1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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
87
very good

315 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 315
Reviews: 218
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 99
Gots: 48 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 315 | Reviews: 218 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nortmand
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like other nice North American Tripels, fizzy, yellow and with a thin layer of white foam.
Smell deliciously sweet and spicy, with a dominant clove presence. Very much in the spirit of Belgian beer.
Spicy strong flavor, with a warming alcohol presence. Very delicious and balanced considering the number of flavors happening here. Banana, allspice, clove flavors all blend together rather nicely.
I'm not real high in the tripels, but this one is damned fine and quite drinkable. As far as tripels go, second only to Unibroue's Eau Benite.

Photo of imblane
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Bought 3 bottles of this from Old Town Liquor, here in Temecula, CA. The proprietor their told me this was almost like a wheat beer, but it poured into a Stone IPA glass a medium golden color with about a finger and a half of crisp head which dissipated in a minute or two. Smell was citrusy crisp with hints of earthiness and a pleasing bite of alcohol; very pleasing overall. taste was initially much like a good Abbey Trippel, then moved to a warm alcohol and finally a slight crisp lime. I tend to agree with the other reviewers, that this beer has a young, very fine taste that will only improve as the flavors meld together. I must confess, the 3 bottles lasted only a matter of hours, as I thoroughly enjoyed getting familiar with this complex offering. I went back and bought a case to age appropriately; however, this beer may be hard to keep out of my glass. Very well done, another worthy effort from Stone!!!

101004
Cracked opened an 040404 after 6 months plus and found a somewhat different beer waiting. The kafir lime hints have disappeared, there is a somewhat toffee hint to the smell. The smell is now a mild barleywine and prominent fusel alcohol. The mouthfeel is somewhat less carbonated but mellow at the same time. I am having a hard time with this offering now, but suffice to say it is far more enjoyable than at the original release date. I think this will become one of the true "Epic" Stone offerings in the months and years to come.

Photo of bigchris1313
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden. Plenty darker than the Natural Light I watch everyone around me drink. *shudder*

Smell: Fruity! This was quite a shock for me, because as a hophead I was expecting the beer to be bitter like every other Stone Brew I'd had, save the porter and stout.

Taste: As a hophead I was at first weary of the sweeter flavor. As I continued to drink the beer, I began to embrace this style that was strange to me. Much fruitness gave the beer a smooth taste, but unlike the smooth tastes advocated by advertising campaigns for such brews as Keystone Light, this beer was full-flavored and sweet.

Mouthfeel: I think Stone does a great job with their brews as far as mouthfeels are concerned. The carbonation, when the brew is cool, lets the beer flow through one's mouth and across the tongue fluidly, for lack of a better term. Of all the categories, I gave this my highest score of 4.5

Drinkability: The beer is good, and for drinkers who adore fruitiness, this could be consumed for a long time. However, as hop-head, I wasn't fully enamored with the beer, but I put my prejudice aside the rated this category adequately.

Photo of poundboy
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden color with hints of amber. Minimal head disapated quickly. Nose quite stuffy tonight, so I can't really comment on the smell other than I didn't smell anything bad.
At first all I could tast was hints of fruitiness and the a strange, not all together pleasant bitterness which I assume comes from the lime leaves. As it warmed, the true character of the beer came out however. Very much in the belgian tripel style, though less complex than most. Very smooth mouthfeel. the lime leaves are what make this beer unique, but I did not altogether enjoy it. The bitterness just lingers on the tongue in a way I am not used to. However, otherwise this is a very well crafted beer, and I wish I had more that I could let age and check again in few years.
Thank Mrpicklerelish for the bottle

Photo of aracauna
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear true amber body with a head on the fizzy side. The aroma and flavor are dominated by vanilla and cotton candy. A little bit of caramel is involved, and after reading the the commercial description, I guess that bit of citrus isn’t from the hops after all. Still, while it’s very pleasant and quite drinkable, it’s not really all that like a Belgian in character to me.

