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: 91
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 cbl2
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:

A hazy orange brown with a nice inch thick tan white head.

Smell:

Very intriguing. Aroma is muted, subtle, though extremely complex. The coriander and pepper promised on the label shine here. Can't wait to taste.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

I was scared of Stone after Arrogant Bastard, but this is amazing. The pepper dances on the tongue, and the coriander subtly reminds you of the belgium influence on this decidedly american ale. Cellaring without drinking will be tough!

Photo of Rastacouere
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear garnet reflected medium brown. Head is thin and not lasting. Strong aroma, nostrils burning strawberries soaked in cinzano. Generous maltiness didn’t miss the flight in the chocolate and marzipan kingdom. Peppery and nutty with a fitting dryness. Remarkable well controlled basic flavors (bitterness, sweetness and acidity) by Stone’s standards. Medium bodied with moderately high carbonation. Very good take on the style if not for the remaining heat after almost 2 years and perhaps lacking in appearance and palate.

Photo of Bnoise11
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of weonfire
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Multiple bottles sampled by multiple BA's at the fine Brew's Cafe in Granville, Ohio. Kudos to Rocky for parting with some of this fine brew.

Appearance: Deep ruby red on the pour. Minimal head but I was rewarded with a very nice lacing effect in the glass.

Smell: Raisins all the way...with a spciy character that was hard to nail down with any conviction. Plus, the requisite hoppy influence of the Stone brewery.

Taste: I'm not the world's biggest (or even average) raisin fan, but this beer really tasted lovely to me. Raisin-flavored up front, with other intoxicated fruits playing second fiddle to the raisin. A good bit of hoppy bitterness is evident as well, but blends surprisingly smoothly with the fruity notes. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: A thick, almost syrupy-sweet finish. Not much of an aftertaste and just a smidgen of a warming effect from the alcohol.

Note: I'd be curious to see how this ages. As you may know, the bottle states that "ideally" it should be aged until 12.12.12. I'll be interested to see how these reviews progress as cellared sampled are tried.

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

Pours a reddish-amber color with a big beige head that dissipates into lacing and stickage on the sides of the glass. Haven't tried this beer since it was first released. I remember it being rather hoppy for a Belgian style dubbel. Still has a pretty hoppy nose, mixed with some biscuity, bready malt characteristics and some spice, fruit, peat and cocoa notes, too. Malty and rich, the hops have subsided a touch since March, still rather hoppy, though. Very unique taste, minerally (salt?), bready, hoppy and some complex organic notes to it as well. Finishes drier and with lingering hoppiness. Nice carbonation. Very enjoyable brew that will get better with age, although I'm not totally convinced it's truly a Belgian-style dubbel.

Photo of kmo1030
4.58/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

03/03/04: deep red-brown with significantly less head than when i tried it right after it came out. i pick up a big caramel and faint coffee malt in the smell, as well as fruit: figs and grapes. clove, corriander, caramel, and a lot of other really pleasing complexities to the taste. slight fig and grape too. buttery as well... more flavors keep coming out. slight pepper at the end. hops present but not overpowering at all. more subdued than a year ago, but tastier for it. belgian in character. meduim-thick bodied. this is a really superb beer that has only gotten better in a years time with the malts getting more flavorful. it will be interesting to see how this ages further. this is really an incredible beer.

Photo of OStrungT
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very cloudy, muddy brown color, with a very thin light tan head. What little head there is fades sllowly, leaving a small lacing.

This beer smells primarily of alcohol. Behind that, I smell some spice. Coriander is present. Also, I smell some earthy yeast. A slight malty caramel aroma is present.

As with the aroma, this beer tastes of alcohol. It has a sweet caramel malt flavor. It tastes slightly spicy. Also, some yeasty flavors are present. Much of the flavor of this beer are very subtle since it is somewhat old.

This full bodied beer goes down smooth. It is crisp and refreshing, despite the alcohol like flavors. It is very low in carbonation, but over 3 years in a cellar will do that.

I think that this beer would make a decent session beer. The only problem is that it is next to imposible to find.

Overall: Finally, I have had the chance to try this beer. Thanks to O'Brien;s Pub for making it available.

Photo of jamie2dope
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally worked up the nerve to crack this puppy open. Appearance is a dark amber, nearly brown with a semi-thick head. Smell is of rich dark fruits, alcohol,molasses, sugar cane....damn complex. Mouthfeel is fairely heavy with a bunch of spicyness hitting you right up front. As the flavor settles theres a bit of earthiness with some toffeeish flavors going on. Alcohol is definetly there, but not overpowering...i could certainly drown a few pints of this. This brew certainly warms you up quite a bit. Overall, a great dark ale that I will hopefully find some more of.
Cheers

Photo of SheepNutz
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer in a 22oz. bomber poured into a Belgian-style chalice. The color is a dark reddish-brown. There is one finger of head, and only a little bit of lacing. The smell is a little bit spicy, maybe cloves. The taste is a strong spicy bite with some alcohol to the taste. There is a bit of pepper to the finish. The mouthfeel is fairly heavy and smooth. Even with the alcohol making its presence known, this is still a fairly drinkable brew. I can't wait to see what it tastes like in 2012.

