1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

274 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 274
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 13.81%
Wants: 93
Gots: 39 | 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: 274 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +2.3%

drewone, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of stoutlove77
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow!, this is really a taste sensation. The look was a a nut brown with a very light head that diminished the moment it was being poured. The smell, the aroma, the fragrance, yes... I got a whiff of mild pears, ripe granny smith apples and sweet cloves, the taste.. oh yes, the taste a smooth balanced of tart nectar and plenty spice, this is a treat now, I believe it will be a blessing when it gets aged!!. The mouthfeel is real smooth, plenty of high end flavor. So if you have a chance to get this one unique brew, treat it like the candy you steal at the candy store, drink some now and save some for later, you wont regret it!!!!!

stoutlove77, Mar 20, 2003
Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass...didn't have the 02-02-02, so this is the first of the big vertical tasting.

A - Pours a hazy dark amber color full of fine floating sediment. Small head consisting of loose off-white foam. Sparse lacing is left on the glass.

S - Full malty aroma, caramel and toffee, slight astringency, fruity esters, brown sugar, and maybe a hint of root beer.

T - A bit of hop bitterness, toasted malt, some roasted malts also - roasty, grainy, a bit of coffee, a little spicy with some mild pepper aspects, earthy and dirtlike

M - Medium Body, medium carbonation. Sweet and caramelly, slightly sticky and mouth coating, touch of pepper bite on the finish.

O - Overall, this held up pretty well for a 10 year old bottle. Some oxidation is present, rich, sweet, and earthy. Nice!

portia99, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of MordorMongo
4/5  rDev +2.3%

MordorMongo, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of UltimateLivewire
4/5  rDev +2.3%

UltimateLivewire, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very curious about this beer after reading about the competition for homebrewers on their website. They have all the ingredients listed as well as the proper procedure for making it. So I was excited to see it on the shelf to give it to a try, to see if I might try making it for my next batch.

so...
It poured a brown/ruby mahogony color with a very fine bubbled but thick tan head. It took it's time to die down over the course of a few minutes.

The nose was very subtle. Even after swirling for a bit and letting it warm up it still was very soft. What I could make out though were the classic belgian smells. Subtle fruit and spices.

The initial taste was very soft also. Some light roasty flavors. A nice bit of grape, plum, maybe even some apple fruit flavors.

What was really impressive about this beer was the finish. The first sip is soft but then as it tapers off you get this beautiful bump where you get hit with a bitter floral grapefruit hop and black pepper taste. The thing is, at no time is it ever overpowering. Full hop and pepper taste, but soft.

Overall it's a very smooth beer from start to finish. A little sublte, but a great belgian ale for a non belgian ale. I was a bit surprised to learn by reading at the website that this beer is made with half belgian yeast and half american yeast. It definately leans heavily towards the belgian side. Overall a really nice easy to drink beer. I am a big fan of the pepper kick at the end.

taez555, May 30, 2003
Photo of Howlader
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Howlader, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of GeoffreyM
4/5  rDev +2.3%

GeoffreyM, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of beerinator
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amberish red, clear with an off white thickly retentive head.

Aroma: Arrogantly bastardish aroma at first. Hints of spice and nuttiness pokes through. Aroma is nice, but is super reminiscent of Stone's other beers.

Taste: Complex. Sweet upfront with complex bitterness coming from the hops and maybe the spicing. The spices are muted, compared to the heavy caramel from the malt, and the finishing hops. This beer might be a bit awkward.

Notes: There are flavors coming from all directions. Every sip leads to different flavors, and sometimes they seem like they're conflicting with each other. A few years of aging will do nothing but make this beer better. The hops could stand to be mellowed a bit, and maybe the spices with come through a bit more.

beerinator, Sep 23, 2003
Photo of ColdPoncho
4/5  rDev +2.3%

ColdPoncho, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of moonknight31
4/5  rDev +2.3%

moonknight31, Jul 24, 2013
Photo of HossMcGraw
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really want to like this more. Really I do. Appearance is flawless. It's a very dark ruby with a billowing pillow of foam and great lacing. Aroma is pretty weak. It pretty much smells like a typical dubbel. And the taste: Ommegang. They're very similar with dark fruit flavors of molasses, prunes and spices, although this has a certain trademark flavor to it that I've come to associate with Stone's beer. I think it's the hops. At any rate, I'd take this any day over Ommegang. The mouthfeel is very full and almost perfect. Doesn't seem very "Belgian" per se, but that's probably not what they were going for. Overall, interesting and worth trying.

