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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
87
very good

299 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 299
Hads: 1,564
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 31
Gots: 382 | FT: 43
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 299 | Hads: 1,564
Photo of micromaniac129
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fantastically aromatic with holiday spices including cinnamon.
Pouring this into a chamay goblet, it looks thick and dark and velvetty lusious. The color is a deep brown almost black even at the edges. I gave this brew a hard pour and the results were like that of a nitro but not the tall head one expects with nitros. The head was small brownish but dense and any swirl refreshes the head.
Taste is big and malty with generous spicing with molasses and cinnamon.
Drinks smooth and thick with a semi bitter finish. As it warms it goes south big time.
Reminds me alot of Anchors holiday brew but without the tree limbs and stuff.

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Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into the Vertical Epic glass.

It's extrememly dark brown, even the edges, where a little light shows, is dark brown.

Smell isn't super strong, but smells like Christmas. It's like liquid dark gingerbread cookies.

The flavor is dark but not very earthy. There is a dark tea character with some toasty, maybe even burnt, spices like something burnt a little in a pan. I also detect the scent of black coffee.

It feels dark, like tea and black coffee with a bit of tannin.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with a caramel colored head that hangs around and leaves some nice lacing.

Smells of bubble gum, clove, and some minor earthy notes.

Clove and bubble gum come up front with a sweet punch, but they dissipate into a bitter coffee note. Dark fruit (Currant) and bitter chocolate linger towards the end, but are overwhelmed by bitter spice. At times I want to hate this beer, but it is complex enough to keep me interested. This would pair real well with a Macanudo Maduro cigar.

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Photo of arizcards
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at BevMo last weekend for $5.99.

Beer poured a dark brown with a nice head that disapated quickly.

Nose is holiday spices, molasses, and cinnamon.

Taste is a medley of spices, hint of molasses, cinnamon, dark fruits. There is a lot going on but it works pretty well together.

Mouthfeel is superb with the classic belgian yeast strain lending a beautiful smoothness.

Overall this brew is pretty good, definitely fun to try one time. Like any spiced brew one is definitely enough.

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Photo of CuteZombieDoll
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours black with a good head, and good lacing on the side of the glass

S- Very spicy, like cloves or ginger.

T- Almost completely spice, with just a little bit of an alcohol flavor on the finish. Not hoppy at all, and fairly sweet.

M- Thick and heavy, which is good for this kind of beer.

O- Definitely worth having once, if not a few times. Although, probably more so due to it's rarity. If you have this in a bottle, and you're letting this age as many on this page suggest, please share how it tastes after a few years of aging. I would like to know if the spice flavors become more mellowed and the beer becomes more complex.

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

A-dark brown color with a light tan head and some lacing

S-malty, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon

T-dark fruit, molasses, malt, nutmeg, cinnamon, hints of nuttiness, slight bitterness in the finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth ABV not that noticeable

O-a pretty solid belgian ale, definitely a stronger beer from this series

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Photo of TheBeerWolf
1.48/5  rDev -62.1%
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.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz.

Pours jet black, coffee and cream head retains as a film.

Smells of cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.

Flavor is notably spiced. Cinnamon, cloves, and even black pepper maybe. Brown sugar, coffee and chocolate follow. A nutty bitterness rounds it out.

Medium to full body with tingles of carbonation on the tongue.

An interesting and enjoyable spiced ale, the spices are very pronounced throughout. Very different from the 11/11/11, the only other one of this series I've had. It's worth trying as a novelty at least, and because of its limited nature. I'm sure if I would have it again, though .

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Photo of flexabull
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Shared a 12.12.12 last month with friends and family along with every Epic except 02.02.02. Thought I'd sit down with a bottle today to give it a proper review.

Pours a deep brown color with a very nice light tan colored head.

Aromas are very spice forward. I mostly notice nutmeg and allspice. I also smell ginger even though I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the brew.

