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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
88
very good

217 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 217
Hads: 316
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 10.66%
Wants: 95
Gots: 55 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 217 | Hads: 316
Photo of womencantsail
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Gil for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a burnt orange color with some hints of gold and a finger's worth of white head.

S: The nose is quite sweet and surprisingly citrus heavy. A few more sniffs give off some vanilla, honey, and yeast esters (namely bananas).

T: A similar story on the palate. Sweet vanilla, orange honey, and banana along with some spicy esters and caramel malt. A touch of tropical fruit, too.

M: The body is on the light end of medium with a carbonation that seems to be a bit low too.

D: The low carbonation does not do much to quell the intense sweetness of this beer. Good flavors, but like drinking a sweet mead at times. (663 characters)

Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic was served from a 22 oz. bottle. In a Duvel tulip, the beer was an attractive and crystal clear deep coppery-golden, and was topped by a weak fine white head that quickly dissapated into a ring. The nose presented an intense hit of ripe plantain, sharp old banana, and coriander seed. A light mustiness and a touch of alcohol was observed when the beer approached room temperature. The taste followed the nose closely. Loud flavors of creamy banana and coriander gave way to a zippy orange-lime transition into a low key moderately bittered finish that left only limey traces coriander and creamed banana. The nose and flavors were robust and enjoyable, but lacked inspiration and dimensionality. Perhaps aging will bring out more character. The body and carbonation were quite good for the flavors. I really enjoyed the subdued sweetness level, making for a nicely drinkable strong ale. Overall, a robust but rather unexciting brew with an interesting plantain/banana twist... and it seems more like a Belgian strong pale than an Abbey Tripel. (1,073 characters)

Photo of jvajda
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light golden with a three finger head. Lots of yeast that sinks to the bottom of the glass.
Smell: Very malty with a hint of alcohol.
Taste: Very bitter with fruity tastes and alcohol finish. Surprisingly light flavor. Maybe aging will help this one ripen up.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy.
Drinkability: This one might get boring after a few days. (366 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a hazy golden with a strong carbonation with a white cream thin head.

S- Very clean light bread aroma with a hit of lime and some soft wheat notes.

T- This beer has a light wheat taste with a crisp lime leaf taste. There are some peppery notes with some bright citrus almost lemon notes. The alcohol is very gentle but has a nice warming

M- medium body with not a fizzy taste and no alcohol heat.

D- This has some nice triple qualities but the bitter lime taste is a little to overpowering. It might be much better after some aging. Definitely an interesting beer just not a great beer yet. (661 characters)

Photo of mntlover
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty pale golden color with a white head that falls quickly to a ring of foam. aroma is little light but sweet malt with fruit apples, bananas, and grapes come out didn't notice the lime in the nose but is in the taste. Taste is crisp tart with alcohol flavor coming thru lightly, on sweet malt backgroud. Second glass better after yeaties swirled in adds zestiness and spice to the mix. Spice and little bitter lime blend with hops for the finish. Mouthfeel is crisp and clean. Drinkability is not bad, I think this one would improve with a little cellar time. Not bad but not on top for the style. (609 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

040404, consumed 121312

appearance: served in my lost abbey teku glass - hazy straw orange body

smell: herbal, lime, citrus, flowers

taste: the kaffir lime leaf is very evident - honey, grass, straw, clove, light belgian yeast. Held up fairly well - these ancient VE beers are seeming to surpass my quite low expectations

mouthfeel: light, herbal

overall: interesting stuff - the lime leaf phase is so 2004 though (418 characters)

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into the Vertical Epic Glass.

First pour was careful so as not to disturb the yeast. It poured a very clear coppery gold with no retained head.

The smell was surprising, and included light minty and buttery qualities. Some swwetness is also present.

Very subdued peach is detected among the hop flavor. The taste is light with mild tannin.

The tannin is present on the feel, but other than that, it is clean and slightly warming. (441 characters)

