Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 307 | Ratings: 1,589
Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a very deep black color with a fluffy brown colored foam on top. Very nice looking beer, very stout-like. The beer leaves a chunky lacing on the glass with a pretty good retention also. The smell of the beer is moderately spicy with a big amount of chocolate on the nose. The taste of the beer is sweet, dark chocolate with some spice in there. The beer has a creamy smooth mouthfeel and heavy bodied, it finishes sticky and dense. Overall it's a good brew. Glad I got to try it.

 498 characters

Photo of sleuthdog
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Stone's Vertical Epic Ale glass.

Pour: What looks like a stout or porter with an intense dark brown to black color with a good two fingers amount of head. The head was of a rich chocolate shake color and appeared to be "soft" for lack of a better word. The look of this is very nice.

Smell: First impression is of holiday spice cookies and does remind me of Christmas. I get cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, roast and interestingly way in the back some tobacco. There is some coffee and chocolate mixed in.

Taste: Very reminiscent of a stout or porter and quite roasty and malty. There is a noticeable espresso-cocoa note with a some wonderful sweet dark spices. Now the spices are similar to the nose with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. It does taste like a gingerbread cookie with a touch of milk chocolate on top. It finishes quite dry and a bit bitter with a ton of spices still in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This beer is very creamy and smooth and full bodied. A wonderful feeling beer for a cold Christmas eve here in Chicago. The alcohol heat that is present is faint at best and does warm the chest as I swallow.

Overall: I very much enjoyed this beer. I don't think this beer fits any specific category but that is what makes it work for me. It is a mixture of a few beers with an awesome spice profile that keeps me sipping.

 1,343 characters

Photo of SawDog505
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

 668 characters

Photo of BeerDocT
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a chilled tulip glass? Yes, it was poured.

Appearance 4.0: Poured out jet black with a lovely 1/4" deep khaki head. Head faded away quickly into pleasant creamy swirls on top.

-Smell 4.5: Amazing bouquet on this beer. So many levels. I detect star anise, mid-beta hops, malt, raisins, dates, leather...I could go on, but will not. Simply wonderful.

-Taste 4.0: Front is big and bold with a spicy punch of cloves and anise and up-front mild sweetness. Middle is peppery and malty with a nice level of sugars. I found the finish to be smooth with a mild hop bite and a different layer of spiciness. Aftertaste was long and featured several tastes including a mild licorice and toasted malt.

-Mouthfeel 3.5: Good mouthfeel that accentuated the enjoyment of the beer.

-Overall 4.0: Very good to excellent seasonal. I could see this beer becoming amazing and developing fantastic flavor profiles with aging. My one complaint is that it is a bit too syrupy sweet for my tastes. The aging would, of course, remedy this situation. Nonetheless, this is a beer that you should not pass up, just muster up the strength to stick it in a dark corner for a year or so before drinking.

 1,181 characters

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.

 1,188 characters

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.

 503 characters

Photo of MeneerBeerSnob
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a tulip.

a-Pours a dark chocolate with almost an oily looking thickness and a half finger of dark mocha head.

s-Roasty cinnamon and clove smell invokes the holiday spirit.

t-Clove, nutmeg and a banana sweetness followed by a chocolate allspice finish with a very light Belgian yeast constant in the background.

m-Good carbonation with lighter body than is expected from the look of the pour.

o-Definitely a good brew for this time of year. I could see myself by the fire warming up with this while listening to holiday music. The complexity reminds me of Darklord by 3 Floyds, not in the taste, but in how a different flavor comes out with each drink and it becomes better throughout the beer.

 717 characters

Photo of Buckmaister
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12 -
Drank out of a goblet at ~55 degrees

A very dark brown...almost the same color as black coffee.
A smell of apricots, oak, raisins and fermented fruits. It has a smell unlike most any other beers I've smelled before. It just smells...dark & mysterious.

A bitter taste at first but not too bitter to offend. It does have the slightest taste of black coffee.
A real easy feel on the tongue. A slight carbonation is appealing.

Drinakability is great! No build-up of bitterness after several mouthfuls.

A good beer. Difficult to tell just what was in it, but in a way it didn't matter. It went down smooth and was enjoyable to drink. It's a beer you want to take your time with and enjoy.

