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Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 414   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.65   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
HighGravity (926) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - JUL 28, 2003
UPDATED: OCT 2, 2003 The head fell fast on this russet brew. The nose was moderately potent with a hint of spice and candi sugar. The carbonation level was too low for the style. The palate was very sweet and fruity. The more sips I took of this beer the more it tasted like a winter wassail, which was unexpected. This beer is a sweet cloying mass that does not come together and become a total beer, too many loose ends. I think the beer would be better if it were drier, had a higher carbonation level, and if a Belgian yeast strain was used exclusively.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
humulus (339) - Salem, Missouri, USA - JUL 28, 2003
Aroma is of mellow smooth banana esters. Palate is nice and ester-fied with dark wheaty goodness. The coriander and pepper add a fine touch to the flavor, but the abundance of alcohol overpowers the more desirable flavors. Perhaps I was too impatient and should have waited 12 years to enjoy this beer at maturity. I'll buy another and re-rate in 12 years. Stay tuned.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
clvand0 (350) - Lexington, Kentucky, USA - JUL 27, 2003
They ask on the back if you can store the beer and wait until 12.12.12 to drink it. Well, no, I can't :-) So I bought two and put one away. This pours a color that I would call a dark red. It has a small head that dissipates quickly and it has a moderate amount of lacing on the glass. Very attractive beer. The aroma is fruity with hints of malt and sweetness with a little bit of spice - smells great. The flavor is very fitting for the Belgian ale classification. It is a mix between a Belgian Dark Strong ale and a spicy Belgian Blonde. There is a moderate amount of spiciness to the flavor that is just enough to give it a small kick, but not enough to make it spicy. Very smooth and easy to drink. I might have to seek this one out again so I don't have to open the one I've put in reserve. Great looks, great aroma, great flavor. What more can you ask for? Unfortunately I've missed the 02.02.02 version, but I will be sure not to miss the one for next year ... and next year ... etc. Hopefully my other bottle of 03.03.03 will make it until the end. Congrats to the people at Stone for this one.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 19/20
austinpowers (2826) - New York, New York, USA - JUL 23, 2003
UPDATED: MAR 1, 2004 Interesting that this '03 Epic Ale has so many more ratings than the '02. Decent beige head and a dark bronze color. I can definitely taste the 9% alcohol, but there's much more to the flavor than that. Coriander and citrus notes are apparent. Can't taste much "alligator pepper", but I'm sure it's there. Plenty of hops to be found as well, so if you like a strong beer with a whole mess of flavors, and a hint o' Belgian goodness, this is for you. The use of both Belgian yeast and American Ale yeast seems to be a masterstroke, as this beer really came together well. There's a lot of sweetness in here and the 9% abv is nowhere to be found. Very dubbel-meets-barleywine.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
ericnixon (742) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 20, 2003
Dark dark dark. Well, i think it was dark, i rated it around 2am while outside in the dark. Huge head on it that didn't quit. According to what i wrote at the time, i said "a nice perfect hoppy mess."

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
sloth (2665) - Ceciltucky, Co., Maryland, USA - JUL 18, 2003
Pretty tan head, Hazey brown color with orange hues. Spicey, coriander, citrusy nose with some apple notes also. Full/medium body, great mouthfeel. The coriander flavors are fairly predominant. The roasted malt flavors work well with the spices. A nice lace hangs on the sides of my tasting glass. Fruity, slightly citrus notes (coriander?) are nice. The roastiness and some caramel come into play moreso as it warms. Alcohol i s fairly subdued. Finish is dry, slightly roasty with a pleasing spicey aftertaste. Not sure about the hops though? An ibteresting project this Epic series is. Hope i can obtain the rest of the series as time goes on. Would love to get some of the 02 version. I believe the 03 will get better with age. Enjoy! Stone!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
VA Homebrewer (525) - Portsmouth, Virginia, USA - JUL 16, 2003
Cloudy mahogony color with a wispy tan head. Subdued aroma consiting mainly of hot alcohol notes, dark fruits and minor hop notes. Reminiscent of a Belgian dubbel with it's sweet, malty notes backede up by dark fruit flavors and minimal hop character. Only mild spice notes appear. No yeasty/bready aromas or flavors you might expect from a Belgian though. A bit thin bodied. Nice, and it definitely packs a wallop.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
SJP (483) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 15, 2003
MMMMM, baby. This was pretty darned tasty. Very fruity, but not orangy, which is good. Very sweet and a very pleasant aroma. well worth the trouble to find. But then I might be a bit biased as this was one of the first brews I had after coming back from 10 months in China.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
redlem (1306) - Ohio, USA - JUL 13, 2003
A deep dark finished maple color with a small off-white head. A sweet malt/bread aroma. Layers of alcohol soaked fruit( not citrus). A vinous quality. A sweet alcohol taste, a little too sweet for me. Honey soaked black bread.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Darkover (1528) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUL 11, 2003
Brown/amber color with a beige head. Aroma is sweet and malty but pretty weak. Flavor is sweet and very spicy. Has a little sourness and a lot of pepper in the finish. Seems to be similar to Corsendork Christmas Ale.

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