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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic AleStone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale

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BA SCORE
88
very good

1,327 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1327
Reviews: 274
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 14.1%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HalfFull on 12-05-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,327 | Reviews: 274 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TheBeerWolf
TheBeerWolf

Nevada

1.4/5  rDev -64.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Very pretty looking beer but that is where the fun stops. Real nice black color too it, great dark tan head that sticks around for a bit. I smell mostly clove and some other spices thrown in. The taste at first was smooth coffee but with too many spices thrown in. That was when it was really cold, the flavors were subdued. As it warmed, dear lord. Yuck. The clove and spices began to just overwhelm the whole thing. Tastes like liquid black jack gum. Just plain awful. Can't really judge mouthfeel when I am wreching. Overall way too many spices. Just plain gross. Maybe with a few years of age this would mellow into something decent.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 00:51:35 | More by TheBeerWolf
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

1.55/5  rDev -60.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours a dark, thick chocolate brown with a thin dark tan head. Aroma of gingerbread, licorice, molasses, burnt bread, and stale rubber. Flavor is... wrong. Clash of sweet gingerbread, grab bag spices from the potpourri aisle in the crafts store from hell I've never been to, "balanced" by a light burnt ash, bad coffee and rubber taste that mixes with the sweet like oil and water. Syrupy and sweet, vile throughout. Joke is on us with this series of beers as the early beers that we feared wouldn't hold up were at least tolerable. The last few year's releases that experimented with random additions were on the whole undrinkable. And this... thing.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 19:40:13 | More by yourefragile
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

1.65/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.5

Dark black with a less than one finger tan head with good retention for the abv, and spotty lacing. Looks more like an Imperial Stout than a BSDA. The aroma has cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. The aroma of the spices is so strong, that I can't smell anything else. I like these aromas in pumpkin beers, but the aromas here are much stronger than the aromas in pumpkin beer, and are way too strong in my opinion.

The taste is dominated by the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, all of which are way too strong. There is a combination of sweetness from the spices, and charred roasted malt which clash with each other badly. Whoever thought these flavors would work well together was badly mistaken.

Medium bodied with too much carbonation. Finishes dry and bitter. The aftertaste is similar to brushing your teeth ,then eating peppermint candy while drinking coffee. I usually like or love almost everything Stone makes, but this is a huge exception. I'm glad I didn't buy more than one. of these. This beer does not resemble a Belgian Strong Dark Ale in any way.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2013 01:22:09 | More by hardy008
Photo of dfernandez77
dfernandez77

California

1.75/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

appearance: Dark impenetrable, ample dark tan head that lasts well.

aroma: Wood char, cinnamon, allspice, clove, dried old rose bouquet, ashy mineral character. No yeast ester to speak of. Minimal malt/sweetness.

flavor: Char, heavy roast, overpowering burnt Christmas potpourri, dried stale roses, ashtray burnt character.

mouthfeel: Thick body, though dry and ashy/astringent. Finish is long unpleasant wood char.

overall impression: Unpleasant in many ways. I really tried to find a reason to like it. I even let it warm to see if more malt or something redeeming would arise – and finally dumped half of it.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 00:54:41 | More by dfernandez77
Photo of UnderPressure
UnderPressure

South Carolina

2.03/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Very dark almost black beer. If I hold it up to the light, I can see a slight brownish red tint. No head, just some momentary fizz.

Strong clove in the aroma. Some sweetness. I'm not picking up much else in the aroma.

Way too heavy on the spice flavors. Tastes like I'm drinking a spice rack. A mouth full of cloves. Nasty.

Medium bodied with a dry bitter finish.

Really not impressed with this beer. I'm glad I didn't cellar it for a long time and finally drink a bottle of cloves after years. Though, maybe the spice character would have faded after a while.... I'll never know.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2013 12:47:08 | More by UnderPressure
Photo of braugon
braugon

Connecticut

2.05/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Not a favorite here. I'd heard such great things about others in this series, and love Stone beers. March is definitely not an ideal time of year for this one. The appearance was dark/black, the nose, mostly clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, the taste reminded me of when I ate a tablespoon of nutmeg as a bored teenager. I don't usually like heavy spice beers, and this one says right on the side of the bottle it is an Ale with Spices, so no one to blame but myself here. Overall, just too spiced for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2013 12:15:40 | More by braugon
Photo of russwbeck
russwbeck

Virginia

2.4/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

On-tap at Churchkey.

