iwantalambic (1478) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 23, 2003
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
12 oz [2002 version, one year later]: Dark brown with just a hind of ruby, a velvety blanket of head rests on top. . . soft aroma of vanilla beans, sweet bourbon whiskey, crystal malts, raisins, and pears. Palate is a bit thin, and after such aromatics a little disappointing. Never-the-less, the flavours still offer nice soft pale malts and a lightly bitter hop balance and a bit of lively carbonation in the finish. More vanilla, some orange zest and faint pine round our a nicely aromatic beer with solid flavours.
SubstanceT (1092) - Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 22, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
darker thin head, hoppy in the nose, hoppy in the taste but the malts balance well to make it fairly sweet and easily drinkable.
Holdwine (1116) - Beertimore, Maryland, USA - DEC 20, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Deep, dark reddish brown. Toffee notes, quite a mind-clearing strong ale. No hops to speak of, but you certainly won't miss them. Gets better with warmth as it loses the alcohol bite.
TAR (2518) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - DEC 18, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: NOV 19, 2006 Aged one year: Clear reddish-brown. Lasting creamy light gray head. Plummy malt aroma with some mild wax, soft smoke, roasted nuts, black currant, and citric hop undertones. Slight oxidation highlights the elegant malt richness. Soft texture. Feathery carbonation. Start malt sweet and slightly oxidized. Earthy hop and wax hints poke through here and there over a glazed malt and apple skin topping. Finishes long with a plethora of meaty malts and vague leafy hops along with a resilient caky, dark fruit malt charge. Subtle sherrylike twang hangs on with rich malts and black currants. Aging this has tempered the hop coarseness and has yielded substantial oxidation and faint acidity. Now it is only teeming with an overload of nutty, sugary, fruity malts.
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 15, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
A nice deep garnet color, and it is quite clear when held up to the light. It has a nice fruity, lightly spiced and hoppy aroma. This beer has a nice hop contribution, for some reason I was not expecting this, but it is good. The taste has some fruity - cherry notes as well as some light subtle spice character (as I understand it this is all done without the use of any real spices). The finish is slightly astringent, and is accompanied by a light sweetness. There is a bitter hop finish as well, though not IPA like but it is quite pleasing.
davesarman (159) - Waconia, Minnesota, USA - DEC 13, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Roasty malt aroma. Not sweet, but roasty. Nice brown color with good sized tan head. Body is a little thin at first, but malt soon makes it's presence known. Very little hops in this beer. Finishes surprisingly clean, yet alcohol is apparent as well. Not bad, not great.
brownaler (378) - Topsail Beach, North Carolina, USA - DEC 10, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Definately at diamond in the rough: finding an 8% beeer in NC. The dark brown beer forms a small white head. Has a nice and spicy hop flavor mainly in the front.
Prostman (1077) - Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 9, 2003
4.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Poured very dark brown with a little white head. Taste was of subdued but present hops that balanced out the malty flavors nicely. Recommended.
Kasteelfreak (341) - Fallbrook, California, USA - DEC 9, 2003
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
The best holiday ale I've had so far. Nice full body, and nothing too weird about it. Color is a nice clear, deep copper-amber-brown (mahogony?). Aroma has some spicy notes to it, but again, not too crazy. Mouthfeel is full. Nice malty flavor with a spicy finish. It's the balance and the full body that I like about this.
Nuffield (3769) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - NOV 30, 2003
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
I've had two bottles of the six-pack so far and I'm warming to this. At first blush it has a hoppy profile, but in fact it is a more robust spiciness that begins to transcend style descriptions. Dark brown color, moderately large bubbles of carbonation in my glass. Undistinguished palate--mostly wet. The aroma/flavor profile is most deeply coffee-like to me, with some sweet, nutty, caramel, and nutty notes. Increasingly interesting as it warms. Though some edge on it still keeps me from giving it especially enthusiastic support.