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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
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: 316
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Yeasty, doughy, banana aroma with a drop of lime. Yellowish, off-white head, left a thick coat of lace. Golden mandarin colored beer, slightly hazy with fine streams of carbonation. Light, creamy mouthfeel. Fleshy fruit flavor, a bit of alcohol, some banana bread, mildy bitter into the finish. Description on the bottle hits it right on the head. Maybe it was a freak occurence, but this beer at this time was just awesome, combining characteristics of some of my favorite styles. (481 characters)

Photo of neonbrown82
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial tasting: I wasn't exactly too impressed by the appearance or smell of this tripel, especially after having recently gone on a Belgian marathon over the past month. The head was very minimal compared to any Belgian tripel. This was my first try at an american tripel, but nonetheless, I would have expected at least some head, especially after the aggressive pour of the latter half of the bomber to try and induce a more healty looking head. The smell was also neigh undetectable for the style, but I did notice a little of that lime leaf and banana.

The taste was interesting. It was similar to the traditional Belgian tripel taste with the intense barley maltiness and all sorts of citrusy, sweet and sour flavors, yet you could definately tell there was a fair amount of hops in this beer. The bitterness was more apparent than I expect in a tripel.

I still have another bomber of this that I will attempt to save for at least a year, but I'll be damned if it makes it through the long haul to 2012. As of now, I'm not quite so concerned that this is a limited edition and that I only have one more chance to experience it, at which time it most likely won't be optimally aged (I mean, let's be realistic... I haven't technically started my cellaring collection, and I'm still kind of paranoid about pulling it from the fridge and placing it somewhere where I might forget it in the basement). Nonetheless, worth the price of having ordered it on-line. Further judgements are pending, hopefully until 2012, but most likely around New Year's 2006. (1,563 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 ommegangpbr
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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! (826 characters)

Photo of beergeek279
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber into a goblet. The color is hazy copper, with a wispy white head. The smell is an estery, candi sugar sweetness. The taste is estery and sugar sweet, with a strong yeasty characteristic and just a hint of the lime sweetness. Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability-wise, I'd definitely have many more of these.

04.04.04 for 07.04.04...a fine choice for 4th of July! What better way to celebrate independence than enjoying one of (if not the most) independent breweries out there. A fine tripel, and hopefully I can give this one a try at the end of 2012!! (581 characters)

Photo of TKEbeerman
2.96/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A. Poured into my VE glass this brew pours a golden yellow with a little murky yeast. One of our tasters had a crystal clear pour.
S. The aroma is plain and bready. Some oxidization, but less than 02 and 03.
T. The flavor tastes of bready tones with notes of hops that used to be dominate. Again, no belgiumy tones.
Mf. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, a little rough on the finish.
Overall not as an impressive choice for aging. (426 characters)

Photo of marburg
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Puffy, only somewhat sticky white head atop a browned golden body. Exotic nose consisting of mashed banana, creamsicle, citrus zest, and meringue. Surprisingly cohensive and floral. Perhaps a bit creamier than I'm used to in a tripel. Similarly, there's a creamy vanilla flavor to this -- fresh and a bit oaky -- with light bits of caramelized sugar in the background. Honey/sweet melon and tropical fruits. Dries out a bit with some yeasty spice and some flower petal. Remarkably heavy on the exotic flavors but nonetheless tasty. A solid Stone offering, but I'm wondering if this will really stand up for another 10 years or whatever it's supposed to do... (658 characters)

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9/19/09: Instead of going to GABF this year, we're having our own craft beer weekend at the beach. Thus I'm breaking out an '04 VE for the first time in a few years to see how it's changed. And changed it has. Color remains the same golden, with a significant amount of suspended yeast floating throughout. Spiciness of the Belgian yeast still comes though in the aroma, as do soft floral notes, alcohol and a lot of vanilla. This vanilla flavor is also present in the flavor. The lime has faded to be nearly undetectable. Still very good carbonation upon first pour with a good head, but quickly fades to lace. Very smooth on the mouthfeel. I think I liked a fresh sample better and this may be on its way down, however still very tasty and very drinkable. No change to my original ratings.

