12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale
Stone Brewing

12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
3.97 | pDev: 13.85%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale
Reviews: 313 | Ratings: 1,605 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheRougeBastard
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cellared for over five years, a malfunctioning beverage cooler put this on deck. Aged very nicley, would have been perfect a few months ago as it's certainly a winter warmer!

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TheRougeBastard from North Carolina, May 20, 2018
Photo of chinchill
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Repeated in July 2018 - probably a bit better at this later date, with reduced and mellowed spicing.
Poured very dark brown looking opaque and essentially black in the glass. The tan head is modest sized but has good retention.
Aroma: complex; more spicy than fruity with hints cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and clove.
Flavor: spicy but with reasonable balance for a spiced ale, and a good mix of spices and a solid note of dark chocolate. Exact rating about 4.15.

Overall: as much an American Strong Winter Ale as Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

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chinchill from South Carolina, Nov 30, 2017
Photo of flaskman
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was a bottle that I have stored for over 5 years. I was a little nervous as it was 5 years old. It poured black with a modest head. My first impression was "Wow! It isn't rotten after 5 years !" I actually thought that it was very good. As a spiced brown ale I thought it was enjoyable. I liked the raisin prune taste in the background and the booze was well hidden. It had a good mouthfeel as in not too thin and not too thick. The only issue I had was that it was a touch spice forward with maybe a touch too much clove? When I shared it with a friend we were on his back porch and it was 40 degrees out a week before Thanksgiving. The perfect time of year for a spiced ale.

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flaskman from New York, Nov 14, 2017
Photo of CraigAvery11
1.53/5  rDev -61.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

The look of it makes you want to like it. However, when the spices overpower the base, body, and everything else you want to enjoy about this beer.... For me, this was just terrible. Ginger, anise, and whatever else overpowers this beer killed it for me. I'm more of a huge high-end sour drinker but occasionally stray to an IPA or stout. This is terrible. I could make it through the bottle in an effort to not waste my money and get the feeling but... Tasted terrible.... smelled slightly worse. Nothing I would ever buy twice. They threw a spice grenade in this. Tastes like you're chugging an upper-middle class Christmas wreath.

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Photo of 57md
4.56/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one at The Mint in Bethlehem, PA. As part of their 5th anniversary, they are serving up some aged beers from their cellar. This offering was about 3.5 years old when consumed in the heat of mid-summer 2016.

Pours a deep dark brown to black color with a finger of beige head - almost porter-like. There is a hint of burnt wood in the nose. I do not recall if this beer was barrel-aged but the essence is definitely there. The dominant flavor is that of raisin bread with Christmas spices. There is also more than a trace of bittersweet chocolate. The finish is quite dry.

The kicker here is that there is no hint of the alcohol - this is definitely a BIG sipper but the booze does not even poke its head through.

June 28th is pretty damn close to "half-way to Christmas" and this offering put me in the spirit of the season early. This was a real treat in the dead of summer but it would make for a total holiday classic after coming in from building a snow man.

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57md from Pennsylvania, Jun 29, 2016
Photo of colts9016
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very nice medium tan two finger head with good retention. The color of the beer is a dark molasses and opaque.

N: Molasses, bittersweet chocolate, oranges, raisins, roasted malt, a burnt note, toffee, dark roasted coffee, some floral, and a earth note.

T: Dark chocolate, oranges, raisins, roasted malt, a burnt note toffee, espresso, earthy, floral, woody, molasses, bready, and yeasty.

M: A very chewy rich beer with some carbonation.

This beer has a lot going on with many flavors, yet so refined but bold. After fours sitting it has aged very nicely and is a sipper for sure. The alcohol is noticeable, but not too strong. All the flavors meld together nicely to create this offering. The nose is so much more richer, than the taste; nonetheless, a good beer to drink .

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.78/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Strong aroma has malty and yeasty notes and a firm overtone of spices - I get clove, ginger and maybe allspice. Thought I smelled coriander, though that’s not listed as an ingredient. It pours like a stout - a deep, warm sable with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head. Flavor - woooooooo, mouth-filling, strong and herbal; woody, licorice, ginger, roast malt, bitter hoppy, subtle orange and nutty notes. This beer must be sipped slowly! Thick, firm, smooth texture has a strong and persistent tingle. Stones last "triplet date" beer is a winner!