The final beer of the evening has a dark pour with a brown head. It smells of roast, clove, and orange. There's a base of chocolate and spice. The base of the taste is very sweet; with chocolate with anise all over the place. Very disjointed. I can't place the various spices that bombard my palate. The finish is awful and I think this really needs age. There's a medium body and is carbonated well. The aftertaste is awful. Seriously the worst of the night. I can't figure out why they didn't make a beer that was ready to drink right now for the last in the series.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2013 23:20:42 | More by russwbeck
Photo of NEdward
NEdward

Rhode Island

2.63/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

A: brackish, very dark, minimal head

S: overpoweringly sweet -- molasses, beets, carrots

T: a day old fruit cake and V8

M: thick, overstayed its welcome

O: picked this up in september or october with a few other bombers and definitely regretted it. a sludgy opaque mass of overripe sweetness and a distinct vegetable juice finish. yuck.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 06:14:50 | More by NEdward
Photo of writerLJBerg
writerLJBerg

Oregon

2.69/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle. The end.

A: Opaque black with a thin brown head. Sticks to the side of the glass.

N: Orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, chili pepper, molasses allspice, and pumpkin. To call this Christmas in a bottle might make it sound better than it is, but it’s apt.

T: Bitter and spicy. Lots of flavor, but they’re not what I’d call good - in fact it’s more of a massive overload.

M: Thick and dry. Medium bodied.

O: This is my least favorite by far. There’s just too much going on here, and it never comes together - it’s the throw everything into the kettle approach which I don’t much like.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2013 20:00:50 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of jmarsh123
jmarsh123

Indiana

2.7/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Shared a bottle on NYE

Pours very black with a small coffee head with no retention or lacing.

Heavily spiced aromas. Cloves overpower, but also cinnamon along with a sweet toffee malt backbone.

Mostly follows the nose. I get a little coffee and roasted malts that weren't present in the nose, but the clove still overshadows any sort of subtle flavor components.

Heavy carbonation makes it a bit hard to drink. Medium bodied.

Haven't liked one of these in a few years. Way too much clove and the spices are well out of balance. Glad I only bought one of these as I'm not even really sure I want to drink it much less multiples.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 20:34:54 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus

Washington

2.7/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

22oz bottle poured into a large mug

Pours black with a smallish fine head. Can't see much carbonation, but that might be the opacity. Honestly, looks more like a stout than a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Smell is overpoweringly black licorice. Extremely sweet. That is all I can smell. And it's not my favorite smell.

Taste is more black licorice with some additional medicine flavor. Still very sweet. Alcohol is noticeable. It reminds me (for some reason) of jaegermeister. This is clearly not my deal.

Mouthfeel is a strange combination of sticky and dry. Overall...the black licorice character (as I perceive it) is a no go. It's not quite so bad that I'm willing to drainpour the whole thing, but I'm not sure I'll make it through the whole thing, either.

If you like black licorice, you should try this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2013 01:09:02 | More by snaotheus
Photo of rjhildre
rjhildre

North Carolina

2.74/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2.75

22 oz bomber, poured into belgian snifter.

Look: Beautiful beer, almost completely opaque, Half finger of light brown sugar colored head with decent lacing that works it's way quickly down the glass.

Smell: Heavy spices, clove dominates despite claims on the bottle that only a little was used.

Taste: Heavy clove at first, almost off-putting, but gives way to cinnamon, coffee, dark chocolate, and a small element of dry snuff tobacco. Slight astringency on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: The most disappointing aspect of this beer to me. A beer this dark and spiced I want to chew. Too thin and quaffable, lacking the malt backbone that I think could make this one memorable.

All in all this beer was reminiscent of the holiday offerings that trader joe's released around the holidays (brewed by unibroue I believe.) All in all not a not a bad beer for a $7 bomber but not something I will drink again.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 02:35:45 | More by rjhildre
Photo of DocJitsu
DocJitsu

California

2.75/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque black with very thin slivers of cola brown around the bottom edge of the glass. A big, thick, foamy, long-lasting light mocha colored head. Medium-bodied, slick to mildly astringent moutfheel. Asymmetrical foamy lacing clings and drags as the beer is drunk. Cardamom nose with not much else going on. Flavors of clove up front with mild ginger. The bitterness of the clove needs to be balanced with something that has more depth. The experience is too narrow. Not enough going on. This is the last one?? Stone disappoints again. But, for a different reason this time.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 04:56:12 | More by DocJitsu
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

2.78/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

The beer is an opaque very dark brown. Only a thin ring of foam for a head.

