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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

195 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 195
Hads: 286
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 17.09%
Wants: 89
Gots: 48 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-03-2003

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 195 | Hads: 286
Photo of jdhilt
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
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.


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Photo of aasher
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared with the staff at work on Thanksgiving. 03.03.03 shared on 11.24.11, some eight and a half years after its release. I was sixteen and was a sophomore in high school when it came out.

This beer pours a very smooth, medium bodied, rich amber in color with no lacing or head. The aromas are rich and malty. It smells like an aged English barleywine. You get a lot of honey, cherry, and mead like qualities with toffee as well. It has a really nice citrus aspect and a lot of port notes. Very complex nose. The flavor isn't quite as stellar but it's solid. You get alot of red fruit with a J.W. Lees Harvest esque flavor. The carbonation is really surprising. It looks still but when you start to drink it the carbonation aggressively stimulates your palate. I've never quite experienced that before. It's like dropping a cut of fresh meat into a pool of piranhas. Very interesting. It drinks well and on the lighter side of medium in body. The flavor is nice but really it's nice to try this beer this old. I wonder what it was like when it was fresh. It's probably better classified as a Belgian barleywine.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer is a clear mohagony color. A thin and dense ivory white head lays on top. A nice rimming is noticed. Lacing is evident but sporadic. I love the smell of this beer. Stone really achieves some awesome aromas with their beers. This one is yeasty, bready, doughy, spicy and musty. Astounding. I really like the spice kick in the flavor profile. I realize the Alligator pepper moreso than the corriander. It compliments the cookie dough yeast properties and West Coast hop tones nicely. If I had an aversion to spice qualities in a beer, I might not care for this one at this stage of the game, but I don't have that aversion. And even though they are a bit abrasive, they fit into the Big Picture. (I'm guessing the spicing will mellow out as the years go by.) The alcohol is very well hidden. The body is light to medium and the beer has an airy, effervescent feel on the tongue. There's a nice lingering bitterness from hops and spice. This is one great concoction.

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Photo of Gusler
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As I missed the first batch, I have waited with great anticipation knowing that was going to have a 6 pack as soon as it came out. The beer pours a sanguineous color, the head modest in size, frothy in texture, the color a nice light tan, and the residual lace a very fine sheet to cover the glass. Malt dominates the nose, sweet and just a light hint of the coriander, crisp and fresh, quite pleasant. Sweet malt at the start, the top I’d say middling, the finish has a purposeful acidity, the hop persistent in their spicy bite, maybe a tinge of the pepper in the aftertaste. The alcohol is well hidden, but is felt in the tummy as the warming is noticeable, quite a quaffable brew, and yes it will be tough to wait till 04.04.04 to sample the next along site the 03.03.03, but I feel this beer is still a bit "raw", and will mellow nicely over the coming years.

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

030303 - consumed 121212

appearance: served in my great lakes chalice, muddy amber-mahogany body, still carbonated and revealing a nice tan ring

smell: toffee, holiday spiced bread, caramel malt

taste: I dunno - this held up better than I anticipated - clearly in the vein of the belgian dubbel style - sure, there is that permeating stale-hop presence, but this is almost 10 years old. toffee, caramel, stale pumpernickel, raisin, dried fruit

mouthfeel: still decently carbonated, slick medium body

overall: exceeded expectations, DUE TO AGE

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Photo of sweemzander
3.02/5  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.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to my boy aasher for handing this one off to me in our last big in-person trade as this was a long-time want due to this being when I graduated High School! Thanks Al! I was looking for a special reason to open this one, so I decided to open it at StayWhatYouAre2’s pre-wedding tasting along with his brother Mississipping! Served from bottle into a Stone Vertical Epic glass (proper!). Poured a reddish brown-orange with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, sugar, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I was honestly really surprised at how well this one has held up with time. I was partially concerned about this as I even apologized in advance if this one bombed. We were all pleasantly surprised with what we found though. It seemed to have taken on a nice English Barleywine aspect here. Even with 9 years on it, it is still worth seeking out. A must try at least once in my honest opinion.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I am hoping I have the patience to get one of each of the V.E. beers to actually do the vertical tasting. This beers pours a solid amber color with a medium beige head. Aroma is spicey and malty at the same time. For some reason when I tasted it I was reminded of one of those god-awful "12 Greatest Brews of the World" monstrosities brewed by Gluek. Some kind of cardboard taste maybe? This wasn't a bad brew but I could not get the comparison out of my head. Finish is hoppy and toasty. Overall the cardboard flavor and general oilyness kind of ruined what is definitely a brew that will improve over time.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich mahogany color with a moderate beige head and little to no carbonation evident but leaves some lace. Strong malty barleywine-ish type aroma with a light spice aroma (coriander?). Barleywine-like flavors dominate with not much else; not very Belgian at all but balanced well enough. Full bodied, smooth and creamy with a strong bitter finish.