HossMcGraw, Oct 14, 2003
Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2.3%

drabmuh, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of sandiego67
4/5  rDev +2.3%

sandiego67, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer, but not what I expected! This beer tastes almost *exactly* like a lighter version of the Bethlehem Brew Works 'Rudolphs Reserve'. The resemblance is uncanny. This beer poured a dark red, brown colour with a decent head. The aromas are of belgian candy sugar, yeast, various spices, and hops. This beer has a medicinal aroma that reminds me of Orval quite a bit. This beer gets more mellow and malty as it warms up, and I suggest drinking it slighlty below room temperature. The mouthfeel is quite thick and the drikability is very good for this big belgian-style brew!

This was a damn good beer from Stone, but I have been here before!
Cheers to The Long Beach Bum, for this very limited offering!
-F

francisweizen, Jun 13, 2003
Photo of WesM63
4/5  rDev +2.3%

WesM63, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of drummermattie02
4/5  rDev +2.3%

drummermattie02, Feb 19, 2013
Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev +2.3%

koopa, May 12, 2013
Photo of DRTBrewster
4/5  rDev +2.3%

DRTBrewster, Feb 07, 2013
Photo of jkball01
4/5  rDev +2.3%

jkball01, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of BierReise
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cloudy deep amber ale resembling unfiltered apple cider and a rocky tan head that collapsed within 15 minutes, leaving a thick lacing around the glass. Aroma seems like a Belgian Dubbel with a bready spiciness and slightly fruity. Full bodied with a highly carbonated crispness to it. Flavor is malty and fruity like a dubbel with noticable alcohol giving a nice warming effect. A decent offering from Stone that I just couldn't wait 9 years to try.

BierReise, Aug 11, 2003
Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +2.3%

jerz, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of tr4nc3d
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got the chance to try this beer at a tasting I went to which had many other great beers

Good size portion was poured into my tasting glass

Appearance was dark brown with a tan one inch head. Average head retention with a bit of lacing sticking to my glass. Pretty impressive I must say.

Aroma was very good with cherries, prunes, figs, dates, along with caramel malts and toffee.

Taste was vastly of caramel all throughout with some toffee and raisins midway and a bit of a yeasty finish.

Moutfheel was very smooth and had good carbonation for a 7 year old bottle.

Overall I was very pleased with this beer and it was a while since I last had a BSDA

tr4nc3d, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of lou91
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was very alive as I popped the cap and poured it. It had a nice thick head and a beautiful amber brown color - the head almost sparkled. The nose was also nice with sweet notes characteristic of the style. Great tastes of figs, malt, honey with pleasant alcohol warmth. The taste is crisp and clean with a drying tartness in the finish. Humm, it is hard to predict how this will taste in eight years but I would have made these first beers much heartier than 8.5%. Still this is a great American style Belgian beer.

lou91, May 05, 2004
Photo of Hopswagger
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review date 12.12.12
Celebrating the 10 year Vertical Epic Series

P: Two-tone hazy brown and tan with translucent top and bottom with sediment floating. Creamy head that leaves delicate spider webs around the glass.

S: Molasses, candied plums, chocolate, bread, bananas, clove, coriander, toffee, wheat and oxidation on the rather boozy aroma.

T/M: Super malty, molasses, big time toffee, fruity, buttery herbs, sweetness backed by wood, white pepper, candy sweetness followed by aged cherries. Silky body that is smooth and finishes dry with surprisingly good level of carbonation.

O: Totally surprised by how well this aged. A beer that is 10 years old and shows a little oxidation but nothing like I expected. Stone has done a fantastic job of brewing a beer that will last. Great beer that come across more as a dubbel.

Hopswagger, Dec 23, 2012
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.