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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

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477 Reviews

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Reviews: 477
Hads: 1,504
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 16.58%
Wants: 41
Gots: 449 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 477 | Hads: 1,504
Photo of aorloski
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of Chaney
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
2.68/5  rDev -28.3%
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

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

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Photo of HopHead84
2.21/5  rDev -40.9%
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. 

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Photo of Lerxst
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of 20ozmonkey
4/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of Beejay
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

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Photo of colforbin73
4/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of wrycon
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
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

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Photo of tat2dhllblly
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of goldbot
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of psumjl269
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of Gavage
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of iadler
3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled while in line for the FFF Anniversary party.

A- Pours a translucent amber with a nice two finger head that dissipates into a thin cap.

S- Vegetal at first with notes of bell peppers and light chili peppers followed by some spices with cinnamon and pepper. Burnt sugar and caramel malt are in the background

T- Very sweet and vegetal with a good amount of caramel malt, cinnamon, bell peppers, mild green chilies, clove and under ripe banana.

M- Medium carbonation and body. Finishes a bit sweet with the spices lingering.

O- Meh, didn't really like this too much. Too sweet and vegetal as well as the flavors seeming to clash with each-other. Not sure if aging this beer would help at all to tone down the sweetness.

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Photo of flexabull
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful pour, clear dark and bright garnet color with a big rocky white head. Nice lacing too.

Aromas are yeasty, some caramel, and nuttiness.

Taste starts out with nice subtle chili heat, earthy and nutty, with light caramel sweetness. Beer settles into some Belgian yeast flavors, cloves, faint banana, cinnamon spice and pepper. Finish is slightly warm from the alcohol and with earthy hop bitterness. Complex and tasty.

Mouthfeel is good, full, smooth, with plenty of body.

Overall, I like it. This is unique and tasty, but I am pretty sure there will be plenty of detractors, just like 10.10.10, but I'm a fan of this one. Not really sure how the chilis are going to hold up over time, but the base beer is quite good on it's own. Well done Stone for producing this tasty and unique offering.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty good looking beer. A couple fingers of creamy substantial head form and stay for a bit. The beer is a bright/deep rust/amber color. Perfect clarity, no visible carbonation. Just a touch of lace.

Aroma is fairly bold and a blend of spice, sweet malt notes and some yeast notably clove. Cinnamon is there, but not pronounced.

The first sip is almost overwhelming. What a thick flavor. Deep sweet malt meets cinnamon and clove. Almost more clove than the cinnamon. The Belgian yeast provides a lot of depth here. The chilis provide a touch of warmth and a slight almost smokey pepper flavor. As I worked through the glass this grew on me a bit. A bit not a lot. The sweetness with the clove wasn’t my favorite.

Fairly bold mouth feel & a bit slick.

I will look forward to trying this again in a year. Will be interesting to see what a little age will do to this beer. I think I would have preferred to drink this with some food. On it’s own, I’m not sure it’s a beer I would seek to drink.

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Photo of zep9865
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into New Belgium snifter with 1/8 inch of white/tan foam head that leaves patchy lacing

Love that i can detect the chile on the nose of this beer. Smells like a fresh cut jalapeno along with brown sugar and cinnamon. Slightly figgish as well.

Beer is surprisingly sweet from the get-go with more carmelized sugar than i wanted. I was hoping for a sharp cinnamon sting to complement the chile. The pepper is presented, fortunetly. Tastes like the smell. Love the jalapeno feel.

The beer is so sweet up front that it doesn't allow you to enjoy the transition into the chile.

This beer had some good flavor, but the malt took over more than it should have. It would be better off having a lighter body and letting the chile take over

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Photo of Duhast500
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a stemmed La Fin Du Monde glass.

The color is a clear dark amber with s finger and a half of foamy brownish head ans some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell is truly spicy in the aroma and gives off some Belgian aroma like a triple with some banana and some fig aroma.

The taste is Belgian at first then take a left turn to drop some chili spice on me. The more Belgian flavor comes out with some nice malt sweetness and a bitter hop flavor in the back. The taste swings back and forth with some nice banana flavor with a hot flavor that is like cinnamon more in the nose then in the flavor but comes out now when I am sipping rather then when I was trying to smell this beer.

The feel of this beer is big from the ABV to the complex flavors that is throughout the flavor of this beer. This is something that is new and amazing, a Belgian beer with some chili spices.

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Photo of aasher
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer just arrived today. It pours a light brown with severe ruby red highlights and a beige lacing around my glass. The aromas are of cinnamon, nutmeg, cherries, plums, Belgian yeasts, figs, chocolate, and tobacco with a moderate chile finish. It's solid, and just enough chile to keep me interested. The flavor begins with short lived sweet malts with some slightly sweet cherries before going into a really nice chile profile that gives you a nice amount of chile spice and a nice amount of chile heat. That said, it could be hotter but it's still keeping me interested. The chile picks up a little too as it warms. I'm surprisingly a fan. It drinks between light and medium in body and has nice flavor. If this kept the amount of chile that it has now I'd be willing to get a couple of these and have one every once in awhile. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. Overall this was a solid beer and I'm glad that Stone went with this approach.

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Photo of loving44
2.31/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

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.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pretty excited to try this one.

A: Pours a deep ruby color with a small, just off-white head on top. Not much retention and spotty lacing. Small bubbles released from the bottom.

S: Certainly get some cinnamon, a little bit of spice, cloves and nutmeg, as well as a little bit of dark fruit. I do get a little bit of chile at the end. The chili aroma intensifies as the beer warms.

T: Bready malt, cinnamon, cloves, and a little bit of chili, but not really as spicy as I was hoping.

M: Medium body and moderate carbonation, surprised it is 9.4%, does not feel that high at all.

O: Pretty decent. Had the chili been a little spicier in the flavor profile I think it would be a real winner for me. Cinnamon was prominent throughout.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my buddy Nate for this ;)

Pours a clear orange colour. Nice white head. Looks pretty solid. Smells sweet and spicy. Tastes similar. Spicy chilli spice but not hot. Cinnamon, cloves, lovely flavor profile. Well carbonated and enjoyable. Overall better than last years vertical epic.

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Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 477 ratings.