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

294 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 294
Hads: 1,543
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 6.41%
Wants: 26
Gots: 380 | FT: 44
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: 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: 294 | Hads: 1,543
Photo of polloenfuego
3.11/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured a nice dark brown and it had a nice bouquet that was coriander dominant, but the taste is where this beer loses points. The initial taste was okay, but then there is an overpowering bitter taste that is very unpleasant. Mouth feel is course and harsh carbonation.

I know this bottle is over a year old, but I cannot vouch for its storage and care so I wonder if this is the culprit here. I'd like to think that this is the case as I have truly enjoyed all of Stones other offerings. (492 characters)

Photo of Zaplt
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours pitch black with a quarter inch tan head

Smell - cherry, prune, dark fruit, chocolate, roast, spice,

Taste - Nutmeg, cinnamon, dark roast, dark fruit, date, plum,

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, moderate carbonation

Overall - This beer is decent, interesting blend of spice but something seems to conflict. (328 characters)

Photo of ykncornelius
4.73/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Been aging this guy for a shade over a year, and while I know the bottle says it's due to age beautifully for years to come....yeah, I just couldn't wait any more. I'm finishing off the last sips of this just before pouring a 3+ year bottle of 10.10.10 :D

This one's gorgeous. It's everything I like out of a beer plus some whizzing extras. Pours like liquid chocolate, not a hint of translucence, with a thin tan head that dissipated fairly quickly (to be fair, I'm sharing so I never got to give it a terribly hard pour).

Smashing boozy aromas: dark rum, Christmas pudding, raisins...all that good stuff from a strong Belgian trappist ale. Taste-wise? Same things, less sugar. At 9% and less sugar, I have a hard time believing it'll stand up to TONS of aging, but that's speculation. At a year old, it's literal perfection. I want this to last for days.

Creamy, decadent, mouthfeel, but very very low carbonation--I think it could benefit from a bit more bubble. It's the only thing about this beer I'd change, and I imagine the younger bottles had more fizz anyway.

Really this is just brilliant. I hopped on the Vertical Epic series a bit late, but this is easily my favorite of the final four releases. If you can track down a bottle out there...get your mitts on it!! (1,278 characters)

Photo of MaillardRx
4.84/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Black as night, black as coal. I want to see the sun blotted out from the sky, and I did. Brownish, tan head with a tasteful amount of lacing

S: Ginger, spices, licorice, sweetish

T: Candied fruits, raisins, plums, Christmas spices, currants, and like a hint of cedar

M: Good for this flavor profile, but perhaps minimally carbonated

O: A very fine beer indeed and would drink it any chance I could (413 characters)

Photo of GPHarris
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

a - poured a three-fingers thick, dense coffee-colored head into a tulip glass that left great lacing throughout. the body was black with brown edges.
s - spices hit you first but some floral aromas fight their way through.
t - spicy, fruity and floral. complex and flavorful.
m - medium and slick, very coating.
o - i've tried all of the VEs at a VE tasting shortly after this one was released (first one excluded) and this was one of my favorites at the time. nothing in the year since changed that. (501 characters)

Photo of shacawgo24
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-Coal black. Dirt, cocoa head is thick and sudsy. Tendrils of slow falling lacing.

S-Nutmeg. Walnut. Eggnog. Gingerbread. Cinnamon raisin cookie. Sweet and alcoholic.

T-Dark roasted hops. I'm guessing dark malts in there, can't taste 'em. Very hoppy, bitter. Dark cocoa. Rye. Ink. Resin. Great holiday/winter beer. 9% ABV? This is a slow sipper that tastes like it's in the 14% ABV range yet isn't. Robust flavors. Cinnamon finish. Warming births a new world of sensations, smells and tastes.

M-Medium body. Low to moderate carbonation. Goes down warming, bubbly, burns in a good way. A cool boiling sensation percolates down the chest.

O-Didn't realize this is a BSDA. Tastes like a porter/stout. Sometimes great beer can't always be pigeonholed and categorized. Stone's creativity has me anticipating the new series they'll do now that Vertical Epic is done. A great beer to enjoy while it lasts. One of the better super dark beers I have had. I can chug on it a bit, or slow slip. (989 characters)

Photo of dar482
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The aroma of this beer is spiciness with some sweetness and roasted notes.

The flavor has a big stout character with some roasted malt and chocolate notes. It then follows with toffee and dried fruits and spiciness. The finish is quite drying with that Belgian spice note.

