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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,326 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1326
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: 1,326 | Reviews: 274 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Lukass


4.61/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured into an ommegang tulip.

Dark, rich black appearance, with a thin tan head. Smells wonderful. Wish I would've saved this til the holidays though. Smells like Christmas - spices, cloves, Belgian yeast and some chocolate. Even reminiscent of gingerbread..

Taste is a lot like the smell. Some cinnamon, nutmeg, hint of ginger and clove all backed by sweet, malty, chocolatey notes very similar to a stout. This beer is unique. Rich and a very good combination of flavors.

Serving type: nitro-bottle

05-04-2013 02:29:05 | More by Lukass
Photo of reebtaerG


4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Stone Escondido on 4/3/14

A-Pours a very dark stout like color, black with a medium creamy brown head.

S-A nose of spices, anise, and clove.

T-The flavor is nutmeg, sweet spices, and some banana.

M-The mouthfeel is medium-thick and coats well. Decent carbonation this beer is very stout like.

O-Overall a very good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2014 16:21:34 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of 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 brutusmuktuk


4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber with a jet black color and a very healthy foamy tan head. Has a huge combination of smells: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, banana. Taste is also highly complex, with cinnamon and ginger and medium bitterness in the finish. Has a full body, smooth mouthfeel. This is the best pumpkin beer I’ve had that’s not really a pumpkin beer. Among my favorite spiced ales, just a close second behind Unibroue’s La Terrible.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 21:10:26 | More by brutusmuktuk
Photo of BeerForMuscle

New Jersey

4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got this 22 oz bottle from Jack's Wine Sense in Ewing, NJ. Didn't realize it but it was bottled on 11-14/12. (Over a year old)

A - Deep dark brown, almost black. A little light coming through. A tall, frothy, sticky tan head.

S - Spiced molasses, licorice. Winter spice cake, toffee candy.

T - Ginger snaps all the way. Burnt sugar, molasses, spiced muffins. Copious amounts of fall/winter spices but way better than any "pumping ale" I've had in regards to those flavors. The caramelized sugars, and dark sweetness balances the assertive spices.

M - Creamy and slick, semi viscous. Medium bodied with a pleasant carbonation.

O - Wouldn't consider it a BSDA but it's really delicious. Sweet but not cloying, spiced but balanced.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 02:13:58 | More by BeerForMuscle
Photo of polloenfuego

Ontario (Canada)

3.08/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured a nice dark brown and it had a nice bouquet that was coriander dominant, but the taste is where this beer loses points. The initial taste was okay, but then there is an overpowering bitter taste that is very unpleasant. Mouth feel is course and harsh carbonation.

I know this bottle is over a year old, but I cannot vouch for its storage and care so I wonder if this is the culprit here. I'd like to think that this is the case as I have truly enjoyed all of Stones other offerings.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 22:29:37 | More by polloenfuego
Photo of Zaplt


3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours pitch black with a quarter inch tan head

Smell - cherry, prune, dark fruit, chocolate, roast, spice,

Taste - Nutmeg, cinnamon, dark roast, dark fruit, date, plum,

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, moderate carbonation

Overall - This beer is decent, interesting blend of spice but something seems to conflict.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 00:09:07 | More by Zaplt
Photo of ykncornelius

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Been aging this guy for a shade over a year, and while I know the bottle says it's due to age beautifully for years to come....yeah, I just couldn't wait any more. I'm finishing off the last sips of this just before pouring a 3+ year bottle of 10.10.10 :D

This one's gorgeous. It's everything I like out of a beer plus some whizzing extras. Pours like liquid chocolate, not a hint of translucence, with a thin tan head that dissipated fairly quickly (to be fair, I'm sharing so I never got to give it a terribly hard pour).

Smashing boozy aromas: dark rum, Christmas pudding, raisins...all that good stuff from a strong Belgian trappist ale. Taste-wise? Same things, less sugar. At 9% and less sugar, I have a hard time believing it'll stand up to TONS of aging, but that's speculation. At a year old, it's literal perfection. I want this to last for days.

