Shag (2738) - Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA - SEP 23, 2004
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Shared a bottle with some of the San Diego dirty crew at OíBriens. Well I had most of it, ouch! Well it was a dark red color with a decent head and lacing. The flavor did not show the alcohol as much as I had imagined. The were some vanilla, cherries, whiskey, and alcohol in there. A nice one indeed.
NYHarvey (2153) - New York, New York, USA - SEP 19, 2004
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle at Yeomanís Road Pub in Tampa. Poured a deep reddish yellow like melted butter toffe with blood in it. Smell was biting with sweetness and alcohol both very present. Extremely strong alcohol tatse at first sip. There are some sweet notes behind the alcohol, but they never really break away from the brutal alcohol tatse. Reminded me of a Baltic Porter if Satan decided to brew a Baltic Porter. Not a fan.
Jokes (1453) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - SEP 17, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Clear, brilliant ruby with an extremely small, off-white head. Intense, lightly toasted and quite sweet malt nose. Big alcohol, lightly toasted bread, chocolate, caramel, molasses, honey and intermitent fruit. The body is full and supple with plenty to offer. The flavor is strong and sweet with a warm, biting alcoholic kick that makes the experience more enjoyable. There is a relatively moderate bitter hop balance that keeps the sweetness from becoming cloying. An interesting beast of a Belgian with great flavors and a spicy yeast strain. The heat may be a bit too warm, but just barely, and the complex malt structure is nearly divine.
JoeM500 (1908) - Crown Point, Indiana, USA - AUG 24, 2004
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: SEP 11, 2004 Bottle (thanks to Floydicus)Huge fig, raisin, date, rum and brown sugar first sip that quickly gives way to a massive hop flavor. It just seems to be missing some sort of complexity, maybe just because it is labeled "Grand Cru" that I was expecting some more magic, but all the flavor is there with a massive firey breath of alcohol at the finish. Interesting big beer!
jaymobrown (1792) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - AUG 24, 2004
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Alcohol is, of course, very present throughout this brew -- from the nose to the taste, and dominates a lot of the other flavors. Definitely a lot of the "darker" malt flavors being kicked around here. For me it seemed to thick, syrupy, and lacked some of the fruit flavors to really be a grand cru belgian ale. Actually, thought it to be more of a imp. stout; not that this really diminishes anything from this brew. Overall, quite enjoyable to drink.
TChrome (1448) - Bedford, Texas, USA - AUG 13, 2004
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Beautiful mahogoney color with an initially thick light brown head. The head is quickly consumed, Iím assuming by the massive ABV. Aroma is thick, rich, and intoxicating. There is a lot of complexity here: tons of dark fruit, figs, raisins, lots of candy sugar, and rubbing alcohol, though it is not obtrusive. Flavor is to me, highly delicous. Lots of high sugar flavors, candy sugar, some raisin and prune. Again the alcohol is there, but IMO, highly restrained for this ABV. Must be very careful with this one, my precious, yes very careful. Incredible brew. Two more in cellar for years to come.
krisbierjaeger (844) - dolores, Colorado, USA - AUG 12, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: AUG 22, 2008 last spring i actually got to share a few beers with adam avery, who told me tons of amazing things about the preparation of this monstrous libation and the cunning little messages concealed within both the packaging, and within the hypnotic formula of the beer itself. iíd love to share a few of them, but damned if i can remember even one. what i know is that this beer is a fusion: a beer/liqueur crossover. in rating a beer, we typically employ illustrative language: "diScriptors", to grapple with flavor likenesses that the brewer has achieved with the simple ingredients of brewing. when we say a beer tastes like peat or pine or piss or leather, usually, those things arenít really in the beer, it just SEEMS like they are. here, for the most part, the beast smells and tastes exactly like what adam literally put into it: raisins, dates, molasses, turbinado, honey, and ass-kicking proportions of biting hops and eloquent malts and enough yeast in a controlled environment to make alcohol faster than olí belzebubís appalachian still. yet these things have coalesced into a sum greater than the constituent parts: itís the most port-like non-port beverage iíve ever tasted. for a scotch drinker, this drink may be overly sugary and even mild. to a beer drinker, used to our 7 and 8 ABVs, the alcohol swings over the goblet like a ghostly ball bat, knocking our senses a little more askew with each sip-- yet we step up again and again willingly to be pummeled by the delicious fullness of sensory engagement. the gorgeous aroma has wonderful smoky aspects, the blackened mesquite satan himself uses in his barbeque-- when heís cooking to entice the celebrities. itís like cane sugar resin rode in oak casks with burgandy and bourbon ítill singed by the fires of hell-- it only became denser and more complicated. the label features huge white teeth-- teeth so sharp, you wonít feel them sinking in, yet the damage will be instantaneous. the label also erroneously suggests a malevolent entity-- yet this beast comes and beguiles in the form of warmth and familiarity. true, it fucks with your mind, but this is a gentle beast-- think puff the magic dragon-- he doesnít ask you to fly planes into buildings, he asks that you love and play, laugh at life, and let the gentle rhythms of nature wash over you-- just like this alcohol is fixiní to do-- with a holy vengeance.
