mjg74 (2953) - La Mesa, California, USA - SEP 7, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a dark amber color. Aroma is rich and hoppy. A little bit of sweet/spice smell. A little alcohol as well. Flavor is hoppy with a malt presence. Seems to be a bit of spice. The alcohol is present but doesnít harm the taste.
Cletus (6355) - Connecticut, USA - SEP 7, 2006
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle courtesy of saarlander. Starts out by pouring a near red with a nice white head. Rosey scents dominate the initial pour, followed by some grapefruity notes, autumn leaves and grass. Great initial taste with peppery bitterness dominating the taste buds followed with some nice malty notes on the finish.
ABUSEDGOAT (2539) - California, USA - SEP 7, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Hazy amber body with a good head. Aroma is hopped out obviously with notes of grapefruity, spicy, citrusy, piney hops. Lesser notes of vanilla and caramel. Flavor is the same, delicious. Itís balanced quite well. Nice n bitter, but enough chewy malts to balance it out. This beer is screaming "Drink me faster dammit!" Alcohol is masked, itís not harshly bitter or sweet... wow.
cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - SEP 7, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
11/10/03. Poured out of 22 oz. bottle, bought at A & J Liquor in Covina, CA 11/10/03. Pours to mostly opaque copper/dark amber. Large fluffy head like a root beer float, lingers moderately with very spotty lacing. Nose is fantastic. Strong lemon-pine scent, fresh bitter hops, and rich malt, even bright berry fruitiness. Initial taste is a little bit sappy of pine and surprisingly mellow overall-- a little sweetness and a hop outline. Lovely full mouthfeel, creamy texture, and then on swallowing, the finish kicks in full-force: extremely bitter and dirty, glowing and humming with a sense of lack-- like now that the beer is no longer in your mouth, suddenly something is wrong. Moderately long with bitterness, glowing maltiness. Grows increasingly chewy and oily with each swig. Decent masking of the 8.5% alcohol-- it blends in behind the strong bitterness. Lovely overall. Wish I could try one next to a fireplace on Christmas Eve with the snow outside and after a nice turkey dinner.
CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - SEP 7, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: SEP 10, 2006 2003 rated on 6/13/2004: Aged about seven months. Dark ruby copper color with a nice, off-white lacy head. Very well balanced rich sweet butterscotch and bold hoppy aroma. Full, caramely sweet syrupy palate is nicely balanced with a tangy fresh bitterness. Hides its alcohol quite nicely. A consistently excellent brew!
2002 rated on 3/18/2003: Butterscotchy hop aroma flows from the caramel brown body with off-white head. Very rich and creamy mouthfeel with some sweetness and a powerful, but balanced hoppy bitterness. Dry, sweet finish that hides the alcohol extremely well. One of the best imperial reds Iíve had.
gputty (456) - Virgina Beach, Virginia, USA - SEP 7, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
From bomber, winter Imperial red version. Pours a cloudy orange brown with tan head. Nose is dank citrus, a crisp scent if that makes any sense. Flavor has a huge malty backbone with a giant hop profile, mainly citrus. Great lacing and a great body.
papajohn (1249) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - SEP 7, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: SEP 14, 2006 2002: 12/3/02 Had it on tap at the brewery while watching Peter, Tod and crew bottle it in the 22ís and having my jug filled with Anvil (ESB). Life is good. Golden orange color with a medium head. Aroma somewhat hoppy (duh). Flavor: Rich malt sweetness at the start, mildly hoppy and smooth finish. Good balance with a light dry citrus aftertaste. Nice after-burp to boot!
2003: 11/19/03 Picked up a jug@AleSmith Brewery- AWESOME! Happy Holidays
FlacoAlto (4133) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - SEP 7, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This beer shows a brilliantly clear rich amber-copper color when held up to the light, otherwise it is a sparkling amber-ruby color. A thick creamy tan head tops this beer. The aroma is all hop; citrusy, bitter, tangerine, and orange all waft from the glass. The head is quite persistent and forms a rocky surface as it slowly settles down. Wow, this is a spicy hop nectar of a brew. I detect some notes of cinnamon along with the hop bomb that is currently in my glass. The finish is bitter but only slightly so in comparison to the hop flavor that is packed into this beer. Quite full bodied for an IPA, almost approaching a Barley-wine in character. The taste is redolent of American hops; grapefruit, and a hop tang along with a certain spice character from the hops as well. This is just perfect for the holiday season, and I wish I had procured more bottles of this.
Having sampled quite a few of these over the years I find that these things definitely peak. When first released they are still a bit hot, but about a month out till about 6 months old these things are really kick ass, after these they seem to fade and lose the intriguing soul that they have during that 1 to 6 month window. What really puts this beer on top is the intriguing composition of ítraditionalí American hop notes with a subtle holiday spice note that is reminiscent of cinnamon, clove, and all spice. I have no Idea how these spices have found their way into this beer, but they are evident, to me, and I donít think that the brewers necessarily added any of them to this brew. Still this beer is a wonderful addition for the holiday season.
BigBastard (668) - L.A., California, USA - SEP 7, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Hop aroma and flavor, but not as hoppy as the summer release. Lots of sticky sweet malt, spice, vanilla and overripe fruit in here as well. Just the right amount of alcohol to kick up your holiday cheer. Look forward to this every year.
Earlier Rating: 2/12/2004 Total Score: 4.6
Wow, hops are all up in your face on this one. But the bitterness mellows, and a nice creamy orange flavor blooms over the tongue. I think this would be an awesome brew on a hot summer night, I plan on cracking one open on July 4th.
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 7, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
This elixir pours into the glass with a deep amber/red body topped by a thick, off white head with lots of lacing left behind. The aroma is slightly sweet yet bitter and hoppy with a grapefruit note, a nice sweet maltiness in the background and a very slight metallic note. The flavor is bitter, piney and hoppy with a sweetness from malt and a touch of grapefruit. The finish is piney and bitter. Medium to full bodied, slightly dry and warming.