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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

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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
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Ratings: 297 | Reviews: 213 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of portia99
portia99

Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 19:39:26 | More by portia99
Photo of aracauna
aracauna

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear true amber body with a head on the fizzy side. The aroma and flavor are dominated by vanilla and cotton candy. A little bit of caramel is involved, and after reading the the commercial description, I guess that bit of citrus isn’t from the hops after all. Still, while it’s very pleasant and quite drinkable, it’s not really all that like a Belgian in character to me.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2004 02:46:47 | More by aracauna
Photo of crookedhalo
crookedhalo

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color with a bit of light orange highlights. Bready, fruity and yeasty aromas with some suggestions of pepperiness. Very dry finish to a beer that starts off sweet. Light hopping and the addition of lime leaves give it a saison-like feel and adds nicely to the dryness. Alcohol definately noticable. Tropical fruit esters come into play as it warms up to temperature. Pretty nice tripel, but slightly one-dimensional.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2004 01:47:20 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of malthead
malthead

California

3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper color, white head which dies too quickly. Smell starts like Duvel and the like, but then there's a strong apple smell is the background, and maybe a little lime bitterness? (although that could just be the power of suggestion from the label...) Taste is much sweeter than I expected, but surprisingly nice. There's some complex spiciness going on under the apple-y sweetness, but it's too hard for me to identify. Nice mouthfeel, its got some good carbonation there. I'm going to knock it a little on drinkability - it's great at first, but the sweetness is overpowering after a while... so enjoy it with food or split it with friends. Decent beer, though.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2005 00:43:23 | More by malthead
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After cracking a VE03 tonight, why the hell not go the whole hog!? Some 1 year and 2 months [07.03.05] after I first [05.17.04] sampled this one I fancied cracking one of the 04’s out of my stash as well to see how it fared out of interest, especially as I felt the 03 had improved. My original Review had 3.5/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.0 scores with an overall rating of 3.95.

Appearance: Murky looking golden peach body with a Robertsons Golden Shred Marmalade hue when backlit. Thin head forms and slacks down to a lazy looking scummy covering rather quickly. Dissolved carbonation is enough to keep things alive with a gentle swirl, but it looks tired. Stays at 3.5, but only just.

Nose: Nose is still lively and retains a strong odor Kaffir Lime Leaf that I recall from my first sampling. Spicy hops and a mild yeast character fight to contend with the Lime, which still dominates the VE04. Stays at 4.0.

Taste: Bitter entrance remains, so does the Tripel feel but there is much more lime in here than I recall, right from the from the start and even in the ending…..this one now reeks of lime, a tad overpowering at times I have to say. Wheat-beer like middle with some light floral perfumed bitterness which in turn has a slight black pepper feel in the finish. Lingering sharp lime in the end. Stays at 4.0.

Mouthfeel: Starting to wane slightly, not as big as I recall, the residual lime carries this one through but the feel, once examined closely, is rescinding I think. Dropped this to a 4.0.

Drinkability: Still feels a tad harsh on the tongue and the lime is rasping and way too overpowering for my tastes, yet I still managed the 22 ounce all to myself, but only just. Dropped this to a 3.5, maybe a tad harsh but I struggled with this a little in the finish.

Overall: No better, not that much worse either to be honest, but not as appealing as it was, for me it has dropped 0.1 ticks after just over a year. It is no secret that this is probably my least favorite of the four VE’s to date, though I have to add here that I have only had one VE02. I’m not sure how this one will turn out, but I’m not holding on to too many of these.

Music: Pink Floyd - Great Gig in the Sky (rather loud)

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2005 05:19:09 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of DESTRO
DESTRO

Nevada

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out golden, clear...lively carbonation and produces a thick pillow like head. strong aroma of yeast, smells bready. light citrus notes, a bit "grassy". lightly creamy in the mouth, def. smooth. flavors. slightly sweet, fruity...pineapple and banana. huge yeast character and noticable alcohol bite. light bitterness in the finish, puckering. interesting and pretty damn delicious. not something id have often, but its quality. awesome job dudes.

cant wait to try it as it ages.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2004 06:49:04 | More by DESTRO
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange/straw color, with a thick white foamy head. The head disappeared rather quickly, leaving a small amount of lace on the glass. Smells similar to a wheat beer, in that there is a strong banana note. Also a hint of citrus, and possibly a small amount of spice. Taste is slightly tart, with a slight citrus note. Somewhat dry and yeasty in the finish. Very smooth, and could use more carbonation for this style. Overall, an interseting beer. Whe I think Stone, I think of big, hoppy beers, and this one is not hoppy, or bitter at all. Still, I think this was a good idea by Stone, and it should age nicely. The alcohol presence is there, yet it is pretty drinkable. Seems like a saison on steroids.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2004 01:59:15 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of CharlesRiver
CharlesRiver

Connecticut

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my second offering from the Veritcal Epic. 1 pt. 6 oz bottle that reads 04.04.04. Cool bottle, cool name. Beer pours out a glowing orange with a small head that seems to last.

