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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: 92
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: 278 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Thrasher, Mar 13, 2003
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....

frank4sail, Jul 14, 2003
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!

mzwolinski, Apr 03, 2003
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

jcalabre, Jun 09, 2003
Photo of dtx00
3/5  rDev -23.5%

dtx00, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of CharlesRiver
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown in color with a nice white fluffy head. The smell is very sweet. The taste is mild in the beginning but gains intensity as it finishes. Raisins, nuts, malt and something bready. About half way through I pick up some kind of citrus taste? A bit dry in the end.

The ending is warming as the alcohol starts to come through. This beer seems a little sharp around the edges. Some time in the cellar, as I believe this is intended, should do this beer some good.

CharlesRiver, Oct 11, 2003
Photo of freed
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I hadn't been the one who read the bottle, so I wasn't aware that this beer should have been cellared. Tasting it though, it was obvious.

The 22 oz bottle split nicely into two pints, a murky, brown liquid that looked an awful lot like wort. Carbonation was rampant, and it looked like a full scale evacuation of the beer was going on. The smell was nice, with a molasses nose and other subtle notes. The taste was similarly fresh, in the not pleasing sense. It was very sugary, though other flavors helped to mask this. The spiciness was pleasing, though the alcohol somewhat overbearing. Due to the mixture of green flavors, it was difficult to drink. However, I know now that I must get another to hide somewhere so it can age.

freed, Aug 05, 2003
Photo of HopsMatt
2.5/5  rDev -36.2%

HopsMatt, Feb 16, 2013
Photo of DRTBrewster
4/5  rDev +2%

DRTBrewster, Feb 07, 2013
Photo of bradfordjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

bradfordjohnson, Sep 06, 2012
Photo of Higravity
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A peppered out double. Dig it. This beer was poured into my duvel tulip and I let a good tan head rise over the dark brown liquid. Very nicely carboanted small bubbles rise throughout. Smell is of belgian ester yeastyness with sweet malt with many dimensions and playable actions, just purely enjoyable to smell. The taste is sweet dark fruit that is evaporated to reveal white pepper eating into your tongue. Lively tasting as if it is fighting back. Very intense and interesting. NIce heavy body and way too drinkable. I will have to get the homebrew recipe and try my own now.

Higravity, Feb 12, 2006
Photo of mickeymac
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not having seen the 02/02/02 Vertical, I nearly walked past the bottle with its nondescript (by Stone standards) label. The bottle says it can stand up to aging through December 2012. By then I might be hit by a bus, done in by anthrax, or killed by my own children, so I opened it almost immediately. The color is a very nice-looking mahogany without a trace of haze. It sends of a lot of little off-white bubbles, but the head dimishes quickly leaving nothing but memories by the time the beer is about half gone. Spice is immediately apparent in the smell. According to the bottle, it's brewed with coriander and "alligator pepper." It does have an aroma similar to fresh-ground black pepper and a hint of something akin to olive oil. The combination of spice and hops certainly make their presence known when this beer hits the tongue. While the flavor does hint at Belgian, this is an American of Belgian descent: perhaps one whose ancestors left the country under cover of darkness, only to arrive on our shores and mix with the natives. The mouthfeel is creamy and pleasant. This is an interesting beer and probably will stand the test of time. It just didn't knock me out three days after its release. Patience, Grashopper.

mickeymac, Mar 06, 2003
Photo of BcOneSeven
5/5  rDev +27.6%

BcOneSeven, Sep 21, 2014
Photo of ManekiNeko
2.85/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber served lightly chilled in a Brewer's Art chalice. The third beer of the Greer, PintOfAle, AragornUnplugged, and ManekiNeko "Release the Wisdom" beer tasting. Bottle provided by yours truly.

Appearance: Murky tea-like brown topped by a scanty head that quickly formed a slight film of bubbles. No lacing.

Smell: I was completely reminded of a mixture of Cocoa and Fruity pebbles, nose-wise. Very sugary.

Taste: Chocolatey malts with bready overtones. Light splashes of peppery spice on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, relatively crisp and effervescent.

Drinkability: Relatively drinkable, but the kid-tested/mother-approved breakfast cereal aspects of this bring back memories of childhood. Unfortunately, I was not reminded of a Saturday morning spent watching such animated gems as "Alf," "Schoolhouse Rock," or "PeeWee's Playhouse." No, I was reminded of such dubious offerings as "Snorks," "Saved by the Bell," and those numerous shows that were mere marketing ploys for shoddy Hasbro products.

