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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.
very good

217 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 217
Hads: 317
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 16.2%
Wants: 95
Gots: 56 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 217 | Hads: 317
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one of the many beers I tried on tap at stones winter storm. This is way better than what I made using the recipe online, but then mine is only a couple months old so who knows.

It poured a very nice golden color that was mildly hazy. There was some head and for a belgian beer it had some retention to it. The foam was basically pure white and eventually settled to a small ring around the edge of the glass.

The aroma was of aged tripel and aside from the touch of lime in the aroma it looked and smelled similar to the sawyers tripel. It makes me wonder if they don't use the american pale malt as the base for all their lighter colored beers. There was the slightest hint of banana fruitiness but it was ever so subtle.

The taste was very nice. It had some good sweetness from the malt and some strange spiciness from the yeast and there was a little zest from the lime. I guess the lime would have been stronger when the beer was young but it seems like a real nice balance.

A pretty enjoyable beer overall. It was kind of interesting having all these vertical epics sitting in front of me at the bar. I see how much they sell for on ebay and paying a couple bucks for each 8 oz serving is fine with me.

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Photo of Floydster
4.63/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle from Naja's Place for sixteen dollars last night

Poured into a pint glass with a cloudy golden color, similiar to a wheat beer with a foamy head

Smell was filled with bananas and citrus

Taste was very nice and smooth, had a hint of lime and ginger, more like a Belgian than anything

Could drink a lot of these and unfortunately I drank my bomber way too fast and wanted more

This one will probably be even better after it sits a while

Amazing how good these beers taste three and half years after they were bottled

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Photo of orfeu
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I saw a recent thread about the Vertical Epic series in which a few posters indicated that this one had either passed its peak or was right about there, never to get any better. I only managed to grab one bottle when a few of these were still floating around back in 2005 anyway, so I figure I might as well open it up and give it a try...

Well chilled, poured into an AleSmith tulip, this over three-year-old golden Belgian ale is indeed rather gold in color -- a hazy peach hue, with a substantial cap of slightly yellowing, dense white froth sitting on top, fluffy and creamy at the same time. The head has a noticeable longevity and sticky, clumpy lacing. Sticky-sweet fruits in the aroma: overripe apricots and fermenting muskmelon rinds. Slight banana scent along with white peppercorns and a musty-earthy coriander character. Mashed banana and peach syrup thickness on the palate. Sharp carbonation up front and through the middle of the sip. Very difficult-to-identify spice melange emerges rather strongly after the fruity beginning: ground pepper, a bit of cilantro leaf. A bit of doughy wheatiness in the taste, too. I only get the merest hint of the Kaffir lime leaf flavor, right before a jarring mineral finish that smacks of the start of oxidization. Interestingly fruity and tart burps in my sinuses, though. Much as with the latest VE (07.07.07), this failed to impress me. I haven't tried the bottles of 05.05.05 and 06.06.06 I've got sitting in my cellar yet, and perhaps it's the case that Stone does dark Belgian ales better than the pale counterparts. I suppose this could pass through the next five years and meld into something interesting, but I have serious doubts about the staying power of 04.04.04. Anyway, I'm glad I tried it now.

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Photo of jeffjfindley
4.67/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a find. More than 3 years after it's release this was astoundingly good. Peachy orange, and cloudy. Head not great, but decent. What did stick around stuck around for the duration, and left some nice sticky lacing. Smell is fresh, and crisp with big fruit notes, notably peach. The taste was frickin' awesome, alive with Thai spice, but matched with a thick wheaty malt presence. After 3 years the hops are still prevelant, and leave their mark at the finish along with a blast of lemongrass. Mouthfeel manages to be rich, and crispily refreshing at once. It doesn't get much better than this, if you like Thai food. If you like Thai, and kick ass witbier, you'll devour this.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Stone Winter Storm

A: Very light, golden straw color with just a touch of haze. Looks a lot like a wit really. Body is very still with no action what so ever, made three or four bubbles raising to the surface. Head is very small, just a miniscule white ring around the glass.

S: Banana, mango, cloves and white peach

T: Begins tropical; condensed mango and guava juice towards the center back of the tongue. Flavors come forward with a white peach, apricot and honey. Finishes extremely honey like, almost like a well crafted mead.

M: Medium body but very juicy. Low carbonation makes it silky.

D: This beer would be superb on a hot day. This beer embodies sunshine itself. Its better now than it was the day it came out.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle says a that it's saison-like with wheat. Hell yeah. I'm glad I could get my mits on this.

Appearance- Pours a nice fizzy head amongst the honey and almost opaque cantaloupe hue. The color is nice since its deep, but you can still see its bubbles. Very little lacing.

Smell- The lime mentioned on the bottle seems to become present in the nose only when the beer warms up. Could smell some wheaty godness as well and sweetened, herbal malts too.

Taste- Hints of spicey chammomile barce the tounge with hints of citrus and cyrstallized sugar malts. The lime hits a bit harder a it warms, but it always stays muted. I like that about this beer. It has a unique element, but it doesn't overwhelm.

