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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
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 278
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 91
Gots: 38 | 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 feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I made an error when I popped the cap on this one, for I had just downed a bomber of Old Guardian Barleywine. Was I in fit condition to discern the myriad nuances of this awesome ale? Perhaps, perhaps not. I transcribe directly from my notes:

"Appearance: a dark, ripe red, big, creamy head.
Aroma: fresh, frothy, citrusy, sea-air, the very aromatic picture of a witbier.
Drink it deep, that's the whole, beautiful witbier style. Oh, delicious, but dark!
Complex stuff! Definitely darker than a witbier.
I can't understand how they can create a brew that tastes like a witbier but doesn't look like one.
I don't know what to think!"
Now, I know there were additional ingredients, alligator peppers, of all the things in the world, and roasted wheat. Made for a still smooth and flavorful, but quite intriquing beer. Seemed to keep a step in two worlds at once, light, yet deep and powerful, refreshing, though full of complex, even harsh flavors.
Quite an astounding beer! Got to try this one again!
Mucho gracias to el mocoso for making this possible!

feloniousmonk, May 21, 2003
Photo of kbub6f
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought online, ground shipping (unrefrigerated), several weeks in my fridge, reviewed 45F-75F.

A very nice, medium-sized, cream-colored thick head sits on a deep red/brown beer. Thin, foamy lacing rolls down the glass quickly, leaving sticky spots.

I smell caramel, a little fruit, a little fish, some alcohol and spice. Add some chocolate to that on the front. The pepper really jumps out in the sweet, dark, creamy, full middle. Are those apples? When cold, the finish is a little metallic, but that disappears completely at good drinking temperature. Otherwise, the finish is dry and a little chocolatey. This is a delicious beer. It's a little raw when cold, but settles down nicely. I may have to bury the others in the forest to keep from drinking them.

kbub6f, May 19, 2003
Photo of MJR
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a color that's somewhere between brown and ruby. The body has good clarity, with lots of carbonation bubbles racing to the top. A light tan head starts out o.k., then quickly shrinks down to a mostly complete, thin cap.

Smell: The nose is fairly spicy with a good dose of coriander and hops being the dominant scents. Underneath them is a small suggestion of dark fruits.

Taste: First and foremost, the flavor is spicy with a firm bitterness. It's an inviting spiciness, which comes from both the grains of paradise (which is a fancy name for a type of pepper) and the hops used. Of course, the coriander is here. There's a strong undercurrent of phenols which serves as a base for the other flavors. I pick up on a very small suggestion of dark fruits, but it's really faint. It darts in and out and provides a touch of sweetness, which helps to balance the bitterness and spiciness. Ends with a bready, yeasty note, as well as a touch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium in body, but it doesn't have enough of that 'chewy' feel that characterizes really good dubbels. It's more crisp and dry than it is thick and chewy.

Drinkability: Good overall drinkability. This is an interesting take on a dubbel. While it's lacking the chewy feel and rich, dark fruits that are paramount to the style, it's spiciness and hop flavor and bitterness bring a dimension that's usually not present. Quite the unique brew...

MJR, May 16, 2003
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!

ElGuapo, May 11, 2003
Photo of aracauna
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Me gusta. I really wish I had two bottle so I could age the other one to see how it changed with age. But I'm really wondering if it would be any better with age. The appearance is just a little too brown to be ruby and the cascading bubbles almost look like golden flakes. The head is a very pale tan but forms easily and holds up nicely. Coriander is definitely evident up front as well as a peppery aroma. A bit of orange pulp wafts up as well. The flavor continues with the coriander and the pepper becomes stronger. Oddly they didn't use real pepper this time around. I guess the grains of paradise are aptly nicknamed "Alligator Pepper." Under the caramel cake malt, I'm picking up the faintest hint of banana. I'm actually a bit surprised that Stone made a beer so unabashedly not hoppy. Sure they used high alpha hops in the boil, but I'm not picking them up at all. They blend into the overall mix nicely. Very balanced, but big flavored beer. I'm actually surprised the beer is getting so many blah ratings here. Maybe something as subtle as a dunkel wit made by Stone throws people off, but I really like it.

aracauna, May 09, 2003
Photo of Dogbrick
3.03/5  rDev -22.7%
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.

Dogbrick, Apr 29, 2003
Photo of Boto
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was very lucky to find this on a recent trip to AZ: Only brewing 2500 cases they don't ship many (or any) east at all.

I had seen the bit of hype about the yearly release of this line, but it being Stone, I was ready for it to live up to the hype. I was not disappointed.

I got some of the familiar smells is a Belgian Strong Ale that you would expect, plums, raisins, and caramel aroma. But, to no suprise, there were hops, and lots of them. While they were quite evident in the taste, they did not overpower the taste. Incredible well balanced. Hats off to them!

I wonder how my other bottle will taste in a year or 2? Probably even better!

Boto, Apr 26, 2003
Photo of goz
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium/dark mahogany, with a medium light tan head, medium diminishing, leaving good lacing on the way down. Aroma is fruity (banana, some apple and pear sneaking through, too), some spiciness (coriander & hops providing most of that). Flavor starts with the banana (apple and pear come through more as it warms up), middle is crisp, and the end has some good hoppiness, and a hint of pepper. Body is full, taste is complex and changes slightly as the bottle warmed, light alcohol showed up towards the end.

goz, Apr 26, 2003
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 Reidrover
4.63/5  rDev +18.1%
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!

