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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 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 12, 2010
From the nose I can already tell Iím not going to like this. Itís got an obnoxiously powdery, floral yeasty nose in the same vein as the yeasts used in past vertical epics, undertones of citrus, alcohol, and belgian yeast phenol spice with a malt-liquoresque quality to it as well. The beer itself is completely clear and bronze with little to no head formation and reminds me of lagunitas. Flavors are strange, the body is cloyingly thick and syrupy carrying with it some clearly non-complimenting hop bitterness, a grapey twang around the edges, and flavors from that floral, powdery yeast strain. The alcohol here doesnít help either, making it kind of quesy-feeling to drink...and the underlying sweetness just makes it all the more cumbersome. The grape influence is juicy and takes an already awkward tasting beer and makes it somewhat awkwardly childish in the finish. Strange mess of a beer and certainly not one youíd expect from what others like to call a "world-class brewery"...but itís something I have fully come to expect when Stone tries anything belgian-influenced...It just doesnít seem well thought out at all and certainly a "F-You" for all those that hype up the yearly epic releases, though, again..to me, itís not much of a surprise...who comes up with these recipes anyway? really?

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
gorditoabd (635) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 13, 2010
Bottle. Pours a fey golden hue with minimal fizzy, fast-fading white head. Aroma is practically null, except for maybe a hint of white grape. Taste is malt and hay, followed by a semi-sweet white wine turn, but itís all wildly understated. A second sip reveals a touch more sweetness, but overall this brew is pretty bland. Hopefully, itís just immature and needs to bottle age.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - DEC 5, 2010
Bomber, fairly fresh. Pours a crystal clear, standard golden color. A small, smooth, off-white head fades away quickly, leaving just a thin surface ring. Thereís virtually no hard lacing to speak of. The aroma is very much like a Belgian tripel, based in blonde candy sugar and cereal grain malt, hinting at lemon, and showing a strong influence of spicy, floral yeast. Chamomile is distinct, though that is not the only herbal element. The sweet grape juice varietals, while not individually identifiable, lend even further sweetness to the tripel base. Flavors follow suit, showing a blend of candy sugar, sweet grain, and white grapes as the base. The grape elements arenít particularly vinous, but rather, sweet and juicy, with a moderate, acidic edge. Floral spicing is ample and fresh, yet a bit overbearing for my tastes, chamomile leading the charge. Fruity Belgian yeast is unmistakable, sweet and doughy in nature. The palate sports abundant sugar content, coming across syrupy and rather lifeless. Bitter floral hops come out of nowhere to concentrate on the finish. As my reviews will show, Iím not a big tripel fan. This particular brew takes a boring, mundane, overly sweet style and pushes it even further into the realm of a hyper-spiced, doughy, candy-sweet tripel. Not my thing at all.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
GreatLibations (1854) - Last Supper, Arizona, USA - FEB 13, 2011
I came to the realization that I totally forgot about this program until last week. To my surprise there were a few cases left at disty. Thats like forgetting to wish your wife happy birthday. Pours golden with a hint of amber with a tall head that dies the slow death and leaves just a bit of lace to remember. Smells of sweet and sour stonefruit nectar and jerky. Full nectar with good carbonation. The aroma follows through to the palate directly. This has a moderate sweetness. I like the attitude Stone has toward experimentation but this beer is awful.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
eManu (535) - Kuala Lumpur & Brussels, BELGIUM - JUL 21, 2011
Pours a pale gold orange yellow, with a thin white ring around. Aroma of sweet and sour grapes, hops and malts. Flavors of grapes, hops and citrus. This is too sweet, the ending is not well balanced, as the sweetness of the ripe grapes takes over. long unplasant tart sweetness in mouth. Would not get this again.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
17thfloor (2443) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 19, 2010
Bottle. Not much a fan of this. Smells almost like a Heineken. Flavor is too sweet, too much residual sweetness, not a fan of the super doughy yeast either, big grassy stinky hops, the grapes definitely seem to add a sour quality that is off-putting. Not for me.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
Papsoe (25063) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - DEC 19, 2010
Bottle 65 cl. Courtesy of joergen. Pours hazy golden with a white head. Sweet fruits and yeast in the nose with a whiff of tartness. Medium-bodied, sweet fruit, fairly spicy with a distinct tart and yeasty edge. A very strange and inharmonious beer. 141210

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 7/20
SirLimpsalot (3817) - SWEDEN - JAN 12, 2011
Smell: Very diskreet but some citrus in there. Taste: Very fresh, spices, a bit strong on the alcohol. Belgian style shines through. A bit too much after a while

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
nick76 (4379) - Tampa, Florida, USA - FEB 28, 2011
The aroma is very sour and yeasty with fruit and malted barley. The appearance is orange gold with a thin head. The taste is like the aroma with a sour corn finish. The palate is smooth but average. Overall not one of my favorites but then again I donít really dig the sour beer thing. However it does get better as it warms.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Benzai (14269) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - SEP 18, 2011
Draught at Chez Moeder Lambic Fontainas during the three day Stone Event, 16-18 september 2011. Clear yellow color, average sized vast whie head. Smell a bit sour and also some berries. Taste some sourness as well. Average mouthfeel, medium body.

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