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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: 92
Gots: 40 | 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 Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled May 2005
Pours with a frothy thick tan head that sits atop a lightly hazy amber colored beer that has orange highlights. The aroma is fruity with notes of raisins and figs, and over time, the coriander. The coriander is still fairly noticeable in the aroma, though it has tamed down a bit (which in my opinion is a good thing). In the aroma I also get subtle notes of pepper, sherry, and chocolate. The beer is off dry up front, and actually does not have much sweetness throughout. This beer finishes with a note of chocolate and a hint of roasted grains, that I don't remember tasting before. Thank goodness the coriander flavors have mellowed considerably, it has moved to a sort of earthy note that adds a sort of filling richness to this beer. This beer is still holding up pretty well and should last at least a couple more years in my cellar.

Gueuzedude, May 22, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (Drank in May 2005): Poured a dark amber color ale with a medium head with almost no retention. Aroma of light roasted malt, coriander with some bitter hops. Coriander is easily detectable as well as the bitter hops. It seems to lack a bit something to make it truly special. I really do applaud the fact that the brewer tried to come up with something original (i.e. Belgian ale mix with some American ale component) but I don’t really appreciate it in this particular case. Also, I’m not so sure this is going to help up that well over the years…

Phyl21ca, May 09, 2005
Photo of MrSeth
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep amber color with a small white-tan head. It settles pretty quickly, but leaves small groups of suds forming and reforming throughout the duration of the drink.

Strong malt aroma. Candyish, blackcherries, something of a savory quality, like tamari soy.

Medium bodied, a bit chewy and FULL of flavor. Rich malt is the centerpiece, but there is a distinct hoppy edge. Lime zest, fresh grapefruit and ripe cherries.

This is yet another highly drinkable offering from Stone Brewing Co. If I may suggest a pairing, dry salame rolled in black peppers, fresh sliced baguettes and cheddar no less than 4 years old.

MrSeth, May 07, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to warriorsoul for this one. I have had it before and I have one cellared for a tasting of all at the end, so it is a treat to taste it again. It pours a beautiful dark brown color with some amber hues when held to light. The nose is sweet, with tones of brown sugar and a slight belgian spiceyness in there as well. The flavor is pretty nice, with a slightly apparent alcohol. I get some molasses and raisen with a slight spiceyness on the finish. I like it. The feel is moderate to thick with a moderate carb. The alcohol is not apparent. I really dig this brew. I'm interested to see what it is like after a few more years.

kmpitz2, Apr 18, 2005
Photo of Bierman9
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taking a day off today (12OCT09) and having some brews... Save this one for a big-ass vertical in 2012? Screw it! I just felt like having my last bottle of 03.03.03... Is there a better reason?

Still a clear, ruby/garnet, with a thin, tan head. Aroma is dark fruit and dry. No diff for mouthfeel. Dark fruit is here in the flavor, too. It is quite dry now, almost chalky. NBD, overall. Best quaffed way back when. If you're saving it, think twice and drink it now, before it degrades more....

Prosit!

*** ***

Tried another today (02APR05).... Color is actually more of a ruby/garnet as opposed to mahogany.... crystal clear.... creamy tan. finely bubbled head... lacing does stick well...
Fruity aroma...dark fruit, actually. Suggests dryness. Not quite medium bodied... a slight bit of prickliness on the tongue... Bier is indeed dry.... combo of dark fruit with a bit of tropical fruit notes, though mild... slight pepperiness... flavor lingers in the dry finish.... seems like I enjoyed it more 2 years ago... Will try another in a few years or so....