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Seeing how I got a bit of a late jump on the whole Vertical Epic thing, missing out on the '02 and only scaring up a couple bottles of the '03, I decided not to miss the opportunity and bought up six 22oz bottles to tide me over. Then there where five...
Stone's take on a Belgian tripel poured the color of golden sunshine and had a plethora of fine carbonation working to briefly form a spritzy white head. The head hung around only a few minutes before dissolving to a thin ring and left only the barest of lace.
The nose had me thinking hefeweizen for a minute as the first aromas to register were those of bready malts, bananas, and cloves. As I inhaled some more, there were plenty of citrusy notes along with some coriander and a dash of pepper to the nose.
The taste was decidedly Belgian-esqe but was noticeably tweaked in comparison to those brewed in Belgium. To start, this tripel struck me as possessing quite a bit of hops, much more than in other tripels I've tried. The initial taste was of yeasty malt and some mild banana flavor. The sweetness rather quickly transitioned to a more spicy clove-and-coriander taste, followed up by a hearty orange-lemon-lime citrus pop. The problem I ran into was in the finish as it adopted a mild metallic tang. The feel was medium-bodied, initially somewhat creamy due to the tightly packed carbonation but also sporting a bit of a raw, harsh edge, with a drying finish.
Overall, this is a decent tripel, especially when I stop to consider its youth. Maybe with some time to mature, the rawness and slight metal tang will round off and fade. The five remaining bottles will be stowed away with a note saying "do not touch again 'til 04.04.05". (1,700 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Decent. This brew poured out a dark/orangey golden colour with a fluffy off-white head of foam. The beer was cloudy with a very noticeably hazy look to it. The aromas were very similar to what the label said they would be. This beer has the aromas of a clove-filled, banana/bubble gum-like german hefe, and some funky saison-like yeast aromas as well. There is also a distinctly citrus-like (lime?) aroma and a bit of a farmhouse hoppiness as well. The taste is yeasty up front with the clove flavors battling it out with the lime leaf flavors. The lime leaf is a bit rough on the palate, but it does lend an interesting complexity to this brew. Their is a big malty breadiness in the middle and than a huge kick of herbal hops ends the show. The mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and interesting, and the drinkability is decent. A good beer, but not one of Stones best. So far the VE beers have been good, but they have yet to "blow my mind". Perhaps the 02 was the best of the lot? Or perhaps these just need a good long nap in the cellar... (1,037 characters)

Photo of SeanChouffe
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (563 characters)

Photo of poundboy
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
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 (801 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Toasted Peach.

Nose is nice. Sweet biscuity malt with notes of orange, lemon, lime, vanilla, banana and clove (but barely) and a light yeast presense.

This is a very interesting tasting beer. The lime leaf adds some dryness, spicyness and bitterness. As the beer warms the lime leaf takes a backseat and the hefeweizen characteristics come about with the clove and banana accompanied by some spicy pepper. Notes of pineapple, mint and lemon as well. This beer is cloying. Light bodied. A little sourness. I was hoping this would be a little less clean and a little more funky.

A solid offering, but I will age many beers before I age this. (650 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (496 characters)

Photo of Wildman
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This latest version of their one year model bills itself as a Belgian Tripel. As usual, they mess with the formula a bit. This one poured a light gold color and formed a very small bubbly white head that left trace lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of hops, banana and spices, with really no hint of the lime mentioned. The flavor was of hops, banana and spices. The finish was a slight peppery. Really no hint of the lime. As a Tripel goes, it's not bad, but not outstanding either. (521 characters)

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very non-typical for this brewery, a beer with little bitterness. A decent example of a Belgian-styled beer, but rather flat and ordinary. Head disappeared almost immediately, and there was less carbonation than you usually expect in a tripel. Reminded me of the Don de Dieu that I followed it with, but the Unibroue is far superior, IMO. Stone is great for IPA's, but this offering falls short. (395 characters)

Photo of BierReise
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (252 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apeearance: pours a crystal clear golden yellow color with a 1/2" head that fall to surface foam rather quickly. A few slow rising bubbles are the only signs of carbonation. Light lacing develops.

Smell: banana, yeast, and light medicinal odor.

Taste: very sweet as malts are up front, but there is a muskiness / earthiness to this brew. Some bananas, peach, lime, balsa wood, honey, and mild bitterness round this out. Yeast and alcohol are mildly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start with a mild smoothness at the finish. The finish is long on the flavors, especially the earthiness.

Drinkability: not bad, but this is a very slow drinking beer, and one bottle would be more than enough in a session. My other 04.04.04 bottle will consumed in a few years for comparision. (799 characters)

Photo of MrNuggets
3.79/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is spicy with a shot of strong yeast. A swirl of clove and bannana dominate at first. This goes from spicy to sweet, not sure how that works but it does. Heavy malt presence is felt. More hops than I was expecting. They bitter but leave almost no flavor. A little harsh in the mouthfeel department. Flavors don't seem to fit together well. It'll be a while before I open another bottle of this. (400 characters)

Photo of Hopswagger
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Pours a bright effervescent golden body with sudsy white head.

S: Spicy, citrus soap aroma, clove, powdery yeast, bubblegum, pepper corns, lime, bananas and a touch of oxidation.

T/M: Dull fruit flavors, citrus, lime zest, honey wheat bread, booze and timid tartness. Body is medium and has gritty soap chalkiness. Carbonation level is nice a crisp.

