Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

very good
476 Reviews
Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic AleStone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 10-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 476 | Ratings: 956
Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a slightly hazy yellow-gold with half a finger of white head that quickly recedes into almost nothing with no lacing.

S: sugar, and spicy Belgian yeast at first. Slightly tart light fruits come next--pears and grapes mostly. There are some light citrusy orange notes on the finish.

T: Spices, lots of fruit up front. White grapes dominate with some touches of pears. I can definitely tell that there were muscadine grapes used by the slightly tart and musky flavors. There are some notes of oranges in there as well. The finish has a lightly bitter yeasty flavor. Quite nice.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation, this beer is pretty well attenuated giving it that nicely crisp feel.

O: I really enjoy it. The grapes go well with the typical BSPA flavors and set it apart from others. It certainly isn't a very pretty beer for the style and could use a bit higher attenuation, but the aromas and flavors are very nice.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Plekto
4.83/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is the third best beer that I have tasted to date. The first is a wheat beer from a small brewery in Oceanside, CA. The second was Stone's anniversary ale from last year.

A - it's nearly perfect when you consider that it's supposed to be a premium/super normal beer and not a super Belgian ale like their Russian Stout or similar. ie - it's sweet versus bitter and strong.

S - No major faults here. Almost perfect. The addition of a little wine makes it have none of the typical faults of most beers. I'm a fan of wine and mixed drinks, though, so hard-core beer fans might not like it nearly as much.

T - Honestly, this equals the best beers out there no matter what price and it's very inexpensive. A total shocker that shows what Stone can do when they set their mind to it. Alcohol is nearly a whopping 10% and you don't taste it at all. NOTE - this beer, having some wine in it, has to be drunk at a warmer temperature. It's one of the few beers that I've tasted that actually tastes better slightly warm. I think that the wine in it creates a temperature buffer that's not normally present in beers.

The biggest part, though, is that this is actually a beer/wine hybrid and I don't think anyone has done this as well before. It has the complexity of a good wine and the drinkability of a fine beer - a win-win for a beer with a nice meal or just for causal drinking.

M - it could be a bit better, but I think the wine in it tones down the head somewhat. Can't really fault it in any way though. The only reason it gets a 4.5 from me is that it's not as good as their Anniversary Ale from last year - that beat the Belgian ales by a large margin. As in crushed 10-20 dollar a bottle stuff for about $8. I *so* wish I'd bought several cases of that.

D - Awesome. Loads of alcohol and reminiscent of the beers that one would find in Europe. If you ever wanted to know what's missing from American Beers/is present in good German and Belgian beers in Europe, drink this.

In short, Stone needs to make this a normal offering. They really hit a home run with this one. I'd buy it consistently for parties and get-togethers.

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4.73/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft serving into a tulip for $6. Sampled 10/26/10.

A: Pours with a finger and a half of foamy off-white head with decent retention. The body is light orange - about 90% transparent - with cranberry tints which disappear when backlit. A few active streamers keep the thin film alive. No lacing.

S: Light lactic qualities on the tip of the nose, followed by a heavily spicy component. Herbal (suggestions of rosemary and parsley) leading into the fresh scent of lemon. Alcohol has a presence but, in the form of white wine, its not offensive. Instead it comes off as a favorable quality.

T: This is a bold brew with a wide spectrum of flavors that work EXTREMELY well together. Alcohol is noticeable but not to the detriment of the beer. Light bitterness and moderate sweetness. The chamomile inclusion is understated but noticeable; the blend of white wines is sublime.

M: Appearance aside, the mouthfeel appears to be the only drawback of 10.10.10. It comes across a touch thin, perhaps due to a less-than-perfect level of carbonation. My opinion changed after the first sip from my second glass, however, as each aspect of the mouthfeel not only improved, but also began to make sense to the beer as a whole. The body gets fuller and the effervescence becomes prickly. Now there is almost nothing to complain about here.

D: [DRINKABILITY] The next sip is always an anticipation. As I've said above, I ordered a second glass as soon as I finished the first. I almost never do that. The ABV is the only thing keeping the drinkability rating from being a '5'.

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Photo of YouSkeete
4.68/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: opaque yellow/gold with an orange tint. Small white head, some lacing.

S: Belgian yeast upfront. Boozy citrus aroma, sweet malts and large handful of floral and herbal spices. White grapes and lemon zest take over the fruity characteristic.

T: Citrusy and tangy at first, as the taste rolls into a heavy fruit flavor with a bitter sweetness. Spices are more subtle than they were in the nose, which is a nice touch. Chamomile is clear and present, adds an amazing layer to this beer. Exceptionally malty. Aftertaste is extraordinary, boozy bittersweet finish.