Creamy, decadent, mouthfeel, but very very low carbonation--I think it could benefit from a bit more bubble. It's the only thing about this beer I'd change, and I imagine the younger bottles had more fizz anyway.

Really this is just brilliant. I hopped on the Vertical Epic series a bit late, but this is easily my favorite of the final four releases. If you can track down a bottle out there...get your mitts on it!!

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 03:53:55 | More by ykncornelius
Photo of MaillardRx


4.85/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Black as night, black as coal. I want to see the sun blotted out from the sky, and I did. Brownish, tan head with a tasteful amount of lacing

S: Ginger, spices, licorice, sweetish

T: Candied fruits, raisins, plums, Christmas spices, currants, and like a hint of cedar

M: Good for this flavor profile, but perhaps minimally carbonated

O: A very fine beer indeed and would drink it any chance I could

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 19:32:24 | More by MaillardRx
Photo of GPHarris


4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 22:35:21 | More by GPHarris
Photo of shacawgo24


4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-Coal black. Dirt, cocoa head is thick and sudsy. Tendrils of slow falling lacing.

S-Nutmeg. Walnut. Eggnog. Gingerbread. Cinnamon raisin cookie. Sweet and alcoholic.

T-Dark roasted hops. I'm guessing dark malts in there, can't taste 'em. Very hoppy, bitter. Dark cocoa. Rye. Ink. Resin. Great holiday/winter beer. 9% ABV? This is a slow sipper that tastes like it's in the 14% ABV range yet isn't. Robust flavors. Cinnamon finish. Warming births a new world of sensations, smells and tastes.

M-Medium body. Low to moderate carbonation. Goes down warming, bubbly, burns in a good way. A cool boiling sensation percolates down the chest.

O-Didn't realize this is a BSDA. Tastes like a porter/stout. Sometimes great beer can't always be pigeonholed and categorized. Stone's creativity has me anticipating the new series they'll do now that Vertical Epic is done. A great beer to enjoy while it lasts. One of the better super dark beers I have had. I can chug on it a bit, or slow slip.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2014 04:38:58 | More by shacawgo24
Photo of dar482

New York

3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The aroma of this beer is spiciness with some sweetness and roasted notes.

The flavor has a big stout character with some roasted malt and chocolate notes. It then follows with toffee and dried fruits and spiciness. The finish is quite drying with that Belgian spice note.

An interesting brew and my first attempt at a Stone Vertical. This is quite good. The stout and Belgian strong dark balance is interesting.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2014 04:13:57 | More by dar482
Photo of 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 JpNuss


3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Sustaining, almond-colored, head and mild lacing. The beer itself is D.A.R.K. When held up to a light, nothing shines through. I also had a lot of fun pouring this. It runs from the bottle like syrup.

S - Heavy, heavy, heavy molasses on the nose. To me, it is so over-powering, I cannot smell anything else. For this reason, this is the lowest rated section, for me.

T - Strong molasses (this may be from my smelling it) and coffee notes, with a slightly bitter finish.

M - Leaves a slight fuzzy feeling on the roof of my mouth. Not the most desirable feeling.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 23:06:10 | More by JpNuss
Photo of philbe311


4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Slightly more than a fingers worth of slightly fizzy yet slightly lush inviting dark brown colored froth... Modest at best retention... What's left is a thin misty veil of swirled lacing and moderate color... The color is a sleek dark tobacco brown mixed with a slight ruby red hue... There are a few small bubbled carbonation streaks towards the top of the glass...

S - A truly outstanding nose... An unique and intoxicating blend of spices... Cinnamon sticks... All spice... Clove... Nutmeg... Very holidayesque... Twizzler like artificial sweetness... Some assorted other dark fruits linger beneath the surface... Some caramel and maple syrup... Very light cocoa notes... Deep and complex... Each sips yields new subtle nuances... Completely satisfying...

T - The flavors are not quite what the aroma would have led one to believe was coming... The cocoa nibs are dialed up a notch... There is a deep rich charred / roasted characteristic... There is also a moderate smoke character... Tobacco... The spiciness that accentuated the nose gets quite muddled on the palate... Some anise and dark licorice rise on the finish...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Each sip is exceedingly sleek and smooth... A very subtle carbonation... Finishes slightly chalky wen a woody roasted charred character develops and lingers...

