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
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Ratings: 323 |  Reviews: 218
Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer as it jettisons from the 22 ounce brown bottle a somewhat hazy amber with a mountainous light tan and spumescent head, the lace a thick sealing sheet to conceal the glass. Nose is sweet malt with a nice hint of yeast, biscuit like, also a smidgeon of hop spiciness noted, quite crisp and clean to the senses, start is rich in malt, somewhat sweet and the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish has a stern acidity, and a pleasing hop bite, quite dry and lingering aftertaste, another great beer from a great brewery, having said that I do think like the 03 that it will benefit greatly from a few years in the cellar.

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Photo of WOLFGANG
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

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 jaxon53
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of kvgomps
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the 'Most Arrogant Bar in America', Barley's Pizzeria & Taproom in Greenville, SC! Served from tap into a tulip. Poured golden yellow with a one finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, caramel, earth, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Based on the style of this brew and the age, I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. I know that the 03.03.03 had changed quite a bit over time so I expected more of this with the 04.04.04. However I found that this one really hadn’t changed too much based on the style. This one wasn’t hugely complex, but did manage to stay quite well balanced though. Just wish that it would have taken it to another level though. Worth your time trying this one if you get the opportunity.

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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 AgentZero
4/5  rDev +2.8%

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

Hazy pale golden yellow color, finger high, tight foamy white cap, resides to an ever present skim and the lacing sticks in moderate stringy patches.
Aroma is quite nice with a dried pepper toastiness over the base of lively citrus of lemon and lime skins. Strong and pleasingly persistant nose on this one.
Complexingly layered flavors within every sip, quite a nice brigade of dried pepper and clove spice, maybe a pinch of salt too, make for a pleasing finish. The forefront is built up of a solid mild citrus fruit salad of lemon and lime zest mixed with some banana underneath.
Feel is about medium bodied with a firm carbonation thats not overly biting, which I like, most triples have either too much ot not enough. This is just about right, a bit more creamy feel and body and it would be terrific for me.
I really enjoyed the finish on this, spicy of pepper and citrus zest thats drying yet the body remains wet and firm. And has just enough alcoholic/ethanolic kick to keep you in check. Nicely done. All in all, this is one well put together, spicy little Abbey Triple. A bit out of the realm for Stone, but bless their hearts for being such pioneers of trying new dimensions in the brewing universe. Hmmm....no matter how hard I try, I just can't be as wordy as their back labels, always a fun read!

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Photo of arizcards
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at AJ's recently. If it is Stone, one must try it.

This golden orange beer is clouded by it's unfiltered Belgian yeast presenting a very interesting display. It initially poured a nice head leaving a nice lacing. Nose is wonderful, of sweet fruits but noticably having banana overtones. Taste is smooth, not the usual bite of the wonderful Stone hops, but of the wonderful Belgian yeast surrounded by a beautiful medly of malts, hops, and hints of spices and fruits. Mouthfeel is very good, quite lively but smooth. Overall drinkability is near perfect. I would be interested to try one a year from now!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.54/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This poured a lovely, very hazy Belgian orange with a nice, white, frothing head that left little lava pits on top of the liquid.

Smell – This has a big, Abbey Tripel nose full of sweet tangerine and orange peel along with traditional Belgian spices. There was a touch of coriander and white pepper along with a dash of cinnamon and maybe a few others.

The big news here though was the lovely yeast backbone. Stone nailed this aroma to the wall. I could hang my nose over this all day. The wonderful yeast and big orange mixture was awesome.

Taste – Man, is this good. This is an incredibly successful attempt at (at least in my opinion) the ideal of this style.

The orange is more bitter (and pale) than sweet, but there’s enough sweetness there to make it sticky and chewy. The huge yeast backbone is large and in charge. The spices aren’t over the top but just right. The finish is dry.

Mouthfeel – The flavors come together perfectly in the mouth for this medium to full-bodied Abbey Tripel. It may benefit a bit from aging.

Drinkability – One of the best Abbey Tripels that I’ve had, and certainly one of the most successful stateside efforts at the style.

Comments – No, I’m not one of those whiny West Coasters that fall over anything made by Stone. This AT is excellent, though. This is not a half-baked effort. This is the real deal, and it rivals almost every other AT that I’ve had to date. Another amazing ale by Stone. Why would you want to wait eight years to drink this?

I have a reputation for having deviant tastes on this style (read, Elysian’s Bete Blanche or Mad Bitch) but this bottle was awesome! Stone does it again!!

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

3.5 A: Moderately hazed medium orange color. Didn't make much of a head.

3.5 S: Honey, lime, pepper, clove, and dog biscuit. Musty and simultaneously spicy. Smells almost like a much less old saison.

3.5 T: Tastes like the nose. A lot of lime and dog biscuit. Musty, a bit tangy, and spicy. Pepper, honey, and clove.

3.5 M: Medium body. Lightly spritzy with good moderate carbonation.

3.0 D: I wouldn't want to drink it again, but for an old ass beer it's not bad.

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Photo of gford217
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber courtesy of sunnydlyte23 poured into a snifter.

Pours a bright, clear golden amber with a soapy yellowish-white head that recedes to a small cap and leaves a bit of lacing.

