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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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

195 Reviews
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 195
Hads: 285
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 89
Gots: 47 | 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: 285
Photo of ZX6Chris
4.88/5  rDev +22.9%
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 (390 characters)

Photo of chaz01
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
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. (716 characters)

Photo of NorCalYeti
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
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 (647 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (637 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (1,224 characters)

Photo of illidurit
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (325 characters)

Photo of m1ked
4.52/5  rDev +13.9%
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. (502 characters)

Photo of d0ggnate
4.74/5  rDev +19.4%
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. (741 characters)

Photo of t0rin0
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
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. (796 characters)

Photo of Floydster
3.85/5  rDev -3%
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 (1,692 characters)

Photo of Stoneman78
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
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 (619 characters)

Photo of Sixpoint
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one at the FUNKY beer tasting at Barcade.

My first impression is that this beer has held up remarkably well. It is now 4.5 years old at this stage, and it tastes great. I really would have liked to see how it tasted fresh.

My sample had plenty of brown sugar notes and some spice. It tastes like an interesting/complex hoppy supercharged American Brown ale brewed with some Belgian yeast.

Cheers to Stone Brewing Co and their Epic series - it really introduced a lot of folks to a whole new spectrum of beers. (521 characters)

Photo of flexabull
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When I first saw this beer back in March 2003 I thought...

"Cool! That's my birthday!"

I bought three bottles, drank one right away, set one aside for 12.12.12, I decided I would drink the other one on my 33rd birthday.

So here we are, part of me wanted to hold onto this, trade it, but heck... I had to stick with my original intention.

So at 3:03:03 PM on March 3, 2007, my 33rd birthday, I popped the top off the bottle and poured into my Duvel tulip glass. (I thought about this too much!)

Onto the review...

Beer pours a bright clear brown color, carbonation is still strong, and the head looks great on this one.

Aromas are a bit sour, like a sour apple. There are also some sweet candied fruit smells.

Flavors have really muted and aged pretty nicely. There is a sour taste on the front, and then the beer settles into a creamy malty backbone. The finish is tart, crisp, spicy, and like candied apples.

Mouthfeel is quite nice, the carbonation is still quite strong.

This is a very interesting beer at this point. I remember it being more spicy when I tasted it 4+ years ago. Now it is much smoother, and subtle. It will be really interesting to taste again in 5+ years. It's actually a very drinkable beer at this point, and I am going to savor the rest of this bottle. More kudos to Stone! (1,331 characters)

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Stone Winter Storm

A: Full creamy light tan head spreads out across a burnt umber toffee colored body. There is no bubble activity going on inside the body what so ever.

S: Subtle toffee with a coffee candy approach to it.

T: Subdued caramel and butterscotch with hints of lemon and grapefruit. Slightly cloying across the palate like a candy would be. Finishes with nips of honey and red apple.

M: Medium body with a bit of prickly carbonation.

D: This one was past its prime. Most of the desirable flavors had left the party. (552 characters)

Photo of scottum
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lightish brownish color with an offed whiteness of a headskie. Taste is strong and pepperful, certainly much more so than the first time I drank this brew in early 2003. The favor has matured much over the three and a half years, and is certainly the better for the age... Smoother than ever. (300 characters)

Photo of OStrungT
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very cloudy, muddy brown color, with a very thin light tan head. What little head there is fades sllowly, leaving a small lacing.

This beer smells primarily of alcohol. Behind that, I smell some spice. Coriander is present. Also, I smell some earthy yeast. A slight malty caramel aroma is present.

As with the aroma, this beer tastes of alcohol. It has a sweet caramel malt flavor. It tastes slightly spicy. Also, some yeasty flavors are present. Much of the flavor of this beer are very subtle since it is somewhat old.

This full bodied beer goes down smooth. It is crisp and refreshing, despite the alcohol like flavors. It is very low in carbonation, but over 3 years in a cellar will do that.

I think that this beer would make a decent session beer. The only problem is that it is next to imposible to find.

Overall: Finally, I have had the chance to try this beer. Thanks to O'Brien;s Pub for making it available. (951 characters)

Photo of AlexJ
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice surprise at a friend's BBQ last weekend, this Epic pours a dark, rusty garnet color with a beige collar that lasts well in spite of it's higher abv.