Starts out soft, and slightly sweet with notes of cola. Then the finish kicks in with a bunch of spice flavors. Some anise, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. Complex, but pretty one demensinal with spices and not a lot of traditional dark Belgian flavors.

Mouthfeel is soft, full and pretty smooth.

Overall? Interesting, but too spice forward for my liking. Maybe if you set one down for a few years it might mellow a bit, but to me it's just a bit much at the moment. Not bad, but not great.

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Photo of charlzm
2.79/5  rDev -28.5%
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.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle
Served in a Stone tulip glass

A - It looks like a porter or stout. It is very dark. Light does not penetrate this beer. It is topped with two inches of tan head.

S - It smells like a Christmas ale. It is spicy with cinnamon and clove.

T - I get plenty of spices. Clove seems to be prominent. I also taste some roasted malt and Belgian yeast.

M - Medium

O - It reminds me of Anchor's Our Special Ale. It is okay, not great.

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

Very dark brown color, resembling a porter. Tall tan head that leaves a fair amount of lacing.

There's a ton of spices in the smell. Nutmeg, clove, and allspice. I also pick up dates.

The flavor is also heavy on the spices. A little anise throws itself in there.

Mouthfeel is heavy body, average carbonation.

I liked this beer quite a but, but I can see how it could be polarizing. You're preference will be decidedly wether or not you like spices.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on January 18, 2013.

The pour on this is an amazing looking dark brown to practically black with a smallish head.

The aroma is alive with dark malts, black licorice, a hint of dark fruit, and molasses. This is very enticing.

The body is definitely full.

The taste has this outrageous black licorice flavor to it along with dark malts, raisins, and as fully hopped finish. Quite complex and unique to say the least. Drink it slowly and enjoy it.

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Photo of scratch69
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance- Jet black color with a fingers worth of lingering tan head. Minimal amount of lacing.

Smell- Cinnamon, clove, licorice, and hints of citrus and molasses.

Taste- Very complex. I am detecting new flavors with each sip. Dark roasted malt, cinnamon, hints of clove, plums, chocolate, citrus, and hints of licorice. Very well blended with some alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied and smooth. Light amount of carbonation.

Overall- A good winter beer. Complex and very interesting.

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Photo of IPA4LIFE
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark, much darker than I expected. The head is pretty thin, and dissipates quickly. Dark brown on the near verge of black.

S-SPICY! Not like hot spicy, but full of spices, spicy. Clove is upfront, along with cinnamon and anise/black licorice. There is also a hint of spicy belgian yeast, a little butter dark chocolate, and maybe even a slight hint of citrus. A very unique and distinctive aroma that is I will not forget for a long time!

T- The first few sips, I wasn't as impressed (the beer may have been a bit too cold at the time), but it really opened up into a wonderful profile of dark malt and spice flavors, with raisin and plum in the background. There is bittersweet chocolate with plenty of clove (surprisingly much more enjoyable than i would have thought!), a bit of allspice and some cinnamon. There is maybe just a hint of cold-pressed coffee, a good measure of brown sugar and a good hint of booze. There is also a solid note of belgian yeast spiciness that ties the whole beautiful mess together. The lingering spice of clove is really beautiful and is the first time I have seen something like that expressed in a beer.

M- Smooth and velvety. Awesome.

O- Complex beyond even what I expect from Stone's VE series, this is a fitting send-off. This beer is really, really, good. It is difficult beyond complicated to mix all of the ingredients in this beer together in a successful way. Stone pulled it off wonderfully. This stuff is beautiful. Seriously awesome.

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Photo of hagbergl
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased a 22 oz. bottle of Stone's 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale (this edition is a Belgian-style spiced Christmas ale) at the Kimbark Plaza liquor store in Hyde Park, Chicago. I've had a few of the Vertical Epic ales by Stone before and liked them alright, so I wanted to see how they finished off the series. Served in my Chimay chalice.

