Friday, November 11, 2011
I am always excited about a new release from Stone Brewing Co., particularly when it is another edition to the Vertical Epic series. While I find this year’s release to be an acquired taste, in terms of depth and complexity it doesn’t disappoint. The beer poured a deep reddish amber, with a fairly dense one to two finger head. Although the head was thick, it dissipated fairly quickly. The nose of the brew was very malty at first, and the base of the beer, with it’s 9.4% alcohol content, reminded me of an Imperial Amber. The twist to this year’s tale is the addition of Anaheim chilies and cinnamon. The cinnamon blended seamlessly with the chilies which were quite predominant, although no heat was present. The chili flavor, while nice, made the beer extremely rich. Had heat accompanied the flavor, this beer would have been very difficult to get through. As I got acclimatized to the chili flavor, the nose took on the aroma of chilies as well, bringing the beer full circle. I have had several chili beers which were much more assertive than this one, so I must respect the balance shown in the brewing of this unique beer. A thirst quencher it may not be, but for an intriguing journey into some flavors not usually associated with beer, I recommend this second to the last installment in the Vertical Epic franchise.