Pass on this one and buy a good barleywine instead .. Just above average and more like a "3.3" in keeping with the theme... :-)

Per Bottle: Limited 2,500 Case Release

Per Stone website:
Starting gravity = 19 Plato (1.078sg)
Finishing gravity = 3.5 Plato(1.014sg)
ABV = 8.2 %
IBU = 48
Pale 2-row barley 89.45%, Unmalted wheat (red soft winter, flaked) 6.8%, Special B 2.5%, Chocolate wheat malt 1.25%.
Warrior (17.8%aa, .666oz in boil)
Centennial hops (.2oz for dry hop)
Alligator Pepper (aka Grains of Paradise, or Paradise seed)
Abbey Yeast strain 500 from White Labs & American Yeast strain

Brewed: 03/03/03
Tasted: 12/01/04

($6.99 / 22 oz.)

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Photo of tavernjef
4.56/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep, dark, rustic mahoganey in color with an inch high luscious, rich, puffy thick, ivory colored frothy head, great sticking thickly stringed lace. Nice aroma of toffee and dark fruits with a note of nuts and spice. Taste is complex, smooth, rich full bodied, and quite yummy, good dark toffee and caramel candy sense, dark fruits of plum, raisin, and orange. Solid grab and feel of balanced hops in the middle right into the lightly dancing bitter drying finish with a hint of nuts, spice, and alcohol. Good full body feel with awesome smoothness and lingering light tang in the mouth after each sip. This is is some great stuff, yummy as hell, and to hell with waiting to open this brew, live now, its worth it!

Thanks to Gusler for the bottle.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one gave off a monster head that almost raged out of control. The body is sugary brown and the head a triple “L” (long, lasting, and lacing), creating a shaving cream-like cover to the body and pitting like volcanic lava.

Smell – The lightly-toasted malt aroma makes itself known. The traditional Stone hops come out as well, creating quite the balance. The sweet raw and table sugar smells blend perfectly with this concoction.

Taste – The aggressive aroma gives way to a nicely balanced ale. The molasses and sugar sweetened malts lead the way, followed by balancing Stone hops and a sugary finish. The traditional BSDA spices are present as well, making this an extraordinary brew.

Mouthfeel – Well-carbonated with a sweet, malty start and a dry, almost bitter hop finish. This one is full and chewy.

Drinkability – You don’t have to wait until 2012 to enjoy this offering.

Comments – BigDog (xlperro) gave me the bottle to take home when I was in town on business (as if he hadn’t extended himself enough already). This was an excellent and thoughtful gift and well appreciated. I popped this for my 300th review. Cheers to the BAs of SoCal!

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Photo of gford217
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No better time to open this one, 03.03.03, than on my 33rd birthday. Bottle courtesy of sunnydlyte23, poured into a tulip.

Pours a deep, dark clear copper with a rocky off-white head that hangs on as a cap and leaves decent lacing on the way down.

The aroma is very sweet with tons of molasses and dark fruit, especially raisins and figs. Hints of Belgian yeast in the bacground as well as the remnants of some citrus hops.

The taste has a little hop kick up front that I imagine was much, much bigger when fresh. As it is, it feels like it's missing something up front in the taste before the malts and Belgian yeast take over. The taste had some toffee and caramel sweetness but not nearly as much as the aroma suggested.

The mouthfeel was fairly thin, surprisingly so, and the carbonation didn't seem to come through on the palate. Slightly dry finish with less sticky sweetness that I was expecting.

I've been looking forward to cracking this one and was contemplating holding onto it until the last vertical release. I'm glad I opened it now as I have to think it's only going downhill from here. A good beer that was probably great a couple years ago. Big thanks to Sherwin for the opportunity to try this rarity.

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

Bottle at Stone Bistro during RBSG 08. Pours a dark orange-gold, with a tan head that leaves spotty lacing. Aroma is huge caramel with ripe dark fruit. Flavor is a subdued mealy maltiness, with caramel, cold coffee, and the tannic remains of old hops. The coriander and pepper are still very apparent. A nicely mellowed beer.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer, but not what I expected! This beer tastes almost *exactly* like a lighter version of the Bethlehem Brew Works 'Rudolphs Reserve'. The resemblance is uncanny. This beer poured a dark red, brown colour with a decent head. The aromas are of belgian candy sugar, yeast, various spices, and hops. This beer has a medicinal aroma that reminds me of Orval quite a bit. This beer gets more mellow and malty as it warms up, and I suggest drinking it slighlty below room temperature. The mouthfeel is quite thick and the drikability is very good for this big belgian-style brew!

