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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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BA SCORE
88
very good
307 Reviews
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
Reviews:
307
Ratings:
1,586
Avg:
3.9
pDev:
14.1%
 
 
Wants:
32
Gots:
383
For Trade:
41
User Reviews
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Reviews: 307 | Ratings: 1,586
Photo of Fatehunter
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A thin head on a pitch black body.
The aroma is loaded with black pepper, dark fruits, molasses and caramel. Amazing.
The taste is dark... molasses sweetness, black licorice, plum and grapefruit bitterness. Quite complex with some bold flavors.
The texture is sticky with moderate carbonation and a heavier body.
It's a sipper.

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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

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Photo of TheCondor
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This was my first exploration into the Vertical Epic series. I wish I had gotten into craft beers earlier, so I could have tasted more of them. Now, I must track them down one by one. Side poured with vigor from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance - As black as used motor oil, with a thin tan head that recedes quickly and leaves no sign of lacing. That doesn't bother me too much. Nothing real impressive about the presentation of the beer. I like the bottle and the backstory though.

Smell - When they said this ale was brewed with spices, they weren't shitting. Cinnamon, licorice, cloves, nutmeg, molasses, the list is long and varied. The nose on this brew is quite unique, I think the licorice and cloves really make their cases strong. I could smell the brew as I poured it from a decent distance.

Taste - The taste is very complex and multifaceted, much like the nose. All of the above mentioned spices play a part on the palate. There is a bitter note to it, especially on the back end, but a sweet Belgian yeast and the spices on the front. So complex, I really enjoyed it. ABV is masked completely.

Mouthfeel - Although I think it is a little thin, this beer finishes so clean and smooth. Again, the ABV is masked totally, making it very easy to quickly drink this beer. A little bit of a bitter bite on the back end.

Overall - An excellent beer from front to back. Highly recommended, I think Stone has outdone themselves. Now I need to find the other years of this series, as well as go buy another '12 and cellar it. A very good example of the style, with a unique Stone twist. Good job fellas.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Belgiam Ale when poured was a thick, dark brown with one finger of tan foam, but a load of lace on the side of the glass. The smell was sort of complex. It smell of dark and woodsy roasted malts, along with a bitter aroma of spices. When tasted, the taste was of a bitter, roasted malty cedar, cloves and allspice and a hint of vanilla and almonds. The bitterness was very evident on the finish, but also the spice and all other components too! This is a different Belgian Ale from other ones I've had.

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

First time trying a Vertical series beer and I am left unimpressed. Stone makes some fantastic beer but this to me falls slightly short of the Stone benchmark. Pours a dark small head and has a decent aroma. The mouth feel for me was a little thin and I feel it lacked overall character. I have since passed on purchasing this beer which continues to be on some shelves as of now.

Bottom Line: This was a slight let down but still a decent beer.

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Photo of Tianjoja
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle served in a pint glass

A - Pitch black, Creamy two finger brown head that stuck around a while, Nice lacing and some alcohol legs that were visible. Resembles a Stout if you were going on looks alone.

S - Reminiscent of a nice Christmas or Pumpkin Ale... Nutmeg & Cinnamon - very sweet on the scent

T - Lots of layers. More Complex than I expected. Malty sweetness, the spices are definitely coming through. You get the Belgian yeast and there is a very mild and pleasant bitterness on the back end. Extremely drinkable and does not feel like 9% at all - I could be in trouble... drinking this too quickly I think. If you take a drink and wait a few you do get that orange peel at the very end.

M - Medium to Medium-Heavy and stout-like. Perfectly carbonated - easy drinking.

O - Enjoyed this quite a bit - unfortunately I have not had any of the other Vertical Epics. I can't really think of a style that this would fit into. It looks like a Stout but tastes like a Chocolaty Gingerbread Cookie. I won't rate it on the style because I don't believe this is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale but I will rate it as it's own style and leave off with saying that it's a tasty brew.

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Photo of beertunes
3.37/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-black with a nice thick tan head

S-strong scent of cinnamon, licorice, dark roasted grains, nutmeg dark belgian spices, and some cocoa. smells good! there's a lot going on here, smells like a christmas beer.

T-comes in with a strong taste of cinnamon and nutmeg. it's actually fairly bitter. there are dark belgian spices that come out stronger in the after-taste. it's definitely good, but I'd the bitterness is the dominant trait here.