An interesting brew and my first attempt at a Stone Vertical. This is quite good. The stout and Belgian strong dark balance is interesting. (414 characters)

Photo of NEdward
2.65/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

A: brackish, very dark, minimal head

S: overpoweringly sweet -- molasses, beets, carrots

T: a day old fruit cake and V8

M: thick, overstayed its welcome

O: picked this up in september or october with a few other bombers and definitely regretted it. a sludgy opaque mass of overripe sweetness and a distinct vegetable juice finish. yuck. (340 characters)

Photo of JpNuss
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Sustaining, almond-colored, head and mild lacing. The beer itself is D.A.R.K. When held up to a light, nothing shines through. I also had a lot of fun pouring this. It runs from the bottle like syrup.

S - Heavy, heavy, heavy molasses on the nose. To me, it is so over-powering, I cannot smell anything else. For this reason, this is the lowest rated section, for me.

T - Strong molasses (this may be from my smelling it) and coffee notes, with a slightly bitter finish.

M - Leaves a slight fuzzy feeling on the roof of my mouth. Not the most desirable feeling. (567 characters)

Photo of philbe311
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Slightly more than a fingers worth of slightly fizzy yet slightly lush inviting dark brown colored froth... Modest at best retention... What's left is a thin misty veil of swirled lacing and moderate color... The color is a sleek dark tobacco brown mixed with a slight ruby red hue... There are a few small bubbled carbonation streaks towards the top of the glass...

S - A truly outstanding nose... An unique and intoxicating blend of spices... Cinnamon sticks... All spice... Clove... Nutmeg... Very holidayesque... Twizzler like artificial sweetness... Some assorted other dark fruits linger beneath the surface... Some caramel and maple syrup... Very light cocoa notes... Deep and complex... Each sips yields new subtle nuances... Completely satisfying...

T - The flavors are not quite what the aroma would have led one to believe was coming... The cocoa nibs are dialed up a notch... There is a deep rich charred / roasted characteristic... There is also a moderate smoke character... Tobacco... The spiciness that accentuated the nose gets quite muddled on the palate... Some anise and dark licorice rise on the finish...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Each sip is exceedingly sleek and smooth... A very subtle carbonation... Finishes slightly chalky wen a woody roasted charred character develops and lingers...

D - A very unique and satisfying offering from Stone... A wonderful ending to a wonderful series of brews... Almost two faced as aroma and flavor profile are similar yet quite varied... Deep, rich and loaded with complexities... This is one I can highly recommend if you can still find a bottle laying around and one that I wish Stone would bring back for an encore in the future... (1,723 characters)

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in brew dog Manchester

Dark near black body with big tan head.

Hints of treacle and muscovado sugar on the nose.

The taste was pretty much Pernod and black the keg serving method dispensing a little too cold and a little too fizzy

I enjoyed this sure enough but I was expecting a little more epic. (315 characters)

Photo of retry4z
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled into a Duvel glass.

A: Respectable head with some lacing. Too dark for a Belgian Strong ale.

S: strong spice, maybe jalapeños and red pepper. Some malty and alcoholic notes.

T: Strong spices overwhelm any other beer characteristic, but a little caramel and hop flavor showed throught. Tastes almost medicinal.

M: medium bodied, average carbonation. Pleasant on tongue.

O: I expected a traditional Belgian-style ale, like Gulden Draak or Chimay, but this is an adulterated spiced version. Glad I tried, but wouldn't buy again. (549 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Twelve poured a dark cherry hue with a ever rising head of thick foam.

The aromas are spicy with more nutmeg and cinnamon for the nose. I encountered some allspice and clove but the malt was more hidden to me.

The flavor was relatively complex but some of these were not my favorites. I tasted some light smoke, anise, spruce and carroway but also got an earthy, leafy parsley.

The feel was light, bubbly and effervescent without any true sharpness making it easy to drink.