4/15/04: Ah, a fresh '04. Typical tripel golden color with a moderate fluffy white head. Sweet malty and yeasty aroma, with notes of banana and clove. Still nothing out of the ordinary. Flavor of citrus and spice come out, with just a faint hint of what tastes like those lime flavored Tostitos in the very end of the finish. The after-after taste, if you will. I guess that's the wee lime leaf. Alcohol is easily detectable in the flavor but certainly not overdone or taking away from the other flavors. You'll know it's there though. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a surprising amount of low carbonation, considering it is so young. This will be interesting to age, and I look forward to seeing how the other bottles I have come out over the years. More extensive reviewing to follow. (1,579 characters)

Photo of kbub6f
4.73/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear, gold beer with hints of orange sports a big, dense, yellowy-white, creamy, fine head that leaves runny spots of lacing. Gorgeous. Candy sugar in the sweet, spicy, citrus, buttery nose. Wow. Bubblegum and spice in the front. A full, foamy, hugely buttery/sweet creamy middle. Spicy, dry, grainsy finish is quite bitter, with alcohol aplenty. More bubblegum in the aftertaste with some nice corn and butter. I can appreciate that this beer might not turn everyone's crank, but it really pushes all of my buttons. Absolutely delicious. Not too sweet, with a nice bitter finish. Spicy, buttery, bubblegummy with a fantastic sweet creamy middle. Give the DBF keys to my wife 'cause I can't be trusted. (705 characters)

Photo of cbl2
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:

Medium to light straw in color with a half inch of head. Fluid is crystal clear, and bursting with carbonation.

Smell:

Sweet candied malts with some strong spice scent as well (possibly the Keffir Lime).

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Very intriguing. Super smooth mouthfeel coupled with sweet malt characteristic, and some definite banana-hefeweizen flavors. High alcohol content is completely masked, and the lime flavor just peeks in.

03-03-03 is a tough act to follow, and this one doesn't quite live up to its predecessor. It is an excellent (albeit odd) beer however, and I can't wait to see how it ages. (629 characters)

Photo of scottoale
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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! (1,124 characters)

Photo of OStrungT
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (477 characters)

Photo of crookedhalo
3.9/5  rDev -1%
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. (438 characters)

Photo of kmo1030
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8/31/04: bright orangy amber with a thick white head. the smell has the banana lemony citrus and clove of a belgian tripel, but there is also some sweet orange and hints of chocolate in there as well, giving it nice complexity. the taste is really pretty interesting, there is a lot of bannana presence with the clove and lemon flavors showing up too. then it i gets unique... i think i taste the lime mentioned on the label (though it may just be the power of suggestion). the is a distinct trace of cocoa, as well as some light orange flavors just like i detected in the smell. a little bit like those chocolate oranges you get around christmas, except very subdued. there is a slight acidic sort of tomato flavor that appears too. the taste doesn't really deliver like 03 did. I need MORE. the mouthfeel is fairly full bodied and smooth with pretty delicate carbonation. surprisingly pretty dry or something like it.
this is a very intersting tripel. i'd like to see a little more sweetness rather than tartness develop as this ages. i'd also liek the flavors be a little more pronounced. as mentioned in previous reviews this seems like it will age nicely, but is sort of unfinished as of right now. i'm gonna let my other bottle sit unitl april and see what happens. (1,272 characters)

Photo of joecast
2.67/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

thin layer of foam over orange tinted fizzy yellow beer??? (from stone??)
aroma is pretty pronounced. definite fruity, spicy overtones but some sort of alcohol there as well. maybe nailpolish remover. whatever it is, it doesnt seem to go well.
flavor seems like it need a year or two cellaring. too many different things going on that need time to get to know each other so they can play well together. like the maltiness is trying to fight through the other styles. seems to be trying too hard and is too aggressive.
mouthfeel is on the thin, slippery side.
the drinkabilty is lower than any other score to reflect the fact that while some things worked ok, overall, it lacked any definite direction and lost its way somewhere... (735 characters)

Photo of becktone
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (2,191 characters)

Photo of klewis
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (1,081 characters)

Photo of kaseydad
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had a few of these through the years...time to review today.

