Friday, January 13, 2012
Stone Vertical Epic Ale 11-11-11
Stone Vertical Epic Ale 11-11-11, a Belgian-style ale brewed with Anaheim chiles and cinnamon as a part of Stone Brewing's Vertical Epic series (based on the concept of collecting and aging each in the series), poured a rich chestnut hue into the glass with mild carbonation trails floating to a small, sticky off-white head. The nose contained telltale signs of Belgian yeast- banana and pumpkin pie spice with squash. The cinnamon and chiles don't make an appearance in the nose, although there is a sensation of heat that is more likely attributed to the chiles than the relatively low alcohol.
Stone Vertical Epic Ale 11-11-11 opened with sweet and spicy Belgian yeast notes of pepper and banana. The cinnamon is there, but is fairly obscured by the clove-like notes, and the hatch chiles impart the slightest touch of flavor, but like in the nose is more felt than tasted. The spicy combo of the yeast and added spices did a nice job of drying out the finish of the beer, which was a relief after the thick and sweet middle of the ale.
I hate to admit this, but for my money Stone Vertical Epic Ale 11-11-11 is kind of a mess of a beer. It is interesting and by no means unpleasant, but there is a ton going on and the individual components don't coexist in harmony. After reading the label, I realize the intention for this ale was to be aged for a year, so I picked up a second bottle and am interested to see what time does to pull this ale together.