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Cyberkedi from Georgia, May 30, 2016
Photo of darktronica
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Despite the claims of being as cellarable as any other beer in the series, my bottle of 12.12.12 was certainly well past its prime. I remember it being a pleasant, though spicy, Belgian when fresh. This bottle was recently acquired at a local bottle shop that found it stored in the back, so I suspect it's been warmer than optimal cellar temp for several years now. That said, it was all nutmeg and wet newspaper, with a sharp bitterness on the finish.

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Photo of stevoj
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark and spicy, lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove. Near black body with beige creamy head. Some chocolate in the aroma and taste, mildly dry finish. Overall very complex, lots of flavors combined.

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stevoj from Idaho, May 18, 2016
Photo of ONovoMexicano
1.87/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Great looking beer but sadly not one I could drink. The nose and flavor were complete spice bombs dominated by clove, anise, ginger (?) and other flavors I couldn't hardly get past to enjoy the base beer.

What's interesting is I went into this beer with zero knowledge and was even surprised when I saw a dark stout-like beer (I was expecting a blonde color for whatever reason). I guess my point is I didn't go in intending to dislike this, but unfortunately did. Overly spiced to the point of ruin for me.

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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico, Apr 10, 2016
Photo of SawDog505
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz Weyerbacher tulip glass. Pours a very attractive dark brown, with a one inch light brown head that leaves very attractive lace.

Smell chipotle, vanilla, clove, coffee grounds, dark fruit, orange peel, honey, and cocoa.

Taste follows coffee grounds, chipotle vanilla, upfront with clove, honey, orange peel, and cocoa in the fairly dry finish.

Mouthfeel is a little bigger than medium, moderate carbonation, pretty dry, and nice drinkability for its size.

Overall I have to confess I did the rare strait to the cellar without trying it fresh, so I can't say it is better now. I will say it seems to have held up well, tasty and different beer.

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SawDog505 from New Hampshire, Mar 18, 2016
Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.26/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at the black sheep, looked great out of the tap.definite spice, chocolate and leather, for someone who doesnt rate Stone too highly, this was excellent.

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Photo of Labeorphile
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

3 years aged may be a bit long. Pours very dark into a Chimay glass with tan head. Lots of spice in the nose, as another mentioned similar to a pumpkin beer.

Orange peel shows up in the taste, along with dark chocolate. Slightly thin, but a good beer.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.34/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a speiglau stout glass.

Three years age on it.

Look is jet black, no light coming through with a thick tan head.

Lots of roasted chocolate malt and a slight spice.

Tastes absolutely great. Slight spicing kinda like a light pumpkin beer. Very balanced the age definitely serves it well.

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Amber color with a small head. Looks the part

Smells of Belgian yeast and light herbal flavors.

Surprisingly carbonated for the style. Otherwise the taste is marvelous. A distinct hop character with floral and grass undertones. This is definitely hoppier than traditional Belgians, which creates a great taste contrast. On one end you got your caramel Belgian styled brew, and on the other you have the hoppiness that Stone brings. Together, they make a delightful and potent brew which I thoroughly enjoyed. Without it being revolutionary in any sense. Definitely satisfying, but I doubt I'll spend $13 on it again.

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Wer34truh from Minnesota, Sep 26, 2015
Photo of oldn00b
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this yesterday at a beer fest. Great to have this again after it's had some time to age!

Pours a deep almost stout like color.

Nose is all spices, clove particularly.

Tastes like what Christmas should - in that the spice is there in a great way but not overpowering like so many winter warmers.

Wonderful treat getting this and it is definitely better than I remember it from when I first tried it a couple years ago.

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oldn00b from Virginia, Aug 03, 2015
Photo of jancona
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful look and sticky lacing. Flavor is full of sweet spice (allspice, clove) with a toasty, dark malt backbone. Feel is spot-on Belgian strong ale with fine but persistent carbonation. Truly a great beer experience.

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jancona from Pennsylvania, Jun 20, 2015
Photo of iRaven99664
4.99/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. Most amazing thing I've tried! Bought 4-19-15, drinking 4-20-15. Must have been a huge batch if only brewed once and am still able to buy. Really wish I could have tried all of them. This will for ever be my all time favorite beer.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A strong clove note on the nose along with some sweet fruit, lots of cinammon & nutmeg in the body with some lasting dark molasses. Lots of hefty winter flavor, but a little strong on the spice.

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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania, Jan 18, 2015
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this sometime at the end of 2012, as part of a 03.03.03 - 12.12.12 tasting. I had meant to enter these a while ago while they were fresh and add a few extra details, but that didn't happen. Review from notes. Anyway, here we go.

