Nuffield (3801) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - OCT 31, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Some head on an aggressive pour, burning off quickly (canít be sustained with this alcohol), golden body with edges showing a spectrum from amber to yellow and a perfectly clear edge. Aroma of alcohol, very hot, brandy. Notes of apple, vanilla, honey, some apple candy. Smooth, thick, sweet, and burning my lips. I need to age one for a long, long, time.
brewbandit (312) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - OCT 27, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
One of the best Avery has come out with. Yes, Adam, I too enjoy the hops. But this is a wonderful caramelly aromatic brew with light carbonation. The solid mouthfeel laces the tongue with the malt flavors and hints at a developing light sherry note. As it warms in the glass, the vanilla from the oak begins to flower forth. A strong warmth of the alcohol brings beads of sweat on the brow. Are you sure itís only 14.5% ABV. Man, I canít wait to celebrate a good snowfall! Here in Atlanta? Sorry, not waiting. Now where did I put that bottle opener?
PurplePieMan (6) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - OCT 26, 2005 does not count
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
2005 bottle. This is going to be a tough one... I could not produce a head no matter how hard I poured. Nice color though- translucent and sort of an orangish whiskey hue. A few tiny bubbles and almost no sediment. Aroma is pleasant at first. Sweet nectar and then ouch- it burns my nostrils. First sip - fleeting flavors dancing all over my tongue. Very hard to nail down: Concentrated maltiness, flower petals, figs, artificial sweeteners? It very hard to tell. The burning comes and chases my friends away.
Leaves my mouth feeling hot and slightly sticky. Try it again 2 hours later. Itís almost better warm.
Iím not sure where to go with this. Iíll buy some for the cellar and try it again in a year or two. This bad boy needs to mellow out a bit but there is tremendous potential..
TheEnemy (562) - Chicago, USA - OCT 26, 2005
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
12oz bottle courtesy of Crosling
Dark amber liquid has bits of suspended sediment hanging about. A ham-fisted pour manages to produce only a medium-thin white head which leaves a few spots of lace here and there along the sides of the glass. Acetic and slightly alcoholic aroma with hints of malt and vanilla. Big sweet caramel flavor with lots of malt, notable acetic/cider, and hints of honey, vanilla and a tiny touch of wood sap. Initial creamy palate becomes increasingly thick and cloying with each swallow. As Averyís own commercial description notes, they contained their erstwhile urge to hop the great holy hell out of this beer. While I often lament their tendency to overhop their high-end beers, the Samael actually could have stood a bit more hop bittering to balance the intense sweetness. Still, Iím rather fond of this beer and I regard it as one of the most fascinating American iterations of the style.
walleye (1080) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - OCT 25, 2005
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: DEC 30, 2007 from the bottle. poured a orange amber, with a off white head. aroma caramel, fruity, woody, hops. yeast, sugar,, alcohol. flavor the first thing I got was the alcohol a nice smooth alcohol, than out jumped the caramel, honey, fruit and a nice touch of hops. not too bad
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - OCT 23, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured a clear golden amber with minimal head. Aroma was sweet and fruity. Apples, pears and sugar. Swwet thick and sugar flavor. Almost syrupy. Pretty warming. I will try to save a bottle for a few years and see what happens.
Silphium (3188) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - OCT 23, 2005
2.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 9/20
Enmity towards man, indeed. This beer took its time making it to Michigan, and now I understand why. Deep red-copper body with s...l...o...w...l...y rising CO2 bubbles indicating a very syrupy nature; thin off-white head. Sweet, candy-like aroma with prune, soy, honey, caramel, fermented fruits and alcohol. Sickly sweet, syrupy body, raisiny, with soy, prune, fermented grape and pear, caramel, and hints of oak. The alcohol provides "fire in the belly." Rough palate. These high ABV beers turn into predictable messes when the "complexity" equates with cloying raisin, soy, and honey syrups. Blech. Pass. Punt. End game. (Avoid.)
3fourths (8537) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - OCT 20, 2005
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: OCT 21, 2006 Clear amber apple juice color with a thin filmy white head. Sweet smell of some amaretto, apple juice, sugary hops, clover honey and a light hint of lavender. Tingly on the lips, a little burning on the back of the throat... reminds me of Utopias - the vanilla, wood and amaretto flavors are not overwhelmed by the alcohol, but I have to admit that they are overwhelmed by the sweetness. Caramelly and chewy, unbelievably too sweet, I donít really want to drink this again.
zathrus13 (1735) - Mount Laurel, New Jersey, USA - OCT 19, 2005
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAY 29, 2006 Thanks to ClarkVV for including this as an extra in our recent trade. Pours orange/amber, with a small tan head. Aromas are Sweet malt, fruit, wood, caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Flavors are much like the aroma, but also with raisins, smoke, and honey. Alcohol is certainly present and this should age well, but itís damn good now.
Cobra (1100) - - OCT 17, 2005
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
12 oz. brown, longneck bottle. $6.99 each at a local watering hole. Poured out a deep orangish caramel color, with a faint tan colored head. Aromas are of oak barrel right away, with sweet sugar, caramels, toffee, & alcohols. Thick, rich mouthfeel. Lingering flavors of rum soaked plums on the tongue. Hops are very subdued, but enough to balance a portion of the malts. Alcohol warms you up as itís swallowed. A very good strong ale by anyoneís standards.