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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:
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
Photo of kmo1030
kmo1030

Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +17.1%

03/03/04: deep red-brown with significantly less head than when i tried it right after it came out. i pick up a big caramel and faint coffee malt in the smell, as well as fruit: figs and grapes. clove, corriander, caramel, and a lot of other really pleasing complexities to the taste. slight fig and grape too. buttery as well... more flavors keep coming out. slight pepper at the end. hops present but not overpowering at all. more subdued than a year ago, but tastier for it. belgian in character. meduim-thick bodied. this is a really superb beer that has only gotten better in a years time with the malts getting more flavorful. it will be interesting to see how this ages further. this is really an incredible beer.

03-03-2004 22:43:29 | More by kmo1030
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

4.58/5  rDev +17.1%

Deep, dark, rustic mahoganey in color with an inch high luscious, rich, puffy thick, ivory colored frothy head, great sticking thickly stringed lace. Nice aroma of toffee and dark fruits with a note of nuts and spice. Taste is complex, smooth, rich full bodied, and quite yummy, good dark toffee and caramel candy sense, dark fruits of plum, raisin, and orange. Solid grab and feel of balanced hops in the middle right into the lightly dancing bitter drying finish with a hint of nuts, spice, and alcohol. Good full body feel with awesome smoothness and lingering light tang in the mouth after each sip. This is is some great stuff, yummy as hell, and to hell with waiting to open this brew, live now, its worth it!

Thanks to Gusler for the bottle.

06-30-2003 19:44:02 | More by tavernjef
Photo of m1ked
m1ked

California

4.55/5  rDev +16.4%

Had this thanks to a generous beer geek/ friend, d0ggnate. Luckily it was pay day, so he bottle poppin! I had yet to try this one, so pretty excited.

A- Clear copper/red with a thin foam.

S- Deep candied sugar/ burnt sugar, roasted & carmelized banana. Some fig or raisin.

T- The carmelized banana, candied brown sugar. SLight biscuity yeast. Roasted malts and grains.

M- Smoooth, with a little heat.

D- If I could afford it, I could drink multiple. I would have to say that the 04 is my favorite.

02-17-2008 01:21:06 | More by m1ked
Photo of beergeek279
beergeek279

Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +16.4%

Served in the 22 oz. bottle. The color is a dark amber, with a creamy white head. The smell is the typical rich, yeasty malt dubbel smell. The taste has hints of spicing like most dubbels but has a definite hoppiness to it unlike any of the Belgians I've had. Mouthfeel is remarkably smooth, with no noticable alcohol. Drinkability-wise, if I could find a bunch of bottles I'd certainly have a few more.

Wow...Stone puts its own stamp on a Belgian, and as always makes it even better. Though I sadly missed the 2.2.02 release, I'll be sure to get as many of the later releases as I can, and hopefully find my way to a 2012 vertical tasting...only 9 years to wait!

09-13-2003 01:10:20 | More by beergeek279
Photo of Boolshot
Boolshot

California

4.55/5  rDev +16.4%

I love all Stone brews, and this is no exception. Beautiful pour, and that sweet fruity/sweet/spicy aroma that wafts from the glass made my mouth water. I think the allegator peppers were alittle much, but it was still a great brew. Can't wait to see what it tastes like on 12/12/12

05-07-2006 04:57:06 | More by Boolshot
Photo of Thrasher
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
Photo of byrd
byrd

Virginia

4.53/5  rDev +15.9%

The first pour from the bottle was a clear deep reddish-copper. The light tan head is small, but stays as a thick lace on the surface. The aroma is wonderful. Sweet malts, some fruitiness, banana, brown sugar, light yeast, clove spiciness, and very light alcohol. The hops are restrained (maybe a little grassy). Great brew! Very smooth start of subtly sweet malt. Spiciness, namely clove, comes in towards the middle and stays for the finish. The finish is a great balance of hops and spices. A light tart hop bitterness remains in the aftertaste. Upon the second pour from the bottle, the brew picks up quite a bit of cloudiness as the yeast is drained from the bottom of the bottle. Not surprisingly, the yeast notes pick up a bit on the palate, and there’s a slight nuttiness that is also noticeable. There’s a moderate carbonation of fine bubbles on the tongue, with a medium mouthfeel. The alcohol is very subtle and blends very well with the rest of the flavors, leaving a slight warming sensation. Wonderfully balanced, smooth, easy drinking brew. This brew is top notch right now, but if it only gets better as it is aged, it’s certainly going be to one hellova brew in 2012!

11-04-2003 17:20:22 | More by byrd
Photo of iokals
iokals

Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +15.9%

Appearance: Deep brown with gold tones in light. Small, quickly dissipating white head.

Aroma: Fantastic spicy plum aroma with a hint of pepper

Taste: Rich and full, sweet with a subtle alcohol bite on the back end. The plum aroma lends the subtle taste of that plum to the sweetness. Coriander spiciness balances well

Mouthfeel: Heavy, but not syrupy.

