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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic AleStone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale
BA SCORE
3.9/5
Very Good
287 Ratings
Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic AleStone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by kbub6f on 03-03-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
195
Ratings:
287
pDev:
14.1%
Bros Score:
4.14
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
45
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 287 |  Reviews: 195
Photo of drummermattie02
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of DRTBrewster
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of jkball01
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of BierReise
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cloudy deep amber ale resembling unfiltered apple cider and a rocky tan head that collapsed within 15 minutes, leaving a thick lacing around the glass. Aroma seems like a Belgian Dubbel with a bready spiciness and slightly fruity. Full bodied with a highly carbonated crispness to it. Flavor is malty and fruity like a dubbel with noticable alcohol giving a nice warming effect. A decent offering from Stone that I just couldn't wait 9 years to try.

 451 characters

Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of tr4nc3d
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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

 655 characters

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting beer sampled a year and a month after its release.

Poured a murky brownish red color with a off-white head, but nothing of belgian spectacularness. It receded quickly to a little bit of lacing. Plenty of large bubbles on the bottom of my chalice. Smell was very sharp and peppery with notes of espresso ice cream, dark malty smokiness and a slight hop presence not found in most belgians. Taste was just as sharp with a much more noticable west-coast hop kick. More chocolatey taste and plenty of spicyness. Mouthfeel was a tad thin and didn't hold up well to the flavors that were abounding. Overall this is a strange interpretation of a belgian with Stone's fingerprints all over it.

 705 characters

Photo of lou91
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was very alive as I popped the cap and poured it. It had a nice thick head and a beautiful amber brown color - the head almost sparkled. The nose was also nice with sweet notes characteristic of the style. Great tastes of figs, malt, honey with pleasant alcohol warmth. The taste is crisp and clean with a drying tartness in the finish. Humm, it is hard to predict how this will taste in eight years but I would have made these first beers much heartier than 8.5%. Still this is a great American style Belgian beer.

 525 characters

Photo of Hopswagger
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review date 12.12.12
Celebrating the 10 year Vertical Epic Series

P: Two-tone hazy brown and tan with translucent top and bottom with sediment floating. Creamy head that leaves delicate spider webs around the glass.

S: Molasses, candied plums, chocolate, bread, bananas, clove, coriander, toffee, wheat and oxidation on the rather boozy aroma.

T/M: Super malty, molasses, big time toffee, fruity, buttery herbs, sweetness backed by wood, white pepper, candy sweetness followed by aged cherries. Silky body that is smooth and finishes dry with surprisingly good level of carbonation.

O: Totally surprised by how well this aged. A beer that is 10 years old and shows a little oxidation but nothing like I expected. Stone has done a fantastic job of brewing a beer that will last. Great beer that come across more as a dubbel.

 831 characters

Photo of illidurit
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
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 Bachus
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 03.03.03 was the setting--to be quaffed in a chalice.

The head of this lovely brew foams up like the surf after a hurricane on the isle of Aquidneck. It has a deep brown-burgundy colour--quite lovely.

The smell of solvent alcohol is significant--spicy pepper, orange, malt, clove, old leather too.

The taste is alcoholic, spicy, peppery--instantly warming. I don't find much sweetness. It finishes with a kick of spicy pepper and alcohol.

Pretty good--I have another that I will cellar for a while--if I can wait that long.

 580 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

 640 characters

Photo of jtfest
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber color with a moderate diminishing light tan head, the aroma is sweet, slightly alcoholic and a little musty. The mouthfeel is lighter than anticipated, with a somewhat fizzy feel. Despite the lightness, it feels full on the palate. The taste is very smooth with the alcohol noticeable but well blended in spice/citrus flavors -- most notable is clove and orange. It’s a nice brew to drink now -- I can't wait to try it again in 2012 ...

 448 characters

Photo of ElGuapo
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep burnt milk chocolate color brew with a mass of tan foam on top. It will sit there for a good deal of time and leave sticky lace all over the glass. The aroma is loaded with citrus and fruits. Sweetness hits the nose first in the form of oranges and cherries. A big malty aroma comes in next with a great accompaniment of spice and pepper. Yeast and grains with subtle roastiness follow behind.

Nice full body with a big flavor. You get a big malt character that is a bit sweet, but it is kept well in check by spices. It gets a bit roasty and grainy towards the dry aftertaste. Although I have not had that many Stones, this one definitely did not have the mass of hops, but for the style, I think it is appropriate. It is well balanced and complex. It is not a perfect brew, and others in the style have more roastiness at the end and more fruits at the start. It is one hell of a beer. Stone will never fail me.

A hearty Thanks to NeroFiddled for the sample!