D - A very unique and satisfying offering from Stone... A wonderful ending to a wonderful series of brews... Almost two faced as aroma and flavor profile are similar yet quite varied... Deep, rich and loaded with complexities... This is one I can highly recommend if you can still find a bottle laying around and one that I wish Stone would bring back for an encore in the future...

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 02:41:48 | More by philbe311
Photo of EmperorBevis

United Kingdom (England)

3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in brew dog Manchester

Dark near black body with big tan head.

Hints of treacle and muscovado sugar on the nose.

The taste was pretty much Pernod and black the keg serving method dispensing a little too cold and a little too fizzy

I enjoyed this sure enough but I was expecting a little more epic.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2013 08:20:10 | More by EmperorBevis
Photo of retry4z


3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled into a Duvel glass.

A: Respectable head with some lacing. Too dark for a Belgian Strong ale.

S: strong spice, maybe jalapeños and red pepper. Some malty and alcoholic notes.

T: Strong spices overwhelm any other beer characteristic, but a little caramel and hop flavor showed throught. Tastes almost medicinal.

M: medium bodied, average carbonation. Pleasant on tongue.

O: I expected a traditional Belgian-style ale, like Gulden Draak or Chimay, but this is an adulterated spiced version. Glad I tried, but wouldn't buy again.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 05:25:40 | More by retry4z
Photo of KYGunner


3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Twelve poured a dark cherry hue with a ever rising head of thick foam.

The aromas are spicy with more nutmeg and cinnamon for the nose. I encountered some allspice and clove but the malt was more hidden to me.

The flavor was relatively complex but some of these were not my favorites. I tasted some light smoke, anise, spruce and carroway but also got an earthy, leafy parsley.

The feel was light, bubbly and effervescent without any true sharpness making it easy to drink.

This is a very different example of a Belgian Strong, maybe not the best but certainly worth the money.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 23:28:05 | More by KYGunner
Photo of SavvyStudent


3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12.12.12 drank on 12.13.13

A - Pitch black with caramel hues. 5% transparency with slight foamy head on pour. very little lacing
S- Spice on the nose similar to a clove, banana, syrup and some bitter malts
T- Spices, chocolate, banana, sweet malts and a little alcohol esque taste probably due to aging
M- Medium-heavy body with some carbonation
O- A little more spiced than I anticipated but a nice sweetness. Enjoyed trying but since it is no more am OK with just the one try.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2013 20:42:31 | More by SavvyStudent
Photo of tmm313


4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.12.12 drank on 12.8.13

A - Almost black with reddish hues. Poured a creamy, quickly dissipating, 1 finger head. OK lacing. Noticeable alcohol legs.
S- I get banana off the top, but spices like clove and nutmeg follow with big dark fruits: raisin, cherry, fig and dates. There's also some dark chocolate in there.
T- Mainly dark fruits. Raisins, dates, cherries, fig, etc. Big roasted malt character with notes of chocolate, banana, and spices.
M- Medium body with nice carbonation. Creamy and drying.
O- I enjoyed this beer. It was nicely balanced and complex with great flavors and aromas. Sad to see the Epics go, but glad to say I had it.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 01:49:25 | More by tmm313
Photo of DanielDomigan


4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

pitch black in appearance thin gingerbread color head

strong boozy smell hints ov malts and cloves

taste slightly smokey. small notes of cocoa and caramel. some bitterness lightly hoppy. spices through out the mouth. and a little booze well hidden deep in.

little milky kinda sticky low carbonation

this is my second time having this brew and will not be my last. stone has yet to disappoint and i doubt they ever will. looking forward to there beers to come. cheers!

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 03:00:48 | More by DanielDomigan
Photo of DrinkNewport

Rhode Island

4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours DARK. I didn't know what style it would be, as it only says "Ale Brewed With Spices", so I'm thinking "stout".

