Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
84
good
1,529 Ratings
Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic AleStone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Chile Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by JAramini on 11-10-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,529
Reviews:
483
Avg:
3.74
pDev:
16.58%
 
 
Wants:
42
Gots:
438
For Trade:
17
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,529 |  Reviews: 483
Photo of Pahn
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch frothy offwhite head that dissipates steadily leaving a thick ring of dish-soap-bubbly lacing. Pours a semi-translucent dark ruby and leaves little subsequent lacing.

Smell: In the bottle, it smells like a generic Belgian golden ale. In the glass... ha, coffee cake. Straight coffee cake and nothing else at first. Cinnamon and sugar, what? Some sweet malt and bubblegum come out shortly.

Later, a strong chile note emerges. I love chiles.

Taste: First sip, very mild pepper heat, bland BSPA with bubblegum and Belgian yeast, leading to a sugary finish. Not great.

Second sip has a huge and distinct chile flavor, highlighted with cinnamon through to the malty, sugary, Belgian yeasty finish. Okay, I get it... it works. They were going for a blend of Mexican and Belgian flavors, and this is a clear success.

Further sips reinforce this impression. Great chili note (how did they get so much distinct pepper flavor into the beer? It's great), some cinnamon and sugar, then some Belgian yeast and mild malt.

The experiment is successful, with the great, dark, savory pepper flavor really working well with the spice and base beer... but it's hard to look past the relative blandness of the base beer. I've had a lot of BSPAs/Belgian golden ales in my time (there was a time when I was never without a bottle of La Chouffe on hand), and this is a really weak example. Sure, the chile is the star, but the BSPA is a tease.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Good carbonation (a bit high), overly sugary finish.

Overall: Given the high standard set by Stone's other "out there" beers and other Vertical Epics, this one is a miss. Yeah, the pepper tastes great, and it balances with the other elements, but Stone is the master of balancing bold against bold. A BSPA *should* be bold, at least in its complexity or the extent to which you taste the various ingredients. The base beer here is a far cry from that kind of boldness.

In other words, if not for the addition of chiles, this is around a C- to C beer. I want to grade it a bit higher than I am due to my love of chiles and how impressed I am that they could pack such a flavor into a beer... but I can't overlook the downsides--especially knowing that if anyone could get such a pronounced chili flavor and pair it with a brilliantly-brewed-in-its-own-right BSPA, it's Stone.

Still, an interesting and enjoyable beer.

 2,452 characters

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

Poured into a large tulip glass a slightly hazed maber with sticky1/2 finger off white head,cinnamon and earthy chili's in the nose,light phenols poke thru as the beer warms a little.Belgian yeast flavors at the onset,phenolic and spiced to go along with light cinnamon flavors,again the chili flavors are more earthy lending a little warming on the way down.Not bad,Iam not a huge Belgian yeast fan but the subtle chili,and cinnamon flavors are nice.

 451 characters

Photo of jamescain
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours a clear deep orange mahogany with an off white head about a finger thick that slowly fades to a patchy lacing.

Aroma: Caramel, clove, a touch of cinnamon (not as much as you would expect), yeast, and maybe a hint of pepper.

Taste: Sweet, clove, spices, very little heat from the pepper, almost unnoticeable with a slightly roasted character.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. There is no lingering spicy finish.

Overall: I enjoyed it even though I was skeptical at first when I heard about what they were planning.

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Photo of draheim
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip w/ some trepidation; my first chile beer. (EDIT: just noticed this was re-categorized as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale since I posted my review - that's probably a more appropriate style.)

Pours a clear mahogany color w/ a 2-finger khaki head, sticky lacing.

Aroma is really hard to pin down. Cinnamon is evident, some soapy bubblegum too. Slight banana.

Taste roughly follows nose. Strong dark malt w/ some sugary sweetness and a slight earthy kick from the chiles, particularly on the finish. There's a soapy quality too, not sure where it's coming from. Bubblegum/banana also prevalent.

Overall this is not a beer I'd likely drink again. I might pick up another and stick it in the cellar, just to see what happens.

