10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale
Very Good
958 Ratings
10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale10.10.10 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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 958 |  Reviews: 476
Photo of Axic10
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Light orangish with a finger of foam that settles down quickly to a thin layer on top.

Smell: Belgian yeast, some wine notes from the grapes, coriander, some warming spice.

Taste: Belgian yeast, coriander and spices, then the grapes give it a slightly dry, subdued aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and carbonated nicely.

Drinkability: I'm not a huge fan of this style (I'll drink it, but I often over look it) but this is a decent (yet interesting) example of it. I have another bottle that I'm saving for my mini vertical 08-12, so I'll definitely drink it again.

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Photo of DNICE555
2.56/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On tap at Eli's. I noticed it was a Belgian Strong Ale and I almost didn't order it but I love stone. A 12oz pour of a pretty clear orange body with some remnants of head by the time it got to me. Smell that funky Belgian Yeast. Gross. Smells like a big girl sitting around me has a yeast infection. Tastes just like it smells. I get some nice spices and the faint hint of some hops but as with most Belgians the yeast funk is overwhelming and make me wanna throw the glass at the bar. This is about as drinkable as a cup of apple juice with grain alcohol poured in it.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.03/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Pours a clear orange with a head that dissipates almost instantly. Zero lacing. Strong aroma of spices. This beer smells a lot like wine. Floral aromas as well. Taste is more of that wine flavor. Also a lot of spices and floral flavors. I know the Vertical Epic Series is made for aging so I hope this one tastes better with some age on it because right now it's a flowery, winey mess. If you buy 1 throw it in the cellar because fresh is not worth your time.

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Photo of morningthief
4.32/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Watou chalice.

Appears a pale orange, almost the definition of golden. A vigorous pour yields a fleeting puffy white head, with little lacing to speak of.

Smells of familiar Belgian yeasts, some funk, white grapes, and when I get really down into it, some nice vanilla. Yet still, I'm looking for more here and coming up average.

The taste, however, is unexpectedly great. Everything about this beer prior to the point of contact indicates an average brew, but this is far from average. Belgian yeasts dominate up front, and quickly give way to an exceptional floral explosion. Finish is malty and bready and pleasant.

Like most Belgians, this one is heavy on the carbonation, and yet is very pleasant on the tongue. As it warms, it becomes reminiscent of a sparkling white wine (in a good way!). Alcohol is present, but not a bit overwhelming.

10.10.10. is an great offering in a series of understandably hit or miss brews. While I am often quick to judge Stone harshly, this one deserves mucho praise. As a light-bodied, deceptively alcoholic drink, I would not hesitate to pair this with any meal for which a white wine would normally suffice.

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Photo of Tilley4
2.81/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into my Chimay goblet and this ones looking cloudy and yeasty.. A pale golden with a surprisingly small head...

Lots of yeast present in the aromas... Also a super strong vinous aspect... Almost like a wine mixed with a Belgian... Slight spiciness perhaps but mostly lots of wine aromas.. Pretty disappointing....

Lots of vinousness present in the tastes as well... Almost overpowering actually... There is some yeastiness and spiciness as well but they definitely take a backseat to the grapes used here....

I wasn't crazy about this one.... Perhaps with some time it will blend together better but as of now it just didn't do it for me...

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Photo of BarrelO
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into a goblet.

A: Light orange body. Head isn't as vigorous as I would have expected.

S: Largely vinous and floral.

T: Phenolic notes from the yeast. Vinousness from the grapes. Floral notes from the chamomile. Prickly alcohol. The flavors start out as distinct, but they blend together better as the beer warms up.

M: Medium-bodied. I would have liked to see more carbonation.

D: Stone's Belgian-style offerings haven't really impressed me. For the most part, they strike me as more interesting than good. Unfortunately, this one is no exception.

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bomber (22oz) served in an oversized wineglass.

pours a clear, bright golden tone with a quickly receding finger of off-white head; spotty lacing. great color but docked points on the lack of head retention.

nose is a nice and interesting potpourri of white grapes, a big florally presence, spices, and some belgian yeast.

hmm, unique and rather tasty flavor profile. white wine grapeness leading the way, accompanied by clove, chamomile, a very subtle note of funk, and a sweet, candied sugar presence. a touch of warming alcohol in the finish... enjoying this quite a bit.

medium-bodied/carbed mouthfeel and for my money very drinkable.

