Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

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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: 29.41%
Wants: 41
Gots: 450 | 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
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Reviews: 477 | Hads: 1,504
Photo of olfolxholme
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at Mill Valley Beerworks. Served in a unibroue hurricane glass

A - poured with a nice light tan head, about 2 fingers. Crazy good lacing. Beer is a pleasant dark red amber with some haze. Nice looking. Head retention is ok.

S - some dark malt, hint of chiles, not much cinnamon.

T - taste is like a nice dubbel up front, with chiles lingering in the aftertaste. Not overpowering though... And the cinnamon is even further behind. I could imagine a better flavor profile but it's definitely not bad.

M - smooth and creamy. Nice.

O - definitely not a pale... But I get the "Belgian strong" part... I'm happy that this isn't overpowering. Worth trying. Not a must have, but not bad at all.

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Photo of fatmcb1
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber, dark brown color with an off white head that dissipates very quickly. Lacing is left on the glass.

I get banana and cinnamon up front. There is also a strong malt backbone and a bit of other dark fruit. I don't smell chilis.

This is a little bit of everything all rolled into one. Banana, dark fruit esters, and cinnamon come through first. This is much more balanced by hops than the smell indicated. Chilis do show up towards the end, but are never overpowering.

Carbonation is nice and creamy with a medium body.

Overall, I enjoyed this. I am not reviewing it as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. This was really well crafted, and I'm excited to see what a year or so of aging does to the flavor. The chilis were a nice touch.

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Photo of starkmarvelo
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stone Epic Vertical 11.11.11

A- clear ruby in color with a two finger head. Very pretty.

S- smells like hot Tabasco and slight chile fruit. The aroma is dominated by the Anaheim chiles.

T- lots going on here. Slight hint of cinnamon, caramel, burnt sugar, ground coffee, even a bit of cacao some fresh green chile fruit. Bitter finish with a slight cheese aftertaste. Very complex.

M- medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Chile warmth in the back of the throat after a few sips.

O- like I said, there is a lot going on with this beer. At first my palate was bombarded with a bunch of different flavors, but after a while I was able to pick them out. So yeah, still tastes pretty good after a year. Happy Veterans Day!

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Photo of IPA4LIFE
4.77/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep mahogany red with a big, fluffy, two finger off-white head. The head offered moderate retention and a decent amount of lacing.

S- Complex as all hell. Some real belgian yeast characteristics; predominantly banana with some good clove notes as well. Behind that is some dark fruit, some brown sugar, and sweet malty notes.

T- Just as complex, if not more-so than the smell. Sweet caramel malt and dark fruit are predominate features up front. Brown sugar and cinnamon then show up with some flavors reminiscent of a cinnamon roll. Flavors are clean and light up front, and dark and heavy at the back. This is a really amazing transition from one part of the palate to the next. Truly awesome complexity.

M- Pretty good, but just a touch thin for the flavors, in my opinion.

O- Awesome. The vertical epic lives up to it's reputation. Masterfully crafted brew.

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Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

amber color. slight haze. tan/golden head. good retention. good lacing.

slightly peppery aroma. ok label reveals the presence of chilies and cinnamon. both can be detected in the aroma though the cinnamon is subtle. malty caramel aroma. no hops.

that is quite a funky flavor. malt flavor upfront. then spicy chili blended with cinnamon and it finishes with a subtle hop flavor and crisp hop bitterness.

medium body. i would guess they used adjuncts to get a beer of this abv with such a light body. it works very well. nice balance. very drinkable. smooth but a crisp refreshing finish.

the reason i dont give the taste a higher score is that it is too strange. not that i cant handle a 'strange brew,' but the cinnamon AND chillies is a bit too much for my taste. also the label says this beer is meant to be aged till after 12.12.12. personally i cant see the flavor of this beer developing much in that time. although on second thought the flavor of the chillies might mellow and sweeten in that time so maybe ill give it a try.

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Photo of beerbiatchMD
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I know you're supposed to drink this one after 12/20012, but I have a second bottle I'm aging until then and wanted to try it fresh.

A: Dard amber in color, light brow head with excellent retention.

S: Very complex, certainly lots of chiles--and not just cholos but like chili oil. Some lemony zest. Pretty earthy and sweet and the end of the smell.

T: Definite peppers. I don't get the cinnamon very much but maybe it's represented in the sweet hard candy-like taste at the end. Finishes with minimal bitterness, mostly a sweet-spicy aftertaste.

M: Modium bodied, not boozy at all. Good amount of carbonation.

O: Very interesting beer. I don't think I could drink a lot of it but I'm certainly glad I have it. Should be a pleasure in a year or two. Definitely recommend. Thank you Stone.

