Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

very good
958 Ratings
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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Ratings: 958 |  Reviews: 477
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 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 rfgetz
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed golden straw, cap of dense yet frothy white head, decent lacing. Scent is big on Belgian yeasts with underlying notes of tart and vinous fruit. Taste starts off with a strong yeasty profile and moves into a wine like presence very quickly. Medium bodied, slightly spritzy, dry finish. Interesting combination that doesn't do much wrong, but doesnt work fantastically together.

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Photo of bum732
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Heavy belgian yeast spices, clove and cinnamon, even a slight smoky aspect, chamomile, herbal.

L: Slight hazy goldent yellow, not much head.

T: Sweet pilsner malt with a good belgian yeast flavor profile. Some vinious notes contribute to the sweetness. Wine slightly come through in the end. Solid pronounced bitterness leading to dryness. Winey sweetness without being sweet.

M: Medium-full bodied, slightly slick with medium to medium-high carbonation. Alcohol slightly present, warming.

An interesting beer. I didn't think the wines contributed too much, especially compared to Otter Creeks wine beer with was very vinous. Kind of messy and a little much, interesting but not sure i would try again.

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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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Photo of kaitrin
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz. Bottle.

Smell: Right up front is strong belgian yeast with a dry but oaky white wine grape underneath, slight tangerine zest lays between the yeast and white wine grape. Alcohol is also very present on the nose.

Appearance: beautiful clear orange/gold/copper, pours with a one inch head, that dissipates quickly, to a slightly soapy head. The lacing is minimal to none, but the little that there is, is blotchy.

Taste: Initially, belgian yeast, followed by a strong oak flavor, a very alcohol forward chardonnay follows, with a back palate bitterness. the beer stays on the top palate, with very little lower palate feel. The finish is quick and very dry, with bitter aspects of an oaky chard, and the heat of alcohol comes last in the throat. I find there to be a residual oiliness, for mouthfeel.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.01/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - One finger white head left no lacing on the sides. A cloudy, light golen color, pretty opaque. Solid looking.

S - Some light hops, strong belgian yeast, sour grapes. The chamomile is quite present.

T - Not a huge fan. Tastes a little sour, but more of a lactic sour than a good sour. Assuming it is kind of a grape sourness. A lot of camomile with some floral notes, and a big yeast presence.

M - Lighter bodied, decent carbonation bite.

D - Not particularly high on the drinkability scale. I am not a huge fan of this beer, sad as I was quite the fan of 09.09.09.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.11/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass. Served slightly chilled and allowed to come to room temperature.

Appearance: Golden yellow in color and mostly clear. A little sediment forms at the bottom of my second pour. One finger white fizzy head that recedes pretty quickly.

Aroma: Some strong floral notes from the chamomile and the hops. A touch of sweetness detectable from the grapes in teh background. The hops and chamomile really overwhelm here though.

Taste: The first sip is all chamomile. Very floral, almost like scented soap. The hops also add to that but offer some nice bitterness. The grapes really shine more as I drink more. Nice white grape sweetness. The chamomile and hops keep it from being cloying. However, the chamomile really just plays too much of a role for my tastes and dominates the other notes.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light bodied with a slight dry finish.

Drinkability: I really thought that I wouldn't be able to finish the whole bottle after the first sip, but it got more drinkable as I went along. Even so, and with the alcohol really well hidden, I would still only call this average drinkability.

Overall, an interesting take on a belgian ale, but the chamomile really overpowered everything else for me. It became too floral and really overshadowed the grapes, which should have been the star. It really did drink smooth and I'm curious what aging will do to the balance of chamomile and grapes.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours golden with a fizzy, bright white head.

S-Lemon zest, Belgian yeast, white grape juice, musty, and somewhat metallic.

T-Belgian yeast really stands out, as well as white wine flavors, some mustiness, and a metallic flavor that for me was not pleasant. I could also detect some alcohol.

