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 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)

Photo of RootedFool
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I literally yelped aloud when I saw bombers of this at my local beer Mecca, the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass, the head is three-quarter inches tall, frothy and bright white, lots of pea-sized bubbles. The head falls within minutes leaving a modest amount of bubbly film on the brew's surface. Minor strips of lace hold to the glass. The body is bright copper.

Smell is upfront spicy sweet, like a freshly halved honeydew melon beside a warm of batch of ginger snap cookies; the middle is slightly briny, almost like sea water; the finish is buttery sourdough bread with a background of bananas. I kept wanting to pick up on the lime leaf mentioned on the bottle as an ingredient, but couldn't.

Taste opens with a round and full sweep of bitter-sweetness --caramelized bananas, black pepper, watermelon. The middle turns a sharp corner into a blast of bitterness, not at all piercing -- it massages with strength over my entire palate. Aftertaste is a rich, bready background spiked with a high-pitched swing of bitterness, and lingering somewhere along the periphery...lime leaf? There's definitely a down-played note of juicy, citrusy bitter-sweetness here, toward the close.

Mouthfeel is perfectly palate-coating, without being sticky.

An incredible ride -- talk about twists and turns, this brew has it. Truly epic, no doubt. (1,393 characters)

Photo of kbub6f
4.73/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear, gold beer with hints of orange sports a big, dense, yellowy-white, creamy, fine head that leaves runny spots of lacing. Gorgeous. Candy sugar in the sweet, spicy, citrus, buttery nose. Wow. Bubblegum and spice in the front. A full, foamy, hugely buttery/sweet creamy middle. Spicy, dry, grainsy finish is quite bitter, with alcohol aplenty. More bubblegum in the aftertaste with some nice corn and butter. I can appreciate that this beer might not turn everyone's crank, but it really pushes all of my buttons. Absolutely delicious. Not too sweet, with a nice bitter finish. Spicy, buttery, bubblegummy with a fantastic sweet creamy middle. Give the DBF keys to my wife 'cause I can't be trusted. (705 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Toasted Peach.

Nose is nice. Sweet biscuity malt with notes of orange, lemon, lime, vanilla, banana and clove (but barely) and a light yeast presense.

This is a very interesting tasting beer. The lime leaf adds some dryness, spicyness and bitterness. As the beer warms the lime leaf takes a backseat and the hefeweizen characteristics come about with the clove and banana accompanied by some spicy pepper. Notes of pineapple, mint and lemon as well. This beer is cloying. Light bodied. A little sourness. I was hoping this would be a little less clean and a little more funky.

A solid offering, but I will age many beers before I age this. (650 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a semi-hazed orange hue with golden streaks. Minor head on the pour that dissipates to nothing and leaves no lace on the glass.
Aroma of coriander, heavy duty yeast and hint of banana and bubble gum. Pale and crystal malt and some citrusm hints back up the more pronounced aforementioned scents.
Flavor is heavy duty yeast like unfinished bread. If beer could be raw this would be it. This is the first beer I've ever had which I could absolutely tell needs a lot of age. Some sticky, sweet pale malt and a heavy does of grain alocohol make it into the flavors.
Mouthfeel is very sticky and sweet cut by an enormous dose of palate cleansing and tastebud eradicating alcohol. Too much yeast and alcohol to be truly enjoyable.
Drinkability is a little rough, my other bottle will sit for the proscribed period of time. 8 1/2 years seems a long time but this one could definitely use a lot of age. (909 characters)

Photo of BierManVA
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bier certainly defies a hard-line style. It is a hybrid bier by design...somewhere between an Abbey Trippel and a Bier de Garde/Saison. The lime leaf probably does it in for a Trippel but this is all beside the point.

"Is it good?"....Yes
"Is it young?"....Yes
"Bold and brash?....You know the answer
"Will it lay down and improve?"....Yes (time will tell)
"What is it?"...Another fine bier from an excellent brewery that defies traditional concepts and proves that the American craft bier movement produces some damn good shit.

Buy three, drink two, lay one down and wait....Mmmmm

John (604 characters)

Photo of frank4sail
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell of lemon grass, sweet malt and sharp yeast. Very attractive carbonated, filtered?, crystal gold look in the goblet With a fine white head. Not a ton of retention. Initial earthy, hay flavors are then smoothed by wheat and corriander flavors. The brew is very smooth with lots of bubble action dancing on the tongue. The brew is very good now but seens sharp and agressive upfront. It should be a killer with a year or two on it in the cellar. Me like it... (462 characters)

Photo of dmarch
3.06/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I don't know why I thought this was barleywine, but it's definately a big beer with Belgian influences as BA indicated. First of all, the appearance is beautiful. Orangey-golden in color with a big blooming white head that diminishes into a fine lace. I have to be honest. It went down hill once the aroma hit my nose. I didn't enjoy this brew as much as I hoped. Sorry Greg, I'm a big fan, but this just didn't do it for me. Incredibly sweet. I couldn't pick out the flavor at first, but I think I figured it out. I am reminded of those little fruit candies you get at those grocery store vending machines. Those little bananna ones...that's this beer. It's definately got the strength, and it does have flavor. I would just want to see this beer a little more dry. Stone is a brewery that I feel guilty giving a bad review to. I'm a huge fan, but this is my first Vertical Epic. As of now, I think I favor their flagship beers. (929 characters)

Photo of RedDiamond
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ’04 looks largely lager-like with its pale yellow body capped with a foamy white head. It was very clear until I let all the yeasties spill in. It has a peculiar herb / spice aroma with a strong Belgian accent and tastes much like it smells.