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Photo of baseballrock
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drinking it on tap at the flying saucer in San Antonio.

A- the beer is a deep amber color with a thick inviting head. Tons of lace is left on the side of my snifter.

S- pepper and spice. Anaheim chili peppers and beer. I'm into it the aroma is different.

T- up front I am hit with flavor from the peppers. The pepper flavor is awesome. Anaheim peppers are known for their great flavor, so I assume it was a good choice of pepper on the part of stone. It is a big Belgian style beer and the next thing I taste is the big malt flavor. The beer finishes with a moderate dose of hops.

M- the chili peppers dominate but with awesome subtle flavors form the malts.

D- were can I go form here its over 9%for ABV and by taste buds just had sex with this beer.

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Photo of MrTopher
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served into Stone Vertical Epic tasting glasses.

A – Pours a rich bronze color, has a decent 1-2 finger light brown close to tan head, this has some pretty impressive lacing also.

S – The spices come forward first on this, get mostly heated spices and then a little sweet spices. Then the sweetness of some malt and a little yeast character dances on the edges of the whole experience.

T – Interesting beer to say the least; has a decent malt sweetness, a little spice characters come forward (heated and sweet) and then you get this rush of heat which isn’t similar to the spice character, lastly you get a little earth character from I would guess the yeast. The heat is mild but present, just layers this beer well. Its perfectly balanced and not overly done.

M – Very medium, which I find most all Stone beers to be and I don’t really complain about. The carbonation is present and isn’t overly aggressive or submissive.

O – Decently surprised by this, my favorite VE of the series I don’t think so, but interesting and will be nice to see how this develops between now and next year. Would like to experience this on draft to see if the peppers and cinnamon are more present.

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Photo of rmcnealy
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
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.


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Photo of IHyphySF
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a goblet

A: Dark amber/light brown also light nice light foam that quickly dissipates.

S: Strong smell of the chiles but also has the smell of olive juice ready for a martini with a small hint of smoke.

T: You really can taste the peppers mixed with smoke while the aftertaste leaves a nice fruity but smoky/hoppy taste in the back of my mouth. The cinnamon really comes out towards the end and is quite pleasant.

M: Lightly carbonated makes it very creamy in the mouth and it goes down smooth.

O: Their seems to be just an imbalance because there are some things i like about this on how smooth it is for being 9.4% the taste is great when i taste the fruitful parts and the cinnamon afterwards. But the lasting smoke flavor is quite off putting while i am drinking it.

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Photo of jfmorey
4.6/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz bottle purchased when first released, in the cellar or 2+ years.
(I bought at least two of each Epic from 8/8 on, drank one and kept the other.)

Poured into a stem glass.

Very hazy amber, plenty of tan head.

Taste starts spicy, the chilies and cinnamon now in perfect balance. A small amount of acrid alcohol, not surprising in a beer of this style, not unpleasant. Nice Belgian funk in the aftertaste.

Very full in the mouth, plenty of carbonation.

Overall, worth the waiting.

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Photo of TrevorWGrover
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this beer a few times when it was very fresh. I rated it as one of my top beers on BA because it was absolutely delicious. I saved a couple bottles and opened them just recently (2014) and it was not good at all. This beer dropped off quite a bit, I would encourage BAs to steer away from this one if you see it again in the stores. Not a good one once it has some age on it. Too bad.

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Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
2.98/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a glass on 1/7/13

First let me say i feel a bit slighted that there were aged versions of this beer. I bet those where tasty.

Appearance- It pours a ruddy reddish orange with a light orange head. It dissipates eventually. Hardly any lacing

Aroma- Yeast, Banana, butter, cinnamon some vanilla and carmel on the back end.

Taste- Buttery, chili. reminiscent of a holiday tamale. A little corny, husky at the front, a big roasted chili flavor in the middle, and light cinnamon and piney hops round out the end. I am reminded of the few times I had Nopales, the mexican side dish made from cactus pads. It also becomes somewhat vinous as it warms.

Mouthfeel- slick almost greasy, low alcohol warmth.

Overall- having just tasted Telegraph's holiday Ale and the big smack of cinnamon that had, i have to say i somewhat enjoyed the subdued efforts of Stones 11/11/11 epic. I think by this time in the series the brewers were becoming bored or brash or both and just started throwing stuff in the beer. The Cinnamon was well played and the chilies worked okay, the whole thing played out a bit like a questionable "hole in the wall" mexican food joint. It doesn't look like much but it has it where it counts. The slick mouthfeel was a little off putting I thought of a greasy Chile Relleno. To me, if it was meant to be aged it would have a cork too...As one of the later releases in the epic series i imagine it was designed to not be cellared as long so it lacked some of the qualities i was expecting (slight oxidation, mellowed boozy warmth, hints of molasses plum and maybe some slight esthers or sourness) but, that's hardly the fault of the brewer. I wouldn't order another but this makes me wish I would have got in on the ground floor in the vertical epic series.

