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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
88
very good

1,516 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,516
Reviews: 295
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 14.07%
Wants: 24
Gots: 354 | FT: 41
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: 1,516 | Reviews: 295 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TwoBeers
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Sunn
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of opwog
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

On Cask at Beachwood Long Beach

I haven't yet had this from the bottle or on regular tap, so I am not sure if the cask varied at all with maybe extra spicing, but this was a massive holiday spice bomb. It reminded me of a kicked up Anchor Christmas Ale, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you feel about holiday spice in your beer. I generally love holiday ales, but for me Anchor is about the ceiling of where I want my spices. This became a bit overwhelming just to get through a half cask pour (10 oz). Cinnamon takes over and for me it affected the mouthfeel of what was otherwise a beer that seemed a natural fit for cask. I am sure that park of this may also be from cocoa or some other ingredients, but cinnamon is so prominent that it is all that I was imagining when I felt a chalkiness across my tongue. The spices distract from any Belgian characteristics and also hide any heat from the ABV. Pretty girthy beer, as well.

I want to try this now in bottle and tap to see if maybe extra spices were used in the cask. Enjoyable in small quantities and if the bottles or regular keg have the spice pulled back a bit, then it might be more enjoyable for myself.

***Update***

Had regular keg of this and it is still a holiday spice bomb, but slightly less spicy than the cask and where cinnamon had dominated the flavor of the cask, clove dominated on tap. I don't know if there was different or additional spicing for the cask or if the spices just came out differently between the two sources.

Photo of CK319
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%

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 TMoney2591
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in an Ohio State shaker pint glass.

Spelunky...what can I say? I'm garbage. Anyway, to the beer at hand: It pours a very dark, bleak black-brown topped by over a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises cinnamon, clove, mace, orange zest, toasted wheat, and some sort of soda (definitely either cola or root beer). The taste brings in more of the same, with more clove, black pepper, bitter anise, and nutmeg. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, a solid BSDA, though the overt spicing keeps it from achieving any sort of real greatness.

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 beertunes
3.37/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Sports Page in Roseville, CA

Appearance - Pours opaque black with a light tan, finger width head. Good retention. Strong lacing with good stick.

Smell - Nutmeg and cinnamon spice. Moderate roast. Gingerbread.

Taste - Follows the nose. strong Christmas spice flavors, nutmeg and cinnamon. Gingerbread. Earthy. Slight bitterness throughout. Bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full in body with moderate carbonation. Fair smoothness. Finishes dry.

Overall - I suppose it makes sense that a 12.12.12 release would have a Christmas-themed flavor profile, but I'm not a big fan of those flavors being in a beer. Quite comparable to the 2012 Anchor Christmas release.

Photo of peabody
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out really dark and thick. Complete light blocker with 1/4 finger of tan suds that stick to the side of the glass. Nice lacing here.
Smell is Clove first then dark chocolate and raisin. Almost a cigar aroma but tending more towards the bread and date.
Taste is harsh and bitter at first then the coffee darkness sticks to the mouth leaving just a tad of sugary malt in it's wake. This beer isn't finished yet as the alcohol is way over the top.
Probably needs a year or two. Wished Stone would have made an IPA extradinaire for this release.
Mouthfeel is very dry and just a bit sticky.. The phenol afterburn sticks around in the throat for quite some time.
Overall this needs time to finish otherwise this is not a beer I would revisit ever.

Photo of mdfb79
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 12/25/12 notes. Drank 06-06-06 through 12-12-12 over a 3 day span; this was towards the bottom of them for me. 22 oz. bottle picked up for roughly $7-8 at Whole Foods in Middletown, NJ. Poured into my Vertical Epic glass.

a - Pours a dark brown color, almost black, with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of spices, oranges, pepper, mint, roasted malts, chocolate, and some citrus. Pretty interesting, but nice nose, with some citrus and roasted characteristics.

t - Tastes of mint, oranges, spice, pepper, vegetables, roasted malts, chocolate, toasted malts, Belgian yeast, citrus, and earthy notes. Not bad, but kinda weird; not sure if it works as well as the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. A bit too carbonated, otherwise easy to drink.

o - Overall an interesting beer, but one of my least favorite in the series that I've had. I didn't think the oranges and citrus mixed that well with the spices and roasted malts, and thought it was a little overcarbonated. Wouldn't seek it out again.

Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours dark muddy brown with a grayish brown head

Loads of spice.. Nutmeg and cloves soft chalky orange

Taste is similar to nose with plenty of allspice and dry spiced slightly sweet flavors

Nice body and dry finish

Just an overly spiced holiday warmer.. Not great

Photo of MadScientist
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

Photo of magictacosinus
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
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!

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a very dark brown with a massive brown cap which fades leaving some really nice lacing present

S: Big spice here, the nose is not able to differentiate at the moment but hopefully the palate can break that up. Nose also leaves me with some chocolate, dark fruits and roastiness

T: Big intial spice upfront as I expected by the nose, to mucg so for me really. The initial blast of clove, allspice, nutmeg is overbearing even for the big hearty malt base which gives me some chocolate, roastiness, light coffee and dark fruits. The finish has lingering spice with a small booze sting.

M: Medium body, well carbonated, loads of flavor its just a little to much in one direction.

O: A Belgian Dark Strong you say? Why because of the yeast strain? This should have been labaled a spice beer with a Belgian yeast not the other way around.

Photo of LeRose
3.49/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Photo of Jonada
3.49/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours nearly black in color with 1+ finger of a tan head. Body is opaque.

Smell: Smells like a spice bomb. Ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, cocoa powder, slight roasted malt notes.

Taste: Gingersnap cookies, roasted malt, slight notes of chocolate and coffee. The spices really just overwhelm rather than compliment the other flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Somewhat thin mouthfeel given how big the beer is. Carbonation is medium.

Overall: Not a fan of this one. They really overdid it with the spices, making it unbalanced and pretty difficult to drink after a few ounces. Best way I can describe it is an overspiced imperial winter warmer. If that sounds like your thing, then this beer is for you. Otherwise, I would avoid.

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of ryser2k
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of SPRichard
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of AlexChillton
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of prototypic
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of mzeld
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,516 ratings.