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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic AleStone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

273 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 273
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 93
Gots: 38 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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. With Vertical Epic 03/03/03, we used some pretty interesting ingredients...coriander (a "Belgian-style" beer favorite!), alligator pepper (wow, bite into these little gems and you get a bigtime spicy rush of flavor), and a bit of both unmalted wheat and dark roasted wheat. And a blend of Belgian yeast and American ale yeast. And a nice selection of high alpha hops (a decidedly non-Belgian style twist). All told it makes for a dubble-ish taken-to-San-Diego-pushed-to-the-edge-and-slapped-around-a-bit beer. So, treat it gently. It's been abused enough already. Store it upright, cool and in the dark. It would enjoy a nice long rest. It will have plenty of patience. Now let's see about you ... In addition, we are pleased to provide the homebrewing recipe:  http://stonebrew.com/timeline/030303 

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-03-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 273 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by WanderingFool:
Photo of WanderingFool
WanderingFool

Massachusetts

4.6/5  rDev +17.6%

This has to be one of the most uniquely flavored beers I've tried. It seems sweet, bitter and spicy all at the same time. It is a very dark ruby red color with a thin head that fades to a ring around the beer. Spots of lace cling to the side of the glass. An aroma typical of a belgian beer (coriander, pepper) floats above the surface.

The beer is medium bodied and smooth as silk. Each sip begins with a bit of spicyness before more subtle flavors take over. I can detect bubblegum. It finishes slightly hoppy with a mild alcohol presence.

I don't know if I can wait unitl after December 12, 2012 to try my other bottle of vertical epic. I just might have to get a couple more bottles before they are all gone.

06-01-2003 13:15:38 | More by WanderingFool
More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Appearance – This one gave off a monster head that almost raged out of control. The body is sugary brown and the head a triple “L” (long, lasting, and lacing), creating a shaving cream-like cover to the body and pitting like volcanic lava.

Smell – The lightly-toasted malt aroma makes itself known. The traditional Stone hops come out as well, creating quite the balance. The sweet raw and table sugar smells blend perfectly with this concoction.

Taste – The aggressive aroma gives way to a nicely balanced ale. The molasses and sugar sweetened malts lead the way, followed by balancing Stone hops and a sugary finish. The traditional BSDA spices are present as well, making this an extraordinary brew.

Mouthfeel – Well-carbonated with a sweet, malty start and a dry, almost bitter hop finish. This one is full and chewy.

Drinkability – You don’t have to wait until 2012 to enjoy this offering.

Comments – BigDog (xlperro) gave me the bottle to take home when I was in town on business (as if he hadn’t extended himself enough already). This was an excellent and thoughtful gift and well appreciated. I popped this for my 300th review. Cheers to the BAs of SoCal!

10-20-2003 02:05:28 | More by RoyalT
Photo of Dmann
Dmann

California

4.93/5  rDev +26.1%

This is one of the most unique beers I have ever tasted! It's a dubbel, yet it is not a dubbel. It has that characteristic Stone mouthfeel and hop taste to an extent, but it is nothing like they have ever made before. This beer poured a dark brown color with a small head that faded rather quickly. The smell of spices and pepper hit me as soon as I poured it and I knew I was in for a treat...and that flavor...! This is by far the most spice-flavored beer I've ever had, and that is definantly a good thing. The beer is malty sweet in the beginning, then the hop and alchohol flavor creap in and set you up for the peppery bite and aftertaste in the end. And the great spice flavors are present through all the stages of the tasting experience. I can definantly tell that this one will age very well, and I plan to buy much more so I can sample it on it's way to the 12/12/12 maturity date. Grab it while you can!

04-04-2003 02:45:31 | More by Dmann
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +12%

I've been waiting to try this one for awhile now. Pours from the bomber a deep reddish brown with a nice two finger bubbly off white head. A mix of deep caramel, pepper, clove and some banana. Quite inticing.

A nice mix of sweet caramely banana bread flavors infused with spicy, peppery nuances and hints of earthy yeast. Well balanced with a nice mellow citrus hop biterness on the back of the palate.

A super creamy, lush full body that makes it a joy to drink. Good complex flavor keeps me coming back for more...drinkability is very good here. Another enjoyable brew from Stone...I look forward to seeing how this one will hold up. Thanks to bigbeerdrinka and ppoitras for the chance to sample and cellar this one.

12-04-2004 03:03:27 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of DWolf
DWolf

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

06-21-2013 16:21:46 | More by DWolf
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +5.6%

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 03.03.03

Appearance: The head billows up like a summer thunder storm rushing the land, you can almost hear the bigger bubble crackling as the head subsides. The deepest amber burgundy hue I have seen, a bit dark and murky.

