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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
87
very good

315 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 315
Reviews: 218
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 99
Gots: 48 | 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: 315 | Reviews: 218 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After cracking a VE03 tonight, why the hell not go the whole hog!? Some 1 year and 2 months [07.03.05] after I first [05.17.04] sampled this one I fancied cracking one of the 04’s out of my stash as well to see how it fared out of interest, especially as I felt the 03 had improved. My original Review had 3.5/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.0 scores with an overall rating of 3.95.

Appearance: Murky looking golden peach body with a Robertsons Golden Shred Marmalade hue when backlit. Thin head forms and slacks down to a lazy looking scummy covering rather quickly. Dissolved carbonation is enough to keep things alive with a gentle swirl, but it looks tired. Stays at 3.5, but only just.

Nose: Nose is still lively and retains a strong odor Kaffir Lime Leaf that I recall from my first sampling. Spicy hops and a mild yeast character fight to contend with the Lime, which still dominates the VE04. Stays at 4.0.

Taste: Bitter entrance remains, so does the Tripel feel but there is much more lime in here than I recall, right from the from the start and even in the ending…..this one now reeks of lime, a tad overpowering at times I have to say. Wheat-beer like middle with some light floral perfumed bitterness which in turn has a slight black pepper feel in the finish. Lingering sharp lime in the end. Stays at 4.0.

Mouthfeel: Starting to wane slightly, not as big as I recall, the residual lime carries this one through but the feel, once examined closely, is rescinding I think. Dropped this to a 4.0.

Drinkability: Still feels a tad harsh on the tongue and the lime is rasping and way too overpowering for my tastes, yet I still managed the 22 ounce all to myself, but only just. Dropped this to a 3.5, maybe a tad harsh but I struggled with this a little in the finish.

Overall: No better, not that much worse either to be honest, but not as appealing as it was, for me it has dropped 0.1 ticks after just over a year. It is no secret that this is probably my least favorite of the four VE’s to date, though I have to add here that I have only had one VE02. I’m not sure how this one will turn out, but I’m not holding on to too many of these.

Music: Pink Floyd - Great Gig in the Sky (rather loud)

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of FosterJM
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1659th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass
22oz

Split with StarRaptor, Callmecoon & Smarcoly

App- A bit of an apple juice color with a bit of density behind it. A bit more golden than I wouldve thought. A small ring of bubbles was there and was gone quite quickly.

Smell- I didnt get any of the lime on this bottle. I got more of a malty, sweet a little bit of a saison note with some small peppery bits and then moved into a bit of sweet apple notes.

Taste- I thought it was a nice beer. Wasnt overly oxidized and didnt have the usual pop that a BSPA would have. The lime was gone and tasted more like a juice or a white wine to me. (Having 11-11-11 in white wine 2 after this. I still agree) The malts were much more pronounced and this had lost a lot of the nuance of the style.

Mouth- A bit of a syrupy medium body with a medium carbonation. The residual flavors are there with only a touch of the spicy and body of a saison. A little bit of sweetness and apple.

Drink- Probably my least favorite of the earlier bottles. I would say that it was 06-05-03-04. Was a lot of fun to do this tasting.

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of malfunxion
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of tommyguz
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of Reagan1984
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of RedDiamond
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ’04 looks largely lager-like with its pale yellow body capped with a foamy white head. It was very clear until I let all the yeasties spill in. It has a peculiar herb / spice aroma with a strong Belgian accent and tastes much like it smells.

This is brewed with something called Kaffir lime leaf. I have no idea what that is, but its infusion into an otherwise pale Trappist ale is remarkably complimentary and satisfying. The unique taste contributes to a beverage that is highly drinkable. This brew also stands up to food well in that it is prominent and herbal without being overly domineering.
Though the ’04 could benefit from some maturing, I don’t think I’ll wait eight years to try this one again.

Photo of jaxon53
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opted today (27DEC08) to quaff my second (and last) bottle of 04.04.04. Still shines with a lovely, clear golden hue. Fine bubbles stream steadily topside, towards a miniscule layer of white bubbles, most of which cling to the rim, lacing up the sides. Lime is still present in the aroma, which also has a subtle, earthy, horse-blanket quality to it. Mouthfeel is still a fairly smooth feel, and medium bodied.

Light, bready, malty sweetness lands softly on the palate, with a smidge of limey citrus following. Faint banana lurks in the background, and there is still a smidge of spiciness present. The finish is crisp and dry. Still a decent, tasty Epic offering, though I don't think that 4+ years of aging have done anything to make this a better bier. And, I wouldn't expect another 4 years to help. If I were rating this now, I'd likely rate it the same is on 2004.

Prosit!!

*** *** ***

I finally found some VE04 - only a month late (03MAY04), but nbd....

Pours an attractive, bright golden color, and is clear throughout (at this point). Head is a 1/4" layer of fine, white bubbles at the start, fading to a thin layer fairly soon after the pour. A healthy amount of bubbling congregates around the rim, with a nice lacework pattern left behind. The nose is wheaty, like a Hefe-, and it has a distinct fruity tang, which must be the lime noted in the recipe. I also get a bit of a yeasty, somewhat spicy character typical to Tripels. Body was a good, solid medium, and it was relatively smooth on the tongue, especially considering the bier has a steady stream of carbonation rising up within. I expected more roughness, but it went down nicely.

It has a slight crackery malt taste, with a wheaty dryness. I do pick up the lime in the flavor as well, melding with other tropical fruit notes. VE04 finishes dry on the palate, with a subtle fruit essence and peppery character lingering somewhat. The 8.5% abv seems well cloaked, as I don't really pick up on it at all. I find this to be a good bier, a solid bier, yet not one (at this point, anyhow) that knocks my socks off or overly wows me.

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

709

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

3.5 A: Moderately hazed medium orange color. Didn't make much of a head.

3.5 S: Honey, lime, pepper, clove, and dog biscuit. Musty and simultaneously spicy. Smells almost like a much less old saison.

3.5 T: Tastes like the nose. A lot of lime and dog biscuit. Musty, a bit tangy, and spicy. Pepper, honey, and clove.

3.5 M: Medium body. Lightly spritzy with good moderate carbonation.

3.0 D: I wouldn't want to drink it again, but for an old ass beer it's not bad.

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 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 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 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 koopa
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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 Hanzo
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

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 Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 315 ratings.