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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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very good
307 Reviews
Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic AleStone 12.12.12 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by HalfFull on 12-05-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 307 | Ratings: 1,586
Photo of searsclone
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had on tap in a snifter.

dark brown color with a good tan head and really good lacing

smell and taste are very similar. nutmeg, pumpkin, and spice. smells and tastes like a pumpkin beer, but doesn't drink like one. I don't particularly care for pumpkin beers, but this one was very easy to drink. Creamy mouthfeel, nice balance, smooth, smooth, smooth.

I was lucky to find this on tap and am really glad I got to try it. I liked this more than the 11, which is the only other that I have tried.

Update** I opened a bottle in August 2016, and it aged nicely. I didn't get any pumpkin this time, and it's still a great beer!

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Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brownish black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of deep tan head that fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A dark yeasty Belgian style aroma with a huge presence of spices. Big upfront scent of Holiday style spices with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves. Belgian yeast with some funk and some burnt candied sugar. Fruit hints of dried banana and some light citrus orange. Dark roasted malts with hints of cocoa, biscuit, caramel, toffee, and toast. Sweet hints of molasses. Dark dried fruit hints of raisin, cherry, plum, fig, and dates. Hops are very light. A very nice and complex aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a very spice forward Belgian style taste with some good roasty notes. Big upfront taste of spices with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Belgian yeast with some funk. Sweet notes of molasses and burnt candied sugar. Dark roasted malts with a taste of chocolate, caramel, toffee, toast, and smoke. Fruit notes of dried banana and citrus orange along with dark fruit notes of plum, raisin, fig, dates, and black cherry. Tastes kind of like a liquid chocolate gingerbread cookie. Very interesting and good.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, creamy, and somewhat syrupy. Some alcohol heat is felt.

Overall: A pretty interesting and good twist on a dark Belgian style ale. Its like a winter warmer Belgian style.

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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 brewcifix
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A- This edition of Vertical Epic pours dark black-brown with a fluffy tan head. The head goes the distance, for sure- displaying exquisite lacing!

S- The nose is crazy. Nutmeg, licorice, clove, allspice, and sugar cookies take center stage- almost drowning out the mellow cream and chocolate. This almost smells like egg nog. Weird.

T- Damn good. Roasted malts, molasses. up front; give way to caramel, nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet bread, and brown sugar. Hops add a scarce piney note in the finish that's easily overwhelmed by the other Christmas flavors. Nutmeg, and soft brown sugar linger on the palate. Somehow, though, Stone manages to keep this brew from being overly sweet. It is phenomenally balanced! Now, I'm tasting cream soda? Every sip unravels another layer. to say this beer is complex is an understatement. This beer is knocking my socks off!

M- The mouthfeel is the best part. This beer's nose and taste sound thick and syrupy. On the contrary, this concoction is light to medium weight, with subdued carbonation. This beer is actually very easy to drink!

Overall, this beer is awesome. I bought two bottles. I want to drink two bottles. But, my logical mind is telling me to age one of these. Stone claims that this is a "Belgian style abbey-ish beer". Personally, I'd call it a Belgian Style Stouty Brown Ale. Semantics aside, Stone Brewing knocked this one OUT OF THE PARK! If you are fortunate enough to see one of these bottles somewhere: BUY IT!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've looked forward to this series every year. This one was exceptional. In a snifter it was near black in color with a small tan head.

Cocoa and chocolate aroma. Roasted malts. Charcoal.

Cocoa/chocolate taste. Some coffee and vanilla.

This was a very dry beer, and just a joy to drink.

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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...

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Photo of BeerlyLegal
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks like the blood of a coffee addict. This beer is deep and thick like my friends beard. You would think that a beer of such dark color would have some coffee elements but surprisingly it does not.

However, this is beer has soul. It is smooth from the lips to the gut. Lots of lacing. Smells of spices and cinnamon with some added molasses. I've only had the 12.12. 12 but I'd love to compare it to others if they weren't so Gawd damn expensive.

PS- Stone I love you.

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Photo of SebD
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice tan head that dies down moderately and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of cinamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, molasses, dark fruit, sweet caramelly malts and some breadiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has all the christmas spices (cinamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspices) with sweet molasses, dark fruit and sweet roasty and caramelly malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low/medium carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas.

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Photo of jancona
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
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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Photo of Halcyondays
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a deep brown with light tan head, some good thick lace.

S: Lots of winter spice, dark chocolate, orange, cinnamon, definitely has a Christmas cookie appeal.

T: Orange, chocolate, dark malt. It's reminiscent of those chocolate oranges I always get around the holidays. Tons of clove, charcoal, Dutch cocoa in the finish.

M: Medium to full-bodied, rich and spicy, creamy and frothy, soft carbonation.

O: This is pretty darn good and a great finish to the Vertical Epic series. This would be interesting to see how it ages. Fans of spiced winter warmers, cinnamon should love this; I know I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
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 MisSigsFan
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 11/29/12. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Pours a thick black oil with a 2 finger brown head that leaves a ton of lacing all around the glass. Smell is mostly sweet with a lot of banana and Belgian yeast. Some spices in there too. My smell might be slightly off from having a bit of a cold. Taste is mostly of those spices. A lot of cinnamon and allspice with some banana. Some other dark fruits as well. A lot of banana in the aftertaste actually. The alcohol is very well hidden. The only way of telling is from the warming sensation I get from drinking it. Has a very dry malt finish. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth. Below average carbonation, which I think is just right for an ale like this. Very dry finish and not overly full. Overall, this was a great way to end the Vertical Epic series. It's immensely flavorful and bold, yet incredibly classy and not overdone with sweetness. Stone does it again.