M: Syrupy and milky. full body with medium carbonation.

D: Spectacular, in my opinion. One of the best Belgian ales I've had in a while.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.67/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with over two years of aging - golden yellow with a small head. Head disappates quickly but left with spotted lacing on the glass and a small amount of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. Smells like white wine grapes - sauvignon blanc comes to mind - a bit fruity but yet still dry. Taste is a great weave of wine and beer - the grapes are present from front to back with a sweetner on the end.

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Photo of Celtics17
4.64/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The smell comes off as a sour, and this has been nearly aged for 4 years. Some sour flavors come through, but a big white wine taste, the belgian yeast comes through. But big grape, and slight bitterness.

Great carbonation after all this time. This is very complex and powerful. Great..

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Photo of theklep
4.63/5  rDev +23.5%
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.

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Photo of chumba526
4.6/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This ale appears a light golden color with a small white head.

.It smells slightly of a sweet white wine. The grapes are quite noticeable in the smell. There is a sweet sugary smell as well to the beer. As well as some floral notes. It smells quite complex.

It tastes slightly like a white wine. There is an acidity and earthy flavor that I associate with white wine. There is a very floral and herbal flavor going on in the beer as well. I also get a bit of a honey flavor to the beer as well. There is also a bit of alcohol heat to this beer, but it blends nicely with the other flavors. The taste ends with a slight bitterness. A nice floral flavor lingers on the palate.

The carbonation seems natural. The carbonation is moderate low. It complements the beer perfectly.

The drinkability is pretty good for being high in alcohol. Though all I can drink is one 22 ounce bottle of it.

Overall an amazing, creative, complex beer that pushes the boundaries. It seems to be a fusion between a semi-sweet white wine and a tripel. I can see why many don't like this beer as the flavor is quite unlike most beers. i think this is a beer your either going to love or hate. I am going to pick up a few more of these.

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Photo of Khazadum
4.57/5  rDev +21.9%
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.

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Photo of tbrown4
4.52/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. -> Duvel Tulip. Paired with spicy black bean soup and fresh French bread. This is my 4th or 5th time with this brew, decided I should sit down and review it. BA review #51

A - Hazy dark gold, 1 finger white bubbly head

S - yeasty, sweet, light spice, grape notes

T - if I had done a blind taste I would have called this a tripel. It has a rich flavor profile of sweet, light spice and hints of grape. It's sweet on the lips and finishes like a white wine. Opens up wonderfully as it warms.

M - Coats and leaves pretty quick, but the sweetness stays on the lips.

D - Good sipper. Split the big bottle in to two servings. I'm curious as to how this one would age. At $7.50 a bottle it's a fair price. I'd definitely drink again, in fact I'm going to visit my local shop to pick up the last of what they have.

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Photo of Brent
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While I've always been intrigued by the Vertical Epic releases, and admire the creativity endowed in each, none of the releases so far have really hit it out of the park for me - until now - this 10/10/10 version is one impressive beer. Not sure that I can grasp all the brewing elements, but the grapes are clearly evident. Interestingly, they lend a fruityness without imparting a noticeable wine aspect. Lively without being fizzy and a nice bit of spicyness to the beer. There is a touch of a raw edge that I'm curious to see if a little age might smooth it down a bit. Normally, I put back one of each of these for the eventual vertical, but I think a few more of this year's edition will find a home in the cellar.

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Photo of artcurtis
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Great Divide Tulip.
A - Pours a really nice coppery golden color. Crystal clear. Very little head that dissipates almost immediately. Quite a nice looking beer.
S - Wow. Great nose on this. Smells strongly of tripel/Golden ale. Definitely getting that classic tripel yeast smell. Also definitely some booze. There is a bit of sweet grape, or maybe some sugary sweetness there as well.
T - Definitely a tripel. Definitely grapes added as well. Given the addition of grapes (especially muscat) and Belgian candy sugars, I was worried that this was going to be a sugar bomb. I was worried it would have a quad type sweetness in a golden ale. I needn't have worried. The grape/sweetness is nice and balanced. The tripel comes through strong first, this has a bit of funk to it, but not much. Then the grapes and booze come in and give a nice wine like sweetness, with some complimentary wine booze notes. This really blurs the line between beer and wine for me.
M - Very clean and crisp. A little bit of resin remains on my lips. Quite interesting.
D - The booze in this really shows up. But other than that, this is super drinkable. I don't know if I'd really like a second bottle, but I'd be willing to try. At the very least, one goes down smooth.
This is my first experience with the Vertical Epic. Too bad I missed the previous incarnations. Hopefully I can find a generous soul on 12/12/12.

