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Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic AleStone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,399 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1399
Reviews: 461
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 16.49%

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:
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 added by: JAramini on 11-10-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,399 | Reviews: 461 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of chugalug06


2.42/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Big. Builds fast and BIG. Nice spotty lacing. Brew is weird purple cinnamon color.

S - Weird. There's lots of pepper and spice. Not much other then pepper and spice. No Belgian resonance.

T - Kinda of bland for the interesting flavors it's brewed with. No heat (spice). No heat (abv). Almost sour... blah. Where's the spice??? This brew is a terrible mess.

M - Over carbonation. Moderate heat. Light and thin.

O - Unique, but missing a lot. Totally missed the Belgian style. For such a big release this one disappoints. Don't get me wrong this brew is exciting, but it has no direction... it's a mess. Not nearly as good as the previous years... Stone, where have you gone? I'll come brew for you :)

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 04:36:11 | More by chugalug06
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a 1 inch puffy beige head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Thick foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, Belgian yeast, spices, and a slight chili aroma. Taste is of malt, overpowering Belgian yeast, spices, banana, and a mild (not spicy) chili flavor. The aftertaste is very spice forward but quickly fades leaving a slight warming in the back of the throat which I assume is from the chilies. I am not getting any noticeable cinnamon aroma or flavor but the chili is definitely there. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is actually a good beer that I wasn't expecting much from. I never thought chili could mesh with this style but I think Stone got it right. With that being said, I really cannot detect any cinnamon addition to this beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 02:52:28 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of rmcnealy


3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium/dark copper that is very filtered. Produced a small ivory head that faded to a mere ring around the glass. First aromas are of slight citrus, malt, slight clove, cranberry. I don't smell the cinnamon but faintly taste it. I also can't exactly distinguish the chilies, but the taste has an unsual bitter twang to it. By no means heat, but a slight chili zest. Just enough to let you know something is happening here. It is just slightly boozy and syrupy, expected at 9.4%. Not a bad beer, may need some slight aging to bring out the tastes.


Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 01:25:03 | More by rmcnealy
Photo of lordofthewiens


4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at When Pigs Fly in Kittery. In a pint glass the beer was a red/orange/brown color with a small tan head.

Sweet malt and spice aroma. Warming in my nose.

The tastes worked well together. Caramel malt and clove. Chile present, warm, pleasant.

I enjoyed this beer. Nothing over the top, just a nice melange.

Will drink this again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2011 22:03:24 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of keanex

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Deep hazy copper with a slightly orange tinged thin white head.

S: Rather bland, mostly a belgian yeast cloves smell with some heat from the peppers.

T: Pepper up front through to the finish with a clove spice to it, not as spicy as I imagined though.

A: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Rather bland beer to me, it was more spicy from the Belgian yeast than the peppers and the cinnamon wasn't noticeable.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 03:27:03 | More by keanex
Photo of JohnGalt1


3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this the other night at Bier Thirty... This review is from a bottle. Poured into my Delerium goblet... 2 finger tan head... the brew is clear deep amber... nice lacing.

Big spiciness in the nose... too much for my liking.. the cinnamon and clove phenols run a bit high... banana and hints of bubblegum are also too big. Not getting much chili.

The chilis are more discernible on the palate... a very mild but building heat with a distinctive vegetable flavor.. still, the cinnamon is sooo far out of place that I just don't appreciate this one. The "yeasty Belgian flavors" would be much better off without additional spices... decent malt profile that mainly acts as a spice delivery device... Mehhh.

This is probably my least favorite VE yet... and I doubt it will get any better for my palate.. the cinnamon is only going to grow as the other flavors lessen...

Sorry... I just don't dig it.


Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 02:38:29 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a bomber into a snifter, deep cooper pour, good white head, light lacing. The aroma is heavy on cloves and bannanas. The cloves domoinate the flavors, light cinamon, I could not taste the chillies. The body is medium, good carbonation, no discernable booze. Not my kind of beer, too much clove.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 01:40:48 | More by bonkers
Photo of Gosox8787

New Hampshire

4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle poured into my Allagash tulip. Chilled.

Appearance: Medium brown in color with a two finger beige head. A bit darker than the golden color mentioned on the label.

Aroma: The Anahesim chiles really stand out. It's a nice and mild heat. Hints of cinnamon and other spices. Bananna, clove and light citrus make for a nice base.

