ELEVEN | Ithaca Beer Company

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Very Good
97 Ratings

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: English Sweet / Milk Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with British, German, and French malts, American hops, and milk sugar, then aged for weeks on locally roasted Sumatra coffee beans.

Added by BeerTruth on 08-22-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 97 |  Reviews: 74
Reviews by frothyhead:
Photo of frothyhead
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown with a one-finger tan head into a snifter.

Nose is huge with Sumatran coffee and roasted malt with a little bit of sugar sweetness and a milky creaminess coming through. Coffee pretty much dominates.

Mouthfeel is pretty thin for the style. Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. A bit of creaminess for sure but this is secondary to the thin, watery first impression.

Taste is, as expected, all about the coffee. Sugary sweet up front with a ton of roastiness powering through and dominating the rest. Some mild dark fruit trying to stand out among the sweetness but not doing a great job.

Drinkability is relatively high. The thin mouthfeel actually makes it easier to continue drinking and makes it feel like less of a sipper. The 7.5% ABV will sneak up on you, and I'm pretty sure the coffee is contributing to a healthy caffeine buzz, making you even more likely to keep on sippin' (and maybe rearrange all the furniture or paint the house or ...).

Overall this is a decent beer. Honestly, it's different than I expected, mostly due to the thin mouthfeel. On a side note, the Sumatran coffee taste is actually the closest commercial equivalent that I've had to the taste of my last home brew. It's a different taste, and one I wasn't entirely sold on in my beer or this beer, but it's definitely worth trying.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is strong coffee and vanilla. The flavor is roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. This is an excellent sweet stout that I hopefully will get to try again.

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Photo of mjtiernan
2.43/5  rDev -37%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Batch E!016

A: Black as night. Thin brown head that dissipated into nothingness quickly. Zero lacing.

S: Delicious roasted coffee beans. Easily the best quality of this brew.

T: Not as sweet as other milk stouts that I've had. Purely a coffee flavor, but too watery for my liking. Needs a bigger supporting cast. Alcohol is barely present. I never got to try this fresh.

M: Thin and watery. Virtually no carbonation.

D: Easy to drink but would prefer more carbonation. This feels totally flat and past its prime.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears like pitch black dark roasted coffee and forms a mocha tan head that is fleeing and dwindles very quickly, thin speckled lacing is whimsical. I love all of these Excelsior brews that I've come across this is batch E!016 and this isn't the first time I've had it. This is my second encounter with the Eleven and it was a gift. It smells of ice brewed Sumatra coffee, this is great stuff. Aroma fills the senses with dark roasted malts and sharp acidity it's definitely creamed with milky lactose additions bringing that sharp character that works with the coffee additions. Flavor works so well this beer is kickin' with coffee. Creamy layers of coffee and chocolate this is a milke stout with layers of complexity and coffee. Mouthfeel is oily with fresh coffee beans cracked, incredible soft carbonation flows smoothly, the body is medium bodied and feels so good. Drinkability overall is solid I can't take it this 750 ml bottle drains itself. Awesome stuff between complexity/flavor/drinkability and feel to the experience this should be brewed again in the future. Awesome Ithaca beer much like Ten and Alpha Alpha. Great brews from this series.

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Photo of r0nyn
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my trusty Troegs pint glass.

After peeling back the black wax plastic covering the cap, I gave it my customary hard pry and was surprised at how easily the cap came off. Hoping this isn't a sign of things to come.

Pours an inky dark brown that's almost completely opaque. A frothy half-inch head recedes slowly, leaving a lot of sticky lacing. Smell is has a very prevalent roasted quality, both of malts and of coffee. There's really not much else in the nose save for these two things, which suits me just fine.

Initial sip yields a malty kick, followed by a hint of sourness that slowly permeates the flavor profile. Some dark chocolate follows that up along with the signature coffee flavoring that becomes the main event. Light bittering from the hops with a minimal bit of astringency towards the back end. The astringency lingers into the aftertaste along with the coffee bitterness. Mouthfeel is creamy, but not as substantial as I was expecting. Carbonation is prevalent and the body is on the lightish side.

Overall, an easy drinking beer, thanks to the big coffee flavor. I have a feeling oxidation got to it a bit, but didn't detract all that much from the overall experience. I'd love to try a sample that's not had a questionable bottling, but alas, the beer has been retired.

