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
87
very good

316 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 316
Reviews: 218
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 95
Gots: 49 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 316 | Reviews: 218
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on-tap at Anam Cara Public House.

This tripel poured a clear, golden color with light white foam that settled. The smell was slightly vinous, Belgian malt, with a light sweetness and a light fruitiness. The taste was malty (Belgian malt) with a light vinous character and a touch of sweetness. The finish was mildly hoppy. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and good carbonation. The flavors lingered nicely. This was a rather nice tripel.

Photo of merlin48
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a St Bernardus goblet, this Tripel pours a clear, apricot colored body. Small white head leaves a frothy collar and attractive sheets of lace. Active carbonation is very apparent, with scores of tiny bubbles rushing up from the bottom.

Aroma evokes Juicy Fruit chewing gum, with a strong banana essence. Wheat notes are also picked up, with a nice array of Belgianesque spices. Clove, coriander, and freshly ground white peppercorns lead the spice component.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Carbonation level is ideal for style.

Banana is up front in the taste, but the Juicy Fruit chewing gum flavor is as prominent as in the aroma. The yeast plays a prominent role here, and lends a dirty carpet presence that nicely compliments the sweet fruitiness. I just can't pick up the lime.

Excellent drinkability and another high quality product from the folks at Stone. This one should improve with age, and the bottle sardonically suggests saving this until 12-12-12.

Photo of Boto
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Bomber: Sampled 1/27/2005: This one poured a hazy, golden color. There was a fair amount of an off-white head on it, but it died down rather quickly. Interesting aroma. Some banana, breadiness, malt, yeast and definitely some spicy hop aroma (what else would you expect from Stone?). An interesting somewhat sweet taste. Hints of wheat and lemon also. Finishes with some dryness and tartness.

Photo of ehammond1
2.98/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On Tap

Stone Epic Festival 12-12-12
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 8 years)

Cloudy golden with a whisper of an off-white head. Leaves irregular spots and lines of stick down the glass. Pretty enough, and appropriate.

The Belgian yeast presents sweet banana character along with some mild pepper notes, a touch of citrus (though I wouldn't say lime if I was given this blind), and distinct banana. There's also a substantial amount of simple sweetness that covers up much of the complexity that may be there. The aroma is still very strong and expressive after all these years. A bit too much alcohol heat and overbearing sweetness to score particularly well.

The flavor follows the aroma. A flavorful, bold combination of banana, booze, mild citrus, and tangy Belgian yeast character. Like with the aroma, there's an overbearing sweetness that dominates.

Though I never had the opportunity to try this fresh, this is now a thick, heavy, nearly-flat beer reminiscent of a syrup. The low point of this beer.

Too sweet, too syrupy, though not offensive.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the glass a clear golden with an amber hue. The head was off-white and moussy, very tightly bubbled and fell very slowly to coat the glass.

The aroma had a prominent banana ester when first poured. As the head proceeded to fall some faint spice emerged and a citrusy aroma, orange and lemon, became more prominent.

The flavor was on the sweet side. Malty but a bit over the top in terms of sweetness. The bittering did not keep the malt in check and the spices were muted at best. The citrus aromas were less evident in the flavor and lemon overcame orange. The alcohol let it's presence be known in the flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting citrusy lemon presence. The body was medium full and alcohol was present in the finish.

22 ounce bottle. An interesting beer, but not a wonderful triple. It will be interesting to see how other bottles age out. I read the bottle after the review was typed in and lime is the definite flavor and aroma.

Photo of flexabull
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When this was released, I was only able to get one bottle. So I have never tried this beer until now. And thanks to a trade about a year ago, I got another bottle. I THINK it was from AdamB84. Whoever it was... thanks again!

So what the heck, I've been looking for something interesting to drink, so I figured why not, I've still got one left to sit on until 2012. This should be interesting now that this one has 4+ years under it's belt. Here goes...

Cap pops off with a pretty good hiss. Aromas are very strong even with the bottle sitting a couple of feet from me, and I haven't even poured it yet.

Beer pours a bright gold color, with a slight haze, and a nice head.

Aromas are strong, and quite unique. A bit sour, citrus like, yeasty, spicy, cloves, and a touch of honey.

Flavors are complex, but not at all overpowering. Lots of subtle flavors in this one. Lots of mellow spices, cloves, yeast, and a touch of lime, along with some sweet honey like malt notes. The finish is crisp and tangy.

Mouthfeel is good. The carbonation is still going strong, and the feel is full and thick in the mouth.