But when you smell it, you realize that it's got that Belgian dark ale thing going. They weren't kidding about the spice. If there were any more, Paul Atreides would be fighting the Harkonnens for it.

And the flavor...this thing has so much of a clove thing going, my college freshman self wants to smoke it. There's almost enough spice to cover up any trace of booze. Almost.

Overall, an interesting but not perfect beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 04:12:31 | More by DrinkNewport
Photo of garymuchow


3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I think this is my first Vertical Epic ale.
Interesting and unexpected spicing in the aroma. Cinnamon, an allspice kind of spice, clove. Firm dark malt, seeming almost like a stout.
Nice dense dark head, pretty cool. Very black and minimal highlights (brown to black).
Very holiday like, seems like a Christmas beer in the spicing. Matches pretty closely to the aroma. Additional flavors of caramel, touching close to roast, Body isn't quite as heavy as I expected, maybe even a tad thin. The drink itself is drying and this is enhanced by the spices which linger. Pretty quick shot of warmth in the gut and a ping in the pre-frontal cortex too. Pretty fully carbonated ,but it is fairly soft. Not much spice from yeast, in fact, not much yeast flavors at all that I can pick up. But i do like some of the malt flavors.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 02:18:03 | More by garymuchow
Photo of thegodfather1076


4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Very simple yet attractive and classy label in the Stone painted on style. Front label gives ABV info, states “Ale brewed with spices.”, and a bit brewery info. Back label gives an excellent back story on the Vertical Epic series, as well as a back story and description of the beer, states “Limited Release”, gives cellaring info, states that there may be sediment. Very nice and informative.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from 22oz brown bomber into a 16oz snifter glass led to a 3 finger fairly thick amazing looking tan head resting atop a deep opaque dark brown if not black beer. Head retention was excellent at 5min 11sec before fading to a thick frothy coating and ring with excellent lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smell is heavy on spices with hints of cinnamon, strong clove, nutmeg, and black pepper coming through. Also has a dark molasses sweetness in the nose along with a nice hint of Belgian yeast. Has a nice orange zest scent. Not much in the way of hops detected.

Flavor/Taste: Spices and dark chocolate malt rule the front end with the cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg easily detectable along with a slight black pepper kick. Mid point is sweet with a brown sugar and molasses infused with an orange zest coming through along with a slight bit of hops and yeast coming through. Midpoint fades to a deep charred malt yeasty finish with hints of dark fruit. Charred aftertaste.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: Full bodied thick and creamy with a smooth chewy mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

Overall/Comments: Excellent beer that definitely has the feel of a winter warmer with the spices and flavor profile. The Belgian yeast throws a bit of curve ball and really make this tasty while keeping it interesting. This would be perfect on a late fall or winter evening. If you can still find this grab it up!!! Classified as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale @9%. Consumed 8/16/2013.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2013 09:08:27 | More by thegodfather1076
Photo of pkalix


3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

super dark pour; really nice chocolate milk-looking head, dissipates slowly to a film with a nice brown coating when tilted.
smell is ALL all-spice. the all-spice dominates the aroma on this one. I don't care much for all spice. I didn't even know what all-spice was two years ago. but i'm not getting the Belgian chocolate, peanut brittle, cinnamon, orange, chili pepper... or anything else. maybe it sat too long? maybe the nutmeg...
the taste is SAME. some maltiness, but ALL all-spice, and maybe some nutmeg. as another stated, a "massive overload" of spice flavors. I think i'm at the point of quitting drinking beer, or at least quitting trying new stuff or what 'others' are calling decent. that $20 bottle of Gentlemen's crapollation with Widmer and Cigar City almost clinched it. this anniversary brew, though, I can understand it's supposed to be a different kind of brew. I get it. but I don't like it. i'm sorry; this started out good.... I even left and came back to it with a different mental approach and angle (mostly because I WANT to drink it and NOT gag...), but it's just too much. oh well, Stone is excused... i'm not a huge fan of their stuff but I respect what they've done with their company...
after note: I dumped probably the last 1/8 of this. I just couldn't do the all-spice any more.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2013 00:07:46 | More by pkalix
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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,326 ratings.