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Photo of MEsoJD
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

[Poured into an large Duvel Tulip glass]

I: I wasn't really ecstatic about the chilies and cinnamon combination put into this beer, but some have told me that it's worth a shot so I picked up a bottle. I know it's intended to be age, and will pick up another for that purpose if I like what I see. Anywhoo... Lets Get It ON!

B: [9.4% ABV, 1 Pt. 6 FL. OZ.] At first glance, one would think that this beer was a collaboration by the non existence of gargoyle art, but it's part of a series starting from 2002 and ending in 2012. Of course all the general information that should be on every beer bottle is here and more. Nice summary and ingredient information. I'm not too crazy about the front label, but it's fine(taking into account that it's a series).

A: Dark body(medium transparency) with a red tint, large fluffy head with spongy center, and moderate dissipation(good lacing).

S: Smells like a Belgian(especially on the yeast), cinnamon malt, and apparent, but not overbearing chilies. Hops are clouded.

T: Interesting... I would say that it follows the nose, but each ingredients degree is not what I was expecting. It's heavy on the sweet Belgian malt/yeast up front(with the cinnamon and chilies lasting throughout), hop bitterness comes more apparent after a few sips(nothing crazy), all seemingly regulated by the creeping/warming alcohol and citrus. Nothing is too overbearing(though it has a lingering booziness).

M: Syrupy/smooth finish, medium/full bodied, moderate carbonation, and apparent alcohol(not overbearing, but boozy and creeps).

O: Interesting... It's defiantly complex, and you won't pick up everything on your first sip. It's defiantly good, and reminiscent of a Belgian, but also maybe unbalanced(that's what it feels like). god.... this beer makes me feel conflicted. Scoring this will defiantly take some time. Despite that, it's defiantly worth picking up and trying. Worth the money, just on it's complexity. Cheers!!!

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Photo of gregb13
2.22/5  rDev -40.6%
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.

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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 dahlen22
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this in a 22 ounce bomber.

Appearance: Amber with a decent head.

Aroma: Cinnamon, hops, and a bit of grassiness.

Taste: The Cinnamon starts this one off and then comes the chili but fades quick, then a grassiness with a bit more cinnamon, and then more chilis and a clean hoppiness in the finish.

Overall: A lot going on with this brew and this is not for rookies. It is big, warm, spicy, hoppy, ala complex and is a sipper for sure. An excellent choice but I think one is my max per sitting. Cheers!!

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Photo of thydarkprevails
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing a somewhat fresh bottle now. I have more in my cellar. Poured into a duvel tulip. Cloudy, dark, amber brown. Thick, light tan head that takes forever to shrink. Now at one inch 2 minutes after pour. Floral, pine, grapefruit, pepper, caramel, and malty notes in the aroma. Taste is pepper, apple, grapefruit, orange, toffee, and more pepper. It actually picks up on the flavor of the aneheim pepper besides the heat. Mouthfeel is thin and a bit sticky. I can't wait to try it in a year.

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Photo of blindtiger24
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

4oz draft pour into a tulip glass.

A: Deep brown ruby color with slight head.

S: Apple cider / pie smell. A bit of heat from the chile in the nose, but really faint.

T: Apple, cinnamon taste with hints of clove spice.

M: Creamy mouthfeel and not overly sweet. Not much chile heat.

O: Good, but not great. Was left wanting more from the taste and smell, especially with the chiles. Aging might bring out more complexity.

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

had this at a stone beer tasting event. Claim to fame: cinnamon + chile (heat).

I'm not a big fan of spiced beers, and probably would've avoided if at a bar. However, I really liked this beer ... quite interesting ... bought the 2 remaining bottles at the liquor store.

a: malty brown, nice head

s: malty chile notes. reminded me of the smell of a spicy potato chip.

t and mf:
I could definitely picture myself drinking this beer watching a football game, while eating some spicy appetizer. There was a nice heat to the beer (chile) which was unlike any taste I've had before. Perhaps I could barely detect the cinnamon, but it was very subtle. And the flavor had a nice balance between the malts ... not very hoppy at all.

overall: very interesting and different beer. The 1st spiced beer that I actually liked. Strongly recommend trying.

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Photo of BurpingtonDC
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hmmmm. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. In small amounts it may be interesting, but 22 ounces is a bit brutal.

A - Reddish/Carmel color with an off-white small head.

