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
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Reviews: 307 | Ratings: 1,589
Photo of Reidrover
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

I saw this in a local tobacco and beer place called "Habits" in Salem OR and thought I would take a chance since it was in the fridge. Cost? $3.99 Pours a dark dark brown almost blackcurrant look..nice thick tan head. Nice moderate spicy coriander aspects along with small "barnyard and blackberries in the aroma..very pleasing to the nose. Taste is all of the above with a touch of bitters and very smooth and well melded. Some dark roasted coffee in the end but in balance with the whole. Mouth feel on this is spectacular, smooth oh so silky smooth yet kicks in with some refreshing surprises. Excellent drink..the age seems to have been good for this beer. There is one left..i plan to get it tomorrow.

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Photo of BeerME_562
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

If you a fan of bourbon banana flamebe this is your beer... extremely similar in taste

appearance: dark espresso with a vanilla head

aroma: cinnamon, orange, allspice,

taste: cinnamon, orange, allspice, aged/roasted banana, woodsy

mouthfeel: fullbody, medium-light

overall good quality beer outstanding

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

Pours silken black with little to no cream colored head.

Aromas of mocha, fruit, almond, sweet booze

Taste follows nose..twangy banana like sweetness with a coffee mocha rounding out. Flavor is deep and complex..flavors open as temp warms.

Mouthfeel is slippery and full.. Not heavy but well developed.

Overall a complex and different beer..have not had any of the other vertical epics but I would gather that they were probably quite something from the tastes of this.

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Photo of utfiero
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
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).

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Photo of Rothobinide
4.81/5  rDev +23.3%
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.

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Photo of travolta
4.68/5  rDev +20%
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.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a signature Stone snifter glass. Vintage bottle from 2012, poured 06/14/2014.

Appearance: Very dark opaque brown-black with medium bubbles, head is tan rising to maybe a notch below finger's length.

Smell: Sour yeast smell, bland could be more potent.

Taste: Nice complex and smooth, heavy nutmeg feel. Lightly spicy with a pinch of sourness to it. It is definitely not for everyone.

Mouth: Medium bodied carbonation. Yeast feel at the end that comes off a bit dry.

Overall: Not a bad beer at all and if you see the bottle grab it. I bought this a very long time ago upon it's release and decided to finally crack it open just for the hell of it. Drink up and enjoy, Salud!

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Photo of fourZero
2.99/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

SUPER clove taste, can't get past anything but the cloves. Label says mild clove spice added, I don't believe it. More cloves than I can handle. Like drinking a box of Djarums. Cloying, super-sweet, ultra-clovey nasty spice flavor to this one. Maybe I just tried a winter beer too late in the season? Not sure, but would not be getting this one again.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. Dark brown, tan head. Excellent lacing!

The nose is all cloves. Talk about Cloverfield!

Thankfully, the taste isn't all cloves. Something akin to Sublimely Self Righteous brewed with cloves, only much sweeter.

A very interesting beer, no doubt. Would I get it again? Probably not. But it's certainly worth a try for the sheer uniqueness of the drinking experience.

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

Had on draft at Stone Escondido on 4/3/14

A-Pours a very dark stout like color, black with a medium creamy brown head.

S-A nose of spices, anise, and clove.

T-The flavor is nutmeg, sweet spices, and some banana.

M-The mouthfeel is medium-thick and coats well. Decent carbonation this beer is very stout like.

O-Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of vicg12
2.86/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

Not impressed with this offering from Stone. Must be said that the beer is getting pretty old now, but I saw it on the shelf at a local brew store so I had to give it a try. The pour is beautiful, beer is very dark and puts off a rich chocolate color head; leaves a decent lace. The smell smacks you in the face with an aroma of cinnamon, allspice and another spice I can't put my finger on. The taste is what you would expect from the smell with a strong presence of cinnamon and allspice with an after-note of cloves, but the most predominate flavor is that of bitters! In my opinion this is not a good flavor for a beer. It just takes away from the fact that you are actually drinking a really well brewed beer. You concentrate on this overpowering spice pallet that leaves you forgetting that this taste is actually coming from a beer. Really complex flavor and I appreciate what they were trying to accomplish here, just not my cup of tea. Worst beer I have had from Stone. If I wanted to drink bitters I would have ordered a Prohibition style cocktail, so please, keep it out of my beer.