M-really heavy carbonation with a slightly dry finish, very much like a raw belgian

O-tastes like a really bitter christmas dark belgian ale. the bitterness is actually overpowering, and almost takes away from the flavors, making this not the most drinkable beer. It's such a unique beer that I recommend you going out and trying it, but make sure you have it with a few friends, you might not want the whole bottle.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fantastically aromatic with holiday spices including cinnamon.
Pouring this into a chamay goblet, it looks thick and dark and velvetty lusious. The color is a deep brown almost black even at the edges. I gave this brew a hard pour and the results were like that of a nitro but not the tall head one expects with nitros. The head was small brownish but dense and any swirl refreshes the head.
Taste is big and malty with generous spicing with molasses and cinnamon.
Drinks smooth and thick with a semi bitter finish. As it warms it goes south big time.
Reminds me alot of Anchors holiday brew but without the tree limbs and stuff.

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Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into the Vertical Epic glass.

It's extrememly dark brown, even the edges, where a little light shows, is dark brown.

Smell isn't super strong, but smells like Christmas. It's like liquid dark gingerbread cookies.

The flavor is dark but not very earthy. There is a dark tea character with some toasty, maybe even burnt, spices like something burnt a little in a pan. I also detect the scent of black coffee.

It feels dark, like tea and black coffee with a bit of tannin.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with a caramel colored head that hangs around and leaves some nice lacing.

Smells of bubble gum, clove, and some minor earthy notes.

Clove and bubble gum come up front with a sweet punch, but they dissipate into a bitter coffee note. Dark fruit (Currant) and bitter chocolate linger towards the end, but are overwhelmed by bitter spice. At times I want to hate this beer, but it is complex enough to keep me interested. This would pair real well with a Macanudo Maduro cigar.

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Photo of arizcards
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at BevMo last weekend for $5.99.

Beer poured a dark brown with a nice head that disapated quickly.

Nose is holiday spices, molasses, and cinnamon.

Taste is a medley of spices, hint of molasses, cinnamon, dark fruits. There is a lot going on but it works pretty well together.

Mouthfeel is superb with the classic belgian yeast strain lending a beautiful smoothness.

Overall this brew is pretty good, definitely fun to try one time. Like any spiced brew one is definitely enough.

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Photo of CuteZombieDoll
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours black with a good head, and good lacing on the side of the glass

S- Very spicy, like cloves or ginger.

T- Almost completely spice, with just a little bit of an alcohol flavor on the finish. Not hoppy at all, and fairly sweet.

M- Thick and heavy, which is good for this kind of beer.

O- Definitely worth having once, if not a few times. Although, probably more so due to it's rarity. If you have this in a bottle, and you're letting this age as many on this page suggest, please share how it tastes after a few years of aging. I would like to know if the spice flavors become more mellowed and the beer becomes more complex.

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

A-dark brown color with a light tan head and some lacing

S-malty, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon

T-dark fruit, molasses, malt, nutmeg, cinnamon, hints of nuttiness, slight bitterness in the finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth ABV not that noticeable

O-a pretty solid belgian ale, definitely a stronger beer from this series

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Photo of TheBeerWolf
1.48/5  rDev -62.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Very pretty looking beer but that is where the fun stops. Real nice black color too it, great dark tan head that sticks around for a bit. I smell mostly clove and some other spices thrown in. The taste at first was smooth coffee but with too many spices thrown in. That was when it was really cold, the flavors were subdued. As it warmed, dear lord. Yuck. The clove and spices began to just overwhelm the whole thing. Tastes like liquid black jack gum. Just plain awful. Can't really judge mouthfeel when I am wreching. Overall way too many spices. Just plain gross. Maybe with a few years of age this would mellow into something decent.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz.

Pours jet black, coffee and cream head retains as a film.

Smells of cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.

Flavor is notably spiced. Cinnamon, cloves, and even black pepper maybe. Brown sugar, coffee and chocolate follow. A nutty bitterness rounds it out.

Medium to full body with tingles of carbonation on the tongue.

An interesting and enjoyable spiced ale, the spices are very pronounced throughout. Very different from the 11/11/11, the only other one of this series I've had. It's worth trying as a novelty at least, and because of its limited nature. I'm sure if I would have it again, though .

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Photo of flexabull
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Shared a 12.12.12 last month with friends and family along with every Epic except 02.02.02. Thought I'd sit down with a bottle today to give it a proper review.

Pours a deep brown color with a very nice light tan colored head.

Aromas are very spice forward. I mostly notice nutmeg and allspice. I also smell ginger even though I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the brew.

Starts out soft, and slightly sweet with notes of cola. Then the finish kicks in with a bunch of spice flavors. Some anise, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. Complex, but pretty one demensinal with spices and not a lot of traditional dark Belgian flavors.

Mouthfeel is soft, full and pretty smooth.

Overall? Interesting, but too spice forward for my liking. Maybe if you set one down for a few years it might mellow a bit, but to me it's just a bit much at the moment. Not bad, but not great.

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Photo of charlzm
2.79/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on January 20th, 2013 at a private Vertical Epic tasting.

