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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

1,330 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1330
Reviews: 274
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 14.36%

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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,330 | Reviews: 274 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of jlindros


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

had as part of a big VE tasting at the end of the world party, shared with many friends.

Pours a light fizzy head, almost pitch black color, fluffy lacing.

Nose has earthy malts, root and herbal earthy like, caramel, little brown malt and brown sugar.

Taste has nutty malts, earthy, nutty, herbal malts and hops, hints of cinnamon and nutty spices, creamy brown malts, floral even, hint of booze and esters.

Mouth is med ot fuller bodied, nice carb, light warming booze.

Overall not bad, decent for Belgian strong dark ale, probably would be better aging than most of the other ones that I aged.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2013 02:49:43 | More by jlindros
Photo of magictacosinus


3.44/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Winter spiced beer alert! Had this on tap for the VE tasting (beers 07.07.07-12.12.12) at Pacific Coast Brewing Co. during SF Beer Week. All reviews are from my notes.

Pours a dark, opaque color, much like 09.09.09, except with a little bit more noticeable carbonation and and nice little ring enveloping the top of the glass for the beer's entire consumption. Again, looks a lot like a stout, except with far more bubbles gliding towards the top, and extra thickness that reminds me of various Belgian spiced beers that I had the chance to try during one winter in Europe. Not sure how to rate this to style, but it's definitely a comforting looking beer for sure.

The aroma is filled with all kinds of intense, seasonal spices, ranging from freshly cut ginger, pumpernickel, clove, toasted birch bark, mulled wine spices, and blackcurrant. If a combination of those doesn't sound good to you, steer right away from this... However, for those who do love winter beers, this is a pretty much a match made in heaven. I'm pretty indifferent towards them, but definitely Stone has nailed the style pretty well here. It's still really astringent on the nostrils, often leaving behind a prickly sensation, and the combo of spices do remind me of the holidays - this is especially true as it warms up, as piney and rosemary characteristics reveal itself. But the initial festiveness might be a little too overwhelming for me in the long run.

The best way for me to describe the flavor of this thing is that it reminds me of eating a freshly baked ginger cookie with crushed pepper dunked in molasses. Indeed, there is an enormous molasses backbone going on here, combined with loads of peppermint, baking spice, and pumpkin seed. Molasses and ginger are definitely two flavors I'm pretty hesitant about putting in my beer, and while the other spices and light sweetness from the alcohol do try to settle it, they are very overpowering flavors in their own right and seem to win the battle here. As it warms up, the texture becomes far more astringent, and slightly soapy, creating a difficult drinkable experience for me. Alcohol and yeast are either masked or muted here. Feel is creamy and full bodied, which is good, as any thinness would totally ruin this for me. Quite a daunting task for me to finish even 6oz overall.

Not sure if Stone was trying to make a super festive beer or super challenging festive beer here, but they definitely succeeded at either, depending who you are. However, I did buy a bottle of this when it came out and am glad I didn't open it too soon. This should cellar well for the next holidays, and I will gladly revisit it then. My hope is that the spices will settle down (as will the soapiness) and the yeast will come more towards the front and include more fruity flavors to balance out the spices. Until then!

Serving type: on-tap

02-27-2013 17:36:08 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of 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 cbutova


3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes 02/02/2013. The last of the series.

A- Pretty much black, a very dark brown, beer from the bottle into a pint glass. Mocha head about one finger in size with good retention leaving plentiful thick lace.

S- Almost like a roasted pumpkin ale because of the massive allspice influence. Clove and cinnamon add to this feeling. Some dark fruit but mostly spices.

T- Cinnamon is here but this beer is dominated by clove flavor, holy clove. Big allspice, pretty floral spiced, roasted cereal grains with a dark brown ale feel. HOLY CLOVE.

MF- Moderately carbonated body with a foamy and silky feel. Spicy finish for sure.

Seriously a clove bomb, WTF spice annihilation. Did Stone just get sick of this series toward the end?

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2013 04:21:33 | More by cbutova
Photo of KomodoDragon


4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 04:16:04 | More by KomodoDragon
Photo of jucifer1818


3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: very, very, very dark amber with a thick head

s: thick xmas spice. allspice, clove, cinnamon, coriander, etc. A little pit of pumpkin pie spice as well.
Exceptional. 5/5

t: light on the spice (for the smell), but with a heavy hoppy backbone. Slight smokey/earthy flavors in the after taste.

m: Grainy, but heavy mouthfeel 4/5

Overall: I was surprised by the smell of this beer, and It got me excited for the beer, but it ended up being like any other stone brew, hoppy, hoppy, hoppy. To be honest, this may be my opinion, but it does not work here.
This brew would had worked better to work off of its malt and spice character, which is exceptional, but is blighted by its heavy and unnecessary hoppyness

This beer might taste amazing with some decent cellaring to cut down on its hops and bring out the good beer that I know is in here somewhere. but as it is, I just see it as being slightly above average

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2013 04:20:13 | More by jucifer1818
Photo of KickbacksSteve


4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Dark beige head, good retention on a black body. Soapy, sticky lacing. Aroma dominated by spices...white pepper, clove, cardamon, mint. Taste includes all of the above, they actually work very well together. Certainly never tasted anything quite like this one. Looking forward to trying this one into the future. Paired well with my shrimp stir fry.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2013 07:56:23 | More by KickbacksSteve
Photo of richj1970


4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bottle into snifter glass.

