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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

195 Reviews
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 195
Hads: 285
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 89
Gots: 47 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-03-2003

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 195 | Hads: 285
Photo of Treebs
2.58/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a hazy dark amber color with some brown in the body. A thin, light tan head forms on the pour and recedes at a normal pace.

S: Dark fruit with a light over-cooked caramel. Some artificial chocolate notes, almost like a Tootsie Roll.

T: The taste really shows the oxidation, it wasn't that prevalent in the nose. Light paper, stale saltine crackers, medium sweetness and light Tootsie Roll.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation level. The carbonation saves this one form being a complete drain pour.

O: This one didn't stand up as well as the 02.02.02. It was alright, but it had an old artificial flavor to it that didn't sit well with me. (698 characters)

Photo of charlzm
2.79/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

Beer pours a clear, light caramel. No head forms but there is some carbonation visible in the glass.

The aroma is sweet: honey and cider notes.

Flavor is slightly oxidized with notes of tea, coriander and caramel. Moderately bitter on the finish.

Mouthfeel is thin and slightly astringent.

This beer probably peaked a while before the tasting: not surprising, given its age. (447 characters)

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (436 characters)

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.27/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

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 (377 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours clearish muddy amber with a trace ring of tan, clear bubbles. Smells old; toffee, caramel, dark fruit, paper. Flavor of caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, brown sugar, plum, raisin and cardboard. Syrupy medium thick body with minimal carbonation. Still a little boozy in the finish. Old, but a nice experience. (329 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is copper hued with a thin tan head that quickly fades. Pockets of bubbles evident throughout the glass. The aroma offers malt, citrus, booze. Notable signs of age. Toffee and caramel flavors. Light sweetness, with butterscotch candy and caramel chews. Fairly light in body with moderate carbonation. Pretty good. (358 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Churchkey.

The beer is served a brownish yellow color with about a finger of head that is retained and laces well. It smells boozy with some malty caramel, and figs. The taste has dark fruits up front, but the booze comes quickly, and some roasted malt finishes it off. The booze is slightly offensive and takes the beer over. It's slightly under-carbonated and the drinkability isn't that great. This didn't wow me. I think it might be a bit too old. (462 characters)

Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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! (817 characters)

Photo of peabody
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a nice clear dark brown like really dark ice tea. 1/2 finger of offwhite suds that leave lacing around the glass.
Smell is corriander,malt,yeast burn and just a hint of the alcohol.
Taste is a little weak but I get the spice and the raisin bread right off. Goes into a boozy weak mess of malt and sugar.
Mouthfeel is a little hot but clean enough and the finish is just a tad sticky and again weak.
Overall this one didn't do too well. Stone rates low on this hyped swill. (482 characters)

Photo of Hopswagger
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (831 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1658th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass
22oz

Split with StarRaptor, Callmecoon & Smarcoly

App- A nice darker brown pour with a bit of weight behind it. The head was okay on a more strong pour. I tried a gentle pour and only got a bit of bubbles. Scotty got a bit more froth and pull apart bubbles. The cling was just okay and maybe a couple lines.

Smell- This was pretty decent for as old as it was. Nothing oxidized but still a bit yeasty and flat with a bit of strong spiced malts behind it. A little bit like an older Our Special Ale from Anchor. Just lost a bit of pop behind it.

Taste- I enjoyed it for what it was. A bit of a darker beer with a bit more bread behind it than malts and spices. The normal BSDA was gone but this retained a more fluffy wheat note with some spice.

Mouth- A bit of a lighter medium body with a fairly fluffy medium carbonation. A bit thick and dull on the residual flavors of wheat, spice and yeast.

Drink- Well I had been saving this for a few years and thanks to Siggy125 for the hookup on this one a while back. No oxidation, just a bit old and lackluster. Still flavorful, but no drain pour. (1,135 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (789 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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 (547 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a ruddy brown with a small white head with fair head retention, some spotty lace.

S: Spicy notes, bread, some pumpernickel, yeasty character that held up.

T: Dark malt and yeast, but tired and one-dimensional. It tastes good enough to drink no problem, just boring.

M: Medium-bodied, soft carbonation, creamy, does have an elegance.

O: As with the '04, this is past its prime. I wouldn't recommend investing in a bottle of this at this time. This thing is almost 10 years old and needs to be drunk ASAP. (540 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap for Lord Hobo's Vertical Epic Night. Part of Flight "A" (03, 04, 05). 5oz serving served in a flight glass.

A- Appears an amber that is slightly on the darker side with fairly minimal carbonation and head.

S- Lots of peppers, spices, candied sugars, light dark fruits. Smells like a Belgian Dubbel only very spicey. Decently aromatic and fairly flavorful except dominated a little bit too much by the spices at this point.

T- Peppery kick to it although not as much as in the aroma, some dark fruits, plums, a little bit sugary, fairly sweet and a little bit malty.

M- Medium bodied, low carbonation, smooth, easy to drink.

