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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

273 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 273
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 93
Gots: 38 | FT: 2
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: 273 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopsMatt
HopsMatt

Kentucky

2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

02-16-2013 17:34:47 | More by HopsMatt
Photo of bradfordjohnson
bradfordjohnson

Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

09-06-2012 13:50:59 | More by bradfordjohnson
Photo of freed
freed

Oregon

3.43/5  rDev -12.3%

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.

08-05-2003 15:09:57 | More by freed
Photo of Higravity
Higravity

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

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.

02-12-2006 00:37:57 | More by Higravity
Photo of mickeymac
mickeymac

California

4.05/5  rDev +3.6%

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.

03-06-2003 21:32:14 | More by mickeymac
Photo of ManekiNeko
ManekiNeko

Virginia

2.85/5  rDev -27.1%

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.

03-06-2004 16:54:45 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of BierReise
BierReise

Florida

4/5  rDev +2.3%

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.

08-11-2003 01:03:23 | More by BierReise
Photo of Hopswagger
Hopswagger

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +3.1%

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.

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

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +11.3%

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...

04-12-2003 14:25:21 | More by WilliamPhilaPa
Photo of DWolf
DWolf

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

06-21-2013 16:21:46 | More by DWolf
Photo of bmoney
bmoney

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

01-01-2013 17:15:27 | More by bmoney
Photo of ngandhi
ngandhi

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +14.3%

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

03-19-2004 05:21:29 | More by ngandhi
Photo of rousee
rousee

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +12.5%

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.

12-19-2004 02:50:34 | More by rousee
Photo of PhantomVodoo
PhantomVodoo

Ohio

4.65/5  rDev +18.9%

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.

04-17-2003 06:47:49 | More by PhantomVodoo
Photo of zerk
zerk

California

4.28/5  rDev +9.5%

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.

03-31-2003 18:35:23 | More by zerk
Photo of Geuzedad
Geuzedad

Arizona

3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

06-23-2013 13:54:43 | More by Geuzedad
Photo of ark57
ark57

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +12%

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.

04-19-2004 18:41:02 | More by ark57
Photo of Dawkins
Dawkins

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

09-21-2013 04:13:50 | More by Dawkins
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
bewareOFpenguin

Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +10.7%

Wait how long? How about 1 day? That's all it took for me. Nice dark brown, cloudy with a good head. Tasted like a good Belgium, with spices. More malty than usual, but still a good beer. I'm thinking of buying another and attempting to celler it. Right.

01-14-2004 14:42:02 | More by bewareOFpenguin
Photo of Jon
Jon

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -5.9%

Well, this may be the first Stone brew about which I'm not overly ecstatic. That's not to say, of course, that I won't be next year, or even nine years from now, due to the nature of this beer. The 03-03-03 Vertical Epic pours a light brown/mahogany color with reddish tints and a 1/4", cream colored head that leaves some nice lace down the chalice. The nose features notes of sweetness, although the most abundant aromas are that of pepper, yeast and coriander. Nice fresh smelling smell overall. This is one intense Belgian dubbel-style brew. The first flavor that hit my palate was that of the alligator pepper used in the brewing process. Whoa, almost too much spice for my palate. Big notes of alpha hops, as mentioned on the bottle, are present on the finish. Some notes of yeast present themselves when the beer warms up a bit, as well. As a matter of fact, the brew mellows out quite a bit as the beer reaches room temperature. The mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and it fills the mouth quite well. Overall, this is interesting -- a very much Stone take on a Belgian dubbel style ale. I plan on buying more of these and trying them during the next nine years to see how they mature. This should be a very tasty brew as it cellars, it just needs some maturation to set it right. A quality effort from the folks in San Marcos nevertheless -- it takes balls to brew something like this.

