Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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BA SCORE
87
very good
218 Reviews
Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic AleStone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States | website

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
Reviews:
218
Ratings:
321
Avg:
3.89
pDev:
16.2%
 
 
Wants:
96
Gots:
54
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 218 | Ratings: 321
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.

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Photo of Wildman
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very non-typical for this brewery, a beer with little bitterness. A decent example of a Belgian-styled beer, but rather flat and ordinary. Head disappeared almost immediately, and there was less carbonation than you usually expect in a tripel. Reminded me of the Don de Dieu that I followed it with, but the Unibroue is far superior, IMO. Stone is great for IPA's, but this offering falls short.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a cloudy copper body with minimal head and no lace. Floral and fruity esters are present but at this point the only thing really sticking out in the aroma is honey. The beer is thick and cloying with a honey and sugar fruit essence with a touch of berries and finishes real sweet. I am sure this was a better beer twelve years ago but it comes across as too sweet as I don't get much else in this beer. I must say that the fruit esters I am tasting are assumed to be the banana/hefe qualities and perhaps some sweetness from bubblegum yeast but I don't get any saison notes or lime.

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Photo of BierReise
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy gold with little head. Esthery aroma, sugary and notes of oak. Body is tripel like with a sharp carbonation. Flavor shows a bit of alcohol along with suagr and light fruit notes. Finishes slightly bitter. Similar to a Belgian Tripel. An ok brew.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of Crosling
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

040404, consumed 121312

appearance: served in my lost abbey teku glass - hazy straw orange body

smell: herbal, lime, citrus, flowers

taste: the kaffir lime leaf is very evident - honey, grass, straw, clove, light belgian yeast. Held up fairly well - these ancient VE beers are seeming to surpass my quite low expectations

mouthfeel: light, herbal

overall: interesting stuff - the lime leaf phase is so 2004 though

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Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.7/5  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.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Seeing how I got a bit of a late jump on the whole Vertical Epic thing, missing out on the '02 and only scaring up a couple bottles of the '03, I decided not to miss the opportunity and bought up six 22oz bottles to tide me over. Then there where five...
Stone's take on a Belgian tripel poured the color of golden sunshine and had a plethora of fine carbonation working to briefly form a spritzy white head. The head hung around only a few minutes before dissolving to a thin ring and left only the barest of lace.
The nose had me thinking hefeweizen for a minute as the first aromas to register were those of bready malts, bananas, and cloves. As I inhaled some more, there were plenty of citrusy notes along with some coriander and a dash of pepper to the nose.
The taste was decidedly Belgian-esqe but was noticeably tweaked in comparison to those brewed in Belgium. To start, this tripel struck me as possessing quite a bit of hops, much more than in other tripels I've tried. The initial taste was of yeasty malt and some mild banana flavor. The sweetness rather quickly transitioned to a more spicy clove-and-coriander taste, followed up by a hearty orange-lemon-lime citrus pop. The problem I ran into was in the finish as it adopted a mild metallic tang. The feel was medium-bodied, initially somewhat creamy due to the tightly packed carbonation but also sporting a bit of a raw, harsh edge, with a drying finish.
Overall, this is a decent tripel, especially when I stop to consider its youth. Maybe with some time to mature, the rawness and slight metal tang will round off and fade. The five remaining bottles will be stowed away with a note saying "do not touch again 'til 04.04.05".

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Photo of francisweizen
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Decent. This brew poured out a dark/orangey golden colour with a fluffy off-white head of foam. The beer was cloudy with a very noticeably hazy look to it. The aromas were very similar to what the label said they would be. This beer has the aromas of a clove-filled, banana/bubble gum-like german hefe, and some funky saison-like yeast aromas as well. There is also a distinctly citrus-like (lime?) aroma and a bit of a farmhouse hoppiness as well. The taste is yeasty up front with the clove flavors battling it out with the lime leaf flavors. The lime leaf is a bit rough on the palate, but it does lend an interesting complexity to this brew. Their is a big malty breadiness in the middle and than a huge kick of herbal hops ends the show. The mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and interesting, and the drinkability is decent. A good beer, but not one of Stones best. So far the VE beers have been good, but they have yet to "blow my mind". Perhaps the 02 was the best of the lot? Or perhaps these just need a good long nap in the cellar...

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.7/5  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.

