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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic AleStone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,518 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,518
Reviews: 295
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 14.07%
Wants: 24
Gots: 355 | FT: 41
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HalfFull on 12-05-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,518 | Reviews: 295 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sjones5045
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap a few months back, now reviewing out of a bottle.

Pours jet black, much like the color of a stout but this has a great head and lace. Appearance is a mind trip since you think you should be drinking a stout with a great head, yet you know it's a Belgium Strong.

The smell is great. Tons of nutmeg and cinnamon. Two smell that I love. It does have a small metallic smell hidden behind the nutmeg and cinnamon but to be honest I only pick it up after I tasted it.

The taste is velvety with what you would expect from the smell. The nutmeg and cinnamon are very dominant and very well blended into the beer. However, I pick up a bit of metallic aftertaste from time to time which then I picked up from the smell too.

Overall, a very well put together beer which really is meant to drink in the winter rather than when I'm drinking it. Only a small flaw of a twinge of an aftertaste that knocks this down a bit. I really enjoyed this beer as a different kind of feel and would definite recommend it.

Photo of Zorro
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky black beer with a mediums sized brown head.

Smells spicy with a good holiday spice mix. Patent malt and clove, with oranges, and spruce needles. Coriander and licorice with mint and a strong dose of clove.

Starts out tasting of spice and patent malt, after taste is clove. Spruce, pine, clove, cinnamon. Some chocolate taste but the char of the malt is stronger. Mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall it is good. Still it is really a Christmas beer.

Photo of korguy123
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into tulip.
My brother's first child was supposed to be born on 12-12-12 and my brother is a HUGE Stone fan. We promised each other if my nephew was born on 12-12-12 him and I would split a case and share it every Christmas...

Well Liam decided to be born 6 days early. I bought one bottle lol.

Completely opaque. super dark brown/black pour. Three finger soapy, sticky tan head. Loads of sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.

Large doses of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, some all spice, peppery spice, dark chocolate and some burnt coffee. Very festive smelling. A nice change for the middle of March.

Burnt coffee, dark chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and a little too much cloves (my holiday pet peeve... but I'll survive) It has a finish of brown sugar and chocolate syrup. Definitely more of a holiday inspired stout than a Belgian Dark Ale.

Medium body, decent carbonation. Sticky on the lips.

I really enjoyed this one, I think the next time I head South I'll be getting another bottle or two to share with my brother.

Photo of GPHarris
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

a - poured a three-fingers thick, dense coffee-colored head into a tulip glass that left great lacing throughout. the body was black with brown edges.
s - spices hit you first but some floral aromas fight their way through.
t - spicy, fruity and floral. complex and flavorful.
m - medium and slick, very coating.
o - i've tried all of the VEs at a VE tasting shortly after this one was released (first one excluded) and this was one of my favorites at the time. nothing in the year since changed that.

Photo of CloudStrife
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a pitch black with a solid 1 finger light tan head. After a few minutes the head dissipates to a thin film and ring around the edges. Pretty good lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: A light malt background, yeasts in there too. Spiciness comes through and a noticeable hop backing.

T: Quite a complex beer here. At first I noticed a fairly strong hop, seems to mellow out with some sweet malts. Spiciness comes in at the end with an allspice sort of christmasy feel. This compliments the yeast

M: A very creamy beer with mild carbonation. Very pleasant to sip on. A bit of stickiness at the end. Nice and warming but the booze is well hidden.

Overall one of my favorite vertical epics. Still a few more at the store might grab another to stash. A nice finale to the series.

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass; obvious November 2012 bottling. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense dark tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of huge dark chocolate, roasted malt, toast, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, clove, dark bread, pepper, floral, orange peel, light char, roasted earth, and yeast spiciness. Fantastic aromas with great balance, complexity, and strength of dark malt, spice, and yeast ester notes. Taste of dark chocolate, roasted malt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, clove, toast, pepper, dark bread, orange peel, light char, floral, roasted earth, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, toast, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, clove, pepper, dark bread, floral, light char, roasted earth, and yeast spiciness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance, complexity, and robustness of roasted malt and spices flavors; with a great sweetness/spice balance; and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent spiced Belgian dark ale! Great robustness and balance of dark malt and spice flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of C20Percent
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark brown, black with a semi-bubbly head of tan foam on top.