A: Poured pitch black with less than one finger tan head. Some nice lacing on the glass.

S: Smell is all spice with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, all spice mixed with some bread and banana.

T: Spices dominate here along with hints of bitter chocolate or expresso. Much different flavor than your average brew.

M: Medium body with average carbonation and finishes a bit dry.

O: Interesting beer. The spiciness is nice on a cold winter night. I'm not sure I want to drink bottle after bottle of this one, but it is a very nice change of pace from other things I've had lately.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2013 00:49:09 | More by richj1970
Photo of sjones5045

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2013 00:45:58 | More by sjones5045
Photo of Treebs


3.11/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown color with a tan head forming on the pour. Some splotches of lace are left down the glass.

S: Cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Some roast with an odd citrus zest component mixed in.

T: Same from the nose. The is a spice bomb. Cinnamon stick, nutmeg and some citrus zest. Sweet cracker malts with some rice cake as well.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation level. The spices attack the tongue and really linger a long time making each sip a little less palatable.

O: Too much spice going on and not enough malt profile. Maybe in a year or so when the spices die down it'll be a little more palatable.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2013 03:15:35 | More by Treebs
Photo of MrHurmateeowish

New Hampshire

4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle bought at Tully's in Wells. Pours an opaque black body with a half inch of tan head. Smells like chocolate and vanilla. Dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, spice, and nut comprise the flavor. Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Pretty damn good.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2013 02:41:13 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Photo of Chico1985


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
Photo of WoodBrew


4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The vertical epoch 12-12-12 reminded me of a black Saison. The beer poured a dark opaque black with rich tan head that laced well. The smell had burnt Maise, roasty malts and hops. The taste was much like the smell with a great blend of alcohol. The mouthfeel was full bodied with good carbonation. Overall it was a good beer!

Serving type: on-tap

02-10-2013 22:19:57 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of LeRose


3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into snifter.

Pored black with a short mocha colored head with minimal retention. Small ring of foam, but globs of lacing on glass.

Nose was spice heavy with allspice, trace of cinnamon, clove, maybe a touch of anise. Banana and bread also present.

Taste was spice dominant following the nose laced with slight bitter chocolate. Licorice stronger in flavor than in the nose - liked that flavor note. Sweetness present. Malty, barely hints at some dark sweet fruit, dates or figs.

Mouthfeel was drying,but some sticky sweetness. Some burn and tingle. Carbonation seems lacking.

Overall, a bit spice heavy for my taste, but a good drinker. The spices seemed sort of muddled.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 21:05:35 | More by LeRose
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, allowed to warm a little before being poured into my Jester King goblet.

The final entry in Stone's Vertical Epic series pours stout like in color, jet black with some mocha foam. The head climbs to three fingers in height, and while it only displays average head retention, does leave some thick webbed lacing stuck to the glass. The aroma is highlighted by nutmeg, with cinnamon and clove weaving into the picture as well. A light dusting of cocoa powder greets my palate, before the spice profile from the nose flows through. A subtle kick of orange peel provides a nice close. The body is nice and dry, but the carbonation is a little bit lackluster and dull. Stone's 12.12.12 Vertical Epic is a little heavy on the spices, and the mouthfeel is just off, but it's still a solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 04:14:49 | More by axeman9182
Photo of mjohnson17


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

A- Pours a dark Belgian, almost black with a small half finger khaki head

S- Belgian yeast, banana, clove, cinnamon, ester

T- Lots of dry sweetness. A bit of caramel but mostly cinnamon, allspice, clove. Very sweet finish

M- Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel with a very sweet/dry finish

O- Lots of spice flavor with a dry start and a sweet finish. A decent dark Belgian with spices.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2013 03:37:38 | More by mjohnson17
Photo of rhoadsrage


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 Fatehunter


3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A thin head on a pitch black body.
The aroma is loaded with black pepper, dark fruits, molasses and caramel. Amazing.
The taste is dark... molasses sweetness, black licorice, plum and grapefruit bitterness. Quite complex with some bold flavors.
The texture is sticky with moderate carbonation and a heavier body.
It's a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 03:51:11 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of russpowell


4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours mahogany with 3 fingers of mocha colored head. Stellar head retention & very good lacing

S: Dark fruit, licorice, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice

T: Follows the nose, figs, a touch of red pepper & ginger, orange peel & cloves, some dryness. Much spicyness, figs, tobacco, & I swear I taste the rose hips ( hibiscus tea come to mind as well ) as this warms, big time woodyness as well, plus just a touch of charcoal & coffee notes. Finishes dry with cinnamon, woodyness, figgyness, molasses raisins, & clove

MF: Medium bodied, sticky, near zero carbonation

Nice complexity & drinkablilty; this one will age well I'm sure

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 04:04:07 | More by russpowell
Photo of TheCondor


4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This was my first exploration into the Vertical Epic series. I wish I had gotten into craft beers earlier, so I could have tasted more of them. Now, I must track them down one by one. Side poured with vigor from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance - As black as used motor oil, with a thin tan head that recedes quickly and leaves no sign of lacing. That doesn't bother me too much. Nothing real impressive about the presentation of the beer. I like the bottle and the backstory though.

