McTapps (3610) - Ruhrcity, North Rhine-Westphalia, GERMANY - JAN 12, 2014
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
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.
finn1918 (193) - Georgia, USA - JAN 3, 2014
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
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.
flannelnomad (57) - portland, Oregon, USA - JAN 2, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
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.
stecken (174) - SWEDEN - JAN 1, 2014
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
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.
ryecatcher (736) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 29, 2013
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
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!
FROTHINGSLOSH (4831) - GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 26, 2013
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 10/20
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.
SPDickerman (917) - Texas, USA - DEC 25, 2013
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
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.
daleharshman (885) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 22, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
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)
EithCubes (4737) - New Jersey, USA - DEC 18, 2013
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
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.
Theydon_Bois (7938) - The ’Sham, Surrey, ENGLAND - DEC 17, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Keg at BD Camden, 13/12/13.
Black with a good sized tan head.
Nose is dark fruits, cake mix, light smoke, brown sugar, toffee fudge, dates, raisens.
Taste comprises Xmas cake, dark fruit, dates, prunes, brown sugars, light booze, spice, clove.
Medium bodied with bite, fine carbonation, light booze laced dark fruit in the closure.
Decent, the 9% doesn’t really rear its head too much, good level of depth and fairly easy drinking.