Sorry about the absence. Events conspired against me to keep me from posting as regularly as I would have liked, but crap happens from time to time. To make up for some lost time, here are some quickie reviews:
For the Eleventh Day of Christmas, I cracked open a bottle of Stone Brewing’s 11.11.11 Vertical Epic.* This ale is brewed with Belgian Yeast, which gives it a funky aroma and some banana flavors. Cinnamon and New Mexico Green Chilies were added to the boil, with the heat from the cinnamon noticeable on the front end, and the mildest heat from chiles in the aftertaste. The cinnamon and the chilies complement each other, and neither overpowers this beer, as is often the case with chili pepper or cinnamon infused beers. There are plenty of hops here as well, adding layers of flavor. This is another wonderful beer from Stone, 8/10.
*Do you see what I did there? Eleventh Day of Christmas paired with 11.11.11? I am on a roll!
How much longer will it be till we cross
that Mason Dixon Line?
At daylight would ya tell that engineer
to slow it down?
Or better still, just stop the train,
Cause I wanna look around.
Now this is more like it. I was sorely disappointed in the bottle of Stone Levitation Ale I had a few weeks back. It flat out sucked, and Stone usually does wonderful things with beer. The Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale restores my faith in Stone, the universe, and everything. This poured a deep mahogany brown, almost black, with a minimal tan head. It had a very nice pine and grapefruit hop flavor, backed up by some toasted malt with a dark chocolate aftertaste. Clocks in at 8.7% ABV, but you do not notice the alcohol at all. I don’t know whether to call this a dark IPA or a hoppy porter, but I am calling it a 7/10.
Normally I am a fan of Stone Brewing’s beer, and I heard good things about the Levitation Ale, but Jesus Tap Dancing Christ, this was awful. It was astringent and bitter, not in the good way, and was just plain nasty. It was so bad and so off the mark for Stone that I wonder if I got a bad bottle. I finished it, because I am a cheap bastard and don’t like wasting beer, but I will not be going back anytime soon. 3/10.
The 2010 Old Guardian Barleywine from Stone Brewing is a top notch beer. It clocks in at over 11% ABV, but is smooth and very drinkable. It pours a burnt orange color with a decent head that lasts to the bottom of the glass. A nice fruity aroma with some hops floweriness and a malty backbone. The caramel maltiness really came through in the flavor. I had this a few weeks ago when I was snowed in one night and it was the perfect cold weather beer. 8/10.