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: 957
Photo of maxwelldeux
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Draught at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh. Pours a mostly clear amber color with a smallish white head on it. Nose is fruity and quite sweet with an almost sugar-like quality to it. Taste is actually a bit sour, but definitely fruity. Feels a bit thick and heavy on the tongue (that’s what she said). Very interesting.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, light golden color with minor lacing on top of a light, appley pear smell as well as some orange and a yeast twang and hop bitterness. A very flavorful if not dry citric hop taste w/ clove and a sweet fruit tart flavor like apple, grape and there's some orange. A residual sticky caramel malt passes over my tongue as well and has a nice dry finish. W/ the ABV kept down on the tongue this beer balances well and is quite enjoyable.
***After first review on 11/19/10 when this was "fresh, had again but this time via an almost three year aged bottle and the brew holds up quite qell. Differences from the first time having it include the aging bringing out the wine and grape notes more and the beer is a little bit more boozy as well as some of the sweetness is powerful.. Has a strong, tart finish so I really had to sip this because it started to hit me hard.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
4.28/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

VE 10.10.10!!!

Pours out a slightly hazy, golden-orange, decent carbonation and 2 fingers of a white head.

The aroma has huge notes of white grape, some lemon zest, fruity esters, some orange peel, a bit of an herbal quality with some slight banana and clove in the mix. Smells a bit like wine.

The taste is also packed with a ton of white grape and grape skin right away. There are some floral and herbal notes as well, followed by some banana, but very light on the clove. There is some of that lemon zest and a hint of orange peel too. The Belgian yeast notes are kinda light in this. There is some decent bitterness on the backend.

The body is light-medium and there is a nice creamy mouthfeel. The ABV is so hidden I couldn't tell this was 9.5%. No taste, smell or feel of alcohol. Very easy to drink.

This is a really nice take on the Belgian-style Pale Ale. I never had it fresh, so I don't know if it improved with age, but it's drinking very good right now.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a lightly hazy deep golden yellow to copper in color with some moderate orange + lemon yellow highlights, moderate amounts of visible carbonation, and just a touch of visible yeast sediment in the bottom of the glass. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy white head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of lemon citrus along with light aromas of spicy yeast, some spices, and just a hint of tartness.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of pale malts with distinctive Belgian yeast and spices (clove and black pepper). There is a moderate amount of tartness with some light vinous notes almost like it had been aged in white wine barrels.

M: Heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Significant amounts of dryness.

O: Having tried this when it first came out, I think it improved quite a bit with age and was pretty excited to find it on tap (since I was not writing reviews when it came out initially). I found it easy to drink and thought that the tartness really improved this one.

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Photo of obywan59
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Pours a golden to coppery color into the glass giving 1 finger of quickly receding white head. Carbonation bubbles rising from the center of the glass. Minimal lacing.

Lenony Belgian aromas and just a whiff that was lightly metallic. A bit spicy, faint chamomile.

Lemony again. Reminiscent of a semi-dry white wine. Spicy Belgian yeast and alcohol. Some faint bitterness in the end. One swig seemed to have a bit of horsey character.

Medium-light. Very drying on the tongue. Some alcohol burn in the throat.

I liked this. The lemony characteristics might make for a good atypical summer sampling. A bit thicker than most summer brews, though. One to take a bit of time with.


Appearance is the same, except this time I get a 3 1/2 finger head

No metallics this time, but add doughy bread, almost reminiscent of canned sweet corn at times.

Taste seems even more vinuous this time with a decidedly tart aspect.

Seems less drying than before, I certainly wouldn't say "very drying". There's still plenty of bite from the carbonation as well.

I'm knocking the taste up to a 4.25 from a 4.0, and the mouthfeel to a 3.75 from a 3.5 . In my opinion, this beer, like the '09, has improved.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale (opened 17 March 2013), opens to a sweet Belgian nose, full of the typical banana and clove notes, but with additional layers of sweet flowers (think rose petal), honeysuckle, white pepper, rye bread, caramel, and an assortment of fruit esters, including orange, apricot, berry, cherry, and even a touch of pineapple. The sugars in here are very pronounced, the cherry and berry mixing especially well with the banana, forming hard candy aromas. Grains add an additional base layer of floury baguette, toast crust, and biscuit. Hops add a touch of lemon and sweet pink grapefruit, as well as a smidgen of pine. As a whole, the nose is excellent, full of flowers and sweet sugars, with just enough of a countering peppery bread and piney hop layer to keep the beer from being cloying. The result is a delicate, but surprisingly potent aroma that takes the natural Belgian notes and amplifies and catalyzes them into a delicious mélange that begs to be sipped.

