Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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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: 954
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brilliant golden body, completely able to see through it, forms a bright off white head rising well above the rim of my La Fin du Monde chalice. Aroma has some nice earthy grape seed and tart hints of grape juice with the chammomile herbal grassiness to balance things out. If you focus on the tart vinous qualities these thing dries out much like a wine, with herbal and alcoholic edges swaying it back and forth. As it warms a bit the pineapple tropical fruit starts really kickin in the nose, a very nice effect if your patient and sip on this one. Very much a white wine experience going on here, with some buttery dryness finishing like a wine. These two worlds are unique when coming together but with all of the elements going on I'm not sure if harmony is ever found between them. Another element is the Belgian yeast strain producing some phenolic esters full of pineapple and mild citrus as well, definitely complex this is the type of beer that will impress your wine friends. Mouthfeel will weight on you this becomes a bear of a beer with 9.5% alcohol kicking nothing burns on the palate but I wouldn't say it's well hidden, definitely provides a warmth in your chest. The acidity level definitely reminds me of a wine versus a beer, overall drinkability wasn't as bad as the draft experience but I'm still on the fence of whether or not I could go for this beer again. I respect the creativitiy but sometimes the concept doesn't always work, you'll have to judge it for yourself.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is golden hued with a thin white head. The aroma brings citrus, malt, light spice, oranges. The flavor offers candied oranges, malt, sweet, syrupy orange juice. Medium to light in body with fairly low carbonation. Ok.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear deep golden color with a huge fluffy white head that slowly recedes but leaves a fair amount of sticky lace on the sides on the way down. The aroma is filled with light brown sugar, sweet candy sugar and malts along with prunes, grapes, raisins, and a non descript floral smell. The flavor is much like the aroma promised. Sweet malts and dark sugars alongside dark pitted fruit. The flavor is quite vinous, but the caramel from the malt counters that quite nicely. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet light syrupy mouthfeel. This is the second time I've tried this beer, and honestly when fresh I really didn't like it, it was too winey for my tastes. That being said, age seems to have done wonders for this brew and all of the ingredients seem to have melded quite nicely.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Chris (spycow). Served in a tulip.

A - White foam settles to a thick collar, wisps, and minimal lace. Hazed golden body.

S - The chamomile and grape must dominate the aroma, with a caramel and honey malt backdrop. Not a ton of Belgian yeast character, but some definite candi sugar character.

T - The taste is more malt-dominated, with some nebulous grape sweetness and chamomile in the finish. Aged tripel sort of vibe, but with the expected American sweetness.

M - Smooth, medium-full body, lower carbonation, fairly clean finish. Some mild alcohol warmth in the finish.

D - Not really my thing - can't tell if it wasn't very good fresh or if it aged poorly, but it seems to lack the punch of 08.08.08 and 09.09.09. Wouldn't bother with this one again.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a pint glass. The beer is a bright golden-orange color, with no head. The nose is reminiscent of most of the wines used in the brewing process. You definitely get a smell of the Gewurzt, as well as an overly sweet smell, likely from the Muscat. There is an almost sour tinge to the nose because it is so sweet. The taste is an interesting blend of the wines, as well as a flavor similar to sour mash. Despite all the sweetness in the flavors and the robustness of the beer, there is a rather smooth finish. The beer kind of melts in your mouth as it goes down, very sweet. There is a lingering note of sour in the aftertaste, which is very mild and pleasant. The beer is pretty sweet, which might make it a limited drinking brew.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber, $7.99 @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY.

Pours slightly hazed medium ginger infused golden, delicate, off white and fine head, no big development nor retention, goes quickly to a minor collar, film and fine and again minor bits of lace.

On the nose, I'm picking up notes of tea, mint, earth, cloves and slight coriander.

Interesting and different to say the least. More mint, more tea, some ginger and yet even more strange spice.

First few sips I was wondering what the heck was going on with this one, after a few more I was seeing the light and enjoying this more and more. Getting some light wood notes as well as some wine like characteristics.

Complex, flavorful, interesting and intriguing. A must try for Belgian lovers, a must put away a few bottles for a few years for fans of Stone and their magical mystery vertical tour...

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Vertical Epic glass because that's how I roll.

