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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

274 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 274
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 13.81%
Wants: 93
Gots: 39 | 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: 274 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerpadawan
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

beerpadawan, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of thagr81us
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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.

thagr81us, Jul 06, 2012
Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

imperialking, May 31, 2012
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +2.3%

oline73, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of PhineasGage
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

PhineasGage, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
2.42/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to Mike for sharing this.

Pours a murky copper color with minimal foam. Smells very oxidized and slightly metallic. A bit of sweet caramel and brown sugar malt notes, maybe a hint of overripe fruit, too. Not all that appealing, though. The flavor has a definite note of pennies to it. Still sweet and malty, but definitely some cardboard oxidation and a generic, muddled fruit flavor. Medium bodied with low carbonation.

womencantsail, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
1.63/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks for sharing, Mike.

1/22/2012

A: Murky yellow brown. 

S: Cardboard and bready malt. Copper and rust. Some random fruit hides in there, beaten down by oxidation.

T: Buttery cardboard with bready malt and more random fruit. Perhaps apple? Rife with metallic notes.

M: Medium body.

Overall: This has not held up at all. Definitely the worst of the bunch.

HopHead84, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of aasher
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

aasher, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +2.3%

jerz, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Magery
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Magery, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

FARGO619, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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.

3.5/3.5/4/4.5/3.5

JohnGalt1, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of tr4nc3d
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got the chance to try this beer at a tasting I went to which had many other great beers

Good size portion was poured into my tasting glass

Appearance was dark brown with a tan one inch head. Average head retention with a bit of lacing sticking to my glass. Pretty impressive I must say.

Aroma was very good with cherries, prunes, figs, dates, along with caramel malts and toffee.

Taste was vastly of caramel all throughout with some toffee and raisins midway and a bit of a yeasty finish.

Moutfheel was very smooth and had good carbonation for a 7 year old bottle.

Overall I was very pleased with this beer and it was a while since I last had a BSDA

tr4nc3d, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of ZX6Chris
4.9/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

ZX6Chris, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of chaz01
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Good sized (4-5 ounce) pour at a Stone Vertical Tasting Event sponsored by Belmont Party Supplies on 5/12/2010, served in a very cool Stone Vertical Epic tasting glass.

A: Very murky looking ruby brown color. What little head there was recedes to a ring around the edge of the pour.

S: Yeasty, fruity and floral aromas

T: Lots of belgian yeast, mellow spices of coriander and pepper, malty finish.

M: Medium to light bodied (maybe a bit watery) with low carbonation, almost flat.

D: This tasted great, but not sure it's going to make it another 2 years as it seemed like it may have been a little past it's prime. Nevertheless, it was still interesting to taste a beer 7+ years old to start off a tasting event.

chaz01, May 16, 2010
Photo of NorCalYeti
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

taste- same as the smell...belgian yeast strain present, bready, spice

color- rusty-copper

clarity- clear

smell- roasted malt, maple syrup, chocolate, flowers, gingerbread

body- alcohol has fallen off some but still a nice hop bite to the finish, nice malt/hop balance, lean mouthfeel, tart notes, peppery finish

appearance- nice color, thin, off-white, oily, candy-colored head, no residual lace to speak of, visible active carbonation

overall impression- above average for an aged beer

notes- served at cellar temperature, recently pulled this out of the cellar...it's been resting for six plus years...well done to stone

glassware: pint

NorCalYeti, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of rajendra82
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Go this in a trade a while ago (can't remember from whom), and just had the fancy to open this tonight. The pour was clear, and reddish brown, and the head atop was small but durable. The beer looked a lot like coke sitting in the tulip. The aroma was like cherries and apples, and was quite mild. The taste was very mellow and sweet, which can be anticipated after six years of aging. There was a spicy edge right under the sweetness, which was surprising. There were no signs of oxidation or other deterioration. I found it a little thin and slippery in the mouth. Very easy to drink for the style with not a whole lot of alcohol burn.

rajendra82, May 18, 2009
Photo of gford217
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

gford217, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of illidurit
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

illidurit, Aug 08, 2008
Photo of m1ked
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

m1ked, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of d0ggnate
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

d0ggnate, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The other day at stone was my first time trying this beer. It was my favorite of the vertical epics (03-07).

It poured a nice dark orange color that was hazy. There was a small head on it but it dissapeared quickly and left no lacing behind.

It smelled like dark fruits and sweet malt. It wasn't as caramel as to suggest a ton of crystal malts but there was most definitely some sweetness in the aroma. No hops in the aroma but there was still a tiny bit of bitterness left after 4 1/2 years, although some of this may be due to the alcohol. I would have drank more of this but there were so many other beers to try that day.

I wish I could have tasted this when it was new but from what I can tell it hasn't started going bad yet so I can't wait to see what its going to taste like in 2012.

t0rin0, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of Floydster
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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

Floydster, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of Stoneman78
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at the Stone Storm

Appearance is a murky orange/amber hue, thin layer of dense bubbles dissipates to a ring, minimal lacing

Smell is dark fruits, big raisins, sweet malts, and alcohol

Taste is moderate raisins and dark cherries, figs, some floral hops and spices, moderate alcohol presence, finished sweet

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, rich and chewy texture, lively carbonation

Drinkability is fair, I found the flavors somewhat lacking but this was a decent Belgian overall, this was pretty hyped up at the event, so my disappointment may be a result of too high expectations, I'd try it again in the future

Stoneman78, Jan 29, 2008
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.