S - Molasses, malt, vanilla, bananas, a touch of cinnamon and lots of green chillies.

T - I got a strong dose of green chili, some cinnamon, malt and alcohol. The chili is up front and a cinnamon and sweet malt finish

M - A balanced dryness/sweetness/carbonation mouth

O - Overall...this is a well made ale, but its flavor were a little off-putting to me. The chili was a little aggressive, but not in a good way. It seems oddly paired with the other flavors. Maybe an interesting brew to try once, but I'm not thinking of trying it again.

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Photo of specksnreds
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone, you're a badass. I've had a few of these now, but my first impression after a sniff was a doubtful, "Dude, what temp did you ferment?" In other words - ester bomb. But as the beer warmed up, things started to come together (like a plan on the A-Team). When I say things, I mean the cinnamon. Very nice with the fruitiness of the yeast. Not too over the top, and it felt warm and festive as the beer came to room temp. It's brown and carbonated and bubbly and dark-fruity and pretty and boozy and a little thin and that's all made better...because it has cinnamon.

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Photo of BenHesk12
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Jupiter restaurant in Berkeley CA.

Appearance - Stone VEA 11 appears a very deep enticing hue of reddish amber, almost like a red ale.

smell- it's a whirlwind of fruit, belgian yeastiness, and of course the cinnamon and chile that make this beer special.

taste - Pretty much a thoughtful interpretation of a strong belgian ale. High alcohol and belgian yeasts blend nicely with the chile, cinnamon, and sour notes.

mouthfeel - to me this beer had the sharp feel of a red ale, but without the sourness. Its delicately carbonated, and has the expected texture of a fine belgian ale.

overall - an interesting take on a classic style, high quality, and as others have said, a palate overload. I wouldnt expect much less from Stone, and this beer only being brewed one time, if you ever see it, TRY IT!

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Photo of MaxSpang
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip.


This beer pours a deep red with the slightest amount of haze. There was a khaki head that was around 2 fingers, and it stuck around for a little while. There was a decent amount of lacing. Not much visible carbonation. Overall, it's a decent looking beer.


The first few sniffs reminded me of a bigger Belgian ale - perhaps a Tripel or Quad. There's a nice sweetness to the nose. There is some big dark fruit notes and earthiness as well. The Flanders yeast gives it a Belgian spice character that has nice clove notes and some banana. Surprisingly, I get very little (if any) of the Cinnamon and Anaheim chilli.


The taste matches the nose fairly closely. There is a definite Belgian yeast ester flavor, giving it notes of clove, banana, and black pepper. Big dark fruit flavors come out as it warms. After awhile, the chillies make their first appearance. It's very subtle, just giving it the tiniest bit of warmth. Alcohol is present, but not in a huge way. There is a fruity sweetness that only intensifies as it warms. Like the nose, I don't find any cinnamon at all.


The beer starts off with a decent body, then has a dry finish. The chilli makes the dryness a bit more pronounced. The carbonation is minimal. There is a good amount of warmth from this beer, which comes from both the alcohol and the chilli.


This is an interesting beer. It's sort of like a wacky Belgian-style beer... Well, that's exactly what it is, actually. It doesn't really taste like any other beer I've had, but it's also not that unfamiar. I have no idea how it will age, but I can't wait to find out!


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Photo of BeerMaverick
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cory for recommending this distinct beer.

A - Mahogany beer with an off-white 1/4" head that leaves without a lace : D. Very dark for a pale ale, but I guess that's why it's also a strong looks like an American strong ale.

S - This variety seems to be the Belgian equivalent of the American strong ale because many of the aromatic notes are the same. Dark fruits (mainly raisin), cinnamon, brown sugar, and maple syrup. The bottle says that Anaheim Chilies have been added to this beer, but I can't sense anything chili-like here.

T - I have no idea how the chilies evaded my nose, but they are at the forefront of the taste. The peppers do a great job in balancing this an unexpected way. Based on the aroma, it was expected that this beer would be on the sweeter side of the spectrum, but the chilies provide a spiciness that almost completely balances the beer. The chilies also block out any hop presence, so it's impossible to tell if the hops are playing any part in the balancing act.

M - The peppery spiciness really plays a part here as well. Most of the time the hop bitterness would linger, but it's almost as if nothing lingers here (maybe some peppery heat). The initial spicy flavor was there to keep the sweet character in check, but it's as if it died out after accomplishing it's sole mission.

O - This is a very different beer. Nothing was to be expected and I was led astray at every point possible. Each facet of this beer is decent (nothing fantastic), but I enjoyed how this beer seemed to be a puzzle that provided some new trick at each turn.

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