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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

306 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 306
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
Gots: 48 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 306 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of orangesol
3/5  rDev -22.5%

orangesol, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of CelticAleMan
3/5  rDev -22.5%

CelticAleMan, Jan 17, 2013
Photo of tommyguz
3/5  rDev -22.5%

tommyguz, Aug 07, 2013
Photo of sweemzander
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a taster glass. Thanks to Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a murky golden orange color. Minimal white bubbles.

(S)- Kind of a hodge podge of dry resin, orange citrus, and an ever so earthy-like hint of lime.

(T)- Rather sweet in comparison to how dry the aroma was. Lots of honey and a sugary, almost candy-like orange and lime.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. Quite sweet with an interesting citrus flavor to it. A touch muddled though due to its age.

(O)- I think this one is showing its age too, though I did appreciate the kind of awkward orange and lime citrus this has taken on.

sweemzander, Mar 12, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle I got from KAME a long time ago. Served in a tulip.

A - White foam settles to a thin collar, wisps, and minimal lace. Hazed, dark apricot body.

S - Shockingly, the Kaffir lime leaf has held up, even after nine years. It doesn't really mix well with the stale oxidation, marmalade, and caramel flavors though. Not offensive, but a tad strange.

T - The taste isn't quite as distince, with more nebulous sweetness. Again, it's largely caramel, fruity oxidation, and perhaps a touch of lime.

M - Medium body, with less carbonation than the previous two years. Lightly sticky texture and finish, and again no obvious alcohol.

D - Very weird. If you like lime then this might still be somewhat palatable, but it's certainly not something I could drink in large quantities. Still, better than the 03.03.03 in my book.

MasterSki, Mar 06, 2013
Photo of Halcyondays
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a deep gold to orange with a small white head, some minor lace.

S: Kaffir lime, ethereal, interesting flowery character, hint of oxidation.

T: Lemon, grass, lime leaf. Somewhat bland, good tasting when I can find it, but a tired flavour.

M: Medium-bodied, very soft carbonation, a bit flabby.

O: Drinkable, but this has seen better days, nowhere near as good as the '05 was.

Halcyondays, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of nomad
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Gotta break out the goblet for this special beer... it fills the glass with a dull golden liquid with little carbonation continuing beyond the initial explosion. Head keeps decently with a delicate, thin type of lace typical of a tripel.

Smells of a great lime scent, fulfilling on the promise of Kaffier limes that the bottle extols. Accompanying is a pepper-like spiciness with a real live edge. Sweet bready malt is the backdrop to complete a fairly simple profile.

Taste for the first half of the bottle relies on a large body of clove and yeasty witbier-like flavors. In time it gives into notes of lime and a mild honey flavor extending through the middle. Not much bready, pale, or other malt to speak of, though the alcohol is hidden quite well. Hops are found only in the dry and short finish with pleasant and appropriate European hop accents. Not much to speak of when you put it all together.

In sum, a pretty normal tripel, far from the scions of the style. I hope one of these Stone Verticals gets more than interesting and becomes truly tasty in the next few years. I'm starting to not believe in their limited edition beers.

nomad, Jun 19, 2004
Photo of peabody
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lots of bubbles in this slightly yellow amber liquid that adorns the glass with a few white bubbles and lacing around the rim.
Smell is grassy banana and yeast with a few spices and the alcohol burn.
Taste is kinda syrupy with a very slight hop bitterness but very little. Not much spice shows up anymore.
Mouthfeel is very sticky at first then the bitterness washes most of the syrup away.
Overall this is another FAILED attempt from Stone. This one is well over it's prime. Had it 4 years ago and it was a lot better. It has went downhill since.

peabody, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of ThatsThatDude
3.25/5  rDev -16%

ThatsThatDude, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of Massbmx
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Massbmx, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Thorpe429, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of WanderingFool
3.25/5  rDev -16%

WanderingFool, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of mikeincharleston
3.25/5  rDev -16%

mikeincharleston, May 13, 2013
Photo of mschofield
3.25/5  rDev -16%
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.

mschofield, Oct 01, 2004
Photo of drabmuh
3.25/5  rDev -16%

drabmuh, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of imperialking
3.25/5  rDev -16%

imperialking, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of far333
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruddy chestnut color with a lumpy, foamy beige head that sinks fast, but leaves a fine cap across the top. Aroma is sweet, full of sweet pear, cinnamon, and fruit. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, low carbonation. Flavor is sweet and lightly yeasty, a little cloying for my tastes. Finish is interesting as honey, banana, and clove rise to the top, but a tinny aftertaste lingers. I expected much more.

far333, May 08, 2004
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I will defer to some of the more experienced reviewers below, since this is my #50 review- only 750 to go to catch up to EyeChartBrew!

