They say all good things come to an end, and sadly, this is true of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series. Today marks the release of Stone Brewing Co.’s final beer in the series, Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale. However, before tears are shed for the end of this epic era, consider that the release of this beer actually calls for a celebration.
Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale was brewed with a Belgian yeast strain and features cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, rosehips, sweet orange peel, and a dash of clove. Spices and banana notes are prominently featured in the taste. As it warms, notes of caramel, dark toffee and molasses assert themselves. Overall, the dark beer provides a pleasant juxtaposition of roasted malts, hops and spice layers.
Each year since Feb. 2, 2002 (02.02.02), Stone has released a Stone Vertical Epic Ale beer exactly one year, one month and one day apart. Stone envisioned that each year a beer in the series would be brewed with its own unique recipe, one that would allow the beer to mature over time enhancing the flavors and aromas. The intention was that Stone fans would cellar the bottles from each year and open all 11 vintages together for a vertical tasting on Dec. 12, 2012, the date of the last Stone Vertical Epic Ale.
Stats: 9.0% ABV, 50 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles, 3-liter bottles and draft, beginning December 3
Hops bill: Simcoe, Tettnang, and Willamette
Spices: Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, rosehips, sweet orange peel, and a dash of clove
Distribution: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, and WA
Tasting Notes, provided by Brewmaster Mitch Steele
Appearance: Deep black with a dark brown, foamy head.
Aroma: First impressions are of cinnamon and allspice, combined with fruity banana esters and hints of clove from the Belgian yeast. As the beer warms in the glass, swirl it around and take in the aromatics one more time—caramel, dark toffee and molasses notes come into play as well. The end result is a wonderful juxtaposition of roasted malts, yeast esters and baking spices.
Taste: Intense cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice with banana esters dominate up front. Hints of citrus arrive mid-palate, while molasses notes persevere in the finish along with a very nice dark-roasted malt dryness.
Palate: A full, but not sweet, extremely dry finish. Very complex with great flavor balance.
Overall: The aromas wafting through the brewery as we brewed this beer were amazing! We couldn’t think of a better way to sign off this epic series of beers.
From Lead Brewer Jeremy Moynier
This beer will transport you to a very warm place: the house is warm, a fire's going and grandma's in the kitchen baking away.
Suggested food parings, provided by “Dr.” Bill Sysak
Appetizers: Chocolate sea salt crostini, curry meatballs, sugar and cinnamon bacon, quail knots
Soups: Butternut squash, goulash, French onion
Entrees: Cocoa and chile-rubbed pork tenderloin, elk loin, merguez sausage, porterhouse steak, roasted goose
Cheeses: Huntsman, Shropshire Blue, Ewephoria
Desserts: Fruitcake, chocolate lava cake, dark chocolate-covered espresso beans
Cigars: Padrón Family Reserve 45 Years “The Little Hammer,” LaReloba Selección Sumatra Torpedo, La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero