any sugar or sweetness at all, which hurts it significantly in my eyes. The bitterness is unrelenting and quickly grows tiresome without the balancing sweetness.

The alcohol still hasn't retreated. It's acceptable, but shows itself too prominently given what else is going on with the flavor as a whole. The finish is semi-dry with the ethanol coming to the fore to an even greater degree. The body is medium-full, though it drinks lighter than that thanks to the Belgian-like, exuberant carbonation. There isn't much wrong with the mouthfeel, but then I'd expect nothing less from Stone.

Vertical Epic 04.04.04 is notable (to me at least) because it's a rare disappointment from one of my favorite breweries. I applaud Stone for their grand vision and for attempting something as audacious as this series. It remains to be seen whether or not every beer is successful and whether or not they actually improve with age. Or if some of the early iterations are even drinkable by 2012. Nevertheless, my respect for this brewery is such that I'll anticipate each and every release and will relish the thought of popping the cap on the latest (and hopefully greatest) Vertical Epic.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 18, 2005
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.