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Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic AleStone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale

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very good

905 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 905
Reviews: 469
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 19
Gots: 417 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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.

(Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 10-02-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 905 | Reviews: 469 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KeithStolte


4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured from 22oz to pint glass. Clear, Head at first from pour; however, it dissipates very quickly.
S - Can definitely smell the muscat and blend of grapes. Aroma of chamomile.
T - Slightly sour from the Sauvignon Blanc but also sweet. Very complex. I do wonder how it will age though.
M - Lingers a bit on the palate. Decent amount of carbonation.
D - Very Drinkable but i think it only would do well by itself. Can't really match a flavor to it in particular.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 00:04:02 | More by KeithStolte
Photo of DaveHS


4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Light amber with almost no head. Light, soapy lacing.

S-Pale malts,grape sweetness, a bit floral. Some light booziness.

T/M-Disappointing. The addition of grapes adds a faint sweetness, but no vinous qualities. The chamomile comes through just a bit, adding an interesting, if underdone herbacious quality to an otherwise unremarkable Belgian pale ale. The finish is soft and bready. Medium bodied, with low to medium carbonation.


Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 23:03:39 | More by DaveHS
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10 on tap at Bob's Bar in Columbus, Ohio. Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: A totally transparent honey-orange color. Thin white head that disappears quickly. No lacing.

Smell: Malts, some sour fruit. Infusion/tea aromas too.

Taste: Sour! Maltiness, acidity. Booze around.

Mouthfeel: A little thin for a beer this strong. Alright carbonation, not great. Medium body.

Drinkability: OK. Easy, but not a very attractive beer. I've had much better strong Belgian ales/Belgian IPA's, and certainly much better Stone Vertical years!

It is disappointing to see how all those complex ingredients listed above don't get to make a great beer. Aging would improve it, I assume.

Serving type: on-tap

10-15-2010 21:45:09 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of vertigelt1


3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the Daily Pint in Santa Monica during their Stone night at the end of LA Beer Week 2010.

A: poured a thick mandarin orange into a short stemmed goblet. About two fingers of beach sand head. Opaque glow when held up to light. Light sticky lacing.

S: I have a cold, so unfortunately I can't smell well. I smell light spices, corriander, citrus faintly.

T: bright flavor. Not strong on the Belgian yeast. Nice tangy aftertaste with very light hop bitterness. The grape juices do give it a slight acidic bite and a dry finish that is faintly reminiscent of the wines they produce. Some caramelized candi sugars, tilting the bubblegum often found in Belgians closer to orange-flavored cotton candy.

M: perfect carbonation from the cask conditioning. Creamy mouthfeel perhaps undermines the dry finish from the grapes. Aj, but it's on cask!!

D: pretty drinkable. It feels more like a Belgian Wit than a Tripel or "Belgian Strong". Alcohol is defnitely felt towards the bottom of the glass, so it's not seasonable but it's a tasty brew for easy quaffing nonetheles

Overall, I think this beer is confused as to what it is. But it's enjoyable all the same.

Serving type: cask

10-15-2010 21:41:24 | More by vertigelt1
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance- amber orangish color with moderate white head and small bubbles can seen rolling up the glass, slightly murky when looking closely

Smell- nose is quite familiar of most Belgian triples, nice yeast and spice noticeable, very nice Belgian nose

Taste- has some sweetness of front and then some spice on the backend that really keeps everything in balance, some hops are definitely there on the finish that keep it from being really sweet and some grapeyness maybe there and noticeable up front in sweetness, has some sweet and sourness to it, but overall has very nice enjoyable spice and flavor to it that i enjoy in a very nice belgian beer, overall pretty complex

mouthfeel- smooth and nice feel, low carbonation

drinkability- highly drinkable and enjoyable with booze level way hidden, i really most enjoy the sweet/tart up front nicely checked by hops and spice on the backend, just overall has a really enjoyable belgian beer flavor that is so enjoyable in many of the style, pretty good beer and rather complex, not sure how much i really notice the grapes but maybe just bit beyond my ability to really grasp my best assumption is it rears its head with the sour component that appears, anyone worth looking out another nice beer by stone

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 21:33:02 | More by Stunner97
Photo of SolomonGrundy


3.08/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to the beer buyer at Whole Foods for finally getting this in from Morris Distributing...

