Sham (1845) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 20, 2004
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Dark brown with ruby hints. Thick and creamy tan head. Strong lacing. Aroma is full of ginger and cinnamon. Piney hops. Caramel in the flavor with small bittering hops. There is an abundance of spices. Again, the ginger is hanging about. Cinnamon. Spruce. Thick body. Finishes bitter and spicy.
herbjones (742) - Orange, California, USA - NOV 20, 2004
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
I like the fact that they didnt go overboard with the spices this year. The deep roasted malt flavor is allowed to be the star with all the spices relegated to a backup role. Very nice, one of the better years imo.
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 20, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle thanks to bucknaked. Pours a wonderfully deep brown black. Up to the light there are dark ruby tinges. Mocha yellow head. Bubbly. Aroma of spruce (yes, I was told to look for this, but hearing that, it is undeniable), light ginger (oh no.), light brown malts and some honey and a touch of belgian yeast!!! yes!! even though it is moderately filtered, you can taste a touch of yeastiness, like a belgian brown ale. Flavor is highly reminiscent of a belgian bruin, but add in the spruce, big right off the bat and then add in some ginger, cinnamon and a light hops. Thank god, I was about to give up on OSA. Last year was as close to undrinkable as it gets. This year returns to its stoutish roots. medium full and a bit too much carbonation. So refreshingly better than last year. thank god.
Sven (229) - Lancaster, California, USA - NOV 19, 2004
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draught at Stuffed Sandwich, San Gabriel. 2000-2004 Vertical tasting on 11/19/04
Beautiful chestnut coloured body with an ample, fluffy, lasting tan head. Very different recipe than the past few years, this is much more malty with a great dark roastiness, almost porter like, lots of nut and caramel with the slightest hint of cream and banana.
sfontain (811) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - NOV 19, 2004
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
NOT EVEN CLOSE to last year’s version, which I currently consider the best beer I’ve ever had. Last year this beer was absolute heaven; now it’s only above-average. Pour is very dark garnet with a small ring of bubbly foam. Aroma is just not nearly and round and full as last year; this year’s version has a lot more nondescript sugary, fruity sweetness, rather than having the chocolate and vanilla and spices come through; a lot more cinnamon this time around; some deep brown sugar hidden in there. Flavor is heavily nutmeg, malty sweetness, and that’s gonna pretty much do it. Thick and sticky; the spices linger on the tongue faintly for a while, which is pleasant. Why, oh why couldn’t they have just stuck with last year’s recipe?
Ernest (6272) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - NOV 19, 2004
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Head is initially average sized, frothy, light brown, mostly
diminishing. Body is dark brown. Aroma is lightly malty (cookie, dark
chocolate), lightly yeasty (dough), with strong notes of allspice,
nutmeg, scorched pine needles. Flavor is moderately sweet, moderately
acidic, moderately bitter. Finish is lightly sweet, moderately acidic,
heavily bitter. Light to medium body, watery texture, lively carbonation,
lightly astringent. Virtually identical to the previous years’ when I had those fresh. Maybe a little more burnt smelling, and a little thinner bodied, but I really don’t see the need to split these entries by year. Bah.
frankR (145) - Davis, California, USA - NOV 18, 2004
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark brown liquid, slight amber hue. Creamy diminishing tan head. Nose of Anchor yeast, roasted tones, coffee and chocolate and fruit. Fluffy light but tingly body. Flavors starts with roasted tones and finishes with fruit, some slight hop bitterness and some noticable minty herb. Very delicious stuff for the holidays.
BuckNaked (1230) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - NOV 18, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle: Deep ruby brown, slightly opaque, with a medium light brown head. Aroma: Very crisp, fresh pine, gingerbread, spruce boughs, banana, maple, cinnamon, brown sugar, spiced plums, bubblegum, pinefresh. Taste: More bitter than I expected, but in a good way. Dark gingerbread, cherries, chocolate, roasted malts, spruce, anise, ginger, light coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, belgian candy sugar, mild caramel, and just a hint of citrus & grapfruit hops in there that keep everything else in check. Finishes mildy dry, bitter, leaving you with a distinctly cinnamon, spruce, and chocolate tasting malt on your tongue. Medium to full bodied. Excellent beer for the holidays.
biz82 (1328) - austin, Texas, USA - NOV 18, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours deep red with little head. Very appealing and fresh aroma of dark caramel, raisens, maple, spruce, with a sharp winey hint. Thick, rich body and mouth feel. Flavors match the aromas. There is little bitterness or hop character. Previous years seemed more intense. An exceptional ale none the less and particularly good on draught.
heemer77 (5104) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - NOV 18, 2004
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Very dark amber and brown body. Has a thin yellow head that stays around. Aroma is gingerbread and some bananas. Also has a little bit of musty tree, like standing in a stand of trees, with just hint of pine. The flavor is a little thin and reminds me of a dark bread with hints of anise and some currants. A very rich brew that would probably age well.