NeoHippie2 (1074) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - JAN 28, 2014
Hazy red/brown pour with a white head sweet malt aromas with cinnamon and subtle pepper notes. Flavor is similar with the pepper character being just enough to add some nice complexity to the beer. Abv is well-hidden. This one was very easy to drink. Aged very well. Props to StFun for the bottle! daleharshman (1073) - Escondido, California, USA - SEP 25, 2012
Bomber purchased ten months ago (at the time of release) at Holiday Wine Cellar ($6.99). Pours into my Stone IRS snifter an interesting muddy red-brown color with one finger of vigorous light brown head. Aroma has a lot of vegetal chiles along with significant spice (cinnamon, clover, ginger, holiday spice) and some fruitiness. Flavor also has the mild Anaheim chiles right off the bat, but is soon followed by additional layers of complexity with notes of gingerbread (the cinnamon), caramel, banana, clove and other spices, some sticky dark fruit, and Belgian yeast. The flavor certainly improved as it warmed up. The significant fruity-sweetness actually works well here. The high ABV is deceptively well-concealed. This is certainly not the train wreck that some people think it is. I applaud Stone for making a decidedly different beer here, but this is not something I would want to drink very often. (479, 737) tomciccateri (1034) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - NOV 12, 2011
UPDATED: DEC 17, 2012 On draught at O’Neill’s on 12 Nov 11. Pours a clear and impressive deep dark amber with lasting tan head. Medium to full body. Rich malty flavors with subtle spices and a slight warming note. A bit filing but nice cold weather sipping beer. 11/12/2011
On draught at O’Neill’s Stone Beer Dinner. Pours a dark amber with a white head. Full-bodied. Even match between chile and slightly dry malty flavors. Late bump from chile heat. Belgian yeast character comes out when paired with clam chowder. Cinnamon spice not pronounced. Sregnar35 (1032) - Rotterdam, New York, USA - DEC 16, 2011
Really unique. Sweet flavor comes through from the peppers, and the spice is all from the hops and cinnamon, not spicy hot, just spiced. Sweet malty flavor carries it home. RollinHard (1024) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - MAR 6, 2012
Pours a deep rusty orange-brown with a moderate off white head. Aroma of honey, orange, marzipan, cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, and traces of earth or toast. Maybe it’s cold, but I’m not getting chilies on the nose. Flavor begins kinda sweet with brown sugar, honey and cinnamon, followed up with some toast, earth and raisins. Finishes with a slight bit of heat from the chili peppers, and a drying sensation on the throat that almost seems like its from too much cinnamon. There’s also some earth and bitterness, but dry sensation and aftertaste that resembles over-steeped tea is TOO big of a departure from the initial flavor for me. Moderate carbonation, creamy and full mouthfeel and no detectable alcohol. It’s not gonna be confused for a Belgian ale from Belgium anytime soon, but I love the mouthfeel. For me, there’s more to like here and be intrigued by even though I can see why people don’t like this.
J_man (1022) - Tustin, California, USA - NOV 10, 2011
Pours a crystal clear medium amber with a slight ruby tinge and light tan head. The aroma has a candy sweetness to it with some grassy, vegetal notes and an alcoholic fullness. My first impression of the taste is that it’s a holiday/Christmas beer due to the malty sweetness combined with a spicy, herbal flavor. There’s some milk and bittersweet chocolate flavors as well as vanilla combined with a light vegetal, herb flavor with a slight spicy/peppery kick. There’s a dry, earthy/woody bitterness underlying this along with a somewhat farmhouse style Saison yeastiness. The herbal/yeast flavors remind me a bit of the flavors in the Stone collaboration ale Saison du Buff (another excellent beer). Washes out with a nice alcohol bite while leaving a little of both the vanilla sweetness and the vegetal bitterness behind. I don’t think this was necessarily intended to be a "holiday beer", but it makes an excellent one regardless. The Vertical Epic series has produced some great beers and this ranks high on that list. yesyouam (1016) - Fairport, New York, USA - JAN 17, 2012
Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11 is a crystal clear ruby ale with a thin, light khaki head that leaves excellent lacing on the glass. The aroma is quite spicy, warm and... food-like. There are notes of cinnamon, clove, apple, pear and vegetables. There seems to be a touch of sweetness in the nose. It’s pretty full bodied and lively. It leaves the mouth feeling slick for a while. There’s a lot going on in the taste. Overall, it’s pretty earthy and fruity. The sweetness I smelled doesn’t seem to be present in the mouth. There’s a hint of apple right at the beginning. Then, it’s stone fruit, cinnamon and clove. The finish is a little phenolic and very peppery, but in a black pepper sense. I wasn’t able to isolate the flavor of Anaheim chilies. There seem to be hints of soy sauce, vegetables (like a V8) and possibly smoke. I dig this. It’s probably cliché to say it’s unique, but, well... it is. I feel like if I let this one age, I’d interpret some of these flavors as possible oxidation. I tend to appreciate beer with crazy stuff thown in it and this is no exception. The Belgian yeast provides a curve ball here, and makes things a lot more complex than they would be otherwise, I suspect. fraternie (1011) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 29, 2015
Amber body, tons of caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon spice on the nose. Lively carbonation, malty but innovative, as sweet, sugary cinnamon stick flavors pick up a blast of chili pepper as it lingers with a touch of heat and residual sweet caramel malt, banana and clove. This would be a perfect pairing with my chili recipe. Booze and spice linger. Thechasm442 (1005) - Denver, Colorado, USA - APR 19, 2012
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. Onenote81 (1002) - Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA - MAY 1, 2012
Originally reviewed: 1/1/12. Had some friends over last night for New Year’s Eve and decided to pop this bottle, whilst playing some darts. Poured my allotment into an Allagash chalice. Pours a ruby garnet with a bountiful beige head on top. Great lace rings left behind after each sip. The nose is very "West-Coast" with fresh hops abounding. Slight astringent note with a yeasty twang. Good nose. Carbonation is moderately high, a bit of bubbly zest greets me each sip. Not too heavy. The chilies bring out a nice complement to the beer, and in no way overpower it. Light heat given off by them. The cinnamon as well is more of a background flavor, thankfully. Belgian yeast adds its expected zip on the finish. This beer is actually better than I had anticipated. Nothing really stands out at the forefront, but each player adds just enough to this beer to keep me sipping and enjoying. [Per usual, I grabbed an extra bottle to age].