1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

305 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 305
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
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: 305 | Reviews: 214 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of crookedhalo
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

crookedhalo, Nov 17, 2004
Photo of kmo1030
3.83/5  rDev -1%
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.

kmo1030, Aug 31, 2004
Photo of OStrungT
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

OStrungT, Jan 27, 2005
Photo of weonfire
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

weonfire, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of becktone
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

becktone, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of klewis
3.83/5  rDev -1%
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.

klewis, Aug 18, 2005
Photo of joecast
2.63/5  rDev -32%
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...

joecast, Jun 11, 2004
Photo of marct
2.25/5  rDev -41.9%

marct, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of SheepNutz
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

SheepNutz, Aug 31, 2004
Photo of chilidog
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
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!!

chilidog, Jan 02, 2005
Photo of mrmanning
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
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!

mrmanning, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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

BeerBuilder, Aug 06, 2004
Photo of kaseydad
4.14/5  rDev +7%
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.

kaseydad, May 09, 2013
Photo of nomad
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
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.

nomad, Jun 19, 2004
Photo of stewart124
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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%.

stewart124, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of karst
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
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?)

karst, Mar 01, 2005
Photo of Mikeluzzjr
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Mikeluzzjr, May 04, 2014
Photo of donnebaby
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not totally clear yellow orange glow of a body, with an exceptionally creamy-looking thick head that unfortunately falls immediately, leaving a thick collar of bubbles and haze. Nose is sugar crystal sweet candy apple with some dryness and alcohol in the background. Cloves and licorice.

Taste is subdued compared to my expectations -- goes down very nicely and has the feel of a nicely crafted big bodied hefe-w. Low sweetness level spiced with crystal ginger and orange peel. Apple cider. Slightly bitter chewy hops muddle the otherwise clean and refreshing after -- and seem to grow in chewiness as warming progesses.

Although highly drinkable, I found myself wanting a little more umph from a tripel than this provided and I grew slightly bored of the apply sweetness.

donnebaby, Mar 17, 2005
Photo of PhineasGage
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

PhineasGage, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of MordorMongo
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

MordorMongo, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of frank4sail
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell of lemon grass, sweet malt and sharp yeast. Very attractive carbonated, filtered?, crystal gold look in the goblet With a fine white head. Not a ton of retention. Initial earthy, hay flavors are then smoothed by wheat and corriander flavors. The brew is very smooth with lots of bubble action dancing on the tongue. The brew is very good now but seens sharp and agressive upfront. It should be a killer with a year or two on it in the cellar. Me like it...

frank4sail, May 25, 2004
Photo of mzwolinski
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This review was written 3 days after the initial release date. Gosh, I like living in San Diego. :-)

Same bottle design as in previous years, with a label that describes this as part Bier de Garde, part Saison, and part Hefeweisen. They've upped production to 5000 cases this year, which is good news for all of you who don't have the good fortune to live in SoCal. 8.5% ABV. Hefty.

Crystal clear gold on the pour -- but a rich, vibrant gold. Not at all wimpy-looking. Pretty decent carbonation, but the head doesn't do much -- a thin white top struggles to form for about ten seconds ago before calling it quits.

The aroma is enticing. Sharp and citric, with a hint of lime. Refreshing.

Lime comes through in the start of the flavor as well, followed by some pretty strong banana flavors and some mild yeastiness. Lime reasserts itself at the finish, along with a peppery, slightly salty finish. Alcohol is pretty noticeable at this stage. Not alot of sweetness here at all.

Medimum-bodied with a good amount of carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

I'm optimistic about this beer. On the down side, I don't think it's all that drinkable at present. The flavors are a bit harsh, and too bluntly separated. Too much going on too fast without enough continuity throughout the sip. On the other hand, the flavors that are whizzing by are *interesting* ones, and I'm pretty confident that with age (though hopefully it won't take the whole 8 years!) they will blend together into a truly lovely brew. I will re-review next year and see where things stand then.

mzwolinski, Apr 08, 2004
Photo of dtx00
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

dtx00, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of CharlesRiver
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

CharlesRiver, Aug 28, 2004
Photo of waltonc
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this with joeyschlitz and abraser last night, thanks to ab's generosity, as part of the Vertical Epic tasting of 2004 through 2008.

A: Hazy golden color.

S and T: You definitely get a little of the lime, lots of honey, and some bread/yeast. Honey becomes more pronounced as this warms up.

M: Medium body and carbonation.

D: Not overwhelming in any direction, so pretty drinkable.

waltonc, Oct 06, 2008
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 305 ratings.