Monday, October 25, 2010

421. Stone Vertical Epic 10/10/10

The latest monster in the longest running show on Broadway, Vertical Epic 10/10/10 is described on the label as an ale “brewed with Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes and chamomile.” It would appear that wine is the new beer. Or that beer is the new wine. Something like that. Either way, in regards to the old beer, or, my normative mainstay, we’ve already tried several beers from Stone, including Stone 14 Emperial IPA, Saison du Buff “collabo” with Dogfish Head and Victory, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Pale Ale, Vertical Epic 09.09.09, the Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter collabo” with Maui Brewing and Ken Schmidt, and the IRS ’05-’09 vertical tasting.

Pouring a dull but clear golden straw, 10/10/10 has a white fluffy head that maintains some life before the inevitable reduction to a ring around the edge of the glass. The nose is actually a bit bland; I get the Muscat mixed with layers of sweet candy malt, and a bit of young white wine grape mustiness (which, I will note, is vastly different than the grape aroma in a couple of the Bell’s beers—like 25th Anniversary Ale and Christmas Ale—that is more “grape-y,” while this an actual white wine grape-iness), but not much else in the way of distinct malt, grape, or spice aromatics. There is a touch of creaminess to the nose, but also none of the slightly metallic notes that indicate a golden triple. As it warms, some alcohol comes out in the nose, but again, not much else. Flavors start sweet with clear white wine notes—more Gewurztraminer than anything else. The middle dries out, even as there is a backdrop of sweetness across the back of the mouth. There is a bit of sharp brightness in the finish—possibly some tannic bite or possibly some young alcohol flavor, but nothing overly done or out of character. Some alcohol warmth emerges as the beer warms, mostly in the rear of the roof of the mouth and the back of the throat. The mouthfeel is clean, bright, and even. The white wine/golden triple mixture leaves this beer lacking some of the distinctive characteristics of both; while interesting, there is not a lot of complexity at this point. But then again, I’m supposed to be sitting on this for a couple of years before I drink it, right?

I think this is some sort of Hammer reference...

From the bottle: “This ninth edition of our Stone Vertical Ale series takes two interesting left turns. A Belgian-style golden triple is the starting point for 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 tale.”

ABV: 9.5%
Yeast: Belgian Ardennes
Hops: German Perle


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