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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,542 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,542
Reviews: 302
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 14.03%
Wants: 24
Gots: 373 | FT: 43
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: 1,542 | Reviews: 302
Photo of aCharlie
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark, light low head, quickly disappears after pour
S - Avg smell, nothing too pronounced
T - Spices/pepper. Dry on the front, yet pleasant. Delicate roasted malts
M - Alcohol is hidden very well
O - A very unique BSDA. Strong on the peppery spices, the pepper is in the foreground. Subtle malts.

Photo of HattedClassic
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance:
Pours a nice light brown head and the beer itself is an opaque black. The lacing is nice and what you would expect from a Belgian dark.

Smell:
The smell has a strong gingerbread presence with a hint of cinnamon that is underscored by a light orange smell. I can smell a little bit of clove but the gingerbread dominates most of the smell.

Taste:
Similar to how the beer smells. The gingerbread seems to be dominant but there are also hints of orange peel and possibly some other spices.

Mouthfeel:
Fairly thick and heavy bodied. The texture almost feels as if I'm drinking a moist gingerbread cookie.

Overall:
A decent Belgian dark but a little heavy on the gingerbread for any time that is not Christmas.

Photo of Trifecta1
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Oasis in Rockford, IL on 12/21/12.
A - Dark brown, maybe even dark red. Thick tan head. Looks good, but in hindsight, deceiving of the what the flavor was gonna bring.

S - Nutmeg, clove, gingerbread, orange zest, but not much of that hefty bready yeastiness I enjoy in Belgian-styles. Christmas ale, though, is right on.

T - Nutmeg and clove in your face, spicy pepperiness and gingerbread come in strong too. Alcohol nearly non-existant. Leaves your palate with a gingerbread taste, and the taste of the smell of a pine tree, if that makes any sense. This is probably the first Stone beer I've personally had that has literally no hop taste.

M - Moderate carbonation, thicker like a Belgian quad. Personally I enjoyed it moreso for the latter, but some of my friends disagreed.

O - A great Christmas ale and fitting end to the Epic series. I went to the store prior to drinking this on tap and bought 3 bombers to age. Really looking forward to how those will turn out down the road.

Photo of ChugMan
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Opaque, becoming deep dark red/brown at its thinnest. Light foamy head was abundant, settled, and left more of a wall of foam than mere lacing. Pretty neat!
S - Beautiful. If this was placed before my nose while I was blindfolded, I'd swear it was my mom's walnut banana bread. Ripe banana with that slightly sharp nutty bready butteryness.
T - As is remarkably standard for this brewer: this beer is complex. Immediate taste of clove, reminding me of the Fall season and pumpkin beer- but none of those can compare to this. Suffice to say it's like a mouthful of exotic, cloying, nearly perfumy spice. The flavors boomerang around your mouth, changing with each pass. Fun, interesting, very satisfying.
M - Drinkable for such a dark and bold beer, but there's definitely some thickness here. Hops make themselves well known on the back of the tongue and are a nice counterpoint to the beer's otherwise sweet spicyness, a bit overstated for me but otherwise it's fine. Leaves a tingling sensation on the tongue and roof of the mouth.
O - Stone doesn't mess around. Clearly the work of many-a sure hand, this beer exemplifies their mastery of the craft.

Photo of 1Nrwyscotch
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a pint glass

A. extremely dark it looks almost black with a medium brown colored head

S. It smells very belgian with some sweet yeast and some spice, nutmeg coriander.

T. The taste is consistant with the smell, its somewhat sweet spicy and delicious. A little warming but the alcohol is well hidden and it is very balanced.

M. It has a medium body with a little carbonation.

O. It is a very tasty Belgianish beer with some good balance between the sweetness and spice.

Photo of Pencible
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a nearly opaque black ruby with moderate thick tan head.
S: It smelled like strong ginger and cinnamon and other spices, with some herbal hops and wild Belgian yeast.
T: It tasted like cinnamon and clove, with waxy and herbal hops and wild Belgian yeast. It had a spicy and waxy aftertaste.
M: It was thick with smooth natural carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This was an interesting brew with a fairly complex scent and taste. Not delicious, but not bad. The body was great, but the finish was a bit harsh, so it must be sipped. Age would probably help. Fitting ending to this series.

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ba Review #267
Served On: 4/06/2013
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 9.0%
Date/ Code: 2012 Release

This was a 22oz bomber from A.K.A. Friscos in Frederick.

Look: Poured a pitch-black color with a nice dirty tan cap for a head. The lacing appeared as some sort of gothic calligraphy on the glass. A very nice looking brew that is already screaming with character.

Smell: Warm Autumn-like spices of nutmeg and some peppery clove. Heavy notes of molasses and roasted chestnut. I swore I could almost detect some pumpkin meat in there too.

Taste: Wow, first up was a heavy roasted barley character with spices that seemed to play off the almost porter-like mouth feel. A pumpkin ale quality seemed to hit towards the middle with some pumpkin pie spices. The finish was of strong cinnamon heat that coated the back of the tongue. The finish had some dry bitterness and that roasted character retuning with some gram cracker notes that made for a really enjoyable aftertaste.

