Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
87
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
Ratings:
287
Reviews:
195
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
14.03%
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
45
For Trade:
5
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 287 |  Reviews: 195
Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Billolick
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
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 -4.3%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +11%
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!

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Photo of MasterSki
2.89/5  rDev -26.3%
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.

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Photo of aasher
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Gavage
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Photo of Stinkypuss
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown, nearly black color with amber highlights. No sediment. Aroma is belgian like but with a bigger malt note than usually found in the style. Elements of caramel, toffee and cocoa come to mind. Some sherry also.

The taste has more dark fruit, Berry wine, cocoa, soy and coffee elements. A bit of wood type flavor not sure if it's hop, wood, or oxidation playing tricks on me. Still holding onto a low carbonation.

Interesting beer, like an old Belgian, but lacks the finer qualities it once had fresh. Similar to port wine. Held for 12 years in honor of 12 Vertical epics, and this just appeared in my fridge for a tasting.

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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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Inflatablechair hooked this one up.... It was a minor coup to score this for the 10/10/10 gathering... but we persevered!!

Tan head flecked with brown bits.. good retention.. deep brown brew is pretty cloudy.

Nose is a bit oxidized... brown sugar and some off putting sherry.. pretty sweet dark fruits... prunes... golden raisins..

The aroma showed really no standard Belgian qualities, but the flavor is better... hints of clove and background spiciness... a little dark cherry/plum... still seems pretty stale.. caramel malt and bits of toffee and dark toast..

Body and carbonation were surprisingly good.. but the overall brew was way past prime.

I know this is an old bottle, but it is no where near worth what we traded for it.

3.5/3.5/4/4.5/3.5

 758 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours clearish muddy amber with a trace ring of tan, clear bubbles. Smells old; toffee, caramel, dark fruit, paper. Flavor of caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, brown sugar, plum, raisin and cardboard. Syrupy medium thick body with minimal carbonation. Still a little boozy in the finish. Old, but a nice experience.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a ruddy brown with a small white head with fair head retention, some spotty lace.

S: Spicy notes, bread, some pumpernickel, yeasty character that held up.

T: Dark malt and yeast, but tired and one-dimensional. It tastes good enough to drink no problem, just boring.

M: Medium-bodied, soft carbonation, creamy, does have an elegance.

O: As with the '04, this is past its prime. I wouldn't recommend investing in a bottle of this at this time. This thing is almost 10 years old and needs to be drunk ASAP.

 540 characters

Photo of sweemzander
3.02/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a taster. Major thanks to Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a tawny port-like mahogany caramel color. Some minimal tan froth and lacing.

(S)- Some leathery oxidation leads to a figgy raisin and caramel sweetness.

(T)- Fairly high oxidation levels lead to plenty of leathery prune characters in front of very subtle and subdued caramel.

(M)- Very mellow carbonation level. Due to its level of oxidation, this feels to be a bit thin; flavors starting to fall off.

(O)- I think this is definitely showing its age at this point, but still has some enjoyable qualities at this stage, but if you have any, I would start drinking them now because they are not going to get any better.

 703 characters

Photo of HopHead84
1.63/5  rDev -58.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks for sharing, Mike.

1/22/2012

A: Murky yellow brown. 

S: Cardboard and bready malt. Copper and rust. Some random fruit hides in there, beaten down by oxidation.

T: Buttery cardboard with bready malt and more random fruit. Perhaps apple? Rife with metallic notes.

M: Medium body.

Overall: This has not held up at all. Definitely the worst of the bunch.

 364 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a four-fingered faint brown head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Nose is a honey raisin. Hints of alcohol. Starts sweet and raisiny, finishes crisp with raisin. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Their site lists the ABV at 8.2%. $8.19 for a 22oz bottle.

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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.)

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Photo of Hohnbaum
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kscaldef
2.5/5  rDev -36.2%

Photo of pathman
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22ozer bottle from Austin Liquors, Shrewsbury, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a uniformly bubbled 1/2" tan colored head. Laces nicely, like memories of beer gone by. Malt dominates the nose, but the spiciness described on the bottle makes its presence known, but not overpoweringly. As expected, the taste has an orchestra of flavors playing; You've got the mouthful of smoth malt playing the main tune, but there's the subdued hop bite waving for your attention over there, and then out yonder the alligator pepper is sounding a dog whistle at the periphery. And let's not forget the sneaky little EtOH, slithering in under the radar, but leaving warmth wherever he travels. Altogther, they play a great tune, and I look forward to cellaring my other bottle for a later date.

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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.92 out of 5 based on 287 ratings.
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