This is a very different example of a Belgian Strong, maybe not the best but certainly worth the money. (581 characters)

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

12.12.12 drank on 12.13.13

A - Pitch black with caramel hues. 5% transparency with slight foamy head on pour. very little lacing
S- Spice on the nose similar to a clove, banana, syrup and some bitter malts
T- Spices, chocolate, banana, sweet malts and a little alcohol esque taste probably due to aging
M- Medium-heavy body with some carbonation
O- A little more spiced than I anticipated but a nice sweetness. Enjoyed trying but since it is no more am OK with just the one try. (479 characters)

Photo of tmm313
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.12.12 drank on 12.8.13

A - Almost black with reddish hues. Poured a creamy, quickly dissipating, 1 finger head. OK lacing. Noticeable alcohol legs.
S- I get banana off the top, but spices like clove and nutmeg follow with big dark fruits: raisin, cherry, fig and dates. There's also some dark chocolate in there.
T- Mainly dark fruits. Raisins, dates, cherries, fig, etc. Big roasted malt character with notes of chocolate, banana, and spices.
M- Medium body with nice carbonation. Creamy and drying.
O- I enjoyed this beer. It was nicely balanced and complex with great flavors and aromas. Sad to see the Epics go, but glad to say I had it. (648 characters)

Photo of DanielDomigan
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

pitch black in appearance thin gingerbread color head

strong boozy smell hints ov malts and cloves

taste slightly smokey. small notes of cocoa and caramel. some bitterness lightly hoppy. spices through out the mouth. and a little booze well hidden deep in.

little milky kinda sticky low carbonation

this is my second time having this brew and will not be my last. stone has yet to disappoint and i doubt they ever will. looking forward to there beers to come. cheers! (471 characters)

Photo of DrinkNewport
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours DARK. I didn't know what style it would be, as it only says "Ale Brewed With Spices", so I'm thinking "stout".

But when you smell it, you realize that it's got that Belgian dark ale thing going. They weren't kidding about the spice. If there were any more, Paul Atreides would be fighting the Harkonnens for it.

And the flavor...this thing has so much of a clove thing going, my college freshman self wants to smoke it. There's almost enough spice to cover up any trace of booze. Almost.

Overall, an interesting but not perfect beer. (551 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I think this is my first Vertical Epic ale.
Interesting and unexpected spicing in the aroma. Cinnamon, an allspice kind of spice, clove. Firm dark malt, seeming almost like a stout.
Nice dense dark head, pretty cool. Very black and minimal highlights (brown to black).
Very holiday like, seems like a Christmas beer in the spicing. Matches pretty closely to the aroma. Additional flavors of caramel, touching close to roast, Body isn't quite as heavy as I expected, maybe even a tad thin. The drink itself is drying and this is enhanced by the spices which linger. Pretty quick shot of warmth in the gut and a ping in the pre-frontal cortex too. Pretty fully carbonated ,but it is fairly soft. Not much spice from yeast, in fact, not much yeast flavors at all that I can pick up. But i do like some of the malt flavors. (821 characters)

Photo of thegodfather1076
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Very simple yet attractive and classy label in the Stone painted on style. Front label gives ABV info, states “Ale brewed with spices.”, and a bit brewery info. Back label gives an excellent back story on the Vertical Epic series, as well as a back story and description of the beer, states “Limited Release”, gives cellaring info, states that there may be sediment. Very nice and informative.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from 22oz brown bomber into a 16oz snifter glass led to a 3 finger fairly thick amazing looking tan head resting atop a deep opaque dark brown if not black beer. Head retention was excellent at 5min 11sec before fading to a thick frothy coating and ring with excellent lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smell is heavy on spices with hints of cinnamon, strong clove, nutmeg, and black pepper coming through. Also has a dark molasses sweetness in the nose along with a nice hint of Belgian yeast. Has a nice orange zest scent. Not much in the way of hops detected.

Flavor/Taste: Spices and dark chocolate malt rule the front end with the cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg easily detectable along with a slight black pepper kick. Mid point is sweet with a brown sugar and molasses infused with an orange zest coming through along with a slight bit of hops and yeast coming through. Midpoint fades to a deep charred malt yeasty finish with hints of dark fruit. Charred aftertaste.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: Full bodied thick and creamy with a smooth chewy mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

Overall/Comments: Excellent beer that definitely has the feel of a winter warmer with the spices and flavor profile. The Belgian yeast throws a bit of curve ball and really make this tasty while keeping it interesting. This would be perfect on a late fall or winter evening. If you can still find this grab it up!!! Classified as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale @9%. Consumed 8/16/2013. (1,906 characters)

