ricke (476) - Malme, SWEDEN - JAN 11, 2010
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Gold version. Vintage 2005. Serving date 2009-02-14.
500 ml sturdy bottle. Comes with a small leaflet with some short notes of which I can only understand fragments. Sealed with a regular wine cork. I couldn’t find any freshness date on the bottle.
The cork comes off with a minimal pop, indicating low levels of carbonation. The cork really smells more of wine than beer. When poured, the beer has a very nice, glowing amber color with red hues, and is a bit hazy as a result of big amounts of very small, almost microscopic, floaties. The first pour results in a minimal amount of bubbles on top of the liquid, around the edges of the glass. However, this is no head, not even foam-like. Rather, it’s the kind of bubbles you sometimes get from pouring fruit juice or some wines. The second pour creates no bubbles at all. Actually, I didn’t get the beer to produce any bubbles, no matter how hard I swirled my glass. However, when it’s swirled it clings onto the glass like a cognac or a wine - a great visual quality.
An intense smell of sweet fruits, raisins, and caramel hits the noose, accompanied by a sharp alcoholic twang. Notes of wood (perhaps oak) are there as well. The smell of this one is really heavy, dense and sweet. It’s actually more reminiscent of a strong dessert wine, like sherry or port, than beer.
Lots of sweetness in the mouth: Fruits, mostly overripe plums, raisins, molasses and perhaps some brown sugar and honey-like sweetness as well. There’s is also a flavor I have a hard time identifying; the best I can do is describing it as a general candy-like flavor. These massive sweet flavors are balanced by some spices, oak and a more nutty earth flavor. The alcohol is rather prominent and provides a pleasant warmth. In the finish there’s more sweet fruits and raisins, but also a gentle but distinct bitterness. Hot alcohol finishes things off. All in all, this one is very reminiscent of a sherry or a port, with big and bold strong vinous flavors, but there is still something about it that is characteristically beer-like.
It has basically no carbonation, and thus it’s really smooth. Medium body, very viscous and slightly chewy.
This one really pushes the boundaries for beer, and for what beer can be, almost transcending them occupying parts of the realm previously solely reserved for strong and sweet fortified wines. And I would say it could go head to head with any high quality dessert wine - and come out on top - when it comes to food pairings most often associated with sherry, port wines or Madeira - or as an aperitif for that matter. Although, I constantly compare this with wine and use wine as a measure to describe it, I must say it’s still a beer with some characteristics you probably wouldn’t find in a wine. But considering how far away this is from your average ale, or barleywine for that matter, I don’t think I can see my self being in the mood for this one that often. I guess it’s for that "special occasion" or when you’re in the mood for something out of the ordinary, and in small amounts (I tried about 2/3 of a bottle and that was a bit much I think)
Serving type: bottle
(Copy of old Beer Advocate review)
daniele (4502) - ITALY - JAN 10, 2010
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
ambrata piatta naso alcolico ossidato caramello un tocco fruttatoo intensa bell corpo liquoroso non molto amara
BuckeyeBoy (2338) - Boise, Idaho, USA - JAN 2, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sam threw down all three crazy Thanks a ton. Pours out a copper with no head. Aroma was very nice lots of sweetness. Taste sweet caramel, fruit, and syrup. Very thick and smooth.
yespr (28711) - Copenhagen O, DENMARK - SEP 22, 2009
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
37.5 cL bottle, gold. Pours hazy orange with a diminished off-white head. Dense, roasted and spiced aroma. Sweet, dense oxidised malty and roasted. Distinct solid hoppy and oxidised flavoured. Sweet and sticky caramelish flavoured. Dense and syrupy. Solid sweet caramelish base flavoured. Lovely but clearly demanding!
ditmier (1508) - Boise, Idaho, USA - SEP 18, 2009
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2006 Bottle - Thanks Sam - 3rd bottle in the vertical, pours dk orange, clear and still, with no head...aroma is similarly dry fruit, intense caramel and slight tannin...flavour is rich and sweet, more sweet than the other bottles, sharing the underlying tastes of thick malty fruit and sherry...again, if you didn’t know it was beer, you’d never guess...
douglas88 (5171) - Portland, Oregon, USA - SEP 13, 2009
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
The third version we tried that night, wow. Bottle thanks to Sam. Pours a copper color with no head and a sticky smooth body. The aroma and flavor were similar to the other too,but this version was probably the sweetest, still like a port with some vanilla and woodiness. The slick mouthfeel and its overall complexity make it easy to drink. Thanks again to Sam who made this possible.
502F (999) - Time Out, Washington DC, USA - SEP 5, 2009
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
bottle shared with Pipper. Thanks!! 2005 vintage. Flat with a nice amber red body color. No head. No carbonation. Lots of sherry/port notes on both the nose and the flavor. Some soy for sure (which is really not my thing). Some serious booze on the flavor too, though it is pretty easy to adjust to. OVERALL: this one makes me reconsider the age old question (at least in my mind)... where do we draw the line between beer and other genres of alcohol. As far as I am concerned, this is a port/sherry. Neither of which are my thing. BUT, I would say that someone who does really enjoy these genres would really appreciate this stuff.
Pipper (325) - Ohio, USA - SEP 4, 2009
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
2005 vintage. On the nose: warm cashews, super smooth you would not know this was 13.5%, color like cognac, no carbonation, thicker mouthfeel, nutmeg pumpkin spice flavor, no head, semi-oily pour. Definitely a sipper and worth it.