M-Seemed over carbonated.

D-Not that drinkable. I split a bomber with some friends and wouldn't care to drink more than my share due to the almost overwhelming metallic flavor.

Overall, this was a disappointing beer for me. I wouldn't drink it again.

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

A step or 2 darker then gloden. Sweet, honey like aroma with a mix of earthy yeast. Somewhat sweet, flowery flavors upfront. Almost a honey like quality to it. Mild spiciness. Lingering sticky sweetness. Could be a tad drier overall. Very smooth bodywise-I was expecting it to be a bit boozy. Dangerously drinkable. Might be a tad sweet in places overall but that really does not detract from the beer.

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

Not sure what I expected with this one but it wasn't this, tastes good though Pours light honey color with an off white head. Smells grapish. Taste starts out grape and gets a malty finish that is pretty smooth. Its one that goes down very easily. I could sip on simillar beer all evening.

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Photo of beertunes
3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a hazy straw yellow, with just the thinnest cap of white head that had no retention or lacing.

The aroma was (especially for Stone) surprisingly benign. A little grain, a bit of yeast, a touch of fruit and a trace of hops. Could Stone be discovering subtlety and balance? On the tongue, the wine/grape flavor hits the front while the grain and yeast coat the the back.

The body was very good, could have been a touch fuller though, for my preference. Drinkability was very good for a 10% brew, but one 22 at a time will be enough for me.

Overall, I liked this beer a lot better than the numerical score shows and perhaps if I try it on tap I'll adjust my score. This brew is certainly worth trying and may be one of the VE's worth saving a few of.

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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 brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours hazy gold with a half inch head of white. A solid skim coat and some minor lacing remain throughout the glass.

Aromatics lead off with clovey phenols, lemon pith, and tannic grapeskins. Pears, apple juice, and honey-drizzeled biscuits follow through.

On the light side of medium bodied with a crisp, slightly tacky mouthfeel.

Tart lemon with appleskins, clove, and juniper start the palate. A very wine-like vineousity follows through along with hints of honey, peppercorns, and pear juice.

Finishes with a slight lemony tartness, solid bitterness, and cracked grains.

I like the fact the Stone isn't playing it safe with the VE's and I think this one will come into it's own after a year or so in the cellar.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap, served in an 8 oz wine glass

Pours a somewhat clear orange/bronze color with little to no head. Loads of bubbles forcing their way to the surface.

The nose is of white grapes, spice, herbs, flowers and even some pears. The bed of cracker-like pale malt allows all of these aromas to dance and play. The wine element seems to detract from this beer rather than enhance it.

Belgian spices are first and foremost with a hearty dose of biscuit/cracker-like malt. The fruits and flowery herbs come in through the middle before fading into a crisp, bitter, dry finish.

This guy has a light body and is highly carbonated, which works well with the style, but to me is a little too aggressive.

I found it to be drinkable considering the lighter nature of the beer as well as the pleasing fruity nature.

I honestly think the sample size was a little too small. I am looking forward to purchasing a bottle and taking my time with it at home. The 8oz glass at the bar didn't quite cut it for me.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle purchased somewhere local in MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" off-white head over the clear dusty golden brew. Head is promptly down to an uneven swirl, very leggy, with lasting lace. Aroma is spicy honey, with a crisp vinous tinge.

Taste follows the nose, with an almost syrupy sweet start, spicy fruitiness in the middle, and closes with a grape flavor that starts crisp but ends up lingering sweet, if that makes sense. Mouthfeel is soft, pretty smooth, and drinkability is alright. The grape that enticed in the nose just doesn't work for me in the taste. Maybe it'll meld together some over the next couple of years.

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Photo of Brad007
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mild blonde color with a one-finger head into my glass. Different style this year.

Aroma is full of spice with a slight hint of plum. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste is full of sweet malt with grassy hops and spiciness from the yeast. Kinda grabs ya by the wee-wee.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering spice and plum. Pleasant.