Taste: The chile notes are upfront here too. The mild nature of the peppers really allow there to be a strong pepper note without overwhelming heat. The cinnamon and other spices provide a nice backing. The base beer is also nice and balanced. The bananna and clove combine with the spices to compliment the chiles well. I also get a touch of hop bitterness. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and nice carbonation.

Overall, a really nice belgian pale where the chile flavors work well in my opinion. The peppers provide good flavor and not too much heat. I really think this beer works. My favorite one off from Stone in a while. I'm glad I have one more to cellar.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 01:27:46 | More by Gosox8787
Photo of DavoleBomb


3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. This is the first VE that I've had more than a couple ounces of.

3.5 A: Minimally hazed dark amber color. Almost three fingers of foamy/frothy beige head. Retention isn't that great, but that might be a function of the Anaheims in this and little lacing is left.

4.5 S: The yeast is running the show on this brew. Lots of banana esters, bubblegum, and to a lesser extent, clove and pepper in this. The cinnamon adds a moderate contribution, which works really well with the spicy yeastiness. A small plum and apple fruitiness from the malts. The Anaheims don't contribute a lot to the nose.

3.5 T: Unlike the nose, it doesn't take much effort to find the Anaheims in the taste. Their earthy/vegetal character is easily discernible. More clove and pepper than the nose with less banana and bubblegum. The cinnamon is a bit distracting, but tolerable enough. I like what the peppers bring, but I think there's just a little too much of them, especially in the aftertaste (which is a dry, vegetal bitterness).

4.0 M: Medium body. Good spritzy carbonation. Good creaminess.

4.0 D: Definitely an interesting experiment and I'm happy to have tried it. I think the ingredient combo is a good one, but that the proportions might be a tad off.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 01:01:40 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of aorloski


4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - How is this even a BSPA? it is dark as hell, murky brown with amber hues lingering towards the ends of the glass. About a fingers worth of head, very fluffy.

Smell. The quintessential BSPA is right in this beer. I dont get much cinnamon or chiles, more funky belgian yeast, grass, sweetness. I am unsure what to think going into the taste.

Taste - ohhh this beer. Different than most i have tasted. The belgian strong pale ale tastes are RIGHT there, and perfectly executed. You wait and wait for that chile to hit and boom, right at the end you get this little tingle and just a tad bit of heat going down your throat. The cinnamon isn't very apparent but probably put in just to balance this one out. SO impressed with the taste on this.

Mouthfeel - Silky, moderatly sticky and chewy.

Overall - I have to say, this beer really caught me off guard. I am not a chile beer fan but this one is so well balanced and uses them in the right way. It is a very subdued flavor but there if you are looking for it. Very intelligent style to bring these flavors into. I have to tip my hat to Stone. The taste is phenomenal, nose is great. Just shy of an A+ for me honestly, and i dont even like this style. GREAT! seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 00:34:56 | More by aorloski
Photo of Bendurgin


3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass as When Pigs Fly. Pours a muddy brown color with roughly a finger of of beige head.

Hints of spiciness in the aroma with some fruit and a belgian yeast aroma. A little peppery on the aroma. The flavor is real nice. Good rich malts with a fruity raisin/plumb aroma with a little bit of an after burn to finish it off.

Nice medium body here with good carbonation. Nice lingering flavors.

Overall pretty tasty. Good amount of chili's to give it a good complimenting flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2011 23:58:29 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've never actually reviewed one of these Vertical Epics before, nor do I have any in my cellar. If figure, why start now since I didn't start from the beginning right?

A: Poured a fairly dark, peppery mohogany color that still had a fairly translucent disposition throughout. The pathetic few bubbles posing as a head stuck around for a good bit.

S: This one ALMOST had a Belgian character on the nose, but not quite. Mild funk, with a tinge of candy sugar and cinnamon.

T: This was sort of a cross between a Winter Warmer and a Trippel, with warming spices that mildly tapped the palate and gave it a good Christmas schlacking. Additionally, I got the spicy chiles as a sensation on the finish only which came off as somewhat smokey and the more sips I took, the more they started to heat up. After awhile, I lost the coriander flair that reminded me of a Trippel and got the cinnamon.

M: Man, those chiles gave this one a lot of character and did wonders for this one in terms of mouthfeel. If one were to only get a small sample glass of this stuff, they might miss out on the chiles' follow-through. There was no lacing left on the glass, but that wasn't what this one was about anyway.

O: I think this one has fallen victim to the "it's unworthy because it's not made in a popular style" category. For what it is, a Chile beer, I think it's pretty damn good.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 23:23:51 | More by Chaney
Photo of Arithmeticus


2.6/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured chilled in ale glass at friend's house. I was very excited to try this one out.