Smell: Coriander gives a hard flick to the nose then a ten car pile up of smells; clove, solvent alcohol, ripe pear, nutty yeast, orange peel, starburst candies, tobacco, musty leather, spicy pepper and toasted malt. Baboom!

Taste: Slick with a smooth and creamy mouth feel as it slides around the palate, very spicy with a smack down of clove and other peppery treats. The warmth of the alcohol is quick and tries to subdue with its fruitiness yet it scratches the mouth with a nail of solvent alcohol. The malt does not rock the boat yet seems to hold this brew together. Finishes spicy sweet with a long lingers phenolic.

Notes: The spiciness and phenols won’t let you forget this beer, Stone Brewing pulled this one out of the mystery bag … a spectacular turn out to say the least.

07-18-2003 02:08:55 | More by Jason
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

3.9/5  rDev -0.3%

It's always a guilty pleasure to read the amusing boasts, harangues,and information on a 22oz Stone bottle. This edition proclaims, "...designed to be aged until some time after December 12, 2012". I wonder how many will last half that long. I poured this into a St Bernardus goblet, at cellar temperature. It appears a clear dark mahogany out of the light, a striking orange/ruby amber when held to the light. The beige head quickly faded into all kinds of lacing. Aroma is very Belgian, with rum soaked fruits, bourbon dipped raisins, bubblegum, biscuity malt, coriander, dark pepper, and some piney and citrus hops that aren't so Belgian.
Mouthfeel is smooth and silky. Moderate carbonation with some alcohol bite.
Taste is impressive, but can't match the extraordinary nose. Plenty of dark fruits, coriander leads the rack of spices, some malt sweetness, wild Alpha hops, and then considerable vinous overtones. The vinous traits combine with the alcohol to overwhelm all of the wonderful ingredients in this sensous brew. This becomes overbearing to the point of being a significant distraction, but who am I to argue. I opened the bottle over eight years early. Still, this is a very good Belgian style strong sipping ale. I enjoyed it with homemade pizza.

02-05-2004 00:19:01 | More by merlin48
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Billolick

New York

4.38/5  rDev +12%

Some say the stone brews are over rated. I disagree. Every stone I try, blows me away. This one was no differant. Bomber bottle. Poured dark and cloudy. Strong nose of phenolics, yeast and spice. Rich flavorful brew, vanilla, yeast, leather. malty and strong. This one left intricate lace. Very enjoyable, style buster. Strong, rich, intense flavors. seek out, store if you can. Enjoy this classy sipper.

05-26-2004 21:40:31 | More by Billolick
Photo of fdrich29
fdrich29

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +5.6%

1 Pint, 6fl. oz bottle. "Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic ALe" Limited 2500 Case Release.

Just by reading the blurb on the side of the bottle you know there's a lot going on with this special beer. Some of the ingredients are listed on the bottle and they include coriander, alligator pepper, unmalted and dark roasted wheat, high alpha hops and Belgian and AMerican ale yeast. Ummm...WOW.

Head rises up and forms quite quickly into a large head but shrinks down to the width of a few pieces of paper just as fast. Leaves rings of lacing around the glass.

As the list of some of the ingredients would lead you to believe, the smell of this bad boy is mind blowing. So much going on I just had to smell it for a few minutes to soak it all in.

Tastes distinctly Stone, and as also stated on the bottle shares some characteristics wtih dubble style.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, very fun to drink.

Easily drinkable, so fight the temptation and cellar a few of these for down the road.

08-10-2004 01:24:47 | More by fdrich29
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OldFrothingSlosh

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +10.7%

Multiple bottles sampled by multiple BA's at the fine Brew's Cafe in Granville, Ohio. Kudos to Rocky for parting with some of this fine brew.

Appearance: Deep ruby red on the pour. Minimal head but I was rewarded with a very nice lacing effect in the glass.

Smell: Raisins all the way...with a spciy character that was hard to nail down with any conviction. Plus, the requisite hoppy influence of the Stone brewery.

Taste: I'm not the world's biggest (or even average) raisin fan, but this beer really tasted lovely to me. Raisin-flavored up front, with other intoxicated fruits playing second fiddle to the raisin. A good bit of hoppy bitterness is evident as well, but blends surprisingly smoothly with the fruity notes. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: A thick, almost syrupy-sweet finish. Not much of an aftertaste and just a smidgen of a warming effect from the alcohol.

Note: I'd be curious to see how this ages. As you may know, the bottle states that "ideally" it should be aged until 12.12.12. I'll be interested to see how these reviews progress as cellared sampled are tried.

04-12-2003 19:00:38 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


3.13/5  rDev -19.9%

On Tap

Stone Epic Festival 12-12-12
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 9 years)

Muddy dark brown with a small brown head. Leaves dots of stick down the glass.

Mild fruitcake aroma, some earth, and brown bread. There's a faint spice character, but everything is very mild. Unsurprising, at this age.