Overall: An excellent entry that hopefully will continue to age well (as I have more in the basement). Only problem (while very minor) is that the last couple sips were a bit more difficult than the first; owing to the thickness. Too bad they don't have 20 oz. bottles.

06-09-2004 15:27:49 | More by iokals
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 granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Maybe, i am biased because this beer's name is my birthday but I loved this beer. It poured a deep brown color with amber highlights. The head was compact but dense and tan in color. The aroma was very spicy, I think from the alligator pepper but also from the yeast. Quite nice. The taste was very complex and out there. Lots of spice, all over the place spices were coming. Dark malts that were roasted are present. Hop flavor and a slight bitterness come out towards the end. Strong yeast in the finish along with a huge hit of alcohol. I could see how this baby needs to be aged, it could definitely do some mellowing. But it's damn good right now as is.

03-04-2004 17:21:57 | More by granger10
Photo of BeerManDan
BeerManDan

California

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

What a beautiful "Belgian-Style" ale.

When poured, a nice dark amber brown with little foam and a lot of lace in the glass. The smell of spices, yeast and wheat just is overpowing and pleasanto to the nose. The taste is a well balance of malts, spices, yeast and malts, combined it makes for a winning combination. This brings together a complex balance of a sweet/bitterness nature and is so pleasant in the mouth ond after taste.

Bring on more, I can't get enough of a good brew. Will store for future use!

03-25-2003 15:54:17 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of jaybrough
jaybrough

Arizona

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

10-12-2013 03:44:44 | More by jaybrough
Photo of Boto
Boto

Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

I was very lucky to find this on a recent trip to AZ: Only brewing 2500 cases they don't ship many (or any) east at all.

I had seen the bit of hype about the yearly release of this line, but it being Stone, I was ready for it to live up to the hype. I was not disappointed.

I got some of the familiar smells is a Belgian Strong Ale that you would expect, plums, raisins, and caramel aroma. But, to no suprise, there were hops, and lots of them. While they were quite evident in the taste, they did not overpower the taste. Incredible well balanced. Hats off to them!

I wonder how my other bottle will taste in a year or 2? Probably even better!

04-26-2003 11:59:23 | More by Boto
Photo of PhineasGage
PhineasGage

Iowa

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

01-27-2012 18:54:21 | More by PhineasGage
Photo of ngandhi
ngandhi

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +14.3%

Yet another hybrid beer from Stone, the 030303 seems to bridge the gaps between all non-lambic Belgian styles. The nose is almost intrusive with coriander seed -- begging me to call this a witbier. It opens with the richness of an abt, moves to a coriander-laden witbier midpalate, and finishes with a prick of spice, tons of rubbery yeast, and a unifying, but barely discernable, riff of cocoa. And then it has the audacity, on the latent aftertaste, to evolve into plums, chocolate-covered raisins, spiced custard, and everything the six Belgian monasteries have tried all these years to achieve. I'm also reminded of altbier.

The malt profile is remarkably complex, the coriander so deep, and the yeast so entirely perfect. But I'm really missing out on this Alligator Pepper. I think it's partly because I have no idea what to look for, but also that the wit character is dominant to a fault in this beer. There's a hint of trappist-inspired phenols as this brew warms that I think are supported by whatever the Alligator Pepper is contributing.

But it looks perfect and I could drink it forever. At cellar temp, it becomes so slightly warming in the stomach and the back of the throat half way down the pint, yet this brew insists on remarkable balance and control.

I can't see this evolving over the next 8 years, but after 1 it's become something quite special. Hopefully the malts will recuse their sweetness and this will become the spicy beast I was expecting. Unfortunately, as hops mellow in aroma as a brew ages, I expect the spices to as well. This is probably going to get too subtle over the years and, if the alcohol comes out, too Rochefort. Which is something no other American brewery will ever achieve.

Relax, relax.
ng

03-19-2004 05:21:29 | More by ngandhi
Photo of BeerResearcher
BeerResearcher

Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +14.3%

A dark amber body lies beneath an impressive beige head. The lace sticks in places, but mostly slides down atop the remaining thin coat. A candy cane, wheat malt, hop and alcohol aroma lasts in moderation throughout the glass. The rich and creamy body is caramel sweet. Complex flavors of toffee, roasted malt, molasses and camphor are quite forward. Spicy hop and some grapefruit bitterness blend in well with the large and deep body. The flavors blend more evenly as it warms. Additional flavors reminiscent of sherry, rum and bananas begin to appear. The omni-present alcohol, while fairly potent, never overwhelms. I saved one for the recommended opening on Dec. 12, 2012...providing I live that I long. In the event I don't; first come first serve!