ManekiNeko, Mar 06, 2004
Photo of Hopswagger
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
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
Photo of BierReise
4/5  rDev +2%
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 WilliamPhilaPa
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 1Pt. 6oz Bottle. Appearance: The body is red wood to a dark mahogany color depending on the light angle; it holds a short lived small creamy head that is beige in color.
On the nose some notes of the alligator pepper and coriander. On the palate I got a huge peppery flavor, it simmered after the first few sips then some alcohol-soaked fruits come through, tentative hop bitterness, tiny bit of malt sweetness, roasted wheat and that spicy/peppery taste…the 8.5% abv was hardly noticed, which made this brew very drinkable. The mouth feel is fairly smooth and silky. A very tasty brew. Much thanks to Nero for the bottle...

WilliamPhilaPa, Apr 12, 2003
Photo of DWolf
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

DWolf, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of bmoney
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

bmoney, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of ngandhi
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Yet another hybrid beer from Stone, the 030303 seems to bridge the gaps between all non-lambic Belgian styles. The nose is almost intrusive with coriander seed -- begging me to call this a witbier. It opens with the richness of an abt, moves to a coriander-laden witbier midpalate, and finishes with a prick of spice, tons of rubbery yeast, and a unifying, but barely discernable, riff of cocoa. And then it has the audacity, on the latent aftertaste, to evolve into plums, chocolate-covered raisins, spiced custard, and everything the six Belgian monasteries have tried all these years to achieve. I'm also reminded of altbier.

The malt profile is remarkably complex, the coriander so deep, and the yeast so entirely perfect. But I'm really missing out on this Alligator Pepper. I think it's partly because I have no idea what to look for, but also that the wit character is dominant to a fault in this beer. There's a hint of trappist-inspired phenols as this brew warms that I think are supported by whatever the Alligator Pepper is contributing.

But it looks perfect and I could drink it forever. At cellar temp, it becomes so slightly warming in the stomach and the back of the throat half way down the pint, yet this brew insists on remarkable balance and control.

I can't see this evolving over the next 8 years, but after 1 it's become something quite special. Hopefully the malts will recuse their sweetness and this will become the spicy beast I was expecting. Unfortunately, as hops mellow in aroma as a brew ages, I expect the spices to as well. This is probably going to get too subtle over the years and, if the alcohol comes out, too Rochefort. Which is something no other American brewery will ever achieve.

Relax, relax.
ng

ngandhi, Mar 19, 2004
Photo of rousee
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok--having this for 2nd time. Tried it before at BBF and thought the 2003 was 5 X better than the 04. That's why I bought it. Both are excellent but 03 seems to be considerably better --maybe the 04 will be better in a year..who knows? and this is a good example of why Stone is so highly regarded as a brewery--not only by me but by many others..

A-It pours a caramel brown -small head-no lace to speak of.
S-is a very malty -fruity--almost berry-like aroma. I guess these berries are hops that have aged properly.
T-is a sweet up-front-then malty --then hoppy then alcohol esters then some nice nuttiness. real nice taste--I'm upgrading to 5 cuz for the style it deserves it. I'm not a big brown ale fan but this one is exceptional.
MF--real positve mouthfeel. A fuzzy numbness which is very pleasant is goin' on.
D- nothing too hot here--1 bomber is plenty.

rousee, Dec 19, 2004
Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I realized I had very little in the way of tasting notes when I finished the glass of Vertical Epic because I was too busy enjoying this one.

Mahogany in color with an off-white head that dissipates to a thin covering.
Belgian type aroma of raisins, malt, alcohol, and spices.

Taste is complex and very fresh. Smooth malt backbone, raisin, fruit, spices, and yeast are all there. Well balanced and not overly sweet. Alcohol is well hidden; it contributes to the flavor, but is not overbearing and stays in the background.

Good mouthfeel.

Very smooth and drinkable.

Overall, I was blown away by this beer. I loved it. Great Belgian type flavor, but so smooth and fresh tasting.

PhantomVodoo, Apr 17, 2003
Photo of zerk
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy light brown with a thin but very persistent white head. There are patches of lace all over the glass. The aroma is of vanilla, figs, nutmeg, and it has a light herbal note. Flavor begins sweet and fruity, with some vanilla that makes way for a spicy hop bitterness and a light alcohol finish. The hops become more dominant the warmer the beer gets. Mouthfeel is full and smooth... very thick and almost velvety. This is a most excellent beer, and a very interesting take on a Belgian dubbel.

zerk, Mar 31, 2003
Photo of Geuzedad
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Geuzedad, Jun 23, 2013
Photo of ark57
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It poured a clear borwn with ruby tint and a white head. The aroma is hoppy, fruity, and malty. There is a lot of dark rip fruit in the taste, blueberry, a touch of chocolate and some toffee. It finishes with a spicy bitterness and some anise. The alcohol is well hidden in this beer and it has a lingering sweetenss. It sort of reminds me of ADR Grand Cru now that it has aged a little over a year.

ark57, Apr 19, 2004
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.