Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beereview: Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale

There is no shortage of marketing gimmicks surrounding 11/11/11. Items including a stupid horror movie, the next Elder Scrolls game: Skyrim, and most notably "the date that most resembles corduroy" are receiving a lot of press. It's understandable that the launch of an 11/11/11 themed beer might escape your notice with all these amazing things going on. I'm sure the Facebook storm will be epic.

At the risk of receiving repetitive stress injuries from all this eye rolling, the only really good thing to watch out for this November is the next edition of Stone Vertical Epic. What is Vertical Epic, you may ask? Since 02/02/02 stone has been releasing a special beer every year-and-a-day which is intended to age well until after 12/12/12. Unfortunately I didn't learn about this until recently, but I did manage to get my hands on the 10/10/10 edition.

Not having a place dark and dank enough to do it properly, my previous attempts at aging Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus Abt 12 didn't go so well (the beer didn't taste as good as it might have.) Rather than wait 15 months to review this brew, I decided I'd rather be first to the party than have the best dress. With that oddly disturbing thought in mind, I tasted this beer before it has necessarily reached its peak.

Beereview: Stone 10/10/10 Vertical Epic Ale

Much like other Stone beer, the label is worth mentioning. This one is sideways proving a canopic jar's worth of space for the half-book they like to write on these things. You can read more about it at Stone Epic (and get a homebrew recipe too!) but suffice to say, the most interesting thing I read was that this beer contains three kinds of locally produced grapes, (Muscat, Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc) dried chamomile flowers, triticale, and Belgian amber candi sugar. I haven't been this excited about a beer since Dogfish Head's Red & White, Sah'Tea, or Theobroma. You just don't see creative ingredients like chamomile and wine grapes every day.

This tripel style ale pours a bright honey gold color which is only slightly cloudy. The head disappears right away leaving only a slight foam. The aroma is sweet citrus and spice candy. It reminds me a little bit of the Belgian Christmas Ales and Sah'Tea.

The white wine flavor comes out very strongly making this taste more like wine than beer. It's sort of like a half-and-half mix of Tripel and Pino Grigio. Once you get past the surprise, it's a very enjoyable flavor. The dry wine flavor opens up into a very sweet and crisp aftertaste with the grape flavor being prominant. The chamomile seems to be overpowered by the other flavors and I didn't really notice it. At 9.5% ABV you could call this beer sturdy but the alcohol flavor isn't there (which is good.)

Overall, this is a very interesting and unique beer more along the lines of Chateau Jiahu, Midas Touch, Saison du BUFF, or other experimental ales. I definitely recommend it!

Have you tried 02/02/02 through 10/10/10? Have you ever found much difference aging a beer? Let me know in the comments below!

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