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Photo of TexIndy
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 650ml bomber into my Duvel tulip glass. Was a hazy golden honey color with lots of carbonation. It had an average sized fizzy white head that settled into a collar with some central foam. Moderate lacing that very slowly slides back into the glass. A little sticking.

The aroma is good with chamomile, spice from the yeast and fruit from the grapes. Another review called it tripel like and I'd agree. The flavor was also very good with the spice and fruit balanced for sweet taste with a little bite. The initial sips had a sharp tartness that faded. Really like this one. Mouthfeel was good. Medium with sharp carbonation and good aftertaste.

Overall, an excellent BSPA and one my favorites from the VE series so far. Good mix of fruity and spicy - really enjoyed it. Highly recommend. Not sure if avail here in TX so I picked up at Xmas in Indiana. Rotation - would like to find some more if I can. [O;Y]

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Photo of tchenery
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a very crisp yellow/orange color shading on the light side. It has a reddish hue to it that is reminiscint of strawberries. It has very little head on it but is showing some carbonation.

It has a faint smell. It smells almost like a Belgian pale ale with a hint of zest to it. There is a peppery smell to it that has trace saison characteristics. It's appealing and unique.

The taste is very spritzy and very forward. I was blown away on the first sip and sat here thinking of the words to use in description. If I didn't know there were grapes in this beer, I might have picked it up on the mouthfeel at the end of the taste. It is very similar in feel to a floral white wine. It carries the pepper from the aroma into the taste as well. It may be an herbal pepper, but it is a bit 'hot' as well. This is probably one of the most different and unique beers I have ever tried.

It's a big beer and it's definitely a sipper. Enjoy it though. I wish I bought a second one of these to put away for a while, as I'm sure it would mellow and mature very nicely.

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Photo of yesferro
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Flying Saucer in Cordova TN, on 11.12.11

Poured a beautiful gold color, fizzy, barely any head, didn't last long. Hard to judge on the head since I didn't pour it myself and have no idea how the taps are set. Every single beer other then the nitro beers I saw being tapped last night had no head.

Smells great, crispy belgian yeast smell, small hint of lemon.

Tastes like a dry triple, that's the easiest way to explain it, the added wine grapes come through real subtle, very intersting. I'm glad we have a bottle of this left to age some more. Really wish this wasn't a special release!

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Photo of Duttonic
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 11/11/10 at Dancing Bear Pub, Waco, TX in an Allagash tulip glass.

A- Pours a light/medium copper color with one finger of white head that dissipated rapidly. There was medium/heavy and aggressive lacing throughout the sampling.

S- Sweet white grapes, hoppy notes, cranberry, cherry, chamomile, and banana esters.

T/M- Tasted like a dry hopped white wine with a bitter, dry, and tart, but not overpowering finish. Extremely smooth with a velvety texture.

D- This is my favorite Belgian Strong Pale Ale that I have ever had. It has amazing complexity, body composition, and finish. I really hope that Stone starts making this regularly. Since TX will not be getting any bottles, I may never see this beer again. It is definitely in my personal favorites and in my top five of rarities that I really want to see again.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Later this year I plan to vertical 09 through 12. I wish I got on this train earlier. I only just found out about the annual Stone offering in 2009.

I used a snifter to savor this beer. I can get more of the belgian yeast and wine-like presence off the top. It smells really good. I like the various white grapes that have a very nice presence. The belgian yeast creates a very good sour presence.

The taste is equal to the very good bouquet. I really enjoy the balance of venous quality, the belgian flavor, and I even get some chamomille. This is a great mix of complex flavors... are you really shocked that Stone would make a complex beer?

The aging has provided a very easily drinkable experience. There is a little bit of heat from the alcohol. It was very easy to drink.

This was a great beer. You should pick up a bottle, or not. This has no longer been brewed, but maybe Stone will re-brew this in 2013 after the end of the Vertical Epic series.

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Photo of jpoder
4.44/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: slight haze, low head retention

s: slightly tart, belgian flavor + sour? tart? grape?

t: starts as a nice balanced triple, but finish is dry and tart.

m: a bit thin, but it really works in such a big beer.

d: very nice! like a nicely made triple but with something extra from the wine grapes.

