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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: 3
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 Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +27.9%

12-08-2011 20:15:03 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of FARGO619
FARGO619

California

5/5  rDev +27.9%

BASED ON NOTES:

A-Carmel color great carbonation. Light tan head that stays around.

S-Strong sweet Carmel flavor a little alcohol.

F-Big Carmel taste.

M-Very nice. Creamy, medium bodied.

D- Such a great beer. Went down warm and smooth. Like vanilla silk. Wish I had more.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2011 15:53:53 | More by FARGO619
Photo of irishmoss
irishmoss

Ohio

4.95/5  rDev +26.6%

I tried and I tried, but this one didn't last long. I had four bottles wrapped tight in brown paper and string in the corner of my refrigerator and when I sampled one of them, I only had one left when I woke up the next day.
This poured a very nice dark reddish-brown color with a nice tan one and a quarter finger head. It had a nice sticky lace that clung to the sides of the glass all the way to the bottom. The aroma was of malty orange and a faint hint of pepper. The taste was indescribable, but I'll try. It was a sweet malt with citrus and touch of piney pepper. The hops were there but is shocked the hell out of me that they weren't as overpowering as I expected. Very well done, I couldn't imagine this being any better. But time will tell and this is going to age very very well. Like so many seasonal brews, this should be around all year long. But fate makes this even worse, is this really a once in lifetime beer? Will 4-4-04 be drastically changed? Time will tell........

05-22-2003 10:54:53 | More by irishmoss
Photo of Dmann
Dmann

California

4.93/5  rDev +26.1%

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!

04-04-2003 02:45:31 | More by Dmann
Photo of ZX6Chris
ZX6Chris

California

4.9/5  rDev +25.3%

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Vertical Epic tasting by my friend Armand.

A-Carmel color great carbonation. Light tan head that stays around pretty impressive for 7 year old beer

S-Strong sweet Carmel flavor a little alcohol.

F-Big Carmel taste.

M-Very nice. Smooth, well rounded reminds me of candy.

D-I wanted more of this! It was like carmel candy and I really enjoyed it

08-26-2010 00:32:31 | More by ZX6Chris
Photo of d0ggnate
d0ggnate

California

4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

I love the VE series and found this beer to have been aged to near perfection. A phenomenal smell arose from my glass as soon as I poured from bottle. I got the oppourtunity to sample this gem at O'Briens tonight.

A: A gran red/brown hue that poured clear and headless.
S: Aroma bursting from the glass presented with a strong similarity to brandy.
T: Amazing!! Candied, brown sugar and scotch flavor abound. My words don't do this beer justice.
M: Smooth and slick. The age has polished this brew. A light coat lingers on my tongue.
D: This was a rare treat and I would raise another glass of this beer in toast to a momentous occasion.

If you get the chance, enjoy this beer with biggest beer geek you know. They will love you for it.

02-16-2008 04:53:03 | More by d0ggnate
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 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
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clvand0

Kentucky

4.65/5  rDev +18.9%

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.

07-28-2003 01:23:12 | More by clvand0
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Reidrover

Oregon

4.63/5  rDev +18.4%

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!

04-16-2003 22:17:24 | More by Reidrover
Photo of WanderingFool
WanderingFool

Massachusetts

4.6/5  rDev +17.6%

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.

06-01-2003 13:15:38 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of kmo1030
kmo1030

Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +17.1%

03/03/04: deep red-brown with significantly less head than when i tried it right after it came out. i pick up a big caramel and faint coffee malt in the smell, as well as fruit: figs and grapes. clove, corriander, caramel, and a lot of other really pleasing complexities to the taste. slight fig and grape too. buttery as well... more flavors keep coming out. slight pepper at the end. hops present but not overpowering at all. more subdued than a year ago, but tastier for it. belgian in character. meduim-thick bodied. this is a really superb beer that has only gotten better in a years time with the malts getting more flavorful. it will be interesting to see how this ages further. this is really an incredible beer.

03-03-2004 22:43:29 | More by kmo1030
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

4.58/5  rDev +17.1%

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.

06-30-2003 19:44:02 | More by tavernjef
Photo of m1ked
m1ked

California

4.55/5  rDev +16.4%

Had this thanks to a generous beer geek/ friend, d0ggnate. Luckily it was pay day, so he bottle poppin! I had yet to try this one, so pretty excited.

A- Clear copper/red with a thin foam.

S- Deep candied sugar/ burnt sugar, roasted & carmelized banana. Some fig or raisin.