The smell is grainy and grassy. With sweet and small citrus coming through. Something a bit smokey? comes through as well. The taste is much better than the smell. Perfectly carbonated.

Unlike any triple that I have ever had. Another "epic" that I will cellar to see how it turns out.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2004 01:08:47 | More by CharlesRiver
Photo of mcowgill
mcowgill

Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oops, I couldn't wait until 2012. This beer poured very nicely for me although I noticed not much of a head which I thought was strange. The beer looks a very attractive coppery color with many active bubbles ascending. The beer smelled of a mixture of fruit and malt. Tasting this beer was the best part. The lime fruitiness is quite enjoyable. This beer is quite smooth and drinkable considering the spice involved. Wish I had more.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2005 23:30:58 | More by mcowgill
Photo of markman
markman

Connecticut

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

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale:

OK, here we go. Nice alabaster head on a crystal clear brass body…very inviting. Yeasty fruity nose is big, with hints of bubblegum . Up front the taste is slickly bitter, hoppier than most triples…Stone, no shit. Creamy middle leads to a spicy-sweet finish that coats the tongue…well. This puts me in the mind of a tripel wheat, like Unibroue’s Don de Dieu but not as well integrated. Not a bad beer, but not one I’m in a hurry to return to as there are so many other better tripels out there.

Cheers…

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2004 19:17:09 | More by markman
Photo of Truh
Truh

New Hampshire

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

Gazed up the headwall with this one on 5/4/2004. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a Rapscallion glass.

Creamy, ¼-inch head poured a yellow to almost light green granny smith apple hue with a bunch of continued action happening. Huge lemon/citrus nose with some gentle hops and some other flowery characteristics, though difficult to pinpoint. Sweet, almost hefe taste with a following hop bitterness, almost like lemongrass. Slight chewiness, yet a clean mouth feel. Reminds me of wheat fields after a summer thunderstorm.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2005 19:42:31 | More by Truh
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 PSUDREW
PSUDREW

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

hmmm how to describe this... part hefe, part dunkle, part belgian triple...very interesting mix, and I am facinated to see how this will taste when I review it again in a couple of years.

It pours a nice golden color, with a frothy head that dissapates rather quickly.

Like I said before, the best way to describe the flavor is that of a mix. It has the sugary/abv taste that you might find in any one of the belgian styles. it has light peppery twist.

no hop presence that I notice, and that easy bananna/citrus taste that I would get from a hefe/dunkle

And, as the lable notes, there is a lime taste, but only present in the aftertaste, (which finish crisp and smooth) and only slightly so. hopefully, it will progress over time, becuase I feel it is a very nice addition.

For the sweet and heavy taste, it is highly drinable. I am rathere interested in what this brew will taste like in a couple of years

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2004 02:27:46 | More by PSUDREW
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

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

Pours a two-fingered white head, fades quickly to a ring and leaves no lace. Clear amber color. Nose is alcohol and hints of apple cider. Alcohol is right there at the start along with some sweetness, alcohol finish. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Totally different from last year's 03.03.03. $8.00 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2004 22:40:58 | More by jdhilt
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 KYGunner
KYGunner

Kentucky

3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nine year old Four had an entrancing brightness of darkened gold color that was topped of with an effervescent bubbling head.

Cider is evident in the nose with a peppery spiciness and then a dry cereal malt finish.

The flavors are interesting in that they don't really go together yet they seem to flow effortlessly. It starts with a lavender taste with some juniper. Then a wine like fruit flavor followed by toffee and pecans. Finally it ends in a peppermint like coolness which lends to feel.