This beer was amazing. It was the best pumpkin ale that Stone never brewed. I actually picked up two bombers so I could cellar one, but I’m almost afraid to with the high level of spices. I noticed that spices can subside and that’s one of the best qualities I get in the brew.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12, review from notes.

A: Deep brown color with a small tan head, foamier than most of the VEs that reduces quickly. Thin lacing forms down the sides.

S: A good bit of molasses, some clove and cinnamon along with faint Belgian yeast aromas.

T: Rather heavy on the spices - cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, sort of a turn off for me. Some darker roasted malt mixed in as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Not really my thing, but I can certainly see why some people might like it.

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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 curasowa
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Inky black color, no light is penetrating this one. Two fingers of tan head that just hangs around and around.

Aroma: Strong spice aroma, reminding me of gingerbread. Lots of clove and allspice.

Taste: Thick, creamy with lots of roasted malt and a ton of spice in the middle, also some hints of cocoa. Goes out with a dry and chalky finish.

The Rest: This strongly resembles an Our Special Ale, only with more body. And in that regard, it's a very good winter warmer/holiday ale. However, a good Belgian SDA this is not. One of my least favorite in the series I would have to say.

Photo of hreb
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Cold 22 served in chalice. Beer pours way dark and could easily be mistaken for a stout. Super fruity (dark) aroma. Between the alcohol and the ripe fruit in the aroma it really smells like Christmas pudding. If the thought of Christmas pudding isn't too close to bad fruit cake in your mind then it's really fanastic.

On the first sip it seems the flavor takes the aroma and adds a healthy dose of chalky bittering hops. Upon further reflection it's more spice than fruit from our pudding. Mouthfeel is more in line with the strong dark ale or dubbel, not the stout conveyed in the color. Prominent flavors are allspice, pepper, and nutmeg. Belgian Winter Warmer, anyone? There's actually some heat to the spices, the way clove has a burning quality when concentrated. Unfortunately, while I could inhale the fumes of this brew until it oxidizes or gets stale, the flavor is somewhat tiring. It's not too sweet, in fact it's on the dry side, but the volume of strong flavors is just turned up too high for more than slowly sipping a bottle down.

I feel like the Vertical Epic series has been hit and miss the past few years. Unfortunately I find I haven't reviewed any of them, though I'm certain haven't missed one since 06. This one will likely prove to be the most memorable.

Photo of CloudStrife
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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 MetalMountainMastiff
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Tulip.

A. Dark brown. Not murky. just smooth dark. About a 2 cm head, that stays.

S. Spices galore. Cloves, Cinnamon. Slight banana smell.

T. Hot almost. strong spices. Cloves, cinnamon. Very christmasy.

M. Medium- full body. medium carbonation.

O. Pretty good. A nice warmer for a cold night, or a festive event when you want a cookie/christmasy spiced beer. Enjoyable for what it is.

Photo of BeerlyLegal
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks like the blood of a coffee addict. This beer is deep and thick like my friends beard. You would think that a beer of such dark color would have some coffee elements but surprisingly it does not.

However, this is beer has soul. It is smooth from the lips to the gut. Lots of lacing. Smells of spices and cinnamon with some added molasses. I've only had the 12.12. 12 but I'd love to compare it to others if they weren't so Gawd damn expensive.

PS- Stone I love you.

Photo of msondel
4.66/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Sounds like this is their last version of this Epic series after going for 11 years.

Dark beer with very little head. There is a strong chocolate flavor that tastes natural in this beer. I certainly wouldn't think this beer was 9% alcohol by the taste, but that is probably because of the creamy taste and strong chocolate smell that make this so smooth.

I'm looking forward to the next thing from Stone.

Photo of braugon
2.06/5  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.

Photo of korguy123
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
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 Zach225
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a gorgeous, seemingly black, dark dark brown. No light shining through to speak of, but not completely opaque. A slight hint of a deep, dark mahogany at the very edge of the glass and a very attractive light mocha/tan head (about 1 finger poured moderately). Modest alcohol legs.

Nose: "Christmas Seasonal". The spices are definitely present and playing a major role here. The clove is subtle and the other wintery spices work well together with big leading notes of nutmeg, orange peel and cinnamon. The spices are surrounded by a warm blanket of darker, roasty/chocolatey notes with some deep, robust, oily espresso as well as the estery belgian yeast. The sort of doughy, fuity, zesty, breadiness of a belgian dark is subdued but still present and in balance with the roasty notes.

Taste: A well crafted ale that really fits the season it was released into, although I am drinking this in March. Three months later the flavors are melding together very well. The spices definitely have a starring role here and makes it predictably reminiscent of autumn seasonals/pumpkin beers, but it has a depth of flavor in the malt structure and belgian yeast. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and wickedly creamy. This sort of creamy roasty quality blends nicely with the belgian dark strong flavor profile. The creaminess helps balance out the spice character but it still finishes delightfully dry.

Overall: A very enjoyable beer and a great way to end the series. Having this now, I would like to try to get my hands on a few more bottles to age for autumns and winters to come. This is possibly my favorite beer I have ever tried with this kind of blend of winter spices. Another big thumbs up for Stone.

