Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic AleStone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale
BA SCORE
72.8%
Liked This Beer
3.9 w/ 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
Liked:
209
Avg:
3.9/5
pDev:
14.1%
Alströms:
4.14
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
45
Trade:
5
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 287 |  Reviews: 195
Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, I was pleasantly surprised upon tasting this that it's similar to a Belgian Abbaye dubbel.

It pours a slightly hazy (even from a long-standing, refrigerated bottle) chestnut body with a crimson cast. Some softly glowing orange highlights appear at the base of the goblet, and some exceptionally fine bubbles can be seen rising in swirling plumes towards the surface. The head retention is somewhat limited, and it leaves only minor spots and splashes of lace about the glass.

In the nose some sweet, cereal-like malt is accented by dark fruit, a block of just-about-to-melt milk chocolate, and some light spice...

...and that carries over into the flavor. It starts with a drop of chocolate and some lightly juicy and subtly tart dark fruit up-front; but soon warms to reveal a combination of dark vinous fruit (along with their bitter skins) amidst a rising background of soft, sweet chocolate that carries over into the finish. As you progress through the serving some leafy and dull, pine-like hops start to show; and it's spiciness become much more peppery. Surprisingly, however, it hurries off of the palate leaving you refreshed and ready for another sip except for a mild residue of cocoa and a hint of spice and alcohol on the tongue and at the back of the mouth. It's nicely complex... but it shows itself off really quickly! Still, in many ways, that lends to its drinkability.

 1,404 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.26/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12. Review from notes.

A: Hazy red/purple with no head or lacing.

S: Very bready with some dark fruit, caramel and a little spice. It is a little phenolic.

T: Light citrus, slightly bitter with a little caramel, raisin, and bread.

M: Low to medium bodied with no carbonation.

O: Not awful considering age, but didn't exactly hold up well either.

 386 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 drewone
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Jason
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 03.03.03

Appearance: The head billows up like a summer thunder storm rushing the land, you can almost hear the bigger bubble crackling as the head subsides. The deepest amber burgundy hue I have seen, a bit dark and murky.

Smell: Coriander gives a hard flick to the nose then a ten car pile up of smells; clove, solvent alcohol, ripe pear, nutty yeast, orange peel, starburst candies, tobacco, musty leather, spicy pepper and toasted malt. Baboom!

Taste: Slick with a smooth and creamy mouth feel as it slides around the palate, very spicy with a smack down of clove and other peppery treats. The warmth of the alcohol is quick and tries to subdue with its fruitiness yet it scratches the mouth with a nail of solvent alcohol. The malt does not rock the boat yet seems to hold this brew together. Finishes spicy sweet with a long lingers phenolic.

Notes: The spiciness and phenols won’t let you forget this beer, Stone Brewing pulled this one out of the mystery bag … a spectacular turn out to say the least.

 1,079 characters

Photo of womencantsail
2.42/5  rDev -37.9%
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.

 428 characters

Photo of orangesol
2.75/5  rDev -29.5%

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

 358 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

 685 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby mahogany tone this is one massive beer that sits in front of me, with a huge tiny bubbled tan creamy head sitting at least three fingers thick just awesome appearance with huge thick annular rings of lucious lace. Aroma is packed with a peppery spiced up edge to it some coriander evident along with softness of wheat sweetness there are hops flowing through the air not as harsh as I had thought they were going to due to the fact that this beer is supposed to last until December 12, 2012 but very nice floral pine cone hops. A very hopped up bitterness yet balanced by caramelly sweet belgium malts and spices a bit peppery in the finish has an edge to it that still shows signs that it is going to mellow out. Mouthfeel is full and fluffy textured but silky smooth at the same time, I cannot wait to grab a few more bottles of this delightful nectar to store and determine how it's going to change with time. Drinkability, suprisingly is very smooth not totally ripe but not too green to enjoy this one, what a journey our friends at Stone have started for us true beer lovers, wow!!!

 1,093 characters

Photo of chippo33
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Billolick
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Some say the stone brews are over rated. I disagree. Every stone I try, blows me away. This one was no differant. Bomber bottle. Poured dark and cloudy. Strong nose of phenolics, yeast and spice. Rich flavorful brew, vanilla, yeast, leather. malty and strong. This one left intricate lace. Very enjoyable, style buster. Strong, rich, intense flavors. seek out, store if you can. Enjoy this classy sipper.

 404 characters

Photo of malfunxion
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I made an error when I popped the cap on this one, for I had just downed a bomber of Old Guardian Barleywine. Was I in fit condition to discern the myriad nuances of this awesome ale? Perhaps, perhaps not. I transcribe directly from my notes:

"Appearance: a dark, ripe red, big, creamy head.
Aroma: fresh, frothy, citrusy, sea-air, the very aromatic picture of a witbier.
Drink it deep, that's the whole, beautiful witbier style. Oh, delicious, but dark!
Complex stuff! Definitely darker than a witbier.
I can't understand how they can create a brew that tastes like a witbier but doesn't look like one.
I don't know what to think!"
Now, I know there were additional ingredients, alligator peppers, of all the things in the world, and roasted wheat. Made for a still smooth and flavorful, but quite intriquing beer. Seemed to keep a step in two worlds at once, light, yet deep and powerful, refreshing, though full of complex, even harsh flavors.
Quite an astounding beer! Got to try this one again!
Mucho gracias to el mocoso for making this possible!

 1,063 characters

Photo of aasher
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

 1,113 characters

Photo of MasterSki
2.89/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Bottle I got in a trade many years ago - think it was from KAME. Served in a tulip.

A - Tan foam quickly settles to a thin collar and wisps, leaving behind minimal lacework. Hazy dark brown body.

S - Oxidized, with a mix of cardboard, caramel, toffee, and an unexpected floral note.

T - The taste is similar, albeit a tad better. Nebulous sweetness, with notes of honey and caramel. A tad bitter in the finish.

M - Medium-full body, active carbonation, chewy texture, and a dry finish. Not much alcohol present after 10 years.

D - Not good, but not terrible either. Didn't hold up as well as the 02.02.02, but I didn't want to drainpour it either.

 652 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Gavage
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I couldn't stand seeing this sitting there, so I opened it 2 months short of 03.03.04. It poured a murky brown color with a thin spotty head. The aroma was of nuts, spice, and wheat. The flavor was quite different and intriguing. A pepper flavor is noticeable. It reminded me of a belgian dubbel with some wheat tones and kicked up spiciness.

The finish is smooth (with a minor tingle) and dry. The carbonation level was near nil. The malt and wheat seemed to last on the tongue after swallowing. A very different beer but not one I could drink several of. The bomber was enough. Interesting, but this is my least favorite Stone brew to date.

 646 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +28.2%

Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 72.8% out of 100 with 287 ratings
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