Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic AleStone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

1,504 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,504
Reviews: 479
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 16.49%
Wants: 42
Gots: 444 | FT: 20
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Chile Beer |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JAramini on 11-10-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

As with any good epic, herein lies the promise of larger-than-life experiences, heroics and twists & turns as the adventure unfolds. These bottle-conditioned ales are specifically designed to be aged until sometime after December 12th, 2012. Provided you can wait that long. At that time, enjoy them in a "vertical" tasting. Each one unique to it's year of release. Each with its own "twist & turn" in the plotline. Each one released one year, one month and one day from the previous year's edition. To remind you, the remaining dates are: 12.12.12
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,504 | Reviews: 479
Photo of chicagoanbeerone
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is full of charter thanks to the hops and cinnamon. The apperace is a nice favorable brown color. It taste great and can not taste the alcohol. It reminds me of a IPA with a slight cinniamon like taste to it and its a good heavy beer. the chillies add a nice spice during the beer taste and if they would have been more aggresive on the citrus beer hops this would have been a great beer

My expert advice: definity try it
would buy again

Photo of BerlinBomber
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have now had this on tap an in the bottle and regardless of how it is served I think it is a great beer

I love anything spicy the hotter the better so it only seemed natural to combine my love for spicy with my love for beer

This is certainly not a beer for the mainstream, but for those out there who like to try new things you certainly need to try this

Obviuosly not your standard Belgian Pale Ale so if that is what you crave have a Blue Moon otherwise sit back pop the top off a 22 oz. bomber of this and enjoy

Photo of viaingo
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stone Brewing Company is truly an innovative brewery. Every year (and a month and a day) they decide to brew their 'Epic Vertical". This year Stone decided to brew this epic treat with cinnamon and Anaheim chilies from Hatch Valley in New Mexico. I could definitely taste something special with this beer.

Type: Strong Pale Ale
Color: Dark amber red, cloudy.
Body: Cloudy and slightly carbonated.
Head: Thick cream color. Lasts for some time.
Taste: Fruity taste with banana and critic notes. You can taste the subtle spiciness of the chilies in the alcohol.
Aroma: Lightly hoppy, fruity, and a bit spicy.

This is the penultimate edition of this masterpiece of brewing, so if you can find it in stores or pubs, try it.

Cheers!

Photo of Ehrnstrom
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: coppery red, with a moderate amount of light-tan colored head and lacing.

smell: spicy notes throughout, clean and forceful. modest alcohol scent.

taste: literally spicy, after drinking half of it at least. full on ginger and cinnamon flavor. honestly, this beer is a grower, but it is a force for the taste buds.

mouthfeel: this beer is good, but I can see why it might not have universal appear. It is quite aggressive and the finish is strong. the flavors could be a bit more balanced.

overall: good, not great. worth trying because of the unique factor. has an almost whiskey like aspect to it at times because of the heat and higher alcohol (9.6%?).

Photo of HerculesRM
3.17/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving type: Poured from bottle into a chilled pint glass. I may have served it too cold.

A: Murky brown with a hint of amber, cloudy.

S: It has a very clean smell, but that's part of the problem. Not much fragrance to speak of.

T: Underwhelming. The chilis and cinnamon are weak, and I had to use my imagination to detect them at all, very slight spice. Slight alcohol taste. Decent malt profile.

M: Somewhat thick, appropriate for this gravity.

O: Overall a bit of a disappointment, though not a bad beer. It may have been better had I served it a bit warmer. I have a second bottle that I intend to cellar for a while, and I may update my review.

Photo of HopSlap72
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was able to try a small glass of this during a society of beer tasters event at Elwood's Pub.

It comes off with a nice amber color with just a hint of head.

My initial smell didn't reveal the variety of ingredients that were brewed into the Vertical. After letting it sit for around five minutes i began to notice the chili smell as well as a heavy cinnamon.

It was a different different taste than i had ever tried in a beer. The cinnamon flavor i thought would be at the forefront was gone but replaced with this dried chili flavor. My first drink i was surprised, but by my second and third i was left wishing that there was more of this coming around.

Overall another great brew from Stone. If you can find a bottle of this, you really should try it. It really is one of a kind

Photo of Jackolope
4.58/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I cellared one of these bad boys for a little more than 3 years and it was just as good as the one i enjoyed sometime after 12.12.12. I wish I could recall how good it was then, but I remember being stunned by the balance and complexity of flavor. You would be hard pressed to name Anaheim chiles as an ingredient without knowing it before hand. I haven't had many beers with chile as an ingredient but i have to say these guys knew what they were doing. I drank this beers with a handful of my friends and we all were impressed. It paired really well with the Mediterranean food we had just eaten and we all thought it was a standout amongst the beers we had recently been drinking. I definitely left this experience happy especially considering how long i held on to it!

Photo of TroopScoop
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: clear deep brown/dark red. The white head quickly fades & so much that none clings the glass. (No lacing!)

