Last week I was cruising around Orange County and stumbled across a small specialty deli and liquor store called Mesa Food and Liquor. I decided to stop in and see what they had to offer. As I traveled aimlessly down the aisles, I noticed a craft beer section in the Merchandising refrigerator. I am always looking for craft beers that I have never tried, so I took a look and low and behold, I saw a beer from Stone Brewing that I was not familiar with. This one is called Vertical Epic 12.12.12. This beer was released by Stone over a year ago, but I thought it was worth reviewing after I tried it.
Before I get into this review, I should point out that I am an IPA guy. I will try almost any craft beer, but I prefer beers that are not thick, dark, and smoky. I personally do not like the feeling I get when I drink my dinner, if you know what I mean! I have worked as a professional chef for the past 24 years, and I believe that I have an experienced pallet that is constantly seeking out new challenges. After reading the label on Stones Vertical Epic, I thought this should be an interesting experience for my taste buds.
Vertical Epic is a Belgian style Ale that has an opaque black appearance that reminds me of a star free night in the country. The head on this beer is a light cream color that is almost a light brown.
The aroma of this beer reminds me of Hanger 24s Pumpkin Porter. My senses were immediately met with the aroma of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and a small track of cloves. I also experienced notes of molasses, espresso, and vanilla.
For me, the aroma and taste of this beer were very similar. I experienced heavy flavors of Allspice which has a combined flavor of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a hint of juniper berry. The beer also had a slight espresso taste, and I could almost taste oak which I thought was strange as the beer was not aged in oak barrels.
This is a full bodied beer that has a slight hint of dry hops and a somewhat bitter finish.
I thought this beer was very good, and it reminds me of the smell and comfort of the holidays. I can envision myself watching a game on Sunday and sipping on this beer while enjoying a slice of warm apple pie. If you have not tried a the latest release of Vertical Epic, I suggest giving it a shot as 2012 was the last year of production for the series.