Photo of pkalix
3.54/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

super dark pour; really nice chocolate milk-looking head, dissipates slowly to a film with a nice brown coating when tilted.
smell is ALL all-spice. the all-spice dominates the aroma on this one. I don't care much for all spice. I didn't even know what all-spice was two years ago. but i'm not getting the Belgian chocolate, peanut brittle, cinnamon, orange, chili pepper... or anything else. maybe it sat too long? maybe the nutmeg...
the taste is SAME. some maltiness, but ALL all-spice, and maybe some nutmeg. as another stated, a "massive overload" of spice flavors. I think i'm at the point of quitting drinking beer, or at least quitting trying new stuff or what 'others' are calling decent. that $20 bottle of Gentlemen's crapollation with Widmer and Cigar City almost clinched it. this anniversary brew, though, I can understand it's supposed to be a different kind of brew. I get it. but I don't like it. i'm sorry; this started out good.... I even left and came back to it with a different mental approach and angle (mostly because I WANT to drink it and NOT gag...), but it's just too much. oh well, Stone is excused... i'm not a huge fan of their stuff but I respect what they've done with their company...
after note: I dumped probably the last 1/8 of this. I just couldn't do the all-spice any more. (1,313 characters)

Photo of Duhast500
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a Harpoon snifter glass.

The color is a dark black with a finger or two of foamy brownish/tan head that relaxes back into the darkness of this beer.

The smell is a complete surprise. There is a nice belgian chocolate aroma that is top notch. Some great malt flavor in the nose that reminds me of peanut brittle and caramel.

The taste is coffee and dark chocolate throughout and it hits the palate and pushes open the curtains and just walks right in. A big kick toward the end with a bit of a oak flavor that lets the chocolate and coffee bean ride on top.

This beer does kick but it hides the boozy overtones with some well places flavors and a nice warm feel in the back that feels like a warm blanket on a cold night. There is some carbonation that lightens the heavier ABV and and is the glue that seems to hold everything in place. (872 characters)

Photo of Jonada
3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
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. (747 characters)

Photo of Sarlacc83
2.68/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle. The end.

A: Opaque black with a thin brown head. Sticks to the side of the glass.

N: Orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, chili pepper, molasses allspice, and pumpkin. To call this Christmas in a bottle might make it sound better than it is, but it’s apt.

T: Bitter and spicy. Lots of flavor, but they’re not what I’d call good - in fact it’s more of a massive overload.

M: Thick and dry. Medium bodied.

O: This is my least favorite by far. There’s just too much going on here, and it never comes together - it’s the throw everything into the kettle approach which I don’t much like. (616 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black glass holds a thin tan cover that leaves sticky tide marks as I work my way down the glass.

Smell: Clove and the other spices are pretty heavy even now almost a year later. Can't get any other scents from under the heavy spices.

Taste: Spices are front and center, and overwhelm just about everything else. A little more cinnamon than the nose, but just a hint of underlying malt sweetness pokes out before more spice flavors beat it down.

Mouthfeel: Tiny bubble carbonation keeps the medium heavy body lively. Slick oily finish and slightly numbing alcohol.

Overall: Not opening the other bottles any time soon. I'm hoping the spices will die down and let the beer come out. The hints I get are good, but damn this is licking the bottom of a spice cabinet. (779 characters)

Photo of stella77artois
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into pilsener glass.

A - Pours dark. And I mean dark. It's black, even in the light. A smallish brown head formed after a slow pour. Could be pronounced with an aggressive pour. Good looking beer.

S - Lot's of malt, and a huge roasty smell. Cocoa, roasted chestnuts, and sugar. Even a hint of ash. Very nice smelling beer.

T - Suprisingly, I didn't love this stuff. The taste itself wasn't bad, it just wasn't great to my taste buds. The roasted characters of a bock as noted in the aroma, those were quite plesant. However, I noticed a sourish aftertaste that I can't really put my finger on, which was not pleasant. A lot going on, and while the taste is good, that aftertaste was odd. I was not in a hurry to finish because of that reason. Possibly past the expiration date, who knows.

F - As a dark ale should be, the beer is very thick. Was still drinkable, although it's certainly a sipping beer. Easy enough on the throat and gut, though.

O - I usually love Stone brews, and while I didn't hate this stuff, I doubt I'll buy it again. Good enough tasting Dark Ale (Bock and Dopplebock fans will like this, too), but the aftertase really hurt my rating. I would drink this again if I happen upon, but as I said, probably won't buy it again. I would recommend it though, for fans of dark and flavorful beers. Just not worth the $9 I paid for it. (1,375 characters)

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 294 ratings.