 750 characters

Photo of Stunner97
2.85/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- dark brown with tan color on head and some carbonation

smell- alot of cinnamon and spice on the nose

taste- this beer was extremely spiced and spicey, really to me was out of wack, not sure of the chilli peppers made it so spicey or spicing but wasnt balanced for me in anyway,

Mouthfeel- medium bodied and smooth

Drinkability/overall- overall this beer just didnt do it for me it was to spiced and just to much for me, i know its a unique style but just wasnt for me, had no problem finishing it but not my thing at all

 537 characters

Photo of JazzIPA55
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of HalfFull
3.15/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh bomber poured into a globe glass, the newest of the series promises to be interesting. Pours a clear amber with half an inch of off white foam. Retention follows the lead of other vertical epics, that being too brief especially for a bottle conditioned or partially bottle conditioned ale. Perhaps it never got any warm time. Keeps a ring nonetheless and offers up some fresh foam with a spin.

Steely aroma with interesting yeast notes arising with some warming. In the mean time lots of spice wrapped in some caramel and a subtle chili aroma. Pretty well integrated really with clove being dominant and with light chocolate and caramel rounding it out. Quite hoppy particularly with some agitation. Alcohol is apparent though not overly so. In the end the hop spice trumps any yeast notes, keeping them caged in the cellar.

Flavor is sweet and spicy with some caramel and cinnamon, touch of dark cherry in the middle and a flash of chili pepper on the finish. Further warming does indeed yield some sweet banana. Feel is lighter than the color might suggest, expanding a bit with warming and gathering a bit of spice texture as it does so. Overall an interesting brew and one I'll surely grab a few more of to stick in the cellar in hopes of things getting happier over time.

 1,284 characters

Photo of PaBeerLover
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of younger35
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of alwaysanswerb
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of rand
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From bottle to Delirium tulip glass

A: Dark amber, clear, fluffy, foamy 2-inch head. Small but thick patches of lacing.

S: Nice holiday bouquet as the festive spices accent the aromas. Nutmeg, cinnamon, clove smell lovely up against the sweet malts. The chiles are there but faint. Alcohol volatiles dance.

T: The layers of flavors are quite different from the nose. The chiles are much more prominent. Sludgy malt-sweetness seems to bury the spices, the cinnamon is barely detectable. Chili heat maintains throughout and the segue to the finish is far from seamless. Flavors contrast and repel each other. Finishes hot and sticky sweet.

M: Syrupy, sticky. Full bodied and your palate is laced with residue after each sip

Interesting attempt, but this is the worst of the Epic series by quite a margin. The flavors are completely disjointed and seemingly random. And the chili was just unnecessary - I'm a huge pepper geek, but I don't put cayenne in my pancakes or Chai latte. Hopefully the contrasting flavors will blend after a year of aging.

 1,050 characters

Photo of danedelman
2.55/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Since I am no longer a huge hop head, I am wondering what a stone will taste like to me now.

A-a nice amber, reddish collor with a lite head with a nice lacing.

S-smell hops right in front, lots of piney hops too. Then a bit of a malt background.

T-ugh!! That was rough!! hops with a nutmeg flavor. ugh again, like tasting pine sol. nasty!! I drank a nice 4 year old barleywine before this so I am wondering if it is just not a good match. but ugh!! this stuff sucks. Lemony piney, f yeah!! Pine Sol is all I can think about.

m-can't get over the flavor to get the mouthfeel. dumping this crap down the drain now.

 617 characters

Photo of allengarvin
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a NB chalice, this is a moderate amber beer with a medium head. From the nose, I get notes of a fruity, lightly phenolic Belgian-type beer, absent any spiciness. The flavor initially presents some sweetness, giving away to light medicinal phenol notes and ripe fruitiness. Alcohol is mildly apparent at the close. The cinnamon is subtle, but detectable. I can't catch any hint of the chiles, perhaps because anaheims are so mild. Not sure of the point of them.

We have here a decent Belgian beer, but without anything particularly special about it, to my taste. Needs lots more epicness.

 599 characters

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.

APPEARANCE

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.

SMELL

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.

TASTE

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.

MOUTHFEEL

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.

OVERALL

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!

Cheers.

 1,665 characters

Photo of UnderPressure
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A nice dark amber colored beer with a frothy head. Nice head retention. Some lacing.

Nice aroma. Definately a Belgain. You get plenty of the Belgian "funk" from the yeast. Heavy on the malt side of the fence.

