Monday, November 14, 2011

11.11.11 on 11.11.11

I managed to have a Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11 on its actual namesake date 11.11.11.  It wasn't my deliberate intention, but when I found the sour beer night at Pizza Port Ocean Beach too crowded, I figured it'd be worth grabbing a bottle of the latest Stone release for home consumption.  I'll get right to the point - 11.11.11 was better than I was expecting.  I know that's not a ringing endorsement, but I was suspicious when I heard it was being brewed with chilies and cinnamon.

It poured a clear, deep mahogany, with quick dissolving sand-colored foam.   The chilies provided some spicy heat, but I did not detect too much flavor from them outside of their heat.  The main taste I picked up was cinnamon.  It was present throughout, even with the bittering hops in the finish.  The other taste was booze, which was noticeable from beginning to end.  (I am not sure of the beer's abv, but would guess between 8% and 9%.)  There are plenty of flavors going on in this beer, and I am going to need another bottle (or several) to get its full measure.  I did not do 11.11.11 justice by drinking at least half of it with a pizza dinner, but most of my beer drinking is with dinner.

I compare all Vertical Epics to my favorite, 08.08.08.   11.11.11, while complex and interesting, is not as good as '08's Vertical Epic.  On the positive side, it's much better than last year's experimental wine wannabe, and I want another, which is also positive.  11.11.11 is an approachable extreme beer, but you'll find yourself sipping it despite its easy drinkability.  The cinnamon and chile heat could qualify this beer as a one-off Stone holiday beer.  Stone has one more Vertical Epic left, and I am already starting to miss the concept.  It's time to start the speculation on next year's Vertical Epic grand finale.   I am rooting for a monster Belgian quad, thick as molasses, with a big dried fruit profile, and hops, loads and loads of hops.


JDaveRhode said...

Amen on 08.08.08. Might try to homebrew it at some point. I think I remember the hop profile being heavy on Simcoe/Amarillo.

Beer Rover said...

Invite me over when you get that brewed.