SAN DIEGO - 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.
With the release of Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale, Stone closes the chapter on the series but will open 11 bottles in tasty celebration. In Stone fashion, the company will hold a festival at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens: Stone Epic Festival: The Final Chapter. This grand-scale tasting extravaganza will take place on December 12 and commence at exactly 12:12 p.m. PST. Festival attendees will have the opportunity to experience all 11 Stone Vertical Epic Ales, in addition to special barrel-aged variations, with food pairing stations featuring dishes specifically created to marry with each of the vintages.
Name: Stone 12.12.12 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.
ABOUT STONE BREWING CO.
Twice named “All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine, Stone Brewing Co. was founded in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner and is the 11th largest craft brewer in the U.S. Headquartered in Escondido, CA, Stone owns and operates the farm-to-table restaurant Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Escondido, as well as Stone Catering, Stone Distributing, and Stone Farms. Other lofty ventures include construction of Stone Packaging Hall and a second restaurant with an on-site brewhouse, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Liberty Station, both with an estimated completion of first quarter 2013, and Stone Hotel & Headquarters with an estimated completion of second quarter 2013. For more information, please visit stonebrewing.com or on social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, and The Stone Blog.