Friday, January 4

Beer Review: Stone Brewing Vertical Epic 12.12.12

"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 Vertival 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…"


Appearance: (3.5)
- This brew is a very dark, murky, and thick rich brown. Can't see through it a bit. Subtle light mocha-tan head that quickly calms to a medium-sized ring of bubbly lace and a scattered dusting over the brew. Looks much like a common stout or porter.

Smell: (3.5)
-  Lots of spice up front from nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and allspice. There is also a rather earthy and woody character to it as well. Perhaps some roasted malt and barley going on. There is only the slightest floral aroma along with the slightest smoke aroma. Smells good, but seems a little too spice-forward (which I am sure will settle with age).

Taste: (4.0)
- Certainly get the rose hips in flavor along with a touch of zest. Very balanced to say the least with all the spice and flavors. The malt is a nice chocolate and almost wooded and smoked tasting. Light clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon shine through, but are not at all too heavy. Seems this would be a good one to cellar a bit. Some light grassy and herbal hops going on to balance.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- This puppy has a full, smooth, and creamy body. Rather well carbonated, thus feeling thick and filling. It's a bit drying at the finish due to its bitterness, and is a little cloying. Overall quite decent.

Overall: (3.5)
- I'm just a touch let down with this one as a 'finale' of sorts. My favorite that I have had, has got to be the 09, especially with a couple of years on it. I haven't had much before the 07. This is of course super well-made, and is certainly a signature Stone beer. It's flavorful alright, just not quite the flavors I like. Too much like a winter or Christmas beer. But, I am positive it will cellar well, and really transform after 4 years or more. My sweet spot for this might be around 2 years. 


3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5 Rating Scale


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