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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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

297 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 297
Reviews: 213
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%


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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 297 | Reviews: 213 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large capped bottle, poured into a goblet.

Glowing golden in color, would be spectacular if it had a little bit more head; the minimal off-white collar produced is a bit disappointing.
Sweetish aroma, honey, tropical fruits, minimal yeastiness.
Nearly full bodied, the flavor is predominantly sweet; honey is one of the predominant notes, along with sweet bread, plums, sweet apples. It manages to not be overly sweet, somehow - perhaps due to the delicate spiciness and citric notes.
It is amazing this beer lasted this long, as based on prior reviews I thought this would be really bad by now. It seems to be improving, amazingly, but unfortunately, this one was my only bottle - none had earlier, none to be had later.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 00:56:21 | More by brdc
Photo of mrmanning
mrmanning

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Blankboy for being generous enough to send this my way. Pours a slight hazed orange with a creamy one finger froth, that recedes and leaves minute lace. Aromas are a blast of pineapples, yeasty esters, mint sprigs, banana. and malts. Sweet fruity mint flavours are nice. Lots of plum, pineapple, yeasty with white bread. Sugared citrus fruit finish. A good example, glad I drank it now, as I don't see it lasting too much longer. Thanks for the opportunity Paul!

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2010 00:10:11 | More by mrmanning
Photo of cjever19
cjever19

California

4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

My Uncle pulled out a treat from his cellar for Thanksgiving. He bought this new and had held on to it for 5 or so years. This review is from memory. Drank with 4 others out of

A- Light, amber with orange tint. Didn't get a big enough pour to get a nice head, but did leave a nice lace in my glass.
S- Didn't get much in the nose on this one.
T- HONEY and bananas, nicely balanced though. Not overly sweet Didn't taste the lime at all.
M- Very crisp and refreshing.
D- Amazing, would have loved to have some more of these.

Hopefully he bought a few and will pull another out in a few years. Aging nicely but definitely great now.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2009 04:24:38 | More by cjever19
Photo of PatronWizard
PatronWizard

California

2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

See 06.06.06 review for background ...

Poured a golden bubbly with small spotty lacing. Looks good enough.

Smells of peaches with slight spice. Not bad. Or good.

Taste isn't very impressive. Peaches and car freshener is what I get.

Still has carbonation. What can I say? I bought these puppies for a mint and expected to be blown away. They were all "just" good beer. Nothing extraordinary.

Overall: wish I had the money instead

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2009 19:08:34 | More by PatronWizard
Photo of OlieIPA
OlieIPA

California

3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally...the last Belgian of the night...

A; Poured just like the 07' and 08' VE....golden with decent head with minimal lacing.

S: Read my 08' review...less hoppy...seriously.

T: An almost vanilla like sweetness to it...but very light; some pale ale qualities.

M: Normal...nothing special. Good carbonation for a 5-year old beer.

D: Good beer...that's it.

Overall: Try it...but get the 08' if you want to save money. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 05:28:15 | More by OlieIPA
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber courtesy of sunnydlyte23 poured into a snifter.

Pours a bright, clear golden amber with a soapy yellowish-white head that recedes to a small cap and leaves a bit of lacing.

The aroma is extremely sweet with honey and some sweet citrus aromas, maybe oranges. There is a spiciness in the nose as well but the sweetness of the phenols really comes out as it warms, bananas especially.

The taste has the same semi-hefe characteristics of sweet bananas and some clove-like spices. But there is a much thicker sweetness from the honey and the Belgian yeast backbone is definitely there as well. Very complex taste.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of things with a little bit of soft carbonation. The palate gets sticky with the honey which builds up after each sip.

I really enjoyed this one and it has held up extremely well over 5 years, much better than the 03 I had a few months ago. Very unique and highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2009 01:27:44 | More by gford217
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had in March 2009, days short of the five-year mark of the bottle. First impression: It can't be a hefe, but it strongly smells and tastes like a hefe, with orange and a unique kick-in of lime taste. Marvelous one-of-a-kind. Not lasting head, lighter colour.Above average mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2009 02:37:11 | More by Sammy
Photo of snpub540
snpub540

California

4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Held out from opening this one for as long as I could...

Poured an orange color, that turned more of an amber when held up to light. Mostly clear with a slight amount of haze. Small white head that fizzled into tiny bubbles on the edge.

Smell was fruity and spicy. Orange and clove are present in my first whiff and I detected some earthiness, which I am guessing is the yeast.

Taste was complex. Some sips I had were bitter like sour apple, while others were more earthy. Dry finish and warming alcohol taste as it goes down.

