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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

304 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 304
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
Gots: 47 | FT: 2
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: 304 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UncleFlip
UncleFlip

Alabama

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.

Be well
-UF

07-11-2005 01:44:09 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

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 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)

07-04-2005 05:19:09 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

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
Photo of BeerFink
BeerFink

Ohio

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
Photo of MarkBlackout
MarkBlackout

Indiana

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
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

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
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

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
Photo of deejaydan
deejaydan

Michigan

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
Photo of BobLuvBeer
BobLuvBeer

Illinois

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
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

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
Photo of Truh
Truh

New Hampshire

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
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy

Connecticut

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
Photo of malthead
malthead

California

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
Photo of donnebaby
donnebaby

North Carolina

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
Photo of Gaisgeil
Gaisgeil

Michigan

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.

Slàinte!

03-01-2005 09:47:30 | More by Gaisgeil
Photo of karst
karst

Missouri

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
Photo of rastaman
rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

3/5  rDev -22.5%

Bottle. Belgian style, obvious Belgian influences, with the yeast and orange peel characters. But i tasted a lot of American style hops in here (could be wrong, i dunno). Didn’t taste particularly Belgian to me. Interesting all same. Probably have to hang on to a bottle to let in soften. A little too much alcohol showing in the finish.

02-19-2005 11:07:24 | More by rastaman
Photo of UncleJimbo
UncleJimbo

Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev +9%

Sampled on-tap at Anam Cara Public House.

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

02-14-2005 05:06:37 | More by UncleJimbo
Photo of neonbrown82
neonbrown82

Nebraska

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%

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

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

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

01-30-2005 09:55:30 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of Boto
Boto

Connecticut

4.22/5  rDev +9%

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

01-27-2005 21:09:46 | More by Boto
Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
Wolfsdenbrew

New Mexico

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%

Large off-white head that dissipates slowly to a small head. Pours a clear light golden amber leaves minimal lacing. Nice small bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is of caramel, lots of yeast, some banana, clove and a slight hint of vinyl.

Taste is midly sweet malts in the beginning with atouch of lemon, lots of yeast in the taste. Not really any hop noticed.

Good carbonation, light to medium body.

Nice ale!

01-27-2005 01:55:53 | More by Wolfsdenbrew
Photo of OStrungT
OStrungT

California

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

This beer pours a nice golden with a white head that disapears fast leaving laces on the glass. It looks unfiltered, but not as unfiltered as a hefe wiezen. Smells fruity and spicy. Hints of lime in the taste. Also ginger. Tastes very clovey. It leaves a sweet aftertaste. It goes down nicely. This beer could be consumed all night. The alcohol content is above average, but it doesnt taste like it. I would drink this beer again. Too bad it will probably never come out again.

01-27-2005 01:29:41 | More by OStrungT
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -7%

The beer poured into the glass a clear golden with an amber hue. The head was off-white and moussy, very tightly bubbled and fell very slowly to coat the glass.

The aroma had a prominent banana ester when first poured. As the head proceeded to fall some faint spice emerged and a citrusy aroma, orange and lemon, became more prominent.

The flavor was on the sweet side. Malty but a bit over the top in terms of sweetness. The bittering did not keep the malt in check and the spices were muted at best. The citrus aromas were less evident in the flavor and lemon overcame orange. The alcohol let it's presence be known in the flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting citrusy lemon presence. The body was medium full and alcohol was present in the finish.

22 ounce bottle. An interesting beer, but not a wonderful triple. It will be interesting to see how other bottles age out. I read the bottle after the review was typed in and lime is the definite flavor and aroma.

01-14-2005 23:16:23 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

I've been hanging onto this one for a bit now..and finally decided it's time. Crisp bright golden yellow pour with a nice bubbly 1" head sitting on top. Vibrant. Banana, clove, some citrus...quite a complex nose. Hints of fresh baked wheat bread.

First sip is refreshing mix of banana bread, hints of citrus fruits...I do get a hint of lime on the back of the palate. A nice spiciness runs throughout the brew, including cloves and yeast notes. I really enjoy the flavor here, everything works well together. Some nice citric hop bitterness on the way down as well.

Smooth, creamy, easy to drink here....a nice body as well. No complaints from me. I could easily drink this one all night...another very tasty brew from the Stone crew. I have one sitting in the cellar for 2012...how will it hold up?? I have no clue. However I do know that it's a damn good beer right now!

01-09-2005 04:20:44 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of tar
tar

Bahamas

4/5  rDev +3.4%

Tasted on 12/31/04; with at least one bottle in the cellar for the long haul. Pours a clear light golden with a nice white head which diminishes fairly quickly to nothing more than a ring around the glass and a remnant collection of bubbles just off-center in the glass. Great smelling. Aromas of lime, maybe a bit of mint, and some crisp lemony/fruity notes. The smell actually reminds me quite a bit of lemon flavored ricola cough drops (which I like, so this is a good thing). Some alcohol notes also come through. The taste is sharp, but very pleasant, and I can see that this will mellow with aging. Minty and lemony flavors come out with a nice tingle on the tongue. This is already quite a smooth and drinkable beer, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how it may change in years to come.

01-03-2005 15:58:22 | More by tar
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 304 ratings.