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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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

266 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 266
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 13.81%


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: 266 | Reviews: 193 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of blindtiger24
blindtiger24

Colorado

3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

4oz draft pour into a tulip glass.

A: Deep ruby color with limited carbonation and quickly fading head.

S: Fig and raisin aromas.

T: Sweet bourbon, fig, plum, fruit cake, and caramel flavors.

M: Maple syrup like mouthfeel.

O: Enjoyable holiday evoking ale, but mouthfeel was too viscous for my liking.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2014 20:16:06 | More by blindtiger24
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2013 22:41:10 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of russwbeck
russwbeck

Virginia

3.4/5  rDev -13%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2013 23:05:06 | More by russwbeck
Photo of Hopswagger
Hopswagger

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2012 18:47:20 | More by Hopswagger
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


3.13/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2012 21:43:54 | More by ehammond1
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2012 02:49:18 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64

Massachusetts

3.83/5  rDev -2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2012 01:55:34 | More by jaasen64
Photo of axeman9182
axeman9182

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2012 19:32:26 | More by axeman9182
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The other day at stone was my first time trying this beer. It was my favorite of the vertical epics (03-07).

It poured a nice dark orange color that was hazy. There was a small head on it but it dissapeared quickly and left no lacing behind.

It smelled like dark fruits and sweet malt. It wasn't as caramel as to suggest a ton of crystal malts but there was most definitely some sweetness in the aroma. No hops in the aroma but there was still a tiny bit of bitterness left after 4 1/2 years, although some of this may be due to the alcohol. I would have drank more of this but there were so many other beers to try that day.

I wish I could have tasted this when it was new but from what I can tell it hasn't started going bad yet so I can't wait to see what its going to taste like in 2012.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2008 23:15:10 | More by t0rin0
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

8 ounce glass at Stone Winter Storm yesterday for four dollars, seemed like a great deal after seeing bottles of this in online auctions for hundreds of dollars, still wished they would have the 2002 though

Color was a deep orange with a bit of brown look, 1/2 inch slightly off white head that disappeated pretty quickly, left some sticky lacing along the glass to my surprise

Smell was sweet and malty, lots of raisins, cherries, prunes, dates, figs, also some hoppiness much to suprise, definitely a strong Belgian yeast presence

Taste was good, had most of the fruits in the aroma right at the beginning, as it warmed a faint amount of nuttiness came that provided a biscuit-like texture for a couple sips, also floral hoppy flavors, well balanced overall with a very sweet feel to it, each sip had a different unique sweetness to it, large variety of fruits, yeast was sweet to go along with it, surprised that a lot of other people do not think too highly of this one, diverse and complex beer overall

Body was full and pretty damn thick but the high level of carbonation threw me off, taste lasted long as well, sweet and chewy mouthfeel

Could have drank a few glasses of this before the sweetness got the best of me, alcohol is pretty high at eight and a half percent, fairly heavy on the stomach, although taste is diverse enough to keep you coming back for more

Have been trying to drink this since it came out pretty much, could not afford unless I went to the event and that was the main reason why I made the trek down here to Escondido, highly recommended to anybody who gets a chance to try it, one of the better VE brews, would love to have again some time in the future

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2008 08:03:32 | More by Floydster
Photo of Stoneman78
Stoneman78

California

3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at the Stone Storm

Appearance is a murky orange/amber hue, thin layer of dense bubbles dissipates to a ring, minimal lacing

Smell is dark fruits, big raisins, sweet malts, and alcohol

Taste is moderate raisins and dark cherries, figs, some floral hops and spices, moderate alcohol presence, finished sweet

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, rich and chewy texture, lively carbonation

Drinkability is fair, I found the flavors somewhat lacking but this was a decent Belgian overall, this was pretty hyped up at the event, so my disappointment may be a result of too high expectations, I'd try it again in the future

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2008 07:54:06 | More by Stoneman78
Photo of Westsidethreat
Westsidethreat

California

3.18/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Stone Winter Storm

A: Full creamy light tan head spreads out across a burnt umber toffee colored body. There is no bubble activity going on inside the body what so ever.

S: Subtle toffee with a coffee candy approach to it.

T: Subdued caramel and butterscotch with hints of lemon and grapefruit. Slightly cloying across the palate like a candy would be. Finishes with nips of honey and red apple.

M: Medium body with a bit of prickly carbonation.

D: This one was past its prime. Most of the desirable flavors had left the party.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2006 03:26:17 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of Dantes
Dantes

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: ~10oz. from draught in a tulip glass at the Stone 12 event. Served a bit cold. Cost: $5.

Appearance: There seemed to be three shades of color that day: reddish-amber, cherrywood-brown, and dark mahogany; this brew exhibited the latter, and was almost opaque. The beige foam cap was very airy and didn’t last very long, leaving a thin ring. The opacity and dark brown color made this somewhat muddy in appearance.

Smell: Maybe my nose was burnt-out by the time I got to this (it was #4), but the aromas were fairly restrained. Expecting a spicy onslaught, I was surprised by the faint malty sweetness and estery vapors upfront. These sensations were accompanied by a pot-still fusel quality. Only after this did some notes of pepper, cloves, and coriander poke through.

Taste: Somewhat disappointing. There is so much going on, that the net result is not very satisfying. There is a substantial amount of malt sweetness accompanied by some fruitiness, cut somewhat by alcohol and rotating spices. I expected the alligator pepper to express itself, but this only had a little bite, more like regular telicherry. That was okay though, I'm not sure I want pepper in my beer! Coriander, cloves, and lemon zest made brief appearances emerging out of the heavy brew, along with a tentative hop bitterness. This did exhibit a long finish, helped by a seemingly higher than 8.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Rich and lovely. This exhibited a cool, silky, and luxurious texture. The carbonation was perfect for this brew. The best aspect of this beer.

