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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

278 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 278
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 92
Gots: 40 | FT: 4
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 278 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OldSock
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Picked up at Marty's earlier today. 22 oz bottle. This is a cloudy brew with only a thin off-white head that sticks around for mere seconds.

Smell – More like an aged English beer than something Belgian inspired. Dark fruits with a touch of chocolate. Some sweetness, but without a trace of alcohol.

Taste – Dark fruit, plums and raisins, and sweetness upfront with the chocolate only appearing in the aftertaste. The Belgian character is more apparent in the taste with spice and yeast being contributing components. An odd combination that seems to have harmonized over the nearly 3 years in the bottle. Still no hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel – Medium high carbonation, the body is a bit syrupy for me. This could have used some sugar to thin it a bit.

Drinkability & Notes – Age has rendered this very drinkable, the only detraction being the full body. A tasty beer to be sure, glad I picked one up because I'm not sure if I'll ever see it again.

OldSock, Jan 07, 2006
Photo of Bierman9
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taking a day off today (12OCT09) and having some brews... Save this one for a big-ass vertical in 2012? Screw it! I just felt like having my last bottle of 03.03.03... Is there a better reason?

Still a clear, ruby/garnet, with a thin, tan head. Aroma is dark fruit and dry. No diff for mouthfeel. Dark fruit is here in the flavor, too. It is quite dry now, almost chalky. NBD, overall. Best quaffed way back when. If you're saving it, think twice and drink it now, before it degrades more....

Prosit!

*** ***

Tried another today (02APR05).... Color is actually more of a ruby/garnet as opposed to mahogany.... crystal clear.... creamy tan. finely bubbled head... lacing does stick well...
Fruity aroma...dark fruit, actually. Suggests dryness. Not quite medium bodied... a slight bit of prickliness on the tongue... Bier is indeed dry.... combo of dark fruit with a bit of tropical fruit notes, though mild... slight pepperiness... flavor lingers in the dry finish.... seems like I enjoyed it more 2 years ago... Will try another in a few years or so....

Prosit!

overall: 4
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5

*** ***

(Original review of 26APR03): The Epic has hit NH!! Scored a couple of bottles at The Wine Society ($6.99)....one for now, one (hopefully) for a lot later....
The triple-3 pours a dark mahogany color, and has just a slight wisp of cloudiness, though not much. Head is a very-finely bubbled thin layer, a smidge off-white in color. Lacing tries to make it, but can't quite stick.
3-cubed has a spicy, peppery-like nose. The "wheatiness" makes itself evident too. These aromas are in addition to a slight Belgian-like aspect. All-in-all, quite interesting, and pleasant!
Body and mouthfeel are both nice, medium and pleasure inducing! A nice feel in the mouth for this bier....
This one tries to be a bit of a Dubbel, with a little sweetness and fruitiness there, but then it becomes more like a Strong Belgian Pale, with the spicy and peppery characteristics. Finish is a bit dry, with the pepperiness lingering.... the 8.5% abv assists in the belly warming being felt....
Tasty stuff....must check back here in 9 years to see how it holds up, with the rest of the series...if I can!! (4.0/4.0/4.0/4.0/4.0 = 4.0)

Prosit!!

537

Bierman9, Apr 02, 2005
Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into the Vertical Epic Glass.

Pours a dark brown bronze with yeast haze. The head is nearly white and low; pouring didn't generate much head.

Smells like unspiced raisin bread. There is a dark fruit presence, a bit pungent, with caramel. Smell isn't very strong.

Taste is medium in intensity. There is a very mild toasty character with vanilla and woody tea.

The tingle is light and it feels mildly tannic and lightly creamy.

Doppelbockulus, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

merlin48, Feb 05, 2004
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Certainly this beer will get better with age and cellaring. As it now stands it is a lesser Stone beer which is to say that it is very good, but not great. The look is of dark amber to mahogany with a lively tan head and good lacing.

The nose is complex with much going on and hinting of rich malt, spices, yeast, and some hopping. The aroma is substantial and foretells that this also is going to be complex in flavor, and it is. The predominant flavor to my mind is the base malt sweetness, followed by hints of spice and then more hop flavor than the style would normally denote. These flavors seem less integrated than they would in most beers and I belive that this is where the aging process will begin to tell another tale each year in the future.