Beer is yellow / amber and mostly clear with a white head low retention, no lacing, moderate carbonation, looks fine.

Aroma at first is really yeasty, almost skunky, but then the sweetness, and the esters come through. It is a mildly spicy Belgian ale.

Beer is quite thin, a little dry on the finish, pretty sweet throughout though. It is quite strong in flavor, carbonation sharp on the palate, decent but a little boozy still. I'll have it again at a VE party.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

- Pardon the abbreviated review, this was sampled at a free Stone tasting. Special thanks to Big Z's in Huntington NY -

A - Medium/light grade honey.

S - Light banana, green apple, some water cracker, touch of clove. Some light honey-like sweetness.

T - Twang of booze up front. Some honey, banana, wheat bread on the back end.

M - Light residual bitterness. Some sweetness through the finish.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasting notes from 1-11-11

Bomber purchased at Wegmans in State College, PA and enjoyed in my hotel room.

A - Medium yellow colour, one finger of foamy white head. A lot of visible carbonation.

S - Belgian yeast, some bitterness and some faint sweet grape notes. Not a very interesting nose.

T - Yeast, cloves, some floral hop notes, a sweetness but no specific grape taste comes through.

M - Medium body, chewy, smooth. Light to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of WesWes
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a beautiful gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is outstanding. It has a wonderful tripel scent; pale malts fruity yeast esters. It's exceptionally fruity with chamomile flowers and muscat grapes. It's mildly tart/fruity with a solid pale malt sweetness. The taste is great as well. It's smooth with a sweet pale malt flavor that's complimented with an array of grape character and chamomile flower notes. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good beer. It's quite complex, yet easy drinking, even at 9.5% abv..

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Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours an orange color with a short 1/2" head that breaks apart quickly.

Smell: green grapes, grass, and fruity sweetness create a nice aroma. A hint of wine like scent arrives late.

Taste: nice malt profile with some pears, grapes, hearty bitterness, a bit of spiciness, and a little touch of alcohol. The flavors kind of hit a chardonnay note late in the swallow.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp to start, less crisp and a bit dry late. Aftertaste is long.

Drinkability: this is another slow sipping beer from the vertical series freshly delivered and opened. I could see this dramatically improving with some age.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Common Table in Dallas.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is a nice mix of white wine grapes, Belgian yeast, biscuit malt and a lot of sugary sweetness. The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of notes that remind me of a tripel - candy sugar, citrus, biscuit malt and alcohol - along with a lot of white wine notes. There is a strong grape presence to the flavor which is expected in this beer. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now on to 2010, aged for two years, and served on-tap at Tustin Brewing. On to the beer:

Dark amber with solid lace that splashes at a few point in the glass. The nose is very sweet, a contrast to 08.08.08. Very fruity, and there's a strong scent of fresh apples. Good aroma, but there's something that's missing from the picture. Caramel would pair well with apples...and that's exactly what comes into play in the taste. Caramel apples galore! To compliment are hints of cocoa and figs. Not cloying, thank goodness. Medium-full bodied with the alcohol hidden well.

As many have said in the past, " a good one".

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Original review from 2010: Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a medium orange amber. Thin head and minimal lacing. Sweet malt spice and citrus aroma. Vinous. Sweet malt, sweet wine. Odd spicy and sour finish. Probably the chamomile Light to medium bodied. Not too tasty right now. My least favorite of the Vertical Epics so far.
Rereviewed with a properly cellared bottle in 2012:
Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium golden amber. Very active half finger white head on pouring dissipated instantly to a thin ring around the glass; carbonated like a soda. Mild aroma of fresh apple juice with a hint of Belgian spicing and white wine. Flavor of sweet malt, apple and grape juice, finishes with light hops and chamomile, which leaves a slightly earthy, herbal bitterness. Light to medium bodied. Flavors have developed nicely over two years and this tastes much more like a classic tripel with chamomile replacing the coriander for sharp spicing. Interesting that the vinous quality has changed to a distinct apple quality. I liked this quite a bit and clearly better than I did in the original review.
Original rating: 3.5,3,3,3.5,3.5
Replaced with my current rating.
The appearance got a lower rating because it was boring and lack a head in the glass. Flavor and overall rating were raised. I think this is a fair assessment of improvement in aging, but I have also become more in tune with the tripel style, which I like a lot better than I did several years ago.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to warriorsoul for this brew.

