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
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
Reviews:
218
Ratings:
322
Avg:
3.89
pDev:
16.2%
 
 
Wants:
96
Gots:
54
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 218 | Ratings: 322
Photo of blitheringidiot
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge slightly off white sticky head that settles to a tightly packed cover. Light golden orange with plenty of fizzle and carbonated bubbles rising.

In accordance with the bottle print: Phenolic bananas and plenty of clove aromatic yeasty scents arising. While warming up and after a swirling in my trusty Flying Fish tulip, more of the same.

Bold chewy front of Saison-like spice taste. At first, not a discernible grip on much else . Aftertaste is bitter ripe banana & Sweet-tart candy sweet. Dry deep cloves and herb spices of nutmeg. As this slowly warms, the awl-kee-hawl esters rise to the nose and to the flavor. [Label lingo: Umalted Wheat , Kaffir Lime Leaf]

Second serving surmising pour pablum & prate: Also, the final pour had more of the lime & leaf tones than the first pour. Less carbonation and smaller head, perhaps due to settling of particles and awl-kee-hawl.

Plenty of plush tight packed fizzle, and chewy doughy bread.

Last swigs: Full on fours folks. To compare with a local style, STOUDTS Saison can be a bitter close contender for a flavor like this. STONE E4 weighs in at $70 for a case of 12 double-deuce bottles via Beeryard. STOUDTS is less than half of that. This is going to be a nail biter when it matures year by year. STONE is the Cadillac of craft, so the hype must be overlooked. Quite good, even putting the STONE namesake off to the side.

Beer is good. Happy beering and cellering!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hanging onto this one for a bit now..and finally decided it's time. Crisp bright golden yellow pour with a nice bubbly 1" head sitting on top. Vibrant. Banana, clove, some citrus...quite a complex nose. Hints of fresh baked wheat bread.

First sip is refreshing mix of banana bread, hints of citrus fruits...I do get a hint of lime on the back of the palate. A nice spiciness runs throughout the brew, including cloves and yeast notes. I really enjoy the flavor here, everything works well together. Some nice citric hop bitterness on the way down as well.

Smooth, creamy, easy to drink here....a nice body as well. No complaints from me. I could easily drink this one all night...another very tasty brew from the Stone crew. I have one sitting in the cellar for 2012...how will it hold up?? I have no clue. However I do know that it's a damn good beer right now!

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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 marc77
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
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 nlmartin
4.53/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a wide mouthed goblet.

Appearance: This is a very good looking beer in the glass. The beer poured a very pleasing light amber. The head towered above the beer a lovely creamy banner. The beer leaves a road map of lacing on the side of the glass. Dam this beer is almost sexy.

Smell: A lovely perfume greats my nose. The beer has a very nice malty fruity lead in. I swear in addition to lime citrus I smell melons. The beer has a nice spicyness complementing the sweet.

Taste: The beer lives up to the smell. The beer has a biscuity malty sweetness. This gives way to a lime citrus bananna and melon fruityness. This gives way to a crisp spicyness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This is a meduim bodied beer. The beer has a very crisp and clean finish. A very tasty treat. I hope I can keep some until 2012.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.65/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a BEAUTIFUL golden orange with a nice half finger head that melts to a decent thin head.
Aroma...ahhh...aroma gorgeous sweet malt and fresh fruits.
Taste is remarkable....sweet malt...fresh tropical fruits...a little alcohol.
Aftertaste of tropical fruit and alcohol.
Nice alcohol burn afterwards.
This is a sin...it is really a wonderful triple.

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Photo of peabody
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lots of bubbles in this slightly yellow amber liquid that adorns the glass with a few white bubbles and lacing around the rim.
Smell is grassy banana and yeast with a few spices and the alcohol burn.
Taste is kinda syrupy with a very slight hop bitterness but very little. Not much spice shows up anymore.
Mouthfeel is very sticky at first then the bitterness washes most of the syrup away.
Overall this is another FAILED attempt from Stone. This one is well over it's prime. Had it 4 years ago and it was a lot better. It has went downhill since.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first pour out of the 24 oz bottle with vertical lettering was of deep golden color with slight chill haze and a tiny little head. The second pour, on the other hand, graced my goblet with a tall head, and oodles of yeast induced cloudiness. In both cases, the head died down to a thin ring of bubbles around the edge in a relatively short time. The carbonation in the underlying brew was minimal but steady. There was some fleeting lacing left around the glass. The aroma was dominated by the Belgian yeast, with banana, apples, and pears on the nose. The taste was sweet and spicy with the aforementioned fruits supplemented by snappy flavors of clove, cinnamon, and anise. The Kaffir Lime leaves also made themselves known on the palette in a tart-sour taste quite similar to lemon peel. The mouthfeel was quite creamy and a tad chalky, with some alcohol burn in the aftertaste. I will keep the remaining two bombers in the cool and dark place in my house, as this beer is supposed to get better over time. I would love for the flavors to sing together in a harmony, and cover the alcohol even more than they do now. Unlike the Old Guardian, this is still very drinkable when fresh. Stay tuned, as more opinions will come later. Praise is deserved once again to Liquid Solutions for shipping into Georgia.

