DrnkMcDermott (2721) - Downers Grove, Illinois, USA - JAN 30, 2013
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draft sample at Tap House Grill, Westmont. Hard to pick out the nose with my sniffles, but I mostly get a note of licorice, Certainly nothing that they list as having been added to the beer. Thick legs in the glass, with a thin note of foam. I still say it has one of the most pronouced licorice tastes that Iíve found in a good beer, as in not enough to put me off. Okay, so itís just the other spices working together, like in a root beer. Add to that roasty malts for a taste of coffee on the side, a viscous mouthfeel to make a big, syrupy beer. Glad to have had this taste; I have one bottle at home with just some 10.10.10 and 11.11.11 for company, and even thatís too much for me to have a mini-vertical. Any helpers?
daleharshman (833) - 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 Stoneís 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 (4421) - 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 donít 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 Iím a little disappointed in the lack of variation, but the series had its moments.
In the end, I would rank those Iíve had as follows: 06 > 10 > 09 > 11 > 08 > 07 > 12, with the spices much better handled in í07 than í12.
Theydon_Bois (5521) - The íSham, 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% doesnít really rear its head too much, good level of depth and fairly easy drinking.
OPIE788 (76) - - DEC 14, 2013
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft. I didnít vare for this fresh in a bottle last year but this isnít bad. Nice coffee nose and cinnamon and raisin flavor. Very nice.
Davhgbrew (753) - Coconut Creek, Florida, USA - DEC 14, 2013
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very dark black color. Aroma of dark fruit and cocoa. Sips med to full with currant and anise. Middle has Asian food like spice flavor mild carbonation and finishes smooth cola like sweetness. Very nice complex brew.
Beergeek23322 (1738) - Chesapeake, Virginia, USA - DEC 12, 2013
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
12.12.2013. 22 oz. bottle. Aged for one year. Dark brown, almost black with a foamy beige head. Roasted malt aromas with brown sugar, spices, plums, raisins. A hint of sweet fruit but quickly turns bitter. Rich and robust with a good balance between fruit and spices. This is the right time of year for this one. Excellent brew!
KansaiBeerLvrs (927) - Kyoto, JAPAN - DEC 12, 2013
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
Itís December 12th so itís time to crack open a bottle of Stone 12.12.12! 9% beautiful dark brown pour with 1cm of tan head. The aroma is bready, chocolate, possibly some banana & spices. Milky smooth, bitter chocolate, cinnamon & nutmeg all appear in the flavor. Iím getting a real kind of milkshake vibe, itís not a sweet beer but the texture of the mouthfeel points my mind in that direction. A good beer, perfect for aging & sipping on a cold winter day like today. I really enjoyed it.
maneliquor (2297) - Perth, AUSTRALIA - DEC 11, 2013
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 12, 2013 Tap at BD Shepherds Bush. Pours very dark brown with a firm tan head leaving great lacing. Nose is full of spices focusing on cinnamon and cardamon. Very earthy with a hint of squash and rosemary. Balanced though. Taste is a perfect balance between milk chocolate and cinnamon. Absolutely spot on. Spices never over power and roast is always in check. Really well made beer. Love it
Nocturne (556) - Cheshire, ENGLAND - DEC 10, 2013
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
On tap at BrewDog Manchester. Near black shade with a tan head. Aroma filled with winter spice. Taste has waves of dark maltiness and lots more Christmassy spice notes. I normally have little problem with heavy spiced beers but they were a bit overdone here for me.
DanielBrown (3499) - Birmingham (via Leicester), West Midlands, ENGLAND - DEC 9, 2013
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Keg at Brewdog Brum. Buttery, orange, marzipan, dried fruit (slight). A malty, dark beast. Leavened by fruit. Appropriate for the time of year. Nice. Super rich.