07-31-2003 03:19:15 | More by Jon
Photo of Stoneman78
Stoneman78

California

3.68/5  rDev -5.9%

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

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

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev +6.9%

Twenty two ounce brown bottle, vintage dated (03.03.03). Enjoyed on 8/4/03 - 5 months & 1 day after its release.

Glowing dark auburn color with a creamy white head.

Spice and hop aromas fill the air.

Big caramel malt flavor, is balance out by raw wheat. This is followed by snappy pepper and coriander flavors. A hint of plums and apples lie in there as well. Big hop loaded finish. This has already taken on a bit of a port like character in just a few months.

Big full body, smooth.

Do I really need to wait to enjoy my other bottle. This is already very drinkable.

08-05-2003 17:18:26 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
FLAbeergutinMASS

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +2.3%

An apropos name for a beer of this caliber. Very nice, but comparable to an import Belgium, no way.

Poured with very little head, but presents itself a quite bubbly. Mild lacing is really basic.

Smells nice, apricot and alcohol, with a slight hint of ginger.

Taste is where I am torn. Recently I have been going Belgium beer crazy so 030303 is going uyp against some pretty stiff competition. Tastes great, but is much lighter than other Belgium’s. Doesn't have nearly the follow though nor the pungency of other similar types.

Overall a very good beer. Unfortunately for it, I consumed it at the wrong time.

05-24-2005 02:38:31 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
Photo of hyuga
hyuga

North Carolina

4.72/5  rDev +20.7%

A very dark brownish-red brew sits in the traditional chalice before me. Its tan head thins quickly, but that's usually what happens with dubbels. I agitate the brew and inhale, and I get a subtle aroma, which is slightly disappointing, but what's in the aroma makes it pleasing, not how big it is. Lots of pepper and coriander, subtle hops, and even malt peeking through all of the spiciness. Love that pepper! Dark fruits as well, characteristic of a dubbel. Some dried plum and fig. Just a touch of yeast. And now for the moment I've been waiting for... the tasting! Well, the first thing I must note is that alligator pepper. Wow, I really love the spice it put into this beer. I'll admit, I'm a pepper junkie, and I love a good Belgian-style beer with some pepper character... and this one really does it for me with more of that pepper character than I've ever experienced in any beer. Ultra-spiced just the way I like it! Okay, I should move on now. After the pepper hits, a smooth malty character comes in, as if to clean up after the pepper and prepare you for the middle, where the hops hit. Very interesting, American hops in Belgian beer. I like it! After that, the dark fruitiness comes into play more. The plum and fig, again. Coriander is present all the way through, but subtlely. This has to be one of the more flavorful of the medium-bodied brews I've had, which is, of course, a very good thing. The finish is rather smooth. I say, this is one excellent beer as is. I'm sure aging would do it good, as it's meant to, but I really do like it right now. I hope the aging wouldn't drop the pepper out any. If I didn't think it was sacrilege to do so because of its very limited availability, I'd cook with this stuff. Seems like it would be really good to marinate a steak in. Anyway, I don't really want to compare this with other dubbels, it's too unique in my opinion. I think it's a wonderful beer, and I'm definitely going to stock up on as much of this as I can before it's gone, which I'm sure will be soon. All I can say is get it when, where, while, and how you can.

03-15-2003 01:14:28 | More by hyuga
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
GreatPondBrewer

California

4.05/5  rDev +3.6%

Very interesting beer sampled a year and a month after its release.

Poured a murky brownish red color with a off-white head, but nothing of belgian spectacularness. It receded quickly to a little bit of lacing. Plenty of large bubbles on the bottom of my chalice. Smell was very sharp and peppery with notes of espresso ice cream, dark malty smokiness and a slight hop presence not found in most belgians. Taste was just as sharp with a much more noticable west-coast hop kick. More chocolatey taste and plenty of spicyness. Mouthfeel was a tad thin and didn't hold up well to the flavors that were abounding. Overall this is a strange interpretation of a belgian with Stone's fingerprints all over it.

04-23-2004 17:11:35 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.