Clear light amber with an orange hue, no real head to speak of and middling carbonation. Aromas strong with lemon, tangy fruit, like kiwi or raspberry. Very interesting, unique and nice. Some crisp, floral characteristics also. Flavor is crazy tangy. Almost like a sour or wild ale, but I'm guessing this isn't using any Brett. This must be the white wine grapes that are used in this one. Like a saison, but has this biting finish that is like white wine. Kind of wacky, if you ask me. My guess is this needs to be paired with food, right...Heh heh...Super complex, as it moves from almost sweet and juicy, to dry and tangy-bitter. Pretty cool, but the finish is so weird it kills me. Very decently drinkable, however, but the hefty pricetag will leave you gasping and really drops the drinkability for me. Unique, but not sure if I would call it great beer.

What I like Most: The fruity, floral aromas.

What I like Least: The price of $6.49/bomber. Ouch.

Verdict: Worth trying due to its unique qualities, but not worth the price.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 21:32:07 | More by SolomonGrundy
Photo of taxguyjase

New Mexico

3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Appropriately golden, with a frothy almond head. The light bubbles make the beer look really inviting - my mouth is watering! Nice and clear too. 4.0/5.0

Smell - Flowery sweetness and sugar. Lemon, banana and honey too. 3.0/5.0

Taste - The belgian taste is dominant - all of the spice, coriander and lemon are really potent and easy to pick up on. I don't mind the sweetness and it masks the alcohol extremely well (and at 9.5% ABV, this one will sock it to ya). The use of wine grapes is different - it adds some tartness to it that you don't normally see in a tripel. The taste changed a bit as the beer warmed. - 3.5/5.0

Feel - A clean beer - there is a little aftertaste, but it's very mild. Flavor is predominately on the tongue. 3.5/5.0

Drinkability - I gotta say, I enjoyed the beer, but I didn't really think it was so amazing that I would buy this by the case. I could get a bottle of New Belgium Tripel for about 1/2 the price. 2.5/5.0

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 20:41:00 | More by taxguyjase
Photo of Overlord


2.03/5  rDev -46%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a pale yellow gold. A few inches of white bubbling foam quickly died down to nothing. Just perhaps the barest rim of bubbles. Barely any carbonation. Frankly, the appearance that came to mind is malt liquor. I poured some out for the homies that couldn't be here.

Smells like grainy yeast, a wisp of sickly, rotting grapes, and ... ugh. Solvent alcohol?

This is one nasty tasting brew. Just a kitchen sink mess. After having the sublime 06/06/06 (one of the best "Belgian" non-wilds I can recall) this is such a let down. The grapes add nothing but a weird rotting green grape undercurrent. The yeast has an unpleasant ... twang ... buzzing ... horrid aftertaste ... to it. There's some spices (cloves) and some banana and earthy bittering character trying to get through, but they don't meld with the weird overpowering sweet yeast backbone. The folks who are saying they didn't detect any alcohol ... advocate please. It's like a cleaning solution.

Zero carbonation is a problem, but I don't know if it would help this beer much. Maybe it will be better in a few years.

I would have thought it was already implied, but I guess it should be stated more clearly: this hot mess of a beer is for people that want a hot mess of a beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 06:19:52 | More by Overlord
Photo of Givemesome


4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good Vertical Epic, taste improved as Ale warmed. Smell hints of grapes (of course) banana and pear. Tastes close to a Barley Wine but a lot smoother. The 9.5 alcohol will creep up on you so enjoy! Strong Floral notes, no doubt that this epic will be perfect in 2012!

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 02:49:28 | More by Givemesome
Photo of BradLikesBrew


4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful golden body, small white head.

Aromas of chamomile tea, honey, flowers, and yeast. Vague white wine aroma.

The flavor is somewhere between white wine, mead, tea, and a Belgian golden ale. Honey, flowers, herbs, spicy yeast, and a noticeable wine character. The juice adds richness on the palate and a little sweetness while providing the primary flavor component. The grape blend is more and more impressive as I spend more time tasting it and allowing it to warm.