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Photo of Pahn
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch, fluffy and fizzy off-white head that dissipates quickly into a long lasting foam ring, leaving no lacing. Pours a clear light orange and leaves occasional spots of lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: pungent Belgian yeast and booze. In the glass: the same stinky (not necessarily in a bad way) barrage of yeast and booze, along with a kind of overly busy, grape-reminiscent aroma. It will take some sips or some time to make sense of this smell.

As the beer warms, Belgian yeast and booze remain dominant, but some chamomile and grape becomes detectable (along with the faintest hint of white wine). Remains somewhat indistinct.

Taste: First sip: smooth, very interesting array of flavors, leading to a hot alcohol finish. The nose said "garish and confusing," but the taste says "subtle yet bountiful." Cologny, citrusy, and vinous up front, with lots of intriguing grape flavors and random esters weaving in and out before the hot ending.

It's impossible to describe the flavor without mentioning the really exceptionally complex mouthfeel. There's an amazing blend of dryness, sweetness, bitterness, and full body that enhances the enjoyment of all these crazy flavors.

There's a tradition of pretty deep, complex beer going under the names of "Belgian Strong Pale Ale" or "Belgian Golden Ale" or "Belgian Tripel." There's also an expectation that kitchen sink beers (3 kinds of fresh wine grapes, *and* chamomile, what??) will yield both profound complexity and balance if they're not to be a waste of time and money. VE10.10.10 follows through on both accounts, rising to the tradition in which it participates. There's tons going on here, but it doesn't feel gimmicky or non-beer-like as Saison Du BUFF sometimes does. It's a masterful beer, delicately balancing more delicious flavors than I can keep track of.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied. Hot, dry, bitter, juicy, smooth; complex. Memorable.

Drinkability: This is a really classy sipper. The kind of beer that warrants sitting down and paying close attention while you drink.

Despite being an unabashed fan of Stone, I wasn't expecting a beer like this. I thought it would be very palatable, with some interesting color brought in by the extra ingredients; maybe a bit of a novelty, with decent flavors and the trademark Stone "take bold flavors and balance them." As it turns out, this is a very serious beer. The flavors are ambitious and abundant, and the mouthfeel is world class. This beer is a must try for fans of strong, complex Belgian ales.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
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 Rudgers73
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very clear, light-to-moderate carbonation. Not much for a head. It's a deep golden color. It smells like a fruity tripel. Definite belgian candi sugar, white grapes, earthy hops. The taste is very dense. Lots going on here. It has a classic tripel backbone, but the sweetness is sharply cut by the grape juice and the carbonation. I can't tell if it is the oak or the hops, but there is a big bitter undertone that makes it dry like wine. It is going to be interesting drinking another one of these in a couple of years to see where the tannin and alpha acid part ways. It should also have a much different mouthfeel when the carbonation dies a bit. I am guessing the next one I have will taste more rich and sweet.

overall decent tasting. I think it is a bit rough around the edges, but knowing Stone it might have been done with full intention.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Foothills tasting glass. Nice clear, almost lager like, body with a thin white head on top. Pale golden-orange tint to the body. Very little lacing. Head mostly dies.

Very Belgian-esque nose. Spices, floral chamomile with juicy white grapes. Quite aromatic with a hint of alcohol. Flowery and spicy with sweet malts. Enjoyable.

Wow, this is different. A barrage of flavors ending in white grape juice. Flowery, bitter, orange zest mixed with sweet golden malts. Some herbal hops. Not bad, but a bit muddled and almost juice like on the finish. Some alcohol comes through, but not as strong as the 08.08.08.

Mouthfeel has light, yet prickly carbonation. Body is on the lighter side but still substantial. Has some nice warming alcohol and a mixed juicy/bitterness on the finish.

Drinkability is a bit above average. Kind of an odd beer and the ABV is noticeable. Definitely a unique experience. If you like white grape juice and Belgian spice, then you'll probably like this beer quite a bit. Possibly a good beer to pair with pasta. I'm interested in seeing how this ages and will crack the second bottle on 12/12/12.

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Photo of abuliarose
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Foothills fluted pint glass. revealing clear amber body with lively bubbles under a loose white head that thins quickly. Smells like white grape juice and rye. Nice spicy notes, a little mellow wheat notes, some sweet polleny floral notes and some smooth citrus oil notes that don't identify with any fruit in particular.