I don't see much here to rave about. It would look better in a vertical tasting. Just make sure you check the styles of each year before you compare them against each other.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A cellar temperature bottle was split between two pint glasses. Clear orange liquid contains a lot rising carbonation. The head is a touch off-white, large and foamy. It settled to a thin layer of foam and bubbles. Patchy lacing is left behind.

Belgian yeast, white grapes and coriander are all immediately noticeable in the nose. Some hints of lemon become apparent on closer inspection.

Pale malts make up a good base for this beer. A spiciness is tasted, probably caused by the coriander and grape additions. A slight citrus flavor appears as I swallow. Sweetness and a touch of bitterness lingers after I swallow.

This full bodied beer has a decent amount of carbonation. It leaves a sizable coat, but not a sticky one.

The spices and fruit added to this beer give it a unique flavor. I don't think I would order a second glass of this, one would be enough. I am glad I purchased a second bottle to try again once the entire series has been released.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My last night of tastings. Sad really, now I will have to wait an entire month before I get to indulge in such things again. But what can you do, figured I would go out with a bang and hit up these new ones and get them off the list and out of the fridge. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, these were consumed on 11/18/2010.

I had heard mixed things about this one so I was anxious to try it on for myself. The pour was an ice light and cloudy amber color with a decent amount of haze to it and a nice three inches of head that came up and over the top, settling down and leaving a good amount of lacing. Aroma of light spice, peach, pear and a hint of herbal flower notes that seem to come across quite nicely, though a touch light. Nice light body and clean finish has all the touches of a nice strong Belgian pale. Light yeast, smooth and even flavors mingled together quite nicely I have to say. Light dry finish with a touch of grape and pear was just about dead on.

Overall not bad at all, nothing overwhelming but I think it works quite nicely in the scheme of things.

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

On tap at BSP, Decatur, GA. Served in a nonic.

Appearance: A clear crystalline golden copper, capped by one finger of fuzzy, soapy head, lightly tanned though mostly a dull white. The retention isn't fantastic, though, but there are occasional dollops and blotches of glittery runny side lace left in its wake. Carbonation rising to a speckled, mottled surface is sparse and minimal, though a soapy, sudsy collar does persist through, large-bubbled and oddly disuniform.

Aroma: Tart grape notes are large, as are a bunch of simply sweet, slightly crackery pale malt notes. Belgian spice isn't far behind, with the obligatory clove and coriander providing the necessary one-two to back up the grapes and tropical fruits, almost all above the range of peach. Fairly complex, if not expertly made.

Taste: Crisp pale golden malts and biscuity, wheat-like, and dry honey overtones mix with a slew of Belgian spices, cloves, coriander, and star anise. Tropical fruits are also estery and strong, a little syrupy but not overwhelmingly so - orange, nectarine and tangerine, peach, and persimmon (not to mention a classic banana note) all mingle well with a tart, quenching white grape note. The whole thing is a little tart, a little sweet, a little spicy, a little wholesome ... and a lot well-made.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, light, and even initially, though it becomes eruptive with even mild in-mouth agitation, it comes close at points to approximating that envious Belgian pillow-esque feel, and though it never quite gets there, its nice on the whole.

Drinkability: I'm less harsh on this beer than it seems many people are. Are people expecting more as we move along? I found this one crisp, refreshing, and enjoyable, and though it was nothing groundbreaking - and the 9.5% is gettin' up there - it was solid nonetheless. Tentative recommendation.

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Photo of punkrkr27
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden pour with a 1-finger, white head. The aroma is sweet, musty, and yeasty with lots of boozy fruit notes, bubblegum esters, banana bread, and a strong vinous note from the grapes. The flavor is sweet and yeasty upfront with lots of bready malt, some honey, and a hearty dose of Belgian esters. The finish is heavily influenced by the grapes and has a very dry, tart, white wine character with some herbal and floral notes lingering in the aftertaste. The body is sticky, medium full with lots of effervescent carbonation.