An interesting, strange, and enjoyable beer. Reminds me of the Widmer Prickley Pear Braggot. Seems like it would age very well. Remarkably easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 02:28:11 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of slayer3604


4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Looks way way viscious for what it is; this is the strongest Epic they've made (ABV WISE) and it looks like it will deliver! Amberish gold with a fluffy white head!

S- Don't know what to think of the nose but its so intriquing that it perked my interest into why they hopped this thing so hard that you can't even get a whisp of grapes??

T- Nice and bold with spice, some excellent fruit notes coming in here and there, no grapes, but the end has a distinct woody-camamile tea essence.

D- Pretty damn good for 9.5%, I could drink this until the lights dim actually. Not sticky or sweet, nice and sharp and dry.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 01:24:02 | More by slayer3604
Photo of Khazadum


4.58/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When I heard a relatively accessible bar was going to be tapping Vertical Epic I knew I had to schedule my day around it. All activities were leading up to that fantastic moment as I sat on the couch of Lincoln Park Whole Food's and began sipping this beer. Seemingly twelve ounce pour into a tulip-like glass.

A- Honeyrod golden body with a generous collar, middle of the lake cirrus clouds float until this beer was finished being consumed. Tons of carbonation. Absolutely truck loads. Dozens of streams danced their way up the fluid. It was a bit turbid and hazy to see through. The lacing never lasted long enough for me to be ultimately happy with it.

S- Heavily reminded of a super sweet belgian. Almost sickeningly sweet, almost. Initially it was floral notes and a hint of funk. The aroma evolves throughout the experience. Brown sugars and what has to be the chamomile come forward as it lingers in the glass.

T- Heavily sweet. It borders a candied beer with nausea. Borders, though. It never fully crosses into that territory. The funk exists in the finish along with a noticeable hop presence that fades quickly. Great residue on the tongue that reminds me of creme brulee burnt sugar. The middle flavors should be noted as acetic sourness with love. Tender, like I like it sprinkled on food.

As the beer warmed, the sweetness fades and is replaced with a new bittersweet complex. The sour starts coming out more into its own place, which is obviously the grapes. Some nice wine qualities. Awesome.

M- Full, heavily carbonated, residues on the lips, tongue, and soft palate all differ from each other. Each one lovely in their own way. Hops to the lips, creme brulee to the tongue, and a varying mixture elsewhere.

D-Here is a beer I would love to drink on a weekly basis. It tastes great, never overwhelms, blends the alcohol in perfectly. There are zero real complaints, and all compliments for stone on this one. Room for improvement of course, but not much. Easy, easy, easy to consume and love all at once.

Serving type: on-tap

10-15-2010 00:02:14 | More by Khazadum
Photo of SDtastentune


2.8/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, I usually don't drink such beers so light tasting & smelling... I'm a hop head and this certainly is no IPA.

A - Poured golden and pure, not much head or lacing. See through & sorta fizzy.

S - Not much going on here ,kinda sweet/wine smell.

T - Light & Belgian/Heineken/german/ minimal after taste.

M - Medium to light & fizzy, easy drinking faint wine/vine thing going on.

D - Easy drinking, light, no problem finishing this one Pt. Kinda tasty but I know its designed to be aged to December 12 2012. Very aggressive Belgian style if you like that... Me I'm more of a hop head that requires some sort of "bite" or cringe. I respect its made from grapes and has a high alcohol volume (9.5%). Good "different" beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 23:20:51 | More by SDtastentune
Photo of bobhits


2.38/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

This is a hard beer to review as I like to try and think about the style. Sadly I'm not sure what to think about a german hopped, Belgium yeast, and grapes in a beer.

Golden, an ok amount of bubbles given what I think the style is, and after a quick hint of head it's all gone. The bubbles put on a show when swirled I guess. Pretty boring by just about any standard you go by. As beer goes golden and bubbles isn't great. For belgiums it's under carbonated. So, yeah it's not impressive at all.

The beer doesn't give off much aroma. Served in a Stone Vertical Epic glass so the glass is what stone wanted it served in I have to assume. It's a really faint white grape juice with yeast and alcohol. A light hint of spices. Some earthy wheat and yeast tones I've never had words to describe as they only exist in some wheat and Belgium beers.

The taste is dominated by the grapes. A very light bodied malt, a slight bitter hop finish, and then alcohol and more grapes to end. Earthy hop flavor. A touch spicy but rather mild compared to say their 07.