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Photo of asabreed
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25.4 oz bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. Watched during The Office episode where Pam and Jim get married. Figured I'd vicariously celebrate a TV wedding with them. Picked up at the brewery a few weeks ago.

Appearance: A little lighter in color than a lot of other stouts, though I'm not sure if this is a double, a RIS, a regular stout or what. I'd guess maybe 7-9% ABV, but who knows with all that coffee? Not much head at all, and it's a feat to try and get some lacing on this sucker. What saves it, however, is the awesome sludgy translucence on the edges, surrounded by the pupil-black body, adding a kind of weirdly layered and pretty dimension that I haven't seen in many stouts.

Smell: That's big time coffee, folks. Roasted, toasted, mosted, which isn't even a word. There's some subtle chocolate sweetness coming into play also, but I'm not sure if that's from the lactose or not. There's also some creaminess involved, or some silkiness, in the aroma, which, again, may be due to the lactose, but once again, I'm not sure. But for as strong as it is, there's something calming about all the bitterness and roasted nature of it, and it seems to sing.

Taste: I think the lactose here was a good move, as it adds a dimension of sweetness without seeming too fake or overly sweet. And there's a creaminess that kind of reminds me of super strong black coffee doused with cream and sugar. And you know, I never thought that "morning beers" could ever be taken seriously, but if there ever was a morning beer, this would be it, as long as you're not driving of course. Your breath would smell like coffee, also, and certainly not brew. Finish is semi and welcomingly acrid, with some creamy sweetness and huge roasted bitterness, nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: A pretty creamy beer overall, not really chewy, and it thankfully is more medium-bodied, which makes me think at this point it could possibly be in the 6-7% range ABV-wise, but again, I'm probably totally off.

Drinkability: You have to start out, if you're not, with "Not being a coffee drinker..." with this brew. It's infused with coffee, not defined by nuanced hints of coffee, so beware. That said I really like it and find it an enjoyable sipper. I feel like I'm typing really fast also, so maybe the caffeinated nature of it is getting to me. I wonder how this will do being cellared also. I'm glad I tried it, and another plus in the Excelsior Series from Ithaca.

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Photo of Stigs
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 bottle, split - served in a small snifter

A - barely a finger of loose bubbly khaki colored foam settles to some floating bubbles and a thing ring. the beer is pretty much pitch black in color.

S - fresh, bold french roast coffee. slightly burnt and charred malts, cream, and a touch of nuts and dark chocolate.

T - on the sweeter side with the cream/lactose really coming through though cut into sharply by some still lively fresh coffee flavors. other more subtle notes of toasted nuts and some milk chocolate.

M - thick and syrupy with a lingering creamy sweetness that sticks to the mouth. moderate carbonation. lingering burnt coffee and lactose coat the throat.

D - solid around, this actually held up quite nicely and hasnt shown much loss or oxidation (i've kept it in cold storage since purchasing). sweetness can be over the top at times but no real problem drinking the majority of this bottle myself.

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Photo of Sammy
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Exelior anniversary series. A good though not overwhelming beer. Incredible coffee nose. Black with some bubbles. Leaves lace. Lactose to make it a sweeter milk stout, and that adds a little sourness in the finish. Carbonation has eased off through cellaring a couple of years. A little light on mouthfeel. Not so great for coffee fans, but decent drinkability.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an Ithaca pint glass. Courtesy of schen9303 who share all her beer with me ;).

A: Gentle pour yields a 1.5 finger semi-coarse light coffee head with poor retention. Beer itself is a near opaque black with a slight tint of red. Lacing is stringy.

S: Overwhelming coffee bean nose, if I was blindfolded and smelt this... I wouldn't be able to distinguish it from coffee. Slightly milky as it warms but otherwise the coffee masks all other flavors.

T: Opens sweet, milky, lactose. Coffee is pronounced as the nose suggests. Roasted malts, slightly acidic in the middle to finish. Finish is a roasted coffee sourness. Besides the milkiness in the beginning, its hard to push past the espresso flavor. A little too intense and one dimensional for me.

M: Light bodied and overly coarse. The feel doesn't really work for me here. Finish is messy and coffee is very strong in the aftertaste. Its sticky, but from the coffee, not any real sugar flavor.

D: This one is ok, but not really my favorite milk stout. Not smooth and like I said before, a bit one dimensional and it doesn't take advantage of the milk sugar aspect like it could Mouthfeel doesn't help any either as the coarsity prevents the other flavors from really emerging.