Photo of mschofield
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium amber-gold, topped with a three finger puffy off-white head, left partial rings of lacing.
Spicy, yeasty, lime aroma, banana and flowers.
Robustly flavored, very yeasty - seems a little "wild" maybe it needs time to settle itself down. Lime, wet bread, wheat and flowers. More hop flavor than bitterness, although the bitterness does come out more when it warms.
Medium-full bodied, I've got a couple of bottles in the cellar it will be interesting to see how the compare to the fresh draft over time.

Photo of TripelJ
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Stone Vertical Epic 04.04.04

Poured from a simple, yet classy silk-screened 650ml bomber. Hazy apricot, peppered with particles, happily floating around in this thick golden goodness. The head recedes rather quickly with little lacing. The aroma is pretty potent. Grassy, hay, definitely Saison-like with heavy perfume in the background. This one definitely prickles the tongue with each sip--nice and crisp. Its upon the swallow that this beer makes its own path. The foreign perfumey spice makes its presence known in a smooth, dry finish. I didn't read the bottle until I encountered this unfamiliar flavor and aroma. Apparently, this beer is spiced with Kaffir Lime Leaves from Indonesia--that is what I call unique. I can taste a little lime there, but it is perfumey and minty, unlike anything I've tasted in a beer before. The flavors mellow out nicely as the beer warms, but it was enjoyable in its agressive, chilled state at the beginning as well. Overall I enjoyed this beer for the unique experience that it was. I could pick this tripel out of others in blind taste test and that is a welcomed respite from some of the belgian brewed tripels. Nice job Stone.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous pale orange coloration, slight haze, under a firm cap of creamy froth. Nose is smoothly citric, just-so spicy, crammed with yeast, a fresh-cracked new loaf of lemon bread, right from the oven. Herbal and even a touch minty, with fruit aplenty stirring about, this is a complex and abundantly pleasant aroma. Has the character of a wit, mixed with a saison, wrapped in the guise of a tripel.
Masterful mouthfeel, commands the palate at once, spills pleasure all along the senses, with a nearly sharp citric twang, then cool and mellow fading out. Rings in again with each new encounter on the tongue, oozes enchantment, drips with delight. Body is medium, finish long and fruit-astic, with the alcohol content, average for the style, never stinging or standing at attention.
That said, it's my kind of tripel all right, exquisite, and tasty to say the least. Another class act from Stone, and I'm doubly glad I have another to sit still for the journey to 2012!
Actually, I ought to procure another pallet-ful, I'm liking this so much!
Cheers to the one called the Bum, for helping a Brother out!

Photo of SeanChouffe
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a transparent golden/orange color with a fine white head and light fine carbonation. Head retention is low and the lace is fine and sticky. Aroma is subtle but deep; fruity esters, malt a slightly grassy background with a hint of those lime leaves. Palate is full bodied with a light (syrupy) sweet start and a biting, slightly tart, finish. Flavor has an interesting contrast of sweet and lingering bitter finish.
Interesting but does not display much of the complex characteristics I had encountered the first time I had this beer closer to its bottling.

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had to tap into this one to compare to the 03.03.03. A very solid performer with a nice 2 finger head over a cloudy golden body. The beer has a lovely fruiy nose that follows in the flavor. The flavor is quite fruiy with a lovely pulp sense. The body is solid and full with nice carbonation for the finish. Drinkable ale despite the ABV. Glad I tapped one early.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I couldn't wait any longer to try this one. The beer pours a cloudy golden yellow with a finger and a half of nice creamy head. The nose is full of sweet fruity tones, something I'm not used to in a Stone beer. Well, the flavor is pretty awesome if you ask me. The initial flavor is a blast of sweet hop, but it finishes with a hefe banana cream essence. I can taste just a hint of the lime leaf used as well, but it is a bit of an afterthought. I think the balance is just great in this beer. The beer is nicely thick and creamy. Very nice! The more I drink this beer, the more of it I want. I'm glad I found a shop in town that carres it still. I think a few more of these will have to come home with me soon.