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Photo of mynie
4.44/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Came across a halfdozen 10-10-10 bombers a couple of weeks ago, just sitting on a shelf. We cracked open a chilled bomber the night before Dark Lord Day:

Pour pale yellow and aggressively effervescent, very champagne-like. Smells like a deadringer for Champale. Seriously, I'm not being facetious; it smells like friggin Champale. Only better. Less ersatz. Imagine a very light Belgian Pale mixed with candy-sweet nodes of muscat. Very nice.

Tastes like it smells only with a pronounced floral finish. Big grapes, Belgian yeast, chamomile, potpourri. Nice combination.

I never had this fresh, but aging appears to have really helped the grape and fruit nodes meld into one another. Nothing's too intense, and while the flavor is certainly odd it's also wonderfully balanced.

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Photo of fastsrt
4.43/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle in a wine glass

A: golden, no head

S: grape, belgan yeast, with a slight sourness that balances out the flavors perfectly. there is is a nice wine note.

T: awesome, this beer is so freaking good. belgian triple with a slight sourness. not typical stone,

M nice carbonation, dry, crisp

D: could drink this stuff all night. this is a must try beer

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Photo of OStrungT
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear light golden color, with a thin white head. The head fades fast, leaving no lace.

This beer has a pleasent spicy aroma. I smell some cloves, grains of paradise, and coriander. It has a slight citrus aroma as well, maybe from orange peel? A mild earthy yeast is present. I can also detect an ever so slight winelike aroma.

This beer tastes like it smells. Spicy with some earthy flavors. Alcohol content is hidden entirely in the flavor of this one.

This beer is full bodied. It leaves a spicy aftertaste. Carbonation is low, but it has a little age on it.

This beer would make a decent session beer. It tastes good and would be easy to drink. the problem is the alcohol content. It is high in alcohol, and that could pose a problem.

Overall: this is another fine beer to add to the Vertical Epic collection. I will keep two bottles for 121212.

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Photo of flexabull
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy gold color, with a nice white head.

Aromas are very nice. Reminds me a bit of a Tripel or a Wild Ale. Hints of sourness, funk, grass, vinegar, oak, and grapes. I am digging sniffing this one.

Taste is very good, interesting, and quite unique. Starts with a very full and thick creaminess. Beer then settles into some crisp green apple and white wine like flavors. Finish is nice and crisp, dry, with some tart lemon zest.

Mouthfeel is superb. Almost perfect, well rounded, full, with a snappy finish.

Drinkability is good. I am impressed. I think this will definitely be a love/hate type of beer, but please put me in the love camp. I really like the uniqueness of this one, and I think this is a perfect candidate for cellaring, might have to grab a couple more to age beyond 12.12.12.

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Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip glass

I was pleasntly suprised by the complexity of this beer. Pours a nice straw blonde color with a with white foamy head. Aromas of wheat, rye with subtle notes of light citrus and herbs. The palate was loaded with complex layers of flavor. At first sip I found it to be loaded with sweet malt flavors with some subtle spice notes, but as it warmed up the fruity flavors from the wine grape juice really started to come through. I swear no 2 sips were alike.

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Photo of Frosty80
4.41/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours golden straw. sits brilliantly clear liquid gold

Smell: Belgian yeast character. lots of fruit including white grapes and a little banana

Taste: the sharp, fermented grapes really come though strong. great Belgian yeast character. little chamomile of course. finish has a very light bitterness and dry yeast character. slight alcohol

Mouthfeel: heavy-light body with medium carbonation

Notes: very unique blend of the beer and wine worlds. suddenly Midas Touch isnt so unique

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Photo of dfernandez77
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Not one of my normal reviews as I'm thinking back 2 days to when I tried it...

Though I may be branded as a heretic - here's my take on it from a second tasting this last Friday.

I tried one with a couple friends about 2 months ago. It was boozy, a little hot, and wandering around somewhere between trying to be a light pale ale and cidery/vinous goings on. The general impression was - interesting, but too young.

Two months later the unfocused characters have merged really well. It is very crisp, light in body, very refreshing in flavor. The mouthfeel is more like a gueze lambic (not sweet) - light, bright and energetic. But, without sourness, or wild funk in the flavor or aroma. Just clean and refreshing.

Now for the heresy. Buy it now - drink it in the next 2 months. It just doesn't seem to have the backbone - in maltiness, wild funk, or body - to last until 12-12-12.

For me (just my opinion), buying the 10-10-10 to save would be like buying Beaujolais Nouveau to put aside in a cellar for a few years - it's just wrong. But it is immensely drinkable right now - seriously enjoyable.

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Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.75 out of 5 based on 956 ratings.
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