S: Spicy. Fall spices. Nutmeg. Pumpkin.

T: Cloves! Fall spices. Nice -- unique -- sipping brew. Pretty good.

M: Velvety. Body a little thin. Smooth.

O: Better than Vertical Epic 11.11.11. Dark and Spicy -- good winter brew. Quite enjoyable.

Photo of fgmiele
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours silken black with little to no cream colored head.

Aromas of mocha, fruit, almond, sweet booze

Taste follows nose..twangy banana like sweetness with a coffee mocha rounding out. Flavor is deep and complex..flavors open as temp warms.

Mouthfeel is slippery and full.. Not heavy but well developed.

Overall a complex and different beer..have not had any of the other vertical epics but I would gather that they were probably quite something from the tastes of this.

Photo of cjgator3
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark, dry, a touch of sweetness, the spices really come out. This one is aging wonderfully.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Arrogant Bastard Ale pint glass. Pours a very dark red brown, appearing nearly opaque in the glass. Half finger light brown head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of dark sweet malt and holiday spicing; cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves; slightly herbal. Flavor is pleasant roasted malt, similar spicing as aroma, chocolate, finishing with cloves, cinnamon, licorice and roasted, almost charred malt and coffee. Medium bodied with nice creaminess. This is an excellent winter warmer and perhaps one of my favorites winter ale and favorite among the Verticals. I will be picking up a few more bottles of this. A perfect and seasonal end for the series. I hope they do another series like this.

Photo of rtig
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first (apparently last) Epic. Purchased it as it was 12/12/12 and it seemed similar to Stone Sublimely righteous ale.

Poured a dark chocolate color with a light brown lace

Spicy aroma with coffee and chocolate

Taste was very complex as each sip yielded a slightly different flavor. Lots of different spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice with malty chocolate.

Mouthfeel was relatively heavy but with a good finish

Overall Stone produces another winner which I feel very fortunate to have tried.

Photo of Tucquan
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-12-20 in Norristown, PA at Capone's

A - Opaque dark brown with a 1/2-finger tan head and great lacing.

S - Cinammon, rock candy, allspice, roasted malt.

T - Lots of flavors including fig, plum, allspice, dark roasted grain, nutmeg, cinnamon. It's mildly sweet and well-balanced with a touch of roasted and hop bitterenss. Not much alcohol. Great balance. Dries well. Holds all these flavors together nicely. The lingering aftertaste is an equal balance of the above flavors.

M - Medium body and carbontation. Not too thick, not too creamy, not too crisp . . . just right.

O - A very enjoyable, delicious, holiday-inspired brew.

Photo of cultclassic89
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of Billolick
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks like this one has been in a dark closet for 6 months or so. Chilled and allowed to warm up for about 45 mins.

Pours darn near black, mocha head, leaves a thick n rich head, quality, tiny bubble and nice looking fine sheets of lace.

Burnt malt, dark bitter chocolate , vanilla on the nose

Super smooth, big, bold, complex and flavorful Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Dense flavors of dark and bitter chocolate, more vanilla. Snap of belgian yeat in the rear.

Heady brew. Dangerously awesome

Photo of John_M
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Smokin Joe's the other day.

The beer pours the expected blackish brown color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is exotic and impressive, though I'm not sure about the use of all these spices. In any event, this beer reminds of holiday eggnog, with considerable vanilla, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and mint, but with some interesting coffee and chocolate as well. The combination just seems a bit odd, especially with the huge presence of all these spices. The flavor profile replicates the nose, though the spices aren't quite as prominent on the palate as they were on the nose. I really like the soft, creamy mouthfeel I'm getting in this beer, as I think it helps to soften the impact of all the spices. Otherwise, there's plenty of vanilla, coffee and chocolate in this well made beer. Mouthfeel is otherwise long and spice filled, and the alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile. Also, while the beer is on the sweet side, the spices and some underlying hoppy bitterness seem to buoy that sweetness quite well.

An interesting and well made beer, though it's hard to imagine drinking a whole lot of this.

Edit from 3/15/13. Sampled this on tap again during a Vertical Epic event at Pacific Coast brewing. The spice component still seems a bit over the top, though the mouthfeel was softer and creamier. Score at the pub was virtually identical to what I found previously.

