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

Homebrew recipe on the website, check it out...
http://stonebrew.com/timeline/030303/recipe.html
Made with coriander, alligator pepper (aka Grains of Paradise), unmalted wheat, and dark roasted wheat. Somewhat hazy chocolate in color with ruby highlights. Head is poofy, light tan with very good retention and excellent lacing. Aroma is vinous with banana and clove, amber malts, rather modest hopping considering Stone's usual overhopping. Taste begins with darkening bananas, bready sweet amber malts, alcohol, toffee. The mouthfeel is rather smooth, but the finish is ruddy and wooden with a warming alcohol sensation. The level of bittering hops is balanced but quite earthy. This reminds me more of a Leffe Cuvee or Radieuse. It is a good beer, probably the most tolerable of Stone's hyperintense unbalanced brews.

Photo of Rutager
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of Floydster
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

8 ounce glass at Stone Winter Storm yesterday for four dollars, seemed like a great deal after seeing bottles of this in online auctions for hundreds of dollars, still wished they would have the 2002 though

Color was a deep orange with a bit of brown look, 1/2 inch slightly off white head that disappeated pretty quickly, left some sticky lacing along the glass to my surprise

Smell was sweet and malty, lots of raisins, cherries, prunes, dates, figs, also some hoppiness much to suprise, definitely a strong Belgian yeast presence

Taste was good, had most of the fruits in the aroma right at the beginning, as it warmed a faint amount of nuttiness came that provided a biscuit-like texture for a couple sips, also floral hoppy flavors, well balanced overall with a very sweet feel to it, each sip had a different unique sweetness to it, large variety of fruits, yeast was sweet to go along with it, surprised that a lot of other people do not think too highly of this one, diverse and complex beer overall

Body was full and pretty damn thick but the high level of carbonation threw me off, taste lasted long as well, sweet and chewy mouthfeel

Could have drank a few glasses of this before the sweetness got the best of me, alcohol is pretty high at eight and a half percent, fairly heavy on the stomach, although taste is diverse enough to keep you coming back for more

Have been trying to drink this since it came out pretty much, could not afford unless I went to the event and that was the main reason why I made the trek down here to Escondido, highly recommended to anybody who gets a chance to try it, one of the better VE brews, would love to have again some time in the future

Photo of kmpitz2
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to warriorsoul for this one. I have had it before and I have one cellared for a tasting of all at the end, so it is a treat to taste it again. It pours a beautiful dark brown color with some amber hues when held to light. The nose is sweet, with tones of brown sugar and a slight belgian spiceyness in there as well. The flavor is pretty nice, with a slightly apparent alcohol. I get some molasses and raisen with a slight spiceyness on the finish. I like it. The feel is moderate to thick with a moderate carb. The alcohol is not apparent. I really dig this brew. I'm interested to see what it is like after a few more years.

Photo of beerguy101
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color. Medium head. Aroma is malt, coriander and peppers. A full bodied ale. This beer is a frelling flavor fest. Malts are bold, slightly sweet and very smooth. It is not very hoppy, which is very unusual for a Stone Brew. But there are plenty of spices to balance it out; coriander, peppers (!), some fruits (apricots and cherries) and a touch of peat and smoke. Very smooth taste. Aging will only make this beer much better. Hides the 9% alcohol very well. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter with some peppery tones. Etched Beer bottle.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is a slightly chilled sample. I poured it into my glass and the color is rich dark brown with hints of pink shining through. An off white heads foams up and fades slowly to nothing.
The aroma is mild overall but extremely complex. I pick up some caramel, pears and other fruitiness, and general spciy scents.
The carbonation is average and the brew has a lighter body than expected.
The flavor is tasty and complex as the aroma, I get some spiciness up front with hints of vanilla and clvoes, with a vinous fruity finish. SOme grapes and pears at the ende.
The brew is ver drinkable and smooth rightnow but I think it should be aged a few years to allow the flavors to develop a little more and become slightly more pronounced. The beer is definitely young right now but should improve with a feel years of cellaring.