06-17-2003 19:11:44 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

4.47/5  rDev +14.3%

The beer is a clear mohagony color. A thin and dense ivory white head lays on top. A nice rimming is noticed. Lacing is evident but sporadic. I love the smell of this beer. Stone really achieves some awesome aromas with their beers. This one is yeasty, bready, doughy, spicy and musty. Astounding. I really like the spice kick in the flavor profile. I realize the Alligator pepper moreso than the corriander. It compliments the cookie dough yeast properties and West Coast hop tones nicely. If I had an aversion to spice qualities in a beer, I might not care for this one at this stage of the game, but I don't have that aversion. And even though they are a bit abrasive, they fit into the Big Picture. (I'm guessing the spicing will mellow out as the years go by.) The alcohol is very well hidden. The body is light to medium and the beer has an airy, effervescent feel on the tongue. There's a nice lingering bitterness from hops and spice. This is one great concoction.

04-15-2003 22:08:18 | More by Bighuge
Photo of MrSeth
MrSeth

Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +14.3%

Pours a deep amber color with a small white-tan head. It settles pretty quickly, but leaves small groups of suds forming and reforming throughout the duration of the drink.

Strong malt aroma. Candyish, blackcherries, something of a savory quality, like tamari soy.

Medium bodied, a bit chewy and FULL of flavor. Rich malt is the centerpiece, but there is a distinct hoppy edge. Lime zest, fresh grapefruit and ripe cherries.

This is yet another highly drinkable offering from Stone Brewing Co. If I may suggest a pairing, dry salame rolled in black peppers, fresh sliced baguettes and cheddar no less than 4 years old.

05-07-2005 02:45:28 | More by MrSeth
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 brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

I bought a half-case of these, I better get another half-case if I get the chance. Stone presentation of all of their beers is so top notch, no other bottle gets read as fully as theirs.

I wasn't really sure what to expect on the pour. It wasn't as dark as I guessed it would be. Light hazelnut color, I poured it fairly headless, I'll have to have another and go for some bubbles next time.

Smells much like a Belgian, malty nose, some spice I cannot identify, probably coriander.

Tastes very good, excellent initial combination of malt and Belgian yeast, alcohol presence pushing through as the flavors settle across the tongue. Smooth, a little bubbly mouthfeel, an entertaining play in the mouth. Just as the carbonation burn yields from its peak, I detect the spiciness of the alligator pepper. Not a crazy, hot spiciness, rather mild, not exactly complimenting the Belgian-ness, but not fighting it either. This will be very interesting to try after aging for a few years.

This is dangerously drinkable, the alcohol level is well-masked by the flavors, it'll backdoor you if you're not watching.

05-27-2003 12:41:16 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of beerguy101
beerguy101

California

4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

Dark brown color. Medium head. Aroma is malt, coriander and peppers. A full bodied ale. This beer is a frelling flavor fest. Malts are bold, slightly sweet and very smooth. It is not very hoppy, which is very unusual for a Stone Brew. But there are plenty of spices to balance it out; coriander, peppers (!), some fruits (apricots and cherries) and a touch of peat and smoke. Very smooth taste. Aging will only make this beer much better. Hides the 9% alcohol very well. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter with some peppery tones. Etched Beer bottle.

09-25-2003 02:32:53 | More by beerguy101
Photo of kennyo
kennyo

New York

4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

Brownish/copper color, hazy. Thin rising carbonation bubble stream. Pours with a nice head but disipates fairly quick until there is no head at all.

Aroma - Malty, sweet, slight alcohol

Taste - Sweet, malty, a little homebrewish. hoppy but not up to normal Stone brews. A little spicy on the back of the throat, alligator peppers???

04-28-2004 03:26:30 | More by kennyo
Photo of Higravity
Higravity

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

A peppered out double. Dig it. This beer was poured into my duvel tulip and I let a good tan head rise over the dark brown liquid. Very nicely carboanted small bubbles rise throughout. Smell is of belgian ester yeastyness with sweet malt with many dimensions and playable actions, just purely enjoyable to smell. The taste is sweet dark fruit that is evaporated to reveal white pepper eating into your tongue. Lively tasting as if it is fighting back. Very intense and interesting. NIce heavy body and way too drinkable. I will have to get the homebrew recipe and try my own now.

02-12-2006 00:37:57 | More by Higravity
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +12.5%

22ozer bottle from Austin Liquors, Shrewsbury, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a uniformly bubbled 1/2" tan colored head. Laces nicely, like memories of beer gone by. Malt dominates the nose, but the spiciness described on the bottle makes its presence known, but not overpoweringly. As expected, the taste has an orchestra of flavors playing; You've got the mouthful of smoth malt playing the main tune, but there's the subdued hop bite waving for your attention over there, and then out yonder the alligator pepper is sounding a dog whistle at the periphery. And let's not forget the sneaky little EtOH, slithering in under the radar, but leaving warmth wherever he travels. Altogther, they play a great tune, and I look forward to cellaring my other bottle for a later date.

03-08-2004 22:49:24 | More by ppoitras
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.