Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic AleStone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale
BA SCORE
3.87/5
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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
218
Ratings:
323
pDev:
13.44%
Bros Score:
4
 
 
Wants:
96
Gots:
53
Trade:
4
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 323 |  Reviews: 218
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.

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color with a bit of light orange highlights. Bready, fruity and yeasty aromas with some suggestions of pepperiness. Very dry finish to a beer that starts off sweet. Light hopping and the addition of lime leaves give it a saison-like feel and adds nicely to the dryness. Alcohol definately noticable. Tropical fruit esters come into play as it warms up to temperature. Pretty nice tripel, but slightly one-dimensional.

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Photo of Truh
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Gazed up the headwall with this one on 5/4/2004. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a Rapscallion glass.

Creamy, ¼-inch head poured a yellow to almost light green granny smith apple hue with a bunch of continued action happening. Huge lemon/citrus nose with some gentle hops and some other flowery characteristics, though difficult to pinpoint. Sweet, almost hefe taste with a following hop bitterness, almost like lemongrass. Slight chewiness, yet a clean mouth feel. Reminds me of wheat fields after a summer thunderstorm.

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Photo of mcowgill
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oops, I couldn't wait until 2012. This beer poured very nicely for me although I noticed not much of a head which I thought was strange. The beer looks a very attractive coppery color with many active bubbles ascending. The beer smelled of a mixture of fruit and malt. Tasting this beer was the best part. The lime fruitiness is quite enjoyable. This beer is quite smooth and drinkable considering the spice involved. Wish I had more.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of malthead
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper color, white head which dies too quickly. Smell starts like Duvel and the like, but then there's a strong apple smell is the background, and maybe a little lime bitterness? (although that could just be the power of suggestion from the label...) Taste is much sweeter than I expected, but surprisingly nice. There's some complex spiciness going on under the apple-y sweetness, but it's too hard for me to identify. Nice mouthfeel, its got some good carbonation there. I'm going to knock it a little on drinkability - it's great at first, but the sweetness is overpowering after a while... so enjoy it with food or split it with friends. Decent beer, though.

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Photo of aracauna
3.87/5  rDev 0%
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.

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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)

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Photo of Stevedore
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Stone World Bistro in Escondido, CA.

A- Bright pale yellow-copper body, one finger white head, nice retention and longevity.

S- Crisp green apple skin tartness, Belgian yeast esters- banana, clove, mild acidity, white vinous character, a bit of citrus.

F- Clean crisp malt backbone evoking light toffee and bread; more of the cidery green apple skin tartness. Mild-moderate tartness. Less of the yeast esters are apparent on the palate though they are there- banana, cloves- but there seems to be a reasonably nice citrus character here, both lemon and lime.

M- Medium bodied, clean, crisp and refreshing on a warm day in Escondido. Nice carbonation. Very easy to drink with a lot of nice depth and complexity.

O- Very tasty and seems to have aged quite well. Nice hefeweizen-like character with a good bit of tartness. This has done well in the 10 years since it was initially released.

Final score: 3.85

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Photo of klewis
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with a small white head that quickly subsided but one that left good lacing. Light golden in color with lots of carbonation clinging to the sides of the goblet.

S: A very strong smell with aromas of dark fruit, yeast, and caramel.

T: A spicy shiraz-like kick instantly meets the tongue, giving way to dominating ginger flavors. Originally, I somehow missed the lime taste until I read the other reviews and the bottle, but now it seems very apparent to me. The finish reminisces of the classic Belgian yeast taste. The overall taste is definitely unique, but I'm not sure that I'm sold on it yet.

M: This one has a smooth medium body that balances the flavor nicely. After the pour, it looked like this one was going to be a little too carbonated for my taste, but it turned out to be just right.

D: This beer's strongest asset is its originality, but for that reason, I wouldn't want to drink this one too often. I would recommend this one to beer connoisseurs but would be reluctant to do the same to someone without an appropriate palate for unique brews.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8/31/04: bright orangy amber with a thick white head. the smell has the banana lemony citrus and clove of a belgian tripel, but there is also some sweet orange and hints of chocolate in there as well, giving it nice complexity. the taste is really pretty interesting, there is a lot of bannana presence with the clove and lemon flavors showing up too. then it i gets unique... i think i taste the lime mentioned on the label (though it may just be the power of suggestion). the is a distinct trace of cocoa, as well as some light orange flavors just like i detected in the smell. a little bit like those chocolate oranges you get around christmas, except very subdued. there is a slight acidic sort of tomato flavor that appears too. the taste doesn't really deliver like 03 did. I need MORE. the mouthfeel is fairly full bodied and smooth with pretty delicate carbonation. surprisingly pretty dry or something like it.
this is a very intersting tripel. i'd like to see a little more sweetness rather than tartness develop as this ages. i'd also liek the flavors be a little more pronounced. as mentioned in previous reviews this seems like it will age nicely, but is sort of unfinished as of right now. i'm gonna let my other bottle sit unitl april and see what happens.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This review was written 3 days after the initial release date. Gosh, I like living in San Diego. :-)

Same bottle design as in previous years, with a label that describes this as part Bier de Garde, part Saison, and part Hefeweisen. They've upped production to 5000 cases this year, which is good news for all of you who don't have the good fortune to live in SoCal. 8.5% ABV. Hefty.