The mouth is clean but not really dry. The grapes linger and stick to the back of your mouth. The carbonation is pretty solid for the style and for drinking./

I'd have finished this bottle in 10 minutes if I wasn't reviewing it. I'm not a fan here, but it's extremely thirst quenching, not overly flavorful, and extremely easy to drink. The 9.5 is all but non existent here.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 22:23:25 | More by bobhits
Photo of movingtrain


4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this up today...got two bottles: one to try now, and one to save for years from now.

This is a 22 ounce bomber sampled from a Stone Levitation tulip glass.

Keeping in mind that this one is quite young, and intended to be aged for quite some time, the appearance is lacking in a nice head. It actually faded pretty quickly after being poured. There is, however, a ton of activity in the body of the beer, contributing to a small but steady fizz on top. The body color is a relatively clear light copper.

The aroma here is quite floral...tulips, lilies...as well as a slightly herbal, tea-like aroma. There is some funk in the nose, for sure. Hints of apple, coriander, clove, and orange peel also linger.

Up front the flavor is very spicy...hints of clove, tobacco, green peppercorn, and cinnamon, come to mind. On the back end, there is a chalky malt finish, leaving an astringent bitterness behind. This definitely tastes like a tripel, which I believe is the intended style (with some Stone tweaks, of course). In the middle of this beer is some strong candy sugar...leaving a nice, sweet coating on the tongue, and contributing to some of the good alcohol burn (though not too overpowering) on the way down.

Overall, this beer is pretty darn good. I'm excited to see what it's like in a few years.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 21:49:21 | More by movingtrain
Photo of TK5150


3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This rating is for the beer when tasted at room temperature. When chilled, it is not as good, IMO.

A- Pours honey/light orange gold with a two finger off-white head. Nice legs. Lacing on the glass sticks around as I swirl.

S- At first it smells like the miller high life I had last night (corn and rice hulls mixed with light amounts of pale malt), then transitions to a lot of acid (like you would find in a white wine). Then I get some light tropical fruits and some butter. A different bouquet on this beer for sure, but I like it.

T- Pale malt, butter (which reminds me of some chardonnays), fruitiness of a white wine (especially pear), herbaceous-ness, extra sharp cheddar cheese, and the lingering acid of various white wine grapes. The taste makes this one interesting as well. Never had a beer that tasted quite like this. I like it.

M- Bordering on full bodied. It feels kind of thin at first, but as you keep it in the mouth you feel the body due to the residual sugars in this beer. Coats the mouth decently.

D- This one bomber will be fine, but I will have no trouble finishing it off.

Overall, bonus points to Stone on this beer. I have had beers made with wine grapes before, but I probably would not have guessed they were made with grapes if I hadn't known. With this beer, its pretty clear its has been made with wine grapes. I won't purchase this beer again, but it was nice to try once.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 19:03:53 | More by TK5150
Photo of theklep


4.63/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of those beers that you probably have to have another session with to truly appreciate. But, first impressions are what counts right? I picked up a bomber earlier today and poured it into a Stella Artois chalice. Golden yellow with a hint of orange, and a pleasant head. I really like this incarnation. It is like a hybrid of a belgian and a light Chardonnay. I imagine that this will become a much more pronounced beer as years go by. But I do enjoy the lightness in comparison to the usual hoppy beers Stone offers. I am happy they came up with a light faire this year as last year was a little too dark for my tastes. Really well done and I am sure a year from now it will be even more exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 08:09:03 | More by theklep
Photo of Gobzilla


4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a translucent golden orange with yellow highlights that had a half finger of bubbly head and left good lacing sticking to the glass.

S: you can definitely tell that it has belgian yeast along side herb aromas , pear fruit esters, and faint vinous notes in the background. I guess the herbs notes are that of the chamomile.

T: the belgian yeast strain also is pretty dominate on the palate, with chamomile, herb, pear esters, and slight vinous accents. There also seemed to be a little booze as well.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, slight fruity, herby, a touch of vine character, but faint boozy finish.