T- The carmelized banana, candied brown sugar. SLight biscuity yeast. Roasted malts and grains.

M- Smoooth, with a little heat.

D- If I could afford it, I could drink multiple. I would have to say that the 04 is my favorite.

02-17-2008 01:21:06 | More by m1ked
Photo of beergeek279
beergeek279

Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +16.4%

Served in the 22 oz. bottle. The color is a dark amber, with a creamy white head. The smell is the typical rich, yeasty malt dubbel smell. The taste has hints of spicing like most dubbels but has a definite hoppiness to it unlike any of the Belgians I've had. Mouthfeel is remarkably smooth, with no noticable alcohol. Drinkability-wise, if I could find a bunch of bottles I'd certainly have a few more.

Wow...Stone puts its own stamp on a Belgian, and as always makes it even better. Though I sadly missed the 2.2.02 release, I'll be sure to get as many of the later releases as I can, and hopefully find my way to a 2012 vertical tasting...only 9 years to wait!

09-13-2003 01:10:20 | More by beergeek279
Photo of Boolshot
Boolshot

California

4.55/5  rDev +16.4%

I love all Stone brews, and this is no exception. Beautiful pour, and that sweet fruity/sweet/spicy aroma that wafts from the glass made my mouth water. I think the allegator peppers were alittle much, but it was still a great brew. Can't wait to see what it tastes like on 12/12/12

05-07-2006 04:57:06 | More by Boolshot
Photo of Thrasher
Thrasher

Oregon

4.53/5  rDev +15.9%

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.

03-13-2003 19:00:20 | More by Thrasher
Photo of byrd
byrd

Virginia

4.53/5  rDev +15.9%

The first pour from the bottle was a clear deep reddish-copper. The light tan head is small, but stays as a thick lace on the surface. The aroma is wonderful. Sweet malts, some fruitiness, banana, brown sugar, light yeast, clove spiciness, and very light alcohol. The hops are restrained (maybe a little grassy). Great brew! Very smooth start of subtly sweet malt. Spiciness, namely clove, comes in towards the middle and stays for the finish. The finish is a great balance of hops and spices. A light tart hop bitterness remains in the aftertaste. Upon the second pour from the bottle, the brew picks up quite a bit of cloudiness as the yeast is drained from the bottom of the bottle. Not surprisingly, the yeast notes pick up a bit on the palate, and there’s a slight nuttiness that is also noticeable. There’s a moderate carbonation of fine bubbles on the tongue, with a medium mouthfeel. The alcohol is very subtle and blends very well with the rest of the flavors, leaving a slight warming sensation. Wonderfully balanced, smooth, easy drinking brew. This brew is top notch right now, but if it only gets better as it is aged, it’s certainly going be to one hellova brew in 2012!

11-04-2003 17:20:22 | More by byrd
Photo of iokals
iokals

Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +15.9%

Appearance: Deep brown with gold tones in light. Small, quickly dissipating white head.

Aroma: Fantastic spicy plum aroma with a hint of pepper

Taste: Rich and full, sweet with a subtle alcohol bite on the back end. The plum aroma lends the subtle taste of that plum to the sweetness. Coriander spiciness balances well

Mouthfeel: Heavy, but not syrupy.

Overall: An excellent entry that hopefully will continue to age well (as I have more in the basement). Only problem (while very minor) is that the last couple sips were a bit more difficult than the first; owing to the thickness. Too bad they don't have 20 oz. bottles.

06-09-2004 15:27:49 | More by iokals
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

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!

10-20-2003 02:05:28 | More by RoyalT
Photo of granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Maybe, i am biased because this beer's name is my birthday but I loved this beer. It poured a deep brown color with amber highlights. The head was compact but dense and tan in color. The aroma was very spicy, I think from the alligator pepper but also from the yeast. Quite nice. The taste was very complex and out there. Lots of spice, all over the place spices were coming. Dark malts that were roasted are present. Hop flavor and a slight bitterness come out towards the end. Strong yeast in the finish along with a huge hit of alcohol. I could see how this baby needs to be aged, it could definitely do some mellowing. But it's damn good right now as is.

03-04-2004 17:21:57 | More by granger10
Photo of BeerManDan
BeerManDan

California

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

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!

03-25-2003 15:54:17 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of jaybrough
jaybrough

Arizona

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

10-12-2013 03:44:44 | More by jaybrough
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Boto

Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

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!

04-26-2003 11:59:23 | More by Boto
Photo of PhineasGage
PhineasGage

Iowa

4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

01-27-2012 18:54:21 | More by PhineasGage
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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.