You never know what your going to get after almost a decade but this one still looks and tastes good.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 13:20:03 | More by KYGunner
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an orange/gold color with not much head to speak of wich was somewhat suprising for the style,aromas of honey and sweet,ripe fruit aong with a little spice.Flavors of bubblegum really stick ouot up front along with some honey and cloves with a little alcohol burn as I drink more.A good beer but not any better than some good Belgian Triples for sure,not worth the hype but a good brew none the less.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2005 02:19:11 | More by oberon
Photo of OStrungT
OStrungT

California

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice golden with a white head that disapears fast leaving laces on the glass. It looks unfiltered, but not as unfiltered as a hefe wiezen. Smells fruity and spicy. Hints of lime in the taste. Also ginger. Tastes very clovey. It leaves a sweet aftertaste. It goes down nicely. This beer could be consumed all night. The alcohol content is above average, but it doesnt taste like it. I would drink this beer again. Too bad it will probably never come out again.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2005 01:29:41 | More by OStrungT
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/23/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 22oz bomber bottle poured into my Duvel tulip. No freshness date needed. Will save my other for 2012.

Appearance- Copper colored pour with a nice 1/2 inch head and light lace.

Smell- Odd scents going on here. Super scented confectioniers sugar, maybe a bit of cotton candy action as well. Maybe even a bit of vanilla.

Taste- Just as many other people pointed out...there is actually a lime rind like taste here along with lots of other spices. Some corriander, clove, nutmeg, pepper. Lots of stuff.

Mouthfeel- Average carbonation level.

Drinkability- Odd tasting brew to be sure. This is one of those that I am still trying to figure out if a really liked it as much as I am giving it credit for. Enigma so far. Maybe I'll know more in 7 years when I try my next one.

Re-review in year 2006.

Just finished off a bottle of the 2006. Seems as though a lot more of the sugary flavor comes out as well as some peaches and some rose water flavoring. Boosting this one up a tad due to good aging.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2005 00:11:38 | More by GClarkage
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
NearerMyBeerToMe

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent schoolbus orange with highlights of brass. A 1/8th inch deep head of pure white foam fades quickly to a skim of bubbles, under which very sparse lines of carbonation float lazily to the surface. Seems kind of uncharacteristic for Stone... Very fragrant aroma, full of honey and emergent nectarine flesh. Finishing with tangy fumes of lime juice and menthol (or perhaps vermouth?), the whole thing conjures an image of a banana split with vanilla ice cream topped by creme de menthe. Groovy. The flavor is a pleasant contest of sweet vs. spice, far more assertive than the typical Belgian Tripel. The taste of green tea abounds, as does poached peach with honey, with mango at the sides of the tongue. The spiciness of ginger and nutmeg lingers slightly in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel has a filmy, sweet finish, but desperately needs carbonation--or something to lift the flavors back up from the tongue. With the alcohol more or less undetectable, this is quite the drinker. I'd like to try this with creme brulee or mascarpone. A fun beer, this one.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2005 03:20:33 | More by NearerMyBeerToMe
Photo of pentathlete
pentathlete

Virginia

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden with a small white head. Smell is tangerine and Belgian yeast. Taste is zesty citrus with some hops(!?) and more of the Belgian candi feel. The zest really dominates. Mouthfeel is medium, long finish. Assertive as expected from Stone. Easy to drink. I was expecting a little more.

$6.99 for a 22 oz bottle at Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2005 01:20:59 | More by pentathlete
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazed golden amber with fine white bubbles that settled into a ring. Decent retention and fair lacing given the small bit of head that formed. Mild spice in the nose, along with bready yeast, wheat, and fruity notes. Apple and bubblegum complement these characters in the flavour and the spice is a little more pronounced here too. Slightly dry with carbonation just slightly on the low side, which made for an easy drink. Solid!

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2006 02:18:17 | More by DrJay
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate to try this last night at an epic tasting held by my good friend Mike, thanks for the opportunity MrBarleywine!
Pours a slightly hazy medium golden color with a smallish off white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet caramel and light sugar with a bit of cherry and sherry notes. Hint of lime and spicy yeast notes provide a nice contrast to the sweetness within. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Sweet and sugary with caramel and sherry notes balanced by peppery spicy bready yeast flavors. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet spicy mouthfeel. This was a nice beer and over the years the flavors have melded quite nicely. The lime aroma and flavor are different, but work against the backdrop of the other flavors.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 02:20:50 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of rkhaze
rkhaze

California

4/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2004 03:35:01 | More by rkhaze
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

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!

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2004 20:40:57 | More by blitheringidiot
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 297 ratings.