Silphium (2969) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - FEB 2, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle #67/115. John (hopsrus) was generous enough to share this beauty with Jeff (TAR) and myself. Perfect appearance, opaque and dark with a creamy light tan head. Wood and bourbon are strong in the aroma along with alcohol and underlying roasted dry chocolate. Flavor is also heavily influenced by the barrel aging, with bourbon and wood character finishing with a creamy, buttery coffee and roasted chocolate malt medley. Smooth and velvety palate; this is not a sticky Imperial, but it is smooth as silk. I can understand why this is currently the top-rated beer on the site, though I would be interested to taste this (2002) batch without the effect of barrel aging and the bourbon flavors aging imparts.
JCW (1273) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - JAN 23, 2004
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAY 7, 2004 Shared this bottle with Derrick(hopefully the new Alesmith rep here in Cincy), Rick, Tom and four guys I hope to make RB converts from Middletown, Ohio. This is the second time I've had this brew, and yes its a winner. Last years Speedway(yes now my favorite, this year's isn't close yet), on top of a smooth, but not overwelming bourbon flavor. Mouthfeel was silky and full, perfect for an Imp. Finish was balanced between the sweetness that is always present in a good Imp and the slight bitterness and bourbon flavor of the aging. Excellent Stout! Thxs, Loweredsixth!
BrianO (138) - Ambler, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 12, 2004
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: FEB 9, 2004 First of all, many thanks to egajdis for sharing his bottle. This is one of those beers that once you drink this, all the beers the remainder of the night won't quite compare. Pours dark with small brown head. Aroma and flavor is chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and bourbon. Palate couldn't be better. Creamy, full-bodied, thick but not motor-oilish. This beer is deep and complex and made to be cherished. Very warming and very well done.
egajdzis (4894) - Spring Mount, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 11, 2004
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: AUG 19, 2012 Poured pitch black with a nice tan head and beautiful lacing. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, tobacco, bourbon and oak. Chocolate and coffee taste followed by a warming bourbon flavor and a full mouthfeel.
TheBeerGod (4631) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - JAN 10, 2004
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JAN 12, 2004 First, HUGE THANKS go out to jeffc666 for sharing this rare and awesome beer with me! Bottle #48. Pours motor oil black with a small brown head. Nose is intense! Wood, vanilla, molasses and some dark chocolate or cocoa. The taste is more of the same. It's a rich, meaty mix of alcohol, wood, more molasses and some sweetened notes. Rich creamy, although slightly alcohol, mouthfeel. Some alcohol is definitely noticeable during the finish but does not detract from this powerhouse. Pure power in a bottle. Again, I feel honored that jeffc666 shared this virtually impossible to find beer with me.
PeterA (340) - SLOVAK REPUBLIC - JAN 10, 2004
4.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle #39 (Many, many thanks to argo0) - I picked up malts, coffee and sugar in the aroma. The color, well, my notes call it a black hole. It had a nice thick brown head that dissipated without completely disappearing. The flavor was coffee, but sweetened with a touch of smokieness and alcohol. This is a smooth, creamy beer with a slightly bitter aftertaste that comes upon you slowly. Barrel aged stouts are wonderful things.
argo0 (10338) - Washington DC, USA - JAN 10, 2004
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JAN 11, 2004 Bottle #39 -- Black, black, black body, topped by medium brown head. Aroma is rich, molasses sweet, oak-aged bourbon, vanilla, coffee. Taste is big, delivering just what the aroma promises. Very full body. There's something wonderful with the way a bourbon cask can interact with a big stout, and this beer does it better than any other I've had. Absolutely delicious beer.
jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - JAN 10, 2004
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle #48 - Pours dark oily balck motor oil. Minimal tan head. Massive wood, oak, coffee, molasses, chocolate, alcohol aroma. The flavor is awesome, massive sweet oak, chocolate, coffee, with good alcohol notes. Massive body, chewy with a large chocolate and alcohol aftertaste. The oak flavors just keep on giving. An excellent beer!
unclebleen (620) - California, USA - JAN 8, 2004
4.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: JUN 11, 2004 Rerate: Well, this is as good as I remember but upon reflection, does this deserve a perfect rating? I'm not so sure. To me perfect means I'd choose said beer over any beer I've ever tasted, and I can't really say that even though it is so damn good. The aroma of this bottle was a little more alcoholic and astringent than I remenber from the first sampling of this beer. Overall it is a masterpiece of brewing. Original Rating: Bottle #47: I really loved this beer unlike any other I've come across. A previous rater mentioned that it may be over-rated based on lack of availability but I completely disagree. This is a great beer regardless of it's distribution or availability...it stands on it's own merits. Now for the tasting notes: It pours a dark chocolate color with a nice small even brown head. Supurb lacing throughout. The aroma is absolutely amazing...the bourbon notes inter-mingle perfectly with the coffee, chocolate roasted aromas. The first thing I noticed about the flavor was the balance between the roasted like bitterness, alcohol and the bourbon. The cask aging actually helped to balance the somewhat astringent finish of the original speedway. The body is very full. It was a pleasure to savor each sip of the beer. I've finally found my first perfect 5.0.
HoppyBunny (88) - Temptation, Michigan, USA - JAN 6, 2004
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
This beer was fantasic! It smelled like a coffee/beer drinkers delight. Aroused me on the smell I wanted to have my boyfriend pour it all over me and lick it off! The way it poured was strong and black like.... For the flavor, that is when I decided to pour it on me, but it was to wonderful to not taste a single drop. Overall, I found this to be a dangerously enticing beer for me, and can not wait to have it in my mouth again. :)