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

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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
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Ratings: 278 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Jason
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 03.03.03

Appearance: The head billows up like a summer thunder storm rushing the land, you can almost hear the bigger bubble crackling as the head subsides. The deepest amber burgundy hue I have seen, a bit dark and murky.

Smell: Coriander gives a hard flick to the nose then a ten car pile up of smells; clove, solvent alcohol, ripe pear, nutty yeast, orange peel, starburst candies, tobacco, musty leather, spicy pepper and toasted malt. Baboom!

Taste: Slick with a smooth and creamy mouth feel as it slides around the palate, very spicy with a smack down of clove and other peppery treats. The warmth of the alcohol is quick and tries to subdue with its fruitiness yet it scratches the mouth with a nail of solvent alcohol. The malt does not rock the boat yet seems to hold this brew together. Finishes spicy sweet with a long lingers phenolic.

Notes: The spiciness and phenols won’t let you forget this beer, Stone Brewing pulled this one out of the mystery bag … a spectacular turn out to say the least.

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!!!

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of MasterSki
2.89/5  rDev -26.3%
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.

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I made an error when I popped the cap on this one, for I had just downed a bomber of Old Guardian Barleywine. Was I in fit condition to discern the myriad nuances of this awesome ale? Perhaps, perhaps not. I transcribe directly from my notes:

"Appearance: a dark, ripe red, big, creamy head.
Aroma: fresh, frothy, citrusy, sea-air, the very aromatic picture of a witbier.
Drink it deep, that's the whole, beautiful witbier style. Oh, delicious, but dark!
Complex stuff! Definitely darker than a witbier.
I can't understand how they can create a brew that tastes like a witbier but doesn't look like one.
I don't know what to think!"
Now, I know there were additional ingredients, alligator peppers, of all the things in the world, and roasted wheat. Made for a still smooth and flavorful, but quite intriquing beer. Seemed to keep a step in two worlds at once, light, yet deep and powerful, refreshing, though full of complex, even harsh flavors.
Quite an astounding beer! Got to try this one again!
Mucho gracias to el mocoso for making this possible!

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +27.6%

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.

Photo of Halcyondays
2.95/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I couldn't stand seeing this sitting there, so I opened it 2 months short of 03.03.04. It poured a murky brown color with a thin spotty head. The aroma was of nuts, spice, and wheat. The flavor was quite different and intriguing. A pepper flavor is noticeable. It reminded me of a belgian dubbel with some wheat tones and kicked up spiciness.

The finish is smooth (with a minor tingle) and dry. The carbonation level was near nil. The malt and wheat seemed to last on the tongue after swallowing. A very different beer but not one I could drink several of. The bomber was enough. Interesting, but this is my least favorite Stone brew to date.

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of orangesol
2.75/5  rDev -29.8%

Photo of yourefragile
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of Billolick
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Some say the stone brews are over rated. I disagree. Every stone I try, blows me away. This one was no differant. Bomber bottle. Poured dark and cloudy. Strong nose of phenolics, yeast and spice. Rich flavorful brew, vanilla, yeast, leather. malty and strong. This one left intricate lace. Very enjoyable, style buster. Strong, rich, intense flavors. seek out, store if you can. Enjoy this classy sipper.

Photo of mothman
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a four-fingered faint brown head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Nose is a honey raisin. Hints of alcohol. Starts sweet and raisiny, finishes crisp with raisin. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Their site lists the ABV at 8.2%. $8.19 for a 22oz bottle.

Photo of ppoitras
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of HopHead84
1.63/5  rDev -58.4%
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.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
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

Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.