Aroma is rather authentic in it's Belgian attributes when sampled cold; dark fruit, toffee, and musty yeast notes with plenty of dark berry. As it warms, more of the caramel, cocoa, and hoppy notes come out.

Flavor follows a similar structure; great overripe dark fruit, strawberry, and dry woody earthiness slowly fades to rich caramel , chocolate and light coffee bitterness. It's plenty hoppy as i expected. I don't know what Alligator pepper is but I don't taste it at all. Alcohol tastes higher than the claimed 8.5%, although it's not hot. Strange, but still good.

Body is pretty big, with a chewy mouthfeel that is more akin to a barleywine. I prefer a more effervescent BSDA. (848 characters)

Photo of Crosling
2.84/5  rDev -28.5%
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. (529 characters)

Photo of Boolshot
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 (282 characters)

Photo of meathookjones
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cola colored body with a quickly disappearing light tan head. Scattered lacing was left on the glass. Rich ripe dark fruit sweetness filled the aroma. Some alcohol showed its face as well as milder earthy notes. Flavor was packed with sweet dark fruits and some toffee. Light alcohol and woody earthiness were lingering about. This really tastes like a barley wine to me at this point. Some spice also peaks through. Pretty thick and smooth feel that really warmed me up. Pretty drinkable stuff though the alcohol burn seems to get worse as it warmed. I remember this being good fresh and it is definitely interesting and could probably have gone a few more years easily. (676 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ummmm...tasty stuff!. Enjoyed at Dilly Deli's Stone tasting in Cincinnati last night and it did not disapoint. Uniquely Belgian in it's woodyness, tartness, and belgian yeast twang. Very well aged, matured, and conditioned for a very smooth, full, and drinkable beverage. Quite musky without the vineous flavors that usually accompany such beers. Spices fall on the more mellow and subdued side, rather than the harsh or acidic flavors. Quite a vanilla and caramel flavor that becomes more apparent in the finish. Less dry and hot than I expected. Very solid brew (563 characters)

Photo of Higravity
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A peppered out double. Dig it. This beer was poured into my duvel tulip and I let a good tan head rise over the dark brown liquid. Very nicely carboanted small bubbles rise throughout. Smell is of belgian ester yeastyness with sweet malt with many dimensions and playable actions, just purely enjoyable to smell. The taste is sweet dark fruit that is evaporated to reveal white pepper eating into your tongue. Lively tasting as if it is fighting back. Very intense and interesting. NIce heavy body and way too drinkable. I will have to get the homebrew recipe and try my own now. (579 characters)

Photo of OldSock
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Picked up at Marty's earlier today. 22 oz bottle. This is a cloudy brew with only a thin off-white head that sticks around for mere seconds.

Smell – More like an aged English beer than something Belgian inspired. Dark fruits with a touch of chocolate. Some sweetness, but without a trace of alcohol.

Taste – Dark fruit, plums and raisins, and sweetness upfront with the chocolate only appearing in the aftertaste. The Belgian character is more apparent in the taste with spice and yeast being contributing components. An odd combination that seems to have harmonized over the nearly 3 years in the bottle. Still no hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel – Medium high carbonation, the body is a bit syrupy for me. This could have used some sugar to thin it a bit.

Drinkability & Notes – Age has rendered this very drinkable, the only detraction being the full body. A tasty beer to be sure, glad I picked one up because I'm not sure if I'll ever see it again. (978 characters)

Photo of waldowin
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby haze, with a very dense tan head that fades slowly to a thick ring and a film on top.

Smells of raisins, bananas, and a kick of clove.

Taste is dark plums, some spiced rum, bananas, and strawberries in the finish, hops are almost nonexistant. Fairly smooth, in spite of the carbonation edge.

The alcohol hides in this extremely well, it's almost scary. Very tasty, I could see myself drinking quite a bit of this stuff if I could! (457 characters)

Photo of jamie2dope
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally worked up the nerve to crack this puppy open. Appearance is a dark amber, nearly brown with a semi-thick head. Smell is of rich dark fruits, alcohol,molasses, sugar cane....damn complex. Mouthfeel is fairely heavy with a bunch of spicyness hitting you right up front. As the flavor settles theres a bit of earthiness with some toffeeish flavors going on. Alcohol is definetly there, but not overpowering...i could certainly drown a few pints of this. This brew certainly warms you up quite a bit. Overall, a great dark ale that I will hopefully find some more of.
Cheers (580 characters)

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