Drinkability is top notch. A very flavorful beer, that isn't too high on the alcohol. A very pleasant sipper, I will really enjoy the rest of this bottle.

This beer seems to be holding up just fine. When I tasted the 03 last year, it felt like it might be peaking, but this one seems to have legs, and can sit quite a bit longer.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
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...

Photo of Mitchster
4.87/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Evidently made with Kaffir Lime leaves. Limited 5000 case release. 22oz.bottle, 8.5% ABV. See http://www.stonebrew.com/epic/040404/recipe.html
for the homebrew recipe.


SG=1.076, FG=1.011, IBU=35.
Brewed with:
- Pale 2-row malt (95%)
- Unmalted wheat flakes(5%)
- Sterling hops(35 IBUs)
- Kaffir lime leafs(about 3 grams per 5 gallons)
- Bastogne Belgian yeast from Whitelabs

Filtered (for something that is supposed to be drank 8 years from now?). Pours out to a brilliantly clear light honey-colored caramel, forming a medium-sized rocky light-beige head with excellent retention and clumpy kibbles and bits of sticky lace. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is immediately recognizable as Bavarian (i.e-Weinhestephaner) hefe-weizen yeast strain, with that unique abundance of bananas and cloves. This is coupled to a very delicate toast, and when swirled, honey and caramel notes are produced. Wonderful nose....It's hard to believe that the bad boys of brewing, "Stone"...are capable of pulling off something so subtle, yet so powerful. Mouthfeel is initially fizzy and powdery with a medium body which envelopes the senses. Starts out in flavor like a classic, albeit heavily malted, Bavarian Weisse, and then somewhere in the middle, a wierd bitter root flavor pops out...I'm attributing this to the Kaffir leaves, not having distinctly tasted them before. This yeast strain is subtley located between a Belgian triple and the aforementioned strain, but leans towards the latter. Smacking the roof of the mouth with the tongue minutes after the drink produces an odd, distant flavor of bitter root. Bitterness is light and floral, providing a nice backdrop to the deceivingly hefty malt bill. This is really interesting...it floats tenously between a Franziskaner and a Grimbergen. Ahha!..that is exactly what this reminds me of!...the Grimbergen (which I bought in Venice, and is not to be confused with the version I later bought in the US which tasted completely different). It goes without saying that this is expertly fermented with no off-flavors and the alcohol is hidden nearly completely.

At any rate, this is really fucking good shit (imperative). I'll give you some really good advice. Don't bother waiting to drink this later...suck it up now, it's not gonna get any better with time. I'm blown away that Stone pulled this one off so fluently...they've earned some new-found respect from me. Put on your favorite music and winamp plugin (in my case, Meshuggah).

This beer is an experience larger than the bottle and it's contents...this is some amazing shit. Stock up. Now.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am sampling one of my bottles of this beer. Almost on its one year anniversary. THe beer is at room temp and I am drinking from a pint glass. The beer pours a bright clear gold color with 2 cm of bleached white head foaming up easily and resting on the surface.
Aroma is rather mild, but I detect some wheat twang, a bit of sugar sweetness and general sweet spiciness, cloves perhaps, also a bit of citusy lemon.
First sip reveals a fine tingly carbonation and average body. Flavor is light and crisp with some lemon and white grape fruitiness and again sweet spices that I cant place. OVerall the beer is very light and doesnt feel or taste like a tripel. Leaves a sweet coating on my tongue after each swallow. A decent beer but I hope it improves on its quest for 12.12.12. vertical.

Photo of Floydster
4.63/5  rDev +19.6%
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

Photo of kmpitz2
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I couldn't wait any longer to try this one. The beer pours a cloudy golden yellow with a finger and a half of nice creamy head. The nose is full of sweet fruity tones, something I'm not used to in a Stone beer. Well, the flavor is pretty awesome if you ask me. The initial flavor is a blast of sweet hop, but it finishes with a hefe banana cream essence. I can taste just a hint of the lime leaf used as well, but it is a bit of an afterthought. I think the balance is just great in this beer. The beer is nicely thick and creamy. Very nice! The more I drink this beer, the more of it I want. I'm glad I found a shop in town that carres it still. I think a few more of these will have to come home with me soon.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a semi-hazed orange hue with golden streaks. Minor head on the pour that dissipates to nothing and leaves no lace on the glass.
Aroma of coriander, heavy duty yeast and hint of banana and bubble gum. Pale and crystal malt and some citrusm hints back up the more pronounced aforementioned scents.
Flavor is heavy duty yeast like unfinished bread. If beer could be raw this would be it. This is the first beer I've ever had which I could absolutely tell needs a lot of age. Some sticky, sweet pale malt and a heavy does of grain alocohol make it into the flavors.
Mouthfeel is very sticky and sweet cut by an enormous dose of palate cleansing and tastebud eradicating alcohol. Too much yeast and alcohol to be truly enjoyable.
Drinkability is a little rough, my other bottle will sit for the proscribed period of time. 8 1/2 years seems a long time but this one could definitely use a lot of age.

