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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

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

1,487 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,487
Reviews: 476
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 16.49%
Wants: 41
Gots: 438 | FT: 21
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: 1,487 | Reviews: 476 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RedDeath987
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%

Photo of Amerikon
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%

Photo of rab53
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%

Photo of KevieJames
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%

Photo of archey
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%

Photo of sfprint
2.48/5  rDev -34%

Photo of ShogoKawada
2.48/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz into Deschutes pint glass.

A- Nice orangey amber on the pour, a sandy tan, almost eggnog head builds and leaves some rather nice lacing on the glass. Foam is dense.

S- The yeast in this one is crazy. Lots of bubblegum, bananas, and all around spicy yeast goodness. You get a nice whiff of the cinnamon and the faintest hint of the peppers.

T- Eh, Wow. I taste the banana-y yeast, it jumps out from the start. The cinnamon is muted, and the chiles provide a mild green note. Alcohol is very present... Spices intermingle, but not really to the benefit of anything. The spicy and the sweet flavors do not mesh, my tongue is confused.

M- What is that? I don't think it's the chile. Cinnamon? Something's leaving a weird feeling in my mouth. OK, the chile shows up in the end too, with a bit of heat. It's got to be the alcohol? I think this one's a bit too boozy for its own good.

O- Did not finish- not even my first glass. Really unappealing flavors. Sorry, Greg, I thought I was going to seriously groove on this one, but it's a head-scratcher.

Photo of peabody
2.46/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a slightly couldy amber to ice tea color with one finger of off-white suds. Slight lacing here.
Smell is malty sugar and yeast. Buttered raisin bread with burbon on top. the 9.4% is way over the top. Not enough ingredients and too much booze. Terrible.
Taste is a boozy mess with some raisin bread alcohol pudding thrown in there for good measure. Gross.
Mouthfeel is a little sticky but mostly clean. The problem is you don't want these flavors in your mouth after the initial taste. Nasty.
Overall I am going to poop on this one just like Stone did to all of us expecting something special out of this Vertical Epic nighmare. Booo on Stone.

Photo of ehammond1
2.44/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

On Tap

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

A deep auburn bordering on caramel brown with a thin light brown head.

The aroma is a strange combination of tangy Belgian yeast, caramel malts, a bit of banana, and a very mild, earthy chile presence. They don't seem to blend particularly well together, though on paper I know it doesn't sound all that bad. Maybe it's the cinnamon's fault?

The flavor is just as confused as the aroma. The Belgian yeast is dominant along with a sweet banana flavor, some cracked black pepper, and just a hint of chile warming lingers. On paper, it doesn't sound that bad, but it really wasn't at all enjoyable.

Medium to thick bodied with moderate carbonation.

A mess. I struggled through my 8oz. and didn't finish the glass.

Photo of thecheapies
2.42/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

11.11.11, a year and change later. In a pint glass.

Very cloudy and muddy brown. Looks like pond water with some afterwash foam scum.

Cardboard oxidation, overripe banana, caramel, and muddy malts.

Definitely didn't keep well. Papery and caramelized and turned. Cinnamon is still prevalent and the banana is just behind the accent. The heat is barely there. It's just not right, however. No distinguishable malt profile. Only what I remember from last year.

Drinks smooth, but with light carbonation. Alcohol levels are a little seeping.

Should have reviewed this last year. An otherwise okay beer turned bad. Time was not the answer. Sorry Stone. Drain pour.

Photo of RuckusDu
2.4/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Looks nice with 2 finger khaki head. Body is dark reddish amber.

S - It is sweet and sour. A lot of Juicy Fruit and some dark notes of sour cherries.

T - Goes terribly wrong here. A mix of Juicy Fruit, bell pepper, sour milk, and wheat. Not good. Hits you in the back of the mouth with sour bitterness.

M - Decent job here. Nice balance between carbonation and thickness.

O - I don't know what happened to this beer. Everything is good about it except for the taste. Just funky.

Photo of cpetrone84
2.32/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

the pour is transparent burgundy red with little tan colored head. Nose is medicinal, cherry, light mint and overly sweet. Flavor is too sweet and medicinal with notes of cherry and mint with a bandaid finish. Body is syrupy and heavy with a low carb. ouch!

Photo of Boto
2.32/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Draught @ Mikro: This one poured a hazy, dark amber color. There was a small tan head on it. I’m not to sure about the aroma. Peppers are predominate. They tend to mask much of anything else. There is a blended aroma besides the peppers, but it isn’t really compelling nor offensive. The taste is different. I get a Belgian yeasty, bready beer with some hops, but then the light peppery taste manages to overwhelm it, and not in a good way. Maybe the peppers will mellow over time, but right now this beer isn’t that good.

Photo of loving44
2.31/5  rDev -38.6%
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.

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 Sgregorini74
2.28/5  rDev -39.4%

Photo of Philousa
2.28/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.75

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.

Photo of ohiobeer29
2.25/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of laughingman4929
2.25/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of FullObs
2.25/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of Savage51
2.25/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of InstaBeer
2.25/5  rDev -40.2%

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 gregb13
2.22/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of HopHead84
2.21/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

11/19/2011

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. 

Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 1,487 ratings.