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

Poured a cloudy, murky deep amber. Aminor ecru head develops then disappears. No real lace but alcoholic tannins are visible.
Aroma notes fo candy sugar, raisins and prunes, wheat bread, spicy yeast, maduro cigar, toffee and maybe apricot were noted.
Flavor of sweet malt and robust dark fruits rise in the 1st wave. Next comes a spicy, bready falvor and finished with a coating of alcoholic joy. Very nice but obviously young.
Mouthfeel is sweet almost tart to start then procedes quickly into a long dry spicy phase with a peppery and somewhat gritty finish. Again shows signs and youthful power.
Drinkability is good, as noted can tell its young and a little rough around the edges but this is going to be a beauty. Glad I have 2 bottles in the cellar.

Photo of beerpadawan
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of donkeyrunner
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ruby red color. Smells like, what for lack of a better term, "cherry varnish" which I often get from aged barleywines or DIPAs where a lot of the hops have faded. Taste is sweet orchard fruit syrup.

We did our VE collection counting down (12,11,10,9,8,7,3) and I think we saved the worst for last. I pawned mine off on someone else.

Photo of Crosling
2.85/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First time I've had this beer. Just read Stone's most recent tasting notes and I've gotta say that I disagree with most of their comments. Never did try it fresh, but I bet it was much better then. Even properly cellared my bottle showed a ton of oxidation, especially in the aroma. Some hints of wild forest fruit and roast, but mostly just oxidation in the nose. Upon tasting, there are other elements (i.e. honeyed fruit, some hints of Belgian yeast, roast, toffee), but are all muted and a bit stale and it's really oxidized.

Photo of Adamostella
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Howlader
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of mikeincharleston
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of WanderingFool
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has to be one of the most uniquely flavored beers I've tried. It seems sweet, bitter and spicy all at the same time. It is a very dark ruby red color with a thin head that fades to a ring around the beer. Spots of lace cling to the side of the glass. An aroma typical of a belgian beer (coriander, pepper) floats above the surface.

The beer is medium bodied and smooth as silk. Each sip begins with a bit of spicyness before more subtle flavors take over. I can detect bubblegum. It finishes slightly hoppy with a mild alcohol presence.

I don't know if I can wait unitl after December 12, 2012 to try my other bottle of vertical epic. I just might have to get a couple more bottles before they are all gone.

Photo of clvand0
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

They ask on the back if you can store the beer and wait until 12.12.12 to drink it. Well, no, I can't :-) So I bought two and put one away. This pours a color that I would call a dark red. It has a small head that dissipates quickly and it has a moderate amount of lacing on the glass. Very attractive beer. The aroma is fruity with hints of malt and sweetness with a little bit of spice - smells great. The flavor is very fitting for the Belgian ale classification. It is a mix between a Belgian Dark Strong ale and a spicy Belgian Blonde. There is a moderate amount of spiciness to the flavor that is just enough to give it a small kick, but not enough to make it spicy. Very smooth and easy to drink. I might have to seek this one out again so I don't have to open the one I've put in reserve. Great looks, great aroma, great flavor. What more can you ask for? Unfortunately I've missed the 02.02.02 version, but I will be sure not to miss the one for next year ... and next year ... etc. Hopefully my other bottle of 03.03.03 will make it until the end. Congrats to the people at Stone for this one.

Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass...didn't have the 02-02-02, so this is the first of the big vertical tasting.

A - Pours a hazy dark amber color full of fine floating sediment. Small head consisting of loose off-white foam. Sparse lacing is left on the glass.

S - Full malty aroma, caramel and toffee, slight astringency, fruity esters, brown sugar, and maybe a hint of root beer.