The flavor follows the aroma, with some dulled spices, mild Belgian yeast, and simple dark wheat bread. Though I wasn't fortunate enough to try this fresh, I can only imagine that this one has lost a lot from the time in the vault. It simply tastes old, dulled, and uninteresting.

Medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation.

Decent enough and interesting, and I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to try this, but the liquid in the glass wasn't particularly exciting.

12-16-2012 21:43:54 | More by ehammond1
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Thrasher

Oregon

4.53/5  rDev +15.9%

At the Stone NYC kick-off event last night at the Blind Tiger, this was perhaps the most satisfying brew I tasted. I am going from memory here, which I never do in my reviews, but I am aching to describe this beer. After being repeatedly assaulted by Stone's intense hops for the first time in my life, I nestled into this beer and let it soothe my wounds. Very unlike Stone's other brews, this is quite Belgian in style, with the typical Belgian yeast that not only evokes a dubbel but a Bavarian wheat beer as well. Refreshing, fruity, with wood and forest characteristics, quite hoppy but mild by Stone standards. It is a shame this beer is so limited; on tap, at least, it was a divine experience. I can only imagine the characteristics it would take accompanied by a meal.

03-13-2003 19:00:20 | More by Thrasher
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TKEbeerman

Florida

3.26/5  rDev -16.6%

A. Poured into my VE glass, this brew pours a murky brown with some caramel tones.
S. The aroma has some very woody natural tones, some brown sugar, and light dark chocolate.
T. The flavor follow suite, but with more chocolate, and a lack of belgium yeasty tones.
Mf. Mf is a little on the thin side and carbination is light.
Overall, not bad, but I expected bigger from a bsda

01-19-2013 01:21:06 | More by TKEbeerman
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WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.95/5  rDev +1%

Ruby mahogany tone this is one massive beer that sits in front of me, with a huge tiny bubbled tan creamy head sitting at least three fingers thick just awesome appearance with huge thick annular rings of lucious lace. Aroma is packed with a peppery spiced up edge to it some coriander evident along with softness of wheat sweetness there are hops flowing through the air not as harsh as I had thought they were going to due to the fact that this beer is supposed to last until December 12, 2012 but very nice floral pine cone hops. A very hopped up bitterness yet balanced by caramelly sweet belgium malts and spices a bit peppery in the finish has an edge to it that still shows signs that it is going to mellow out. Mouthfeel is full and fluffy textured but silky smooth at the same time, I cannot wait to grab a few more bottles of this delightful nectar to store and determine how it's going to change with time. Drinkability, suprisingly is very smooth not totally ripe but not too green to enjoy this one, what a journey our friends at Stone have started for us true beer lovers, wow!!!

07-18-2003 01:36:07 | More by WVbeergeek
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OStrungT

California

4.28/5  rDev +9.5%

This beer pours a very cloudy, muddy brown color, with a very thin light tan head. What little head there is fades sllowly, leaving a small lacing.

This beer smells primarily of alcohol. Behind that, I smell some spice. Coriander is present. Also, I smell some earthy yeast. A slight malty caramel aroma is present.

As with the aroma, this beer tastes of alcohol. It has a sweet caramel malt flavor. It tastes slightly spicy. Also, some yeasty flavors are present. Much of the flavor of this beer are very subtle since it is somewhat old.

This full bodied beer goes down smooth. It is crisp and refreshing, despite the alcohol like flavors. It is very low in carbonation, but over 3 years in a cellar will do that.

I think that this beer would make a decent session beer. The only problem is that it is next to imposible to find.

Overall: Finally, I have had the chance to try this beer. Thanks to O'Brien;s Pub for making it available.

10-14-2006 14:20:40 | More by OStrungT
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SPRichard

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +2.3%

01-23-2013 22:27:10 | More by SPRichard
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weonfire

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

12-16-2012 21:59:41 | More by weonfire
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mdaschaf

Washington

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

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

A: Hazy red/purple with no head or lacing.

S: Very bready with some dark fruit, caramel and a little spice. It is a little phenolic.

T: Light citrus, slightly bitter with a little caramel, raisin, and bread.

M: Low to medium bodied with no carbonation.

O: Not awful considering age, but didn't exactly hold up well either.

04-08-2013 22:41:10 | More by mdaschaf
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soper2000

Texas

4.38/5  rDev +12%

I was extremely surprised to find a rather large stash of this at my local liquor store, so i grabbed a couple. 1 to age and one to enjoy right now. The beer pours a deep burnt amber color. This may be one of the most appetizing pours I have ever seen and the aroma grabs my attention too. Smells of dark fruits dominate and are backed up by a little spice. Taste is very intriguing. Again dark fruits (plums, raisins?) dominate but this has the strongest hop bit of any dark Belgian I've had. However the taste doesn't remain on the palate as i would like. Mouthfeel is good, smooth but not too creamy. Drinkability seems pretty high as I finished off the bomber of this beauty before knowing it. Overall I think it is a wonder that I can compare this beer to St. Bernardus Abt 12 as Stone is fairly young. I can't wait to see how the other Vertical Epics stack up to this.