On the tongue, the beer opens with, again the typical Belgian banana and clove notes, just a touch sour, but quickly adds to these a lovely layer of sugars, including orange, berry, cherry, and apricot fruit esters, as well as honeysuckle, candi sugar, and wildflower honey. There's also a strong touch of white grape juice and red grape skins, which add to the slight sourness. The grains bring in touches of white pepper and rye bread (from the triticale, I’d guess), as well as floury baguette, toast crust, and biscuit. Hops bring in a bit of lemon and sweet pink grapefruit, as well as pine. The profile is mainly geared toward the sweet end of the scale, but there’s a surprisingly strong peppery note in here that mixes well with everything, mingling nicely with the cloves and breads. The 9.5% ABV is very nicely masked, and it says much of the beer that subsequent sips do little to change the overall flavor. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main flavors, with a little more sourness and piney, lemony hops, and lingers on the tongue for a good while. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, even after over two years of bottle aging.

Overall, this is a very nice beer, and a worthy addition to Stone’s Epic series, taking what would be, by itself, a very nice Belgian and ramping it up with a series of very nicely blended and well-balanced flavors. This is a beer that would find a welcome reception as an annual release, and, if you can find it, is well worth trying.

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Photo of hayesjw
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - burnt yet light saffron color.

S - citrus with gentle warm spices found in a California late coastal summertime.

T - tangy golden ripe juice with refreshing grape.

M - rounded full body with a crisp finish.

S - if i were a bee, it might be a luxurious early morning dance between honeysuckle and yuzu flower tasting nectar?

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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 MadScientist
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark golden with brillant clarity. The white head dissipates fairly quickly but never doesn't completely go away leaving a thin film on top along with a ring of soapy bubbles around the outside of the glass.

S: The aroma is of grape and pepper with a bit of a wine-like note. Some of the moderately-light peppery aroma is coming from the Gewurztraminer grapes along with the balacne from the Belgian yeast. The fruitiness of the yeast is there but it blends with the light fruit aromas of the wine grapes.

T: The grapes a really showcased in the flavor year there is still a good malt presence and some hops bitterness. There is a moderate amount of spice. The balance is slightly towards the bitter but there is a light amount of sweetness that seems to be grape derived. The finish is moderately dry with a wine-like aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with moderately-strong carbonation and a bit crisp on the palate.

O: There beer taste about the way I had imagined the blend of a white wine and Belgian Strong would taste. It's drinking pretty well now and can age for several more years to come.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the aged 22 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on February 23, 2013.

It pours a highly carbonated amber color with a small head and a little lacing.

The aroma is pretty solid with Belgian yeast, Belgian candied sugar, baked pale malts, and toffee. Not as pungent as I might have expected but it is three years old.

The body is smooth and medium-full.

The taste has a decent roastiness to it along with bread and a low bitterness. While I did enjoy this I was not able to try it when it was fresh in 2010 so I expect time has mellowed this one.

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Photo of Treebs
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a little white head forming on the pour. Some splotches of lace left behind on the glass.

S: White grapes with some tartness and flowery hops. White bread malts with a touch of sweetness.

T: Grape soda sweetness with some bubblegum flavors. Sweet stone fruit with some cereal grain malt. Flowery hand lotion. Well hidden booze.

M: Surprisingly light bodied with 9.5%. Medium carbonation level.

O: One of the better ones of the series. The grapes added another layer of flavor to up the complexity and slight enjoyment.

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Photo of Doppelbockulus
4.16/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into the Vertical Epic Glass.

Pours a crystal clear gold with a few light bubble streams rising from the bottom.

The smell is mildly acidic and slightly funky, and it also is weak.

The flavor has had an exciting evolution. I had it fresh, and it was good, after one year it wasn't so good, but now after two years it is really good. It is tart with a medium sweetness like some of the sweet white wines I have had. The grape character is similar to that of a dry muscadine wine.

It has a pretty clean feel with a light tingle and mild tannic character.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.64/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-golden amber color with a nice white head and good lacing

S-sweet malt, yeast, hint of lemon and pepper

T-sweet malt, lemongrass, yeasty bread, pepper, slight bitterness

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, crisp

O-OK but not compelling flavor profile, drinkable but not something I would seek out

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Photo of brewtus
2.71/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear orangish with a small quick fading head

Smells like apple, don't get too much else.

Tastes like Carmel apple, weird. Slightly sour, slightly malty, missing the hops.

Overall I liked the idea of drinking this, really disappointed in the beer, I love Belgian IPAs but I don't get the IPA favors at all, no hops, no pine, only a little bit of citrus. To be fair this may have been a storage issue since I picked it off shelves in December of 2012. I hate rating a stone so low, but this didn't do it for me.

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Photo of SeamusDoyle
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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.