The beer is an opaque very dark brown. Only a thin ring of foam for a head.

Aroma notes are a vague sweetness with counterpoints of nutmeg and smoke.

The flavor is quite strong, with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon being the main components. Malt is overwhelmed.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and still.

Not a very impressive way to end the Vertical Epic series.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle
Served in a Stone tulip glass

A - It looks like a porter or stout. It is very dark. Light does not penetrate this beer. It is topped with two inches of tan head.

S - It smells like a Christmas ale. It is spicy with cinnamon and clove.

T - I get plenty of spices. Clove seems to be prominent. I also taste some roasted malt and Belgian yeast.

M - Medium

O - It reminds me of Anchor's Our Special Ale. It is okay, not great.

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

Very dark brown color, resembling a porter. Tall tan head that leaves a fair amount of lacing.

There's a ton of spices in the smell. Nutmeg, clove, and allspice. I also pick up dates.

The flavor is also heavy on the spices. A little anise throws itself in there.

Mouthfeel is heavy body, average carbonation.

I liked this beer quite a but, but I can see how it could be polarizing. You're preference will be decidedly wether or not you like spices.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on January 18, 2013.

The pour on this is an amazing looking dark brown to practically black with a smallish head.

The aroma is alive with dark malts, black licorice, a hint of dark fruit, and molasses. This is very enticing.

The body is definitely full.

The taste has this outrageous black licorice flavor to it along with dark malts, raisins, and as fully hopped finish. Quite complex and unique to say the least. Drink it slowly and enjoy it.

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Photo of scratch69
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance- Jet black color with a fingers worth of lingering tan head. Minimal amount of lacing.

Smell- Cinnamon, clove, licorice, and hints of citrus and molasses.

Taste- Very complex. I am detecting new flavors with each sip. Dark roasted malt, cinnamon, hints of clove, plums, chocolate, citrus, and hints of licorice. Very well blended with some alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied and smooth. Light amount of carbonation.

Overall- A good winter beer. Complex and very interesting.

 534 characters

Photo of IPA4LIFE
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

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Photo of hagbergl
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased a 22 oz. bottle of Stone's 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale (this edition is a Belgian-style spiced Christmas ale) at the Kimbark Plaza liquor store in Hyde Park, Chicago. I've had a few of the Vertical Epic ales by Stone before and liked them alright, so I wanted to see how they finished off the series. Served in my Chimay chalice.

Appearance (4.25/5): Pours an opaque dark brown, and is topped by a dense, tightly packed, 1.5 finger dark tan head. Plenty of bubbly tan lacing clings to the sides of the glass as it recedes and the beer is consumed.

Smell (4.5/5): Beautiful nose full of interesting spice notes: coriander, nutmeg, orange peel, cinnamon, some Belgian yeastiness, a little roasted malt. Very complex and bold (it is a Stone beer, after all); I'm catching subtly different notes with each whiff. An excellent and enticing nose on this holiday ale, for sure.

Taste (4/5): The taste is even more complex than the nose: it starts with the nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, orange peel spiciness and sweetness. Mid-palate transition to dark roasted malt flavors, a little smokey, dark bread. Resolves with a long, roasty, coffee-like bitterness. A bit of warming alcohol flexes in the back but never interferes with the flavors. This is a bit of a strange beer, but it's good. It has a bit of spiced holiday beer, dark abbey ale, brown ale, and stout to it. Sounds bizarre, I know. The one downside to the beer is that it's so bold that it gets a little cloying about halfway through the bomber. I'd say this is a beer that's meant to be split. Still, quite respectable.

Mouthfeel (4/5): very smooth, medium body, lightly carbonated. Doesn't feel "BIG" on the tongue.

Overall (4/5): This is a good way to close the Vertical Epic series–exceptionally bold, complex, and–given the time it was released–appropriate to the season. This is a beast of a holiday ale: hearty, spicey, and a heavy-hitter for sure. As Jason noted in his review, appropriate that this beer is a bittersweet one...farewell Vertical Epic series. Kudos to Stone for closing it out on a high note.

 2,093 characters

Photo of obywan59
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black, totally opaque with a 3 finger thick tan head

Spices predominate at the start, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. As the beer warms, a little banana shows up followed by a bit of molasses, caramel, and some Belgian yeast with a whiff of alcohol now and then.

Sweet and spicy up front becoming more citrusy tart in the middle, with molasses and then some bitter roast malt in the end.

Good carbonation and medium full mouthfeel with light syrupy quality resulting in a bit of pleasant stickiness on the tongue and good warming in the throat.

Ovedrall, a very good winter brew. Warming for a snowy winters night and plenty of assertive flavors to keep things interesting.

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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,586 ratings.
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