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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

308 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 308
Reviews: 214
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 100
Gots: 47 | 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 Sixpoint
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

Sixpoint, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of UncleFlip
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

UncleFlip, Jul 11, 2005
Photo of Ellbert
2.55/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: This was good. It was a very clear yellow/gold beer with a white head. There wasn't much lace however.

Smell: The smell was like no other beer I have smelled before. There was aromas of sweet malt and the lime that just overpowered a lot of the aroma. This was fairly unpleasanct.

Taste: The taste was ok at first. There was a malty sweetness followed by some spices. It was very crisp and fairly refreshing except for the lemon that took complete control in the end. Very unbalanced which maybe years in the cellar could fix. This made it very unpleasant and almost undrinkable.

Overall a brew that has potential but is not very good. I would be interested to see how this beer changes during it's aging period.

Ellbert, Jun 21, 2004
Photo of deejaydan
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note-- Aged in cellar for 1 year

Appears golden in color, slightly hazy from the yeast. Wonderful sticky lacing. Large fisheye bubbles pop through the surface of the head.

Aroma is funky belgian yeast. Not anything easily recognizable. No bubblegum, clove or banana. Just funky yeast, but pleasant.

Taste-- I get some Lime. Some alcohol is present, but not upfront and aggresive. Slight sour finish, yet not dry like other tripples I've tried.

Mouthfeel-- Good, medium body, not overly thined out by sugar. Carbonation is pleasant, non obtrusive.

Drinkablilty. Well, I like this one. I'm going to wait until 2012 to crack my other bottles though.

deejaydan, May 04, 2005
Photo of andysc83
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

andysc83, Jun 14, 2013
Photo of DavidRose
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

DavidRose, Feb 21, 2013
Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic was served from a 22 oz. bottle. In a Duvel tulip, the beer was an attractive and crystal clear deep coppery-golden, and was topped by a weak fine white head that quickly dissapated into a ring. The nose presented an intense hit of ripe plantain, sharp old banana, and coriander seed. A light mustiness and a touch of alcohol was observed when the beer approached room temperature. The taste followed the nose closely. Loud flavors of creamy banana and coriander gave way to a zippy orange-lime transition into a low key moderately bittered finish that left only limey traces coriander and creamed banana. The nose and flavors were robust and enjoyable, but lacked inspiration and dimensionality. Perhaps aging will bring out more character. The body and carbonation were quite good for the flavors. I really enjoyed the subdued sweetness level, making for a nicely drinkable strong ale. Overall, a robust but rather unexciting brew with an interesting plantain/banana twist... and it seems more like a Belgian strong pale than an Abbey Tripel.

HiroProtagonist, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of robbrandes
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

robbrandes, Apr 03, 2013
Photo of RootedFool
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I literally yelped aloud when I saw bombers of this at my local beer Mecca, the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass, the head is three-quarter inches tall, frothy and bright white, lots of pea-sized bubbles. The head falls within minutes leaving a modest amount of bubbly film on the brew's surface. Minor strips of lace hold to the glass. The body is bright copper.

Smell is upfront spicy sweet, like a freshly halved honeydew melon beside a warm of batch of ginger snap cookies; the middle is slightly briny, almost like sea water; the finish is buttery sourdough bread with a background of bananas. I kept wanting to pick up on the lime leaf mentioned on the bottle as an ingredient, but couldn't.

Taste opens with a round and full sweep of bitter-sweetness --caramelized bananas, black pepper, watermelon. The middle turns a sharp corner into a blast of bitterness, not at all piercing -- it massages with strength over my entire palate. Aftertaste is a rich, bready background spiked with a high-pitched swing of bitterness, and lingering somewhere along the periphery...lime leaf? There's definitely a down-played note of juicy, citrusy bitter-sweetness here, toward the close.

Mouthfeel is perfectly palate-coating, without being sticky.

An incredible ride -- talk about twists and turns, this brew has it. Truly epic, no doubt.

RootedFool, Jun 05, 2004
Photo of beerinator
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orangey yellow. Clear. Nice off-white head, with tiny little bubbles.

Aroma: Very fragrant. Smells 'stone-y'. Perfumey floral smells. Aroma is fairly fruity (pear) with clove and banana smells. Deep aromas.

Taste: Depth of taste is impressive. Good body with a bit of spice in the middle of the tongue. Banana-y sweetness, with a pretty quick finish. Apples and pears are predominant fruits in the flavor.

Notes: Fun beer. This beer is like a spiced fruit pie. I'm not too sure if this one is made to last the long haul, but the depths of flavor and aroma make me really want to see what this one will be like in a year or two.

beerinator, Jun 12, 2004
Photo of avylover
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

cellar for 8 years eh? Not in this house...

