Stone's 12-12-12 Vertical Epic

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“Oh barkeep, pour me a tall pint of that epic, thin, mildly hopped light beer please.” Said no one. Ever.

 

As well they shouldn’t. Epic is just that, large, over the top, of grand proportions and 12-12-12 definitely fits that bill. After over a decade Stone Brewing is finally wrapping up this grand experiment in guerrilla marketing of the highest order. Starting in January 2001 they dedicated themselves to brewing a dozen epic beers and releasing each brew 1 year, 1 month and 1 day after the previous. So the Epic series contains twelve releases all titled and released on 1-1-1, then 2-2-2, 3-3-3, etc. This being their 12-12-12 offering it is the final offering in the series.

 

Throughout the years their Epic beers have all been just that, large, over the top, huge and memorable and 12-12-12 follows its brethren into the history books in good form. Huge and dark this is not a beer for dieters. Tons of spice notes, both sweet and savory with just a mild hint of spicy heat on the very back.

 

Visual: Thick, creamy, rocky head covering a deep black body. Float the bottle cap on the head? I could probably float myself on this cushion of foam. Pours thick not watery with plenty of carbonation.

 

Aromatic: Wow. It smells like someone is baking spice bread, seriously. Yeasty, malty, little to no hops but plenty of everything else that could possibly go into a beer.

 

Pallet: Pick up a holiday baking cookbook and there’s your list of flavors. Cinnamons, nutmegs, molasses, some cloves and just lurking around the corner is some citrus. All of these experiences are tremendously complimentary to each other and weave themselves into a grand brew.

 

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, of course. Plenty of carbonation to wash the pallet but this bad boy isn’t shy about letting you know what you are drinking.

 

Overall: This is a winner and who expected Stone to fall down now as they reach the finish line with this series? The brewers at Stone are artists who obviously love their work and that shows in this beer. I’ve been accused in the past of using insults as compliments and I’m going to do that here: I picked up a sense of this beer being a homebrew. Now, to a professional brewer that might not seem nice, but hear me out. I feel that Stone brewed this beer without a cost analysis spreadsheet lying around someplace. No beancounter was consulted when they chose ingredients, production process or packaging. Someone in that organization gave the brewers full reign on deciding how this beer was going to come out of the bottle and they chose to have it show their love for their craft. Bravo, guys. Bravo.