O- This beer seemed to hold up decently well after 9 years. I imagine it was better fresh and has probably fallen off a little bit, but it still tasted nice. It was definitely dominated a little bit too much by the peppery spices (Aligator Pepper) but other then that it was very nice. It had a nice sweet aspect to it that made it easy to drink. It definitely wasn't my favorite of the series but it was definitely interesting to try. (1,072 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Alewife Queens for their VE event. Served as part of a flight.

2003 Vertical Epic pours a fairly clear amber, with a good amount of lacing despite the fairly wispy head. The nose is barely there, but with some effort toffee and dried fruit aromas are appreciable. The flavor opens up a bit, with toffee being joined by a bready maltiness. Sherry and fig notes mingle next, before a delicate pepper finish. The close does seem a bit abrupt though. The mouthfeel is a bit flabby, slightly chewy and under carbonated. It's not amazing, but I'm pleasantly surprised by how well the second entry in the Vertical Epic series has held up. (642 characters)

Photo of stewart124
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
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. (419 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened tonight by Michael, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid dark brown with a bubbly off white head that shows great retention. Smells of dark sugar, caramel and some hints of chocolate and dark dried fruits. The flavor is what I expected it would be based on the nose. Lots of caramel and dark sugars with a muted but present raisin and dried sweet cherry flavor. Spicy wheat and yeast flavors round out the palette. Medium body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a lightly sweet mouthfeel. I am glad I got the opportunity to try this one, but I really wish I had tried it sooner. There's really nothing wrong with this beer, but it feels a bit past its prime. (685 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to my boy aasher for handing this one off to me in our last big in-person trade as this was a long-time want due to this being when I graduated High School! Thanks Al! I was looking for a special reason to open this one, so I decided to open it at StayWhatYouAre2’s pre-wedding tasting along with his brother Mississipping! Served from bottle into a Stone Vertical Epic glass (proper!). Poured a reddish brown-orange with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, sugar, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I was honestly really surprised at how well this one has held up with time. I was partially concerned about this as I even apologized in advance if this one bombed. We were all pleasantly surprised with what we found though. It seemed to have taken on a nice English Barleywine aspect here. Even with 9 years on it, it is still worth seeking out. A must try at least once in my honest opinion. (1,204 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
2.42/5  rDev -39%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to Mike for sharing this.

Pours a murky copper color with minimal foam. Smells very oxidized and slightly metallic. A bit of sweet caramel and brown sugar malt notes, maybe a hint of overripe fruit, too. Not all that appealing, though. The flavor has a definite note of pennies to it. Still sweet and malty, but definitely some cardboard oxidation and a generic, muddled fruit flavor. Medium bodied with low carbonation. (428 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
1.63/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks for sharing, Mike.

1/22/2012

A: Murky yellow brown. 

S: Cardboard and bready malt. Copper and rust. Some random fruit hides in there, beaten down by oxidation.

T: Buttery cardboard with bready malt and more random fruit. Perhaps apple? Rife with metallic notes.

M: Medium body.

Overall: This has not held up at all. Definitely the worst of the bunch. (364 characters)

Photo of aasher
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared with the staff at work on Thanksgiving. 03.03.03 shared on 11.24.11, some eight and a half years after its release. I was sixteen and was a sophomore in high school when it came out.

This beer pours a very smooth, medium bodied, rich amber in color with no lacing or head. The aromas are rich and malty. It smells like an aged English barleywine. You get a lot of honey, cherry, and mead like qualities with toffee as well. It has a really nice citrus aspect and a lot of port notes. Very complex nose. The flavor isn't quite as stellar but it's solid. You get alot of red fruit with a J.W. Lees Harvest esque flavor. The carbonation is really surprising. It looks still but when you start to drink it the carbonation aggressively stimulates your palate. I've never quite experienced that before. It's like dropping a cut of fresh meat into a pool of piranhas. Very interesting. It drinks well and on the lighter side of medium in body. The flavor is nice but really it's nice to try this beer this old. I wonder what it was like when it was fresh. It's probably better classified as a Belgian barleywine. (1,113 characters)

Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BASED ON NOTES:

A-Carmel color great carbonation. Light tan head that stays around.

S-Strong sweet Carmel flavor a little alcohol.

F-Big Carmel taste.

M-Very nice. Creamy, medium bodied.

D- Such a great beer. Went down warm and smooth. Like vanilla silk. Wish I had more.

Serving type: bottle (298 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Inflatablechair hooked this one up.... It was a minor coup to score this for the 10/10/10 gathering... but we persevered!!

Tan head flecked with brown bits.. good retention.. deep brown brew is pretty cloudy.

Nose is a bit oxidized... brown sugar and some off putting sherry.. pretty sweet dark fruits... prunes... golden raisins..

The aroma showed really no standard Belgian qualities, but the flavor is better... hints of clove and background spiciness... a little dark cherry/plum... still seems pretty stale.. caramel malt and bits of toffee and dark toast..

Body and carbonation were surprisingly good.. but the overall brew was way past prime.

I know this is an old bottle, but it is no where near worth what we traded for it.

3.5/3.5/4/4.5/3.5 (758 characters)

Photo of tr4nc3d
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 (655 characters)

Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.