Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 1,448 | Reviews: 469 | Display Reviews Only:
2.04/5 rDev -45.7%
A- Pours very hazy amber, thin off-white head.
S- Overpowering spicy chili and a bit of cinnamon.
T- Very similar to the nose. It's basically all chiles. Cinnamon comes in a little on the aftertaste.
M- medium body and medium carbonation, but it is not easy to drink.
O- I don't know, maybe I let this sit for too long. I knew it would be spicy being brewed with Anaheim chilies and cinnamon, but this just obliterated any expectation I had. It is unbelievably spicy.
01-24-2013 00:32:26 | More by AC-Mivsek
2.05/5 rDev -45.5%
Did I get a bad bottle? That is the first thought that crossed my mind. Some editions of this beer I've liked more than others, but this is the first of the series that I have simply disliked. Some Belgian yeast notes and perhaps some Belgian candy sugar, but hovering at the surface was a dusty, acrid bitterness, like cheap dried spice that has languished too long in the spice cabinet. Drying at the end with an unpleasant woodyness.
01-02-2012 18:15:06 | More by Brent
2.08/5 rDev -44.7%
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.
12-24-2011 19:55:12 | More by smokescreen
2.13/5 rDev -43.4%
On tap at Stone.
A: Reddish brown with a finger of beige foam. Solid retention and a little lacing.
S: Pronounced clove and cinnamon. The pepper smells pretty nice. The yeast smells like cotton candy and bubblegum. I don't really like this yeast. I also get banana.
T: Strong clove-like phenols and banana with evident cinnamon. The chilis really don't go well with this Belgian yeast. It creates a medicinal harshness that makes me want to grab mouthwash. The chili is at odds with the clove-like phenols and bubblegum banana esters. Not a pleasant combination. The finish is the worst, and it really lingers.
M: Medium body with upper moderate carbonation.
Overall: One of the worst Stone beers I've had.
11-20-2011 17:17:09 | More by HopHead84
2.2/5 rDev -41.5%
Looked great in the glass; awesome color and head with moderate lacing. Smelled of Benadryl and bananas, with some metals. Taste: The chiles came in with a vengeance. The chile taste wasn't bad, except when it collided with the bananas, cinnamon, and metal it was not pleasant. I finished the bomber but it was a chore. Slightly better as it warmed, which is odd given the phenolic quality but whatever. Not a fan.
11-17-2011 06:26:33 | More by gregb13
2.2/5 rDev -41.5%
Just cracked open this beer after aging it for over a year. It was kept in my fridge the whole time. May have been too cold to age, but I left it there more out of disinterest than anything else.
This pours a crystal clear cherry color, a dark red tending towards brown. Spots fo light tan head stick to the glass as you drink. Nose starts with lots of sweet caramel with allspice and some cinnamon. This smells like a spice cake. The sweetness is almost tangible. I get no peppers in the aroma. The flavor starts sweet too, with caramel, sweet bread, and rye. The candied sugar is heavy with this one. The flavors drift darker with some tobacco and very weak whisky. I can't tell what kind of hops are used, but they definitely are not the traditional West Coast varietals that Stone tends to favor. Most likely Saaz or another noble hop, as I get some nectar flavor and aroma. I also get some burnt Anaheim pepper taste, or maybe that's stale pepper heat? This beer finishes with severely burnt toast, and it lingers longer than it's welcome. The feel is slightly more watery than viscous, the finish dry.
I remember liking this on tap a year ago, but the heat is gone and something changed to give a burnt food flavor to it. Definitely not going to try again. I'm confused as to how I should rate it, though. The initial product was good, but aging it made it terrible. Keeping in mind that Stone advocated aging it, I decided not to hold back on the negativity in my rating. After all, this was confused at the get go. Is this a spiced beer, a traditional Belgian, or an American chili beer? Whatever Stone says it is, I say it's not very good.
01-24-2013 05:22:04 | More by Philousa
2.23/5 rDev -40.7%
Poured milk chocolate brown with a tan head.
S: The aroma is a strange combination of fruity Belgian yeast, banana, toast, and a light, earthy pepper aroma. Mixed together it's kind of weird.
T: unbalanced, chili pepper up front, with a syrupy cinnamon aftertaste. Didn't like it at all. I would assume that with some age the flavors would meld a little better, but who knows.
M: decent mouth feel, medium-heavy body.
Overall: didn't like it, and I don't want to go though the effort to age this.
11-19-2011 05:05:14 | More by loving44
2.23/5 rDev -40.7%
Pours a dark red that is unusual but interesting. The aroma is a slight cinnamon sweetness with belgian yeast and chiles. At this point it is intriguing.
However, the flavor is all chiles up front that finishes with a merging of belgian yeast, chiles and just the slightest cinnamon which is barely detectable. The merging of the flavors is really more of a crashing, as they do not blend well together at all. They create a harsh aftertaste that is not enjoyable. I have another that I will age, hopefully the flavors work themselves out over time.
11-24-2011 06:05:39 | More by jds619
Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 1,448 ratings.