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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

313 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 313
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 99
Gots: 49 | FT: 4
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
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Ratings: 313 | Reviews: 217 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UltimateLivewire
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of malfunxion
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of beerpadawan
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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 bradfordjohnson
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of donnebaby
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Lawnboy33
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of kingmaker
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Finally getting around to these beers for my birthday. 04 s now ten years old! I used a tulip glass.

A: Not much sediment at the bottom of the glass. It pours a golden amber/ copper color, pretty clear. A good finger of head appears and steadily fades leaving the thinnest of a ring of bubbles around the glass

S: A rich peppery Belgian smell rises up with a good deal of alcohol behind it. The alcohol begins to dominate as it warms.

T: The Belgian yeasts are heavy hitters up front. Some bananas and citrus towards the end and it ends on a nice rich malt. A little lime comes as it warms.

M: Smooth, smooth, smooth. Amazing carbonation for the age

O: I'm glad I was able to cellar this properly. It was interesting balance (or competitive evolution) of the saison and hefeweizen flavors. I was really impressed with the beer especially since I had no idea what to expect from this when I opened it.

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

Huge slightly off white sticky head that settles to a tightly packed cover. Light golden orange with plenty of fizzle and carbonated bubbles rising.

In accordance with the bottle print: Phenolic bananas and plenty of clove aromatic yeasty scents arising. While warming up and after a swirling in my trusty Flying Fish tulip, more of the same.

Bold chewy front of Saison-like spice taste. At first, not a discernible grip on much else . Aftertaste is bitter ripe banana & Sweet-tart candy sweet. Dry deep cloves and herb spices of nutmeg. As this slowly warms, the awl-kee-hawl esters rise to the nose and to the flavor. [Label lingo: Umalted Wheat , Kaffir Lime Leaf]

Second serving surmising pour pablum & prate: Also, the final pour had more of the lime & leaf tones than the first pour. Less carbonation and smaller head, perhaps due to settling of particles and awl-kee-hawl.

Plenty of plush tight packed fizzle, and chewy doughy bread.

Last swigs: Full on fours folks. To compare with a local style, STOUDTS Saison can be a bitter close contender for a flavor like this. STONE E4 weighs in at $70 for a case of 12 double-deuce bottles via Beeryard. STOUDTS is less than half of that. This is going to be a nail biter when it matures year by year. STONE is the Cadillac of craft, so the hype must be overlooked. Quite good, even putting the STONE namesake off to the side.

Beer is good. Happy beering and cellering!

Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of DRTBrewster
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of t0rin0
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.

Photo of Reagan1984
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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

Pours a hazy peach color. Medium sized off white head. Smells of sweet malt, bananas and juicy yellow stone fruits. A hint of clove and that tangy belgian yeast. Nice mixture of aromas, like a cross between a Belgian and a Hefeweizen. Apparently this is what they were shooting for, and they acheived it nicely.
The taste at the start and middle mimiced the great smells. There was an almost bubblegum like hint as well. Unfortunately a raw bitterness showed up mid finish and threw it all out of balance. The lime showed up at the end but more in a bitter zest way, than in a clean citrusy way.
Light bodied with a rich tangy mouthfeel and lots of carbonation.
The harsh bitterness hurt the drinkibility for me.
This tasted young and raw. I like the idea behind it and it should mature into a dynamite beer.

Photo of snpub540
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

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

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

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

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Spoils of Charlottesville Run, 4.30.04.

22 oz. bomber

Golden in color with a large, foamy white head after a semi-aggressive pour. A strong aroma of yeast and citrus fruit sweetness.

This is a very interesting beer. The dominant flavor is definitely the banana esters, but they take on a new character in the absence of the strong, wheaty backbone of hefes that I usually associate themn with. The lime leaf adds an almost sour crispness, like biting into a lime. There's also something almost medicinal about that's a little strange, but I like it--maybe not as much as I would have predicted I would, but I like it nonetheless.

Overall, the beer does seem a bit "too fresh." I can't wait to see how it ages if I get the chance--with a little mellowing on the lime and bananas, this could be awesome.

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opted today (27DEC08) to quaff my second (and last) bottle of 04.04.04. Still shines with a lovely, clear golden hue. Fine bubbles stream steadily topside, towards a miniscule layer of white bubbles, most of which cling to the rim, lacing up the sides. Lime is still present in the aroma, which also has a subtle, earthy, horse-blanket quality to it. Mouthfeel is still a fairly smooth feel, and medium bodied.

Light, bready, malty sweetness lands softly on the palate, with a smidge of limey citrus following. Faint banana lurks in the background, and there is still a smidge of spiciness present. The finish is crisp and dry. Still a decent, tasty Epic offering, though I don't think that 4+ years of aging have done anything to make this a better bier. And, I wouldn't expect another 4 years to help. If I were rating this now, I'd likely rate it the same is on 2004.

Prosit!!

*** *** ***

I finally found some VE04 - only a month late (03MAY04), but nbd....

Pours an attractive, bright golden color, and is clear throughout (at this point). Head is a 1/4" layer of fine, white bubbles at the start, fading to a thin layer fairly soon after the pour. A healthy amount of bubbling congregates around the rim, with a nice lacework pattern left behind. The nose is wheaty, like a Hefe-, and it has a distinct fruity tang, which must be the lime noted in the recipe. I also get a bit of a yeasty, somewhat spicy character typical to Tripels. Body was a good, solid medium, and it was relatively smooth on the tongue, especially considering the bier has a steady stream of carbonation rising up within. I expected more roughness, but it went down nicely.

It has a slight crackery malt taste, with a wheaty dryness. I do pick up the lime in the flavor as well, melding with other tropical fruit notes. VE04 finishes dry on the palate, with a subtle fruit essence and peppery character lingering somewhat. The 8.5% abv seems well cloaked, as I don't really pick up on it at all. I find this to be a good bier, a solid bier, yet not one (at this point, anyhow) that knocks my socks off or overly wows me.

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

709

Photo of dagubna
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of neonbrown82
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

9/19/09: Instead of going to GABF this year, we're having our own craft beer weekend at the beach. Thus I'm breaking out an '04 VE for the first time in a few years to see how it's changed. And changed it has. Color remains the same golden, with a significant amount of suspended yeast floating throughout. Spiciness of the Belgian yeast still comes though in the aroma, as do soft floral notes, alcohol and a lot of vanilla. This vanilla flavor is also present in the flavor. The lime has faded to be nearly undetectable. Still very good carbonation upon first pour with a good head, but quickly fades to lace. Very smooth on the mouthfeel. I think I liked a fresh sample better and this may be on its way down, however still very tasty and very drinkable. No change to my original ratings.

4/15/04: Ah, a fresh '04. Typical tripel golden color with a moderate fluffy white head. Sweet malty and yeasty aroma, with notes of banana and clove. Still nothing out of the ordinary. Flavor of citrus and spice come out, with just a faint hint of what tastes like those lime flavored Tostitos in the very end of the finish. The after-after taste, if you will. I guess that's the wee lime leaf. Alcohol is easily detectable in the flavor but certainly not overdone or taking away from the other flavors. You'll know it's there though. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a surprising amount of low carbonation, considering it is so young. This will be interesting to age, and I look forward to seeing how the other bottles I have come out over the years. More extensive reviewing to follow.

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 313 ratings.