Smell - When they said this ale was brewed with spices, they weren't shitting. Cinnamon, licorice, cloves, nutmeg, molasses, the list is long and varied. The nose on this brew is quite unique, I think the licorice and cloves really make their cases strong. I could smell the brew as I poured it from a decent distance.

Taste - The taste is very complex and multifaceted, much like the nose. All of the above mentioned spices play a part on the palate. There is a bitter note to it, especially on the back end, but a sweet Belgian yeast and the spices on the front. So complex, I really enjoyed it. ABV is masked completely.

Mouthfeel - Although I think it is a little thin, this beer finishes so clean and smooth. Again, the ABV is masked totally, making it very easy to quickly drink this beer. A little bit of a bitter bite on the back end.

Overall - An excellent beer from front to back. Highly recommended, I think Stone has outdone themselves. Now I need to find the other years of this series, as well as go buy another '12 and cellar it. A very good example of the style, with a unique Stone twist. Good job fellas.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 02:41:57 | More by TheCondor
Photo of BeerManDan


4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Belgiam Ale when poured was a thick, dark brown with one finger of tan foam, but a load of lace on the side of the glass. The smell was sort of complex. It smell of dark and woodsy roasted malts, along with a bitter aroma of spices. When tasted, the taste was of a bitter, roasted malty cedar, cloves and allspice and a hint of vanilla and almonds. The bitterness was very evident on the finish, but also the spice and all other components too! This is a different Belgian Ale from other ones I've had.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2013 23:38:46 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of themind

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First time trying a Vertical series beer and I am left unimpressed. Stone makes some fantastic beer but this to me falls slightly short of the Stone benchmark. Pours a dark small head and has a decent aroma. The mouth feel for me was a little thin and I feel it lacked overall character. I have since passed on purchasing this beer which continues to be on some shelves as of now.

Bottom Line: This was a slight let down but still a decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2013 22:41:50 | More by themind
Photo of Tianjoja

New York

4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle served in a pint glass

A - Pitch black, Creamy two finger brown head that stuck around a while, Nice lacing and some alcohol legs that were visible. Resembles a Stout if you were going on looks alone.

S - Reminiscent of a nice Christmas or Pumpkin Ale... Nutmeg & Cinnamon - very sweet on the scent

T - Lots of layers. More Complex than I expected. Malty sweetness, the spices are definitely coming through. You get the Belgian yeast and there is a very mild and pleasant bitterness on the back end. Extremely drinkable and does not feel like 9% at all - I could be in trouble... drinking this too quickly I think. If you take a drink and wait a few you do get that orange peel at the very end.

M - Medium to Medium-Heavy and stout-like. Perfectly carbonated - easy drinking.

O - Enjoyed this quite a bit - unfortunately I have not had any of the other Vertical Epics. I can't really think of a style that this would fit into. It looks like a Stout but tastes like a Chocolaty Gingerbread Cookie. I won't rate it on the style because I don't believe this is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale but I will rate it as it's own style and leave off with saying that it's a tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 21:38:13 | More by Tianjoja
Photo of beertunes


3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Belgian Strong Dark Ale? I had thought this a Stout when I had it. Served in 12oz tulip. Poured a solid black, no translucence, with over a half-inch of medium brown head that had good retention and nice sheets of lacing.

The aroma was very malt heavy, and had some light roast notes and a touch of fruitiness as well (perhaps from a Belgian yeast?). Whoa!! There's a lot going on across the tastebuds. Some fruit, some definite alcohol, some grain, some yeast, some roast. This is certainly a multiple personality brew.

The body was solid but a bit thin (remember, I thought that this was a stout when I took my notes) but still enjoyable. The beer did have sharp, harsh finish that I didn't care for. Drinkability was OK, but this is a "one & done" type of beer for me. Maybe if I stumble across a bottle in a couple of years, I'd try again, otherwise I won't miss it. Overall, an OK brew that's worth trying if you see it. I didn't particularly care for it but, YMMV.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2013 01:20:49 | More by beertunes
Photo of AdamBear


3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-black with a nice thick tan head

S-strong scent of cinnamon, licorice, dark roasted grains, nutmeg dark belgian spices, and some cocoa. smells good! there's a lot going on here, smells like a christmas beer.

T-comes in with a strong taste of cinnamon and nutmeg. it's actually fairly bitter. there are dark belgian spices that come out stronger in the after-taste. it's definitely good, but I'd the bitterness is the dominant trait here.

M-really heavy carbonation with a slightly dry finish, very much like a raw belgian

O-tastes like a really bitter christmas dark belgian ale. the bitterness is actually overpowering, and almost takes away from the flavors, making this not the most drinkable beer. It's such a unique beer that I recommend you going out and trying it, but make sure you have it with a few friends, you might not want the whole bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2013 00:36:18 | More by AdamBear
Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,330 ratings.