1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

1,525 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,525
Reviews: 298
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 14.07%
Wants: 24
Gots: 358 | FT: 40
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 1,525 | Reviews: 298
Photo of CHickman
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black color with a big thick creamy 2 finger brown head that faded very slowly, leaving very good spotty lacing sticking to the sides.

Smells of spices and yeast up front, followed by cardboard, herbs, clove, root beer, licorice, allspice, cocoa powder, wheat bread, roasted grains, flowers and more spices. There are some many spices that it’s like sniffing potpourri sprinkled in a dark ale or porter. Licorice seems to jump out that most, and to me this nose is OK; I guess it’s Belgian inspired, but borders on too many spices for me.

Tastes alright, but follows the same pattern as the aroma: spices and yeast up front, and then it tastes like Christmas. Hard to nail down why, but it just does. Flavors include licorice, allspice, cocoa powder, herbs, clove, root beer, wheat bread, roasted grains, light caramel, flowers, pepper, cinnamon and more spices, burnt wood and alcohol like a liquor. Again, so many spices that it’s like drinking potpourri in a porter that has some liquor added. The licorice and herbs almost take over, but the Belgian yeast and roasted charcoal grains even it out with some bitterness and hide the ABV pretty well. Definitely a holiday seasonal beer that is Belgian in design, but just so complex that it’s almost confusing. Stone likes to confuse people, so maybe they are laughing last again.

Mouthfeel is creamy and almost slick, with very mild carbonation, a chewy medium body and a spicy yet almost bitter finish that’s on the dry side.

I liked this beer quite a bit, but I’m hoping it ages better so I can love this beer because the Vertical Epic 11.11.11 got so much better with age that I have very high hopes for this brew. Will crack open another bottle in 6 months and update the review.

12/21/13-Cracked open an aged bottle and it looked even better than it did a year ago, with a great head and real nice lacing. Smells of allspice, cinnamon, clove, caramel, yeast and a whole mix of spices like the spice rack was dumped in, but in a good way; the aroma was more mellow then a year ago with smoky grainy notes mixed with the yeast and spices. Tastes of burnt grains, molasses, allspice, yeast, clove, toffee and lots of spices – so many spices that it’s hard to distinguish. Lots of herbal notes mixed with the spices makes it quite complex and the burnt or smoky notes of the yeast/malt add some body and a chewy feel. Overall it was more balanced, rich and winter seasonal – much better with age.

Photo of AntLeatherface
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Photo of Beejay
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark black in body, with a deep brown head. The head is quite dense with a few robin's egg specks, that slowly grow into frog eyes.

S: A very herbal smell wafts up from my glass. Ginger or maybe clove, there is a bit of citrus peel in there as well, and well as a hint of licorice or anise. There is also a smell of brown bread mixing with the licorice. Certainly smells interesting. There is almost a chocolate, orange, ginger combo working there.

T: Slightly tart, the herbal quality comes through, as well as a hint of dirty metal. A decent amount of bitterness with some dark grain attributes. An odd duck for sure. Herbal and earthy, still a hint of licorice, and citrus coming through.

M: Dry and tingly in the mouth. although the feel of the body is medium heavy.

O: Overall a bit odd for me. It is certainly a 'womp' for the end of an epic series, but unfortunately, I don't think it goes out with a bang. Interesting, yes. Different, yes. Tasty, somewhat.. I can see enjoying this spiced beer around the holidays, but it falls short of a great holiday beer, and doesn't approach the awesomeness of other Belgian Strong Dark Ales.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle - $6.99 at Bullock’s Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a well-sized, pillowed, dark tan-hued head. Sufficient lacing present.

Smell: Even before leaning in for a sniff, you can smell the heavy-handed pack of spices, but, go on, already, and use that snout of yours. Sniff long, sniff deep. You get a clear-cut aroma of each member of the spicing addition, overneathe the charred maltiness and Belgian-type esters.

Taste: Roasted, burnt maltiness with some lighter, gentler tastes of breadcrust, brown sugar that, soon, are consumed by the accumulating spiciness. Very little sweetness throughout. Like being tossed in a giant burlap sack with feral cats, you’re torn to shreds by the spices. Also, some bitterness. Yes, some alcohol. And, still, there’s the charry maltiness. Finishes quite dry, quite spicy, and still rather roasty. In fact, those’re the main impressions of the beer: roast and potpourri.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: It’s the end of an era, I suppose, and they’re closing out with a bold holiday spicing that would leave even the folks at St. Feuillien wide-eyed.

