1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

308 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 308
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 99
Gots: 48 | FT: 4
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 308 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of russwbeck
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Churchkey.

This one has a semi hazy yellow color and a small fizzy white head. While the head laces well, it doesn't stick around for very long. It smells very Belgian-like, with clove, banana, and Belgian yeast taking over. There's also a slight amount of booze and an overall sweetness. The taste is muted. It really doesn't taste like much of anything. Perhaps some hay, light spice, and lingering clove. It's light and uncarbonated, but pretty drinkable because it tastes like nothing. Not a fan. Again, too old.

russwbeck, Jan 06, 2013
Photo of LakerLeith
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

LakerLeith, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of BeerManDan
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured the color was a medium golden yellow with a little foam that disapated. The smell of spices filled the nose along with a hint of fruitiness. The taste was spicy and malty in nature, with a hint of orange peel. Also, a sort of creamy sensation on the tongue and palate. The balance of sweetness and bitterness was extremely good. A little short on the finish, but the taste will drinking Stones Epic Ale, made it pleasant.

In general, a fruity aroma and a soft, sweet maltiness.

BeerManDan, Jun 23, 2004
Photo of mschofield
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium amber-gold, topped with a three finger puffy off-white head, left partial rings of lacing.
Spicy, yeasty, lime aroma, banana and flowers.
Robustly flavored, very yeasty - seems a little "wild" maybe it needs time to settle itself down. Lime, wet bread, wheat and flowers. More hop flavor than bitterness, although the bitterness does come out more when it warms.
Medium-full bodied, I've got a couple of bottles in the cellar it will be interesting to see how the compare to the fresh draft over time.

mschofield, Oct 01, 2004
Photo of CityofBals
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

CityofBals, Sep 12, 2013
Photo of Massbmx
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Massbmx, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I will defer to some of the more experienced reviewers below, since this is my #50 review- only 750 to go to catch up to EyeChartBrew!

Seriously, I decided to try this brew "fresh" because of the previous reviews- saving some for later. Pours a almost clear gold color that is ever so slightly cloudy, from a 22 oz. breown bottle. There is an immediate (but not terribly strong) belgian yeast aroma, with nice carbonation and a nice head. Head starts out moderate size and settles to a small white covering in a few minutes. Aroma is nice, with sugars and citrus (orange, sour lime?) and some banana.

Flavor is sharp, with wheat, citrus, banana, and lots of things I knew were there but could not identify. There were some hops bite, with an overall mustiness and earthiness from the yeast. Surprising lack of sweetness.

Overall I did not really care for it. Based on previous discussion, I guess it is from it being young, and will get better. But I guess I compare it to a Rochefort 10, which is great fresh and gets better from there. This one is ok fresh, and supposed to get better from there. Will it? Don't know.

Dukeofearl, Apr 15, 2004
Photo of Magery
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Magery, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +3.4%

SPRichard, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of BuckTuckian
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

BuckTuckian, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of TXhomebrewer
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

TXhomebrewer, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Boilermaker88, Apr 16, 2004
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

HappyHourHero, Jun 23, 2004
Photo of neonbrown82
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

neonbrown82, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of axeman9182
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

axeman9182, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of ommegangpbr
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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!

ommegangpbr, Jul 25, 2005
Photo of beergeek279
4.22/5  rDev +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!!

beergeek279, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of kingmaker
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Finally getting around to these beers for my birthday. 04 s now ten years old! I used a tulip glass.

A: Not much sediment at the bottom of the glass. It pours a golden amber/ copper color, pretty clear. A good finger of head appears and steadily fades leaving the thinnest of a ring of bubbles around the glass

S: A rich peppery Belgian smell rises up with a good deal of alcohol behind it. The alcohol begins to dominate as it warms.

T: The Belgian yeasts are heavy hitters up front. Some bananas and citrus towards the end and it ends on a nice rich malt. A little lime comes as it warms.

M: Smooth, smooth, smooth. Amazing carbonation for the age

O: I'm glad I was able to cellar this properly. It was interesting balance (or competitive evolution) of the saison and hefeweizen flavors. I was really impressed with the beer especially since I had no idea what to expect from this when I opened it.

kingmaker, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of scootny
3.66/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Darkish golden brew with a khaki head that stays for a bit. Streaks of lace here and there.

Nose carries some sweet honed notes and wheat malt. The lime brings some citrus.

Taste is a little angular at first as the Belgian profile sets you up to be caught unaware but the lime. After the first swallow however it comes into its own. Pale malt and Belgian yeast bring the typical malt and honey with light fruits. Finish is lightly bittered and the lime adds a punchy citrus.

Feel is lighter and mildly carbonated.

Easy drinking. Light weight

Pretty good stuff

scootny, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of TKEbeerman
2.96/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

TKEbeerman, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of marburg
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
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...

marburg, Nov 23, 2004
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

IrishRedRock, Apr 15, 2004
Photo of kbub6f
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
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.

kbub6f, Jun 04, 2004
Photo of moonknight31
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

moonknight31, Jul 24, 2013
Photo of cbl2
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

cbl2, Jul 20, 2004
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.