Photo of arizcards
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at AJ's recently. If it is Stone, one must try it.

This golden orange beer is clouded by it's unfiltered Belgian yeast presenting a very interesting display. It initially poured a nice head leaving a nice lacing. Nose is wonderful, of sweet fruits but noticably having banana overtones. Taste is smooth, not the usual bite of the wonderful Stone hops, but of the wonderful Belgian yeast surrounded by a beautiful medly of malts, hops, and hints of spices and fruits. Mouthfeel is very good, quite lively but smooth. Overall drinkability is near perfect. I would be interested to try one a year from now!

Photo of KYGunner
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nine year old Four had an entrancing brightness of darkened gold color that was topped of with an effervescent bubbling head.

Cider is evident in the nose with a peppery spiciness and then a dry cereal malt finish.

The flavors are interesting in that they don't really go together yet they seem to flow effortlessly. It starts with a lavender taste with some juniper. Then a wine like fruit flavor followed by toffee and pecans. Finally it ends in a peppermint like coolness which lends to feel.

You never know what your going to get after almost a decade but this one still looks and tastes good.

Photo of Crosling
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Toasted Peach.

Nose is nice. Sweet biscuity malt with notes of orange, lemon, lime, vanilla, banana and clove (but barely) and a light yeast presense.

This is a very interesting tasting beer. The lime leaf adds some dryness, spicyness and bitterness. As the beer warms the lime leaf takes a backseat and the hefeweizen characteristics come about with the clove and banana accompanied by some spicy pepper. Notes of pineapple, mint and lemon as well. This beer is cloying. Light bodied. A little sourness. I was hoping this would be a little less clean and a little more funky.

A solid offering, but I will age many beers before I age this.

Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Belgian style, obvious Belgian influences, with the yeast and orange peel characters. But i tasted a lot of American style hops in here (could be wrong, i dunno). Didn’t taste particularly Belgian to me. Interesting all same. Probably have to hang on to a bottle to let in soften. A little too much alcohol showing in the finish.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice orangeish color.Great fluffly head the lingers on the way down.Aroma of spices,malt.Somewhat yeasty.Hint of vanilla?Wonderful flavor.Malty profile upfront.Has the typical "Belgian" taste to it fron the yeast.Nice spiciness-coriander?Great silky smooth mouthfeel to it.Really quite lovely all the way down.Very very drinkable beer-I dont find it to be as in your face as Stone might have you believe.Its going to be a long wait till 2012 to have my other bottle.

Photo of portia99
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass.

A - Pours a clear amber tinted gold with fine floating particles throughout the body of liquid. Low white head fades quickly leaving behind faint traces of lacing on the glass.

S - Malty sweet, honey is quite prominant in the aroma, lite touches of lime, bit of earth, peppery and spicy, some earthy aromas and mild alcohol presence.

T - The kaffir lime comes thru well despite the age of the bottle, lots of honey as was found in the aroma, some pepper. Overall sweet and very honey dominant flavor.

M - A bit syrupy in feel, body is medium-full, carbonation is low-medium and tingly on the tongue, a bit of a spicy burn on the back of the throat on the swallow.

O - Super sweet and honey dominant. Lime holds up nicely and comes thru to compliment the honey. A bit unusual overall.

Photo of Kendo
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle sat in my cellar - two different cellars, actually, as I moved in 2011 - until 12/11/12, when it moved into my fridge. Consumed on 12/12/12 - not a day sooner - as per the directions on the bottle. This is my 998th beer review on BeerAdvocate.com.

A: Poured into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass that has served me well all these years. Body is hazy orangeish-amber with a small white head.

S: Oxidation is noted in the nose - some wet cardboard and sherry-like scents. Also a lot of sweet malt in general, along with a hint of lime or citrus. Alcohol is noted as well.

T: Follows the nose a little - sherry-like from the oxidation and an almost vanilla-like sweetness. Surprised at the heat from the 8.5% ABV - it finishes a little bit hot. Lacking in hoppy bitterness, which is not surprising, but it doesn't finish in a cloyingly sweet way at all.