S: just great. Warm cinnamon and chile spice invites the palate.

T: Bummer! Cloves and yummy belgian qualities up front, some cinnamon/spice & bitter tones to finish. You really need to search for the chile.

M: carbonated, flavorful, & smooth to boot.

O: I've had the bottled, and it easily takes the cake. Weird, I was so excited to have it on tap. In the bottle, I easily could've given it 4's across the board. My bottle had very noticiable chile notes & made the beer very enjoyable.

Photo of GlassHalfFull
3.06/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The 2011 Vertical doesn't stand up to offerings such as the 2009. Fiery amber color with a slight yellow tint. Great lacing and perfect foamy head. But, the nose is very banana-ish with an almost floral bite. I admit, I'm not a huge Belgian fan. This beer really reminds me of a lot of the attributes I don't like in Belgian beers. The banana notes give way to a strong chili taste with slight hints of cinnamon. One would think that so many different ingredients would provide a complex, interesting taste. Yet, the beer comes up short and unimpressive. Even the banana quickly fades to a thin, dull, starchy mouthfeel. The carbonation is also a bit much for this beer. I expected a lot after the previous offerings, but this one came up short.

Photo of caulfield
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy, murky amber/light brown
S: The cinnamon seems to be the overpowering smell
T: There is a nice spicy taste, but the cinnamon seems a little overpowering
M: Medium body, maybe a tad thicker
O: Overall, I'm a little disappointed by this beer, I wanted it to be better. The all spice is a little under done, the cinnamon is a little bit of overkill, I can't really taste the chilles. It's not a bad beer--Stone rarely makes bad beer--but its not great and I wouldn't buy this one again.

Photo of Geegmasta
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
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)

Photo of cbilek06
2.03/5  rDev -46%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Keep your Zantac handy...

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay glass.

Wonderful and rich copper color, decent head although not the tight bubbles you see on many Belgians.

Smell fruity, caramel, but I couldn't smell the chilies or cinnamon as others have described.

Taste. A disaster. I was hoping the chilies would be an interesting afterthought, something slightly spicy to add to the sweet malt. No, the chilies were too overwhelming from initial taste to finish.

Mouthfeel- medium body, medium carbonation, can feel the spicy chilies in the mouth.

Overall - Undrinkable, I drank half and poured the rest down the drain which I rarely do. Had to take a Zantac because the chilies gave me acid reflux. I would drink a Keystone Light before I have another one of these.

Photo of Beejis60
1.46/5  rDev -61.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Might be literally the worst beer I've ever had. Dumped it after five sips. Not quite sure how this beer is ranked so high, but hey, I also cannot stand Pliny the Elder.
Putrid malt taste, the light chili flavor in it is just out of place. Overcarbonated. Overseasoned. Just an overall bad beer. Words just cannot explain really how bad it is.
I am one more bad beer away from Stone from completely writing them off like I did with Sam Adams.

Photo of harlanhu28
3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a Stone epic glass. Purchased at Total Wine in Tucson for 5.99.

Appearance deep amber good inch and half head that doesn't last long.

Smell a cross between Belgian saision and Belgian strong. Banana and very strong clove quite muddy on the smell and blends into spicy plum on the mid tongue.

The first taste has a tinge of alcohol on the tongue when it warms up in the mouth you have banana, clove, Belgian yeast and spicy plum many different levels of flavor spice and burn. On the end you have a slite hop and spice chili.

Mouthfeel is quite good it has weight and that part is they must have some flaked barley in this because it is very creamy.

Overall this is much better than last years it is way above the total failure of last years 10/10/10! It looks like Stone is getting their act together in designing new beers for the first time since the departure of their long time brewmaster!

Photo of jedtheavenger
3.22/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A--deep reddish-tan with a quickly dissipating head. The color is a pretty accurate reflection of the cinnamon/pepper character of this beer.

S--yeasty and sweet, with muted cinnamon and malt. I was expecting a bit more of a peppery nose, but otherwise very pleasant.

T--Basically a vegetal, slightly spiced pale Belgian. I was pretty disappointed that I wasn't able to pick out the pepper flavor. I know it's not supposed to be spicy/hot, but I felt like the peppers made no contribution other than a bland plant taste.

M--Rich and a little sticky. It didn't have the carbonated perk of a lot of strong Belgian pales, so it quickly got boring.

Overall: interesting in theory, a little weak in execution. I really wanted to like this beer, but it just didn't have the unique profile I've come to expect from limited-edition beers (or Stone Brewing Co, for that matter).

Photo of Phade42
4.11/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought 12-6-11, quickly chilled and poured into a Sam Adams Pint Glass. Probably not the best glass for the style, but I'm working with what I have.
I've had the past 3 iterations of the vertical epic, but haven't aged any of them. Every year I tell myself "Drink it now and if I like it, buy another one and age it" but I never do.

