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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

303 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 303
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
Gots: 46 | FT: 2
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: 303 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of czechsaaz
czechsaaz

Washington

4.68/5  rDev +20.9%

As we approach the release of 06-06-06, thought I'd dig one of these out and see how it's doing.

Aroma is very spicey. Still get a huge aroma from the lime leaves that makes me think of Indian food. So basically a lot of citrus with some yeast esters and brown sugary malt underneath. I'm a bit surprised that the lime aroma hasn't faded.

Appearance is light amber and very clear with very light rising bubbles. Had a small head which faded quickly but there's a rim of white that lasts around the side of the glass.

Fist sip, I notice the lime flavor but I'm now getting a lot more crystal malt flavor which I don't remember from when it was released. But the lime flavor on later sips is more like candy than fresh lime. Maybe it's the more prominant malt flavors that's doing that. Not sure. I get a ginger flavor too which I don't remember. There's a lingering aftertaste of fresh lime that I really like. There's no noticeable harsh alcohol flavor and all the citrus and spice is really starting to blend well.

The beer is pretty light in body considering it's 8+%. Very easy going down (again partly due to the citrus effect like an adult lemonade.) Carbonation level is light but definitely lively.

I think this is drinking fantastically now (at just over 2 years.) Whether or not it has peaked I'll have to wait and see. Right now it comes across as a very unique flavor profile but all the components seem to fit. I REALLY like it.

05-21-2006 07:02:05 | More by czechsaaz
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

4.65/5  rDev +20.2%

Pours a BEAUTIFUL golden orange with a nice half finger head that melts to a decent thin head.
Aroma...ahhh...aroma gorgeous sweet malt and fresh fruits.
Taste is remarkable....sweet malt...fresh tropical fruits...a little alcohol.
Aftertaste of tropical fruit and alcohol.
Nice alcohol burn afterwards.
This is a sin...it is really a wonderful triple.

05-21-2006 05:31:26 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

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!

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

California

4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Poured a nice cloudy orange. Very light and transparent, crystal clear yellow with a light creamy head. Smelled like spice, banana and candy. First sip was banana, cloves, brown sugar and a little citrus. Really delicious overall, I look forward to seeing how this one ages.

05-07-2006 04:58:55 | More by Boolshot
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%

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!

04-16-2006 15:58:54 | More by biegaman
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%

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!

04-13-2006 01:58:00 | More by Viggo
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

03-25-2006 22:21:38 | More by Gavage
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.33/5  rDev +11.9%

Another great brew enjoyed at last night's Stone Tasting at Dilly Deli, Cincinnati. Caught somewhere between a tripel and a wheat on 'roids. Citrus and estery aromas and flavors are evident right from the bottle. Poured a viscous mirky yellow with fantastic head retention. Imense sweet, citrus flavors similar to those found in Witbiers. Soft spices reminescent of corriander, curraco, and chamomile. Lightly woody, yeasty, and enough funk to make it interesting. Velvety texture without becomming oily. Never, fusal or plastic in the alcohols. Very refreshing for a high gravity, high alcohol beer. Again extremely well matured.

03-15-2006 19:13:05 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Oxymoron
Oxymoron

Colorado

4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

I've been sitting on this for a while so Im looking forward to this one. Pours a mostly cloudy lemony yellow color with copper hues when held to the light. A good head and decent lacing.

The smell is very Belgium. The yeast has a strong flavor. Also fruity aromas like peach and apricot. Touches of bananas and plums mixes well with spice touches as well. Not much of a candi smell but more of a sweet smell to it. Good!

The taste feels more like a Biere de Garde, though listed as a triple. The fruity tastes are more prominent. Big tropical fruits, apricot and bananas mainly, are noticeable. A touch of lime and cherries are noticeable in the back. The malt is balanced well with good complexity. Belgium pale with biscuit flavor. The sweet candi taste is blend really well. Some hoppy taste with a light bite at the front. Great taste.

The body is medium to full. A little hot on the taste from the high ABV. But very crisp and a smooth finish. A worthy wait for a fantastic beer.

01-28-2006 03:18:11 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of waldowin
waldowin

Washington

2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

So much for 12.12.12. Doh! Couldn't wait.

Pours a hazy gold color, with a thick-as-paste white head several fingers thick, that constantly replenishes itself as it tries to fall. Took about 10 minutes before the head finally faded down enough to drink the beer itself.

Smells golden raisins, plums, toffee, and a bit of lime (not surprisingly, considering the ingredients).

Tastes of toffee, bananas, cherries, and a bit of lime, with almost no hops at all. The lime taste is fairly off-putting, for me anyways. I hesitate to make such a rare bottle a drain-pour, but i'm not sure I can get used to this taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy and heavily carbonated, almost like sipping foam. Very smooth and if it tasted better, would be easier to drink.

01-03-2006 08:12:43 | More by waldowin
Photo of mcowgill
mcowgill

Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

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

Ohio

4.53/5  rDev +17.1%

Poured from the bottle into a wide mouthed goblet.

