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Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 626   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.52/5   EST. CALORIES: 285   ABV: 9.5%
This ninth edition of our Stone Vertical Epic Ale series takes two interesting left turns. A Belgian-style golden triple is the starting point of this beer, but the first left turn is nearly immediate with the addition of dried chamomile flowers, triticale, and Belgian amber candi sugar. The second, and rather unusual left turn takes us half an hour up the road from Stone to Temecula courtesy of the addition of just-pressed Muscat, Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc grapes from our friends at South Coast Winery. As the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series has moved through the calendar, we found that the brewing schedule for a 10.10.10 release coincided nicely with the grape harvest, neatly providing an interesting twist in this epic ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
drpimento (3126) - La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 24, 2010
Neat brew! Poured with a nice, foamy, frothy, off-white head that lasts a while and some lace. Color is a clear amber with no bubble trails. Aroma is dominated by the grapes and then with the malt, candy sugar, yeast, and hop. Flavor is like nose, a little like juicy fruit gum, but not overly sweet as I might have expected. Body is good and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor with bitterness dropping off first then a longer tapering of the fruitiness and hint of alcohol at the end. Good beer; maybe even a session.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
scoobysnak (333) - Appleton, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 23, 2010
Interesting aroma, jelly beans, coriander, grapes, and grapefruit. Smell is rather dry and tart, with a pear after taste. Good but not what not as interesting as some of it’s predecessors.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
RSRIZZO (1949) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - OCT 23, 2010
From 22oz bottle in a Trappist glass at 42°. Color is a bright gold with nice carbonation but only a wisp of a head. Aroma is a light Belgian yeast scent. It has a lighter medium body with a crisp mouth feel. Flavor is mild with peach and pear that come across slightly wine like, then some honey and a gentle bitterness. After taste has a Belgian character, then as the flavors drop off it leaves you slightly dry. Overall this is a great brew with delicate and complex flavors.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
beerguy101 (5359) - Newark, California, USA - OCT 23, 2010
Sampled on 10/16/2010. This Belgian Ale pours a medium orange gold color from a 22oz bottle. Medium to small sized white foamy head. The aroma is fruity and sweet, grapes and spice. A medium bodied Belgian Ale. The malts are fruity and sweet. The hops are herbal and spicy. Lots of grape flavors mix and match with the malts, the gewürztraminer and muscat are very obvious grape varieties present. Mild carbonation, I won’t say flat, but a little more carbonation would have been nice. Interesting beer, folks are either going to love or hate this one. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
talon1117 (1152) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - OCT 23, 2010
The pour is a sparkling golden color with an average, white, pillowy, frothy head which does leave a very thin layer of froth but minimal lace. The nose is interesting but maybe not quite developed yet; banana esters, dusty yeast, some spicy notes (maybe from the triticale? a wheat and rye hybrid?), faint brown sugar, a light Sauv Blanc fruity character, and something I cannot quite put my finger on (chamomile?). The flavor is similar with the fruity components showing through more; kiwi, melon, peaches all coming out, similar light brown sugar notes, chamomile still, faint spicing, and the yeast and ester notes all but diminishing. The palate is lively, light to medium, and lightly creamy. The finish is drying with a less than medium bitterness, still fruity with peach and kiwi, some light spicing, and the chamomile left on the tongue. This was yet another hard one from Stone; so many things going on, it was hard to find characteristics of the base beer. The white grape notes actually did well in presenting something new to the style. I feel like this one has more to offer if I were to age one for a year or more but to be honest, the 9.5% was completely overlooked when rating because it was so drinkable. With Stone’s track record, I feel I owe this one another visit in some time to due it justice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
radagast83 (7307) - Alexandria, Virginia, USA - OCT 22, 2010
22oz bottle. Poured a clear golden yellow color. Aroma was belgian yeast, sweet malts. Flavor was sweet, almost candy like in nature. Touch of spices, apple cider.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
RCL (2030) - Waltham, Massachusetts, USA - OCT 22, 2010
Light straw aroma with an odd fruitiness – banana skins. Quite ester-y and a bit odd – on the sweeter side. May dry out nicely with some additional age.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Maddog (521) - Kettering, Ohio, USA - OCT 22, 2010
Bomber from BP in Yellow Springs, OH. BP, yes BP.....we call it Beer Place. I was a bit reluctant to buy this beer at first after reading that it was made up of types of white wine grapes. But, I really enjoyed this yeasty, fruity, herbacious, spicy Belgian tripel. I will certainly get this one again, my favorite Epic of the series thus far.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Hair6a11 (1479) - Illinois, USA - OCT 22, 2010
Bottle: Pours a fairly light, clear golden with an average white head. So - the infamous Vertical epic. Seems that I joined the party a bit too late considering this is my first one and by all accounts it’s the worst one. I couldn’t say that from experience, so here’s my thoughts on this one. Aroma is a bit vinous, a little funky. It’s a surprising 9.5%, to be sure because this brew feels very light for it’s style. With that said, flavors are an odd mixture of Belgian yeasts, sugars, vinousness - there’s a bit of alcohol bitterness here like you’d expect from a wine bottle, honestly. Interesting and unique brew but it seems a bit off putting, honestly -

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
notalush (5728) - Denver, Colorado, USA - OCT 22, 2010
On paper, this beer sounds pretty awesome - however, something like this requires nuance and subtlety, which are two things this brewer simply does not do well - cloudy gold with a saffron-ish tint - headless - aroma is heavy on the white grape/wine component, but with a hefty dose of yeast and phenols, herbal tea-like character - relatively inviting despite being a bit clumsy - pretty much everything in the flavor is overdone - the chamomile is overuse and generates an unwelcome bitterness - grape is fairly potent, but tastes kind of like cheap wine (the alcohol burn in the finish does not help this) - light phenols - overdone herbal bitterness in the finish, tasting a bit like a mouthful of yarrow - dry finish - too much of too many things.

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