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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale



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RATINGS: 605   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.66   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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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 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
cwooldridge (17) - - JAN 12, 2014
On tap at Stone Company store oceanside. When this beer first came out back in December of 2012 I wasn’t too big a fan of this beer. But age has done this one well. Pours a nice black with a brown head. Smells of Christmas is what you initially get (clove, allspice, gingerbread, vanilla). Great holiday beer. Those flavors come through on the palate as well. Very thick coating in the mouth and a great lingering flavor of anise and clove. Solid beer if you can still find it.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
McTapps (3560) - Ruhrcity, North Rhine-Westphalia, GERMANY - JAN 12, 2014
Bottle from Cunningham - many thanks, Henrik! Well actually, to be really honest, I treasured this bottle for quite a couple of weeks and hoped for a big taste explosion when opening it. To say it from the very beginning: I was quite dissapointed. It pours out very flat, with a deep black colour with almost no head. Aroma of cinnamon, spices and malt. Taste of cloves, winter spices (cinnamon, anise etc), malt and woods. Dry finsih with quite a sweetish, medicine-like touch. Not really my pair of shoes although I really, really wanted to like it. Just too much of a spice/vegetable beer on my side and not really easy to drink.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
finn1918 (192) - Georgia, USA - JAN 3, 2014
Bomber bought and cellared for about a year. Pours pitch black with an enormous head of tiny brown bubbles. Aroma is caramel, spices, and some yeast. Taste is a barrage of sweet malts and complex spices. Sweet, spicy finish. Thick, satisfying mouthfeel. This is an excellent beer, and was well worth the price.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
flannelnomad (57) - portland, Oregon, USA - JAN 2, 2014
UPDATED: JAN 5, 2014 Had on tap at Whole Foods in Reno. So this thing has just a year on it. Smells ridiculous like dry cocoa, gingerbread and a huge dose of cloves. I feel like it’s slightly thinned out from when I had it fresh from the bottle, but who knows. It’s dark, nicely carbonated, head dissipates fairly quickly. Tastes like chai spices and gingerbread spiked with cocoa and boy has a year helped this thing out immensely. I was just ok on it fresh, but I’m all about it now. If you’re sitting on some bottles, I would drink em, I can’t imagine this thing getting better. It seriously tastes like some crazy coffee shop concoction. Stellar.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
stecken (174) - SWEDEN - JAN 1, 2014
Bottle. Black with a big creamy lightbrown head. Aroma is cinnamon, cloves, gingerbread, roasted malts, nutmeg. Taste is sweet and spicy with slight bitterness. Medium to full body, harsh mouthfeel.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ryecatcher (721) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 29, 2013
Bomber. Sat on this one for about a year, seemed an apt way to close out 2013. Pours a stouty brown black, medium tan head, so so retention and lacing. Nose is like a Christmas pudding: molasses, dried fruits, and pie spice, with some malt and cocoa. Mouth is medium bodied, semisweet, roasty and spices up front, then it’s like liquid gingerbread. Style says Belgian, and so does the bottle, but this tastes and feels more like a stout or porter with holiday flavors. Whatever it is categorized as though, it’s decent. An early Happy New Year to all!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
FROTHINGSLOSH (4785) - GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 26, 2013
Sampled from a 22 oz brown bottle this beer poured a black color with a trace dark tan head that faded quickly and left minimal lacing. The aroma was birch beer, anise, cinnamon, brown sugar and gingerbread. The flavor was overwhelmingly spicy with very strong cinnamon, gingerbread, anise, a touch of wood and then more cinnamon. Very long finish completely overwhelmed with cinnamon. Moderately full bodied. Very one dimensional - to the point of distraction.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
SPDickerman (913) - Texas, USA - DEC 25, 2013
Pours pitch black with a small tan ring. Smells of nutmeg, allspice, hints of clove and floral rose. Taste is is spicy, bready, and semisweet. Full-bodied with a smooth texture and soft mouth-carbonation, Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12 finishes with a spicy dryness.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
daleharshman (882) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 22, 2013
Bomber purchased at the brewery in Escondido a year ago ($6.99). Had a number of times on draft and from bottle around this time last year, but saved this bottle to cellar for the rating. Pours basically pitch black with a finger and a half of brown-ish head. AROMA full of spice (ginger and allspice stand out) along with notes of gingerbread cookies, medicinal herbs, and some dark semi-candied fruit. FLAVOR of mild dark roasted malts, lots of spice (clove / cinnamon / ginger all quite noticeable), dark rye bread, medicinal herbs, and a bit of brown sugar. Roasty and spicy but not really sweet. Dry finish indeed. Very well-concealed 9%. The heavy spice in this beer really stands out more than anything else. I had enjoyed the Vertical Epic series, particularly Stone’s different takes on Belgian-inspired beers. A little surprised that Stone took a more straight-forward approach here and brewed a somewhat typical dark Christmas ale. Still, it ends up being a fun seasonal beer (though I was hoping the spicing would mellow out a bit with the year of aging). (537, 833)

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
EithCubes (4704) - New Jersey, USA - DEC 18, 2013
Bomber. Nose is fully spiced: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, orange peel, vanilla -- too much!. And sweet malt. Pours very dark brown and sits black in the glass, with a dense brown head. Rich taste in the mouth is sweet with ash, tar, roast, light tobacco, and reaches something of a balance with the above spices, cinnamon and allspice still the strongest among them. I don’t particularly like how the spices clash with the malt/yeast character here, though they are accompanied by a very nice and very suitable herbal element. Strong dark chocolate, no bitterness or real hops, very well-hidden alcohol, big fat body and smooth mouthfeel. This plays as a straight imperial stout over anything Belgian or Belgian-inspired, as has been the case with previous bottles. Have to admit I’m a little disappointed in the lack of variation, but the series had its moments.

In the end, I would rank those I’ve had as follows: 06 > 10 > 09 > 11 > 08 > 07 > 12, with the spices much better handled in ’07 than ’12.

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