Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
87
very good
323 Ratings
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic AleStone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Todd on 04-07-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
323
Reviews:
218
Avg:
3.89
pDev:
13.37%
 
 
Wants:
96
Gots:
53
For Trade:
4
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 323 |  Reviews: 218
Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of mdaschaf
2.7/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12. Review from notes.

A: Pours a hazy golden color with a small white head with minimal retention or lacing.

S: Very chalky, sort of like baby powder. It is slightly floral, sort of like air freshener.

T: Not much going here at all. Some faint fruit, a little citrus and floral/grassy flavors.

M: Light to medium bodied with little carbonation.

O: Not very good, probably my least favorite of 3-12 that I was able to try.

 462 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been wondering what style Stone settled on for their soon-to-be-released Vertical Epic 05.05.05. I then realized that I hadn't yet tasted the bottle of 04.04.04 that's been in my beer fridge since last summer. I won't be able to comment on how this tripel has changed over time, but given how long this series is built to last, it's still only in its infancy. Knowing Stone, it's sure to be an interesting ride.

Radiant amber with a hint of orange peel and a plethora of tiny, dust mote-like particles that catch and reflect the sun's rays so beautifully that it seems as if the beer contains its own inner light. A lovely looking head of alabaster foam possesses a creamy stiffness that gives it a chiseled, sculpted appearance as it slowly descends. An acceptable amount of lace in no discernable pattern completes the picture of a quality beer from a quality brewery.

The nose is unlike the nose on any beer in recent memory. First is a grassy, floral hoppiness that is similar to Saaz, yet different. Next is a 'white' spiciness reminiscent of white pepper and something musky, cardamon perhaps, though that's not quite it. Finally is a citrusiness that is unlike the hoppy citrusiness that one usually smells in most hoppy beer. I'm pretty sure that I'd be able to identify the citrusiness as lime, even without knowing that Kaffir lime leaf was used. It isn't a whiz-banger of a nose, but it is original and interesting.

Epic tastes pretty much like it smells. The first thing that I notice is its power. The flavor hits like a ton of bricks (a good thing), but the alcohol isn't cloaked quite well enough. It remains to be seen how the flavors, including the alcohol, meld with warming. I'll get back to that issue as I get deeper into the bottle. Like the nose, this is one original tripel. In fact, I have a hard time thinking of it as a tripel at all.

It's more hoppy than expected, but doesn't use a hop that I care for. It reminds me of a 'super noble' with elements of bitter grass and an austere floral quality. It seems to take the worst elements of the Saaz-type hops and amplify them. As a consequence, I'm finding it hard to find much to like. Clove is still going strong, as is cardamom. I don't mind that second spice in small doses, but it's too prominent here. I know that no actual cardamon was used, it just tastes like it to me.

The lime leaf is present and accounted for, but seems more like bitter citrus pith than sweet lime peel. That brings me to another concern. Tripels are best, I believe, when they contain a certain amount of candi sugar. This beer seems not to contain any sugar or sweetness at all, which hurts it significantly in my eyes. The bitterness is unrelenting and quickly grows tiresome without the balancing sweetness.

The alcohol still hasn't retreated. It's acceptable, but shows itself too prominently given what else is going on with the flavor as a whole. The finish is semi-dry with the ethanol coming to the fore to an even greater degree. The body is medium-full, though it drinks lighter than that thanks to the Belgian-like, exuberant carbonation. There isn't much wrong with the mouthfeel, but then I'd expect nothing less from Stone.

Vertical Epic 04.04.04 is notable (to me at least) because it's a rare disappointment from one of my favorite breweries. I applaud Stone for their grand vision and for attempting something as audacious as this series. It remains to be seen whether or not every beer is successful and whether or not they actually improve with age. Or if some of the early iterations are even drinkable by 2012. Nevertheless, my respect for this brewery is such that I'll anticipate each and every release and will relish the thought of popping the cap on the latest (and hopefully greatest) Vertical Epic.

 3,808 characters

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz brown bomber with an obvious vintage date.

A- Bright pale copper hued brew, good head retention to say the least.

S- Malt aroma reminds me of fresh tapioca or plain Indian pudding made with lime pudding, tad bready / yeasty with some hot spice in the back.

T- Faint lime character, solid maltiness holds on to some sweetness. The lime character has more bite with the hops than anything else. Lots of spice flowing around which masks the malt for a second. Warming alcohol finally catches up mid-bottle, tad fruity ... plum-like. Finishes semi-dry with a light roughness of wheat and pale malt with a long lingering spicy lime character.

M- Oh so crisp and so damn smooth over the medium body.

D- At first I did not think I was going to drink the whole bottle, it slowly grew on me with each sip.

If my palate was not used to exotic beers I'd probably hit a brick wall here. Thankfully I can see where beer can go and has gone. I guess I will have to bum a sip from some one else on 12.12.12 as this was my last bottle.

 1,043 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of womencantsail
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Gil for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a burnt orange color with some hints of gold and a finger's worth of white head.

S: The nose is quite sweet and surprisingly citrus heavy. A few more sniffs give off some vanilla, honey, and yeast esters (namely bananas).

T: A similar story on the palate. Sweet vanilla, orange honey, and banana along with some spicy esters and caramel malt. A touch of tropical fruit, too.

M: The body is on the light end of medium with a carbonation that seems to be a bit low too.

D: The low carbonation does not do much to quell the intense sweetness of this beer. Good flavors, but like drinking a sweet mead at times.

 663 characters

Photo of orangesol
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.01/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is bright orange and hazy with a thin white head. The aroma offers mint, tea, citrus, malt, lime, kiwi. The flavor is a bit odd, showing signs of age. Well water, oranges, light toffee. Light in body with low carbonation. This was ok.

