In 2002, Stone started an ambitious project. It was called "Vertical Epic" and the idea was to release a beer on every day of the year when the day, month and year matched up perfectly (ie. 2/2/02, 3/3/03, etc) until the last time the days would line up this century, 12/12/12. All of the beers in the series are meant to be aged until the day the last Vertical Epic is released in 2012. Pretty cool idea, no? The Bruery, located near Anaheim, recently started doing something similar in which they release a beer named and themed after the "12 Days of Christmas" song every holiday season. I just picked up 3 French Hens, but we're going to have to wait for the tasting of that one.
Back to Stone. Here's the write up of the 10.10.10 Vertical Epic off of Stone's website:
"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."
Wine grapes in a beer? Interesting...
The beer pours a pale orange golden color with the thinnest ring of a head imaginable. The smell is pure grapes. It almost smelled like a white grape juice. Hidden somewhere in the grape smell was a slight herbal smell. So far, there was little that would lead me to believe I was about to drink a beer.
The taste was again full of the grape flavors that were present in the smell. Again, I was reminded of white grape juice. It tasted a lot like a sauvignon blanc with a hint more sourness on the finish. The aftertaste was definitely way more wine than beer. However, there were a few beer elements present. I noticed a definite yeast presence with a hint of banana/ bubblegum sweetness that you can find in many hefeweizens. I also picked up a slight malt presence that you wouldn't find in a wine.
Overall, this was a really strange beer and I cant wait to see how it matures with 2 years of aging. I wasn't crazy about this beer, but I'm still looking forward to revisiting it in a few years time.
Final Grade: B+