Appearance (4.25/5): Pours an opaque dark brown, and is topped by a dense, tightly packed, 1.5 finger dark tan head. Plenty of bubbly tan lacing clings to the sides of the glass as it recedes and the beer is consumed.

Smell (4.5/5): Beautiful nose full of interesting spice notes: coriander, nutmeg, orange peel, cinnamon, some Belgian yeastiness, a little roasted malt. Very complex and bold (it is a Stone beer, after all); I'm catching subtly different notes with each whiff. An excellent and enticing nose on this holiday ale, for sure.

Taste (4/5): The taste is even more complex than the nose: it starts with the nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, orange peel spiciness and sweetness. Mid-palate transition to dark roasted malt flavors, a little smokey, dark bread. Resolves with a long, roasty, coffee-like bitterness. A bit of warming alcohol flexes in the back but never interferes with the flavors. This is a bit of a strange beer, but it's good. It has a bit of spiced holiday beer, dark abbey ale, brown ale, and stout to it. Sounds bizarre, I know. The one downside to the beer is that it's so bold that it gets a little cloying about halfway through the bomber. I'd say this is a beer that's meant to be split. Still, quite respectable.

Mouthfeel (4/5): very smooth, medium body, lightly carbonated. Doesn't feel "BIG" on the tongue.

Overall (4/5): This is a good way to close the Vertical Epic series–exceptionally bold, complex, and–given the time it was released–appropriate to the season. This is a beast of a holiday ale: hearty, spicey, and a heavy-hitter for sure. As Jason noted in his review, appropriate that this beer is a bittersweet one...farewell Vertical Epic series. Kudos to Stone for closing it out on a high note.

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Photo of obywan59
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black, totally opaque with a 3 finger thick tan head

Spices predominate at the start, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. As the beer warms, a little banana shows up followed by a bit of molasses, caramel, and some Belgian yeast with a whiff of alcohol now and then.

Sweet and spicy up front becoming more citrusy tart in the middle, with molasses and then some bitter roast malt in the end.

Good carbonation and medium full mouthfeel with light syrupy quality resulting in a bit of pleasant stickiness on the tongue and good warming in the throat.

Ovedrall, a very good winter brew. Warming for a snowy winters night and plenty of assertive flavors to keep things interesting.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

A: The beer is inky black with a light greenish brown tint and no light is getting through. The head is medium brown made of creamy, slightly rocky bubble that leave lacing on the glass.

S: A decent spice and pine aroma with moderately-strong notes of allspice, clove and nutmeg. There is a moderate sweet orange peel aroma. There moderate pine aroma that seems like it's the hops but it could be the mix of spices. Some dark fruitiness comes through at lower levels like moderately-light figs and plums. There most definitely spice in there but there doesn't seem to be a Belgian yeast type of an aroma.

T: It's a spice bomb and the first sip seems like lots of clove at first but it become clear that it's just a lot of all the spices they brewed with from the allspice, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg in order of how strong they appear to me. There is a moderately-light hops bitterness. The balance is even and the finish is fairly dry. The aftertaste shows some dark malt character with a slight roasted malt bitterness.

M: A Medium full body with moderately-strong carbonation. There is some astringency

O: The spice is out of balance but not too badly. Spice like this will calm down over time and if I was brewing a bottle to lay down for years I might bump up the spice to this level knowing I'd leave it alone for a while. I can't recommend this beer right now but I'd be interested to see how it taste in another year or so.

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Photo of makopoetic
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

My first Vertical Epic! Drank straight from the bottle, did not pour. Very dark appearance. Love the bottle; simple, but with class.

Strong spice scents. Allspice? Clove? A little pepper? Will deffinately buy another bottle to try in a glass, wondering if the smell & taste change with time after opening.

Strong taste, hearty! Usually not my style, but I liked it.

Was easy in hte mouth, but still let you know it was there. not overpowering. Small afterbite for such a strong scented ale.