Aroma notes are a vague sweetness with counterpoints of nutmeg and smoke.

The flavor is quite strong, with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon being the main components. Malt is overwhelmed.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and still.

Not a very impressive way to end the Vertical Epic series.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 19:59:51 | More by charlzm
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

2.81/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

First review using .25's.

A-Dark brown with a head that is merely a ring. No coverage above the body. Mild lacing speckles.

S-This is my first Vertical Epic. I don't really know how different each year has been. That being said, the nose is pretty unappetizing. Overbearing spice notes of rosemary, clove and nutmeg. Behind that is a slight salted/cured meat aroma. Smells like my Italian grandmother is over-preparing a pork loin.

T-The flavor is more of the same. A tipped over spice rack. Now there is an infusion of spicy, pepper heat. Verbose. Ridiculously spicy. Light roast behind it. Even the yeast is pushed back by the spice medley.

M-Body! Carbonation!

O/D-Stone is so erratic. Their Enjoy By IPA was one of my favorite brews; this one sits along their Belgo Anise RIS as one of my least favorite beers I can recently bring to mind. It kinda grows on you. However, the first sniff and sip are awful and the lingering flavor makes me sad. If this is a representation of this entire Vertical series, I am so glad I missed this annual train of buttgravy.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2013 00:28:26 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of Lawl3ss
Lawl3ss

Texas

2.83/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

(from notes 12.20.12.)
Served in a 16 oz tulip.

Look- Deep coffee brown with half a finger of tan foam that falls to a filmy ring. Decent lace.

Smell- Heavily spiced, cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, a hint of ginger. Rich, dark. Belgian? Not so sure. Faint esters, char and spice dominate.

Taste- Coffee, cardamom, mace, dusty prune, leathered fig, mocha, mild char. Vanilla bean. Finishes with dark roast, spiced espresso, not as sweet as expected.

Mouthfeel- Full body, medium-high carbonation. Prickly on the sip, smooths out. A sipper, but lightened by the carb. 16 oz. is plenty.

Overall- Perhaps I've been spoiled by the other excellent spiced ales I've had recently (Yogi, Krampus, La Grivoise de Noel), but this one's a bit lackluster. Perhaps it's the yeast or perhaps Stone dumped a chaotic bucket of spices into the brew, but it comes off as a bit heavy-handed. Flavorful, but ultimately not as subtle or complex as I was hoping for. It's not bad by any means, but there are quite a few Belgian Dark Ales I'd pick over this one, spiced or otherwise.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2013 06:08:19 | More by Lawl3ss
Photo of vicg12
vicg12

New York

2.83/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

Not impressed with this offering from Stone. Must be said that the beer is getting pretty old now, but I saw it on the shelf at a local brew store so I had to give it a try. The pour is beautiful, beer is very dark and puts off a rich chocolate color head; leaves a decent lace. The smell smacks you in the face with an aroma of cinnamon, allspice and another spice I can't put my finger on. The taste is what you would expect from the smell with a strong presence of cinnamon and allspice with an after-note of cloves, but the most predominate flavor is that of bitters! In my opinion this is not a good flavor for a beer. It just takes away from the fact that you are actually drinking a really well brewed beer. You concentrate on this overpowering spice pallet that leaves you forgetting that this taste is actually coming from a beer. Really complex flavor and I appreciate what they were trying to accomplish here, just not my cup of tea. Worst beer I have had from Stone. If I wanted to drink bitters I would have ordered a Prohibition style cocktail, so please, keep it out of my beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 13:17:32 | More by vicg12
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

2.85/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

22oz. bottle poured into a taster. Thanks Chris!

(A)- Pours a near pitch black color. Some minimal tan froth.

(S)- Plenty of licorice bits with a spicy array of nutmeg, juniper berry, and cocoa.

(T)- Similar to the smell only more nutmeg and juniper berry forward. Some raisin and cocoa increases as it warms. Its a spicebox!

(M)- A good carbonation level. Overall, a spicy cornucopia of a beer. Some subtle hints of a richer background, but its just hidden with all the spices.

(O)- Easily the more unique one of the line, but is near the bottom for me despite it being the freshest example. Way too many spices to really enjoy it fully.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2013 16:25:16 | More by sweemzander
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung

Maryland

2.95/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I've never reviewed one of these VE ales before, so as luck would have it, my good friend picked up a bottle and agreed to share it with me. Portion of a 22 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. From two day old notes.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. The head is a creamy one-finger khaki shade. The general appearance is almost stout-like.