 279 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate to try this last night at an epic tasting held by my good friend Mike, thanks for the opportunity MrBarleywine!
Pours a slightly hazy medium golden color with a smallish off white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet caramel and light sugar with a bit of cherry and sherry notes. Hint of lime and spicy yeast notes provide a nice contrast to the sweetness within. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Sweet and sugary with caramel and sherry notes balanced by peppery spicy bready yeast flavors. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet spicy mouthfeel. This was a nice beer and over the years the flavors have melded quite nicely. The lime aroma and flavor are different, but work against the backdrop of the other flavors.

 784 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.53/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of those beers that can easily be classified as a trippel, however there's so much more going on in this EPIC release. At first sight deep honey golden slightly hazed body with a white chunky head forming on the crown sporadic but chunky lacing this is a beautiful specimen of a beer. Aromatics consist of deep alcohol infused banana and cloves with the kaffir lime highlights alcohol syrup with a plethora of fruit is a good way to describe the smell. Flavor profile complex as all hell, rich syrup wtih banana clove and kaffir lime the alcohol is very evident. This beer shows signs that it will mellow out with age not bad at all. Mouthfeel: Full bodied brew that is a bit syrupy textured excellent, not a disappointment I love wheat beers and Saisons/Biere de Gardes so this is amazing to me. Drinkability: Way to easy to consume a great beer from the Stone Brewing Co. excited to taste what this will be like in 12/12/12 what an adventure, possibly an epic one at that.

 986 characters

Photo of chippo33
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of imperialking
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Woohoo what a brew! Another fine Stone brew for Belgian lovers (like me). Tried it on tap at the BT in NYC. Poured into a Belgian type glass, basically no head, just that typical Stone tiny bubble film. Light Golden in color, with perhaps a melon shimmer. I got Bubblegum in the nose, along with some yeast. Warming, strong, crisp and tasty. Typical Belgian (If such a thing exists) yeasty, spicy, phenolic notes. Suffice to say that If you like Belgians, this one is well worth seeking out. A very tasty and wicked Stone creation.

 531 characters

Photo of malfunxion
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.67/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous pale orange coloration, slight haze, under a firm cap of creamy froth. Nose is smoothly citric, just-so spicy, crammed with yeast, a fresh-cracked new loaf of lemon bread, right from the oven. Herbal and even a touch minty, with fruit aplenty stirring about, this is a complex and abundantly pleasant aroma. Has the character of a wit, mixed with a saison, wrapped in the guise of a tripel.
Masterful mouthfeel, commands the palate at once, spills pleasure all along the senses, with a nearly sharp citric twang, then cool and mellow fading out. Rings in again with each new encounter on the tongue, oozes enchantment, drips with delight. Body is medium, finish long and fruit-astic, with the alcohol content, average for the style, never stinging or standing at attention.
That said, it's my kind of tripel all right, exquisite, and tasty to say the least. Another class act from Stone, and I'm doubly glad I have another to sit still for the journey to 2012!
Actually, I ought to procure another pallet-ful, I'm liking this so much!
Cheers to the one called the Bum, for helping a Brother out!

 1,110 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.14/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle I got from KAME a long time ago. Served in a tulip.

A - White foam settles to a thin collar, wisps, and minimal lace. Hazed, dark apricot body.

S - Shockingly, the Kaffir lime leaf has held up, even after nine years. It doesn't really mix well with the stale oxidation, marmalade, and caramel flavors though. Not offensive, but a tad strange.

T - The taste isn't quite as distince, with more nebulous sweetness. Again, it's largely caramel, fruity oxidation, and perhaps a touch of lime.

M - Medium body, with less carbonation than the previous two years. Lightly sticky texture and finish, and again no obvious alcohol.

D - Very weird. If you like lime then this might still be somewhat palatable, but it's certainly not something I could drink in large quantities. Still, better than the 03.03.03 in my book.

 822 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/23/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 22oz bomber bottle poured into my Duvel tulip. No freshness date needed. Will save my other for 2012.

Appearance- Copper colored pour with a nice 1/2 inch head and light lace.

Smell- Odd scents going on here. Super scented confectioniers sugar, maybe a bit of cotton candy action as well. Maybe even a bit of vanilla.

Taste- Just as many other people pointed out...there is actually a lime rind like taste here along with lots of other spices. Some corriander, clove, nutmeg, pepper. Lots of stuff.

Mouthfeel- Average carbonation level.

Drinkability- Odd tasting brew to be sure. This is one of those that I am still trying to figure out if a really liked it as much as I am giving it credit for. Enigma so far. Maybe I'll know more in 7 years when I try my next one.

Re-review in year 2006.

Just finished off a bottle of the 2006. Seems as though a lot more of the sugary flavor comes out as well as some peaches and some rose water flavoring. Boosting this one up a tad due to good aging.

 1,088 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of Gavage
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apeearance: pours a crystal clear golden yellow color with a 1/2" head that fall to surface foam rather quickly. A few slow rising bubbles are the only signs of carbonation. Light lacing develops.

Smell: banana, yeast, and light medicinal odor.

Taste: very sweet as malts are up front, but there is a muskiness / earthiness to this brew. Some bananas, peach, lime, balsa wood, honey, and mild bitterness round this out. Yeast and alcohol are mildly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start with a mild smoothness at the finish. The finish is long on the flavors, especially the earthiness.

Drinkability: not bad, but this is a very slow drinking beer, and one bottle would be more than enough in a session. My other 04.04.04 bottle will consumed in a few years for comparision.

 799 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of beernads
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.89 out of 5 based on 323 ratings.
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