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Photo of brutusmuktuk
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber with a jet black color and a very healthy foamy tan head. Has a huge combination of smells: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, banana. Taste is also highly complex, with cinnamon and ginger and medium bitterness in the finish. Has a full body, smooth mouthfeel. This is the best pumpkin beer I’ve had that’s not really a pumpkin beer. Among my favorite spiced ales, just a close second behind Unibroue’s La Terrible.

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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.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.11/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured a nice dark brown and it had a nice bouquet that was coriander dominant, but the taste is where this beer loses points. The initial taste was okay, but then there is an overpowering bitter taste that is very unpleasant. Mouth feel is course and harsh carbonation.

I know this bottle is over a year old, but I cannot vouch for its storage and care so I wonder if this is the culprit here. I'd like to think that this is the case as I have truly enjoyed all of Stones other offerings.

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Photo of Zaplt
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours pitch black with a quarter inch tan head

Smell - cherry, prune, dark fruit, chocolate, roast, spice,

Taste - Nutmeg, cinnamon, dark roast, dark fruit, date, plum,

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, moderate carbonation

Overall - This beer is decent, interesting blend of spice but something seems to conflict.

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Photo of ykncornelius
4.73/5  rDev +21.3%
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!!

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Photo of MaillardRx
4.84/5  rDev +24.1%
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

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Photo of GPHarris
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

a - poured a three-fingers thick, dense coffee-colored head into a tulip glass that left great lacing throughout. the body was black with brown edges.
s - spices hit you first but some floral aromas fight their way through.
t - spicy, fruity and floral. complex and flavorful.
m - medium and slick, very coating.
o - i've tried all of the VEs at a VE tasting shortly after this one was released (first one excluded) and this was one of my favorites at the time. nothing in the year since changed that.

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Photo of shacawgo24
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
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.

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Photo of dar482
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The aroma of this beer is spiciness with some sweetness and roasted notes.

The flavor has a big stout character with some roasted malt and chocolate notes. It then follows with toffee and dried fruits and spiciness. The finish is quite drying with that Belgian spice note.

An interesting brew and my first attempt at a Stone Vertical. This is quite good. The stout and Belgian strong dark balance is interesting.

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Photo of NEdward
2.65/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

A: brackish, very dark, minimal head

S: overpoweringly sweet -- molasses, beets, carrots

T: a day old fruit cake and V8

M: thick, overstayed its welcome

O: picked this up in september or october with a few other bombers and definitely regretted it. a sludgy opaque mass of overripe sweetness and a distinct vegetable juice finish. yuck.

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Photo of JpNuss
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Sustaining, almond-colored, head and mild lacing. The beer itself is D.A.R.K. When held up to a light, nothing shines through. I also had a lot of fun pouring this. It runs from the bottle like syrup.

S - Heavy, heavy, heavy molasses on the nose. To me, it is so over-powering, I cannot smell anything else. For this reason, this is the lowest rated section, for me.

T - Strong molasses (this may be from my smelling it) and coffee notes, with a slightly bitter finish.

M - Leaves a slight fuzzy feeling on the roof of my mouth. Not the most desirable feeling.

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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 EmperorBevis
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in brew dog Manchester

Dark near black body with big tan head.

Hints of treacle and muscovado sugar on the nose.

The taste was pretty much Pernod and black the keg serving method dispensing a little too cold and a little too fizzy

I enjoyed this sure enough but I was expecting a little more epic.

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Photo of retry4z
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled into a Duvel glass.

A: Respectable head with some lacing. Too dark for a Belgian Strong ale.

S: strong spice, maybe jalapeños and red pepper. Some malty and alcoholic notes.

T: Strong spices overwhelm any other beer characteristic, but a little caramel and hop flavor showed throught. Tastes almost medicinal.

M: medium bodied, average carbonation. Pleasant on tongue.

O: I expected a traditional Belgian-style ale, like Gulden Draak or Chimay, but this is an adulterated spiced version. Glad I tried, but wouldn't buy again.

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