Mouthfeel felt kind of flat, but I'm guessing thats because of the almost 5 years in the bottle. Very good beer though and I believe it stood up well for its time in the bottle... I'll have to see how it tastes in 2012!

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2009 07:42:37 | More by snpub540
Photo of abfraser
abfraser

California

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

An exceptional beer tasting evening with joeyschlitz and waltonc included a bottle of 2004 through 2008. Wasn't prescient enough to save the 2002 or 2003, but still ended up great

A: Orange, murky, yeasty

S: Honey, butterscotch, faint lime

T: Candi sugar, caramel malt, wheat, honey

M: Mouth was a little flat--made me wonder if this one was going to hold up for the 2012 grand vertical

D: Smooth and easy drinking; no complaints

This one ranked 3rd out 5 for me; 2005, 2007 and 2006 were better

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2008 03:36:50 | More by abfraser
Photo of waltonc
waltonc

Colorado

4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this with joeyschlitz and abraser last night, thanks to ab's generosity, as part of the Vertical Epic tasting of 2004 through 2008.

A: Hazy golden color.

S and T: You definitely get a little of the lime, lots of honey, and some bread/yeast. Honey becomes more pronounced as this warms up.

M: Medium body and carbonation.

D: Not overwhelming in any direction, so pretty drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2008 00:36:34 | More by waltonc
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When this was released, I was only able to get one bottle. So I have never tried this beer until now. And thanks to a trade about a year ago, I got another bottle. I THINK it was from AdamB84. Whoever it was... thanks again!

So what the heck, I've been looking for something interesting to drink, so I figured why not, I've still got one left to sit on until 2012. This should be interesting now that this one has 4+ years under it's belt. Here goes...

Cap pops off with a pretty good hiss. Aromas are very strong even with the bottle sitting a couple of feet from me, and I haven't even poured it yet.

Beer pours a bright gold color, with a slight haze, and a nice head.

Aromas are strong, and quite unique. A bit sour, citrus like, yeasty, spicy, cloves, and a touch of honey.

Flavors are complex, but not at all overpowering. Lots of subtle flavors in this one. Lots of mellow spices, cloves, yeast, and a touch of lime, along with some sweet honey like malt notes. The finish is crisp and tangy.

Mouthfeel is good. The carbonation is still going strong, and the feel is full and thick in the mouth.

Drinkability is top notch. A very flavorful beer, that isn't too high on the alcohol. A very pleasant sipper, I will really enjoy the rest of this bottle.

This beer seems to be holding up just fine. When I tasted the 03 last year, it felt like it might be peaking, but this one seems to have legs, and can sit quite a bit longer.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2008 19:02:43 | More by flexabull
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

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

Another one of the many beers I tried on tap at stones winter storm. This is way better than what I made using the recipe online, but then mine is only a couple months old so who knows.

It poured a very nice golden color that was mildly hazy. There was some head and for a belgian beer it had some retention to it. The foam was basically pure white and eventually settled to a small ring around the edge of the glass.

The aroma was of aged tripel and aside from the touch of lime in the aroma it looked and smelled similar to the sawyers tripel. It makes me wonder if they don't use the american pale malt as the base for all their lighter colored beers. There was the slightest hint of banana fruitiness but it was ever so subtle.

The taste was very nice. It had some good sweetness from the malt and some strange spiciness from the yeast and there was a little zest from the lime. I guess the lime would have been stronger when the beer was young but it seems like a real nice balance.

A pretty enjoyable beer overall. It was kind of interesting having all these vertical epics sitting in front of me at the bar. I see how much they sell for on ebay and paying a couple bucks for each 8 oz serving is fine with me.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2008 23:30:58 | More by t0rin0
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

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

22 ounce bottle from Naja's Place for sixteen dollars last night

Poured into a pint glass with a cloudy golden color, similiar to a wheat beer with a foamy head

Smell was filled with bananas and citrus

Taste was very nice and smooth, had a hint of lime and ginger, more like a Belgian than anything

Could drink a lot of these and unfortunately I drank my bomber way too fast and wanted more

This one will probably be even better after it sits a while

Amazing how good these beers taste three and half years after they were bottled

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2007 16:28:09 | More by Floydster
Photo of orfeu
orfeu

New Mexico

3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I saw a recent thread about the Vertical Epic series in which a few posters indicated that this one had either passed its peak or was right about there, never to get any better. I only managed to grab one bottle when a few of these were still floating around back in 2005 anyway, so I figure I might as well open it up and give it a try...