The feel is creamy and rich feeling, more filling than a highly drinkable beer should be and the alcohol level further limts this dimension. I look forward to many more tastings of this in the future when it will have matured from a very good beer to a great beer. I sure hope so given the number of bottles I've put back.

AtLagerHeads, Sep 17, 2003
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled May 2005
Pours with a frothy thick tan head that sits atop a lightly hazy amber colored beer that has orange highlights. The aroma is fruity with notes of raisins and figs, and over time, the coriander. The coriander is still fairly noticeable in the aroma, though it has tamed down a bit (which in my opinion is a good thing). In the aroma I also get subtle notes of pepper, sherry, and chocolate. The beer is off dry up front, and actually does not have much sweetness throughout. This beer finishes with a note of chocolate and a hint of roasted grains, that I don't remember tasting before. Thank goodness the coriander flavors have mellowed considerably, it has moved to a sort of earthy note that adds a sort of filling richness to this beer. This beer is still holding up pretty well and should last at least a couple more years in my cellar.

Gueuzedude, May 22, 2005
Photo of marc77
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy tawny chestnut hue. Dense, creamy, persistent almond white head. Sparse lace remains. Bubblegum esters, heaty fusels and pronounced clove phenol upfront in aroma, tapered by notes of rounded carob and mellow, herbal coriander and citrus. Banana laced sweetness initially in flavor is ensued by raisiny dark caramel and mild toffee. Becomes transiently dubbel esque mid palate, with notes of clove, peppery alcohol coupling with residual sweetness to lend a black licorice impression. Hop bitterness above the norm emerges concomitantly with subtle dark chocolate hints, resulting a pleasantly lingering bittersweet chord. Moderate in body, and quite dextrinous, perhaps due to the all malt grist. Finishes with notes of sweet bubblegum and sandalwood fading into a warm envelope of ethanol. A unique, flavorful creation seemingly a hybrid of an American strong ale and a Dubbel. Being this young, the flavors haven't quite coalesced yet. This certainly has cellaring potential for those who have patience.

marc77, May 25, 2003
Photo of danadeny
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A cloudy light brown color and small head. Big smell of bread dough. A little pilsner hop and a fruit that i smell often in barely wines. Fisrt i notice that it is a hint like a barely wine, overall it is mellow. Hides the alcohol very well. Mild spicy hop finish, with little aftertase. Like a 1/3 barley wine and 1/3 pilsner and 1/3 scotch ale.

danadeny, Sep 15, 2004
Photo of stewart124
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper to amber in color with some tan hues. Little head to speak of.

Lots of cherry in the nose with some toffee.

More toffee in the middle of the taste. Initially there is a medium body and some cherry. Little hops if any. Not picking up any warrior or centennial. Some residual sweetness but finishes fairly dry.

I am impressed with how well this has held up. No off flavors or really any flaws in my mind.

stewart124, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of CharlesRiver
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown in color with a nice white fluffy head. The smell is very sweet. The taste is mild in the beginning but gains intensity as it finishes. Raisins, nuts, malt and something bready. About half way through I pick up some kind of citrus taste? A bit dry in the end.

The ending is warming as the alcohol starts to come through. This beer seems a little sharp around the edges. Some time in the cellar, as I believe this is intended, should do this beer some good.

CharlesRiver, Oct 11, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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!!!

WVbeergeek, Jul 18, 2003
Photo of AlexJ
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice surprise at a friend's BBQ last weekend, this Epic pours a dark, rusty garnet color with a beige collar that lasts well in spite of it's higher abv.

Aroma is rather authentic in it's Belgian attributes when sampled cold; dark fruit, toffee, and musty yeast notes with plenty of dark berry. As it warms, more of the caramel, cocoa, and hoppy notes come out.

Flavor follows a similar structure; great overripe dark fruit, strawberry, and dry woody earthiness slowly fades to rich caramel , chocolate and light coffee bitterness. It's plenty hoppy as i expected. I don't know what Alligator pepper is but I don't taste it at all. Alcohol tastes higher than the claimed 8.5%, although it's not hot. Strange, but still good.

Body is pretty big, with a chewy mouthfeel that is more akin to a barleywine. I prefer a more effervescent BSDA.