 974 characters

Photo of rajendra82
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

 637 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

 686 characters

Photo of mickeymac
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not having seen the 02/02/02 Vertical, I nearly walked past the bottle with its nondescript (by Stone standards) label. The bottle says it can stand up to aging through December 2012. By then I might be hit by a bus, done in by anthrax, or killed by my own children, so I opened it almost immediately. The color is a very nice-looking mahogany without a trace of haze. It sends of a lot of little off-white bubbles, but the head dimishes quickly leaving nothing but memories by the time the beer is about half gone. Spice is immediately apparent in the smell. According to the bottle, it's brewed with coriander and "alligator pepper." It does have an aroma similar to fresh-ground black pepper and a hint of something akin to olive oil. The combination of spice and hops certainly make their presence known when this beer hits the tongue. While the flavor does hint at Belgian, this is an American of Belgian descent: perhaps one whose ancestors left the country under cover of darkness, only to arrive on our shores and mix with the natives. The mouthfeel is creamy and pleasant. This is an interesting beer and probably will stand the test of time. It just didn't knock me out three days after its release. Patience, Grashopper.

 1,231 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale is one of the first quality beers that I bought. I immediately wrapped all four bombers in brown paper and put them in the back row of my beer fridge, mostly because I wanted to acquire more experience before drinking and reviewing such an 'Epic' brew. I am bound and determined to save at least one of my stash until 2012, but the time has come to drink my first beer in this series. I can barely wait to get the cap off.

Lucent copper with a reddish tint. The head is large, toasted tan in color and stiff/pitting. Despite the sticky appearance of the crown, not much lace is deposited; small ragged sheets and broken rings is all. Very un-Stone-like, but I'm sure that the high ABV and the relative lack of hops has a lot to do with it.

The nose was a bit of a letdown, until I reminded myself that this isn't one of Stone's hop monsters. It smells primarily of roasted, toasted caramel malt and is fruity and spicy. It's more restrained than I'd hoped, but it should open up with warming (it does).

The flavor follows the nose pretty closely: heavily toasted caramel malt with a solid up-front spiciness and undercurrents of fruitiness. A generous quantity of malt gives it a solid, bready, almost cake-like sweetness and the full, expansive mouthfeel contributes to the sense of richness. Dates and figs are at the head of the fruit parade, but I also appreciate apples; apple cider more specifically.

There's also that earthy, funky quality that comes with the use of Belgian yeast. The flavor really comes into its own with warming. The middle is now dominated by coriander and clove and the long finish by grains of paradise. It also has a phenolic character that reminds me of one of my favorite Scotch Whiskies--Lagavulin 16 year old.

Given my love affair with all things Stone, 03.03.03 can only be classified as a letdown. It isn't that they've done a bad job here, far from it. It's just that this is a style that doesn't overly appeal to me, so my enjoyment is necessarily limited. I'm glad that I have three more bottles stored away, but I won't be dreaming of them the way that I dream of this brewery's other beers.

 2,180 characters

Photo of wofat
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew hits you as soon as it is opened with hints of coffee, oak, yeast and alcohol. Its dark amber color and creamy, off-white head make quite a tempting statement.

Diving into this beer, you taste soft fruit flavors and wheat with a complex light and spicy bittering. I also detect flavors of plum, raisin, cherry and coffee.

This tasty treat is good now... but doesn't seem quite mature. Now, I probably won't be able to wait till 2013 as the bottle suggests, but one bottle made it to my basement for some long term storage. I can't wait to taste it in a couple years!

 584 characters

Photo of Ellbert
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hazy brownish amber color with a beautiful cream colored head. That slowly fades to a nice layer over the brew.

Smell: Slightly spicy hop smell with some malt sweetness that shows through. A nice fruity smell.

Taste: Very sweet and fruity. Tastes "green" like it needs to age about 11 years. Very slight spiciness from hops and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very nice, it has a nice tingly carbonation and a very not watery consitency.

Very drinkable even though this beer is very young. Alcohol hides itself.

I cannot wait to try this beer aged as it is supposed to age very well.

 602 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

 589 characters

Photo of WaltTrombone
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was opened on New Year's Eve, which makes it just about 10 months old. It poured with a dark maroon body, and off-white head. The aromas were malt, caramel, coriander, leather. Tastes were malt, coriander, lemon, and grapefruit. Mouthfeel was smooth, with a medium carbonation. It finished with grapefruit.

I'm of the opinion that this should sit in the cellar for at least 2-3 years, as the flavors did not really blend or develop in the last 10 months. As it is now, it's way too brash and hoppy to be representative of most Belgian styles. If I can find another bottle, I might revisit this in a few years.

 617 characters

Photo of scottum
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
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 bigbeerdrinka
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

 1,370 characters

Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 287 ratings
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