Seriously, I decided to try this brew "fresh" because of the previous reviews- saving some for later. Pours a almost clear gold color that is ever so slightly cloudy, from a 22 oz. breown bottle. There is an immediate (but not terribly strong) belgian yeast aroma, with nice carbonation and a nice head. Head starts out moderate size and settles to a small white covering in a few minutes. Aroma is nice, with sugars and citrus (orange, sour lime?) and some banana.

Flavor is sharp, with wheat, citrus, banana, and lots of things I knew were there but could not identify. There were some hops bite, with an overall mustiness and earthiness from the yeast. Surprising lack of sweetness.

Overall I did not really care for it. Based on previous discussion, I guess it is from it being young, and will get better. But I guess I compare it to a Rochefort 10, which is great fresh and gets better from there. This one is ok fresh, and supposed to get better from there. Will it? Don't know.

Dukeofearl, Apr 15, 2004
Photo of TubaManJack
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - wow very little carbonation and no head from this draft pour. The body is a very hazy yellow body

Smell- Almost lactose sugar sweet with a little funk. There is a medium banana ripeness to it. Very strange and yet intreging.

Taste- somewhat like the nose. There is a bit of funk and ripeness that.
I have never encountered before. There is a bspa yeast element and then a wet mop of a mouthfeel. Kinda of a disappoint because I feel like there is something there.

TubaManJack, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of Gaisgeil
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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!

Gaisgeil, Mar 01, 2005
Photo of jrallen34
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap into a taster...Medium tan beer with a very low carbonation level, not much head, no lacing...A malty aroma of bread, pineapple, honey and a touch of hops. Sounds like it would be really enticing but its not strong or defined enough...The taste is super light, misses most of the aroma, light wheat, floral and a little honey.

Maybe its past its prime, maybe its just not great. Either way 6 years later don't waste much to get it.

jrallen34, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 18, 2005
Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the 'Most Arrogant Bar in America', Barley's Pizzeria & Taproom in Greenville, SC! Served from tap into a tulip. Poured golden yellow with a one finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Based on the style of this brew and the age, I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. I know that the 03.03.03 had changed quite a bit over time so I expected more of this with the 04.04.04. However I found that this one really hadn’t changed too much based on the style. This one wasn’t hugely complex, but did manage to stay quite well balanced though. Just wish that it would have taken it to another level though. Worth your time trying this one if you get the opportunity.

thagr81us, Jan 15, 2013
Photo of Goldorak
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Troubled pale orange, the head was pretty frail.

Smell: Lemon pepper at first, but then this strange aroma that I've never detected in a Beer before. It was hard to describe, soapy lavander is the best I can come up with. Maybe crushed szechuan pepper, but with an added perfume that made me think of that time I went to a Persian restaurant, the desserts were perfumed with rosewater and other flowers.

Taste: Matching the aroma, the flavors were like some strange concoction a holistic healer would make out of whatever weird herbs, magic powders and air freshener he had laying around his house (aka the Van down by the river). It had a taste of flowers and flour! It was quite complicated, and honestly, I can't even give you a verdict if I liked it or not. This truly is a case where giving this Beer a score is pointless for me, because the taste is something absolutely new to me and my brain is still processing it, trying to associate it with something and coming up with nada. I think at first my reaction wasn't too favorable (I would have given it a 3), but now a few days have past and I'd be willing to try it again, just to see how I would react to a second dose (I would have gone up to 4).

Goldorak, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of dtx00
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

dtx00, Dec 28, 2012
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 306 ratings.