AlexJ, Jul 17, 2006
Photo of rugger
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is clearly another big beer from Stone Brewing co. however as they suggest it should be aged for a few years. You can taste the sweetness in it that is a little overbearing, however overall for the style and what it is supposed to be it is right on the money. Seeing as how Stone's beers are not available in my state or the surrounding states I will have to wait before I get any more of their beers. I did not know the story behind the beer when I bought it so I only bought one. If I knew the story I would have gotten two so that I could cellar one. I did see one on ebay the other day that I may go try to find. This beer looks good smells complex and has an even better story and homebrew competition to back it up. Hopefully I can find another one.

rugger, Jun 29, 2004
Photo of beerceller99
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle Sampled Nov. 2003
Pours a copper color with a decent head, but left no lacing behind.Mostly a caramel spicy smell. Strong sweet taste of burnt caramels and brown sugar followed by Stone's signature hop character though a very mild version of it.Medium body with a decent mouthfeel .Finishes with a warming, spicy-alcohol tang. Not a typically hoppy Stone brew.
Nice.

beerceller99, Sep 07, 2004
Photo of BeerBuilder
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a murky brown color with a tan head that reduces to a ring. The aroma is super malty, with a peppery, spicy smell too. I get a bit a diacetyl too. It has an alcohol aroma as well. The flavor is malty, and bready sweet. It reminds me so much of third coast old ale. It seems more like an old ale. Tasty, thanks so much to Fantome for this brew.

BeerBuilder, Dec 18, 2004
Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +2%

SPRichard, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of RockyTopHeel
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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...

RockyTopHeel, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An apropos name for a beer of this caliber. Very nice, but comparable to an import Belgium, no way.

Poured with very little head, but presents itself a quite bubbly. Mild lacing is really basic.

Smells nice, apricot and alcohol, with a slight hint of ginger.

Taste is where I am torn. Recently I have been going Belgium beer crazy so 030303 is going uyp against some pretty stiff competition. Tastes great, but is much lighter than other Belgium’s. Doesn't have nearly the follow though nor the pungency of other similar types.

Overall a very good beer. Unfortunately for it, I consumed it at the wrong time.

FLAbeergutinMASS, May 24, 2005
Photo of BuckTuckian
4/5  rDev +2%

BuckTuckian, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +2%

jaydoc, Jan 25, 2014
Photo of goz
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium/dark mahogany, with a medium light tan head, medium diminishing, leaving good lacing on the way down. Aroma is fruity (banana, some apple and pear sneaking through, too), some spiciness (coriander & hops providing most of that). Flavor starts with the banana (apple and pear come through more as it warms up), middle is crisp, and the end has some good hoppiness, and a hint of pepper. Body is full, taste is complex and changes slightly as the bottle warmed, light alcohol showed up towards the end.

goz, Apr 26, 2003
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +2%

oline73, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brownish/red with a thumb sized tan head that leaves some sparce lace behind.

Aroma is fruity sweet peach, grapes and apricot on a malty base almost toffee like.Spices brown sugar mixed with ginger and hints of cinnamon.

Taste is malty brown sugars an intense fruitiness that lasts for a few seconds then mellows to a nice spice finish. Peppery light cinnamon hints but the pepper lingers and mixes with some light hops flavors still left.

Mouthfeel is medium not as full as it looks but still nice finish is dry.

Drinkability is good this may be in its prime anyway much better then the 04. Want to thanks cretemixer for this treat I would have otherwise never had.

mntlover, Sep 12, 2005
Photo of pathman
4/5  rDev +2%

pathman, Jul 17, 2013
Photo of meathookjones
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cola colored body with a quickly disappearing light tan head. Scattered lacing was left on the glass. Rich ripe dark fruit sweetness filled the aroma. Some alcohol showed its face as well as milder earthy notes. Flavor was packed with sweet dark fruits and some toffee. Light alcohol and woody earthiness were lingering about. This really tastes like a barley wine to me at this point. Some spice also peaks through. Pretty thick and smooth feel that really warmed me up. Pretty drinkable stuff though the alcohol burn seems to get worse as it warmed. I remember this being good fresh and it is definitely interesting and could probably have gone a few more years easily.

meathookjones, Apr 12, 2006
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.