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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

308 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 308
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
Gots: 47 | 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:
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: 308 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

SixpointJMH, Sep 18, 2004
Photo of lou91
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured like a textbook triple with alcohol and sweet honey in the nose and a golden/orange glow with minimal head. Initial taste are also textbook with crisp clean flavors of Belgian yeast and sugar and a tart back of the tongue astringency. As it warms it showed greater depth of flavors and is a much better contender to last until 12/12/12 than the first two. As far as Kaffir lime leaves go – I know what they taste like and they were too faint to be noticeable. But this would be good with thai food with its sweetness and crisp clean tastes.

lou91, Apr 23, 2004
Photo of neonbrown82
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

neonbrown82, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of Viggo
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazy amber/gold, small white head forms, some nice lace. Smell is caramel, pine/floral, spices, vanilla, yeast and wheat. Taste is wheat, caramel, floral/citrus, and some yeast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Very nice, not sure of it as a tripel, but a damn tasty beer nonetheless. Thanks DrJay!

Viggo, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of beertaster13
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

beertaster13, Aug 19, 2004
Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Wolfsdenbrew, Jan 27, 2005
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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

BeerBuilder, Aug 06, 2004
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.

SheepNutz, Aug 31, 2004
Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with good head, bright orangy colour. Excellent aroma, jam packed with fruity notes, coriander and a bold Belgian yeast musk. Very strong wheat character, certainly an easy beer to get a grip on. Yeast really dominates (stronger still, considering it has aged 2 years) Some more subtle malt in the backbone. Exceptional flavour, long resonance, absolutely no alcohol. Mouthfeel great on the front end of the mouth. Not exactly how I like my wits/tripels/Belgian pale ales (or whatever!), I can see where others might find room to criticize. But I rather enjoy this yeast and the Belgian tang it leaves. Certainly not as refreshing as others in the style, to that I think we owe the big hops (ohh Stone, you and your hops!) But I think it works. Who knows what style this fits under - ah cool, they created something original. A tasty ale I was very grateful to try, wish I got to try fresh and hope I'll get to try again! Thanks Dr.Jay!

biegaman, Apr 16, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Gueuzedude, May 20, 2005
Photo of ZAP
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If I lived in California I would save one of these as directed...not when I only get one though..

Pours a chill hazed neon gold...a little white head...nose is sweet Belgian malts...sweet tropical fruits...a little whiff of alcohol...body is firm and carbonated...about perfect...

Flavors are nice...a spicy yeastiness and alcohol finish..begins with the sweet and tasty belgian maltiness....a little alcoholic on the finsh...a little time would have smoothed it out I'm sure...

This is a tasty quality brew but short of being an epic...

ZAP, Oct 27, 2004
Photo of chaz01
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Good sized (4-5 ounce) pour at a Stone Vertical Tasting Event sponsored by Belmont Party Supplies on 5/12/2010, served in a very cool Stone Vertical Epic tasting glass.

A: Bright clear deep golden color, Some foam oozes out the top of bottle as it's opened.

S: Minty lime aroma, reminds me of gin.

T: Floral and spicy, with mint leaves flavor.

M: Light bodied, low carbonation. Complex bittersweet aftertaste reminds me of drinking tea.

D: Beer if full of flavor and very unique. In reading Stones tasting notes, the minty leaf flavor that dominates is in reality the Kaffir lime leaf, which pleasantly dominates the taste. Perhaps a bit thin, but otherwise very interesting beer.

chaz01, May 16, 2010
Photo of dherling
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.

dherling, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of cjever19
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.

cjever19, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of clvand0
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a very bright golden color with a large head with good retention and it leaves nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is really strong with Belgian spices and sweet fruit. The flavor was sweet and very fruity. Lots of flavor. Spicy from the yeast. The body was medium and it's smooth to drink. I actually liked the 03.03.03 better, but this is still a great brew.

clvand0, Nov 12, 2004
Photo of Longstaff
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A pretty good example of a well made US belgian style that only needs a little adjustment to be a great one. I had to pour this one roughly just induce a little head, but it fell quickly. Aromas were wonderful and full of bubblegum and spicy alcohol from the Belgian yeast. Nice golden color. Cotton candy like flavors mix well with the cookie dough flavored malt. Somewhat complex already and I'm sure with a little more age, it would be even more so. The mouthfeel on this is perfect for the first few sips, but seems to loose too much carbonation at the end, leaving it feeling thin. I think a touch more carbonation will turn this from being pretty good to being outstanding. They should make this one a regular.

Longstaff, Apr 27, 2004
Photo of kaseydad
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had a few of these through the years...time to review today.

Pours a pretty clear amber/copper color with a nice sized off-white foamy head. Still carbonated nicely for being almost 10 years old. A few cloudys in the bottle where they shall stay. A touch of lacing.

The aroma consists of belgian yeast, banana, orange, apple and grape. Getting a large fruit forward whiff. Hefe style aroma.

The aroma is still very belgian yest forward. More subtle banana. Lime and slight lemon. Wheat. Good tangerine and orange flavors. A touch of bitterness on the swallow and yeasty finish.

The mouthfeel is well carbonated for the age. Proper cellaring folks!

