goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - FEB 19, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Poured a very dark brown (close to opaque) with a ruby edge and small tan head. A swirl of the glass leaves tan legs up the wall. Big sweet roasty aroma. Dark chocolate, licorice, grape (more like candy grape than the fruit) and a touch of smoke (smokehouse almond smoke). Some alcohol in the nose. Flavor is sweet and roasty. Caramel, roasted malt and candy. All are well balanced. Sweet finish mixed a moderate bitterness. Very warming in a medium to full body. Seems like it is going to be very sweet from the beers start but doesnít get that way. Doesnít finish dry either. Just a good balance. While this is full of flavor and very warming it drinks well. A full bottle equals a good night.
crizay (1050) - Brook Park, Ohio, USA - FEB 19, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
So it made itís way too Tampa, the much talked about and sought after Mephistopheles, will it live up to the hype? It poured a deep dark black with nice tan head. First sip, wow, itís extremely sweet, then a big dark chocolate flavor hit me. The more the beer warmed it seemed to get sweeter and sweeter but with the big dose of 15.1% with it, so this beer to me the alcohol was in there and big but it was a sweet alcohol that went down very smooth, you just have to drink it slow. Mostly dark chocolate but with slight coffee and fruitís and the big sugar sweetness, it stays very creamy and smooth the whole time. The alcohol took this beer over a little too much, but it was good tasting, it just drowns out the other flavors for me at least, still very good tasting. This beer is not for the weak.
jimbowood (1036) - Freeport, Georgia, USA - FEB 18, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle courtesy of degarth. Chose this one in honor of my sonís 2nd birthday. Thought Iíd try a nice beer to celebrate. Wasnít what I was expecting. Hot w/ alcohol. Too much raisins/fruit and alcohol and too little chocolate, smoke, vanilla, and other typical imp stout flavors. Overrated IMHO. The boy is in the 100th percentile, but Iíím not so sure about the beer.
hopdog (8530) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 17, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
12oz bottle labeled bottled on Jan 2006, Batch 1. Poured a dark, dark, black color with an averaged sized than head. Aromas of strong chocolate, roasted malts, light coffee, anise, and molasses. Tastes of chocolate, licorice, coffee, anise, and some caramel. Stronger alcohol kick in the finish (but I wouldnít have guessed it was over 15%). On the sweeter side.
TAR (2410) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - FEB 15, 2006
2.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
UPDATED: FEB 11, 2010 Deep ebony. Compact layer of tan froth. Blackcurrants, molasses, ink, cookie dough, tar, and unsweetened chocolate invade the nose. Heavy swirls release hints of charcoal and roast. Substantial airiness quickly lifts the oily, viscid film from the tongue. Initially sweet and tangy with a meaty flurry of molasses sliced with a drying alcohol effect. Mammoth malt frame packs depth-lending accents of gritty roast, zingy acids, and black-chocolate bitterness which somehow manage to penetrate the sludgy body. Absolutely teeth coating and lip sealing, up until the woody malts, relaxed tannins, and alcohol-fueled dryness temporarily calm the sweetness. Fairly moist at the center, with a soy-like tang coupled with fresh pipe tobacco. Perceptibly sweet notes of brown sugar and candied currants lurk beneath. Quite inky and vinous, but lots of soppiness develops due to a resounding blackcurrant expression which stifles any espresso richness that might try to restore balance. Finishes inordinately dry, considering its size, as heavily understated but brash and crunchy char yield softly smoky and phenolic echoes. Phenols and vague fruity-hops ensue after each belch. Due to the bubbles being both hard and loose on the tongue, this suffers slightly. Yes itís deep in a number of ways, keeping it from becoming too ďkitchen-sinkish,Ē but Iíd like to see this rely more on estery depth in lieu of the sugary sweetness that the turbinado unmistakably imparts.
Murphy (1759) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - FEB 15, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: DEC 16, 2006 Batch 1
Pours viscous, dark oily brown with a medium head, brown with small bubbles and good retention. Aroma is both incredible and unique- molassis, gingerbread, light cocoa, ethanol, and just a hint of spice. Sweet, and slightly burnt. Initial taste is chocolate, cherries, and huge sweet and roasted malts. Large floral notes which Iíve never tasted in a stout, but balances here perfectly. Mild molassis balanced against bitter hops and roasted malt. Hints of coffee. Nice oak/bourbon thing going, certainly not overdone. Palate is undeniably a 5- smooth, velvety approach and in no way offensive, making the beer way to easy-drinking. Clings to the mouth, reminding you of the greatness you just drank. Averyís main flaw, in my opinion, is that their high alc beers often donít mask the ethanol at all. I guess they figured out how to do it, because this 15%er not only tastes like 10%, but is balanced against the rest of the flavors and redolance so well. The balance of every nuance of this beer simply cannot be overstated. Easily Averyís best beer to-date, and a world class brew as well.