Prosit!

overall: 4
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5

*** ***

(Original review of 26APR03): The Epic has hit NH!! Scored a couple of bottles at The Wine Society ($6.99)....one for now, one (hopefully) for a lot later....
The triple-3 pours a dark mahogany color, and has just a slight wisp of cloudiness, though not much. Head is a very-finely bubbled thin layer, a smidge off-white in color. Lacing tries to make it, but can't quite stick.
3-cubed has a spicy, peppery-like nose. The "wheatiness" makes itself evident too. These aromas are in addition to a slight Belgian-like aspect. All-in-all, quite interesting, and pleasant!
Body and mouthfeel are both nice, medium and pleasure inducing! A nice feel in the mouth for this bier....
This one tries to be a bit of a Dubbel, with a little sweetness and fruitiness there, but then it becomes more like a Strong Belgian Pale, with the spicy and peppery characteristics. Finish is a bit dry, with the pepperiness lingering.... the 8.5% abv assists in the belly warming being felt....
Tasty stuff....must check back here in 9 years to see how it holds up, with the rest of the series...if I can!! (4.0/4.0/4.0/4.0/4.0 = 4.0)

Prosit!!

537

Bierman9, Apr 02, 2005
Photo of mkobes
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. Copper color with a nice tannish head. Excellent. Caramel flavors. Prunes, Raisins, and fig notes. Sweet, belgian candy sugar in the aroma. Full bodied. Malty flavor. Nutty. Roasty. Smooth tasting. Enjoyable. Clean mouthfeel. Drinkable beer. Nice.

mkobes, Mar 11, 2005
Photo of dmbfrat420beers
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz. bomber with typical Stone commentary printed on the bottle. This bottle was released 03/03/2003, so I am reviewing nearly two years later. It has been (for the most part) sitting in one of my fridges at about 45-50 degrees. Even though they post the recipe and reviews on the Stone website, I have not read them, so this should be an unbiased, albeit ignorant, review.

Appearance – transparent dark brown, mahogany color with a pale white head – surprisingly small for Belgian style, possibly owing to the aging? In any case, a nice lace that and small cover stays awhile.

Aroma – Sort of typical Belgian smell, with a bit of nutty earthiness to it. I don’t have the vocab to describe it properly, but there is strong, and very pleseant, perhaps a bit buttery aroma.

Mouthfeel – fairly mild carbonation, not as full-bodied as I was expecting. A bit stickier than most beers, but nothing objectionable here.

Taste – This beer is dominated by a sweet, nutty taste – as one might expect. A bit peppery in the finish and on the lips. Starts out with a lighter sweetness that dims down and a bit of sour-ish hops are reveled, but not bad at all. No apparent alcohol taste, but a decent warming sensation lets you know its there. Since I have not had this beer before, I cannot say exactly how it has aged. However, my guess is that it has progressed quite well. While it is theoretically as strong and flavorful as some of its Belgian style cousins, it seems to have smoothed out quite a bit and is very pleasant in that respect. Not astringent or overly-sweet at all. I think this has done quite well!

Drinkability – seems to go down quite well, especially compared to some heavier versions of the style.

dmbfrat420beers, Feb 28, 2005
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

this beer pours a dark ruby color with some slight head to it, not much. looks rich like a barleywine, but pours thin. reminds me of a fine wine.

smells of dark, roasted malts. burnt sugar and strong licorice. some orange is evident as well. could sniff this puppy all day.

tastes surprisingly hoppy for a belgian style.. belgian flavor in the background.. a true stone brew. wondering if they didn't rebottle double bastard with a dash of la trappe quad mixed in. this beer is not really what it claims to be on the side of the bottle, but sure is rich and flavorful. hops and coffee dominate the taste.

good, light mouthfeel balances the complex tastes. a winner. unexpected.

goodbyeohio, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of Rastacouere
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear garnet reflected medium brown. Head is thin and not lasting. Strong aroma, nostrils burning strawberries soaked in cinzano. Generous maltiness didn’t miss the flight in the chocolate and marzipan kingdom. Peppery and nutty with a fitting dryness. Remarkable well controlled basic flavors (bitterness, sweetness and acidity) by Stone’s standards. Medium bodied with moderately high carbonation. Very good take on the style if not for the remaining heat after almost 2 years and perhaps lacking in appearance and palate.

Rastacouere, Jan 12, 2005
Photo of rousee
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok--having this for 2nd time. Tried it before at BBF and thought the 2003 was 5 X better than the 04. That's why I bought it. Both are excellent but 03 seems to be considerably better --maybe the 04 will be better in a year..who knows? and this is a good example of why Stone is so highly regarded as a brewery--not only by me but by many others..