Well chilled, poured into an AleSmith tulip, this over three-year-old golden Belgian ale is indeed rather gold in color -- a hazy peach hue, with a substantial cap of slightly yellowing, dense white froth sitting on top, fluffy and creamy at the same time. The head has a noticeable longevity and sticky, clumpy lacing. Sticky-sweet fruits in the aroma: overripe apricots and fermenting muskmelon rinds. Slight banana scent along with white peppercorns and a musty-earthy coriander character. Mashed banana and peach syrup thickness on the palate. Sharp carbonation up front and through the middle of the sip. Very difficult-to-identify spice melange emerges rather strongly after the fruity beginning: ground pepper, a bit of cilantro leaf. A bit of doughy wheatiness in the taste, too. I only get the merest hint of the Kaffir lime leaf flavor, right before a jarring mineral finish that smacks of the start of oxidization. Interestingly fruity and tart burps in my sinuses, though. Much as with the latest VE (07.07.07), this failed to impress me. I haven't tried the bottles of 05.05.05 and 06.06.06 I've got sitting in my cellar yet, and perhaps it's the case that Stone does dark Belgian ales better than the pale counterparts. I suppose this could pass through the next five years and meld into something interesting, but I have serious doubts about the staying power of 04.04.04. Anyway, I'm glad I tried it now.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2007 01:51:16 | More by orfeu
Photo of jeffjfindley
jeffjfindley

California

4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a find. More than 3 years after it's release this was astoundingly good. Peachy orange, and cloudy. Head not great, but decent. What did stick around stuck around for the duration, and left some nice sticky lacing. Smell is fresh, and crisp with big fruit notes, notably peach. The taste was frickin' awesome, alive with Thai spice, but matched with a thick wheaty malt presence. After 3 years the hops are still prevelant, and leave their mark at the finish along with a blast of lemongrass. Mouthfeel manages to be rich, and crispily refreshing at once. It doesn't get much better than this, if you like Thai food. If you like Thai, and kick ass witbier, you'll devour this.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2007 22:52:03 | More by jeffjfindley
Photo of Westsidethreat
Westsidethreat

California

4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Stone Winter Storm

A: Very light, golden straw color with just a touch of haze. Looks a lot like a wit really. Body is very still with no action what so ever, made three or four bubbles raising to the surface. Head is very small, just a miniscule white ring around the glass.

S: Banana, mango, cloves and white peach

T: Begins tropical; condensed mango and guava juice towards the center back of the tongue. Flavors come forward with a white peach, apricot and honey. Finishes extremely honey like, almost like a well crafted mead.

M: Medium body but very juicy. Low carbonation makes it silky.

D: This beer would be superb on a hot day. This beer embodies sunshine itself. Its better now than it was the day it came out.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2006 03:14:43 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle says a that it's saison-like with wheat. Hell yeah. I'm glad I could get my mits on this.

Appearance- Pours a nice fizzy head amongst the honey and almost opaque cantaloupe hue. The color is nice since its deep, but you can still see its bubbles. Very little lacing.

Smell- The lime mentioned on the bottle seems to become present in the nose only when the beer warms up. Could smell some wheaty godness as well and sweetened, herbal malts too.

Taste- Hints of spicey chammomile barce the tounge with hints of citrus and cyrstallized sugar malts. The lime hits a bit harder a it warms, but it always stays muted. I like that about this beer. It has a unique element, but it doesn't overwhelm.

Mouthfeel- Astringet, only a little. But cleaan and sweet. I like that citrusy, beery sweetness. Is best when sipped indeed.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2006 06:48:14 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of HellsBELLS24
HellsBELLS24

Michigan

2.45/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This edition of the vertical epic was not so impressive.

Upon pouring, the scent from the beer was rather pungent. I smelt like an old rotten pile of wheat. The color poured a nice copper with a white head. Again, I was still taken aback by the smell. As I tasted the brew it was rather hard to finish my 11 ounce portion. It had the feel of a dilute old wheat beer. I recommend this beer to keep for the series however I hope it gets better with age. (I find that hard to believe)

I do love most of the Stone beers, just not this one

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2006 20:25:38 | More by HellsBELLS24
Photo of dherling
dherling

New Jersey

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

Copper golden color with a small off white head that dissapears quickly leaving a little lacing. Lots of malt in the nose, only surpassed by the citrusy hops. In the taste I get butterscotch, strawberry, kiwi, cantaloupe, spice. Finishes big, with great hops bitterness.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2006 16:24:58 | More by dherling
Photo of Sixpoint
Sixpoint

New York

4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taken from notes from my Treo. Had this on-tap at the Belgian Beer Fest '06.

Outstanding golden hue with wisps of cotton lacing. Candied aroma with spice and subtle hints of hops.

Dry, spicy flavor with slight warming finish. Tickling peppery tingle in the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied and pretty damn quaffable. Definitely epic.