Drinkability: Hard to rate. While interesting, I didn’t find this to be very satisfying and was more than happy to move on to the Old Guardian and Imperial Stout. Not so high in alcohol to prevent having a few, but there are better choices out there. More of a novelty than anything else.

I don’t think that this beer knows what it wants to be when it grows up and I’m not so sure aging will help it. New, dominant flavors could develop, or the interesting spiciness could just fade away. Worth cellaring a bottle or two for interest. As to its Belgian heritage, I don’t think this beer knows Brussels from Biloxi.

Bottom Line: Paging Dr. Freud, your patient Sybil is here.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2003 18:03:42 | More by Dantes
Photo of nomad
nomad

Kansas

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a typical color of a dubbel, that unique blend of red, brown, and black tones creating that winey but heavy look to it. Nose was a softened version of a classic Belgian of this style, with currants, grapes, pepper, some phenol, and slight coriander, but less strong and seemingly complex than, say, a trappist. Taste was similar to nose but even more toned down, though the roasted malt profile came through well as it opened and warmed. Had that definite Belgian yeast base but with less character. Probably due to the presence of those well-known Stone in-your-face hops, though they were way more balanced with the full of the beer, unlike almost all other Stone brews. The hops went from soft to strong to mild as the beer opened.

A good brew, and quite different considering Stone's typical bent and strengths (hoppy strong ales, ipas, et al), but in the end not terribly impressive. Sorry, I love dubbels and thus have high standards.

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2003 07:26:35 | More by nomad
Photo of Thrasher
Thrasher

Oregon

4.53/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2003 19:00:20 | More by Thrasher
Photo of scootny
scootny

New York

3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A nice dubble. Light cola color with a light brown head and a bit of lace here and there.

Bready nose with a surprising amount of caramel and fruit. Figs and light Belgian funk..

Taste is typical for the style, with a healthy amount of dark fruits and malt. Light bitterness in the finish is dry and earthy. A touch of alcohol and light pepper spiciness.

Feel is thick and smoothly carbonated. Good winter weight.

A nice take on the style.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 01:43:15 | More by scootny
Photo of Rutager
Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance. Pours amber-brown with almost a finger of light khaki head that fades pretty quickly.

Smell. Raisins, caramel, a touch of cardboard and sweet dark fruits.

Taste. Raisins and a touch of sherry and cardboard, some caramel and light belgian yeast, and a bit of chocolate candy. Not nearly as oxidized as I would have expected.

Mouthfeel. On the lighter side of medium bodied, below medium carbonation.

Overall. A decent brew that I wouldn't have guessed is over 10 years old despite signs of oxidization.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 05:29:31 | More by Rutager
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner

Kentucky

3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Ten year old Three set up with a mellow cognac color, light carbonation and a thin but billowing head.

The scent is all dates. The dates are hearty, fruity and robust. After a while I began to detect a soft buttery toffee.

The flavor is spicy with a peppery tone followed by a dry sherry. It's not overly diverse but very nice in its mellowness.

Speaking of mellow the feel is inordinately smooth with an expensive liquor like flow.

This was the last of the Vertical Epics I tasted at this event but found this old man to be easily the smoothest of the group.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 13:53:50 | More by KYGunner
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ruby red color. Smells like, what for lack of a better term, "cherry varnish" which I often get from aged barleywines or DIPAs where a lot of the hops have faded. Taste is sweet orchard fruit syrup.

We did our VE collection counting down (12,11,10,9,8,7,3) and I think we saved the worst for last. I pawned mine off on someone else.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2013 14:58:19 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.01/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a taster. Major thanks to Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a tawny port-like mahogany caramel color. Some minimal tan froth and lacing.

(S)- Some leathery oxidation leads to a figgy raisin and caramel sweetness.

(T)- Fairly high oxidation levels lead to plenty of leathery prune characters in front of very subtle and subdued caramel.

(M)- Very mellow carbonation level. Due to its level of oxidation, this feels to be a bit thin; flavors starting to fall off.

(O)- I think this is definitely showing its age at this point, but still has some enjoyable qualities at this stage, but if you have any, I would start drinking them now because they are not going to get any better.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2013 15:39:14 | More by sweemzander
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

2.89/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Bottle I got in a trade many years ago - think it was from KAME. Served in a tulip.

A - Tan foam quickly settles to a thin collar and wisps, leaving behind minimal lacework. Hazy dark brown body.

S - Oxidized, with a mix of cardboard, caramel, toffee, and an unexpected floral note.

T - The taste is similar, albeit a tad better. Nebulous sweetness, with notes of honey and caramel. A tad bitter in the finish.

M - Medium-full body, active carbonation, chewy texture, and a dry finish. Not much alcohol present after 10 years.

D - Not good, but not terrible either. Didn't hold up as well as the 02.02.02, but I didn't want to drainpour it either.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2013 03:59:57 | More by MasterSki
Photo of Treebs
Treebs

Illinois

2.58/5  rDev -34%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2013 03:31:12 | More by Treebs
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

2.79/5  rDev -28.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 18:36:41 | More by charlzm
Photo of Doppelbockulus
Doppelbockulus

Florida

3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 18:40:12 | More by Doppelbockulus
Photo of TKEbeerman
TKEbeerman

Florida

3.26/5  rDev -16.6%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 01:21:06 | More by TKEbeerman
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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.