A-It pours a caramel brown -small head-no lace to speak of.
S-is a very malty -fruity--almost berry-like aroma. I guess these berries are hops that have aged properly.
T-is a sweet up-front-then malty --then hoppy then alcohol esters then some nice nuttiness. real nice taste--I'm upgrading to 5 cuz for the style it deserves it. I'm not a big brown ale fan but this one is exceptional.
MF--real positve mouthfeel. A fuzzy numbness which is very pleasant is goin' on.
D- nothing too hot here--1 bomber is plenty.

rousee, Dec 19, 2004
Photo of BeerBuilder
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a murky brown color with a tan head that reduces to a ring. The aroma is super malty, with a peppery, spicy smell too. I get a bit a diacetyl too. It has an alcohol aroma as well. The flavor is malty, and bready sweet. It reminds me so much of third coast old ale. It seems more like an old ale. Tasty, thanks so much to Fantome for this brew.

BeerBuilder, Dec 18, 2004
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting to try this one for awhile now. Pours from the bomber a deep reddish brown with a nice two finger bubbly off white head. A mix of deep caramel, pepper, clove and some banana. Quite inticing.

A nice mix of sweet caramely banana bread flavors infused with spicy, peppery nuances and hints of earthy yeast. Well balanced with a nice mellow citrus hop biterness on the back of the palate.

A super creamy, lush full body that makes it a joy to drink. Good complex flavor keeps me coming back for more...drinkability is very good here. Another enjoyable brew from Stone...I look forward to seeing how this one will hold up. Thanks to bigbeerdrinka and ppoitras for the chance to sample and cellar this one.

orbitalr0x, Dec 04, 2004
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 danadeny
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A cloudy light brown color and small head. Big smell of bread dough. A little pilsner hop and a fruit that i smell often in barely wines. Fisrt i notice that it is a hint like a barely wine, overall it is mellow. Hides the alcohol very well. Mild spicy hop finish, with little aftertase. Like a 1/3 barley wine and 1/3 pilsner and 1/3 scotch ale.

danadeny, Sep 15, 2004
Photo of carln26
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep garnet/mahogany, with a mild head (off-white in color). A gentle lace slides down the glass after a sip. The aroma has some malt aroma, caramel, maybe ribbon candy with just a touch of flowery hops. The taste has a mild alcohol flavor with malt, malt and more alcohol. The malt has a roasted nut edge to it. The hops do make themselves felt towards the end of the drink. This is a big beer with a medium/heavy mouth feel. Pretty drinkable, but the strength is felt, and could get you in trouble if you’re not careful. Not a session beer, but a good one for 1 or 2.

carln26, Sep 09, 2004
Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 09/07/04..

This brew poured a deep brown chestnut like color with mahogony and ruby hues. A dense offwhite head forms showing off a nice carbonation which laces the glass majestically. Aromas are a bit faint in this brew.. (though I've never tried it fresh its truly hard to pick up much of a bouquet in this one). Of what's left of the aromas, I found there to be bits of carob and cocoa, a hint of spice (maybe coriander) and an almost nutty character to it. Other than that my nose could not pick up much else. For flavor this beer packs a much bigger punch than its aromatic qualities. Initial flavors are of carob and an almost slight smoky characteristic. These flavors are quickly masked by a scotch like raisiny flavor, some brown sugar sweetness, a bit of spice, and a bit of a phenolic flavor from the yeasties. The final tones of this brew show off an almost cherry like flavor which is only slightly subdued, a warm alcohol, and a nice dry finish. The carbonation to this brew is quite crisp for being nearly a year old, while the mouthfeel is just a bit on the thin side. Overall this brew has amazing flavors, though its aromatic qualities have not kept up as well IMHO, but for anyone who is aging these bad boys, i would only give them another 6 months.. I don't see how this one would hold up the last 9 years of the Vertical Epic series.

bigbeerdrinka, Sep 08, 2004
Photo of beerceller99
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle Sampled Nov. 2003
Pours a copper color with a decent head, but left no lacing behind.Mostly a caramel spicy smell. Strong sweet taste of burnt caramels and brown sugar followed by Stone's signature hop character though a very mild version of it.Medium body with a decent mouthfeel .Finishes with a warming, spicy-alcohol tang. Not a typically hoppy Stone brew.
Nice.

beerceller99, Sep 07, 2004
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 fdrich29
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 Pint, 6fl. oz bottle. "Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic ALe" Limited 2500 Case Release.

