Monday, January 21, 2013

Vertical Epic 121212

You know you have a sister who really loves you - I mean, really loves you - when she buys you awesome beer for Christmas.

She totally hooked me up!  

The first beer I tried from this amazing trifecta was the Vertical Epic 121212 by Stone Brewing.  

Vertical Epic 121212 (9% ABV) is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It pours a rich sable brown verging on black with a thick fluffy taupe head that dissipates into layer after layer of glass grabbing lace.  I said GLass grabbing!

The aroma is interesting.  Typically, I expect to get a whiff of hops or malt or some other such beery smell.  Not in this ale.  121212 was all spice - especially clove and cinnamon - but mostly clove.

The flavors build layer after layer on the tongue starting with a subtle grapefruity, floralness that opens the door to the richness of dark chocolate and coffee entering the realm of stouthood.  But not.  Next comes rolling in a mouthload of beerific spiciness; clove predominates over cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses.  The mellow sweetness of the spice merges with an enticing bitterness that finishes crisp and clean on the palate.

The mouth feel is a smooth, creamy wow.  Very pleasant; much like a milk stout in texture.

I'm not a huge fan of spiced beer.  I find that many are simply spices with an alcohol carrier in the form of beer.  In 121212, however, there are so many other flavors to add contrast and balance that I almost forgot I was drinking a spiced beer.  It all works out quite nicely.

This is my first Vertical Epic and I rue not having experienced any of the others.

Overall - awesomeness!  Good job Stone!

Visit Stone Brewing's website for more information about their many great beers or check them out on Facebook

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