03-26-2004 00:34:01 | More by soper2000
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Dawkins

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

09-21-2013 04:13:50 | More by Dawkins
Photo of RockyTopHeel
RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +2.3%

Dark mahogany in appearance with little to no head and malty, distinctly Belgian aromas.

Flavor (mostly typically Belgian, with sweetness and malts intersperced with wheat tones and a nice, round mouthfeel) is very good now, but I'm willing to bet only a foreshadowing of what this brew will become down the road.

Right now, it seems a little young and fresh, and needs some character development...

07-05-2004 01:37:57 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

Well, I was pleasantly surprised upon tasting this that it's similar to a Belgian Abbaye dubbel.

It pours a slightly hazy (even from a long-standing, refrigerated bottle) chestnut body with a crimson cast. Some softly glowing orange highlights appear at the base of the goblet, and some exceptionally fine bubbles can be seen rising in swirling plumes towards the surface. The head retention is somewhat limited, and it leaves only minor spots and splashes of lace about the glass.

In the nose some sweet, cereal-like malt is accented by dark fruit, a block of just-about-to-melt milk chocolate, and some light spice...

...and that carries over into the flavor. It starts with a drop of chocolate and some lightly juicy and subtly tart dark fruit up-front; but soon warms to reveal a combination of dark vinous fruit (along with their bitter skins) amidst a rising background of soft, sweet chocolate that carries over into the finish. As you progress through the serving some leafy and dull, pine-like hops start to show; and it's spiciness become much more peppery. Surprisingly, however, it hurries off of the palate leaving you refreshed and ready for another sip except for a mild residue of cocoa and a hint of spice and alcohol on the tongue and at the back of the mouth. It's nicely complex... but it shows itself off really quickly! Still, in many ways, that lends to its drinkability.

08-13-2005 16:47:25 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.8/5  rDev -2.8%

030303 - consumed 121212

appearance: served in my great lakes chalice, muddy amber-mahogany body, still carbonated and revealing a nice tan ring

smell: toffee, holiday spiced bread, caramel malt

taste: I dunno - this held up better than I anticipated - clearly in the vein of the belgian dubbel style - sure, there is that permeating stale-hop presence, but this is almost 10 years old. toffee, caramel, stale pumpernickel, raisin, dried fruit

mouthfeel: still decently carbonated, slick medium body

overall: exceeded expectations, DUE TO AGE

12-14-2012 03:28:17 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Jon
Jon

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -5.9%

Well, this may be the first Stone brew about which I'm not overly ecstatic. That's not to say, of course, that I won't be next year, or even nine years from now, due to the nature of this beer. The 03-03-03 Vertical Epic pours a light brown/mahogany color with reddish tints and a 1/4", cream colored head that leaves some nice lace down the chalice. The nose features notes of sweetness, although the most abundant aromas are that of pepper, yeast and coriander. Nice fresh smelling smell overall. This is one intense Belgian dubbel-style brew. The first flavor that hit my palate was that of the alligator pepper used in the brewing process. Whoa, almost too much spice for my palate. Big notes of alpha hops, as mentioned on the bottle, are present on the finish. Some notes of yeast present themselves when the beer warms up a bit, as well. As a matter of fact, the brew mellows out quite a bit as the beer reaches room temperature. The mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and it fills the mouth quite well. Overall, this is interesting -- a very much Stone take on a Belgian dubbel style ale. I plan on buying more of these and trying them during the next nine years to see how they mature. This should be a very tasty brew as it cellars, it just needs some maturation to set it right. A quality effort from the folks in San Marcos nevertheless -- it takes balls to brew something like this.

07-31-2003 03:19:15 | More by Jon
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Stingray5

New York

4.18/5  rDev +6.9%

22 oz bomber pours an amber-brown with a towering near white head. Sweet, fruity, bready, yeasty aroma along with some spiciness. Nice creamy mouthful with moderate to high carbonation. Taste is extremely smooth. Bready malt, spices and a peppery sensation are followed by a smooth, relaxing and ever so slight alcohol warmth. More complexities and pepper flavors as it warms. Pucker up for the dry finish, which reveals a tasteful, understated hop presence.

Being a Stout/IPA guy, this here's a style I'm slowly gaining more experienced with as my tastebuds adapt and mature. Compared to other Belgian styles I've tried, this is on the tamer side and would make a good introduction to the style. Quite drinkable.

07-17-2003 01:09:14 | More by Stingray5
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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.