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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale

 (RETIRED)
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97
95
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RATINGS: 605   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.66   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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…


3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
kramer (4866) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 22, 2012
Bottle. Pours an opaque dark brown, almost black body with a nice frothy light brown head that faded to a thin ring. The nose is huge on the spices, lots of cinnamon, allspice, and ginger for sure. Almost smells like a pumpkin beer. Very malty smelling with a little sweetness and belgian yeastiness. The flavor is a little overly sweet and ridiculously over spiced for sure. Tastes like they just dumped the whole inventory of spices in here, not a whole lot of subtlety going on with this guy. Very sweet with pretty well hidden alcohol, but then again, with all those spices, ya can’t taste much anything else going on in here. Rather thick and almost syrupy with soft fizzy carbonation. This one actually might do much better with a hefty amount of age on it, shame they didn’t start out this series with something like this.

4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
poisoneddwarf (1692) - Rathdrum, Idaho, USA - DEC 22, 2012
UPDATED: MAR 7, 2014 3/7/14 rating: I forgot I had this tucked away! Aroma is full of Christmas spices, herbal tea; smells a bit like root beer. Dark brown pour with a tan head with good retention. Taste is sweet and savory, full of those aforementioned spices, tobacco. Body is full, mouthfeel creamy, carbonation average. Excellent. This has aged well. 9,5,8,5,18=4.5

Initial 12/22/12 rating: Bomber. Pours opaque black with a thick tan head with groovy lace. Aroma is packed with clove. Flavor is full of Chirstmas spices; it’s bittersweet and finishes dry and bitter. Nice way to end the series with a Christmas Belgian-style beer on 12/12/12. After drinking ’07-’12 vertically, my favorites from best to worse were as follows: ’10, ’11, ’12, ’09, ’08, ’07, leading me to believe that these beers are best aged a year or two then start declining in quality and drinkability; oxidation starts setting in after a couple years. 8,5,8,4,17=4.2

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
brenn79 (1491) - Idaho, USA - DEC 22, 2012
12 oz bottle, rated 07-11 before this- Pours pitch black with a huge mocha colored head, beautiful beer! Aroma is unusual, ginger is huge, chilies are there, regardless of what my mates say, bastards! I get a floral note, very complex and very nice. Taste is ginger again, it imparts a dryness and complexity that is very unique, cinnamon and other spices are there and accounted for. I really enjoyed this beer, one of the best in the series!

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
BOLTZ7555 (2780) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - DEC 22, 2012
Final chapter...thank God. Truly amazing concept, just not incredibly executed. This one tries too hard to be interesting. Obsidian pour with a khaki head. Lots of spice...lots. Ginger, evergreen, cinnamon, clove, menthol, chocolate, mint, brownie, citrus, and yeast. Does that seem overwhelming? If not, I can add a few more adjectives. Muddled, busy, aggressive. This might have been solid if one of the first in the series. Time would have tamed. To close it out, not so much. Love the brewery, I really do. Unfortunately, this is a miss.

2
   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 7/20
wnoble (1251) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - DEC 22, 2012
Black, nose is cinnamon, ginger, clove, some floral notes mixed in and some sweet malty sugar aroma. Flavor is cloves, gingerbread, spice, cinnamon, sugars, mild coffee. Full body, rich and medium heavy bitterness. This was just an over the top spice bomb. Drainpour.

2.5
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
sjohnny (361) - - DEC 22, 2012
Dried fruit and cinnamon aroma. Very dark almost black with tan head. Lots of lacing. Dates, cinnamon and bitter chocolate. A little bit of pine in the finish.

3.8
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
BadAprilia1000 (242) - Sevierville, Tennessee, USA - DEC 22, 2012
Pours a dark dark reddish tint and although others mentioned a thick head we ended up with at thin, watery head. Aroma is very complex and interesting, notes of all sorts of spices starting at a warm cinnamon which turns into allspice and ginger with an odd bitter. The allspice is the most noticable of the spices. Taste is similar to the aroma, very hard to pick apart due to all the different spices fighting for first place on the palate. The allspice note in particular is a bit overpowering. The aftertaste settles better on the tongue than when the beer is physically on the tongue. Interesting and since it is the last of the series they have recommended cellaring, i bet that would mellow it out quite a bit and meld the flavors better.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
barn0216 (396) - California, USA - DEC 22, 2012
Dark black color. Big creamy head that lingers for a long time but leaves medium lacing on the glass. Lots of spice on the nose: clove, nutmeg, ginger, etc. plus some malty sweetness. Flavor is much the same but more bitter from cocoa, coffee, and tobacco. Dry. There’s a lot happening here although i have to deduct a few points for a lack of refinement. Way better than 11.11.11 in my opinion.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Suttree (5073) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - DEC 22, 2012
Black, big brown head. Smells like pumpkin bread, plus cinnamon, orange, clove and coffee. Its not as rich as the smells would indicate, in fact it’s surprisingly drinkable. Coffee, cinnamon and some other indeterminate spices. Orange peel and some yeasty notes, too.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Hopped_Silly (418) - California, USA - DEC 22, 2012
Pour deep black, with thin, quickly dissipating tan head. Spiced, balanced and nearly dry. Layers of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, herbs, and chocolate. Very spiced/herbed dark Belgium ale like, though not sweet. Well balanced. Not a big, powerful beer, though good mouthfeel and focused flavors. 9% alcohol is very well hidden under the spice. My nearest comparison is a friendlier, better spiced version of Green Flash Friendship Brew. The description on the side of the bottle is accurate. Interesting, though unsure I will purchase again. --- tasted while on a long journey to understand the world around me...


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