 785 characters

Photo of tmm313
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.12.12 drank on 12.8.13

A - Almost black with reddish hues. Poured a creamy, quickly dissipating, 1 finger head. OK lacing. Noticeable alcohol legs.
S- I get banana off the top, but spices like clove and nutmeg follow with big dark fruits: raisin, cherry, fig and dates. There's also some dark chocolate in there.
T- Mainly dark fruits. Raisins, dates, cherries, fig, etc. Big roasted malt character with notes of chocolate, banana, and spices.
M- Medium body with nice carbonation. Creamy and drying.
O- I enjoyed this beer. It was nicely balanced and complex with great flavors and aromas. Sad to see the Epics go, but glad to say I had it.

 648 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got this 22 oz bottle from Jack's Wine Sense in Ewing, NJ. Didn't realize it but it was bottled on 11-14/12. (Over a year old)

A - Deep dark brown, almost black. A little light coming through. A tall, frothy, sticky tan head.

S - Spiced molasses, licorice. Winter spice cake, toffee candy.

T - Ginger snaps all the way. Burnt sugar, molasses, spiced muffins. Copious amounts of fall/winter spices but way better than any "pumping ale" I've had in regards to those flavors. The caramelized sugars, and dark sweetness balances the assertive spices.

M - Creamy and slick, semi viscous. Medium bodied with a pleasant carbonation.

O - Wouldn't consider it a BSDA but it's really delicious. Sweet but not cloying, spiced but balanced.

 733 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The vertical epoch 12-12-12 reminded me of a black Saison. The beer poured a dark opaque black with rich tan head that laced well. The smell had burnt Maise, roasty malts and hops. The taste was much like the smell with a great blend of alcohol. The mouthfeel was full bodied with good carbonation. Overall it was a good beer!

 326 characters

Photo of HattedClassic
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a nice light brown head and the beer itself is an opaque black. The lacing is nice and what you would expect from a Belgian dark.

The smell has a strong gingerbread presence with a hint of cinnamon that is underscored by a light orange smell. I can smell a little bit of clove but the gingerbread dominates most of the smell.

Similar to how the beer smells. The gingerbread seems to be dominant but there are also hints of orange peel and possibly some other spices.

Fairly thick and heavy bodied. The texture almost feels as if I'm drinking a moist gingerbread cookie.

A decent Belgian dark but a little heavy on the gingerbread for any time that is not Christmas.

 721 characters

Photo of brureview
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured an opaque dark chocolate color with a 1/2 finger head. Very attractive looking beer.

The aroma is an overwhelming chocolate-spice combo. Cinnamon, and possibly gingerbread.

The mouth feel was smooth.

The imbalance in the beer starts with the taste. The chocolate-spice notes are completely dwarfed by the hoppiness and bitterness in the finish. I was looking for a smooth transition from aroma to taste: it was absent.

This would have been a great beer if there were more chocolate-spice notes in the finish.
Regrettably, the focus in the final stages of the tasting is on the hops and bitterness.

Re-evaluation: on the second night, the beer was better. The aroma wasn't as pronounced, it was a mellower chocolate spice. The mouth feel was more carbonated.

A snifter may be better for this beer than a tulip.

Most importantly, the hops and bitterness didn't mask the chocolate-spice taste. There was more balance to the flavor, and the finish wasn't overwhelming.

I generally don't like leaving a beer like this in the fridge too long- however, the fridge sometimes helps to mellow out the beer and bring more balance.

 1,143 characters

Photo of scottmichaelland
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a good beer, but not extraordinary.

Appearance - Looked like a Belgian Strong Dark ale through and through, but not as much head/lacing as I would have liked. Something like an Abt 12 really is the peak of what a Belgian strong should look like, and this just felt a little weak compared to that, but still very nice. Dark brown, off white head.

Smell - Wow, amazing. Probably the best part about this beer. Christmas in a glass. I got cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and so much more. It smells like the candles you like around Christmas time, absolutely fantastic. Warm and sweet.

Taste - Like it smelled, but with a dry finish. You got everything, the sweetness, the spices, and the alcohol. Not overpowered but could of been a BIT more balanced. Tasted great, but in a Belgian dark I think it can be more simple than this, they went for super complexity.

Mouthfeel - Really good, thick, coated your tongue, but as it warmed it got even better.

Overall - I think it's a really good example of the style but they didn't need to go as nuts as they did with the flavoring. Keeping it simple would of been better in my opinion.

