DarkElf (3033) - La Jolla, California, USA - SEP 3, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
(Draft and Cask: AleSmith Brewing Company, Liars’ Club, & O’Brien’s in San Diego, CA) I’ve now had this beer on three occasions -- twice on draft and once on cask -- and while it’s clear that this is a beer meant to be enjoyed after a year or so of aging, I’m putting up a review now to show the progress this beer will make over time. It’s big, malty, sweet and very caramely, kind of like a Scotch ale, but also shows a fairly strong bitterness and some spiciness so that the beer isn’t just a sugar bomb. The problem the kegs are showing is the alcohol. It’s very evident, even a bit overwhelming, and this beer clearly need aging to smooth that out. Also, the alcohol is pleasant when the beer is cold, but as it warms up, that’s when the alcohol really takes hold. Malt and sweet caramel in the nose, but again, lots of alcohol. Full bodied and heavy, but not syrupy, thanks to the ample hops. Beautiful ruddy brown color is fairly clear in appearance. Light tan head fades to a small ring, leaving only a few traces of lace. Solid, but too hot unless you drink it cold. Until I had it on cask, I was prepared to give this only a 3.6.
Now, on cask, I think we can begin to see where this beer will be heading as it ages. The alcohol is still fairly pronounced, but not quite to the point of being overwhelming. It also seems more hoppy. I couldn’t taste hops in the draft version, but on cask, I actually can taste hops. I presume that, too, will mellow out over time. But I think the cask version is much better, more enjoyable, more "ready", and so my ratings numbers are based on this. Anyway, this is in no way a final review of this beer. And those who acquire a bottle should resist the urge to be among the first to rate this very young beer and exercise patience for they will be rewarded handsomely.
giarcsr (103) - Carlsbad, California, USA - SEP 3, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I find this a very interesting beer. the aroma to me smells like baileyís irish cream, and vanilla mixed together. Itís very pleasant actually.the pour is good, itís a nice rich amber, the only thing bad I can say is that my bottle wasnít too carbonated, but honestly I donít get too many Alesmith beers that are. Thankfully I donít think this affects the flavor which is very different and more interesting then the rest of the Alesmith line up. Itís got a solid old ale taste to it, but thereís a bit of an english twist to it with a solid almost vanilla like warming aftertaste thatís very enjoyable. Itís been mentioned before that this will be money in a year or so and I totally agree. Also, Iíve had this on cask twice and it is amazing, I think as of this posting there is only one cask of this beer left. It is well worth it to get a pint of that. If I was rating that Iíd probably have a score around 4.8 - 4.9 no problem, itís that amazing.
papajohn (1249) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - AUG 29, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: NOV 3, 2007 8/29/05: Sampled on tap@the brewery and again at home from a 750 ml. bottle: Chill haze ruby amber color with a small tannish head. Aroma is rich and sweet, dark fruit and a little alcohol (brandy like). Flavor is rich and sweet, honey, dark fruit, malty with a gentle bitterness and a light alcohol burn. Palate is sticky, smooth and rich. The 11% ABV warms the face. I agree, this will be awesome in a year or three if I can hang on to a couple that long.
9/21/05: Had another sample from the tap at the brewery and the alcohol harshness has already mellowed in just three weeks in the keg. Iím sure the bottled version will do the same in time. Check back in six months and a year for my update.
12/1/05: Damn, you should try this at room temp... Smooth, creamy, mellow and totaly awesome!
11/03/07: Rich and sweet over ripe fruit (cherries, plum, apple) in both aroma and flavor. The alcohol burn has mellowed and it has long lingering rich cherry sweet aftertaste. My last bottle...so sad : (
JohnC (3000) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - AUG 28, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I have had this beer on draft at the brewery and from the bottle. I enjoyed it both times; however, this brew will definitely improve with age.
Pours a hazy reddish brown with a quickly disappearing yellowish head. The flavor is slightly sweet, a bit stick w/ a thick feel on the tongue. I enjoyed it.
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 27, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
750 ml, from the brewery. Pours a deep and hazy chestnut color with a small off-white head that diminishes to a ring of bubbles and leaves spotty lacing. Aroma is rich and pleasing with heavy maltiness reminiscent of figs, molasses and brown sugar, with balancing floral and herby hop notes along with nutmeg and assorted spice. Flavor is also dominated by heavy, sweet malts, with maple, more molasses and dark, ripe fruits, a countepoint of humble floral hops and a prominent alcohol presence. Thick body and very smooth, gentle carbonation gives this one a very pleasing mouthfeel. This is definitely one to age, and I look forward to trying it again in a year and then two. But I couldnít resist breaking a bottle out tonight to reach and celebrate my 1000th rating!!! Thanks also to Peter for letting me pick up a few bottles a day early.
zug4abby (287) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 24, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: AUG 29, 2005 Thanks Dr. Bill!!
Pours an amber/brownish color with a small head and small amount of lacing. The aroma is wonderful with hints of malt, spice Tastes young, but delicious. Flavors of fruits and spices with a bite in the aftertaste. This beer is very good now and is going to be unbelievably fantastic once it gets a chance to age some. Thank goodness I will be at the Alesmith Anniversary party to pick up bottles on Saturday.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 22, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: AUG 29, 2005 I was forced to endure 12 hours of straight beer drinking just to sample this beer a week before it was officially released. It poured reddish brown with thin head. The aroma was spicey, musty, and quite malty with notes of clove and banana. Mouthfeel was smooth and refined and bitterness showed itself in the finish. In the middle, vanilla and fruit flavors rejoiced. Quite a refined beverage for being so young. Will certainly age nicely for at least a few years if not longer. Cask version at their anniversary party was quite nice also, seemed to be a little hoppier though??