Crystal clear gold on the pour -- but a rich, vibrant gold. Not at all wimpy-looking. Pretty decent carbonation, but the head doesn't do much -- a thin white top struggles to form for about ten seconds ago before calling it quits.

The aroma is enticing. Sharp and citric, with a hint of lime. Refreshing.

Lime comes through in the start of the flavor as well, followed by some pretty strong banana flavors and some mild yeastiness. Lime reasserts itself at the finish, along with a peppery, slightly salty finish. Alcohol is pretty noticeable at this stage. Not alot of sweetness here at all.

Medimum-bodied with a good amount of carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

I'm optimistic about this beer. On the down side, I don't think it's all that drinkable at present. The flavors are a bit harsh, and too bluntly separated. Too much going on too fast without enough continuity throughout the sip. On the other hand, the flavors that are whizzing by are *interesting* ones, and I'm pretty confident that with age (though hopefully it won't take the whole 8 years!) they will blend together into a truly lovely brew. I will re-review next year and see where things stand then.

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

An exceptional beer tasting evening with joeyschlitz and waltonc included a bottle of 2004 through 2008. Wasn't prescient enough to save the 2002 or 2003, but still ended up great

A: Orange, murky, yeasty

S: Honey, butterscotch, faint lime

T: Candi sugar, caramel malt, wheat, honey

M: Mouth was a little flat--made me wonder if this one was going to hold up for the 2012 grand vertical

D: Smooth and easy drinking; no complaints

This one ranked 3rd out 5 for me; 2005, 2007 and 2006 were better

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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.

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Photo of Hohnbaum
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a flight at the Alewife Queens Vertical Epic event.

04 Vertical Epic pours an opaque goldenrod, with minimal head or lacing (partly a function of the pour?). The aroma has plenty of banana, with a bit of lime noticeable also. The lime peel is a bit more present in the flavor, probably sharing equal billing with the banana esters. A touch of sherry like oxidation adds a bit of subtle complexity to everything. Mouthfeel wise the carbonation doesn't jump out right away, but it's plenty lively. The body is just a tad heavy though. It's remarkable how well 04VE has held up.

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Photo of marc77
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear deep golden hue. Frothy, pitted, porcelain white head yields muddled, loose lace. Wafts of lemon zest and lavender honey hit the nose incipiently. Promptly ensuing are mellow notes of herbal phenol, green banana and trace, sweet doughy malt. Clean, but tame aromawise. In flavor, upfront is an impression of bitter citrus pith softened with honey. When combined with the static, citric, lime leaf derived undertone, malt character is of an understated, lightly sweetened lemon cookie impression. Firm, but not obtrusive in hop bitterness, which along with the high attenuation helps facilitate a parching dryness. Subtle, but perceptibly grassy hop flavor. Lightly bodied, but an appropriate match in that regard to the brisk, soft malt character. Finishes with ashen notes of clove and trace cidery sweetness. A surprisingly understated tripel in ester and malt charcter, but agreeably so, due to the overall balance. Quite dry and ominously thirst quenching. Cellaring may dry out the flavor profile a touch, but I don't see this improving markedly. Tasty, soft on the palate and clean. Surprisingly similar to New Belgium Tripel in overall character.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating the Vertical Epic Series

P: Pours a bright effervescent golden body with sudsy white head.

S: Spicy, citrus soap aroma, clove, powdery yeast, bubblegum, pepper corns, lime, bananas and a touch of oxidation.

T/M: Dull fruit flavors, citrus, lime zest, honey wheat bread, booze and timid tartness. Body is medium and has gritty soap chalkiness. Carbonation level is nice a crisp.

O: Flavors are dialed down but after 9 years a truly impressive beer that was a treat to enjoy. Line was the key ingredient in this brew and the spices really complimented it. Easy drinking and smooth.

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Photo of MrNuggets
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is spicy with a shot of strong yeast. A swirl of clove and bannana dominate at first. This goes from spicy to sweet, not sure how that works but it does. Heavy malt presence is felt. More hops than I was expecting. They bitter but leave almost no flavor. A little harsh in the mouthfeel department. Flavors don't seem to fit together well. It'll be a while before I open another bottle of this.

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Photo of Gavage
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
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 -2.6%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
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 -2.6%
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 -2.6%
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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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 323 ratings
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