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Photo of aracauna
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
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 Sixpoint
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taken from notes from my Treo. Had this on-tap at the Belgian Beer Fest '06.

Outstanding golden hue with wisps of cotton lacing. Candied aroma with spice and subtle hints of hops.

Dry, spicy flavor with slight warming finish. Tickling peppery tingle in the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied and pretty damn quaffable. Definitely epic.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.72/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been sitting on this for a while so Im looking forward to this one. Pours a mostly cloudy lemony yellow color with copper hues when held to the light. A good head and decent lacing.

The smell is very Belgium. The yeast has a strong flavor. Also fruity aromas like peach and apricot. Touches of bananas and plums mixes well with spice touches as well. Not much of a candi smell but more of a sweet smell to it. Good!

The taste feels more like a Biere de Garde, though listed as a triple. The fruity tastes are more prominent. Big tropical fruits, apricot and bananas mainly, are noticeable. A touch of lime and cherries are noticeable in the back. The malt is balanced well with good complexity. Belgium pale with biscuit flavor. The sweet candi taste is blend really well. Some hoppy taste with a light bite at the front. Great taste.

The body is medium to full. A little hot on the taste from the high ABV. But very crisp and a smooth finish. A worthy wait for a fantastic beer.

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Photo of brdc
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large capped bottle, poured into a goblet.

Glowing golden in color, would be spectacular if it had a little bit more head; the minimal off-white collar produced is a bit disappointing.
Sweetish aroma, honey, tropical fruits, minimal yeastiness.
Nearly full bodied, the flavor is predominantly sweet; honey is one of the predominant notes, along with sweet bread, plums, sweet apples. It manages to not be overly sweet, somehow - perhaps due to the delicate spiciness and citric notes.
It is amazing this beer lasted this long, as based on prior reviews I thought this would be really bad by now. It seems to be improving, amazingly, but unfortunately, this one was my only bottle - none had earlier, none to be had later.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.31/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a snifter glass.

This beer pours a medium golden color with a sort of copper/orangish hue. Has a very nice foamy looking white head that is about a finger thick after settling. Very nice lacing too and also the best head retention I have seen in any beer in quite awhile. Aromas of malt, yeast, fruit (such as lime and perhaps some apple), spices (perhaps a hint of cinnamon and a bit of citrus, among others), and a slight touch of hops fill the nostrils upon taking some whiffs. Sweet flavors of malt, a dash of honey, lime and apple, citrus, cinnamon, a bit of hops, and the slightestes taste of alcohol are all present here. Leaves a slightly dry aftertaste. The taste of alcohol is well masked and the flavors certainly balance one another quite nicely indeed. The mouthfeel is smooth and crispy. Moderate carbonation. Easy to drink, especially with the somewhat high ABV content. Thanks to quasimoto for letting me know where I could find this for a good price. Stone does it again! I am glad I have a few more bottles of this for aging and possibly a trade or two.

Eric

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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 taez555
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear tan body with a small white head.

The nose to this beer is amazing and disgusting at the same time. Solvent like with cinnamon mixed with lime peel. A bizarre mix of tropical fruits; it sort of smells like a jolly rancher that’s gone bad. Very slight touch of phenols. Banana, yeast, butter, fresh lime, tropical flowers, fruit juice, berries and other fruit.

The taste was medium to full bodied. The taste is almost identical to the nose. It starts very sweet and somewhat limey, then proceeds through layers of tropical fruits and then ends very smooth with a pure triple taste. Big malt, wheat, tropical fruits, banana, lime peel, limejuice, dirt, lime leaves, tea leave, flowery hops. A FIRM bitterness, with a faint hint of metal, sits slightly above the malt, but is never distracting. Somewhat tannic as it begins to warm.

What a fucking amazing beer. Not because it’s good, or bad, but because it’s so different. It’s a study in analyses of beer. So many flavors, so complex, they may not all fit; yet they do. With every single sip and whiff I got a different flavor or smell. Amazing. I guess if I had to summarize the taste of this beer I’d say, mix a Belgian triple with a fresh German weis, toss in some tea bags and limes you’ve got vertical epic 2004. I’d really like to try pairing this with something. A must try beer.