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours an appealing crisp amber colour with loas of carbonation, which creeps to the soapy head atop the glass. the smell is a bold mixture of banana, spice, yeast and some malt. it's a touch earthy as well. good stuff. the flavour is much like the smell, being a balanced blend of fruitiness and spice, thoug ha bit more citrus based than the smell and having a more solid bread flavour at the finish. alcohol is noticeable yet not intrusive. carbonation levels are nice and high and spot on for the style. this one is easy drinking (much easier than i expected) and is a nice representation of the style, especially so as an american version of it.

Photo of BierReise
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy gold with little head. Esthery aroma, sugary and notes of oak. Body is tripel like with a sharp carbonation. Flavor shows a bit of alcohol along with suagr and light fruit notes. Finishes slightly bitter. Similar to a Belgian Tripel. An ok brew.

Photo of FormatKid
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh yeah, I’m really interested to see Stone’s interpretation on a Belgian Tripel when it is so far from their standard offerings. I have faith in them though. Presentation is 22oz bomber with horizontal labeling.

I poured this one out into my La Trappe goblet. The body is a honeyed light golden color. A nice head rolls up but quickly dissipates into next to nothing. A single small stream of carbonation streams to the top from the middle of the goblet.

The smell is right on par with other examples I’ve experienced of the style. Big musty and doughy yeast presence. Sweet banana and peppery alcohol bite in the nose. Maybe, just maybe I’m picking up on that lime leaf that’s proudly advertised on the bottle.

The taste correlates with the smell almost 100%. Maybe a little thinner than I’m used to with a tripel in mouthfeel though. I was hoping it would be a little more creamy. Doughy rye bread taste throughout. Musty yeast becomes apparent in the middle. In the finish I can definitely pick up the pungent, tart, green lime leaf flavors. Zig-zags of earthen hop bitterness become apparent in the finish as well. Really delicious.

Besides the mouthfeel being a tad on the thin side I think this was an excellent representation of a Belgian Tripel. Now I just have to figure out how to get another bottle of this.

Thanks John!

Photo of Dogbrick
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a rich yellowish-gold color with a medium thick white head and fair lacing. The aroma is very kinetic - spice, yeast, banana and hops abound. Medium-bodied, with a flavor reminiscent of both a Belgian and a strong Hefe. Citrus, spice, hops and bananas all vie for attention. There is almost too much going on in the flavor. Spicy alcohol and sweet fruit and yeast in the finish. I liked this one substancially more than the 03.03.03, but I think it would improve a bit with more age.

Photo of kmo1030
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8/31/04: bright orangy amber with a thick white head. the smell has the banana lemony citrus and clove of a belgian tripel, but there is also some sweet orange and hints of chocolate in there as well, giving it nice complexity. the taste is really pretty interesting, there is a lot of bannana presence with the clove and lemon flavors showing up too. then it i gets unique... i think i taste the lime mentioned on the label (though it may just be the power of suggestion). the is a distinct trace of cocoa, as well as some light orange flavors just like i detected in the smell. a little bit like those chocolate oranges you get around christmas, except very subdued. there is a slight acidic sort of tomato flavor that appears too. the taste doesn't really deliver like 03 did. I need MORE. the mouthfeel is fairly full bodied and smooth with pretty delicate carbonation. surprisingly pretty dry or something like it.
this is a very intersting tripel. i'd like to see a little more sweetness rather than tartness develop as this ages. i'd also liek the flavors be a little more pronounced. as mentioned in previous reviews this seems like it will age nicely, but is sort of unfinished as of right now. i'm gonna let my other bottle sit unitl april and see what happens.

Photo of Southernbrew
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of talk about limes on the bottle as well as Belgian yeast, interested to see how this tastes.

Light orange with a minimal head.

I sure smell that lime along with banana and clove hefeweizen-like aromas. There's a light "Belgian" aroma too.

Medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation. That lime really shows up carrying a lot of bitterness. This tastes like a strong hefeweizen more than a tripel to me, with all the banana/clove/spice flavors. Definitely Belgian flavors, but the biscuit flavors and lime alter the taste. Very biting lime flavor in the finish.