D: it drank really good and honestly did remind me of a belgian style beer. I hope I get to do the entire vertical in 2012. Good job stone, tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 06:46:55 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of HalfFull


3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 22 oz. bomber poured into a wine glass. Pours a lightly hazed golden with a half inch of white foam. Cap is somewhat short lived, settling to a moderate ring. Offers decent lacing.

Nose offers some light grain, a bit of lemon and some spice. Yeast notes are prevalent with a bit of agitation along with a more pronounced chamomile spice wrapped in very subtle white grape notes. Yeast expands with warming along with the citrus notes shifting from lemon to orange and adding some nice earthy notes.

Flavor follows the nose with a subtle spiced orange citrus. Finishes somewhat briefly with a lightly sweet orange oil presence. Carbonation is present and pleasant though it doesn't offer a lingering finish. Decent and full feel nonetheless and hiding the ABV well. Grape notes do soften the finish on this beer, leaving virtually no bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 03:53:47 | More by HalfFull
Photo of glid02


4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy honey-golden color with a 1.5-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of smooth light malts with good amounts of medium fruits - pears mostly. Also present are large amounts of floral aromas from the chamomile.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although the grapes make a much stronger appearance than in the aroma. Crisp light malt flavors kick things off and are joined almost immediately by syrupy pear flavors. Midway through the sip the flavor profile dries out quite a bit with the addition of white grape flavors. Slight amounts of earthy and herbal notes make a brief appearance before fading out into a crisp and mildly sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I was a fan of this beer but the grape flavors were a bit rough around the edges. I'd be willing to bet this will smooth out nicely by December 12, 2012 but if you can't wait that long it's worth a shot now.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2010 01:49:56 | More by glid02
Photo of rand


4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From bomber to Delirium tulip glass

A: Pours a clear yellow-orange with tight, effervescing carbonation. A 2-inch head forms, funneling up the tulip glass, leaving small, circular islands of lacing. Lacing slowly cascades under its own weight, leaving little trace.

S: Spicy, floral tones invade the nose, propelled by plenty of alcohol volatiles. The Belgian yeast is obvious, with it's fruity, bready profile, but the added grapes give the beer an aroma similar to white wine.

T: Floral notes, white wine and alcohol dominate the front of the sip, combined with the fruity esters of the Belgian yeast. This develops into some grainy tones and an avalanche of herbs and spices. Not sure if it's simply the chamomile, or its combination with other ingredients, but there seem to be layers upon layers of spice - freshly ground pepper, coriander, clove, orange zest. The list goes on. As the beer warms, the alcohol becomes more prevalent and the spicy character increases. Hops are distant but work to dry the beer towards the finish.

M: Fairly light, was expecting something more viscous given the ABV, but the carbonation and grape juice really lighten the load. Think slightly chewy sparkling wine and you've got the texture.

D/N: This is a brew that takes some patience, but it becomes more enjoyable after the first glass or so. A lot more enjoyable. In reviewing the beer it's easy to get caught up in the challenge of unraveling the spice profile (similar to Saison du BUFF), but if you take in all the flavors at once, you'll notice they really do work together. The grape infusion is a new fad I hope continues - further evidence there is no limit to craft beer's boundaries. I'll be aging a few of these and popping a few more before the year is out, to be sure. No question this is an interesting experience, but the flavor profile can be overwhelming at first - if I was trying to save a friend from macro swill, I wouldn't start with this.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2010 09:19:19 | More by rand
Photo of megahurts4


3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stone Brewing Vertical Epic 10/10/10

Appearance: Yellow-orange, small head, and good lacing.

Smell: Yeast, grape sourness, and faint hop.

Taste: Yeast, grape sourness, hops, slight bitter chamomile sweetness, faint malt, and a slight alcohol tinge.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

It is nice on tap. Not a strong aroma, but plenty of tasty flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2010 06:12:17 | More by megahurts4
Photo of superdedooperboy


3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Out of town on 10.09.10 (Saturday), couldn't legally purchase in the state of Georgia on 10.10.10 (Sunday), so forced to enjoy this a day late on 10.11.10. Bummer. On to the tasting.

22-ounce brown lithographed bottle poured into a New Belgium globe tulip.

Pours a beautiful deep, clear gold, capped with a one inch head of slightly off-white foam that dissipates quickly. Virtually no lacing in this one.