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

Had to tap into this one to compare to the 03.03.03. A very solid performer with a nice 2 finger head over a cloudy golden body. The beer has a lovely fruiy nose that follows in the flavor. The flavor is quite fruiy with a lovely pulp sense. The body is solid and full with nice carbonation for the finish. Drinkable ale despite the ABV. Glad I tapped one early.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Stone Winter Storm

A: Very light, golden straw color with just a touch of haze. Looks a lot like a wit really. Body is very still with no action what so ever, made three or four bubbles raising to the surface. Head is very small, just a miniscule white ring around the glass.

S: Banana, mango, cloves and white peach

T: Begins tropical; condensed mango and guava juice towards the center back of the tongue. Flavors come forward with a white peach, apricot and honey. Finishes extremely honey like, almost like a well crafted mead.

M: Medium body but very juicy. Low carbonation makes it silky.

D: This beer would be superb on a hot day. This beer embodies sunshine itself. Its better now than it was the day it came out.

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Photo of Treebs
2.49/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a hazy apricot color with a ton of yeasty floaters in the pour. Some light splotches of lace are left down the glass.

S: Flowery and herbal with some light fruity undertones. Some plum with stale, oaty malts.

T: Paper and light oxidation with some light caramel malts. Flowery notes with some mild glue and light lime. A little prune-like oxidation.

M: Medium to light bodied with a medium carbonation level. Not much remaining on the flavor.

O: Did not enjoy this one at all. The lime notes seemed out of placed and it made the overall taste take on an Elmers glue-like flavor profile.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours an appealing crisp amber colour with loas of carbonation, which creeps to the soapy head atop the glass. the smell is a bold mixture of banana, spice, yeast and some malt. it's a touch earthy as well. good stuff. the flavour is much like the smell, being a balanced blend of fruitiness and spice, thoug ha bit more citrus based than the smell and having a more solid bread flavour at the finish. alcohol is noticeable yet not intrusive. carbonation levels are nice and high and spot on for the style. this one is easy drinking (much easier than i expected) and is a nice representation of the style, especially so as an american version of it.

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Photo of kingmaker
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Finally getting around to these beers for my birthday. 04 s now ten years old! I used a tulip glass.

A: Not much sediment at the bottom of the glass. It pours a golden amber/ copper color, pretty clear. A good finger of head appears and steadily fades leaving the thinnest of a ring of bubbles around the glass

S: A rich peppery Belgian smell rises up with a good deal of alcohol behind it. The alcohol begins to dominate as it warms.

T: The Belgian yeasts are heavy hitters up front. Some bananas and citrus towards the end and it ends on a nice rich malt. A little lime comes as it warms.

M: Smooth, smooth, smooth. Amazing carbonation for the age

O: I'm glad I was able to cellar this properly. It was interesting balance (or competitive evolution) of the saison and hefeweizen flavors. I was really impressed with the beer especially since I had no idea what to expect from this when I opened it.

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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 russwbeck
2.8/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Churchkey.

This one has a semi hazy yellow color and a small fizzy white head. While the head laces well, it doesn't stick around for very long. It smells very Belgian-like, with clove, banana, and Belgian yeast taking over. There's also a slight amount of booze and an overall sweetness. The taste is muted. It really doesn't taste like much of anything. Perhaps some hay, light spice, and lingering clove. It's light and uncarbonated, but pretty drinkable because it tastes like nothing. Not a fan. Again, too old.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of mschofield
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium amber-gold, topped with a three finger puffy off-white head, left partial rings of lacing.
Spicy, yeasty, lime aroma, banana and flowers.
Robustly flavored, very yeasty - seems a little "wild" maybe it needs time to settle itself down. Lime, wet bread, wheat and flowers. More hop flavor than bitterness, although the bitterness does come out more when it warms.
Medium-full bodied, I've got a couple of bottles in the cellar it will be interesting to see how the compare to the fresh draft over time.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, orange marmalade in appearance, rather like a bright IPA.Orange peel... or perhaps lime seeing as how lime leaf is used in this, as well as coriander in the smell and taste. The smell has wanderlust. You can pick it up from quite far away.
The flavor reminds me of South Hampton's 2005 Grand Cru (and also of their Cuevee des Fleurs and Double White) but where the grand cru was very thick and unbalanced, this is not. There is a bit of apple juice going on but it is not domineering. Some have found bubblegum in the flavor and I can't really argue.
The mouthfeel is soft and pillowy, with some hops dryness and bitterness in the finish.
This brew shows Stone's potential versatility... as it seems the other vertical epics do. Stone is usually very ballsy-American, and this is pretty classy-Belgian. Go Stone, go!

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Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.89 out of 5 based on 322 ratings.
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