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Photo of avalon07
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a black color and a thick, impenetrable texture. There was an inch of foamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A very spicy aroma, with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg coming through. Some malt and yeast as well.

T: Tasted of lots of spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice - as well as orange, Belgian yeast, and malt. Basically, the flavor here is like a lot of BSDAs, but with the welcome addition of Christmas-style spices. Very complex and tasty.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Slightly different than other beers of the style, this edition of Vertical Epic is definitely worth trying. A drinkable, well made beer.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.33/5  rDev +11%
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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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 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!

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Photo of stumac
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at my job. I begged and pleaded and got my wish. Thanks santa clause. Drinkin this the day after Christmas. Pours up jet black with a brown crazy foamy head. Endless lacing. This is gonna be one dirty glass after I'm done with it. Nose is cinnamon, banana yeast, allspice, molasses, vanilla bean. Tastes of all the same as the nose but with chocolate and lots of cinnamon. Lil bitter finish. Medium-leaning-full bodied. Easy carbo. great brew. Glad I got to finally try the last Vertical. Missed out on all the others cuz I didn't feel like falling for another "crazy expensive beer series pitch" but this one is worth it

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Photo of chilidog
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought this on the 12th to be opened new years eve. Poured into a stone vertical epic glass.

It pours very dark, black. A thin, film like tan head that disapates quickly. Lace is nice but also fades quickly.

Aroma of dark roasted malts and spice.

A taste of charred malts, roasted if you will. Toasty biscuit with holiday spice, cinnamon, nutmeg with a hint of citris peel and alcohol.

The mouthfeel is smooth and left a slight alcohol dry with a sweet malt coat.

Overall a bitter sweet end of a series, glad I got another in cellar for next year.
V.E. it's been a fun ride!

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Photo of mick303
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass, had a nice head of toffee caramel foam, with really great retention. Really good lacing and leaves a nice soapy film. Colour is a nearly pitch black dark brown.

Smell has a really interesting, lovely spiced bouquet of flavour. Earthy and subtle citrus spice notes come through. Roast malt, not a ton of upfront hop character, but it is really intricate and interesting.

Taste is lightly spiced, roasted malt is forward. Strong coffee, subtle clove and cinnamon spice, the interplay is really nice and intricate. A bit of minerally sweetness, some orange peel notes, quite festive and spicy. Aftertaste is long, toasty, with dry molasses bitterness comes through, just a tinge of subtle earthiness.

Mouthfeel is really big, carbonation is pretty mild, subtle sweetness and a rolling creaminess, a bit thick on the palate, becomes quite dry on the finish.

This was a definite winner, really nice. Some nice intriguing flavours coming through, blended well together. Complexity and balance of flavour is pretty solid, though has a couple rough patches. More points for being interesting than being flawless. A really solid offering from Stone.

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12.12.12
Celebrating The Final Chapter of the Verical Epic Series
And review # 200

P: Deep black abyss with foamy dark head.

S: Christmas time...Allspice, Chinese 5 spice, fruity banana esters, clove, Belgian yeast, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon.

T/M: Intense cinnamon, mace, dark roasted coffe, nutmeg, allspice and bananas. Citrus bitterness, roasted dry malts, and a super dry molasses finish. Body is full, not overly sweet and great prickly carbonation.

O: A super bold and intense flavorful beer to end the 11 year series. What a tremendous ride I took tasting all these terrific beers. This is a surely fantastic was to end the final chapter. I grabbed another bottle to enjoy later. Cheers!

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Photo of Zach225
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a gorgeous, seemingly black, dark dark brown. No light shining through to speak of, but not completely opaque. A slight hint of a deep, dark mahogany at the very edge of the glass and a very attractive light mocha/tan head (about 1 finger poured moderately). Modest alcohol legs.

Nose: "Christmas Seasonal". The spices are definitely present and playing a major role here. The clove is subtle and the other wintery spices work well together with big leading notes of nutmeg, orange peel and cinnamon. The spices are surrounded by a warm blanket of darker, roasty/chocolatey notes with some deep, robust, oily espresso as well as the estery belgian yeast. The sort of doughy, fuity, zesty, breadiness of a belgian dark is subdued but still present and in balance with the roasty notes.

Taste: A well crafted ale that really fits the season it was released into, although I am drinking this in March. Three months later the flavors are melding together very well. The spices definitely have a starring role here and makes it predictably reminiscent of autumn seasonals/pumpkin beers, but it has a depth of flavor in the malt structure and belgian yeast. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and wickedly creamy. This sort of creamy roasty quality blends nicely with the belgian dark strong flavor profile. The creaminess helps balance out the spice character but it still finishes delightfully dry.

Overall: A very enjoyable beer and a great way to end the series. Having this now, I would like to try to get my hands on a few more bottles to age for autumns and winters to come. This is possibly my favorite beer I have ever tried with this kind of blend of winter spices. Another big thumbs up for Stone.

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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.

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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.

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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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Photo of Labeorphile
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
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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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,586 ratings.
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