Pours a pretty clear amber/copper color with a nice sized off-white foamy head. Still carbonated nicely for being almost 10 years old. A few cloudys in the bottle where they shall stay. A touch of lacing.

The aroma consists of belgian yeast, banana, orange, apple and grape. Getting a large fruit forward whiff. Hefe style aroma.

The aroma is still very belgian yest forward. More subtle banana. Lime and slight lemon. Wheat. Good tangerine and orange flavors. A touch of bitterness on the swallow and yeasty finish.

The mouthfeel is well carbonated for the age. Proper cellaring folks!

Overall this is still holding up nicely. I was hoping for the best, but my expectations were exceeded. Sure it's not fresh, but I appreciate it for the longevity and changes that have occured. More fruit and belgian yeast are shining through. I tell ya...cellar these correctly and you have a treat on your hand. Albeit an older treat. (989 characters)

Photo of SheepNutz
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a medium gold color with two fingers of fluffy white head. There is a bit of lacing left on the glass. The smell is malty and sweet, with lots of fruit. White grapes, apple, and pear are all in there. Just a hint of yeast character and alcohol too. The taste is also sweet and fruity. More of the white grape and yeast character comes through. A touch of citrus and spice there on the finish as well. Not a bit of alcohol in sight. The mouthfeel is thick and full-bodied, yet smooth. The drinkability is really great, you'd never know this was 8.5% abv. Another good one from the guys and gals at Stone. (658 characters)

Photo of stewart124
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange.

Nose has tons of lime and citrus in general. Some farmhouse characters, hay possibly.

Taste is sweeter than I anticipated but delicious. Almost a candied sweetness. Thin but very drinkable. The kaffir lime comes through strong and obviously fruity, citrusy in general.

This is delicious. I could put back a few of these. Alas, is not available. So easy drink. There is little to no trace of alcohol and it's hard to believe that this is 8.5%. (466 characters)

Photo of chilidog
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy New Year, Break out & open the 04 V.Epic. so thats what we did..
The beer poured a hazy gold with a bit of cloud. Yeast could be seen in the bottle but not noticed in the glass. The head started out good-sized with big white bubbles as a slight "fizz" could be heard as it faded to a nice thin film accross the top. The film climbs and clings to the glass as if feeding the lace in spots.
The aroma was citric wheat that favored lime. The taste starts off with a lime based citric balanced with the hop then followed by a balance of sweeted malt and the warming of alcohol. The taste has an oaky sweetness with hints of vanilla and brown sugar. The mouthfeel is soft and mellow which aids the drinkability and your left with a finish of wheat cloves, lime & spice. Oh ya, the warmth of the alcohol is nice too.
A nice Stone to bring in the new year. Here's to 05, bring it on!! (886 characters)

Photo of mrmanning
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Blankboy for being generous enough to send this my way. Pours a slight hazed orange with a creamy one finger froth, that recedes and leaves minute lace. Aromas are a blast of pineapples, yeasty esters, mint sprigs, banana. and malts. Sweet fruity mint flavours are nice. Lots of plum, pineapple, yeasty with white bread. Sugared citrus fruit finish. A good example, glad I drank it now, as I don't see it lasting too much longer. Thanks for the opportunity Paul! (476 characters)

Photo of BeerBuilder
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours yellow-orange in color and forms a white head. The aroma is yeasty, with a clove and banna aroma, kinda like a hefe. It is somewhat herbal as well. The flavor is very unique. It has a spicy, fruity, yeastiness, also candy like with a drying finish. It is relatively light in body compared to its strength. A very unique/unusual brew. Thanks stubob.

Sampled 5/10/04 (373 characters)

Photo of nomad
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

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

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

In sum, a pretty normal tripel, far from the scions of the style. I hope one of these Stone Verticals gets more than interesting and becomes truly tasty in the next few years. I'm starting to not believe in their limited edition beers. (1,149 characters)

Photo of karst
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Following Ruination. (bad idea?)
Hazy pale orange Belgium nose and appropriate CO2. Aromas well described on bottle. Very interesting tripel with the yeast, tangerine-orange zest, lime bitterness and 8.5 abv wanting some time to soften.
Although very drinkable and balanced with great mouthfeel got to wonder what cellaring a few years would bring. (good idea?) (363 characters)

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