Photo of smlmeyer
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of JeffreyBeer
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of jdavolos88
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of polshgiant
2/5  rDev -48.8%

Photo of gshackles
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of Reinbeck11
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a tulip glass.

A - Dark ink black with 1/2" of espresso coloured head.

S - Big spice bouquet up front - cinnamon, ginger, clove and all spice aromas are all present. Not getting anything but the spice in the nose.

T - A big hit of spice with cinnamon, ginger and cloves dominating. A light Belgian yeast profile is also present but the spices otherwise drown out the flavours from the base beer.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

O - An interesting beer to say the least. Despite the massive spice dominance, which would usually be borderline undrinkable for me, I somewhat enjoyed this one. That said, it was very one dimensional.

Photo of rudzud
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a 07-12 vertical.

A - Poured into a palm tulip a deep rich dark brownish black hue with a good half finger head that faded to leave a thin blanket and light lacing.

S - Aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, Light sweet malts, solid nose.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with nice flavours. Really lots of cinnamon and nutmeg and light roasted chocolate. Faint esters.

M - Mouthfeel is solid for the style, nice and sharp.

O - Overall this beer was not that bad with nice lightly ester along with light chocolate. Solid job

Photo of zacharrry
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of russwbeck
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%
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.

Photo of champ103
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hay Merchant in Houston, TX

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly opaque. A two finger tan head forms with excellent retention. Plenty of lace is left behind. The foam gently recedes to a ring that sticks throughout, and is easily rejuvenated.
S: Toasted malts, baked bread, toffee sweetness. Some dark fruits. Cinnamon and nutmeg. A clove like spice. Lots on the nose that is very nice.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of toasted malt flavors. Baked bread and lots of sweetness. At first that toffee sweetness works well. Though eventually the sweetness becomes cloying. Plenty of spices as well. Cinnamon, clove, and even dark fruits. So much going on here.
M/D: A medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. Though smooth and creamy at the same time. Easy to drink. Plenty of alcohol mixed with the big sweetness makes this a slow sipper. Though still enjoyable.

Man, there is a lot going on here. The sweetness is a bit much, and this is a very busy beer. Though that is most offerings from Stone. It is good to see them not doing an over hopped style, or another crappy "Black IPA." Something I enjoyed, and a nice end to the Vertical Epic Series.

Photo of Savage51
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of adamette
4.57/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken a few hours ago. Poured from tap into clean, clear glass at Melt Bar & Grilled in Mentor, Ohio at a cost of $5.50.

A Pitch black body...I see no light coming through...under a medium brown head. Nice lacing left on the inside of the glass after repeated sips. 4.5

S Very interesting smell. I get a subtle dark roast malt in the background. In the foreground is a cinnamon or clove spice smell that might be actually sweet. Not the sweetness of a malt, like a heavy syrupy sweetness but more of a powdered sugar gentle sweetness. I smelled repeatedly before tasting to be sure to get an unbiased SMELL rating. Very intriguing. I don't know how it could be improved. 5.0

T Dark roast malt makes a huge comeback in the taste from its back seat in the smell. Interestingly, it is in the second half of the taste and it is a deep, burnt roast malt taste. The first half of the taste features that welcomed somewhat sweet cinnamon or clove spiciness. This is a very good tasting beer. 4.5

M Interest persists into the feel of this beer. Initially I perceived the "bigness" of a Stout with its Dark Roast Malt. Later I was able to appreciate the long , smooth beginning feel of this beer. Repeated sips confirmed that there is a nice, long smooth feel as long as the beer remains in your mouth. Upon swallowing you get the dark roast malt bigness. This is proving to be a hell of an artisan beer! 5.0

D/O Drinkability is not that high. It is a huge beer, demands your attention and has an elevated ABV that you have to respect. Overall, this is a great beer that is appropriately big (celebrating the end of the Vertical Epic series) but also approachable with plenty to keep the drinker entertained and interested in what it has to offer. I will miss the Vertical Epic Series. 4.0

Photo of cmonfradi
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of ThirdEyePA
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Ivegotmule
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of ShemRahBoo
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of drewone
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of HopBrain
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of thegerm87
4/5  rDev +2.3%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,525 ratings.