Batch 2. 12-16-06
Pours same as before, black with huge brown head. Aroma is very sweet, very alcoholic, hints of coffee. Taste is dominated by abrasive alcohol. Astringent. Possible coffee, licorice in there. Sticky mouthfeel. Finish is sour. A complete reversal from Batch #1
mkobes (2138) - paramus, New Jersey, USA - FEB 15, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Deep black in color with a tan head. Malty and roasty aroma. Chocolate and caramel notes. Fruity. Raisiny, Plums. Malty and roasty flavor. Thick and rich tasting. Finish is chocolatety. Full bodied. Nice beer. Very drinkable.
acertain (249) - Seattle, Washington, USA - FEB 14, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: FEB 15, 2006 Bottle, courtesy of Degarth and Suttree (I had two trades going, and they both came in at the same time, so they both get credit). This beer looks great. Thick brown head, opaque black body. So far, so good. Now the problems start. I like my imperial stouts at around 55 degrees. In my opinion, this brings out the range of flavors in the beer and enhances the experience. So I started this one at 55. At this temp, the aroma was heavily dominated by alcohol. There were other typical stout aromas in there, but alcohol pushed them all aside. In the mouth, I found it almost undrinkable. The alcohol dominated everything and made it impossible to taste anything else. I was very disappointed, considering the effort my trading partners had gone through to get this to me. In desperation, I stuck my glass in the fridge and let it cool down. I cooled it down to 42 and started again about an hour later. At this temp, the nose was much better. Coffee, chocolate and sweet, fruity aromas combined nicely with a hint of alcohol; however, due to the temperature, it was all subdued. In the mouth, the cold temperature allowed the sweetness to dominate, as the volitiles that give rise to the complex taste experiences were subdued. During the course of drinking it, it got back up to 50 degrees. At this point, the aroma and flavor had come out a little more, but the alcohol was starting to re-assert. I donít know if Iím more sensitive to alcohol than other folks (though I like the World Wide Stout), or what, but this was a big let down for me. My score in each of the first categories is the best over the entire sampling process; my overall score reflects my overall satisfaction with the beer.
ClarkVV (3863) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - FEB 14, 2006
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: OCT 4, 2007 Batch 1 bottle, many samples at the EBF in Boston, 2/11/06.
The head is nearly retentive. Tan and foamy, though dense when you first pour it. It laces quite well, which for a filtered beer is incredible. Ok enough appearance, if Avery was bottle conditioned or unfiltered it would be a 5. This is the next best thing.
The aroma is the best part, with raisins, dates, toffee, brown sugar and caramel all overexuding themselves. Itís like they beat every last drop of aroma they could from the malt. Thick, rich and, carrying very well (nor does it diminish as you get near the end). Clear and chewy, with a soft carbonation and mild chocolate sweetness filling the middle part of the malt ride. Finishing, it adds sherry, vanilla, and light chewy graham crackers. Not as rich and soothing a mouthfeel as Bells Expedition or Dark Lord 04, and not quite as stylish as Free State Owd Macs, but really well-executed, not overly acidic or hoppy at all, with tons of raisins and kahlua-like chocolate-coffee notes. Impressively masked is the alcohol. 9/4/8/4/18
Batch 2 bottle shared with SuIIy and JoshuaB on 2/2/07
It wasnt even the alcohol that made this one much worse than remembered. But a rather beany, powdery, breadiness that lingered on the finish of the flavor and seemed ingrained in to the beer. Very dulling to the fruits and roast and chocolate. Coffee was too liquorous and the beer a bit too syrupy. I canít say I hated it, but itís just too forceful and does not have any of the smoothness or elegance that batch 1 had (at least while it was chilled). Texture, while big and sugary, still suffers from the cheap carbonation. None of the cherry-vanilla-chocolate liqueur smoothness that I remember so vividly from the first batch either (that divine aroma it had). Not horrible and much better than you usually get from Avery, but not something Iíll be buying again. 7/4/6/3/12 Score reflects the second batch.
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - FEB 13, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle @ EBF. Dark tan head sits atop a pitch black body. Full nosed roasted flavors or espresso, anise, burnt cherries and molasses. Doesnít have the big alcohol kick I was expecting but you can tell itís buried in there, oh yeah. Gooey, chewey and full of coffee and tobacco. Averyís best yet.