Tastes very... very different. Grape presence is noticeable up front, followed by the distinct spiciness of the rye and a slight sweet medicinal quality that blends into the peppery smooth wheat finish. Carbonation is sharp and lends to the light body, adding some acidity. There's a lot going on here and I'm not sure if it's my thing on a regular basis, but it's an interesting try. Decently drinkable, but a sipper and a heavy-set one at that. I think if you like rye beers, this one off is more your thing. There are some lasting Belgian qualities to the flavor like the yeasty sweetness, but that extra kick really puts this beer out there.

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Photo of John_M
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
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 Brew33
1.9/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was very excited to try this beer, the description had my mouth watering. Drank this out of my Duvel tulip.

The color is a rich gold. Slightly carbonated apple juice. The aroma is odd to say the least. floral, a TON of Chamomile. Reminds me of GLBC Grassroots in the nose. Very herbal. Slight yeast aroma. Odd. The taste is a good reflection of the aroma. Odd herbaceousness. Off flavors. The grapes don't really make too much of a case for themselves. Completely out of whack. What I can say is the base beer seems too be okay, the additives ruin it. The one thing that is interesting is that you can taste each element individually. The integration of flavors is awful. This is a hot mess. You can taste ethyl alcohol. This is not a good beer.

Avoid. No reason to drink this, especially at the price. I usually really love Stone's pricing but the VE series has been pretty pricey.

Update/Edit: I drain poured this beer. It was truly awful.

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Photo of peabody
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a very clear filtered light beer yellow with one finger of white suds that quickly dissapate.
Smell is fruity and hoppy with a pungent yeast burn to the nose. You can really smell the wine here.
Taste is a champaigne like wine with beer notes over the top. There is a bitterness that seems like hops but I can't tell. Really a sophisticated taste for a Stone brew.
Mouthfeel is very clean and a slight stickyness that quickly goes away. No alcohol taste or feel or smell till the minute the flavor leaves the palate, then you get a very slight burn.
Even though this is a high abv beer it still is a pleasure to embibe.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm always interested in partial rye beers (or in this case, partial triticale beers), and always a bit unenthused about partial grape beers. This mixes the two, so we'll see how it goes.

Pours a darkish golden colour, very clear and still in the glass. Head is onlt a filmy of fine white around the edges of the glass, although it was more solid in the centre when first poured. Looks reasonably heavy, but otherwise a little lacklustre.

Spicy Belgian notes on the nose, with pungent lightly phenolic yeast notes, and a hint of acidity. Bit of grain husk adds a bit of gravity to the aromas. Pleasant enough, but nothing particularly exciting.

Taste is where it starts to get a bit weird, and to be honest, where I feel a couple of years of age on it may help it a lot. Taste is quite pungent on the fore, with a slicing grape juice acidity laced with a touch of rank funky rot. Big Belgian phenols well up on the back, along with a sharp and aggressive bitterness than interleaves with the phenols to give a harsh finish. It's big and bold, where the aroma and appearance were lacklustre, but it's far too raw right now.

Yep, this is a beer which needs to be laid down for a while. I love the concept of the Vertical Epics, and would love to be around when it's time to crack them all open together, but this one certainly needs more time. I only hope it has started to blend a bit better when its time comes.

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

Neat brew! Poured with a nice, foamy, frothy, off-white head that lasts a while and some lace. Color is a clear amber with no bubble trails. Aroma is dominated by the grapes and then with the malt, candy sugar, yeast, and hop. Flavor is like nose, a little like juicy fruit gum, but not overly sweet as I might have expected. Body is good and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor with bitterness dropping off first then a longer tapering of the fruitiness and hint of alcohol at the end. Good beer; maybe even a session.

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Photo of beersensei305
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This ale is a clear gold, with a white foamy head which dissipates quickly. The scent is nice, a little yeasty; it smells a little like Dogfish Head's Chateau Jiahu, which must be the fact that both beers contain muscat grapes. The taste is sweet and dry probably from the Sauvignon Blanc grapes, the malt, hops, and yeast are subdued by the chamomile. The beer is light, dry and packs a 10% ABV. Great beer.

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Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the end, VE10 on tap at Alewife.

A: The ale is golden orange, bright even in the din of a bar. A crystal clear pale ale.

S: The nose is yeasty and dry, very tripel like with ample spice presence. Anise makes its way to the surface too.

T: Very yeasty, the beer carries a wide array of spices. Coriander and anise stand out. There is a concentrated flash of booziness that threatens to sidetrack the ale (it doesn't). Sweet flavors, grapes no doubt, add to the swirl of flavors.

M: The mouthfeel has spices, sweet juices, plenty of yeast and a bold assertive taste. Very nice on tap.