Overall this is still holding up nicely. I was hoping for the best, but my expectations were exceeded. Sure it's not fresh, but I appreciate it for the longevity and changes that have occured. More fruit and belgian yeast are shining through. I tell ya...cellar these correctly and you have a treat on your hand. Albeit an older treat.

kaseydad, May 09, 2013
Photo of irishmoss
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a deep gold or a light brass in color, with a bright white head that quickly dissipated down to a ring and a few clouds. I have to comment on the amazingly clear appearance of this beer, crystal. The smell is sweet fruits and malt, somewhat yeasty. This has a little banana, clove, and spice undertones to the flavor, but there is a malt backbone to this. Also a slight bitterness, and I know that this is probably a psychological effect of reading the label, but I sense a little lime rind. Great mouthfeel, clean and easy to drink.
Great beer, and I’ll hang on to a couple to try down the line.

irishmoss, Jul 16, 2004
Photo of stewart124
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange.

Nose has tons of lime and citrus in general. Some farmhouse characters, hay possibly.

Taste is sweeter than I anticipated but delicious. Almost a candied sweetness. Thin but very drinkable. The kaffir lime comes through strong and obviously fruity, citrusy in general.

This is delicious. I could put back a few of these. Alas, is not available. So easy drink. There is little to no trace of alcohol and it's hard to believe that this is 8.5%.

stewart124, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

brentk56, May 05, 2005
Photo of cbl2
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:

Medium to light straw in color with a half inch of head. Fluid is crystal clear, and bursting with carbonation.

Smell:

Sweet candied malts with some strong spice scent as well (possibly the Keffir Lime).

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Very intriguing. Super smooth mouthfeel coupled with sweet malt characteristic, and some definite banana-hefeweizen flavors. High alcohol content is completely masked, and the lime flavor just peeks in.

03-03-03 is a tough act to follow, and this one doesn't quite live up to its predecessor. It is an excellent (albeit odd) beer however, and I can't wait to see how it ages.

cbl2, Jul 20, 2004
Photo of ommegangpbr
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

ommegangpbr, Jul 25, 2005
Photo of kmcnair
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing this one as sampled from a Chimay goblet out of a 22oz bomber.

This ale is a light golden to copper color and makes a thin off white head. Boquet is rather nice, light malty and hoppy and slightlysweet. Banana esters, coriander spice, hints of orange-lemon-lime citrus, nice even hop/malt balance. Has a sweetness to the finish. Body is medium to full and lightly warms the palate and throat as it goes down. Another fine brew from Stone, that is rather easy to drink.

kmcnair, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of woemad
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Re-taste on 7/9/08 - score changed to reflect
Cracked open my 2nd bottle tonight. Midway through it's suggested aging, this pours a dark honey color with a better head than I got with a bottle consumed in 2004. Some floaties can be seen, but not nearly as many as I thought there'd be after nearly four years of aging.

Both in the nose and in the taste, hops stick out more than I think they did when I last reviewed it, which is odd, as I'd think it would be the other way around. Also spices and a honey-ish maltiness are on hand in a fairly up-front way. Seems more boozy than I noted in my original review, with a definite warming alcohol sensation.

The body is a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps I hadn't had so many tripels when I first had this, but the mouthfeel now seems too heavy for the style.

Today I find this less drinkable than I did in 2004. The body and mouthfeel are too thick, and the booziness of this one makes me not want another one, which is fine, as I've only one left, and I'm going to try to sit on it for a few more years.

___

Dedicated to Dimebag Darrell and all the victims of senseless violence.

Bomber purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $6.96 (I've got two more stashed for aging).

Poured a honeyish gold color, with a minor white head that still managed to leave a fair amount of lace.

Smells quite tasty. The first thing that grabs the attention is the hefe-ish odors of earthy wheat and cloves. There is spicyness, but it's fairly subdued. There's also a honeyish, floral scent and a slight citrus aroma.

The taste is quite similar to the aromas mentioned above, except that the lime flavor (undoubtebly from the vaunted Kaffir Lime leaves) is much more distinctive. There's also a noticeable yeasty presence. This is like an Hefe on steroids.

A medium bodied beer, it's a little bit heavier than most wheat beers I've consumed, but nothing too thick, to be sure.

This is a damn tasty beer. Maybe a little too thick to be a great summer beer, but I bet it would go great with spicy food. I'm not a big Thai fan (peanut allergy) but I bet it would go great with Indian food, which is pretty much my favorite cuisine.

woemad, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of marburg
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Puffy, only somewhat sticky white head atop a browned golden body. Exotic nose consisting of mashed banana, creamsicle, citrus zest, and meringue. Surprisingly cohensive and floral. Perhaps a bit creamier than I'm used to in a tripel. Similarly, there's a creamy vanilla flavor to this -- fresh and a bit oaky -- with light bits of caramelized sugar in the background. Honey/sweet melon and tropical fruits. Dries out a bit with some yeasty spice and some flower petal. Remarkably heavy on the exotic flavors but nonetheless tasty. A solid Stone offering, but I'm wondering if this will really stand up for another 10 years or whatever it's supposed to do...

marburg, Nov 23, 2004
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.