Photo of BcOneSeven
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Photo of ColdPoncho
4/5  rDev +2%

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.

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.

Photo of nomad
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

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

Pours a lightish brownish color with an offed whiteness of a headskie. Taste is strong and pepperful, certainly much more so than the first time I drank this brew in early 2003. The favor has matured much over the three and a half years, and is certainly the better for the age... Smoother than ever.

Photo of carln26
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep garnet/mahogany, with a mild head (off-white in color). A gentle lace slides down the glass after a sip. The aroma has some malt aroma, caramel, maybe ribbon candy with just a touch of flowery hops. The taste has a mild alcohol flavor with malt, malt and more alcohol. The malt has a roasted nut edge to it. The hops do make themselves felt towards the end of the drink. This is a big beer with a medium/heavy mouth feel. Pretty drinkable, but the strength is felt, and could get you in trouble if you’re not careful. Not a session beer, but a good one for 1 or 2.

Photo of ElGuapo
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep burnt milk chocolate color brew with a mass of tan foam on top. It will sit there for a good deal of time and leave sticky lace all over the glass. The aroma is loaded with citrus and fruits. Sweetness hits the nose first in the form of oranges and cherries. A big malty aroma comes in next with a great accompaniment of spice and pepper. Yeast and grains with subtle roastiness follow behind.

Nice full body with a big flavor. You get a big malt character that is a bit sweet, but it is kept well in check by spices. It gets a bit roasty and grainy towards the dry aftertaste. Although I have not had that many Stones, this one definitely did not have the mass of hops, but for the style, I think it is appropriate. It is well balanced and complex. It is not a perfect brew, and others in the style have more roastiness at the end and more fruits at the start. It is one hell of a beer. Stone will never fail me.

A hearty Thanks to NeroFiddled for the sample!

Photo of hotstuff
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a sipping beer due to the high ABV, and what a way to start off the weekend!!This beer had a medium sized tan head that consisted of medium sized bubbles that fully diminished.The body was cloudy and carbonated with a brown hue.The nose consisted of malts, hops and alcohol.It had an alcohol flavor and was a bit acidic as well.The mouthfeel was tingly, bubbly, smooth, light bodied with a watery texture to it.It had a fair amount of lacing to it.An enjoyable drink for sure.

Photo of PhineasGage
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of MordorMongo
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Thrasher
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Photo of frank4sail
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fruity yeast, bready, sweet smell. Original pale head but it does not last long. You are left with a slight fine outer ring of fuzz on the goblet thereafter. Light brown/ruby color. Quite regal looking, lower carbonation in the bubble action. Original taste is dominated by rich malt, corriander, and white pepper. The original rich smooth mouth dries quickly on the tongue after swallowing. Very clean hop/pepper finish. A big bold spicy beer with a dry pepper finish. After time in the cellar the sharp initial spice and the dry pepper finish should mellow nicely. I will wait 2 years and we will see....

Photo of mzwolinski
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was nervous. The beer had been chilling for the last ninety minutes or so, and the moment had finally come. I walked to the kitchen, carefully lifted the beer from its resting spot, and walked down the hall to my computer, dreading the excitement would cause my hands to shake and the bottle to break. Sure, I had 5 more in the cellar, but – the waste! – and besides, I’m not sure my heart could have taken another 90 minute wait. When I finally poured it, the beer rose in my chalice in a dark brown, almost ruby color, with a middling head which soon settled to a silky, diaphanous top. Then there came the aroma. Truly delightful. A light malty sweetness serves as the foundation for a wonderful combination of spices, pepper, and a heapin' dose of hops. Zingy! The flavor wasn't much worse. Pretty well blended, starting with a distinctively Belgian malt sweetness, topped by ever-present doses of corriander and alcohol spiciness. A bit of fruit, mostly banana, emerges mid-palate, and the taste is compelted by a combination of tingly pepper and floral and citric hops. Fairly full in mouthfeel, with a dryish finish. Only downfall I see right now is the peppery finish, which is still a bit rough. I imagine this will improve nicely with age. A lovely beer, I was surprised and disappointed when I reached the end of the bottle!

Photo of jcalabre
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Originally sampled on 7 March 2003. 03.03.03 is a nice, medium brown color w/ a thin head. The flavor finishes slightly sweet w/ hints of pepper. The nose also has some pepper in it. The alcohol is nicely masked. The more I slowly drank, the more flavors I picked up. great job

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