tiggmtl (4545) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 17, 2006
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Raisins, plums, cherries and alcohol carry the crisp, nutty and somewhat sweet, malt-forward aroma. Clear, deep brown coloured body is topped by a low white head that recedes to a lasting cover with some nice lacing. Bready and grainy flavours blend well with the abundant dark pit-fruit esters along with a hint of darker malts and occasional touches of alcohol. Light medium body with moderate carbonation. Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub with MartinT, muzzlehatch, Olivier_MTL and Rastacouere.
ClarkVV (4164) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 13, 2006
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Draught tulip at the brewery on 3/10/06.
Deep auburn-mahogany with some darker black cherry skin highlights and a sandy-beige head of moderate size (one-finger) that is somewhat well retained and laces lightly.
The nose smells of a mix of fruity nut bread (cherries, candied figs and dates), brown sugar and some sweet cream. Alcohol dryness on the end, again a touch of phenols and the usual munich malt breadiness. The brown sugar and simple, sweet creamy sugars come off a bit too simple, with the fruits being a little too sugar-soaked/candied. Dryness comes, but it’s too bready and sharp (alcohol).
Flavor is overly simple. Well-extracted, of course, are the malts, but it just seems like brown sugar and candied cherries fatigue the palate somewhat, while a bit of looseness to the texture is at odds with the low carbonation. I don’t get all of the lusciousness I had hoped for. The malts nearly cloy instead of comforting. And it’s interesting that the alcohol is used to dry out the flavor. I can appreciate that that is more traditional than using hops, but combined with the breadiness from the munich malt it proves tiresome to my palate. Nuttiness and lightly astringent berry-skins on the end, with perhaps some phenols. Perhaps more an issue with German beers, than any complaint with Alchemist, as this beer is well-made, but I just find the breadiness and sweetness coupled with overly drying phenols and alcohol in a strong German beer to be inferior to a similarly made Belgian beer.
Rastacouere (6159) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 20, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Chestnut pour creates a quality off-white head that keeps on top of things. Growing alcohol level as the temperature raises cuts a bit from the otherwise rather complex nose with Alchemist’s usual malt extraction skill. Rounded nutty flavours skim through a sea of earthy nuances, of wet soil emanations, while the fruit background shows some backbone, hinting at tart blue grapes, nutmeg, berries. Aptly malt focused with original flavours to boot, the type of bready complexity I’d associate with a rye grain bill, but also strong on fortified wine (brandy?) nuances, both in terms of fruitiness and alcohol.
MartinT (8492) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 13, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Any first impressions?
-Elaborate lacing crowns the deep mahogany robe.
-Succulent figs, anise, raisins, and molasses grow steadily in the nose.
-Roasted malts cover the fruity sweetness of raisins and dates.
-Mouthfeel is slick and luscious, an obvious serious sipper.
What if you dig deeper?
-A firm alcohol glove caresses knowingly.
-Vinosity develops in the aroma, making it as complex as the flavor.
-The heavy maltiness even reaches sizeable black bean earthiness.
-Not your textbook example, this doppelbock is full of personality and is perfect for respectful (and joyful) sipping.
On tap at the brewpub.
muzzlehatch (4420) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JAN 12, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Free sample at the brewpub, thanks! Muddy dark umber, little head...interesting fruity-spicy initial nose, cherries and cinnamon gradually being taken over by big earthy caramel malt, a little weird, but...interesting....in the body, thick and fruity, cherries and blueberries dominating the atypical flavor profile, with caramel and anise, light smokiness late...tastes more like a spicy Christmas ale than anything else. I like it, but certainly an odd beast for a doppelbock.