This is brewed with something called Kaffir lime leaf. I have no idea what that is, but its infusion into an otherwise pale Trappist ale is remarkably complimentary and satisfying. The unique taste contributes to a beverage that is highly drinkable. This brew also stands up to food well in that it is prominent and herbal without being overly domineering.
Though the ’04 could benefit from some maturing, I don’t think I’ll wait eight years to try this one again. (726 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice orangeish color.Great fluffly head the lingers on the way down.Aroma of spices,malt.Somewhat yeasty.Hint of vanilla?Wonderful flavor.Malty profile upfront.Has the typical "Belgian" taste to it fron the yeast.Nice spiciness-coriander?Great silky smooth mouthfeel to it.Really quite lovely all the way down.Very very drinkable beer-I dont find it to be as in your face as Stone might have you believe.Its going to be a long wait till 2012 to have my other bottle. (466 characters)

Photo of avylover
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

cellar for 8 years eh? Not in this house...

Anyhow, this brew pours out a golden orange color, with just a slight haze to it. The head is small but rough, like a mountainous landscape on top. Aroma is yeast & bready, with some spicyness showing up. Some mandarin orange aromas showing up. Taste is also full of orange rind. This is like a overhopped belgian ale to me. There is a lot of delicate taste going on back there, but combined with the american hopping style you end up with something like sour fruit. Piney hops, some bready malt. Aftertaste is non-existent. This is like a beer that can't make up it's mind. Stone IPA mixed with La Fin Du monde = this beer. Not offensive, just strange. Decent bubbly mouthfeel. This will take some getting used to. After all, this is Stone, generally over the top. (812 characters)

Photo of IceAce
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (1,436 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear tan body with a small white head.

The nose to this beer is amazing and disgusting at the same time. Solvent like with cinnamon mixed with lime peel. A bizarre mix of tropical fruits; it sort of smells like a jolly rancher that’s gone bad. Very slight touch of phenols. Banana, yeast, butter, fresh lime, tropical flowers, fruit juice, berries and other fruit.

The taste was medium to full bodied. The taste is almost identical to the nose. It starts very sweet and somewhat limey, then proceeds through layers of tropical fruits and then ends very smooth with a pure triple taste. Big malt, wheat, tropical fruits, banana, lime peel, limejuice, dirt, lime leaves, tea leave, flowery hops. A FIRM bitterness, with a faint hint of metal, sits slightly above the malt, but is never distracting. Somewhat tannic as it begins to warm.

What a fucking amazing beer. Not because it’s good, or bad, but because it’s so different. It’s a study in analyses of beer. So many flavors, so complex, they may not all fit; yet they do. With every single sip and whiff I got a different flavor or smell. Amazing. I guess if I had to summarize the taste of this beer I’d say, mix a Belgian triple with a fresh German weis, toss in some tea bags and limes you’ve got vertical epic 2004. I’d really like to try pairing this with something. A must try beer. (1,377 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy pale golden yellow color, finger high, tight foamy white cap, resides to an ever present skim and the lacing sticks in moderate stringy patches.
Aroma is quite nice with a dried pepper toastiness over the base of lively citrus of lemon and lime skins. Strong and pleasingly persistant nose on this one.
Complexingly layered flavors within every sip, quite a nice brigade of dried pepper and clove spice, maybe a pinch of salt too, make for a pleasing finish. The forefront is built up of a solid mild citrus fruit salad of lemon and lime zest mixed with some banana underneath.
Feel is about medium bodied with a firm carbonation thats not overly biting, which I like, most triples have either too much ot not enough. This is just about right, a bit more creamy feel and body and it would be terrific for me.
I really enjoyed the finish on this, spicy of pepper and citrus zest thats drying yet the body remains wet and firm. And has just enough alcoholic/ethanolic kick to keep you in check. Nicely done. All in all, this is one well put together, spicy little Abbey Triple. A bit out of the realm for Stone, but bless their hearts for being such pioneers of trying new dimensions in the brewing universe. Hmmm....no matter how hard I try, I just can't be as wordy as their back labels, always a fun read! (1,319 characters)

Photo of far333
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruddy chestnut color with a lumpy, foamy beige head that sinks fast, but leaves a fine cap across the top. Aroma is sweet, full of sweet pear, cinnamon, and fruit. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, low carbonation. Flavor is sweet and lightly yeasty, a little cloying for my tastes. Finish is interesting as honey, banana, and clove rise to the top, but a tinny aftertaste lingers. I expected much more. (399 characters)

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (914 characters)

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