04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale
Stone Brewing

04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale
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Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
87
Avg:
3.91 | pDev: 13.04%
Reviews:
219
Ratings:
324
From:
Stone Brewing
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  96
Gots
  53
SCORE
87
Very Good
04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 219 | Ratings: 324 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.87/5  rDev -1%
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)

Jul 04, 2005
More User Reviews:
Photo of rastaman
rastaman from England

3/5  rDev -23.3%
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.

Feb 19, 2005
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shoegueuze from California

4.04/5  rDev +3.3%

Sep 17, 2014
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aracauna from Georgia

3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear true amber body with a head on the fizzy side. The aroma and flavor are dominated by vanilla and cotton candy. A little bit of caramel is involved, and after reading the the commercial description, I guess that bit of citrus isn’t from the hops after all. Still, while it’s very pleasant and quite drinkable, it’s not really all that like a Belgian in character to me.

Oct 09, 2004
Photo of Auracom
Auracom from Illinois

2.54/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Talk about the most random bottle ever. Shared by Jeff near the end of a very long night. Thanks bro. 3-4 oz. poured into a FFF Teku on June 9th, 2012.

A - Very clear, bright-golden coloring. Great looking one finger eggshell head. Marginal lacing, slight legs.

S - Faded hops, a bit of wet cardboard, port-like oxidation, underlying Belgian yeast banana aroma. Part blah, part "Okay I can live with this."

T - Blended light fruit juice, pears, further oxidized cherry peel, definite clove and yeast flavor with a hint of buttered bread. Lightly bitter aftertaste.

M - Light-medium body, good carbonation for the age, semi-dry finish.

D - Ages more gracefully than I'd expected, but I'm not sure why something like this really exists. Despite its docile nature you can tell where this came from and compared to where it is now, it's not horrible.

Jun 11, 2012
Photo of IrishRedRock
IrishRedRock from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Apr 15, 2004
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Geuzedad from Arizona

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Jun 23, 2013
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Wildman from Ohio

3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This latest version of their one year model bills itself as a Belgian Tripel. As usual, they mess with the formula a bit. This one poured a light gold color and formed a very small bubbly white head that left trace lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of hops, banana and spices, with really no hint of the lime mentioned. The flavor was of hops, banana and spices. The finish was a slight peppery. Really no hint of the lime. As a Tripel goes, it's not bad, but not outstanding either.

Apr 15, 2004
Photo of heysuz
heysuz from Indiana

3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jan 26, 2019
Photo of BobLuvBeer
BobLuvBeer from Illinois

4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy, gold to orange color with a foamy head and nice lace. Citrus and banana aroma. Slight wheat scent. Very smooth, creamy feel that is balanced by a strong alcohol taste. Very lightly hopped, spicy citric ale which happens to have a great kick. Bottle reads that is a mutt. Wheat malt, Belgian yeast land lime leaf. Comes out to me close to a Saison.

Apr 23, 2005
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robbrandes from Oregon

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Apr 03, 2013
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BeerManDan from California

4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Jun 23, 2004
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TXhomebrewer from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Aug 19, 2013
Photo of Longstaff
Longstaff from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Apr 27, 2004
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CelticAleMan from California

3/5  rDev -23.3%

Jan 17, 2013
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CharlesRiver from Connecticut

3.88/5  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.

Aug 28, 2004
Photo of FARGO619
FARGO619 from California

5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle

A-Golden orange beer with a pure white head that stays lingered throughout and slowly dissipated with nice lacing throuhout-Vanilla aroma. Banana mildly sweet like silk candy.

T-Vanilla flavor, a with a spicy undertone.

M-Light body, still well carbonated.

D-Very smooth with hint of vanilla that was enjoyable all the way through. Very easy to drink. Can't wait to try this one again.

Serving type: bottle

Jun 24, 2011
Photo of chilidog
chilidog from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
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!!

Jan 02, 2005
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ezperkins2 from California

3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Sep 10, 2012
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PSUDREW from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

hmmm how to describe this... part hefe, part dunkle, part belgian triple...very interesting mix, and I am facinated to see how this will taste when I review it again in a couple of years.

It pours a nice golden color, with a frothy head that dissapates rather quickly.

Like I said before, the best way to describe the flavor is that of a mix. It has the sugary/abv taste that you might find in any one of the belgian styles. it has light peppery twist.

no hop presence that I notice, and that easy bananna/citrus taste that I would get from a hefe/dunkle

And, as the lable notes, there is a lime taste, but only present in the aftertaste, (which finish crisp and smooth) and only slightly so. hopefully, it will progress over time, becuase I feel it is a very nice addition.

For the sweet and heavy taste, it is highly drinable. I am rathere interested in what this brew will taste like in a couple of years

Apr 26, 2004
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UltimateLivewire from South Carolina

4/5  rDev +2.3%

Jan 01, 2013
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Dogbrick from Ohio

3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a rich yellowish-gold color with a medium thick white head and fair lacing. The aroma is very kinetic - spice, yeast, banana and hops abound. Medium-bodied, with a flavor reminiscent of both a Belgian and a strong Hefe. Citrus, spice, hops and bananas all vie for attention. There is almost too much going on in the flavor. Spicy alcohol and sweet fruit and yeast in the finish. I liked this one substancially more than the 03.03.03, but I think it would improve a bit with more age.

Sep 06, 2004
Photo of dmsohyea
dmsohyea from California

2.75/5  rDev -29.7%

Jul 04, 2013
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone's third release in the Vertical Epic series pours a clear, deep golden body that borders on amber. It's initially full and creamy head almost rises out of the glass but then slowly dwindles to an average collar. It does, however, leave some very nice lace in its wake.

The nose is malty with a touch of vanilla; and perfumey with some mild citrusy and floral notes, a waft of alcohol, and some clear peppery spice.

In the mouth, it's medium bodied and lightly zesty with a mildly effervescent natural carbonation that tingles the tongue before warming to become more creamy.

The flavor is very much (or should I say exactly) as the nose indicates with a mild note of vanilla, a touch of fruitiness (some watered down citrus and dull melon), and a burst of alcohol. It finishes dry, with some nice, peppery spiciness; and a wash of lingering alcohol. Perhaps a bit more aging will round it out... I'd enjoy the '03 now, but give this one a year, and maybe even more!

It pairs well with sweet and spicy Thai foods, and also makes a nice apertif on its own.

Aug 13, 2005
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
TheBeerAlmanac from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Apr 29, 2013
04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 324 ratings