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Photo of nickd717
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft sampled.

A - Pours black with a medium tan head and good lacing.

S - Amazing aroma of coffee, roast, chocolate, and hints of dark fruit.

T - Coffee and cream, vanilla, roasted malt, burnt notes, mild smoke, and berries. This is damn good.

M - Finish is a bit dry yet palate is smooth. Just a bit watery for the style.

D - Good for the style. Overall this is a great beer.

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Photo of MPPHISH
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of scootny
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch E!016. A black brown beer with a brown head of decent proportions and good lacing. Smell is smokey and rich with coffee, light vanilla and dark roasted grains. Taste is like a perfect latte. The milk sugar adding a smooth sweetness while the coffee broadens the roasted malts and makes this one a real winner with cheesecake or any other rich creamy dessert. Finish is quite dry and clean with coffee and touch of condensed milk sweetness. Some earthy hops combine with the coffee to dry the palate. Feel is lightly syrupy with a mild carbonation that breaks it up nicely. This goes down like mothers milk with a satisfying warm roastiness as you drink it. Quite easy to work your way through a bottle or two of this. glad I have more.

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Photo of FrankyLikesIt
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of dtx00
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of philbe311
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!016

A - A huge cascading frothy medium to dark brown head with modest retention that settles comfortably at about one fingers worth before receding until a creamy rich lacing... A completely opaque black abyss... No noticeable carbonation though some random bubbles can be seen clinging to the sides of the glass...

S - The forefront is dominated by delectable coffee beans... Buried under the surface are notes of roasted malts, sugars, and a touch of chocolate...

T - The coffee isn't as predominate on the palette and blends will with notes of milk chocolate, roasted malts, and just the faintest hint of charred smoke... The aftertaste is comprised of an acidic coffee bitterness...

M - Medium bodied with just the lightest prickle of carbonation... Extremely smooth... A touch of creaminess...

D - Easy drinking sip after sip... Not as full bodied or intense as I expected, but that's not necessarily a bad thing... My glass hasn't even hit the table before I'm contemplating another sip... A job well done by the fine folks at Ithaca...

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Gushue3 for this bottle!

Pours nearly pitch black. Medium tan head forms, 2 fingers, nice retention. Aroma has bits of chocolate, roasted malts and bittersweet coffee notes. Appears the coffee may be faded a bit. Not really surprising given the age, but it's still nice and pleasant. Same kinda goes for the taste, though it is a bit more robust and a bit more sweet and definitely more chocolate. Slight notes of just coffee beans, which is a good thing and definitely impressive. The feel is a nice surprise too. Wonderfully full bodied, with a creamy texture.

I think this has held up nicely. Not as good as I'm sure it was in the past, but very glad to have tried it!

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Photo of tclapper
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Proteus93
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with a lighter, bubbly head that doesn't retain all that much. It's very sea-side foamy and dissipates to nothing very quickly. In some ways, there is an intriguing beauty to looking at a glass of straight up, black liquid.

S + T: Pleasant malts, coffee and cream, some vanilla. Overall, it's a rich mocha scent and flavour. Coffee is certainly the predominant flavour, but there is a cookie quality that comes to it with a little age. That does it incredibly well, at least at this point in time. The bottle states that it could be aged indefinitely, though I would likely feel that the oxidation could hurt it over the next couple of years. Nonetheless, this is a fantastic beer... both scent and aroma are incredible.

M + D: The body of the brew is a little lighter than a lot of more common in the stout style... most RIS will be thick or chewy, and this is neither. Rather, it's a modest body, assertively carbonated, yet on the lighter side. In this case, it serves the beer well. The coffee serves as 'the front line,' even over the beer quality. This is one I would hope to come by again, as the age doesn't hurt it at this point in time.

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Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into a standard pint glass. Batch E!016.

Appearance: Pitch black with a finger or so of mocha colored foam that settles almost instantly.

Smell: Strong roasted coffee, dark chocolate and cream.

Taste: Roasted coffee and cream, dark chocolate and some milk chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Solid offering from Ithaca. Although it is retired, I have another bottle that I will have in the future. This is a 750ml that I don't have any problems finishing.

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Photo of Murchmac
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Lum for sending this beer to me under duress. You see we had a bet on the Bills Pats MNF game to open the season. Needless to say Lum's blind allegiance to a perennial crappy team has yielded me an excellent beer to drink.