Very "Belgian Pale Ale" in the nose, if that phrase can be used as an aroma descriptor. Spicy, somewhat fruity... very reminiscent of any good Belgian Pale Ale. Chamomile is, to my nose, mostly hidden amongst the spicy, earthy yeast-derived notes, though there is a bit of extra white wine-like character.

Medium-bodied, mild-to-moderately carbonated. Spicy, earthy, and slightly salty up front, with the earthiness opening up a bit more toward the middle, mingling around the edges with more salty, slightly spicy character. At this point the grapes really begin showing themselves, creating a character not unlike a mixture of very dry and very sweet white wines. Flavor development leads into something reminiscent of a spiced Saison, with additional notes of lemon and white pepper, leading into a very dry, citrusy finish.

Overall, this is one damnably drinkable beer for a hefty 9.5% ABV, and one rife with a complexity that certainly isn't for everyone (obvious considering many reviews already cast for the beer in the day or so since its release), and it's certainly a tough call as to exactly how this one will age over the next two years when the Vertical Epic series finally ends. Personally, it seems as if it's at its peak right now, and two more years very well may do it harm, but the famous phrase "only time will tell" holds particularly true here, so it will definitely be interesting to see how the brew fares with time. Worth seeking out now, but one bottle may be enough... use your own judgment on that call.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2010 04:54:17 | More by superdedooperboy
Photo of SpdKilz


3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a slight hazy golden color with about a finger of quickly dissipating white head, that leaves little lacing.

Smell - Belgian yeast at the forefront followed by heavy spices such as white pepper, clove, and chamomile. Honestly, there is little more than that - a slight earthiness and just a hint of the white grapes but not nearly what I was expecting.

Taste - Sweet, white grapes are immediately recognizable with the first sip, and while I enjoy this, it is gone within a second, being overpowered by the spices. While completely different beers and obviously the tastes are different, this overpowering of spices is reminiscent of when I tried Saison de Buff - the spices were just too much for me. I think it is the chamomile that does it in for this beer - if there was just less prominence of it I honestly think I would really enjoy this beer. It is quite sweet still, and the sweetness from the grapes is trying to break free of the early, spicy notes but it just cannot win this battle. A bit one sided. I will admit, however, that the initial taste is great before it disappears into the spices which leave me with an awkward aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability - For how high of abv, this beer is relatively drinkable. On a different note, the overall flavor of the beer just is off putting and not something I would go to the store to grab because of how good it tastes - the spices make this a one and done beer, though I will pick one up to age it and see how it becomes down the road. I feel Stone has been really laying heavy into Belgian beers, spices, etc. lately and to be honest I feel much of these have been a miss (though I really did enjoy the session beer collaboration).

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2010 03:12:28 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of DanOLeary


4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Clove, coriander and Belgian yeast phenolic spice all come to mind with the first intake of this beer. A mild alcoholic pepper fills in the background of this generally flowery brew. Hop aroma is not detectable beyond the floral notes, but there is a faint undertone of fresh white bread to bring out the malt here.

Appearance: As gold as a wedding band with diamond clarity. There is a strong presence of carbonation bubbles seen rising to the top. They break to form a solid but thin layer of white head. Traces of lacing.

Flavor: Light pale malt sweetness hits the tongue for just a moment then it's pushed away by a tangy, but not quite sour, grape skin. There is a blend of pepper and spices that constantly crash together in your mouth. Trying to pick out each one is nearly impossible, but I'd say clove and all-spice are prominent. The blend of spices, as well as a touch of alcohol, does tend to confuse the palate if you focus on it too much.  

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation. The culmination of Herbs and Spices in this beer tingle the tongue, roof of the mouth, and back of the throat as it works its way around your mouth. This has a refreshing effect overall. Finish is dry with a final report from the alcohol as it bites the back of the throat.

Overall: There is a mess of flavors in this beer that I admit I am not able to entirely pick out. Looking into each spice can be daunting with a beer like this. And while there is a lot going on, the beer does not come off mottled or overdone. Taking a straight forward sip however, this years Vertical Epic has a cooling and refreshing quality. The spices are crisp with just enough alcohol to let you know it's there. Though I wouldn't have guessed it's the 9.5% as stated on the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2010 04:51:15 | More by DanOLeary
Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 905 ratings.