D: Another big beer, nearly 10%. A nice ale to slowly work through; there is a lot going on.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up 22oz bomber at ABC Liquor in Ocean Beach for $8.99 and poured it into a stemmed tulip glass.

A: Pours a super clean golden straw like color with a thin head that dissipates instantly leaving small amounts of lace.

S: Strong yeast, spices, sweet dried fruit, grainy, slightly herbal and hoppy with some woody funkiness in there too.

T: Sweet and dry, malty and a little boozy; some bitter hop that is balanced perfectly with the chamomile that really comes through in the flavor. Overall a classic Stone ale with a unique take on a Belgian Strong Pale Ale that comes across tasting traditional at the same time, especially for a brewery located over 5,000 miles from Belgium.

M: Medium bodied but pretty thin at the same time - I really wish it had a little more to it or at least a bit more carbonation - this is definitely its weakest aspect.

D: Very drinkable, especially for the high ABV. I picked one up after work tonight and really wished I had another. A bit pricey at $8.99, but the high ABV makes it a little less painful.

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light creamy head fades quickly over hazy ale orange wheat color.

Nose of some farmhouse yeast, a slight dry funky musty aroma, with light grape smells and musty grapes, golden Belgian malts, sweetness, orange peel, saison like spices and malts, and a very light vanilla.

The taste is crisp, with Belgian golden saison or tripel like malts. Somewhat sweet malty flavor, little juicy fruits, orange peel, some light grape flavor with a musty grape especially. Semi dry farmhouse flavor with a touch of subtle chamomile, touch of vanilla, smooth and thick, lightly syrupy. Finishes a little drier, still little sweet, lingering orange peel and spices, a little bitter, light saison and lingering Belgian malts. The chamomile comes out quite a bit on the burps actually. A touch of warming booze.

The mouth is medium to lighter body with light warming booze and decent carbonation.

Drinkability is decent with a lingering bitterness and orange peel, semi sweet with a dry finish, and touch of warming booze.

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Photo of scottyshades
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a pale straw color with absolutely no head. Real disappointing...

S: Belgian yeast, esters, bubblegum, spearmint and cloves. No complexity at all, such a letdown compared to 09 VE

T: Same as above, no complexity to speak of. Metallic note to it as well. Not much else to say

MF/D: Thin feel, alcohol is well hidden. Belgian yeast finish

Notes: Real letdown, especially for almost $10 a bomber. 09 was sooo much better. Worst Stone offering to date...although it got a b-

Mobile Review

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Photo of JamisonM
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: very clear rich golden color with a bright white head head did not stick around a bit of lacing

S: smells a bit like duvel with some grape smell in there a bit of a light flowery smell as well.

T: much more grapes in the taste then the smell. getting the yeast along with a zing from the grapes should be interesting to age.

M: med mouth med carbonation

D: not very drinkable for me the grapes bugged me.

Overall: interesting brew glad I tried it I am not going to want to drink another for a long time.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.21/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle drank from my duvel tulip.

A- this one pours out a translucent golden orange colored body with a full finger of bright white head. the head lasts for a while before falling, and leaves behind small rings of lacing.

S- the first thing i get from this is a strong floral aroma that is faintly perfumey. theres also some sweet pale malts and some grassy hops. the grapes its brewed with come through a little bit at the end.

T- this starts out with some light bready malts that are somewhat crackery. after that i get some white wine like notes. then comes some herbal and floral notes. a little bit of the alcohol comes through, but for the most part its very well hidden.

M- medium bodied with a high level of carbonation. there is also mild heat from the alcohol.

D- meh, this one isnt for me. ive been a fan of the previous vertical epics ive had, but i think they took a big step back with this one. of well, ill check back in on it in another couple of years.

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

Pours a hazy golden color with decent white head, a pretty beer for sure. Smell is largely spices from the yeast, a bit of light malt, some grapes in there, and some almost phenolic notes. The taste is similar, rich flavor with some nice BSPA base flavors underneath the grapes. The grapes don't add a wine-like character to the beer in my opinion, more of a honey/sweet/meady quality. Again, phenols are noted slightly. MF is pretty good, well-carbonated, pillowy. Not super smooth, however. Good drinkability, a bit hampered by the 9.5%. Overall, a good beer, my first experience with this series. Nothing mind-blowing, however. Bought it at a bar, which jacked up the price a bit, not worth it at the price I paid, and I would probably opt for something else if I had $11 to spend at my bottle shop.

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10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 958 ratings