12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale
Very Good
12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 313 | Ratings: 1,602
Photo of Gregfalone
5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Haven gastropub in pasadena. This beer pours from a cask pitch black with a pinky-finger of beige head that sticks around for a few minutes until disappearing into a thin ring. Swirl the beer and you rebuild a thin cap.

Smells like spices like clove and cinnamon. I think I detect some rosemary and other spices I cannot pin point.

This beer TASTES LIKE CHRISTMAS!!! Just like the smell, but stronger and sweeter, maybe brown sugar. Fantastic! I'm going out to try and find a few bottles tomorrow. I want to have this every Christmas

Feels very thick, and slick.

I can't find any fault with this one. It's FUCKING delicious

 631 characters

Photo of Wreckerpecker
5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had the privilege of drinking this AMAZING beer last night at a friends going away party. To make a long story short, this beer IS CHRISTMAS in a bottle. Smells of eggnog, gingerbread, cinnamon, and a touch of nutmeg. The taste is rich, thick, and tastes of the previously stated scents. TL;DR I would buy this beer if I come across it again.

 344 characters

Photo of iRaven99664
4.99/5  rDev +27.3%
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.

 236 characters

Photo of CA_Infidel2o9
4.89/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber to a Tulip

A- jet black, 1/4" brown head

S- egg nog, figs, time, clove, mint, earthy, bark, herbal, roasted malts, peppered & sweet jerky

T- herbs & spices, sweet smoked wood, pepper, hint of chocolate

M- medium body, low carbonation, belly warming alcohol

O- caught me completely off guard when i poured this and a jet black oily elixer emerged. Stunned me when i took my first sniff! Like opening up a spice cabinet, so many herbs and spices attack the senses and burn tbe nose. It's so earthy and spicy in both aroma/flavor. I have never tasted anything like it. I bought another to age but i think i might have to buy another, just to drink it again.

 680 characters

Photo of cobra8u
4.88/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Its like Great Lakes Xmas Ale on Steroids...Nice lacing...to bad I am drinking this at Memorial Day...oh well. Reminds me of the Xmas season. Definitely has the appearance of a stout although the head is somewhat darker. The head btw hangs in there, I served in a Warsteiner Mug and could not see light through. This Beer definitely stood up to the appearance a beer should have served in that mug.

 398 characters

Photo of MaillardRx
4.84/5  rDev +23.5%
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 Rothobinide
4.81/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a growler - got it filled on 12/13/14 at Stone.

Pours smooth, dark, no light passes through. Nice one finger head formed and dissipated relatively quickly. Smells of yuletide spices: clove, cinnamon sticks, ginger, candied plums, mulling spices, nutmeg, vanilla, orange peel, molasses.

Flavor is complex but oh so smooth and well-rounded. Tastes like a frosted gingerbread house. Plentiful holiday spices provide a rich body to the flavor and the finish is smooth and a little bit dry. This one has aged very gracefully and continues to be a hit whenever I open to share with friends and family. One of my favorites in the Vertical Epic series and in the style family of Belgian Strong Dark Ales.

 710 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.78/5  rDev +21.9%
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!

 543 characters

Photo of Puokie
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

First review here, and what a beer to do it on.

Aggressive pour into tulip.

A: Pours a very dark, nearly black brown. Two fingers of creamy brown head. Head recedes quickly, leaving a tiny bit of sparkling lace.

S: Smells like Christmas. Nutmeg dominates the aroma, with cinnamon and allspice backing it up. A hint of citrus?

T: Tastes like it smells. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice up front. A small bit of citrus, barely noticeable. Finishes with a bit of welcomed bitterness with burnt dark chocolate. Alcohol is nowhere to be found. Very well hidden.

M: Small bubbles dancing on the tongue. Very nice. Only downside was it was a bit dry on the finish. Almost like a sparkling wine.

O: A great beer worth a pick up. Definitely an epic end to an epic run.

 763 characters

Photo of utfiero
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Color- near black with dark mocha head.

Aroma- nutmeg, cinnamon, raisin and other spices.