Pour into a chalice a nice cloudy dark golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice yeast notes, grapes, pears, green apples, and some spices. The taste is malty, a nice sweetness, yeasty, with some nice tangy fruits. Medium body. Very Drinkable, this is a fine brew.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces an almost three-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a bright, dark gold color that shows a brilliant, perfectly clear (mechanically so even), gold hue with copper highlights when held up to the light. Interesting, in a wincing sort of way, I completely wasn't expecting that, but I actually don't know if I dislike it. The beer smells sort of funky, like a ripe, buttery cheese and a second look has me convinced that this is actually the aromas of the grapes used in this beer; it is a touch catty, somewhat like crushed, still green weeds (to messy to be just grass) and spicy like milk-weed backed by phenolic cloves, some woody pepper and a spiciness that seems characteristic of oak (is this aged in oak, I hadn't thought so). The nose on this is very, very interesting, I am still not quite sure what to think of it, but I am still intrigued.

Lightly sweet tasting at the first sip and it definitely tastes of grapes, funky Sauvignon like flavors some Gewurztraminer acidity along with notes of lime, perhaps a touch of tropical fruit, kiwi notes as well as some grassiness. This has more flavors from grapes than it does from the beer-derived ingredients. The yeast probably plays the biggest secondary role with notes of clove, some warming-spicy alcohol, a touch of ginger and an earthiness that tastes quite a bit like coriander and it also brings out much of the grape flavors noted before. Malt? I am not sure that this plays much of a role here, there is some pale malt character in the middle as well as a touch of cracker like grain, but both of these are subtle next to the expressive grape character. As the beer warms up more of the pale malt presence becomes noticeable. The body of this is not heavy considering the strength, it does have some viscosity to it and it has enough heft to be felt on the tongue; not light by any means, but also not thick or rich.

This will definitely be an interesting one to age. I am really not too sure what to think of this; it certainly is not bad, but the heavy grape focus seems a bit out of place. Despite not really liking the flavors and aromas here, they are so interesting that I am intrigued enough to keep on drinking this and figuring out what is going on; this is a fairly complex beer, it has a lot going on & it is making my head a bit fuzzy (so it can't be all that bad). In the end I'll just have to simply call this beer an experience!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brenda picked this up at the COOP for me this evening... Poured into my Sierra Nevada XXX goblet after a hellishly long day behind the desk... Shared a bit with the Brother until he retired.

1" white head dies back very quickly.. flimsy splotchy cap... the brew is a polished honey golden.. lacing sorta drapes as the beer drops in the glass... good... I guess.

Nose is dry and pretty phenolic.. lite pear with something that I guess is chamomile .. mellow clove and hints of coriander. Alot of stuff going on that seems to play and mesh well... background floral and whaffs of ripe apple with warmth.

Flavor shows quite a bit of spicy elements up front and dissolves into musky notes that I associate with dry Rieslings (grapes I assume) ... finish has minor banana esters along with the above dry pear.. sorta cider like but with a nice Belgian smack.. I like how this melds right now, but I think will get better... I am definitely digging it fresh from the fridge... a bit "minty", no other way to describe it.

Interesting... Nice turn around from the 999... I would have liked and think some hints of fruity hoppiness would have made this one a home run out of the gate.. That said, this is pretty elegant right now and a brew deserving of a big balloon.

11-11-11 and 12-12-12 .. Traditional Quad and Blueberry/Huckleberry Sour is my request.


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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber shared with a friend. Pours a clear yellow with a bone white head that doesn't retain very well. In the aroma, sweet and champagne like. This also pulls through in the taste, with grapes, belgian yeast and a kiss of hops. The finish is dry and clean. 10.10.10 hides its strength fairly well, but honestly I am looking forward to what this will do with some time in the cellar, as it was slightly hot. A decent beer as it is now, and one that should age gracefully.

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Photo of yourefragile
2.2/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle.

Pours a clear, flat golden color with a clear bubbly head. Aroma of watery grape juice, lemon and chamomile tea. Flavor is horrendous. Flat, watery grape juice with a teaspoon of sugar steeped on a day old tea bag. Syrupy and flat with a tingly finish. Why me?

