Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 303 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
3.98/5 rDev +2.8%
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.
09-05-2005 01:20:59 | More by pentathlete
3.98/5 rDev +2.8%
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.
09-02-2005 03:20:33 | More by NearerMyBeerToMe
4.33/5 rDev +11.9%
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 isnt 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 Ive enjoyed, but this isnt 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 doesnt 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 havent experienced one yet. Stone is on a roll and is getting deserved attention.
08-28-2005 02:49:55 | More by Wonka
3.98/5 rDev +2.8%
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.
08-25-2005 00:11:38 | More by GClarkage
3.83/5 rDev -1%
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.
08-18-2005 01:22:14 | More by klewis
4/5 rDev +3.4%
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.
08-16-2005 01:49:44 | More by Jason
4.25/5 rDev +9.8%
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.
08-13-2005 21:22:16 | More by NeroFiddled
4.15/5 rDev +7.2%
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!
07-25-2005 08:50:12 | More by ommegangpbr
3.6/5 rDev -7%
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!!
07-24-2005 01:36:15 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
4.65/5 rDev +20.2%
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.
07-11-2005 01:44:09 | More by UncleFlip
3.88/5 rDev +0.3%
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 04s 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 VEs to date, though I have to add here that I have only had one VE02. Im not sure how this one will turn out, but Im not holding on to too many of these.
Music: Pink Floyd - Great Gig in the Sky (rather loud)
07-04-2005 05:19:09 | More by TheLongBeachBum
3.68/5 rDev -4.9%
(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.
06-16-2005 01:15:19 | More by rhoadsrage
4.3/5 rDev +11.1%
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.
06-02-2005 03:09:24 | More by BeerFink
4.38/5 rDev +13.2%
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.
05-21-2005 22:04:55 | More by MarkBlackout
4.1/5 rDev +5.9%
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.
05-20-2005 04:57:24 | More by Gueuzedude
4.15/5 rDev +7.2%
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
05-05-2005 22:46:03 | More by brentk56
4.3/5 rDev +11.1%
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.
05-04-2005 02:02:19 | More by deejaydan
4.43/5 rDev +14.5%
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.
04-23-2005 14:47:22 | More by BobLuvBeer
3.48/5 rDev -10.1%
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.
04-18-2005 22:34:42 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.93/5 rDev +1.6%
Gazed up the headwall with this one on 5/4/2004. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a Rapscallion glass.
Creamy, ¼-inch head poured a yellow to almost light green granny smith apple hue with a bunch of continued action happening. Huge lemon/citrus nose with some gentle hops and some other flowery characteristics, though difficult to pinpoint. Sweet, almost hefe taste with a following hop bitterness, almost like lemongrass. Slight chewiness, yet a clean mouth feel. Reminds me of wheat fields after a summer thunderstorm.
04-15-2005 19:42:31 | More by Truh
3.53/5 rDev -8.8%
I am sampling one of my bottles of this beer. Almost on its one year anniversary. THe beer is at room temp and I am drinking from a pint glass. The beer pours a bright clear gold color with 2 cm of bleached white head foaming up easily and resting on the surface.
Aroma is rather mild, but I detect some wheat twang, a bit of sugar sweetness and general sweet spiciness, cloves perhaps, also a bit of citusy lemon.
First sip reveals a fine tingly carbonation and average body. Flavor is light and crisp with some lemon and white grape fruitiness and again sweet spices that I cant place. OVerall the beer is very light and doesnt feel or taste like a tripel. Leaves a sweet coating on my tongue after each swallow. A decent beer but I hope it improves on its quest for 12.12.12. vertical.
04-03-2005 04:39:48 | More by sulldaddy
3.88/5 rDev +0.3%
Nice copper color, white head which dies too quickly. Smell starts like Duvel and the like, but then there's a strong apple smell is the background, and maybe a little lime bitterness? (although that could just be the power of suggestion from the label...) Taste is much sweeter than I expected, but surprisingly nice. There's some complex spiciness going on under the apple-y sweetness, but it's too hard for me to identify. Nice mouthfeel, its got some good carbonation there. I'm going to knock it a little on drinkability - it's great at first, but the sweetness is overpowering after a while... so enjoy it with food or split it with friends. Decent beer, though.
03-25-2005 00:43:23 | More by malthead
4.03/5 rDev +4.1%
Not totally clear yellow orange glow of a body, with an exceptionally creamy-looking thick head that unfortunately falls immediately, leaving a thick collar of bubbles and haze. Nose is sugar crystal sweet candy apple with some dryness and alcohol in the background. Cloves and licorice.
Taste is subdued compared to my expectations -- goes down very nicely and has the feel of a nicely crafted big bodied hefe-w. Low sweetness level spiced with crystal ginger and orange peel. Apple cider. Slightly bitter chewy hops muddle the otherwise clean and refreshing after -- and seem to grow in chewiness as warming progesses.
Although highly drinkable, I found myself wanting a little more umph from a tripel than this provided and I grew slightly bored of the apply sweetness.
03-17-2005 07:33:36 | More by donnebaby
3.43/5 rDev -11.4%
Suprisingly sweet and balanced for a Stone product! Pours a cloudy copper in color with a thin white head that dissapated quickly after the pour. Nose s quite sweet, notes of citrus and other fruit, quite nice actually. Taste is surprisingly light, complex and even a bit mellow to start but then the action begins. Notes of banana, golden raisin, fig and clove are present. The taste is very multi-tiered, one taste hitting right after another, very nice. The bad is that as it warms there is a nasty astringent hoppiness present in the finish and the alcohol really makes itself known.
Not bad overall, but unless kept chilled it's flaws really become a problem to my palate. Not something I'll seek out again.
03-01-2005 09:47:30 | More by Gaisgeil
4.33/5 rDev +11.9%
Following Ruination. (bad idea?)
Hazy pale orange Belgium nose and appropriate CO2. Aromas well described on bottle. Very interesting tripel with the yeast, tangerine-orange zest, lime bitterness and 8.5 abv wanting some time to soften.
Although very drinkable and balanced with great mouthfeel got to wonder what cellaring a few years would bring. (good idea?)
03-01-2005 02:32:30 | More by karst
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 303 ratings.