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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 666   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.66/5   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
As with any good epic, herein lies the promise of larger-than-life experiences, heroics, and twists and turns as the adventure unfolds. This bottle-conditioned ale is chapter eleven. Now is the time to enjoy it in a “vertical” tasting side by side with its ten Stone Vertical Epic Ale brethren! Each one unique to its year of release. Each with its own “twist & turn” in the plot line. Each one released one year, one month and one day from the previous year’s edition. This year’s Stone Vertical Epic Ale is the very last one. Yep, this is it. The final chapter. Or as they say on the last slide in some old films: “Fin.” No worries though: this edition is particularly well-suited for prolonging the experience, as it’s as cellarable as any in the series, or more. In this, the final edition, you can expect a perfectly balance *womp* of spices: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, sweet orange peel, clove (only a little!) and rosehips, all in the context of a dark Belgian style abbey-ish beer…but not as sweet. Dry even. Stone style. Thanks for coming on this Epic Stone-style journey with us! You can rest assured there will be new adventures to come…

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
kp (10884) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - DEC 31, 2012

Date: December 27, 2012
Mode: Bottle
Source: Hop City, Atlanta
Appearance: black, frothy tan head, drippy layers of lace
Aroma: sweet dark belgian aroma, dark fruits, sweet esters, lots of spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, touch of clove, roasted malt
Flavor: big spicy flavor, sweet cinnamon, a tad too much clove, dark fruits try to balance the spices but have no sweetness to back it up, bitterness follows the spices for a spicy bitter finish
Aroma: 6/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 6/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 13/20
Rating: 3.2/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: ** /4

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
FlacoAlto (4147) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 31, 2012
A steady pour into my Bruery tulip produces a three finger thick, fairly dense, deeply brown tinged, burnt tan color. The beer is a concentrated brown, but really just black color that is quite opaque, even when held up directly to the light. The nose smells strongly of spices backed by roasted, dark malt sweetness; cinnamon, spicy ginger, clove, allspice, a touch of woody nutmeg like notes, and toasted, brown sugar blackened, sweet, brown bread / cake as well as a touch of cocoa and coffee.

Fairly light bodied, and dry up front, the beer picks up a sweetness in the finish that seems to be brought out by the mix of spices used here. The finish has a bitter, slightly astringent character to it that is a mix of woody spices, burnt / roasted grain, and hops. Lots of cinnamon and allspice notes up front with a finish that has some clove and nutmeg like character to it; woody pepper and ginger notes, touches of cedar even combine with firm, toasted, whole grain malt character, both of which provide a touch hop like balance. The body here is on the light side for a beer of this strength, but it still has quite a bit of viscous character to it; cutting through the prickly carbonation and spicy bite is a soft, creamy, cocoa laden texture that coats the palate quite nicely.

This tastes like a roasted, dark, holiday spice cake, though it doesn’t have all that much sweetness to it, just enough to keep things balanced. This is perhaps the nicest beer of this series yet; it should actually age quite well too, perhaps better than any of the other beers in this series; hell this should have been switched in order with the first, would have been a better in the long run, but honestly I suppose no one knew how this would end when this started.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
jazz88 (2664) - San Francisco, California, USA - DEC 30, 2012
UPDATED: MAY 16, 2016 Rating #1 (7 4 7 3 17) on 12/30/12 Bottle. Black with lush brown head. A smooth malty and light chocolate aroma with a nice spice finish. A medium to full body with nicely balanced spicy and malt flavor. Rating #2 (8 4 7 3 18) on 05/16/16. I stored this for 4 years and it held up remarkably well. A nice fizz when the cap opened, it poured like black gold wit ha nice laced dark brown head. Smooth and malty with a warming chocolate and dark fruit finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
DMLINAZ (332) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - DEC 30, 2012
Another fantastic beer from Stone; pours deep black with a solid, fluffy white/tan head. Flavor is strong; the clove is almost overwhelming and is a bit to take. A lot of spices. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Nice dry finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Landmonger (155) - USA - DEC 30, 2012
Poured from a bottle into a trappist glass, aroma is citrus, cinnamon and clove, it is dark very dark poured with minimal head, the taste is clove upfront too much so that it overpowers everything else but the orange bleeds through a little, the mouthfeel is smooth with the carbonations starting sharp then velvety, the bitterness then breaks forward with the residual clove and wrmth from the alcohol.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Beerathon (1683) - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 30, 2012
Love it when a beer surprises me, and this one did due to its uniqueness. The clove is upfront from beginning to end. Nice alcohol feel to it. A Belgian style dark ale that had flavors that aren’t typical for the style. Interesting for sure.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
GothGargoyle (2319) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 30, 2012
Dark ruby/black with a small beige head. Aroma is cloves, ginger, allspice. Medium bodied, spicy on the palate. Taste is cloves, cloves, more cloves, a little gingerbread. A little over the tip with the cloves.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 4/20
KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - DEC 30, 2012
Bottle. Pours a rich, thick onyx with a nice darkened beige head. Nose is cinnamon, clove, light fudge, and a touch of rose petals. Flavor is a salty mishmash of seaweed, cinnamon, fish, and bitter roses. Average mouthfeel. I bought this fresh but it tastes oxidated. I’ll buy another and re-rate.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
abcfan (913) - New Jersey, USA - DEC 30, 2012
Pours black with a red tinge and no head. Aroma is primarily cinnamon and dark fruit. Full bodies and smooth. Taste is primarily cinnamon and spice, finishes very dry.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ansermadide (1526) - Kyle, Texas, USA - DEC 30, 2012
As little as I enjoy dark Belgians, this is really a gorgeous beer, with a pitch-black color and a beautiful, medium brown colored head that leaves some classy, thick, shimmering lacing. It has an incredibly unique, powerful aroma packed with cloves, ginger, and orange. What makes all of these spices alright: the heavy, roasted malts. This smells very much like many of the fall/winter seasonal pumpkin beers that have been coming out as of late (in particular, Saint Arnold Pumpkinator). Wow, what a nose. And thank you, Stone, for keeping the yeast out of it. In the mouth you’re in for something a little wild and completely different from what the aroma lets on. It’s slightly thinner than you’d expect of its pitch black color, soft and creamy. What’s fantastic about the flavor is how they pulled off how to compliment the intense roasted flavor with the intense spices to not only make each of the parts easy to drink and unoffensive when tasted individually, but also combined to produce a fantastically well-balanced and complex beer that manages to feel smooth and almost creamy as a whole. Wow. The intense spice content and heavily roasted malts ball up in the center of the tongue and are so strong that they make your tongue curl up in fear… but then the beer lulls it back into submission with its smooth character. As crazy of a beer this is, it’s really very good. One thing, though: the warmer it gets, the harsher and more uncomfortable the roasted malt bitterness becomes, so drink it between 50-55 degrees. Now, Being the last of the Vertical Epic series, I’m putting a bottle of this away in the cellar for an indefinite amount of aging.

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