I enjoyed it! My first foray into the Vertical Epic series. Bummer I didn't discover the series sooner.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.24/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22 oz bottle to tulip. $7 or 8 from Neds.

Appearance: Its pitch black with a darkish brown head. Leaves some really nice lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast aromas and a big "womp" of spice as they say on the bottle. The smell makes me fear its overspiced.

Taste: So, this is not an "abbey-ish" ale as the bottle claims. Its a spicy Belgian stout. Really spicy. Collision of pumpkin pie and Christmas spice. I always find orange peel unwelcome in beer and this is no different. Finishes with roasty malt bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Soft, slightly foamy, then dry on the finish. Too dry for the style, whatever style this is.

Overall: They definitely should not have done this. They need to throw away all their spices and stick to making good beer without all this stupid shit. That said, this is not terrible, actually kind of enjoyable, just wrong.

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Photo of abaer123
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - rich dark (black?) color. beautiful lacing left on the glass.

S - slighrly strong alcohol - but doesn't taste it.

T - smooth and rich. yummy!

M - full and good body.

O - Overall a good ale. I have enjoyed Stone's vertifcal offerings every year, and this one does not disappoint. I can pretty much rely on Stone's offerings. I would not mind visiting the tap room to have each of the vertical epics poured side by side to compare and contrast. I think they are always pushing the envelope a little and usually with great success!

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Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Jet black color with a one-finger, light brown head of foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - Lots of heat in the nose. Peppery and spicy nose.

T - Lots of chili-like spice, peppery with some roasted malt flavors.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is an interesting VE beer. Not my favorite but still really good.

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

Pours a dark brown with some red highlights, small cap of off-white head. Scent brings notes of caramel, molasses, pecan, fig, dates, cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, anise, a splash of vanilla, burnt rum cake - lots going on here. Taste manages to focus some of the notes from the scent, but some sips seemed messy and unorganized. Full of flavor and complexity, but a touch more care needed to ensure all the components either blend or stand out further. Fuller side of medium - warm, sticky. Glad i had a chance to try, but a touch to aggressive for my palate on some fronts.

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Photo of John_M
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Smokin Joe's the other day.

The beer pours the expected blackish brown color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is exotic and impressive, though I'm not sure about the use of all these spices. In any event, this beer reminds of holiday eggnog, with considerable vanilla, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and mint, but with some interesting coffee and chocolate as well. The combination just seems a bit odd, especially with the huge presence of all these spices. The flavor profile replicates the nose, though the spices aren't quite as prominent on the palate as they were on the nose. I really like the soft, creamy mouthfeel I'm getting in this beer, as I think it helps to soften the impact of all the spices. Otherwise, there's plenty of vanilla, coffee and chocolate in this well made beer. Mouthfeel is otherwise long and spice filled, and the alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile. Also, while the beer is on the sweet side, the spices and some underlying hoppy bitterness seem to buoy that sweetness quite well.

An interesting and well made beer, though it's hard to imagine drinking a whole lot of this.

Edit from 3/15/13. Sampled this on tap again during a Vertical Epic event at Pacific Coast brewing. The spice component still seems a bit over the top, though the mouthfeel was softer and creamier. Score at the pub was virtually identical to what I found previously.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bottle into Globe glass.

A. Pours 2 finger dark tank coloered head. Good retention. Thick lacking. Color is black.

S. Cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, clove, gingerbread, allspice. Smells like a liquified Xmas cookie. All kinds of spices going on with this guy. Seriously you could confuse this beer with the inside of your spice cabinet.

T. Taste is more gingerbread cookie, than all of the other spices on the aroma. Xmas in a glass pretty much sums up the taste. Again all kinds of spice going on just like the aroma. Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.

M. Medium bodied. Finishes with all the spice flavors coating your mouth. Medium carbonation.

O. Kind of a one trick pony. You wont hear me say this often, but definitely a beer you want to share with people, proably 5-6 people. Interesting, but not something I would really ever want to have again.

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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 299 ratings.