Anyhow, this brew pours out a golden orange color, with just a slight haze to it. The head is small but rough, like a mountainous landscape on top. Aroma is yeast & bready, with some spicyness showing up. Some mandarin orange aromas showing up. Taste is also full of orange rind. This is like a overhopped belgian ale to me. There is a lot of delicate taste going on back there, but combined with the american hopping style you end up with something like sour fruit. Piney hops, some bready malt. Aftertaste is non-existent. This is like a beer that can't make up it's mind. Stone IPA mixed with La Fin Du monde = this beer. Not offensive, just strange. Decent bubbly mouthfeel. This will take some getting used to. After all, this is Stone, generally over the top.

avylover, May 12, 2004
Photo of SeanChouffe
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a transparent golden/orange color with a fine white head and light fine carbonation. Head retention is low and the lace is fine and sticky. Aroma is subtle but deep; fruity esters, malt a slightly grassy background with a hint of those lime leaves. Palate is full bodied with a light (syrupy) sweet start and a biting, slightly tart, finish. Flavor has an interesting contrast of sweet and lingering bitter finish.
Interesting but does not display much of the complex characteristics I had encountered the first time I had this beer closer to its bottling.

SeanChouffe, Sep 22, 2004
Photo of chaz01
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Good sized (4-5 ounce) pour at a Stone Vertical Tasting Event sponsored by Belmont Party Supplies on 5/12/2010, served in a very cool Stone Vertical Epic tasting glass.

A: Bright clear deep golden color, Some foam oozes out the top of bottle as it's opened.

S: Minty lime aroma, reminds me of gin.

T: Floral and spicy, with mint leaves flavor.

M: Light bodied, low carbonation. Complex bittersweet aftertaste reminds me of drinking tea.

D: Beer if full of flavor and very unique. In reading Stones tasting notes, the minty leaf flavor that dominates is in reality the Kaffir lime leaf, which pleasantly dominates the taste. Perhaps a bit thin, but otherwise very interesting beer.

chaz01, May 16, 2010
Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into the Vertical Epic Glass.

First pour was careful so as not to disturb the yeast. It poured a very clear coppery gold with no retained head.

The smell was surprising, and included light minty and buttery qualities. Some swwetness is also present.

Very subdued peach is detected among the hop flavor. The taste is light with mild tannin.

The tannin is present on the feel, but other than that, it is clean and slightly warming.

Doppelbockulus, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of shippos
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured a slightly hazy honeyish color with a large flufy pillowy white head. soft slightly sweetish and a little spicy aroma very reminicent of some german wheat beers. the clove character is starting to come through as it warms with a bit of underlying yeastyness there is also a bit of citrus in there but i can't tell what kind for the life of me. soft light body with that distinct kinda thickish wheat beer taste. It was hidden at first and the carbonation and mild spicyness of the beer left it undetected. takes a few sips for me to unravel the mysteries in a beer like this. alcohol is very well hidden at first but as it warms becomes a bit more noticeable but still very nicely balanced. excellent refreshing quality to it when it's bit on the chilled side and as it warms to around room temp. turns into an excellent nighttime warmer. truly top notch, if anyone see's any out there grab a few.

shippos, Dec 02, 2004
Photo of Longstaff
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A pretty good example of a well made US belgian style that only needs a little adjustment to be a great one. I had to pour this one roughly just induce a little head, but it fell quickly. Aromas were wonderful and full of bubblegum and spicy alcohol from the Belgian yeast. Nice golden color. Cotton candy like flavors mix well with the cookie dough flavored malt. Somewhat complex already and I'm sure with a little more age, it would be even more so. The mouthfeel on this is perfect for the first few sips, but seems to loose too much carbonation at the end, leaving it feeling thin. I think a touch more carbonation will turn this from being pretty good to being outstanding. They should make this one a regular.

Longstaff, Apr 27, 2004
Photo of coasterfreak75
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour was a light yellow with a slight amount of sediment. Had a good three-quarter inch head that quickly dissapated and left a white ring around the top of the beer.

The smell was very malty with a strong fruit overtone, hidden somewhere in the back of my nose was a light hop spice.

The drink started with a malt kick followed by more malt in the middle with light hops. The finish was a lingering oily fruit.