A good beer, actually fairly refreshing. I question how well this would hold up for 8 years.

A big thanks to Rajendra82 for the trade!

Photo of SheepNutz
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a medium gold color with two fingers of fluffy white head. There is a bit of lacing left on the glass. The smell is malty and sweet, with lots of fruit. White grapes, apple, and pear are all in there. Just a hint of yeast character and alcohol too. The taste is also sweet and fruity. More of the white grape and yeast character comes through. A touch of citrus and spice there on the finish as well. Not a bit of alcohol in sight. The mouthfeel is thick and full-bodied, yet smooth. The drinkability is really great, you'd never know this was 8.5% abv. Another good one from the guys and gals at Stone.

Photo of soper2000
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a golden/orangish color with a minimum head into my Gulden Draak goblet. Aroma had notes of grass and citrus reminding me of a hefe. Taste was mildly citric with some pleasant notes of yeast and bannana rounding out the palate. Very different from the tripels i've previously had. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. Drinakability is decent, alcohol isn't very evident, but the flavor is kind of tiring. A very solid and different brew from Stone.

Photo of CharlesRiver
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my second offering from the Veritcal Epic. 1 pt. 6 oz bottle that reads 04.04.04. Cool bottle, cool name. Beer pours out a glowing orange with a small head that seems to last.

The smell is grainy and grassy. With sweet and small citrus coming through. Something a bit smokey? comes through as well. The taste is much better than the smell. Perfectly carbonated.

Unlike any triple that I have ever had. Another "epic" that I will cellar to see how it turns out.

Photo of beertaster13
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange/gold with white froth head that is great to the eye then foils down to a thin lining. Lacing is average. The smell is complex and unique, a spice, caramel and banana fruit upfront and dry oaked aged wheat to the end. The taste is of banana and cinnamon spices, a hint of pine from the hops, slight citrus taste as well, a little wheat grain detected, slight scotch hints, oaked aged, unique and good.

Photo of BeerBuilder
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours yellow-orange in color and forms a white head. The aroma is yeasty, with a clove and banna aroma, kinda like a hefe. It is somewhat herbal as well. The flavor is very unique. It has a spicy, fruity, yeastiness, also candy like with a drying finish. It is relatively light in body compared to its strength. A very unique/unusual brew. Thanks stubob.

Sampled 5/10/04

Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22ozer bottle from Austin Liquors, Shrewsbury, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" off-white head over the straw/amber hued brew. Laces okay. Sweet aroma is dominant. Taste is initially of wheat, then hands the baton to the sweetness and a bit of banana flavor as well. Mouthfeel is okay, the sweetness takes a bit of a step back as the brew warms, and drinkability is okay as well, more for interesting flavors rather than sessionability.

Photo of arizcards
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at AJ's recently. If it is Stone, one must try it.

This golden orange beer is clouded by it's unfiltered Belgian yeast presenting a very interesting display. It initially poured a nice head leaving a nice lacing. Nose is wonderful, of sweet fruits but noticably having banana overtones. Taste is smooth, not the usual bite of the wonderful Stone hops, but of the wonderful Belgian yeast surrounded by a beautiful medly of malts, hops, and hints of spices and fruits. Mouthfeel is very good, quite lively but smooth. Overall drinkability is near perfect. I would be interested to try one a year from now!

Photo of Bierguy5
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange/straw color, with a thick white foamy head. The head disappeared rather quickly, leaving a small amount of lace on the glass. Smells similar to a wheat beer, in that there is a strong banana note. Also a hint of citrus, and possibly a small amount of spice. Taste is slightly tart, with a slight citrus note. Somewhat dry and yeasty in the finish. Very smooth, and could use more carbonation for this style. Overall, an interseting beer. Whe I think Stone, I think of big, hoppy beers, and this one is not hoppy, or bitter at all. Still, I think this was a good idea by Stone, and it should age nicely. The alcohol presence is there, yet it is pretty drinkable. Seems like a saison on steroids.

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 315 ratings.