Appearance: Rust colored, with an almost opaque white head that left miimal lacing

Smell: You can definitely smell the Anaheim peppers, which are mild, about 1/4 the way from a bell pepper to a jalapeno in terms of heat. Very "peppery", but not spicy. Cinnamon smell is faint, if even there at all.

Taste: Sweet peppers at the forefront, some raisin and fig notes follow.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, dry up front, a little complex, but finishes clean.

Drinkability: it's a doozy at 9.4% ABV but you'd never know by the taste.

Photo of HopHearted
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured a nice dark ruby amber. Very little lacing on the glass.

S- BAM chilies right outta the gate. Smells a bit green but the cinnamon comes on the back making it rather pleasant.

T- Pretty good. The chili and cinnamon really play nicely together. Cloves are very evident on the palate, but finishes off with a boozy banana

M- Very effervescent. A bit bubbly but calms down after being the glass and warming a bit. The warmer it gets the boozier and more astringent but still tap dances across the tongue pressing you to drink just another sip to keep the beat going

Overall- This needs to sit about a year to mellow a bit and come together. Very good but a little astringent due to the age. Would be really good with something like ribs or beef.

Photo of CruZnBrewZ
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First vertical epic series I've ever had.

Appearance: Pours a rich dark red color. heavy lacing that looks almost orange.

Smell: A very sweet aroma, but not to overpowering. no sense of chillies in the smell though. Odd?

Taste: Initial taste is sweet, then it transitions to flavors I've never tasted together like this before. I think the chili and the sweet have conflicting tastes in this style that aren't agreeing with me

Mouthfeel: decent body. lingering bittering flavors

Overall: overall I think I went in expecting one thing and got a completely different outcome. There is a lot going on with this beer. Some good, but most that doesn't agree with my pallet

Photo of Chadillac
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened on 11/13/12 shared with a friend and poured into a tulip glass.

Only bought 2 when they came out and didnt drink them so this is my first taste.

Appearance: pours almost a light brownish and cloudy, small amount of light getting though. 1 finger off white head dissapated quickly, some lacing

Aroma: bready, malty, belgiany, sweet smell. not getting much chili or cinnamon in the nose.

Taste: very mild belgian taste, maybe the year of age mellowed it out. Get a hint of spice and clove, Really nice sweetness but not too sweet then folowed by the chili in the back of the mouth and slightly boozy as it warms your chest up a little.

Overall: Great tasting beer, Definitely worth the wait. Lots of complex flavors, almost too rich for my palate to dicipher.

Photo of slowhand429
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

All around interesting beer. Pours hazy with a dark amber color. Smells strongly of peppers and the heat of alcohol, slight cinnamon smell as well. Taste is of a peppery and cinnamon laced imperial amber ale, with less emphasis on peppers in taste than in the smell. A bit of heat on back end due to peppers and 9.4 abv. Carbonation was on point with a good mouthfeel. Would not buy again but definitely worth the one bottle. Hell, I feel obligated to try every Stone Vertical Epics.

Photo of nelsonbeer2001
3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is dark mahogany/burnt orange like. Smell is chilies, cinnamin, dark chocolate and more chilies. Pretty amazing aroma. Taste the chilies at the start. No real alcohol burn and really taste the sweetness with cinnamin. Very drinkable indeed. Not overly carbonated which may have made it a bit nicer in the mouth. The tartness with the chilies and the sweet flavor really work well.

Photo of jds619
2.31/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of smokescreen
2.23/5  rDev -40.7%
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.

Photo of AlejandroDodds
4.83/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving Type: Served from a 22oz. bomber into a Maudite tulip glass

Appearance: The beer begins with an off-white head that slowly dissipates. The color is auburn and date-like, similar to a strong dark Belgian ale.

Smell: Great smells here. I get a mix bag of a quick banana smell at the beginning, pears, and the green chili and alcohol mix to close the nose.

Taste: This ale starts with hints of pears and bananas. There is a copper tinge to the center of your tongue but this gives way to the green chili that becomes more noticeable as you drink the beer. A few minutes post drink the after-taste is slightly caramel-molasses-like.

Mouthfeel: The ale is a light mouthful, with a subtle biting syrup texture, and a light carbonation leaving my mouth with a slightly dry feeling.

Overall: Being from the Southwest I was very excited about this beer but nervous since I have already been subjected to so many bad chili beers. As usual Stone does not disappoint. I love the addition of green chilies which pair really well with this strong Belgian pale ale. I look forward to trying this ale with my brothers next year during our vertical tasting in El Paso.

Photo of Nova_K
2.57/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Bought at Keg Liquors in Clarksville, IN.
Drank from snifter glass.

A - Cloudy. Dark amber/brown color. Minimum carbonation with a lasting 1/2-1/4" head. Lacing is low to moderate.
S - Lots of DMS (canned corn) smell up front. Slight spiciness.
T - Tastes of DMS as well. Slight nuttiness. Jalapeño? finish.
M - Heavy body. Sticky and lasting.
O - I couldn't get past the DMS flavor and smell of this beer.

Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 1,504 ratings.