Photo of Gavage
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a black color with a 1" head that slowly falls. Moderate lace paints the glass during the session.

Smell: allspice, pepper, and a malt sweetness is detectable by the nose.

Taste: big malt profile. Loads of spice such as cinnamon, allspice, and pepper. Belgian yeast, a decent bitterness, dark chocolate, and some alcohol rounds it out.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a slow sipping beer that is bold and full of spiciness. Good beer for colder weather.

Photo of DaveAnderson
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I guess I'm late to the Vertical Epic party. Stone has only been in our market for a year or two, so I understandably missed the first 10 or so. But hey, this was staring back at me as I perused the shelf, so why not?

Before I review the beer, I want to confess my complete ignorance about it. The bottle said it was spiced, blah, blah, blah... I don't know why, but I just ignored this. To the beer:

Right off the bat, this beer surprised me. I was not expecting a dark-as-night beer with a thick, mocha head. Looks like an amazing stout or porter. The bubbles are tight, and the head sticks around for days. I'm kind of jazzed.

What. The. Heck? This beer smells nothing like I expect. It's kind of yeasty, roasty, and spicy -- like ginger and chocolate. How strange.

But nothing could prepare me for what came next. It tastes like someone took batter for gingerbread, carrot cake and chocolate cake, mixed them together, and baked it to see what emerged. It's genius. The more I drink, the more fascinated I am.

This, of course, has me musing about ginger in beer. This is probably the third beer I have had with a pronounced ginger taste, and I have loved them all, to my utter surprise. You've won this round, Stone (shakes fist)!!!!

I have been sarcastic when reviewing some Stone beers in the past. But let me be clear here: This beer impressed me, and I don't usually care for spiced beers. Great job, Stone.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a very dark amber (almost black) in color with some moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some dark brown and garnet red highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense creamy dark tan (almost mocha) head that slowly reduces to a mottled thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer, a medium thin patch, and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of spices including clove, nutmeg, anise, and cinnamon along with some light to moderate aromas of roasted malts. Light notes of caramel and molasses sweetness. Light to moderate amounts of alcohol in the finish of the nose.

T: Light to moderate flavors of roasted malts upfront with a strong amount of spices - nutmeg, allspice, licorice/anise, and cinnamon. There are moderate notes of dark chocolate and spicy/clove yeast and just a touch of banana esters. Molasses sweetness and just a touch of citrus/orange hops which contribute some light to moderate amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with just a touch more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of alcohol warmth in the finish.

O: Way too much spices and alcohol heat for this beer to be an easy drinker or all that enjoyable - one of the better beers in this series but I'm guessing it will get a little better with some age on it.

Photo of sweemzander
2.84/5  rDev -27.6%
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.

Photo of impending
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

B+

22oz into a tulip. Pours a deep slick shiny walnut black, minor dark mocha color head was brief, minor lacing.

Aroma is of intense spicing of allspice, clove, cinnamon and something my grandma hung in her linen closet. The spices mask the base entirely.

Taste too is an explosion of spicing but other flavors come forward as the taste evolves from spicy beginning to a roasty semi sweet nib, a low bitter as if from the imagined dregs of spice production if dregs could be roasted. The initial tastes are off putting but with warmth and patience it vastly improves. Full bodied appropriately lifeless mouthfeel.
cheers
jd

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - very dark pour, I don't see any light getting through. A fat finger of mocha, thick and creamy.

Aroma - the spices jump out of the bottle, allspice and clove leading the charge. Orange pops up as it sits. An undertow of something Belgian, slightly funky.

Taste - roasty, chewy malts. The spices come across like licorice and cola. The belgian yeast has the dry, slightly funky bit after the spice flavors fade. The hops just balance, not much flavor. An occasional metallic not. The finish is dry, roasty, lingering, very pleasant.

Mouthfeel - very smooth brew, the carbonation seem lively at first but quickly tames down. A touch heavy, I like it.

Overall - delicious stuff when fresh, I would guess aging it would lose the spice and bring out more of the yeast and Belgian elements. Great finish to a fun series to collect, share, and sip.

Photo of MasterSki
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Treebs I think? Served in a tulip.

A - Dark brown body, topped by a dark tan foam that settles to wisps and a collar.

S - Rose hips, nutmeg, allspice, some light Belgian yeast, and a light lemon and hand lotion malt backdrop. Not a ton of roast, just a light touch.

T - The taste is similarly heavy on rose hips and nutmeg. Spicy yeast, roasted malts, and dark chocolate unexpectedly show up, as they were largely absent from the aroma. I actually like this better as there is more malt and less spice.

M - Pleasant moderate carbonation, smooth, medium-full body, some light alcohol warmth. Pretty creamy and enjoyable actually.

D - If you dig Christmas beers, then this might be right up your alley. It's not my preferred style, but it's appropriate for 12.12.12 I guess. Might get a bit better as the spices fade a touch and the alcohol dissipates. A surprise hit from a really underwhelming series of beers.

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,542 ratings.