Nov 9, 2010

Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10

October 10th, 2010 had come and gone with nary a bottle to be found.

Inside, I began to panic. I hadn’t seen the latest Vertical Epic release from Stone Brewing anywhere. Well, I take that back. I did see it one place, but there was no way in hell I was going to pay $32.99 for a bottle. I don’t care what sort of establishment you portray yourself as, that’s ridiculous.

Instead, I waited — not very patiently, mind you — but I waited.

Then, finally, a few bottles started showing up here and there during the last week of October. That was close. I’m not sure I would have been able to handle missing out this year — it’s bad enough I didn’t start paying attention to the series until 2007.

Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10 Label

This years release for Stone Brewing’s Vertical Epic series has a Belgian ale base (fermented with the “legendary” Ardennes strain of yeast) that is then brewed with triticale, German Perle hops and chamomile. But, wait, that’s not all. The brewery then added a blend of Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc grape juice during a second fermentation. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? It is, but also darn tasty.


This brew pours a hazy amber in color with only a whisper of a head that faded nearly instantly.


For as complicated as this beer sounds, the nose was a bit underwhelming. It does have a noticeable Belgian yeast character with a hint of the chamomile that it’s brewed with. It sort of smells like a light Saison.


This is where the complexity of the beer starts to shine. For as tame as the nose was, the flavors the brewery packs into it are much more assertive. There’s a good deal going on within this beer. The Belgian yeast, candied sugar, grape juice blend and light herbal notes all make their presence known. The slightly effervescent body transitions to a dry finish like that of a wine. The finish is also where the grape blend really stands out with a slight tartness, some spice and light sweetness.


My initial reaction to this beer was to place it at the bottom of the list, below all the other Vertical Epic bottles I’ve enjoyed through the years. That said, I think 10.10.10’s complex nature is probably the best suited for sitting in the basement for a couple of years. The intricate characteristics it has now will settle down over time and probably turn out to be the best of the bunch so far. I’m excited to say the least.

Rating: 3.5/5

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