Appearance: This is a very good looking beer in the glass. The beer poured a very pleasing light amber. The head towered above the beer a lovely creamy banner. The beer leaves a road map of lacing on the side of the glass. Dam this beer is almost sexy.

Smell: A lovely perfume greats my nose. The beer has a very nice malty fruity lead in. I swear in addition to lime citrus I smell melons. The beer has a nice spicyness complementing the sweet.

Taste: The beer lives up to the smell. The beer has a biscuity malty sweetness. This gives way to a lime citrus bananna and melon fruityness. This gives way to a crisp spicyness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This is a meduim bodied beer. The beer has a very crisp and clean finish. A very tasty treat. I hope I can keep some until 2012.

12-29-2005 15:40:10 | More by nlmartin
Photo of becktone
becktone

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +13.2%

First things first, the head on this beer is incredible. I am not exaggerating when I say that the head is as big as the span from the bottom of my palm to the base of my fingers. I have poured this beer into a huge glass Hofbrauhaus Mug. The size of the head could have easily been because of my somewhat careless pour ( I didn't pour with any cares because I knew the brew wouldn't overflow). I think that it holds about a liter of beer. The color of the beer is a straw gold. I can see some type of particles suspended in the brew giving it a mildly hazy but still clear appearance. The head is white and creamy looking. Head retention is excellent. Lacing also clings to the side of my glass giving this beer an overfall stellar appearance.

The beer has a strong aroma. It smells of sweet malt. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of the aroma of belgian pale ales (Leffe and Grimbergen). I also smell a candy type of aroma, perhaps butterscotch. In addition to the candy smell I can detect a fresh fruity smell. Perhaps strawberry/kiwi?

I think that perhaps I would enjoy this beer a little more if there were some more hops to balance out the sweet malt taste of this beer. I has a pretty complex taste. I can easliy detect/taste the candy like butterscotch and fruit flavors that were evident to the nose. In the aftertaste it leaves behind first the candy taste which then changes to the fruity taste.

This beer is very lightly carbonated, so much so that it is hard to tell that it is carbonated. I think that it feels more like fruit juice on the palace than beer. The alcohol is evident as it goes down. You can feel it warm the throat and the stomach. A very pleasant sensation (this is what makes me give it a 4 in mouthfeel). In my opinion it has a dry finish, it leaves my palate dry after about a minute. This beer is easy to drink and goes down quite well. I would buy more of this except for the fact that I don't believe I can get anymore of this. I was lucky enough to have picked this up about a month and a half ago. I didn't even have to cellar it, it was already done for me. Unfortunately buying the beer a year to late means that I can't get anymore of it.

12-25-2005 20:34:36 | More by becktone
Photo of Goldorak
Goldorak

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

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).

12-02-2005 00:55:05 | More by Goldorak
Photo of ejquin
ejquin

Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +17.1%

App: Pumpkin orange with a thin white bubly head that fades quickly. Little lacing

Smell: I thought the smell was very nice. Very malty with a good dose of citrus and some spiceiness.

Taste: I thought it was nice and more blanced than your average stone brew. After a year and a half of again anyways. citrus and malt hit first. Fades to spiciness and a touch of bitterness. Alcohol was hid well. Faintly sweet.

Mouth: Good carbonation but a bit thin to me

Drink: Spiciness cuts down a bit on the drinkability but you could still easily take down a bomber

Overall: I had this fresh and remembered liking it, but I never reviewed it. After a year I think it's tamer than it was before. It balanced pretty well. It's definitely unique and a solid beer. Reminds me a bit of the South Hampton Grand Cru, but tastes much better.

10-02-2005 22:30:07 | More by ejquin
Photo of pentathlete
pentathlete

Virginia

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

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.

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

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

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.

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

Maryland

4.33/5  rDev +11.9%

1 Pt. 6Fl. Oz.
8.5% Alc. Vol.

Appearance – opaque gold/light orange body with some glass-clinging carbonation and a reasonable amount of particulates; smooth, white 2.5-finger thick head breaks down early to expose the body; lace isn’t anything to write home about

Smell – a deep bucket of activity for the nose; big fat malt backbone; spicy candy; citrus; pumpernickel; here is a good tripel cologne; put it in a spray bottle

Taste – spicy candy; lively fruit; tempered yeast; pleasant balance of candy and hop at close; honestly, this flavor package is a bit more tolerable for my palate than some of the old-school traditional tripels

Mouthfeel – moderate overall; crisp and bit lively early and smoother late; more mellow and not as full as some recent quality tripels I’ve enjoyed, but this isn’t really a negative

Drinkability – ‘afterfeel’ is surprisingly so far moved from dry so I had some time to sit back and savor the aftertaste and ponder the full experience; the carbonation doesn’t kill turnover

Pay attention to the aftertaste and feel. Its some good stuff. Is there a bad olfactory bottled experience placed on the market by Stone? I haven’t experienced one yet. Stone is on a roll and is getting deserved attention.