This was a damn good beer from Stone, but I have been here before!
Cheers to The Long Beach Bum, for this very limited offering!

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Photo of Rutager
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some 2 years and 4 months [07.03.05] after I first [03.03.03] sampled this one I fancied cracking one out of my stash to see how it fared out of interest. My original Review had straight 4.0’s across the board.

Appearance: Solid carbonation levels are still prevalent, as they were on the offering some 28 months ago. Massive creamy brown head pours with the rather embarrassingly heavy handed pour. Incredible amounts of smattered lacing, this looks great in the glass. The head lasts throughout and shows no signs of disappearing through the drink; gentle tops ups keep it voluminous. The body still retains a lucid chestnut brown body that shimmers with some ruby hints against the setting sun. Can it be that the appearance has actually improved, seems so….4.0 to 4.5.

Nose: The nose has definitely changed, long gone is the freshly mashed bananas aroma, it is now more akin now to soft Banana bread with massive dollops of yeast and a hefty nasal slapping of doughy bread. I’m not sure the nose has improved to be honest, but it is no worse than before. Stays at 4.0.

Taste: Wow, from the first taste this immediately reminded me of Lefèbvre Floreffe Meilleur/Prima Melior. It has an Olde Worlde Victorian Sweet (Candy) Shop feel to it. Deep aromatic spices and a hint of Mint Humbugs, it is coming along nicely. It seems that two types of yeast that were used in this and that certainly comes through in the developing aging complexity of this one. The malts are still here, but the finish has a lovely spicy feel, delicate aniseed and mild liquorices hint on the tongue and mix with the soothing alcohol in the swallow. The alcohol has mellowed to a point that it feels medicinal, but it is still there. The fresh cloves have depleted in strength and been replaced with a deep complicated spearmint laced spiced light banana pommel. I like the fact that the complexity has risen whilst the sweet malts have waned……4.0 to 4.5.

Mouthfeel: The deep pile carpet malts are thick and smooth, not as creamy as before but certainly very smooth. Bold and fulfilling. Solid and dependable. Stays at 4.0

Drinkability: The drinkability of this Vertical Epic hasn’t diminished at all, whilst the complexity of this one has altered; it is for the better for me. Remains at 4.0.

Overall: The VE03.03.03 is holding rather well, I originally rated this at a straight 4.0, I feel it has improved with age and is slightly better than before, upto 4.3 overall. I still have a few of these babies left and it will be interesting to see how they hold up, I think they are still good for a few more years yet.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1658th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass

Split with StarRaptor, Callmecoon & Smarcoly

App- A nice darker brown pour with a bit of weight behind it. The head was okay on a more strong pour. I tried a gentle pour and only got a bit of bubbles. Scotty got a bit more froth and pull apart bubbles. The cling was just okay and maybe a couple lines.

Smell- This was pretty decent for as old as it was. Nothing oxidized but still a bit yeasty and flat with a bit of strong spiced malts behind it. A little bit like an older Our Special Ale from Anchor. Just lost a bit of pop behind it.

Taste- I enjoyed it for what it was. A bit of a darker beer with a bit more bread behind it than malts and spices. The normal BSDA was gone but this retained a more fluffy wheat note with some spice.

Mouth- A bit of a lighter medium body with a fairly fluffy medium carbonation. A bit thick and dull on the residual flavors of wheat, spice and yeast.

Drink- Well I had been saving this for a few years and thanks to Siggy125 for the hookup on this one a while back. No oxidation, just a bit old and lackluster. Still flavorful, but no drain pour.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
1.83/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

2.0 A: Muddy shit. Small head that falls almost instantly.

1.5 S: Smells like old homebrew and not homebrew that started out good. Rancid spicy caramel. Instead of alligator pepper, it smells like alligator hide.

2.0 T: Tastes better than it smells, but just barely. Rancid chocolate and caramel. Moldy old wheat. A bit of roast and a light, out of place, spice.

2.5 M: Heavier medium body. Sludgy mouthfeel. The only thing that impresses is that a decent amount of carbonation is still present.

1.5 D: Mostly ass beer at this point. Enough said.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taking a day off today (12OCT09) and having some brews... Save this one for a big-ass vertical in 2012? Screw it! I just felt like having my last bottle of 03.03.03... Is there a better reason?

Still a clear, ruby/garnet, with a thin, tan head. Aroma is dark fruit and dry. No diff for mouthfeel. Dark fruit is here in the flavor, too. It is quite dry now, almost chalky. NBD, overall. Best quaffed way back when. If you're saving it, think twice and drink it now, before it degrades more....