This was a very refreshing beer. I hope to find it again and put it up for a few years, just to see what it does.

coasterfreak75, Jul 11, 2004
Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a light golden amber color with a bubbly white head that leaves a nice lace. There is a wide range of aromas to this brew from which I can come up with some banana, a big presence of yeast, hints of wheat, and a noticeable lime like aroma that comes from the kaffir lime leaves. To me this is kinda funky but hey lets move on. The flavor to this brew goes right along with the aforementioned aromas. There is a large wheaty flavor to this brew with a firm backing of yeasty banana. There is a subtle sweetness followed by some citrus notes, while the carbonation is just light enough that it tingles nicely on the tongue. The finish to this brew really shows off the kaffir lime leaves with a firm lime flavor that just sticks to the pallate, with some final notes sweetness and an almost juicy quality.
Overall I find this brew to be quite interesting and very fully flavorful, just its a bit too funky for me to drink on a regular basis. I bet this would probably go well with some thai food, or maybe something spicy...

bigbeerdrinka, Nov 24, 2004
Photo of dmarch
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I don't know why I thought this was barleywine, but it's definately a big beer with Belgian influences as BA indicated. First of all, the appearance is beautiful. Orangey-golden in color with a big blooming white head that diminishes into a fine lace. I have to be honest. It went down hill once the aroma hit my nose. I didn't enjoy this brew as much as I hoped. Sorry Greg, I'm a big fan, but this just didn't do it for me. Incredibly sweet. I couldn't pick out the flavor at first, but I think I figured it out. I am reminded of those little fruit candies you get at those grocery store vending machines. Those little bananna ones...that's this beer. It's definately got the strength, and it does have flavor. I would just want to see this beer a little more dry. Stone is a brewery that I feel guilty giving a bad review to. I'm a huge fan, but this is my first Vertical Epic. As of now, I think I favor their flagship beers.

dmarch, May 17, 2004
Photo of lou91
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured like a textbook triple with alcohol and sweet honey in the nose and a golden/orange glow with minimal head. Initial taste are also textbook with crisp clean flavors of Belgian yeast and sugar and a tart back of the tongue astringency. As it warms it showed greater depth of flavors and is a much better contender to last until 12/12/12 than the first two. As far as Kaffir lime leaves go – I know what they taste like and they were too faint to be noticeable. But this would be good with thai food with its sweetness and crisp clean tastes.

lou91, Apr 23, 2004
Photo of abfraser
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An exceptional beer tasting evening with joeyschlitz and waltonc included a bottle of 2004 through 2008. Wasn't prescient enough to save the 2002 or 2003, but still ended up great

A: Orange, murky, yeasty

S: Honey, butterscotch, faint lime

T: Candi sugar, caramel malt, wheat, honey

M: Mouth was a little flat--made me wonder if this one was going to hold up for the 2012 grand vertical

D: Smooth and easy drinking; no complaints

This one ranked 3rd out 5 for me; 2005, 2007 and 2006 were better

abfraser, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of BeerFink
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After lying dormant for over a year, its time to crack this bomber open...

Appears hazy and very golden with a sticky white head. Very inviting... Nose is yeasty and malty with hints of bread, bananas, and alcohol. Taste is much smoother than I would have expected. Creamy malts lead the way into yeasty breadiness. A little lemon zestiness mixes with spices, sugar, and alcohol. Slight hops finish in a spicy manner. Big smooth mouthfeel with low carbonation magnifying the creaminess. Finish is warm with alcohol mixing with spicy hops and a touch of sweet bananas. I was wondering how well Stone was going to pull off the Belgian styles, but they definitely did a kick ass job. A good blend of American and Belgian takes on the tripel.

BeerFink, Jun 02, 2005
Photo of kmcnair
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing this one as sampled from a Chimay goblet out of a 22oz bomber.

This ale is a light golden to copper color and makes a thin off white head. Boquet is rather nice, light malty and hoppy and slightlysweet. Banana esters, coriander spice, hints of orange-lemon-lime citrus, nice even hop/malt balance. Has a sweetness to the finish. Body is medium to full and lightly warms the palate and throat as it goes down. Another fine brew from Stone, that is rather easy to drink.

kmcnair, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of jeffjfindley
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
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.

jeffjfindley, May 24, 2007
Photo of FormatKid
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh yeah, I’m really interested to see Stone’s interpretation on a Belgian Tripel when it is so far from their standard offerings. I have faith in them though. Presentation is 22oz bomber with horizontal labeling.

I poured this one out into my La Trappe goblet. The body is a honeyed light golden color. A nice head rolls up but quickly dissipates into next to nothing. A single small stream of carbonation streams to the top from the middle of the goblet.

The smell is right on par with other examples I’ve experienced of the style. Big musty and doughy yeast presence. Sweet banana and peppery alcohol bite in the nose. Maybe, just maybe I’m picking up on that lime leaf that’s proudly advertised on the bottle.

The taste correlates with the smell almost 100%. Maybe a little thinner than I’m used to with a tripel in mouthfeel though. I was hoping it would be a little more creamy. Doughy rye bread taste throughout. Musty yeast becomes apparent in the middle. In the finish I can definitely pick up the pungent, tart, green lime leaf flavors. Zig-zags of earthen hop bitterness become apparent in the finish as well. Really delicious.

Besides the mouthfeel being a tad on the thin side I think this was an excellent representation of a Belgian Tripel. Now I just have to figure out how to get another bottle of this.

Thanks John!

FormatKid, Sep 11, 2004
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.