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Photo of poundboy
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden color with hints of amber. Minimal head disapated quickly. Nose quite stuffy tonight, so I can't really comment on the smell other than I didn't smell anything bad.
At first all I could tast was hints of fruitiness and the a strange, not all together pleasant bitterness which I assume comes from the lime leaves. As it warmed, the true character of the beer came out however. Very much in the belgian tripel style, though less complex than most. Very smooth mouthfeel. the lime leaves are what make this beer unique, but I did not altogether enjoy it. The bitterness just lingers on the tongue in a way I am not used to. However, otherwise this is a very well crafted beer, and I wish I had more that I could let age and check again in few years.
Thank Mrpicklerelish for the bottle

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a hazy golden with a strong carbonation with a white cream thin head.

S- Very clean light bread aroma with a hit of lime and some soft wheat notes.

T- This beer has a light wheat taste with a crisp lime leaf taste. There are some peppery notes with some bright citrus almost lemon notes. The alcohol is very gentle but has a nice warming

M- medium body with not a fizzy taste and no alcohol heat.

D- This has some nice triple qualities but the bitter lime taste is a little to overpowering. It might be much better after some aging. Definitely an interesting beer just not a great beer yet.

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Photo of mntlover
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty pale golden color with a white head that falls quickly to a ring of foam. aroma is little light but sweet malt with fruit apples, bananas, and grapes come out didn't notice the lime in the nose but is in the taste. Taste is crisp tart with alcohol flavor coming thru lightly, on sweet malt backgroud. Second glass better after yeaties swirled in adds zestiness and spice to the mix. Spice and little bitter lime blend with hops for the finish. Mouthfeel is crisp and clean. Drinkability is not bad, I think this one would improve with a little cellar time. Not bad but not on top for the style.

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Photo of scootny
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Darkish golden brew with a khaki head that stays for a bit. Streaks of lace here and there.

Nose carries some sweet honed notes and wheat malt. The lime brings some citrus.

Taste is a little angular at first as the Belgian profile sets you up to be caught unaware but the lime. After the first swallow however it comes into its own. Pale malt and Belgian yeast bring the typical malt and honey with light fruits. Finish is lightly bittered and the lime adds a punchy citrus.

Feel is lighter and mildly carbonated.

Easy drinking. Light weight

Pretty good stuff

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

22ozer bottle from Austin Liquors, Shrewsbury, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" off-white head over the straw/amber hued brew. Laces okay. Sweet aroma is dominant. Taste is initially of wheat, then hands the baton to the sweetness and a bit of banana flavor as well. Mouthfeel is okay, the sweetness takes a bit of a step back as the brew warms, and drinkability is okay as well, more for interesting flavors rather than sessionability.

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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.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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

Appearance: Light golden with a three finger head. Lots of yeast that sinks to the bottom of the glass.
Smell: Very malty with a hint of alcohol.
Taste: Very bitter with fruity tastes and alcohol finish. Surprisingly light flavor. Maybe aging will help this one ripen up.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy.
Drinkability: This one might get boring after a few days.

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Photo of CBFanWish
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was lucky enough to hook up with two bottles of this thanks to david23. My buddy and I had a bottle today and are cellaring the other.
So here we are at Fat Andy's house. I poured half into his glass and half into mine. A thick white foamy head bellowed from the glass even with a careful pour. The colour was a hazy pale amber. a fine lace wove throught the glass as I drank it.
I wasn't impressed with the aroma. It was very yeasty to the point it was almost like a white bread. It wasn't too pleasing.
The taste was at first overpowering bannana.The yeast then kicked in to give it a wonderful bannana bread taste. Quite pleasant.
Give it a couple years and it will be close to perfect. I hope I can wait.

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Photo of Kendo
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
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. . . .

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Photo of xgrigorix
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twenty two ounce brown bottle.

Medium amber in colour. Pours with a huge creamy white head, & fast moving lines of carbonation.

Nose is fruity & slightly herby. Something else is going on too - is this the lime leaf?

Big round soft yeast induced orange flavours dominate all over this thing. Some hints of herbiness hide in the background. Medium bodied with robust carbonation.

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Photo of mickeymac
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one is a bit puzzling and disappointing for a Stone brew. Experimentation is great, but this one seems to be all over the place. It starts out with a decent golden-orange appearance. The head is minimal even with a vigorous pour and disappears almost immediately. The bottle says it contains lime leaves, but the lime smell and taste seems almost artificial: sort of a laboratory-created lime essence. A bit of hefeweizen banana and clove is noticeable but does not contrast particularly well with the lime. Mouthfeel is decent, and it's fairly drinkable for an 8.5% beer. Even young beers meant to age should display some characteristics that make you want to stock up and store it away. This one didn't have me rushing to the local shop to grab a case to store away.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.89 out of 5 based on 321 ratings.
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