Taste- (initial tasting on 12/30/2012) Starts with a spiced intro including clove, cinnamon, and pine needles, then mellows out with roasted malt notes, finishing with a balanced hoppiness.

Aged test 10/20/2013- on retest this is ambrosia. This is like eating a homemade pumpkin pie while drinking an aged Scotch with the faint aroma of pipe smoke in the background. Silky and beautiful! A true epic.

Each time poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass).

 614 characters

Photo of shacawgo24
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
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 SaxmanRick
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My ratings are based on my experience with the original 2012 release. I enjoyed bottles of this for a number or years and it retained its superior quality or even improved overtime. Fabulous.

I have now had it's rebrewing in August 2017 and it bears no resemblance. Appearance was good (4.25). The aroma offered spices more than malts...the clove seemed dominant (3.75) The taste was simply a clove bomb....way over the top -- nearly undrinkable. Nearly all malt/roast flavor was masked by clove...not really any other of the spices I had enjoyed earlier. Taste (2.75). Mouthfeel was also lighter but decent (4.25). Overall, I would never order this again...huge disappointment (3.0). Sorry...

 704 characters

Photo of jsprain1
4.74/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- darn near opaque dark chocolate, even when held to light. Head is a half finger cocoa brown. Retention is so-so with a little bit of lacing.
S- A plethora of aromas, most of them spice centric. Clove, cinnamon, dark sugar, burnt caramel, and a bit of smoke.
T- This is a beer that layers flavors well. reading the extensive list of flavor notes on the side of the bottle I was worried about them competing, but they complement well. Chocolate, a lingering smoke, clove, cinnamon, and licorice. A bit sweet, but certainly less so than your average BSDA.
M- The mouthfeel is excellent. Medium body, carbonation is low and smooth. I would have given it a five, but given my expectations from reading Stone's description I expected it to be drier. It is smooth and a just a hint sweet.
O- A very very good beer. Definitely worth picking up.

 839 characters

Photo of JRed
4.73/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque in body with mocha bubbly head that turns to a thin film. Wonderful bouquet of allspice, nutmeg, rose hips, and gingerbread. Wow. Tastes of cocoa nibs, allspice, nutmeg, earth, burnt toast, ground chocolate powder, subtle booze towards the finish with tobacco ash. As it warms, more citrus notes become available. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The sweet and char balance is amazing. Aroma is delicious and then the flavor smacks ya around nicely. Completely unexpected but beautiful. The perfect ending.

 519 characters

Photo of ykncornelius
4.73/5  rDev +20.7%
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 milty908
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nose smells almost like a hefeweizen with cloves, nutmeg, bananas, bread smell. Pours pitch black with near zero light shining through even if held up to a lightbulb. Initial taste like a belgian quad, with alcohol balanced through malty chocolaty sweetness. Then the heavy roasted bitterness shines on the aftertaste, lingering for a long time on the palate. Mouth feel is surprisingly light, making you think this might be a good session beer.

This is a great Belgian Porter to me.

 485 characters

Photo of travolta
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Straight black with very nice lacing and very nice retention.

Nose: Grape must, mint, lavender, bananaa, chocolate, with a little tuft of toffee. Nutmeg, faint rose hips and hibiscus at the end.

Taste: great balance, slight orange, chocolate, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with a Pepsi finish.

Notes: I was married on 12/12/12 at 12:12:12 in Tikal, Guatemala. This is our beer and it is fantastic.

 406 characters

Photo of 45nDown
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just don't drink this. Takes the Stone Arrogant Bastard to a whole new spicy level. Mix of slow and warm drinkin spicy goodnes. Don't judge just drink. There is ALOT going on in here but this beer really needs to be tasted slow. apparently it will-be better years to come.

 272 characters

Photo of mattkoon
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

got this 12.12.12 in my monthly beer club, which is cool because i was wanting to try it since it was released a month ago. i heard it was gonna be in this months club, so i decided to wait. 1st off it pours a great looking black with a light tan almost white head. it looks solid and opaque almost scary. the smell is very spicy sweet, like holiday cookies. full of nutmeg and cinnamon, maybe molasses and caramel. the tastes rolls into your mouth kicking with a strong bitter, followed by all the sweet spices that the smell promises, and leaves your mouth coated in a delicious bitter. i really like this beer a lot, stone did a really good job with it, but who and i kidding they do a good job with all of their beers. happy drinking, you arrogant bastards!