Serving type: on-tap

10-29-2006 12:15:27 | More by Sixpoint
Photo of neenerzig
neenerzig

Ohio

4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a snifter glass.

This beer pours a medium golden color with a sort of copper/orangish hue. Has a very nice foamy looking white head that is about a finger thick after settling. Very nice lacing too and also the best head retention I have seen in any beer in quite awhile. Aromas of malt, yeast, fruit (such as lime and perhaps some apple), spices (perhaps a hint of cinnamon and a bit of citrus, among others), and a slight touch of hops fill the nostrils upon taking some whiffs. Sweet flavors of malt, a dash of honey, lime and apple, citrus, cinnamon, a bit of hops, and the slightestes taste of alcohol are all present here. Leaves a slightly dry aftertaste. The taste of alcohol is well masked and the flavors certainly balance one another quite nicely indeed. The mouthfeel is smooth and crispy. Moderate carbonation. Easy to drink, especially with the somewhat high ABV content. Thanks to quasimoto for letting me know where I could find this for a good price. Stone does it again! I am glad I have a few more bottles of this for aging and possibly a trade or two.

Eric

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2006 03:35:34 | More by neenerzig
Photo of quasimoto
quasimoto

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - It is a deep golden/ light amber color with a nice off white head, A nice stream of carbination is constantly rising from the center. Very pretty.

S - Hoppy.. and what I believe to be cotton candy. Coconut,apple, pineapple, some spices and unfortunatly a little bit of alcohol & band aid in there .

T - The hops are so damn mellow that they blend perfectly with the rest of this brew. The rest being some slight caramel, and nutty malts. Little bit of alcohol.

M - The mouthfeel is nice ands smooth, cool but warmed by the alcohol.

D - This is one hell of a year for this.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2006 23:39:15 | More by quasimoto
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drinking Stone stuff always seems like an event, and the Vertical Epics even more so. Yeah, I'm psyched to open this 04.04.04.

There isn't much head on this despite a vigorous pour. But the beautiful clear sunburst orange/yellow color is quite nice. Aroma is springy and pleasant: a cool and sweet spice blend, everything so perfectly incorporated I'm having a hard time picking out exact references. Nice to have the yeast making an appearance. After 2+ years, it liiiives!

And no surprise, the flavor delivers some real nice stuff. The lime leaves used in brewing are obvious, delicious, and non-intrusive to the overall vibe. Belgian candy sugar and flowery spices are balanced with a light wheat earthiness. The spices are particularly airy, with nutmeg and white pepper coming to mind/tastebuds immediately.

A microscopically small hint of citrus acidity is found in the finish, and together with a super-light, buoyant mouthfeel, this isn't as heavy an offering as everything else I've had from Stone. Make no mistake, it's very very nice. I hope this bottle never ends...

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2006 21:56:52 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of scottoale
scottoale

California

4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this 04.04.04 edition at a lliquor store in East County this past week-end. Poured a medium amber-gold with 1/2 inch of white foamy head. Nice lacing and heaps of micro tiny carbonation bubbles, rising from the depths of my 20oz tulip.

Nice sturdy malt nose initially, that's quickly overtaken by sweet banana, bubblegum, corriander, lime, grassy hops and yeast. Smells very Belgian-like.

The taste has a bit more complexity than the smell reveals, especially as it warms a bit, then the alcohol becomes more evident and enhances the forementioned aromas. It really has some nice flavors at just over two years in the bottle, excellent carbonation also. It's hard for me too guess just how well it would age for six more years as suggested, but it's hard to believe it could get any better than it is today. Time will tell...

Good mouthfeel and pretty heavy body to this Triple, very sweet overall and rather potent. Of the first three years of the Vertical Epic Ale, I enjoyed this one the most.

If you can find it or are cellaring 04.04.04, now is a good time to give it a whirl...cheers!

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2006 21:08:34 | More by scottoale
Photo of SupaCelt
SupaCelt

Michigan

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

This beer poured out a sort of golden honey with maybe an orange cast to it. It formed a small tannish head after a vigorous pour. Some scant lace. The nose was sweet candy with a nice hoppy essence coming through. Noble like. Yeasty and fruity. Mild and pleasant. The taste was again sweet. Somewhat subdued in light of some other tripels that have slid down my alimentary canal. The hops actually showed up for a snappy dryness in the finish that cut the sugary sweet tones and really did a nice job of rounding out the flavours. The mouthfeel was light. Quite drinkable. This was not a very rambunctious selection. It had been laying around for a couple of years though. I would say it held up nicely. Enjoyable. A good find from my City Wide Liquors excursion in South Bend.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2006 07:01:10 | More by SupaCelt
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 297 ratings.