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Photo of crossovert
3.89/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle.

It pours an amazing color. It is a peachy orange with the slightest hint of rose. It is crystal clear. The head is foamy and white and leaves some nice lacing as it recedes.

The smell is typical Belgian pale, fruity esters, some spice, sweetness. There is an extra bit of earthiness in this one.

The flavor is where this one gets interesting. It is noticeably grapey and vinous. It has a nice dryness, but it is nicely bodied. The grapes add a slight bit of tartness but mostly an earthy fruitiness. It is sweet, but never too much so, the slight tartness helps ot balance it out somewhat. It is a persistent flavor, however. There is a certain spiciness that takes over in the aftertaste.

This is a good one, I have kind of ignored the other Vertical Epic ales and maybe I shouldn't have, this one is pretty good.

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Photo of philbe311
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A Belgian Style Ale brewed with rye... I'm intrigued...

A - A finger and a half worth of big chunky slightly off white head... Minimal retention gives way to a completely uneven and varied lacing, thick in some areas, a thin veil in others, with a full rich collar... The color is an interesting combination of bright gold and orange... A unique pale granny smith green presents itself when backlit... Very tiny bubbles form a tight spiral in the center of the tulip that rise rapidly... Other wise some sporadic moderate paced carbonation throughout...

S - An intoxicating belgian yeast strain... Golden raisins... Honey... Sweet grapes... Wheat and grains... Faint mandarin oranges... A subdued muskiness...

T - Starts slightly sweet... Grapes... Raisins... Apple... The the Belgian yeast and the spiciness of triticale kicks in... The finish is of tart grapes and tannins...

M - Sharp... Dense... Medium bodied... Mildly lush... Prickly carbonation... A dry and slightly puckering tart finish...

D - A unique take on the Belgian Strong Pale Ale style... The ante is raised by the addition of both sweet and spicy notes... No real complaints though the components to meld the way I was hoping... Tasty, but nothing too memorable... I do however applaud the effort...

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Photo of magnj
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Light golden orange body is hazy, little head.

S - Extremely complex. Fruity, hint of Belgian yeast, somewhat sweet, almost a little licorice. With so many ingredients it's kind of hard to identify, but smells nice. More inviting than a typical Tripel for me.

T - Right up front it's kind of tart, the grapes take a big role. The chamomile is also detectable, of course it's hard to tell which ingredient is lending what flavors.

M/D - Thin to medium body, ends dry. As drinkable as any other in the style. Interesting, not sure how it will age, but worth a shot.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.1/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought this despite the negative press that it's got.

Pouring a clear, golden orange, this is almost like a Dortmunder. There's a thin, white head that falls off quite fast, leaving no real lacing. Decent

The nose is interesting. Right off the bat, the grapes are apparent, along with some spice and alcohol. There's a little clove, some ginger, and a malt sweetness isn't particularly noticeable apart from some sugar that's present. I'm torn on this, it isn't particularly attractive, but it isn't repulsive either. Overly simple while having a moderately noticeable yeasty spiciness, this is decent.

The palate opens with a little grape juice, alcohol and c love. This really is pushing the boundaries, it almost is some hybrid between a mixed drink with cheap vodka and malt liquor. As harsh as that might sound, this beer isn't terrible. Again, a little ginger appears, on the mid-palate. The grapes are definitely noticeable, both early on and on the finish, with a moderate level of flavor present. However, there are no tannins whatsoever here, I wonder if they used juice instead of whole grapes? The bottle mentions chamomile, I can't say I get much of it here. Mildly sweet on the finish, there's a spicy, alcoholic character as well. Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation, it's mild creamy. Decent, I can't really imagine what benefit age would have on this.

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Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.75 out of 5 based on 958 ratings.
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