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Photo of plaid75
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a wine grapes, a champagne yeast elect and some esters.

The taste consisted of bright sharp esters and a crisp noble hop. Some residual sugars apparent as well.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a decent ale. Better ones out there though.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a light amber with a mild wispy white head. No lace, fair head retention.

S: Perfumy nose (Muscat?) with grapes and chamomile flowers, pungent, with hints of honeysuckle.

T: There is a Belgian yeasty estery upfront which is nice. After that the grapes really come out, particularly the Gewurztraminer which I'm a fan of since I love Alsatian whites. Lychee fruit is the classic flavour with some orange melon (cantaloupe) and Santa Claus melon. Quite an interesting flavour, very fruity but not too sweet, the hops come in on the back end and give a very drying effect.

M: Medium-bodied, lightly carbonated but frothy, quite smooth, fruity aftertaste.

D: I really like the French white wine grape introduction here. Gewurztraminer was upfront, the Muscat was also clear but not as dominant. The Sauvignon Blanc I'm still trying to find. But anyways, it's a fun beer to delve into, tasty for sure. A marriage of Northern French wine and Belgian beer, it makes perfect sense. It will be intriguing to see how this beer is in 2012; I really have no idea how it will age, but I'm looking forward to it.

December 2012 Edit - A markedly different beer here than fresh. This has gotten very flowery on the nose with the essence of Muscat. Still a bit too much sugar/cloying flavour; I'd like to age this a little bit longer. In the end I like what we have here, it's certainly more balanced than fresh, all the distinct flavours have integrated. The overt grape flavours have certainly died down.

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Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden beer with a medium sized white head.

Smells malty with a fruity wine aroma. Little bit of coriander and honeysuckle. There is a white wine smell here; mostly I am picking up peach and roses from it.

Starts out sweet with a strong wine flavor and hop bitterness in the finish. There is a distinct sourness to this beer, nothing like an enamel stripping chardonnay but there nonetheless. Sweet then sour then bitter describes the sensation. Mostly this is grape and lemon flavored but the mix of beer and wine flavors is weird.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Not sure I like this. The mix of wine and beer elements confuses my mouth and brain a bit. This is without a doubt a unique beer flavor. This is a beer you just have to taste and decide for yourself if you like it.

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Photo of John_M
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's yesterday.

The beer pours a solid gold color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is impressive, showcasing considerable honey and perfumy hops, with an underlying sweet grape flavor that is intriguing. The flavor profile replicates the nose, though is more complex and interesting than expected. The moderate sweetness is countered very nicely by some considerable hoppy bitterness in the finish, but I also get some interesting canned peaches and apricot flavor as well. Mouthfeel is fairly full, though not at all heavy or tiring on the palate. This beer is actually pretty light on its feet for the abv., and drinkability is pretty good. I think the level of hoppiness I get in this beer helps considerably in that regard, as it keeps this beer from becoming overly cloying or boozy.

At least for me, I thought this one of the better and more interesting vertical epic beers I've had in a while.

Edit from 3/15/13. I tasted this beer again during a recent Vertical Epic event at Pacific Coast Brewing. While still pretty good, my current tasting notes and scores were considerably below what I previously gave this beer. There was a lot more tropical fruit in the beer I tasted at PCB (in 2/13), and the beer was sweeter with very little hoppy bitterness showing. Still nice, but I think this beer probably needs to be drunk up.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: rich, light-golden hue with a bit of haze and a thin layer of white foam. Not bad, but not really all that exceptional.

Smell: light, malty aroma with subtle fruit characteristics. Pear and apple mingle with a light woodiness to create an interesting and appealing smell.

Taste: surprisingly dynamic and flavorful! Up front, the fruit hits you right away: especially the pear. As the sweetness subsides, a citrusy, nicely bitter finish pulls through and the beer reveals itself as remarkably balanced. I quite like it.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation; this beer manages a good creaminess despite its lack of apparent effervescence.

Drinkability: I think this beer's particular flavor characteristics render it very drinkable indeed, especially for a beer of this ABV. A beer better than the sum of its parts.

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Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.75 out of 5 based on 954 ratings.
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