O: Flavors are dialed down but after 9 years a truly impressive beer that was a treat to enjoy. Line was the key ingredient in this brew and the spices really complimented it. Easy drinking and smooth. (616 characters)

Photo of marc77
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear deep golden hue. Frothy, pitted, porcelain white head yields muddled, loose lace. Wafts of lemon zest and lavender honey hit the nose incipiently. Promptly ensuing are mellow notes of herbal phenol, green banana and trace, sweet doughy malt. Clean, but tame aromawise. In flavor, upfront is an impression of bitter citrus pith softened with honey. When combined with the static, citric, lime leaf derived undertone, malt character is of an understated, lightly sweetened lemon cookie impression. Firm, but not obtrusive in hop bitterness, which along with the high attenuation helps facilitate a parching dryness. Subtle, but perceptibly grassy hop flavor. Lightly bodied, but an appropriate match in that regard to the brisk, soft malt character. Finishes with ashen notes of clove and trace cidery sweetness. A surprisingly understated tripel in ester and malt charcter, but agreeably so, due to the overall balance. Quite dry and ominously thirst quenching. Cellaring may dry out the flavor profile a touch, but I don't see this improving markedly. Tasty, soft on the palate and clean. Surprisingly similar to New Belgium Tripel in overall character. (1,167 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Lord Hobo's Vertical Epic Event on 12/12/12. This was part of flight "A" (03, 04, 05). 5oz serving in a flight glass.

A- Light straw colored translucent golden without much carbonation or head.

S- Lightly soured presence of honey, straw, faint hint of lime, and light esters, not overly aromatic. I feel as if this definitely got a little bit soured/funked as it aged (which I kind of expected).

T- Lemons, straw, hint of lime, some faint esters, finishes lightly sour with a hint of tartness. Interesting, definitely a nice sour pale ale presence that is attributed from the aging.

M- Light, low carbonation, easy drinking.

O- This was an interesting beer and perhaps the beer that changed the most in the series (although I never had any of the earlier ones fresh). It definitely took over a nice sour tart presence that fit well with the beer but didn't make it anything special. I liked this beer and I definitely enjoyed drinking it. It took a very nice presence aging, but it still definitely isn't my favorite in the series. (1,046 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a flight at the Alewife Queens Vertical Epic event.

04 Vertical Epic pours an opaque goldenrod, with minimal head or lacing (partly a function of the pour?). The aroma has plenty of banana, with a bit of lime noticeable also. The lime peel is a bit more present in the flavor, probably sharing equal billing with the banana esters. A touch of sherry like oxidation adds a bit of subtle complexity to everything. Mouthfeel wise the carbonation doesn't jump out right away, but it's plenty lively. The body is just a tad heavy though. It's remarkable how well 04VE has held up. (584 characters)

Photo of abfraser
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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 (501 characters)

Photo of portia99
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass.

A - Pours a clear amber tinted gold with fine floating particles throughout the body of liquid. Low white head fades quickly leaving behind faint traces of lacing on the glass.

S - Malty sweet, honey is quite prominant in the aroma, lite touches of lime, bit of earth, peppery and spicy, some earthy aromas and mild alcohol presence.

T - The kaffir lime comes thru well despite the age of the bottle, lots of honey as was found in the aroma, some pepper. Overall sweet and very honey dominant flavor.

M - A bit syrupy in feel, body is medium-full, carbonation is low-medium and tingly on the tongue, a bit of a spicy burn on the back of the throat on the swallow.

O - Super sweet and honey dominant. Lime holds up nicely and comes thru to compliment the honey. A bit unusual overall. (835 characters)

Photo of mzwolinski
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This review was written 3 days after the initial release date. Gosh, I like living in San Diego. :-)

Same bottle design as in previous years, with a label that describes this as part Bier de Garde, part Saison, and part Hefeweisen. They've upped production to 5000 cases this year, which is good news for all of you who don't have the good fortune to live in SoCal. 8.5% ABV. Hefty.

Crystal clear gold on the pour -- but a rich, vibrant gold. Not at all wimpy-looking. Pretty decent carbonation, but the head doesn't do much -- a thin white top struggles to form for about ten seconds ago before calling it quits.

The aroma is enticing. Sharp and citric, with a hint of lime. Refreshing.

Lime comes through in the start of the flavor as well, followed by some pretty strong banana flavors and some mild yeastiness. Lime reasserts itself at the finish, along with a peppery, slightly salty finish. Alcohol is pretty noticeable at this stage. Not alot of sweetness here at all.

Medimum-bodied with a good amount of carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

I'm optimistic about this beer. On the down side, I don't think it's all that drinkable at present. The flavors are a bit harsh, and too bluntly separated. Too much going on too fast without enough continuity throughout the sip. On the other hand, the flavors that are whizzing by are *interesting* ones, and I'm pretty confident that with age (though hopefully it won't take the whole 8 years!) they will blend together into a truly lovely brew. I will re-review next year and see where things stand then. (1,577 characters)

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 217 ratings.