The aroma is extremely sweet with honey and some sweet citrus aromas, maybe oranges. There is a spiciness in the nose as well but the sweetness of the phenols really comes out as it warms, bananas especially.

The taste has the same semi-hefe characteristics of sweet bananas and some clove-like spices. But there is a much thicker sweetness from the honey and the Belgian yeast backbone is definitely there as well. Very complex taste.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of things with a little bit of soft carbonation. The palate gets sticky with the honey which builds up after each sip.

I really enjoyed this one and it has held up extremely well over 5 years, much better than the 03 I had a few months ago. Very unique and highly recommended.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opted today (27DEC08) to quaff my second (and last) bottle of 04.04.04. Still shines with a lovely, clear golden hue. Fine bubbles stream steadily topside, towards a miniscule layer of white bubbles, most of which cling to the rim, lacing up the sides. Lime is still present in the aroma, which also has a subtle, earthy, horse-blanket quality to it. Mouthfeel is still a fairly smooth feel, and medium bodied.

Light, bready, malty sweetness lands softly on the palate, with a smidge of limey citrus following. Faint banana lurks in the background, and there is still a smidge of spiciness present. The finish is crisp and dry. Still a decent, tasty Epic offering, though I don't think that 4+ years of aging have done anything to make this a better bier. And, I wouldn't expect another 4 years to help. If I were rating this now, I'd likely rate it the same is on 2004.

Prosit!!

*** *** ***

I finally found some VE04 - only a month late (03MAY04), but nbd....

Pours an attractive, bright golden color, and is clear throughout (at this point). Head is a 1/4" layer of fine, white bubbles at the start, fading to a thin layer fairly soon after the pour. A healthy amount of bubbling congregates around the rim, with a nice lacework pattern left behind. The nose is wheaty, like a Hefe-, and it has a distinct fruity tang, which must be the lime noted in the recipe. I also get a bit of a yeasty, somewhat spicy character typical to Tripels. Body was a good, solid medium, and it was relatively smooth on the tongue, especially considering the bier has a steady stream of carbonation rising up within. I expected more roughness, but it went down nicely.

It has a slight crackery malt taste, with a wheaty dryness. I do pick up the lime in the flavor as well, melding with other tropical fruit notes. VE04 finishes dry on the palate, with a subtle fruit essence and peppery character lingering somewhat. The 8.5% abv seems well cloaked, as I don't really pick up on it at all. I find this to be a good bier, a solid bier, yet not one (at this point, anyhow) that knocks my socks off or overly wows me.

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

709

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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 TheLongBeachBum
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
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 Boto
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Bomber: Sampled 1/27/2005: This one poured a hazy, golden color. There was a fair amount of an off-white head on it, but it died down rather quickly. Interesting aroma. Some banana, breadiness, malt, yeast and definitely some spicy hop aroma (what else would you expect from Stone?). An interesting somewhat sweet taste. Hints of wheat and lemon also. Finishes with some dryness and tartness.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of shoegueuze
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of tommyguz
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of FosterJM
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1659th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass
22oz

Split with StarRaptor, Callmecoon & Smarcoly

App- A bit of an apple juice color with a bit of density behind it. A bit more golden than I wouldve thought. A small ring of bubbles was there and was gone quite quickly.

Smell- I didnt get any of the lime on this bottle. I got more of a malty, sweet a little bit of a saison note with some small peppery bits and then moved into a bit of sweet apple notes.

Taste- I thought it was a nice beer. Wasnt overly oxidized and didnt have the usual pop that a BSPA would have. The lime was gone and tasted more like a juice or a white wine to me. (Having 11-11-11 in white wine 2 after this. I still agree) The malts were much more pronounced and this had lost a lot of the nuance of the style.

Mouth- A bit of a syrupy medium body with a medium carbonation. The residual flavors are there with only a touch of the spicy and body of a saison. A little bit of sweetness and apple.

Drink- Probably my least favorite of the earlier bottles. I would say that it was 06-05-03-04. Was a lot of fun to do this tasting.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of KYGunner
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nine year old Four had an entrancing brightness of darkened gold color that was topped of with an effervescent bubbling head.

Cider is evident in the nose with a peppery spiciness and then a dry cereal malt finish.

The flavors are interesting in that they don't really go together yet they seem to flow effortlessly. It starts with a lavender taste with some juniper. Then a wine like fruit flavor followed by toffee and pecans. Finally it ends in a peppermint like coolness which lends to feel.

You never know what your going to get after almost a decade but this one still looks and tastes good.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ’04 looks largely lager-like with its pale yellow body capped with a foamy white head. It was very clear until I let all the yeasties spill in. It has a peculiar herb / spice aroma with a strong Belgian accent and tastes much like it smells.

This is brewed with something called Kaffir lime leaf. I have no idea what that is, but its infusion into an otherwise pale Trappist ale is remarkably complimentary and satisfying. The unique taste contributes to a beverage that is highly drinkable. This brew also stands up to food well in that it is prominent and herbal without being overly domineering.
Though the ’04 could benefit from some maturing, I don’t think I’ll wait eight years to try this one again.

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