cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - JAN 6, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
12/20/03. Poured out of 750 mL bottle, bought at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA 12/12/03. Holy holy, is this a delicious beer! Muddy, dark reddish-brown with very little head. Lots of particles and a "serious" but appealing look. Delicious aroma of spicy malt and candi sugar, hints of fruitiness-- dark cherry-- and caramel. Initial taste is lightly sweet with bitterness of hops and spices. Definitely a Belgian brown ale. Nice, full body, very smooth texture with tingling, numbing bitterness spreading throughout the mouth. Finish has a bitter, glowing bright hum with dark dirty malt and hops, as well as a tremendous, mouth-watering complexity. Very smooth and long finish with a slight sweetness creeping in late on. This beer is amazingly complex and contradictory-- dark yet fruity, mouth-watering yet numbingly drying, spicy yet cooling-- very delicious stuff and just an outstanding beer all-around.
biermonk (265) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JAN 5, 2004
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Lovely dark amber color with a huge head perched atop. Head lasted for the entire glass and left wonderful lacings down the sides of the tulip. Aroma was rich with fruits I think cherries and sugary smells. Flavor was also very heavy with sugars. Couldn't pick out the cherry in the flavor. I think maybe a bit too sweet for my liking. Overall a nice one.
Cobra (1100) - - DEC 31, 2003
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
750 ml green bottle. Crowned & corked. 2003 batch. Poured out a murky, burnt orange color, with an enormous tan head. It slowly faded back to a thick mat of lace on top of the beer, and clung desperately to the sides of the glass. Yeasty islands appear as the head slowly slides back to reveal a wonderful aroma. Smells of fresh cut hay, bready yeast, lots of citrus happening here also. Aromas of candi sugar, corriander & other exotic Indian ocean spices as well. Lemon peel, orange zest, fresh squeezed grapefruits round out the citrus components of this nectar. Strong malts in the taste as well as a zingy hops bite. This has got to be one of the best Abbey beers I've ever had. Different character than Westvleteren Abt 12, but special in it's own way anyway. Words fail me as I sip & enjoy this truly exquisite finely crafted beer.
A great beer to end 2003 with, if I do say so myself.
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - DEC 28, 2003
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: DEC 29, 2003 First rate pour of light brownish leather settling as a dark caramel brown with a slender reddish tone, dusky thick and opaque with tons of yeasties suspended within the murk. Head grows tall and fast of tannish fluff to a fine velvety smoothness becoming rocky and crusty as it begins to melt down which takes a good amount of time before finally a full haze on top and thickly fluffed collar sticks around the edge. Lacing is in sparitic globbuels.
Aroma is appetizing and soft with spices; delicate and easeful with a sufficient showing of lemon tea cookies and lemon and orange zest with small notes of giniger and cinnamon. Has some notions of dark caramel surfacing from underneath on big wiffs plus some yeast, phenolic, and warm alcoholic notes. More of the yeast and phenols come through as it warms, big time.
Taste is very complex and incerdibly inticing. Whew, what a mouthfull of things going on here. Simply amazing and fine with nothing to overpowering really other then the alcohol hitting fast as it goes down very nicely with a smooth zesty fullness that begins to make your head swoon just after half a glass and there's yet a whole nother serving in that 750ml bottle yet to come, oh boy...a long night ahead. Flavors are quick to enter with sharpening tones of citrus zest from lemon and orange with some light pineapple, white grapes, dulled grapefruit, and sweet mango inscribed within the mix along with small added notes of yeasty spicyness with kinda of a peppery, clove, nutmeg, citrus peel zest thing. Lots of zest! Lots of softened spicyness. And what makes it even more remarkable is there seems to be a very nice dark malty sweetness of toffee/caramel that kinda keeps those spices from getting out of control and too strong. Beautiful medley of flavors that intermingle and dance with each other in perfect harmony. Full bodied feel with a bit of sharpness and yeastyness that takes away just a nudge for me, but not by much. So goes the feel so goes the drinkability, in most cases anyways, and it does with me with this, by just another nudge mainly due to the untraceable alcoholic effect this has and smallish sharp tone of zest and yeast. But damn this is some very good stuff!
guzzler67 (1529) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - DEC 25, 2003
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Cloudy reddish brown appearance with a large tan head. Fruity aroma dominated by plums and raisins. Sweet malt and caramel taste. Medium-bodied with a very smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol content well hidden. Candyish finish was complimented with a bit of spicyness.
Frank (3044) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 16, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Very dark, cloudy orange. Almost no head. Apples and bananas in the aroma. Syrupy and thick with slightly biting carbonation. Heavy and strong.
jbrus (4992) - Delft, NETHERLANDS - DEC 15, 2003
3.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 15/20
Very fruity aroma with apple and orange. Debris floating, orange brown color, beige head, good lace. Fruity, sweet, light spices, medium body. After the great aroma the flavors were a bit disappointing and it was surprisingly thin.
bierkoning (10563) - La Tropica, NETHERLANDS - DEC 15, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Great beer, but not worth the top 50 position IMO. Dutch Ratebeer meeting, 1 1/2 litre bottle. Chunks of yeast floating. Orange liquor aroma. Malty, alcoholic flavor . Orange, peppery and a hint of chocolate. A bit too much of everything to earn a top rating. In der Beschränkung zeigt sich der Meister (in the limitation the real master comes up).
Kåstå (1273) - Mol, BELGIUM - DEC 15, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark blond - amber coloured beer with a medium disappearing head. Fruity, spicy aroma. Sweet caramelly, spicy taste. Neutral to light bitter finish. An excellent Christmas beer. It has it all.
caesar (5324) - Bunnik/Utrecht, NETHERLANDS - DEC 14, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Dutch ratebeer meeting. Large head, clear orange-brown coloured. Very spicy aroma, fruity, butter, orange. Spicy and malty taste, bit chocolat maybe. Sharp alcohol burn in taste and palate.