You’re undoubtedly aware of our Stone Vertical Epic Ale series. You may even have a cellar stocked with previous incarnations of our annual (plus a month and a day) homage to the wondrous effects of Belgian yeast and transformative hand of Father Time.
So the series itself requires little introduction, but this year’s installment merits some explanation. To put it succinctly, it is a Belgian-style amber ale brewed with cinnamon and Anaheim chillis from New Mexico’s legendary Hatch Valley (famous for growing complexly flavorful chillis prized by foodies.)
How that brief description translates into the taste of a beer is another matter. For those duties, I give you Stone’s Brewmaster Mitch Steele:
The Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale pours a deep amber with a cream colored head of foam.
The Belgian yeast strain we used this year has more pronounced banana aromatics than the clove flavors produced by some of the yeast strains we have used in past years. Mixed in with the banana esters are toffee malt notes, hints of spice — clove and cinnamon — and a trace of very mild green chili in the back. The aromas all blend together incredibly well.
Upfront, the yeast-derived banana flavors are blended very nicely with toasted and toffee-like malt flavors, fruity esters, and balanced hints of cinnamon. Mid palate the Perle and Pacific Jade hops and the Hatch green chili flavors come through. The beer finishes dry, and bitter with just the most subtle of hints of chili heat and a touch of alcohol.
Not your typical chili beer! The famous mild green chilies from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico add layers of delicious flavor with a very mild heat component. The base beer itself is very reminiscent of a European amber beer, with Perle and Pacific Jade hops, Munich and other roasted German and Belgian malts, hopped and brewed to a very Stone-like 65 IBU and 9.4% ABV. Cinnamon is a wonderful spice if used judiciously, which we did here-it doesn’t by any means dominate the beer’s flavor, but definitely adds a subtly complex spice note that blends amazingly well with the banana esters and green chili.
Malts: Pale, Crystal, Munich, CaraBohemian and Special B
Hops: Warrior, Target, Perle and Pacific Jade
Now that you’ve received the full rundown on this beer, we’ll tell you that it will begin percolating out onto shelves and taps starting on November 7th, 2011. Why not on 11.11.11, you ask? Because the beer gods prefer releases to be on Mondays. So there.