Mouthfeel- Astringet, only a little. But cleaan and sweet. I like that citrusy, beery sweetness. Is best when sipped indeed.

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Photo of HellsBELLS24
2.51/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This edition of the vertical epic was not so impressive.

Upon pouring, the scent from the beer was rather pungent. I smelt like an old rotten pile of wheat. The color poured a nice copper with a white head. Again, I was still taken aback by the smell. As I tasted the brew it was rather hard to finish my 11 ounce portion. It had the feel of a dilute old wheat beer. I recommend this beer to keep for the series however I hope it gets better with age. (I find that hard to believe)

I do love most of the Stone beers, just not this one

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Photo of dherling
4.12/5  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.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taken from notes from my Treo. Had this on-tap at the Belgian Beer Fest '06.

Outstanding golden hue with wisps of cotton lacing. Candied aroma with spice and subtle hints of hops.

Dry, spicy flavor with slight warming finish. Tickling peppery tingle in the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied and pretty damn quaffable. Definitely epic.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.31/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a snifter glass.

This beer pours a medium golden color with a sort of copper/orangish hue. Has a very nice foamy looking white head that is about a finger thick after settling. Very nice lacing too and also the best head retention I have seen in any beer in quite awhile. Aromas of malt, yeast, fruit (such as lime and perhaps some apple), spices (perhaps a hint of cinnamon and a bit of citrus, among others), and a slight touch of hops fill the nostrils upon taking some whiffs. Sweet flavors of malt, a dash of honey, lime and apple, citrus, cinnamon, a bit of hops, and the slightestes taste of alcohol are all present here. Leaves a slightly dry aftertaste. The taste of alcohol is well masked and the flavors certainly balance one another quite nicely indeed. The mouthfeel is smooth and crispy. Moderate carbonation. Easy to drink, especially with the somewhat high ABV content. Thanks to quasimoto for letting me know where I could find this for a good price. Stone does it again! I am glad I have a few more bottles of this for aging and possibly a trade or two.


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Photo of quasimoto
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drinking Stone stuff always seems like an event, and the Vertical Epics even more so. Yeah, I'm psyched to open this 04.04.04.

There isn't much head on this despite a vigorous pour. But the beautiful clear sunburst orange/yellow color is quite nice. Aroma is springy and pleasant: a cool and sweet spice blend, everything so perfectly incorporated I'm having a hard time picking out exact references. Nice to have the yeast making an appearance. After 2+ years, it liiiives!

And no surprise, the flavor delivers some real nice stuff. The lime leaves used in brewing are obvious, delicious, and non-intrusive to the overall vibe. Belgian candy sugar and flowery spices are balanced with a light wheat earthiness. The spices are particularly airy, with nutmeg and white pepper coming to mind/tastebuds immediately.

A microscopically small hint of citrus acidity is found in the finish, and together with a super-light, buoyant mouthfeel, this isn't as heavy an offering as everything else I've had from Stone. Make no mistake, it's very very nice. I hope this bottle never ends...

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Photo of scottoale
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this 04.04.04 edition at a lliquor store in East County this past week-end. Poured a medium amber-gold with 1/2 inch of white foamy head. Nice lacing and heaps of micro tiny carbonation bubbles, rising from the depths of my 20oz tulip.

Nice sturdy malt nose initially, that's quickly overtaken by sweet banana, bubblegum, corriander, lime, grassy hops and yeast. Smells very Belgian-like.

The taste has a bit more complexity than the smell reveals, especially as it warms a bit, then the alcohol becomes more evident and enhances the forementioned aromas. It really has some nice flavors at just over two years in the bottle, excellent carbonation also. It's hard for me too guess just how well it would age for six more years as suggested, but it's hard to believe it could get any better than it is today. Time will tell...

Good mouthfeel and pretty heavy body to this Triple, very sweet overall and rather potent. Of the first three years of the Vertical Epic Ale, I enjoyed this one the most.

If you can find it or are cellaring 04.04.04, now is a good time to give it a whirl...cheers!

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Photo of SupaCelt
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out a sort of golden honey with maybe an orange cast to it. It formed a small tannish head after a vigorous pour. Some scant lace. The nose was sweet candy with a nice hoppy essence coming through. Noble like. Yeasty and fruity. Mild and pleasant. The taste was again sweet. Somewhat subdued in light of some other tripels that have slid down my alimentary canal. The hops actually showed up for a snappy dryness in the finish that cut the sugary sweet tones and really did a nice job of rounding out the flavours. The mouthfeel was light. Quite drinkable. This was not a very rambunctious selection. It had been laying around for a couple of years though. I would say it held up nicely. Enjoyable. A good find from my City Wide Liquors excursion in South Bend.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.62/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.65/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of DrJay
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
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!

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Photo of Boolshot
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
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!

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Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  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!

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Photo of Gavage
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.72/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of waldowin
2.84/5  rDev -27%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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.

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Photo of mcowgill
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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