S: Stone really didn't dick around with the spices, did they? There is insane cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg on the nose. The eye-watering spiciness evokes Harpoon's (overspiced) Winter Warmer in a way. Still, I'd love more of the base beer to come through.

T: The aroma didn't deceive me, this is spiced to fuck and back. It opens with a heavy-handed explosion of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg. After a while, it fades into a long dark fruit finish (plums, mainly). Touches of roasted nuts also appear. Complexity is good, but unfortunately it's complex in a messy, imbalanced way.

M: This one has a pretty thick body. A shame it had to follow the devastatingly drinkable La Terrible, because this one just seemed indolent and flabby in comparison. Still, alcohol is decently concealed.

O: This brew is meh not because it's boring and lacking pizzazz, but because it's pizzazz is haphazard and unfocused. That, and Christmas in July kind of sucks.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2013 01:19:55 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

2.99/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Thorpes for sharing.

The beer is dark brown, nearing black, with a quarter inch if beige head. The aroma offers licorice, overly spiced, cookie dough, holiday spices. Mediocre flavor. Dark roast and spices with a touch of alcohol heat. This puts the final touches on a mediocre set of beers. On the whole, I remain entirely unimpressed with Stone.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 23:34:43 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of jtierney89
jtierney89

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very very dark brown with no opacity. Thin tan head. Smells like the holidays. Cinnamon cardamon clove and nutmeg. Faint dark fruits.

Taste is very spicy. Medium body mildly tannic. Faintly sweet up front with a nice balancing bitterness but the spices dominate this beer. They do however play off the bitterness nicely.like a holiday Belgian ale but doesn't exactly hit he mark just right.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 00:36:45 | More by jtierney89
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank 2/3/13
(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer pours an obsidian black body with a thin deep tan head that fades to a thin ring before the first sip. There is a sluggish microcarbonation that trails up the glass.

S- The aroma of rotten banana ether gives way to a dry spice mixture that takes more of a banana bread aroma as it opens.

T- The big dry spice flavor has some iodine taste to it with a ginger, clove, anise, allspice flavor coming through. It finishes with a slightly dry bitterness either from spices or black malt that lingers. There is also a charred wood note that comes through in the aftertaste.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a hint of fizz in the finish.

O- This beer is a big spice mess with the only malt flavor being a big bitterness. There is no malt, hops or yeast character to help cover the spices. I don’t think age would help this much, and it was tough getting through this bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2013 21:28:40 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of SometimesIfart
SometimesIfart

Michigan

3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured black as night with a two finger mocha head. Left slight lacing.

S - Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Gingerbread, Anise, Basil, Very slight chocolate if you actually sniff for it.

T - HOLY SHIT does this taste like Cinnamon. Really, That's all I was able to pick up. It was like taking a spoonful of cinnamon and eating it alone. The cinnamon was too sweet as well. Did not expect this flavor from this beer. Alright, Perhaps there was some slight clove and slight honey as well, But it didn't help.

M - Medium bodied light to medium carbonation.

O - Overall, This beer was a disappointment. I was expecting something close to a Double Bastard but I didn't get it. Oh well. Not worth the $8.99 price tag.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 21:02:19 | More by SometimesIfart
Photo of ikantspel
ikantspel

California

3.08/5  rDev -21%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

poured into a duvel tulip

pours a imperial stout black with a dark khaki head, heavy lacing all around the glass

oh man does this smell good. heavy banana, clove, belgian yeast, pineapple, and hint of cinnamon

taste is warm cinnamon, spice and malt

definately full bodied.

??? im confused about this beer. its a winter warmer, disguised as a stout/belgian abbey ale.
bummed me out cus i was excited about this one. wish they would have done a oak aged quad

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 03:57:57 | More by ikantspel
Photo of Chico1985
Chico1985

Massachusetts

3.08/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

The final Vertical Epic....

Pretty much a black body, some red highlights give off some clarity. Tan head retains as a thick cap with some lace left behind.

Not much strength in the scent, but definitely getting a spicy feel, breadiness.

Holy spice. Xmas trees, cinnamon, toasted bread, yeast, a mix of sweet+slightly roasted malts, some dark fruits, and more Xmas spices for good measure.

No real booze presence, good mouthfeel overall, but the drinkability suffers for sure.

Yikes. I don't mind my spice bombs sometimes but this was a little too much for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2013 17:01:52 | More by Chico1985
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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,327 ratings.