T - A bit of hop bitterness, toasted malt, some roasted malts also - roasty, grainy, a bit of coffee, a little spicy with some mild pepper aspects, earthy and dirtlike

M - Medium Body, medium carbonation. Sweet and caramelly, slightly sticky and mouth coating, touch of pepper bite on the finish.

O - Overall, this held up pretty well for a 10 year old bottle. Some oxidation is present, rich, sweet, and earthy. Nice!

Photo of charlzm
2.79/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

Beer pours a clear, light caramel. No head forms but there is some carbonation visible in the glass.

The aroma is sweet: honey and cider notes.

Flavor is slightly oxidized with notes of tea, coriander and caramel. Moderately bitter on the finish.

Mouthfeel is thin and slightly astringent.

This beer probably peaked a while before the tasting: not surprising, given its age.

Photo of KYGunner
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Ten year old Three set up with a mellow cognac color, light carbonation and a thin but billowing head.

The scent is all dates. The dates are hearty, fruity and robust. After a while I began to detect a soft buttery toffee.

The flavor is spicy with a peppery tone followed by a dry sherry. It's not overly diverse but very nice in its mellowness.

Speaking of mellow the feel is inordinately smooth with an expensive liquor like flow.

This was the last of the Vertical Epics I tasted at this event but found this old man to be easily the smoothest of the group.

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of jaasen64
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap for Lord Hobo's Vertical Epic Night. Part of Flight "A" (03, 04, 05). 5oz serving served in a flight glass.

A- Appears an amber that is slightly on the darker side with fairly minimal carbonation and head.

S- Lots of peppers, spices, candied sugars, light dark fruits. Smells like a Belgian Dubbel only very spicey. Decently aromatic and fairly flavorful except dominated a little bit too much by the spices at this point.

T- Peppery kick to it although not as much as in the aroma, some dark fruits, plums, a little bit sugary, fairly sweet and a little bit malty.

M- Medium bodied, low carbonation, smooth, easy to drink.

O- This beer seemed to hold up decently well after 9 years. I imagine it was better fresh and has probably fallen off a little bit, but it still tasted nice. It was definitely dominated a little bit too much by the peppery spices (Aligator Pepper) but other then that it was very nice. It had a nice sweet aspect to it that made it easy to drink. It definitely wasn't my favorite of the series but it was definitely interesting to try.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting to try this one for awhile now. Pours from the bomber a deep reddish brown with a nice two finger bubbly off white head. A mix of deep caramel, pepper, clove and some banana. Quite inticing.

A nice mix of sweet caramely banana bread flavors infused with spicy, peppery nuances and hints of earthy yeast. Well balanced with a nice mellow citrus hop biterness on the back of the palate.

A super creamy, lush full body that makes it a joy to drink. Good complex flavor keeps me coming back for more...drinkability is very good here. Another enjoyable brew from Stone...I look forward to seeing how this one will hold up. Thanks to bigbeerdrinka and ppoitras for the chance to sample and cellar this one.

Photo of marc77
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy tawny chestnut hue. Dense, creamy, persistent almond white head. Sparse lace remains. Bubblegum esters, heaty fusels and pronounced clove phenol upfront in aroma, tapered by notes of rounded carob and mellow, herbal coriander and citrus. Banana laced sweetness initially in flavor is ensued by raisiny dark caramel and mild toffee. Becomes transiently dubbel esque mid palate, with notes of clove, peppery alcohol coupling with residual sweetness to lend a black licorice impression. Hop bitterness above the norm emerges concomitantly with subtle dark chocolate hints, resulting a pleasantly lingering bittersweet chord. Moderate in body, and quite dextrinous, perhaps due to the all malt grist. Finishes with notes of sweet bubblegum and sandalwood fading into a warm envelope of ethanol. A unique, flavorful creation seemingly a hybrid of an American strong ale and a Dubbel. Being this young, the flavors haven't quite coalesced yet. This certainly has cellaring potential for those who have patience.

Photo of jvillefan
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

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