M: About medium in heft, maybe a little lighter. Smooth, bordering on syrupy, feel - which, combined with the ABV, makes it feel like a sipper despite the heft.

O: Interesting. Certainly drinkable, but I'm curious as to what the beer tasted like fresh (I didn't drink a bottle 8+ years ago). Glad I tried the experiment, but I'm not blown away by this one on 12/12/12. . . .

Photo of clvand0
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a very bright golden color with a large head with good retention and it leaves nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is really strong with Belgian spices and sweet fruit. The flavor was sweet and very fruity. Lots of flavor. Spicy from the yeast. The body was medium and it's smooth to drink. I actually liked the 03.03.03 better, but this is still a great brew.

Photo of charlzm
2.89/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

Beer pours a clear, light medium-gold. Slightly hazy, no head.

The aroma is nebulous esters and phenols; the only thing I could definitely pick out was lime.

Flavor was slightly sweet with notes of clove, pepper and lime. Very low to no bitterness.

Mouthfeel was flat and otherwise unremarkable.

Sadly, this one doesn't seem to have aged very well.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange/straw color, with a thick white foamy head. The head disappeared rather quickly, leaving a small amount of lace on the glass. Smells similar to a wheat beer, in that there is a strong banana note. Also a hint of citrus, and possibly a small amount of spice. Taste is slightly tart, with a slight citrus note. Somewhat dry and yeasty in the finish. Very smooth, and could use more carbonation for this style. Overall, an interseting beer. Whe I think Stone, I think of big, hoppy beers, and this one is not hoppy, or bitter at all. Still, I think this was a good idea by Stone, and it should age nicely. The alcohol presence is there, yet it is pretty drinkable. Seems like a saison on steroids.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge slightly off white sticky head that settles to a tightly packed cover. Light golden orange with plenty of fizzle and carbonated bubbles rising.

In accordance with the bottle print: Phenolic bananas and plenty of clove aromatic yeasty scents arising. While warming up and after a swirling in my trusty Flying Fish tulip, more of the same.

Bold chewy front of Saison-like spice taste. At first, not a discernible grip on much else . Aftertaste is bitter ripe banana & Sweet-tart candy sweet. Dry deep cloves and herb spices of nutmeg. As this slowly warms, the awl-kee-hawl esters rise to the nose and to the flavor. [Label lingo: Umalted Wheat , Kaffir Lime Leaf]

Second serving surmising pour pablum & prate: Also, the final pour had more of the lime & leaf tones than the first pour. Less carbonation and smaller head, perhaps due to settling of particles and awl-kee-hawl.

Plenty of plush tight packed fizzle, and chewy doughy bread.

Last swigs: Full on fours folks. To compare with a local style, STOUDTS Saison can be a bitter close contender for a flavor like this. STONE E4 weighs in at $70 for a case of 12 double-deuce bottles via Beeryard. STOUDTS is less than half of that. This is going to be a nail biter when it matures year by year. STONE is the Cadillac of craft, so the hype must be overlooked. Quite good, even putting the STONE namesake off to the side.

Beer is good. Happy beering and cellering!

Photo of jaasen64
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Lord Hobo's Vertical Epic Event on 12/12/12. This was part of flight "A" (03, 04, 05). 5oz serving in a flight glass.

A- Light straw colored translucent golden without much carbonation or head.

S- Lightly soured presence of honey, straw, faint hint of lime, and light esters, not overly aromatic. I feel as if this definitely got a little bit soured/funked as it aged (which I kind of expected).

T- Lemons, straw, hint of lime, some faint esters, finishes lightly sour with a hint of tartness. Interesting, definitely a nice sour pale ale presence that is attributed from the aging.

M- Light, low carbonation, easy drinking.

O- This was an interesting beer and perhaps the beer that changed the most in the series (although I never had any of the earlier ones fresh). It definitely took over a nice sour tart presence that fit well with the beer but didn't make it anything special. I liked this beer and I definitely enjoyed drinking it. It took a very nice presence aging, but it still definitely isn't my favorite in the series.

Photo of far333
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruddy chestnut color with a lumpy, foamy beige head that sinks fast, but leaves a fine cap across the top. Aroma is sweet, full of sweet pear, cinnamon, and fruit. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, low carbonation. Flavor is sweet and lightly yeasty, a little cloying for my tastes. Finish is interesting as honey, banana, and clove rise to the top, but a tinny aftertaste lingers. I expected much more.

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 316 ratings.