heykevin (1281) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - AUG 9, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks to MilkManDan for providing this treat. Deep, dark brown. Surprisingly non alcoholic aroma. Rich and sweet smelling, with loads of noble hops. Flavor is rich, quite sweet, with some serious alcohol flavor, but its not too much. Glorious swirling noble hop flavors. Iíve never tasted a beer that has such a full, rich noble hop flavor, theyíre quite sexy. I really like this.
Cobra (1100) - - AUG 6, 2004
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: OCT 17, 2004 I think this is only my second perfect beer in rating them for over 2 years now. (I was keeping notes long before I joined this site.)
22 oz. brown bomber bottle, with a red foil seal over the crown.
No freshness date seen, but none needed either at 15.7% ABV.
WOW ! What a whopper of a beer! Poured out a deep burgundy / mahogany color into my Chimay chalice. (What else would you serve a Grand Cru in?!!!?) Extremely red in color around the edges.
The head was a dark tan color, and lasted until the bottom of the glass. Itís a miracle they even got a head out of a beer this big.
Aromas are of rum soaked dark fruits, prunes, raisins, dates and the like. Big hop aromas along with fresh malts. It smells like fresh ground malt in here. Molasses, dark brown sugar, and Belgian candi sugars round out the aromas. And, they are only the beginning of the flavors. Big, chewy malts here, along with the rum soaked fruits and the big hops make for an interesting combination.
Iíve only had 2 or 3 sips, and I can already feel the alcohol kicking in. Funny thing is, thereís none in the flavors or tastes. It sneaks up on you, and literally takes your breath away. Iíve never had a beer do that until now. Thick, rich, chewy even in mouthfeel. This is most certainly a meal in a glass. Finishes rich and caramelly.
One whizz bang of a beer here gang! Get some, IF YOU CAN. Does this beer deserve such a high score? Damn right it does. Itís THAT good.
2004 Batch Update (18.1% ABV)
Well, let's see what this monster of a beer is all about, ok? Poured out a deep garnet color, with a huge head, once I used my beer engine on it. Aromas are mostly of alcohol, some macerated cherries & dark dried fruit as well. Tastes are of pipe tobacco, damp earthy basement, aged sweet potatoes, higher alcohols, lots of fusels, slightly dry oak barrelled brandy, some vanilla notes, lots of sugars, but not regular or Belgian Candi sugars, more like demera or palm sugars, and a slight smokiness to it as well. Very warming to the stomach, almost too much so. This beast is meant to be sipped slowly and savored, not gulped down for a fast buzz. It does need to be aged until Christmas. Christmas 2015, that is.
Brodie (540) - Boone, North Carolina, USA - AUG 5, 2004
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Aroma of caramel, malt, ripe apples, bananas and grapes, alcohol, and mild phenols. Ruby amber color, thin tan head. Smooth and malty, sweet, complex alcohol flavors. Full bodied, syrupy, low carbonation. This is a sippiní beer, very full, rich, and alcoholic. Would be good with a cigar. I had one 22 oz bottle and it hurt me in the morning.