Photo of micromaniac129
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fantastically aromatic with holiday spices including cinnamon.
Pouring this into a chamay goblet, it looks thick and dark and velvetty lusious. The color is a deep brown almost black even at the edges. I gave this brew a hard pour and the results were like that of a nitro but not the tall head one expects with nitros. The head was small brownish but dense and any swirl refreshes the head.
Taste is big and malty with generous spicing with molasses and cinnamon.
Drinks smooth and thick with a semi bitter finish. As it warms it goes south big time.
Reminds me alot of Anchors holiday brew but without the tree limbs and stuff.

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Showed some respect and poured this opaque brew into a chalice. Tiny tan head, some retention but no lacing.

S - Hello allspice! and some cinnamon. Can I get some pumpkin pie to go with this?

T - First impression is a glass of banana bread.. It transitions into some fruitiness - raisins, plum - and has some burnt chocolate flavors. Adds some milk and creaminess as it warms.

M - for such complexity, there is light backbone to this

Nice holiday brew feel to this. Lots to discover, much to enjoy.

Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to try the last in this annual series.Poured into a chalice a deep dark chocolate color...nearly black with a creamy one finger deep beige head that left a broken ring of lace as it settled into a creamy mass.Deep mulling spice in the nose along with alcohol sweetness and a little earth.Full chewey feel to beer and really smooth,top notch there.The spice starts out like it might overpower the beer with nutmeg really standing out but a big earthy dryer finish kicks in just in time to give it balance.This is a big allspice and nutmeg spiced bomb but the earthy dry finish is a perfect foil up against it,a great beer.

Photo of Benjamin_Stewart
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of scottfrie
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours near black with two fingers of dense light brown head that slowly faded into a melted ice cream film. A ton of stringy lace was left down the glass.
S: Nutmeg, orange zest, allspice, cinnamon, apple juice, clove, brown sugar.
T: Follows the nose with the addition of wood, caramel, black pepper, and chocolate. Tons of spice, solid hop bitterness in finish. Leafy with rose hip and a hint of tobacco. Fruity, spicy apple cider aftertaste. Clove and nutmeg standout. Complex and it all works.
M: Thick body, soft fluffy carbonation, airy, full mouthfeel.
O: Very interesting brew. Can easily pick out all the ingredients and they work together.

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours an inky black color with a very large, persistent tan head. Patchy concentrations of lacing mottle the glass. It looks more like an Imperial stout than a Belgian strong, but I'm not complaining.

S: The nose is powerfully assertive and redolent of cookies and chocolate cake. Dessert after dessert pops out of the glass: snickerdoodle cookies, bread pudding, hermit cookies, fruitcake, et al. Spicy and fruity scents abound. Fig, raisin, pear, green apples with cinnamon. This is one hell of a delicious nose.

T: A strong wave of spices and Belgian yeast envelope the palate on the attack. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are prominent. Clove both in person and from the yeast. Yeast itself lends earthy/nutty/chalky tastes. Mild fruity flavors of dried fig, raisin, and baked apples with cinnamon. Chocolate covered oranges and a touch of rosewater buried deeply. Malt flavors show some range. They start off cakey and chocolatey, then build into an aggressive roasted bite with tastes of burnt crust and smoke. Then they soften into charcoal, and back into German chocolate cake. Finishes bone dry and a touch yeasty with a fleeting taste of German chocolate cake and diminishing spices.

M: Very thick in the mouth with a robust, heavy body. Ultra creamy and smooth. Mild caressing carbonation.

O: This is the last of the Vertical Epic series, and Stone sure did go out with a bang. 12.12.12 seems very much like a spiced Belgian-style stout. Normally I'd get turned off by a beer that's spiced this much, but in this case the beer has enough body and oomph of its own to contain it. This should age like a champ too, so feel free to save a bottle until the next "end of the world" scare comes around.

Photo of Piels25
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Metalmaniac915
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that has very good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of spices are present in the nose - allspice and nutmeg seem to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste is quite spicy but there is more complexity as hints of cinnamon and clove are also noticeable. Among the spices, nutmeg stands out in particular.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The spices lend some dryness.
O: This beer is very enjoyable and has an interesting mix of spices, but not of the peppery variety. It is a nice beer for Christmas. It is very drinkable because the spices are well balanced and no traces of alcohol are perceptible.

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,518 ratings.