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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: 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: 278 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Thorpe429, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of JTomczak
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

JTomczak, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of RBorsato
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich mahogany color with a moderate beige head and little to no carbonation evident but leaves some lace. Strong malty barleywine-ish type aroma with a light spice aroma (coriander?). Barleywine-like flavors dominate with not much else; not very Belgian at all but balanced well enough. Full bodied, smooth and creamy with a strong bitter finish.

Pass on this one and buy a good barleywine instead .. Just above average and more like a "3.3" in keeping with the theme... :-)

Per Bottle: Limited 2,500 Case Release

Per Stone website:
Starting gravity = 19 Plato (1.078sg)
Finishing gravity = 3.5 Plato(1.014sg)
ABV = 8.2 %
IBU = 48
Malts:
Pale 2-row barley 89.45%, Unmalted wheat (red soft winter, flaked) 6.8%, Special B 2.5%, Chocolate wheat malt 1.25%.
Hops:
Warrior (17.8%aa, .666oz in boil)
Centennial hops (.2oz for dry hop)
Coriander
Alligator Pepper (aka Grains of Paradise, or Paradise seed)
Abbey Yeast strain 500 from White Labs & American Yeast strain

Brewed: 03/03/03
Tasted: 12/01/04

($6.99 / 22 oz.)

RBorsato, Dec 02, 2004
Photo of cadaugherty
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

cadaugherty, May 08, 2013
Photo of johnnnniee
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened tonight by Michael, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid dark brown with a bubbly off white head that shows great retention. Smells of dark sugar, caramel and some hints of chocolate and dark dried fruits. The flavor is what I expected it would be based on the nose. Lots of caramel and dark sugars with a muted but present raisin and dried sweet cherry flavor. Spicy wheat and yeast flavors round out the palette. Medium body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a lightly sweet mouthfeel. I am glad I got the opportunity to try this one, but I really wish I had tried it sooner. There's really nothing wrong with this beer, but it feels a bit past its prime.

johnnnniee, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of chippo33
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

chippo33, Mar 13, 2013
Photo of TXhomebrewer
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

TXhomebrewer, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of mothman
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

mothman, Nov 09, 2013
Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Eriktheipaman, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of WOLFGANG
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

WOLFGANG, Jul 08, 2013
Photo of robbrandes
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

robbrandes, Apr 03, 2013
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 Indybeer
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Poured a deep dark amber color, with a healthy head that didn't stick around long, but left some lacing on the glass. Aroma is kind of sweet and slightly malty. To me the taste was all over the place with sweet hints and bitter bite intermingled, This definetly needs to mature. Can't wait to try this again in a few years!

Indybeer, Jul 18, 2003
Photo of FosterJM
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1658th Review on BA
Bottle to VE Glass
22oz

Split with StarRaptor, Callmecoon & Smarcoly

App- A nice darker brown pour with a bit of weight behind it. The head was okay on a more strong pour. I tried a gentle pour and only got a bit of bubbles. Scotty got a bit more froth and pull apart bubbles. The cling was just okay and maybe a couple lines.

Smell- This was pretty decent for as old as it was. Nothing oxidized but still a bit yeasty and flat with a bit of strong spiced malts behind it. A little bit like an older Our Special Ale from Anchor. Just lost a bit of pop behind it.

Taste- I enjoyed it for what it was. A bit of a darker beer with a bit more bread behind it than malts and spices. The normal BSDA was gone but this retained a more fluffy wheat note with some spice.

Mouth- A bit of a lighter medium body with a fairly fluffy medium carbonation. A bit thick and dull on the residual flavors of wheat, spice and yeast.

Drink- Well I had been saving this for a few years and thanks to Siggy125 for the hookup on this one a while back. No oxidation, just a bit old and lackluster. Still flavorful, but no drain pour.

FosterJM, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of winomark
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mdium brown with a slight red hue. Soft, fluffy light tan head. Good malt and candy sugar aromas. Some smoked/toasted notes also there. Very inviting. Spicy (pepper?) upfront and sweetness in the mid-palate. Finish has the coriander flavor, and is long and dry. Flavorful and coating mouthfeel. Slightly cloying upfront, but son drys. A very intruguing beer. Wish I could have remembered what it tasted like 17 months ago. I hope my other bottles have th elongevity to show well through 2012.

winomark, Sep 04, 2004
Photo of axeman9182
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Alewife Queens for their VE event. Served as part of a flight.

2003 Vertical Epic pours a fairly clear amber, with a good amount of lacing despite the fairly wispy head. The nose is barely there, but with some effort toffee and dried fruit aromas are appreciable. The flavor opens up a bit, with toffee being joined by a bready maltiness. Sherry and fig notes mingle next, before a delicate pepper finish. The close does seem a bit abrupt though. The mouthfeel is a bit flabby, slightly chewy and under carbonated. It's not amazing, but I'm pleasantly surprised by how well the second entry in the Vertical Epic series has held up.

axeman9182, Dec 12, 2012
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.

Rutager, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of chaz01
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
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 scootny
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A nice dubble. Light cola color with a light brown head and a bit of lace here and there.

Bready nose with a surprising amount of caramel and fruit. Figs and light Belgian funk..

Taste is typical for the style, with a healthy amount of dark fruits and malt. Light bitterness in the finish is dry and earthy. A touch of alcohol and light pepper spiciness.

Feel is thick and smoothly carbonated. Good winter weight.

A nice take on the style.

scootny, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of Jon
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well, this may be the first Stone brew about which I'm not overly ecstatic. That's not to say, of course, that I won't be next year, or even nine years from now, due to the nature of this beer. The 03-03-03 Vertical Epic pours a light brown/mahogany color with reddish tints and a 1/4", cream colored head that leaves some nice lace down the chalice. The nose features notes of sweetness, although the most abundant aromas are that of pepper, yeast and coriander. Nice fresh smelling smell overall. This is one intense Belgian dubbel-style brew. The first flavor that hit my palate was that of the alligator pepper used in the brewing process. Whoa, almost too much spice for my palate. Big notes of alpha hops, as mentioned on the bottle, are present on the finish. Some notes of yeast present themselves when the beer warms up a bit, as well. As a matter of fact, the brew mellows out quite a bit as the beer reaches room temperature. The mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and it fills the mouth quite well. Overall, this is interesting -- a very much Stone take on a Belgian dubbel style ale. I plan on buying more of these and trying them during the next nine years to see how they mature. This should be a very tasty brew as it cellars, it just needs some maturation to set it right. A quality effort from the folks in San Marcos nevertheless -- it takes balls to brew something like this.

Jon, Jul 31, 2003
Photo of Stoneman78
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
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
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is copper hued with a thin tan head that quickly fades. Pockets of bubbles evident throughout the glass. The aroma offers malt, citrus, booze. Notable signs of age. Toffee and caramel flavors. Light sweetness, with butterscotch candy and caramel chews. Fairly light in body with moderate carbonation. Pretty good.

Huhzubendah, Jan 12, 2013
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 SoCalBeerIdiot
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

SoCalBeerIdiot, Oct 15, 2014
Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

HaveUSeenMyCellar, Dec 27, 2012
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.