Black, dark black, head that vanishes into the darkness like T.O.'s debut as a Bill who quietly caught 2 passes and dropped many others. Gone, like the expectations that Owens carried into Buffalo International Airport that summer day. Oh and Moss, he had 141 yards that day.

Coffee, some heat, bakers chocolate. Smells like a team grasping defeat from the jaws of victory...

Immediately feel the coffee effects upon drinking it. Feel undercurrents of the milk stout in it too...some smoke, so that means there's fire right? When Leodis McKelvin went down and you saw the Patriots players jumping for joy, you thought maybe where there's smoke there's fire. Only after your first sweet sip of victory did you know, yes, he fumbled in the red zone. What a delicious beer. It tastes like the dark dread of fear and anxiety of Bills fans with 1 minute and 6 seconds left as Brady connects to Ben Watson to go up by a point. 1 minute people. How sweet this beer is...

Nice sweet aftertaste. This tastes a little better than the bookend to the 2003 season beating the Bills 31-0, or when Troy Brown intercepted Drew Bledsoe when he was a Bill. This beer will age as well as the memories of the Pats coming back to beat the Bills that game. Thanks Lum for making this even better.

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Photo of dbexpert
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh my god, Holy shit, those where the words drawn out by the aroma.
A. dark chocolate color w a tinge of an amber glow, Head definetly has a nice chocolate milk color
S. One of the better smelling beers, The coffee and rich roasted malt notes are extrordinary
T. Not sure of what i was looking for but definetly hits style but not over delivered, definitly a beer to be pared with a dessert. coffee is dominant, followed by rich robust roasted malt flavors, all though, well-balanced
M. rich, dominated by coffee notes, I would prefer a more cream texture, similiar to LH's milk stout, but good overall
D. Definitly not something i would consume in large quanities. The 750ml is enough expeirence to satisfy two people and maybe a third if you are willing to share

Definitly a beer to try. I would like to revist this beer after cellaring for a year or so. I think this would round out the flavor balance. If you find them buy two, One now, one to cellar! p.s. if you don't like coffee don't buy this beer and say it is awful because it taste like coffee, just say'n!

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was happy to see this in the vicinity, so finally I'm pouring it into a Portsmouth snifter...

Wow - this head is bready...lots of muffin tunnels...a fair amount of light maple candy color. Sort of like a heady root beer. Color isn't quite espresso dark; it's more like Dunkin iced coffee dark. Would expect a little more thickness, but it still looks good. Decent retention.

The scent is sort of like a tinny version of Peche Mortel. A shitload of coffee smacks the nose like a 4th-line goon in a hockey fight. A very dry slate-like character and a fair amount of hop grass rounds this out.

Y'know, I'm getting a lot of smoke here. Smoke...or slate...or charcoal dust. Very husky with a rauch-like tendency. A bit of warmth cleans it up to reveal some HUGE malt and coffee notes. It's interesting how quickly this burns off and is a nice reminder about letting beers breathe for at least a few minutes.

It may be psychological but the coffee flavor feels like it's pulsing through my veins at the moment. Very dry and slate-like. Hop grass mixes actually quite well with the coffee to create a little balance with the hardcore chocolate and roasted malts. It's a little uneven, albeit very good, and I'm still not sure how warm or cold to drink this. Definitely not enough weight at room temperature but cold would be a waste. A freaky tweener, this Eleven.

I'm finding myself ready to devour this, even though I don't know what to make of it. The coffee has transformed me to The Great Cornholio so I'm bouncing off the fucking walls at the moment. "Butt-head, what happened to Beavis?" "He like ate 27 candy bars...and then he drank a 6-pack of root beer..." "...Nicar-AGUA...AGUA for my bung-hooole..." OK, I'll stop now...wait, didn't Beavis pull that shit at a coffeehouse spoken word night or something? Obviously I watched too much TV in 1995 - and forgot even more of it...

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Photo of Casey10
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I rated this one based on my experience I just really was not into this one the taste is okay was almost a weak coffee flavor like when it goes stale.

Overall not bad but I won't have this one again. Glad I at least tried it.

A - Brown

S - Faint coffee

T - kind of a stale coffe flavor not that great.

M - its okay once it warms up a bit.

D - Low like I mentioned won't have this again.

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ELEVEN from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 97 ratings