Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
87
very good
1,591 Ratings
Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic AleStone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HalfFull on 12-05-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,591
Reviews:
307
Avg:
3.9
pDev:
14.1%
 
 
Wants:
31
Gots:
378
For Trade:
37
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,591 |  Reviews: 307
Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of nickfl
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours with a large head of tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves decent lace in its wake.

S - A really odd, vegetal, aroma with notes of mint and basil.

T - Dark chocolate, peppers, basil, and smoke. Lots of cinnamon in the middle and a finish of basil, sage, pepper, and chocolate.

M - Mediuth thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Not bad, but quite odd. The herbal character is completely out of left field based on what the bottle says it is spiced with. Very strong basil character is more interesting than balanced, but I enjoyed the xoerience overall.

 648 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
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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Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to try the last in this annual series.Poured into a chalice a deep dark chocolate color...nearly black with a creamy one finger deep beige head that left a broken ring of lace as it settled into a creamy mass.Deep mulling spice in the nose along with alcohol sweetness and a little earth.Full chewey feel to beer and really smooth,top notch there.The spice starts out like it might overpower the beer with nutmeg really standing out but a big earthy dryer finish kicks in just in time to give it balance.This is a big allspice and nutmeg spiced bomb but the earthy dry finish is a perfect foil up against it,a great beer.

 626 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +9%

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

had as part of a big VE tasting at the end of the world party, shared with many friends.

Pours a light fizzy head, almost pitch black color, fluffy lacing.

Nose has earthy malts, root and herbal earthy like, caramel, little brown malt and brown sugar.

Taste has nutty malts, earthy, nutty, herbal malts and hops, hints of cinnamon and nutty spices, creamy brown malts, floral even, hint of booze and esters.

Mouth is med ot fuller bodied, nice carb, light warming booze.

Overall not bad, decent for Belgian strong dark ale, probably would be better aging than most of the other ones that I aged.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a medium light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, spices, licorice, some chocolate, some dark fruit and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a huge burst of an herbal conglomeration of spices (mint, ginger, licorice, cinnamon among others). Then a hearty but not too heavy roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is very mild but provides some balance for the strong spice flavors. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a solid dark and strong beer. Honestly, it tastes like an intense version of Anchor Christmas Ale, which I mean as neither a complement nor a detriment, just an observation.

 997 characters

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

A: Pours a very dark amber (almost black) in color with some moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some dark brown and garnet red highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense creamy dark tan (almost mocha) head that slowly reduces to a mottled thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer, a medium thin patch, and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of spices including clove, nutmeg, anise, and cinnamon along with some light to moderate aromas of roasted malts. Light notes of caramel and molasses sweetness. Light to moderate amounts of alcohol in the finish of the nose.

T: Light to moderate flavors of roasted malts upfront with a strong amount of spices - nutmeg, allspice, licorice/anise, and cinnamon. There are moderate notes of dark chocolate and spicy/clove yeast and just a touch of banana esters. Molasses sweetness and just a touch of citrus/orange hops which contribute some light to moderate amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with just a touch more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of alcohol warmth in the finish.

O: Way too much spices and alcohol heat for this beer to be an easy drinker or all that enjoyable - one of the better beers in this series but I'm guessing it will get a little better with some age on it.

 1,403 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of billab914
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of smithj4
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.11/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle - $6.99 at Bullock’s Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a well-sized, pillowed, dark tan-hued head. Sufficient lacing present.

Smell: Even before leaning in for a sniff, you can smell the heavy-handed pack of spices, but, go on, already, and use that snout of yours. Sniff long, sniff deep. You get a clear-cut aroma of each member of the spicing addition, overneathe the charred maltiness and Belgian-type esters.

Taste: Roasted, burnt maltiness with some lighter, gentler tastes of breadcrust, brown sugar that, soon, are consumed by the accumulating spiciness. Very little sweetness throughout. Like being tossed in a giant burlap sack with feral cats, you’re torn to shreds by the spices. Also, some bitterness. Yes, some alcohol. And, still, there’s the charry maltiness. Finishes quite dry, quite spicy, and still rather roasty. In fact, those’re the main impressions of the beer: roast and potpourri.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: It’s the end of an era, I suppose, and they’re closing out with a bold holiday spicing that would leave even the folks at St. Feuillien wide-eyed.

 1,210 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours mahogany with 3 fingers of mocha colored head. Stellar head retention & very good lacing

S: Dark fruit, licorice, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice

T: Follows the nose, figs, a touch of red pepper & ginger, orange peel & cloves, some dryness. Much spicyness, figs, tobacco, & I swear I taste the rose hips ( hibiscus tea come to mind as well ) as this warms, big time woodyness as well, plus just a touch of charcoal & coffee notes. Finishes dry with cinnamon, woodyness, figgyness, molasses raisins, & clove

MF: Medium bodied, sticky, near zero carbonation

Nice complexity & drinkablilty; this one will age well I'm sure

 625 characters

Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of vfgccp
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Opened June 2013

A - Black body, used motor oil. Dark khaki head with nice retention and lace.

S - Smoked pepers, jerk rub, allspice, black pepper, light caramel malt, milk chocolate.

T - Huge spice and floral note. Allspice, grains of paradise, blackened spice, burnt gingerbread.

M - Medium body. Dry, nutmeg finish.

O - Too much spice for my taste. Ironically this could use a few years.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Brouwers on 12/12/12, review from notes.

A: Deep brown color with a small tan head, foamier than most of the VEs that reduces quickly. Thin lacing forms down the sides.

S: A good bit of molasses, some clove and cinnamon along with faint Belgian yeast aromas.

T: Rather heavy on the spices - cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, sort of a turn off for me. Some darker roasted malt mixed in as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Not really my thing, but I can certainly see why some people might like it.

 535 characters

Photo of drewone
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

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

22oz brown bomber with a vintage date. Brewer's intention is a Belgian inspired winter warmer ... Belgian Christmas ale.

LOOK: Opaque with a stunning tan head

SMELL: Fruitcake, molasses bread, burnt figs, christmas, brownies, marmalade, alcohol

TASTE: Chewy, smooth, charred malt, holiday spicing, dark chocolate, estery alcohol, chocolate covered candied oranges, warming, balanced hopping, dark bread, toasty, plum, mild charcoal, long lingering finish

Stone nails the style, or at least the intention of being of the Belgian Noël beer likeness. Bold but that is expected here, memories of winter trips to Belgium come to mind. Last of the series, funny they should end with a bitter-sweet brew. One of the best of the series IMO.

 737 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is dark, w/ semi beige cap and tight bead w/ opaque clarity

S Smell is strong and spicy w/ ginger and some festive Christmas spice like nutmeg
The malt odor ballasts w/ strong roast And fruity juniper berry tinged

M -thick bitter yet balanced with moderate sweetness and relatively low bitterness w/ mild roastiness and semi dry warming finish

T is spicy, tropical roasted nutty and bitter w/ hoppy pine and pepper w/ light cocoa and ginger notes w/ a hint of coffee and dark cherry

Overall an intense ride might be a good candidate for cellaring but is full of flavor and very drinkable as- is

 611 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

 1,066 characters

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,591 ratings.
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