Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 1,401 | Reviews: 462 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by smokescreen:
2.08/5 rDev -44.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5
Beer like this is a gamble. With its stately magnum bottle, its limited release, its special date, and its unorthodox flavor pairings, one is compelled to wonder why, if a product is so special and wonderful, it is not a part of wider release? If you've got something really noteworthy on your hands, it seems to me that you'd want to capitalize on that, or at least make sure more people get a chance to try it. When a limited release is capped at a small batch due to a high-cost or hard-to-find ingredient, its specialness is, for many, quickly justified. But when a product is offered in a limited release with readily available ingredients, in a medium that invites large-scale production (beer!), its curious if it has the backbone to support all the fanfare.
Here, our unusual ingredients are Anaheim chilis and cinnamon. Not an unusual combination on its own, but certainly an original twist on a chili beer, especially with the addition of Belgian yeast. The idea doesn't strike me as a "sure thing", but I take the plunge and buy in, based mostly on Stone's excellent reputation, my particular love of their classic Californian, mega-hopped varieties, and my out-and-out worship of mexican food and spicy food in general in conjunction with beer. I've also been known to house an unusually large hot sauce collection, a half dozen in the fridge at any given time, so I seem to be a good candidate.
Pouring into a small wine glass, the head is assertive, leaving impressive lacing and blanketing a rich, mahogany colored ocean of sweet-smelling beer. The Belgian hops make themselves known on the nose right away, building a little excitement. By sight and smell, this is certainly a well-made beer, and it bespeaks Stone's beautiful marriage of art and science.
I dive greedily in, nose down into the glass.
What happens next is less fun.
A round body of sweet Belgian malt, which quite wonderfully provides those iconic citric and musty notes, surrounds a astringent, muddled flavor who's final punchline is: ashtray. Following that, an aftertaste creeps up that takes all the dryness of cinnamon, all the oily heat of smoked peppers, and all the cloying sweetness of Belgian brews, and forces them into an unfortunate boxing match between sickly sweet and abrasively bitter, where no one's the winner and everyone just looks stupid. It's all wrong. Instead of balancing each other out, the two just erase all pleasure from the experience by offering the worst of both worlds. The ultimate lasting impression is having taken a shot of liquor from an ashtray coated in Sweet-N-Low. How's that for a beer review?
I take another sip, this time in disbelief. No, I must have missed something. But reliving the experience only confirmed that not only did I not care for this beer, but that I could not finish it.
Here I should clarify and say that I am not a man too proud to turn down much of anything, let alone to commit the disgusting act of throwing away perfectly good food. But this quite literally turned my stomach, and down the drain it went.
In my estimation, this was made a special, limited release because it was recognized at the factory either as a complete misstep, or as something that would only be enjoyed by a very limited number of people, and could not be sold beyond a few hundred cases. For my sake, I wish it was never released at all. It offers nothing to please the beer lover or the chili-head. I'm sorry to say, avoid. Stone messed up.
Serving type: bottle
12-24-2011 19:55:12 | More by smokescreen
More User Reviews:
2.79/5 rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5
reviewed from notes
Pours dark amber - medium brown in color, unfiltered. smells slightly spicy sweet, more cinnamon on the nose than peppers. Taste very different and unique just like most stone beers. chili peppers not apparent to me really, I'd say low on the scale of hot pepper spice, much more tame than "Rogues" chipotle ale. The cinnamon is very subtle which is fine by me because I hate cinnamon. This also has a very belgiany, the Belgian "qualities" in the beer are very apparent, high carbonation.
Serving type: bottle
04-18-2014 04:14:28 | More by Beerlover
3.84/5 rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Poured into a large tulip glass
Aged about one year and two months
Appearance- Pours a deep ruby red with a large release of bubbles as the glass was turned upright. The bubble explosion created an anxious head that came on strong in size and slowly diffused back into the body. No lacing was perceived.
Smell- Very fruity, with a hint of apple? Almost smells like a wine, possibly hinting at the ABV content.
Taste- Comes on with a very subtle fruit and malt 1-2 jab which led to the knockout chocolate/chili hay-maker. Very smooth and the change was unexpected but greatly appreciated.
Mouthfeel- Smooth with very light carbonation. Medium body feel that coats the mouth and quickly recedes down to the palette towards the esophagus.
Overall- A very good brew. Like the bottles describes – it is definitely an epic journey with twists in the plot. Comes on fruity and malty with a sweetness of caramel that flips to a spicy cinnamon with a full flavor of the exotic chili and some chocolate. No real hint at the ABV, which is 9.4%. A great drink that I’d like to enjoy again. (Really pairs well as a chaser with dragon berry rum. May try adding some to the beer for a little extra kick)
Serving type: bottle
02-24-2014 00:03:19 | More by Geegmasta
4.29/5 rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
General: Got this from the Stone Beer Garden in downtown San Diego. I couldn't believe that they still had a couple of bottle of this so I picked up a couple. Poured it into my New Belgium tulip glass to enjoy tonight!
Appearance: Dark brown with ruby color with an off white head. The head disappears pretty quickly and doesn't have much lacing.
Aroma: There is an aroma of the red wine bottle that this was aged in, pretty nice. There is a touch of something spiced too. Very nice!
Mouthfeel: A little thinner than I would expect but still very nice. Carbonation is pretty mild
Taste: This is really strange. I'm not too sure about this flavor. There is a hint of the cinnamon and chills but the biggest flavor is the red wine barrel aging.
Overall: It's good, I enjoy it but it's not something that I will want all that often. It's unfortunate that this is retired because it's kind of weird and quirky and it would be fun every once in a while.
Serving type: bottle
01-31-2014 05:32:53 | More by BeerEngineer
3.7/5 rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
4oz draft pour into a tulip glass.
A: Deep brown ruby color with slight head.
S: Apple cider / pie smell. A bit of heat from the chile in the nose, but really faint.
T: Apple, cinnamon taste with hints of clove spice.
M: Creamy mouthfeel and not overly sweet. Not much chile heat.
O: Good, but not great. Was left wanting more from the taste and smell, especially with the chiles. Aging might bring out more complexity.
Serving type: on-tap
01-22-2014 20:43:39 | More by blindtiger24
Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 1,401 ratings.