08-28-2005 02:49:55 | More by Wonka
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

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.

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

Ohio

3.83/5  rDev -1%

A: Poured with a small white head that quickly subsided but one that left good lacing. Light golden in color with lots of carbonation clinging to the sides of the goblet.

S: A very strong smell with aromas of dark fruit, yeast, and caramel.

T: A spicy shiraz-like kick instantly meets the tongue, giving way to dominating ginger flavors. Originally, I somehow missed the lime taste until I read the other reviews and the bottle, but now it seems very apparent to me. The finish reminisces of the classic Belgian yeast taste. The overall taste is definitely unique, but I'm not sure that I'm sold on it yet.

M: This one has a smooth medium body that balances the flavor nicely. After the pour, it looked like this one was going to be a little too carbonated for my taste, but it turned out to be just right.

D: This beer's strongest asset is its originality, but for that reason, I wouldn't want to drink this one too often. I would recommend this one to beer connoisseurs but would be reluctant to do the same to someone without an appropriate palate for unique brews.

08-18-2005 01:22:14 | More by klewis
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +3.4%

22 oz brown bomber with an obvious vintage date.

A- Bright pale copper hued brew, good head retention to say the least.

S- Malt aroma reminds me of fresh tapioca or plain Indian pudding made with lime pudding, tad bready / yeasty with some hot spice in the back.

T- Faint lime character, solid maltiness holds on to some sweetness. The lime character has more bite with the hops than anything else. Lots of spice flowing around which masks the malt for a second. Warming alcohol finally catches up mid-bottle, tad fruity ... plum-like. Finishes semi-dry with a light roughness of wheat and pale malt with a long lingering spicy lime character.

M- Oh so crisp and so damn smooth over the medium body.

D- At first I did not think I was going to drink the whole bottle, it slowly grew on me with each sip.

If my palate was not used to exotic beers I'd probably hit a brick wall here. Thankfully I can see where beer can go and has gone. I guess I will have to bum a sip from some one else on 12.12.12 as this was my last bottle.

08-16-2005 01:49:44 | More by Jason
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Stone's third release in the Vertical Epic series pours a clear, deep golden body that borders on amber. It's initially full and creamy head almost rises out of the glass but then slowly dwindles to an average collar. It does, however, leave some very nice lace in its wake.

The nose is malty with a touch of vanilla; and perfumey with some mild citrusy and floral notes, a waft of alcohol, and some clear peppery spice.

In the mouth, it's medium bodied and lightly zesty with a mildly effervescent natural carbonation that tingles the tongue before warming to become more creamy.

The flavor is very much (or should I say exactly) as the nose indicates with a mild note of vanilla, a touch of fruitiness (some watered down citrus and dull melon), and a burst of alcohol. It finishes dry, with some nice, peppery spiciness; and a wash of lingering alcohol. Perhaps a bit more aging will round it out... I'd enjoy the '03 now, but give this one a year, and maybe even more!

It pairs well with sweet and spicy Thai foods, and also makes a nice apertif on its own.

08-13-2005 21:22:16 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of ommegangpbr
ommegangpbr

New York

4.15/5  rDev +7.2%

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!

07-25-2005 08:50:12 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
MUSHROOMCLOUD

Texas

3.6/5  rDev -7%

The Vertical Epic 04 was a tale of two beers for me.

The first glass I poured into a (recommended) goblet. The beer was clear gold with hardly any head at all. No lacing.
The second glass I poured into a tulip and the beer was hazy apricot orange color with a 1" head that had some staying power and left good lace.(I know the yeast poured in to the second glass played a part).

The first glass held a nose of yeast, grain, and slight citrus aromas.
The second had yeast, tangerine, lime, banana, bubble gum,powder and a honey sweet aroma.

The initial taste held banana, alcohol, yeast and a grainy bite in the finish.
Second glass held the same plus a hint of lime and bubble gum.

The beer is unique, an odd combination of a hefe and a tripel. The first glass I drank was (forgive me Steve and Lee!!) like a New Belgium Tripel. The second glass was more of the unique beer I was expecting. I wonder if this beer needs to be somehow agitated before pouring any of it, because it definitely benefited from the bit of yeast in the second glass. I have two more in the "cellar" and I am looking forward to the future to see how these age. By the way the 05 is the bomb!!

07-24-2005 01:36:15 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
Photo of UncleFlip
UncleFlip

Alabama

4.65/5  rDev +20.2%

Poured a nice golden yellow with hints of orange. May appear darker in a larger glass, but my tasting cup was rather small. The head didn't stick around terribly long.

The aroma was hops, spice, and orange- with a bit of alcohol smell throughout.

On first taste, spiciness and cloviness hit right up front. There's a fruity bottom which has a bit of banana on the back end.

The mouthfeel was nice- with a good, even body- sort of mellow, but seeming just right.

Drinkability is high on this one. I'd definitely like to have more.

Be well
-UF

07-11-2005 01:44:09 | More by UncleFlip
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 303 ratings.