 1,136 characters

Photo of thecheapies
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, opaque mocha brown-black color with a retaining inch of tan head. Looks like a treat. 4.5

Maple, cinnamon, brown sugar, Christmas spices, rum raisin, and bitter dark malts. 4.0

Flavor is much hoppier and spicier with mace, nutmeg, and a chile-like heat that is very mild. Pine, clove, cinnamon, and star anise are also prevalent. Finishes spicy and a little sweet with more lingering piney hops. Nuances of pith and maple and brown bread are notable. Very busy in the mouth, both in flavor and in feel. Happily carbonated with that spicy finish and prickly feel on the tongue. The body is merely a wet medium. Alcohol seems pretty checked-down. 4.0, 3.5

Great beer and a great finish to a fun series. I could see myself drinking this at the end of the world. 4.5

 779 characters

Photo of richj1970
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bottle into snifter glass.

A: Poured pitch black with less than one finger tan head. Some nice lacing on the glass.

S: Smell is all spice with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, all spice mixed with some bread and banana.

T: Spices dominate here along with hints of bitter chocolate or expresso. Much different flavor than your average brew.

M: Medium body with average carbonation and finishes a bit dry.

O: Interesting beer. The spiciness is nice on a cold winter night. I'm not sure I want to drink bottle after bottle of this one, but it is a very nice change of pace from other things I've had lately.

 620 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

 591 characters

Photo of draheim
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz into a chalice. Pours a deep chocolate brown w/ a thin mocha head that settles to a thin film.

Aroma is big holiday spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and orange zest. Smells like gingerbread cookies. Also, dark fruit and molasses.

Taste (naturally) follows nose. Tons of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg; almost tastes like a redhot. Brown sugar, molasses, also just a hint of coffee and bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thick and coating, but not sweet. Finishes semi-dry with a lingering spicy aftertaste.

Overall a spicy, flavorful, big, bold beer that doesn't hold back. Classic Stone, for better or worse.

 623 characters

Photo of BucBasil
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the tap into a tulip.

The beer is almost totally black with some light in the side. Dark tan frothy head. Inviting.

Gingerbread and lots of spice. Loving the holiday character here with some cinnamon an wood.

Wow first impressions is that this is like eating a clove. Plenty of gingerbread in here. Wood. A faint roast deep in there. Really unique.

Glad I tried this. Definitely not going to bring this in as a regular but very tasty if a bit much. One is enough...

 482 characters

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.

 636 characters

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle bought at Tully's in Wells. Pours an opaque black body with a half inch of tan head. Smells like chocolate and vanilla. Dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, spice, and nut comprise the flavor. Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Pretty damn good.

 259 characters

Photo of Kromes
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Pitch black with a thin line of tan colored bubbles on top.

Licorice, gingerbread, roasted malt, and chocolate aromas.

The flavor is very intense up front with strong gingerbread and anise flavors. These flavors do not fade and blend with a grassy hop and roasted malt in the finish.

Full body with peppery carbonation. Has a bit of an oily feel to it.

I really like the gingerbread and licorice flavors in this beer. I can see where it may turn people off as these are very polarizing flavors. For me, it is an excellent beer.

 559 characters

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.

 507 characters

Photo of IronLover
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown to black in color. Poured with a thick beige foam that reduced to a thick cap that left random sticky lacings on the glass. A variety of aromas: dark chocolate, dark fruit, orange zest, dark malt, and spice. On the heavier side of medium bodied with slightly delayed, dense, rich carbonation. Clove, cinnamon, and pepper flavors are dominant throughout. Dark chocolate and dark fruit flavors beneath. A subtle hop bite near the end as this finishes with a spicy aftertaste. The spice flavors are a bit overwhelming. Would be interesting to see if the flavor balance improves over time.

 596 characters

Photo of barnzy78
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a 25oz snifter, pours black with a frothy tan head; great retention & lace. Aromas are spicy, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, allspice, clove, dark roast malt, yeast. Tastes are complex with roasted malt, cinnamon, then allspice, then lots of lingering clove, nutmeg, banana, chocolate, coffee, orange zest, anise, booze, finishes semi-bitter & semi-dry. Feel is full bodied, creamy, smooth, nice carbonation allows complexity to shine through. Overall, I loved it for what it is, but the spices are too cumbersome. They take away from the yeast characteristics & drown out the other tasting notes. Nice way to finish off the epic line, although I saved none of them and drank the ones that I had fresh.

 729 characters

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,589 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.