Reidrover, Apr 16, 2003
Photo of jtw5877
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a medium brown hue with a tannish white head. Tastes like a hoppy brown ale brewed with Belgian yeast, throw in some spicy alligator pepper, and you have a enjoyable beer. I am glad I had a chance to experience some of this beer. It makes me wish Stone would produce a Big Yeasty Triple.

jtw5877, Apr 16, 2003
Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +14%
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.

Bighuge, Apr 15, 2003
Photo of cretemixer
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours beer bottle brown in color with a fast fading, off-white head that barely leaves a cling-ring on my glass. The spicy aromas of pepper, corriander & yeast are foremost. Very "Belgian" in aroma. Candied sugar and dark fruits. The first sip exposes the peppery spices. Very dry opening. Yeasty and immature at this time. Hopefully, this beer will benefit from some time in the cellar. It has that "Belgian style" thing down, it's just not quite there yet in my book. Hoppy on the finish. Medium-full body with appropriate carbonation & a nice alcohol warmth. In time it should do well, just a little young yet.

cretemixer, Apr 14, 2003
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.

OldFrothingSlosh, Apr 12, 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 Dantes
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: ~10oz. from draught in a tulip glass at the Stone 12 event. Served a bit cold. Cost: $5.

Appearance: There seemed to be three shades of color that day: reddish-amber, cherrywood-brown, and dark mahogany; this brew exhibited the latter, and was almost opaque. The beige foam cap was very airy and didn’t last very long, leaving a thin ring. The opacity and dark brown color made this somewhat muddy in appearance.

Smell: Maybe my nose was burnt-out by the time I got to this (it was #4), but the aromas were fairly restrained. Expecting a spicy onslaught, I was surprised by the faint malty sweetness and estery vapors upfront. These sensations were accompanied by a pot-still fusel quality. Only after this did some notes of pepper, cloves, and coriander poke through.

Taste: Somewhat disappointing. There is so much going on, that the net result is not very satisfying. There is a substantial amount of malt sweetness accompanied by some fruitiness, cut somewhat by alcohol and rotating spices. I expected the alligator pepper to express itself, but this only had a little bite, more like regular telicherry. That was okay though, I'm not sure I want pepper in my beer! Coriander, cloves, and lemon zest made brief appearances emerging out of the heavy brew, along with a tentative hop bitterness. This did exhibit a long finish, helped by a seemingly higher than 8.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Rich and lovely. This exhibited a cool, silky, and luxurious texture. The carbonation was perfect for this brew. The best aspect of this beer.

Drinkability: Hard to rate. While interesting, I didn’t find this to be very satisfying and was more than happy to move on to the Old Guardian and Imperial Stout. Not so high in alcohol to prevent having a few, but there are better choices out there. More of a novelty than anything else.

I don’t think that this beer knows what it wants to be when it grows up and I’m not so sure aging will help it. New, dominant flavors could develop, or the interesting spiciness could just fade away. Worth cellaring a bottle or two for interest. As to its Belgian heritage, I don’t think this beer knows Brussels from Biloxi.

Bottom Line: Paging Dr. Freud, your patient Sybil is here.

Dantes, Apr 04, 2003
Photo of Dmann
4.93/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the most unique beers I have ever tasted! It's a dubbel, yet it is not a dubbel. It has that characteristic Stone mouthfeel and hop taste to an extent, but it is nothing like they have ever made before. This beer poured a dark brown color with a small head that faded rather quickly. The smell of spices and pepper hit me as soon as I poured it and I knew I was in for a treat...and that flavor...! This is by far the most spice-flavored beer I've ever had, and that is definantly a good thing. The beer is malty sweet in the beginning, then the hop and alchohol flavor creap in and set you up for the peppery bite and aftertaste in the end. And the great spice flavors are present through all the stages of the tasting experience. I can definantly tell that this one will age very well, and I plan to buy much more so I can sample it on it's way to the 12/12/12 maturity date. Grab it while you can!

Dmann, Apr 04, 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 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 wofat
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew hits you as soon as it is opened with hints of coffee, oak, yeast and alcohol. Its dark amber color and creamy, off-white head make quite a tempting statement.

Diving into this beer, you taste soft fruit flavors and wheat with a complex light and spicy bittering. I also detect flavors of plum, raisin, cherry and coffee.

This tasty treat is good now... but doesn't seem quite mature. Now, I probably won't be able to wait till 2013 as the bottle suggests, but one bottle made it to my basement for some long term storage. I can't wait to taste it in a couple years!

wofat, Mar 31, 2003
Photo of BeerManDan
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a beautiful "Belgian-Style" ale.

When poured, a nice dark amber brown with little foam and a lot of lace in the glass. The smell of spices, yeast and wheat just is overpowing and pleasanto to the nose. The taste is a well balance of malts, spices, yeast and malts, combined it makes for a winning combination. This brings together a complex balance of a sweet/bitterness nature and is so pleasant in the mouth ond after taste.

Bring on more, I can't get enough of a good brew. Will store for future use!

BeerManDan, Mar 25, 2003
Photo of stoutlove77
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow!, this is really a taste sensation. The look was a a nut brown with a very light head that diminished the moment it was being poured. The smell, the aroma, the fragrance, yes... I got a whiff of mild pears, ripe granny smith apples and sweet cloves, the taste.. oh yes, the taste a smooth balanced of tart nectar and plenty spice, this is a treat now, I believe it will be a blessing when it gets aged!!. The mouthfeel is real smooth, plenty of high end flavor. So if you have a chance to get this one unique brew, treat it like the candy you steal at the candy store, drink some now and save some for later, you wont regret it!!!!!

stoutlove77, Mar 20, 2003
Photo of hyuga
4.72/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

hyuga, Mar 15, 2003
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.

nomad, Mar 14, 2003
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
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.