A: pomegranate-colored appearance; no head; no carbonation
S: sweet; vanilla, banana, bubble gum; quite promising
T: cinnamon is strong, but the chili pepper is not apparent; much like a pumpkin imperial; overly spiced

Sorry, but this felt like I was sucking an alcoholic cinnamon stick

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 23:19:18 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of DoubleJ


4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Kelly Korner Tavern in a shaker pint. On to the beer:

Looks brownish amber in color with a small white head which leaves spots of lacing around the glass. There are a lot of chili peppers in the nose, and just when you think it's one-dimensional, out comes a fruity Belgian yeast character that hits the spot.

I anticipated a really spicy beer, and while the spice is there, it doesn't kill your paalte. In fact, it's quite complimentary to the Belgian yeast characteristics. Dark fruits like plums and raisin, also some unsweetened chocolate. There's little (if any) sign of the alcohol, which at the time I suspected was just under 8%, not the listed 9.4%.

To my surprise, I liked this quite a bit.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2011 17:18:18 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of HopHead84


2.13/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5


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. 

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2011 17:17:09 | More by HopHead84
Photo of Lerxst


3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a slightly hazy amber with a one finger khaki head that has good retention and leaves some spotty lace.

S-Banana hits me first, followed by hints of the chilis, earthy/yeast notes are there as well, a touch of toffee and cinnamon.

T-Banana leads here too with a noticeable malt back, the chilis come in the middle providing a taste of the chiles without the heat that stays through the finish. Hints of cinnamon and booze round this out.

M-On the lighter side of medium body, crisp carbonation, dry finish.

O-Right now, this is a good beer, not a great one. Once 12.12.12 rolls around I'll revisit this and perhaps it will evolve into something more memorable.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 14:00:15 | More by Lerxst
Photo of 20ozmonkey


4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Stone 15th anniversary glass. The distributor for San Francisco took a while to get this one and I'm glad that they were finally able to get it.

Colors is dark dark amber that is very clear and much more red when held up to light. The head is small and coarse.

I've been excited for this beer because I grew up in New Mexico and am fond of the green chiles that they used in this beer. You can smell definitely smell them in the beer and it mixes interesting with the apricot and clove smells of the belgian part of the beer. I smell only a bit of cinnamon.

Up front you get the taste of the chile with the cinnamon coming up right after. I'm glad the flavor of the cinnamon isn't more overpowering than the chile and it's more of a subtle flavor. There is a lasting bite from the chiles that is much more pleasant (I think) than other chile beers like the Rogue one.

Mouthfeel is medium carbonation and medium bodied.

Straight 4's across the board. I thought this would wind up being a "good idea, decent beer, but not great" kind of thing, but I was pleasantly surprised with it. Gonna have to get a couple more bottles to hold on to.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 06:35:32 | More by 20ozmonkey
Photo of Beejay


3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: A medium dark red brown color, like fresh brewed iced tea. A light tan head boils out of the body, and sits atop the brew.

S: The cinnamon and chile certainly come right out in the smell. The spicy note from cinnamon comes out first, but then is followed by a roasted chile aroma. In the background there is a touch of clove and banana, as well as an almost dairy like smell. It almost smells like a banana split assembled at a nacho bar, and yet somehow I go in for another whiff.

T: Wow, what a confusing beer. The beginning is fire roasted chilies, followed by a roasted grain flavor. The finish is cinnamon and bananas, followed by another kick from the chilis. There is certainly a long lingering aftertaste of banana, clove, and spices. There is almost an acid thing going on in the aftertaste, which is a little reminiscent of upchuck.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation is higher, which makes sense with the belgian style.

O: Overall I can't tell if I love it or hate it. It has such intense flavors, but they are flavors that don't necessarily go well with each other. I keep drinking it, but I am not sure if that is because I like it, or because I am trying to figure out what the hell it is.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 04:34:25 | More by Beejay
Photo of colforbin73


4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

interesting beer -- brewed with annaheim chilies and cinnamon. you need to give this beer a lot of time -- abv through the roof, intense flavors.

this just might be the most epic christmas seasonal ever.... the only drawback is the booziness.

pours a dark ale red with a small amber bit of carbonation, thin around the rim.

the smell is a good spicy malt mixture and the taste follows through. sweet, complex, burn on the back of the tongue from the chili. no real hop flavor to speak of, the malt blend and cinnamon and chilies speak for themselves.

a big change from last years vertical epic.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 04:19:30 | More by colforbin73
Photo of wrycon


3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks mahogany, with some redder tints. Smells pretty good. You can smell the cinnamon and a spicier undercurrent. There's a lighter yeast scent, as well. Full sharpness to start. The cinnamon and what tastes like nutmeg present themselves shortly after. The endgame is held by the hops, which throw bitterness in all directions, and the Anaheim pepper element, which twists the bitterness in an interesting direction. The final lingering element is spicy cinnamon, so the ale succeeds in that. Wouldn't want to drink this regularly, but it is a good limited release.