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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 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 superspak
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, obvious bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a small fairly dense off white head with decent retention, that reduces to a ring of lacing that eventually reduces to nothing. Slight spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of apple, pear, grape, floral, herbal, honey, bread, candi sugar, earth, chamomile, and light yeast spiciness. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of grape, pear, apple, honey, floral, earth, bread, chamomile, candi sugar, herbal, and light yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of light fruits, honey, candi sugar, floral, earth, chamomile, bread, and light yeast spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Solid flavor balance and complexity; with some light cloying sweetness present on the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a pretty good Belgian strong pale ale. A bit too cloyingly sweet, but has some solid balance and complexity; and is very smooth to sip on. A fairly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of rudzud
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a 07-12.

A - Poured into a palm tulip a crystal clear light golden hue with a quarter inch head that faded to leave nothing really....thin wisps.

S - Aromas of esters, booze, and sweet malts.

T - Taste is like the nose with nice esters, faint banana and Belgian yeasts. Solid.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated for the style, sharp and enjoyable.

O - Overall this was a solid Belgian pale strong with nice ester characteristics . Subtle herbal notes here tasty and good aroma.

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

A - Oours with a small head of white foam on top of a hazy, golden body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves no lace.

S - A spicy aroma of coriander, lemongrass, pepper, and pineapple.

T - Thick malt and fruity yeast up front. Some spicy notes of pepper, coriander, and chamomile in the middle and a finish full of fruit juice.

M - Medium thick body, average carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Pungent and fruity this seems like it is as fresh as the day it was made. It anything, time has brought the fruity character more to the front. Nicely done.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: no head really on a golden body with orange hue. Boring overall.

S: citrus including tangerine, orange dominate with some belgian yeast, breads, chardonnay.

T: oramge, green apple, belgian yeast, herbal notes, light peppercorn.

M: chewy, medium to thick body with light to moderate carbonation. oily, coating the palate with semi dry finish.

Overall: very fruity and easy to drink. Nice sweet and tart balance. Has maintained very well over the years. One of the better of these I have tried.

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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 RaulMondesi
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sippin' on dis bad boy at Downtown Johnny Browns in San Diego, CA.

Not to into the bubblicious white wine notes, but Raul is still intrigued. As Raul sip it, he like it. But at the same time, Raul not too into it. Ya feel me?

Raul says, 'aite,' but also, 'wuteves.'

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Photo of portia99
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a Vertical Epic glass.

A - Pours a golden color with hints of orange with good clarity and very light sediment - low white head.

S - Very boozy aroma, some sugary sweetness, oranges and touch of fruity/grapey aromas.

T - Grape juice, sugar, honey, light hops, spicy cloves.

M - Medium body with a light/medium carbonation

O - Nice Belgian pale ale, lighter body and quite boozy with keeps this from being much of a quick drinker...especially 8 beers into the vertical.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is going to definitely be the oldest beer I've cellered so far that I've opened to date. Poured into a chalice from a 22oz bomber. This is definitely over 2 years old in age at this point.

Pours a orange amber color unlike probably any beer I've seen before. It seems that the white wine grapes have really done their job here, as well as any spices and chamomile that was added to this beer. Starts with a tiny head that fizzles almost immediately, which is not something I've seen in aged Belgian style beers, even those over a year or 1.5 years old. The alcohol leggings are pretty high on this one, and by the time all the bubbles die down, it looks like a combo of an amber ale and a white wine, which is probably exactly what Stone intended here.

The aroma at this point seems to have matured and diversified in ways that probably wouldn't have been present in a fresh batch of this (not that I would know anyways), yet there is a surprisingly tarty aroma in this one, combined with notes of pear, lemon, and apple cider. Not too many grapes or yeastiness, but I assume the tart/lemongrass combo is a byproduct of the aging process involving them. There's a delicate sweetness that arises from the alcohol, but if this was slightly more alcoholic, I could've been fooled into thinking this was a dry variety of white wine if not told that this was beer.

The taste is equally tarty and apple like, with very few characteristics that resemble beer, let alone wine at the same time. No hops to speak of, barely any maltiness, and the white grapes seemed to have faded into syrupy, sugary texture that is complex yet perhaps over-sweetened to my liking. The apple and tart flavors are pretty good here, but the alcohol finish is rather strong, and combined with said sweetness is a little dizzying. Despite any flaws in the flavor (nicely sour yet too sweet), there's a smooth refined texture that I've never before had in a beer before, and it's quite a breeze to drink. It has the flavors of wine without the acidity! This seems to get better when brought to room temperature.

Well, this was definitely a fascinating, experimental take on the Belgian style, and the 10.10.10's wine-like characteristics are wholly remarkable. I definitely could do without the excess sweetness, but my personal bias against muscats and Gewürztraminer grapes is definitely showing here. I should have paired this with spicy food (maybe Thai or Vietnamese) to remove the harshness. Recommended for white wine and cider fans... If you can get your hands on one by now!
After-note: For those who still do, I HIGHLY recommend pouring some yeastiness into the glass. It won't look as pretty, but it tastes far more fruity and feels more full-bodied that way. Hooray for yeast!

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Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.75 out of 5 based on 957 ratings.
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