3.5 A: Black color. Small frothy light brown head.

4.5 S: Wonderfully spicy. Loads of cinnamon, allspice, clove, and nutmeg. Smooth chocolatety base with caramel, peel, and light malty backbone. Light roast.

4.0 T: Same as nose.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good spritzy carbonation. Lightly creamy.

4.0 D: Very tasty. Best of the night.

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DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania, Jan 18, 2015
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12
22 oz. bottle, no apparent freshness dating
$8.49 @ Total Wine & More # 901, Tampa, FL

Stone has gone out strong with their Vertical Epic 12.12.12. It looks like an Imperial stout, but tastes kind of like a gingerbread cookie with raisins in it. It's got one of the most tenacious and lace-giving dark tan heads I've ever seen, yet its almost opaque brown-black body is actually medium, or even medium-light in body. And although it's got a strong roastiness to it, it's also loaded with fruit and spice.

The aroma is clearly not Imperial stout like (perhaps Belgian stout like), giving off bright notes of spice including ginger, ... uh, ahhh, I see they're listed on the bottle so I might as well just list them here: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, sweet orange peel, clove and rose hips... and yet I see there's no ginger but I smell it. I also get a little bit of bubblegum, but all you need for that really is just sugar and clove. Needless to say, it's complicated - and that's all you need to know as I'd rather not write a book detailing the changes you'll encounter as it warms and so forth. For you the imbiber, you can enjoy the malts, the yeast, and the spice as much or as little as you want because although it's quite complex, it's really not overwhelming.

The flavor, now that's a different story. It's spicy, and it's 'Belgian', and it's malty - let's start with that. Dark malts abound, yet it's not overly roasty or chocolatey or darkly caramelish - all of those are present, both standing on their own and working together, but it's not a "malty" beer. In the end it's simply medium bodied so you can't pack that much malt flavor in like you can with a barley wine or what not. And rather than being bitter, it's got a nice sweet note to it that's reminiscent of rock candy - it's sugar, but it's not super sweet sugar - and with the bitterness that IS there, and all of the spice, it remains balanced. What this beer is not, is rounded. No, it's all over the spider web flavor chart with spikes in overall intensity, sweetness, fruitiness, roasted cereal, and alcohol (even at just 9%). It's a roller coaster in that sense. In fact I'm not sure I've ever experienced a beer that's so intense in so many ways, and yet overall not a "punch in the face".

So how to rate it? How to describe it overall? I don't think there's really a beer category to put it in, but if I was forced to choose one I'd go with "Belgian-style stout", which is not really recognized, and as such, rating it can only be done in a hedonistic way. Michael Jackson once told me when I asked him about rating beers hedonistically or "not to style", that "you have to just take what you know and assign it", so I'll do that.

When I go to sleep tonight I might dream of a cinnamon roll with raisins that have been soaked in dark rum and served alongside cold dark coffee and a hot cup of floral and herbal tea with a slice of orange on the side.

My overall impression to pass on to you, then, is buy it, try it, and if you like it go back for more (as I will, at least in part because I think it will age beautifully). To a certain extent this is history in the making! It's the last of the Vertical Epic series (until the next time... ?), and it might be the first of a new style.

Kudos, and thanks to everyone at Stone!

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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania, Jan 17, 2015
Photo of barczar
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%

Strong ginger and nutmeg in aroma, along with plums and muted cherry. Light smoke and cinnamon add complexity. Didn't expect the spice character, as I'm having this on draft and didn't read the bottle description. It's dark as a stout. Flavor reveals strong cherry and citrus underpinnings, with a roasty, bitter finish. Medicinal notes abound. Certainly not your typical Belgian dark strong. The cherry character dominates, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, and roast malt. Spices are stronger than I'd prefer.

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barczar from Kentucky, Dec 12, 2014
Photo of dcscientist
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The 2012 Vertical Epic release was, appropriately, a winter seasonal, and it was excellent. Everything you'd want in a winter warmer, plus some bonus alcohol just because. Very well done, and I hope I can find some of this next winter somehow.

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dcscientist from Colorado, Sep 26, 2014
Photo of Beersnake1
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled 2012, tasted in 2017. Poured from fridge temp.

Look: Jet black with almost no carbonation

Nose: mint, licorice, medicine, charred wood

Taste: follows the nose. Minty licorice dominates. Strange, but good.

Mouthfeel is thick - quite nice.

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Beersnake1 from California, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of Roguer
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tons of dry spice in this brew! Nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice make themselves significantly known, riding atop a Belgian yeast sweetness. Peculiar roasty finish.

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Roguer from Georgia, Aug 22, 2014
12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 1605 ratings