Like It? Yeah

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 03:29:05 | More by wrycon
Photo of tat2dhllblly


4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark burnt rose. It has the color of a setting sun on a cool fall day. The head starts 2 fingers high but quickly disappears to just a lacing across the top of this beautiful beer.

S: First off you get a lot of peppery spice from the yeast and some editional spice from the cinnamon. After this brew warms up a bit you get more of the pepper from the peppers themselves and some clove bite. Dried dark cherries, leather and dark candi sugar.

T: Initial sweetness is quickly blasted by dry pepper spice with little heat. Most of the "heat" I get seems to come from the cinnamon towards the back. Slight fig, young raw leather, no real heat from the 9.4% abv.

M: Perfect balance between cloying heaviness to a palate cleanser. Very welcomed.

O: A very good beer and a wonderful test of flavor and living on the brewing edge. The flavors all seem un connected right now but I truly see some age (as this beer is intended to do) really balancing this beer out and really making it one of the best the vertical epic line has to offer.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 03:28:45 | More by tat2dhllblly
Photo of taez555


4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We’re getting near the end here. My bottles of 2003 through 2010 are just itching to know how this second to last brew will mingle next year with the final Vertical Epic.

This beer pours a clear dark amber body with a small white head.

Nose is actually pretty mellow. It has a malt smell, but this smell of a chile burn, in that there’s a hot pepper smell that kills all the other smells without actually being distinct of it’s own, dominates the nose. Very fruity nose too.
Taste is medium bodied with a very straight ahead pale ale, or slightly bigger strong pale ale taste. Straight up caramel malt, a little of cracker. However there’s this underlying taste of chile’s, not a burn at all. Just a taste of chile peppers. On top of that there’s this cinnamon flavor. It’s so weird. Straight up pale ale with chile’s and cinnamon without a burn. Absoultely NO HEAT at all. No burn, nothing. Just flavor. How odd.

What an odd and unique beer. Cinnamon and Chile’s. What the fuck!!! It seriously tastes like a strong pale ale with hot peppers and cinnamon thrown in. I really don’t know how to describe it beyond that. This is probably the most unique VE since ’04 with the kafir lime. Actually, it kinda reminds me of that one. Interesting.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 22:49:37 | More by taez555
Photo of goldbot

District of Columbia

3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear with a definite amber color; not much paleness here. Medium, tan-colored head with nice retention and lacing. Hearty malt aromas with a yeasty, spicy, and herbal presence coming out especially as the beer warms. The yeast definitely dominates the aroma after a bit. Flavors are a big jumble of hops and yeast up front with an underlying caramel sweetness, lending a medium body and chewy mouthfeel. Definitely herbal and spicy but not much "heat" really. A smoky, peppery aftertaste lingers. I feel as though it might be a bit early for this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 22:47:10 | More by goldbot
Photo of psumjl269


3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice amber colored pour. Not much head.

S- I smell the chilis in this. I also smell nutmeg or cardamom or something of the like.

T- Malty with cinnamon/nutmeg being the dominant flavor. I wish the chili smell translated into the taste.

M- Pretty light mouthfeel. Very good and drinkable.

O- I thought this was pretty good. It is a unique tasting beer; however, I get no chili taste, just the smell. If the chilis actually came through in the taste, it would push this beer through the stratosphere.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 22:10:55 | More by psumjl269
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark amber color with a short wispy head.

Smell: spicy yeast, cinnamon, and some malt sweetness comes through to the nose.

Taste: nice malty brew with loads of cinammon, a bit of spicy peppers, black pepper spice, belgian yeast, a hint of chocolate, and a decent bitterness. Alcohol is mildly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crsip throughout. Aftertaste is long lasting.

Overall: easy to drink, but slow sipping with the spiciness of it all. Should be nice in a year from now when it mellows a bit.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 21:59:28 | More by Gavage
Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 1,399 ratings.