Just by reading the blurb on the side of the bottle you know there's a lot going on with this special beer. Some of the ingredients are listed on the bottle and they include coriander, alligator pepper, unmalted and dark roasted wheat, high alpha hops and Belgian and AMerican ale yeast. Ummm...WOW.

Head rises up and forms quite quickly into a large head but shrinks down to the width of a few pieces of paper just as fast. Leaves rings of lacing around the glass.

As the list of some of the ingredients would lead you to believe, the smell of this bad boy is mind blowing. So much going on I just had to smell it for a few minutes to soak it all in.

Tastes distinctly Stone, and as also stated on the bottle shares some characteristics wtih dubble style.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, very fun to drink.

Easily drinkable, so fight the temptation and cellar a few of these for down the road.

fdrich29, Aug 10, 2004
Photo of TinusTime
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok I might be the only one, but to me the Verticals just dont stack up. It pours the colour of a light Dr.Pepper and smells of Spice and animal feet. Well and a little hops and malt. The taste is just kinda dull. Im glad I have 4 more of these to see how they turn out.. As for now I would rather drink Allagash 4 or triple to get my expense on.. Its good but not that good.. YET.. Oh well at least in 10 years i dont want the reast the beer knurds will be beggin for them.. God bless you EBAY

TinusTime, Aug 07, 2004
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark, dirty amber in color with no head at all. Thus, no lace at all. The aroma is of mild malts that hit the palate stronger than expected. Underneath the malts are hints of coffee and some sort of nut (hazelnut perhaps?). The beer was relatively flat (but that may have been due to my roomate leaving the firdge open for a few hours, beer was still cold but not as cold as if the door had been closed). I think the warmer temperatures brought out more of the flavors. It was very smooth drinking, but almost too bold and rich to enjoy more than two bomber bottles of this stuff.

MuddyFeet, Jul 29, 2004
Photo of RockyTopHeel
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany in appearance with little to no head and malty, distinctly Belgian aromas.

Flavor (mostly typically Belgian, with sweetness and malts intersperced with wheat tones and a nice, round mouthfeel) is very good now, but I'm willing to bet only a foreshadowing of what this brew will become down the road.

Right now, it seems a little young and fresh, and needs some character development...

RockyTopHeel, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of RocketWidget
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The bottle states “Designed to be aged until sometime after December 12th, 2012”. Well, patience may be a virtue, but it’s certainly not one of mine…

I don’t really know what to make of this stuff. Pours a cloudy brown amber, with hints of red. Head is off white and relatively long lasting, clings to the glass. The bottle claims this brew has coriander and alligator pepper, and I think I can detect those smells, because whatever it is I’m smelling it’s not the smell of a typical brew. Taste is…unique, for lack of a better word. I can taste the pepper here, along with slight hops and malt profile. But this beer is heavy, and not in a good way. Hard to drink, and not very rewarding. This was a good try, but I won’t be buying this again…unless, I suppose, in 2013 someone offers to sell me the full set of vertical epics. But that’s pretty unlikely.

RocketWidget, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of rugger
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is clearly another big beer from Stone Brewing co. however as they suggest it should be aged for a few years. You can taste the sweetness in it that is a little overbearing, however overall for the style and what it is supposed to be it is right on the money. Seeing as how Stone's beers are not available in my state or the surrounding states I will have to wait before I get any more of their beers. I did not know the story behind the beer when I bought it so I only bought one. If I knew the story I would have gotten two so that I could cellar one. I did see one on ebay the other day that I may go try to find. This beer looks good smells complex and has an even better story and homebrew competition to back it up. Hopefully I can find another one.

rugger, Jun 29, 2004
Photo of iokals
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

iokals, Jun 09, 2004
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.