Wow. Lots of complexity in the flavor. Belgain yeast. Slight alcohol (but not much). An overall raisin-like tart fruitiness. Significant hop bitterness. There are a few background flavors going on that are hard for me to articulate.

A nice, thick, heavy mouthfeel with a bitter, dry finish. Nice.

A really nice full flavored beer with a lot to offer. I wish this was a year-round brew. It would be great to drink on special occasions. I'll end this review now and relax with the rest of this bottle before the 9.4% ABV gets the best of me.

 752 characters

Photo of mocktm
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of pwoods
2.87/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz. brown bottle poured into a Stone Levitation tulip.

A: Pours a very pretty ruby copper color. 2+ fingers of light tan head forms and has pretty good retention. Decent lacing.

S: Firm chili and chili powder aroma. Subtle caramel malts and yeast but dominated by the chili. A bit veggy from the chili's as well.

T/M: Odd mix from the malts and chili. The cinnamon comes through but in an odd way... doesn't really scream cinnamon but it's definitely there. Nice yeasty character with plenty of fruity esters. Body is medium with nice carbonation and a semi dry finish.

D: I think this would be a really good beer without the chili's and cinnamon... just doesn't seem to mix real well here.

 696 characters

Photo of babaracas
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mostly clear orange tinted red with one finger of creamy khaki foam. Settles quickly to a quarter inch, sparse lacing.

Smell: smells like a fruity BSPA/tripel, so I guess the color is for show only? Pale / pils sweetness, floral with a light spiciness, then fruity with unripe banana and a bubblegum note. Alcohol is present. Between the yeast and alcohol, the note of chilies could be imagined.

Taste: big mildly sweet pale malt flavors, red grape, spicy and fruity. Note of clove and a hit of cinnamon (red hots -esque). Otherwise the alcohol is the primary source of heat, but there is a mild green pepper flavor that coats the palate towards the end of the sip. Lots of sugars upfront. Dries out with some grittiness but still sugary at the finish. Sort of an oil and water feel in the finish, which is a bit odd.

Pulled in many directions, it's not particularly good at any of the things it tries to be, but still worth a try.

 942 characters

Photo of beerandcycling88
3.01/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

A Pours a clear dark amber color topped with a white head that dissipates quickly.

S The Belgian character of the beer comes through very strongly with a strong banana bubblegum with a hint of clove aroma. Can't really tell if there are chillies and cinnamon though.

T Pretty similar to the nose with lots of banana, bubblegum and clove with a hint of chillies coming through on the finish with some heat. Pretty sure the cinnamon is a lie though as I can't taste it anywhere which is disappointing because I love cinnamon and put it in most things.

M Medium bodied with pretty nice carbonation.

Overall a very disappointing beer as the all I taste is the mediocre base beer and not the chillies or the cinnamon. Not bad just very mediocre.

 785 characters

Photo of TroopScoop
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

 601 characters

Photo of ten1965
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of hosehead83
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Dark brown/tea color, with a moderate head of bone-white foam.
Aroma-Subtle Belgian spicy yeast
Taste-Belgian spiciness,a bit fruity, subtle hop presence, candi sugar. Gently warming and complex. Reminds me more of a Belgian dubbel than a strong pale ale. Not the best of the lot of Vertical Epics, but certainly worth a try.

 381 characters

Photo of Scotchboy
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Don't know what to think of this one...Vertical Epic 11.11.11, split into pint glasses.

A: Pours a crystal clear coppery color, much darker than I anticipated it would be, with a huge light tan head & good lacing.

S: Huge Belgian yeast characters, banana and fruity esters, clove and other peppery spices...light cinnamon notes and possibly spiciness from the peppers. There are some definitely sweet bready notes from the malts.

T: Spicy Belgian character here, with the fruity yeast notes mixing with cinnamon and pepper notes...the peppers coat your lips and stick there for awhile, but its not an overwhelming spiciness at all.

MF: Prickly mouthfeel but soft and fluffy in a way...moderate medium body.

O: Well crafted take on things, though not my favorite style and not 'helped' much by the addition of peppers/cinnamon. Still, alcohol was undetectable and everything blends really well.

 898 characters

Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.74 out of 5 based on 1,529 ratings.
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