*** ***

Tried another today (02APR05).... Color is actually more of a ruby/garnet as opposed to mahogany.... crystal clear.... creamy tan. finely bubbled head... lacing does stick well...
Fruity aroma...dark fruit, actually. Suggests dryness. Not quite medium bodied... a slight bit of prickliness on the tongue... Bier is indeed dry.... combo of dark fruit with a bit of tropical fruit notes, though mild... slight pepperiness... flavor lingers in the dry finish.... seems like I enjoyed it more 2 years ago... Will try another in a few years or so....


overall: 4
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5

*** ***

(Original review of 26APR03): The Epic has hit NH!! Scored a couple of bottles at The Wine Society ($6.99)....one for now, one (hopefully) for a lot later....
The triple-3 pours a dark mahogany color, and has just a slight wisp of cloudiness, though not much. Head is a very-finely bubbled thin layer, a smidge off-white in color. Lacing tries to make it, but can't quite stick.
3-cubed has a spicy, peppery-like nose. The "wheatiness" makes itself evident too. These aromas are in addition to a slight Belgian-like aspect. All-in-all, quite interesting, and pleasant!
Body and mouthfeel are both nice, medium and pleasure inducing! A nice feel in the mouth for this bier....
This one tries to be a bit of a Dubbel, with a little sweetness and fruitiness there, but then it becomes more like a Strong Belgian Pale, with the spicy and peppery characteristics. Finish is a bit dry, with the pepperiness lingering.... the 8.5% abv assists in the belly warming being felt....
Tasty stuff....must check back here in 9 years to see how it holds up, with the rest of the series...if I can!! (4.0/4.0/4.0/4.0/4.0 = 4.0)



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Photo of RedDiamond
4.31/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Full-bodied malty aroma with lush fruity complexity. A truly profound smell. Has all the plums and figs of a Dickens novel. Pours a deep red-chestnut brown with little floaty yeasties and very soft carbonation that crafts a silky head. Pour it slowly to avert that slurry of yeast particles.

The taste expounds upon the smell and includes a mad spice rack of flavors that hint at nutmeg, allspice, and a chairlift ride up the sugar candy mountain. There’s also an alcohol edge to the taste. I’m not mad about the finish which is a little torn or fragmented, but I’m willing to give it another eight years or so to round out a bit.
This is a heavy, deliberate brew that improves notably at room temperature.

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was something of a surprise. High abv, youth and description of "alligator pepper" spicing lead me to expect this to be on the harsh side. To the contrary, this beer was quite smooth. Soft, almost creamy mouthfeel. Dark fruits plus roasted malt that touched on the porter flavor range. Unlike any strong dark Belgian style I've had, and really seemed to defy categorization. Quite nice, and it will be interesting to see how this evolves with time.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ok the "big guy" for tonight the 03/03/03.
Pours a nice rich brown with a lovelly off white creamy head that lingers quite some time..very good.
How can I explain but the aroma of this beer is truelly wonderful stuff..its rich yet sweet and sherbety..very spicy..malty just great.
A lovelly well balanced taste yes there is sweetness..but its balanced very well..quite "spicy" good belgian style here.
exceptional in every way on the taste buds..
very very drinkable brew i love this.
I was told when i bought it..it would be even better cellared for 6 months..think i will buy a few more to cellar..who knows in 6 months this could be my first perfect 5!

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Photo of merlin48
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's always a guilty pleasure to read the amusing boasts, harangues,and information on a 22oz Stone bottle. This edition proclaims, "...designed to be aged until some time after December 12, 2012". I wonder how many will last half that long. I poured this into a St Bernardus goblet, at cellar temperature. It appears a clear dark mahogany out of the light, a striking orange/ruby amber when held to the light. The beige head quickly faded into all kinds of lacing. Aroma is very Belgian, with rum soaked fruits, bourbon dipped raisins, bubblegum, biscuity malt, coriander, dark pepper, and some piney and citrus hops that aren't so Belgian.
Mouthfeel is smooth and silky. Moderate carbonation with some alcohol bite.
Taste is impressive, but can't match the extraordinary nose. Plenty of dark fruits, coriander leads the rack of spices, some malt sweetness, wild Alpha hops, and then considerable vinous overtones. The vinous traits combine with the alcohol to overwhelm all of the wonderful ingredients in this sensous brew. This becomes overbearing to the point of being a significant distraction, but who am I to argue. I opened the bottle over eight years early. Still, this is a very good Belgian style strong sipping ale. I enjoyed it with homemade pizza.

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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.