 761 characters

Photo of msondel
4.66/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Sounds like this is their last version of this Epic series after going for 11 years.

Dark beer with very little head. There is a strong chocolate flavor that tastes natural in this beer. I certainly wouldn't think this beer was 9% alcohol by the taste, but that is probably because of the creamy taste and strong chocolate smell that make this so smooth.

I'm looking forward to the next thing from Stone.

 448 characters

Photo of Hondo3
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured from a growler into a 20oz Weizen glass. Beautiful 1/2" choclatey tan head that fades rather quickly with good lacing. Beer is a rich, choclatey brown to black.

S - Simply incredible. I've brewed with clove before and there is a distinct clove smell present. Some floral and cinnamon also.

T - I'm in heaven. Definite clove, chocolate, coffee present. Mild bittersweet aftertaste.

M - Smooth. Very smooth. Extremely drinkable.

This is what could be considered "A freaking good beer". It's a shame it will only be a limited production offering. My local supplier currently has this on tap but they also have a good supply in the 22oz bottle variety. Time to make an investment for the future!....

 712 characters

Photo of jjanega08
4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No freshness dating besides the obvious 12.12.12

A= Pours a deep black color with a nice finger of thick head slowly rising out of it. The head is a nice dark brown color proving this to be a dark beer. The head holds great retention and lacing on the glass.

S= The smell is quite pungent. I've come to notice I have a weak sense of smell but this I have no problem with. It smells strong of nice christmas odors similar to a gingerbread cookie or fruit cake. Cinnamon and allspice dominate the nose with a great gingerbread sort of smell. It smells like christmas.

T= The taste is no exception. There is a ton of all spice and gingerbread taste as well as a dominate cinnamon. It's almost like those red cinnamon candies are used in this. A little bit of the spicy cinnamon ya know. There is also a definite bitterness I didn't get in the nose. It's sort of a hop or roasty bitterness that comes through on the end.

M= This is well carbonated.

O= This in my opinion is a great way to end this series. This is a perfect beer for this time of year. Super well spiced and really well done. If you want to try the end all be all christmas beer. Try this one.

 1,160 characters

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ba Review #267
Served On: 4/06/2013
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 9.0%
Date/ Code: 2012 Release

This was a 22oz bomber from A.K.A. Friscos in Frederick.

Look: Poured a pitch-black color with a nice dirty tan cap for a head. The lacing appeared as some sort of gothic calligraphy on the glass. A very nice looking brew that is already screaming with character.

Smell: Warm Autumn-like spices of nutmeg and some peppery clove. Heavy notes of molasses and roasted chestnut. I swore I could almost detect some pumpkin meat in there too.

Taste: Wow, first up was a heavy roasted barley character with spices that seemed to play off the almost porter-like mouth feel. A pumpkin ale quality seemed to hit towards the middle with some pumpkin pie spices. The finish was of strong cinnamon heat that coated the back of the tongue. The finish had some dry bitterness and that roasted character retuning with some gram cracker notes that made for a really enjoyable aftertaste.

This beer was amazing. It was the best pumpkin ale that Stone never brewed. I actually picked up two bombers so I could cellar one, but I’m almost afraid to with the high level of spices. I noticed that spices can subside and that’s one of the best qualities I get in the brew.

 1,262 characters

Photo of IPA4LIFE
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

 1,490 characters

Photo of Lukass
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured into an ommegang tulip.

Dark, rich black appearance, with a thin tan head. Smells wonderful. Wish I would've saved this til the holidays though. Smells like Christmas - spices, cloves, Belgian yeast and some chocolate. Even reminiscent of gingerbread..

Taste is a lot like the smell. Some cinnamon, nutmeg, hint of ginger and clove all backed by sweet, malty, chocolatey notes very similar to a stout. This beer is unique. Rich and a very good combination of flavors.

 477 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 1,602 ratings