Limited Edition

Brewery and Country of Origin: Stone Brewing Company of 1999 Citracado Pkwy, Escondido, San Diego, California 92029, USA

Date Reviewed: 3-13-14

Late in 2012, before the world ended, we went on about Fort Collin's homage to an Irish folk tale. A bit random, yes, but during that review we also talked about the very date that review was published, 12-12-12. Indeed, it was the last repeating date all of us would see in our lifetimes. But as sad as that sounds, the "celebration" didn't stop when December 13th came fortunately. That's when Stone's Vertical Epic series came to an end. With beers born on every repeating date since February 2nd, 2002, this series cursed with a definitive death brought on by its own uniqueness, celebrated a rare and often ignored date related phenomenon. The series followed no set style or pattern. Each beer born out of its own unique recipie, and unique story behind it. And this, the final installment on a ten year, ten month, and ten day journey through a quirky, explorative, and truly "epic" one time brewing experience, is the result. This, like every other beer in the series, is a strong ale distributed in bombers or served on tap at only the most expansive of beer halls. But this is the last chapter, the last hurrah, the final episode. This fermented swan song is a bit sad really, because this is the first of the series we really sampled. Fortunately, there are limited supplies of older runs still available, and we'll have to get our hands on them quick, before the 12-12-12 ends up being the only chapter we get to know. And this isn't like a rare car whose production run is ending, or a musical whose... well, production is ending. A beer is finite. Once you enjoy it, it's gone, and it's gone for good. This and every other beer in the series will never be made again, and for that reason, we encourage everyone to try not just these, but all limited brews whenever they get the chance. Because it would be sad to know one day that by the time you were finally able to get your hands on a pint of what would immediately become your new favorite beer, its brewer had already stopped making it. It won't be for many decades before we get repeating two digit dates again, and although a sequence of numbers on a digital wristwatch matters nothing of real significance, its empirical definition is something of fun. An opportunity to really take some light enjoyment out of nothing and for nothing other than being alive that day. This is definitely getting a bit too philosophical at the moment, but if there's one thing you should get from this, it's this: never stop trying new beers. There will always be new ones out there, crafted by passionate individuals who would love nothing more than to create amazing brews for all (of legal age) to enjoy. Seasonals, limiteds, one times, and all other small quantity beers are all about trying new things. That's the fun in beer, and that's the fun in life. So if you see something new, give it a whirl. Because it may not be around for another hundred years.
Date Sampled: 12-25-13 At: Penfield, NY, 14526, USA
Beer Style: American Belgian Style Strong Dark Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 9.00%
Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle, 14 oz Mug Glass
Rating: 3.74


12-12-12 Pours smoothly with a low amount of carbonation action, producing a thin, eighth inch tall foam head with a medium low density, a low amount of retention, and a sandy tan color. This is a dark beer with a good amount of opacity, with no shine or glow even in bright light. This is due to a very dark brown/black color and a lot of fine sediment which contributes to an overall clouding and hazy effect. This beer exhibits a moderately low amount of lacing and a low effervescent effect.


Immediately present is a dark roasted dark bitter sweet chocolate malty aroma full of festive spices to accompany including a good amount of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and anise. The aroma is strong overall conveyed with a bold, robust dark malty profile. A small presence of hops and a good amount of nuttiness with some bread/biscuity notes make up a fairly complex secondary. The aroma is sweeter overall with no alcohol tinge.


This is a full bodied one time offering with a high weight, a medium high viscosity, and a below average level of carbonation, making this a heavy, slow sipping beer suitible for colder weather. This beer finishes dull with no crispness or refreshment, and only a hint of dryness and some alcohol warming. This is a filling beer which is very smooth throughout with no texture from the sediment or any crispness from the limited carbonation.


Robust dark roasted or burnt malt make for a bold opening full of dark bitter semi swet chocolate and a good amount of festive spices as indicated by the aroma. These include the usual suspects: allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, accompanied by dark roast coffee notes. This beer's flavor profile also includes a bit of cookie like biscuit undertone and a small hint of alcohol taste. This beer finishes with a small amount of buttery hops and dark bitter malt in a lingering aftertaste.

Our Take

As the name indicates, this is a fairly epic beer. This is going to hit all of the right notes for those looking for a big seasonal beer. A large part of this beer's substantial presence is owed to its bold nearly burnt malt like opening, which dominates with roasted coffee and dark chocolate semi sweet flavor. This is also an aromatic beer, whose general taste is heavily influenced by its aroma. This is also a very dark colored beer which indicates its overall style and malt ingredients. And of course, this is a fairly strong beer. With the ability to boast an elevated 9.00% ABV, this 22 oz bomber encased specialty brew will get the night starting off strong and ending with a bit less poise. And despite a moderately high ABV, this beer's flavor and aromas do not suffer, albeit small amounts of the alcohol are still definitely noticeable. This is a filling beer that doesn't offer anything in the way of refreshment and you would only want this beer during the winter months when it was originally made. That said, this along with any of the other brews in the Vertical Epic Series, is a one time brew that will someday run out of supply. So if you're in the market for a tasty, strong, and heavy malt emphasizing brew, you'd better act quick.