cquiroga (371) - Sylmar, California, USA - AUG 29, 2004
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
8/28/04. Poured out of 64 oz. growler, obtained in a trade with footbalm 8/25/04. Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Ring of rocky lacing. Inky with dark tan lacing, lightly patchy and pretty good. Very rich, dark chocolate and bourbon nose. Very woody. Heavy alcohol flavor that doesn’t detract for me at all. Edge of sweetness, very velvety, and then dropping out to a huge dryness. Wonderful finish that sucks the moisture out of the mouth, dry and awesome. A bit numbing. Heavy whiskey flavor but wonderful thick aura-- you lift the glass to your mouth and inhale, and you’re already drinking the beer. Wonderful finish of burnt wood and heavy bourbon. A bit too singular with wood/bourbon on the nose, otherwise it’d be awesome. Damn near so, as it is.
herbjones (742) - Orange, California, USA - AUG 27, 2004
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 19/20
Big thanks to footbalm for the oppurtunity to try this. Sweet molasses nose with a noticeable whiskey burn when inhaled deeply.Very, very light body almost watery when first poured. Thankfully as this sits it really comes into its own. Medium bodied. Nice roasted malt bitterness backed by a molasses like sweetness. All that is complimented by the barrel aging. The bourbon sits in the background adding to the beer rather then overpowering. I could really see enjoying snifters of this on a winter night.
JohnC (3000) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - AUG 27, 2004
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
thanks to footbalm for the growler & for herbjones for pulling together the trade.
This big brew pours opaque dark brown with little if any head, the initial aroma was of whiskey and cocoa.
What I found important is that this beer really changes personalities as it opens up. We poured it straight fm the fridge, and the flavor was mainly alcohol and it wasn’t too impressive. However, letting it warm up allowed its complexities to impress you. The bourbon is a nice background flavor, it’s there, but doesn’t dominate. Notes of cocoa w/ hints of dark fruit dominate.
cb (810) - Roeland Park, Kansas, USA - AUG 26, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bittersweet-chocolate covered cherries, toasted oatmeal and dark honey, hint of black coconut.
Amazing, lingering soft yet dusky Belgian cocoa nose with slight woody notes. .Obviously aged to perfection. Twinge of hops and sultry bourbon in the finish. Extremely subtle alcohol flavor. Wistful memories of the first glass of Owd Mac’s I had. Thanks to TAR for sharing and especially to footbalm for procuring and shipping this liquid delight.
TAR (2346) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - AUG 26, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: AUG 27, 2004 Growler: Chocolate in color with a rich maple border. Whisp ring of carbonation. Finely conditioned with slowly rising microscopic bubbles. Melted fudge, bourbon tannins, and toasted wood on the surface. Notably vinous with prunes, vanilla taffy, and sharp, yet deceptive, alcohol undertones. Thick body, subdued carbonation. Slippery and soft. Sultry fudge richness immediately muffles the alcohol. Tight cask wood flavors revive the sharp alcohol toward the center. Chock-full of zippy bourbon tannins yield oodles of black licorice interlaced with decadent vanilla and caramel underpinnings. Retains its softness from the faint husky malt character and fluffy nougat. Charred wood continually firms the body and dries it out. Ends remarkably balanced with notes of caramel, coffee, and lightly seared malts. Tannin-infused toasted wood lingers over an everlasting bed of fudge and mocha flavors. A mellow colossus, if there ever was one. Thanks, footbalm.
hopscotch (8217) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - AUG 26, 2004
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: AUG 6, 2008 Growler... This beer rocks!... Let me just start things off by saying "What a terrific, world class beer!" It’s worth its weight in gold and at $55 per growler, it had better be. Midnight black and thick with a tiny, fizzy, well-tanned head.
The nose is to die for with notes of charred wood, vanilla, port, sour mash (of course), caramel, cherries, chocolate and espresso. Just the right amount of bourbon... not overdone. The flavor pretty much matches the nose, but also has notes of blackstrap molasses and warm alcohol. Ultra full-bodied with a heavy, oily mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Lengthy, burnt, bitter, alcoholic finish. Again, "What a terrific, world class beer!" Thanks go out to footbalm for the growler!
heykevin (1269) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - AUG 24, 2004
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: DEC 23, 2004 Tap, 5 oz snifter, served a bit too cold. Strong whiskeyish aroma. Some stinging alcohol as well, but its a good hurt. Plenty of liquorice. Flavor is dominated by whiskey notes, alcohol, and dark (sweet) cocoa powder. This is very strong and there is an alcoholic sting with each sip. The alcohol is drying here, but it would work a bit better if it were a tad bit sweeter, but I’m nitpicking here. Well-done. I would have loved to linger over this a bit longer, but after patiently waiting through a late lunch and 4.5 samples, my one-year-old son was more interesting in getting to a napping location rather than listen to me prattle on about the pros and cons of barrel aging. Not world class, IMO, but damn good.
Rerate second batch, 11/26/04. Once again very whiskeyish, bourbony aroma. More alcoholic and disjointed than before. This sample is not nearly as well integrated as before. Some dark tarrish notes come on late. 3.6/5 Rating is average of two samplings.
JCapriotti (1379) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 24, 2004
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark/black body with no head. Sweet bourbony wood aroma with licorice, chocolate, and whiskey. Flavor is sweet licorice and chocolate covered by some woody bourbon taste. Slight a coffee bitter finish. Full body but a watery mouthfeel. Good flavor and aroma, but some of the local imperial stouts I’ve recently had were a bit better.
DavidP (1745) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 23, 2004
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Black body, no head. Brown sugar, liquor in the aroma. Strong flavor, plenty of alcohol throughout. Bourbon liquor, molasses, brown sugar and bubble gum in the flavor, finishes with alcohol warmth and the overpowered hops. The flavor is good because it has a good mix of flavors, but I think they’re simply overdone and unbalanced.
CaptainCougar (7096) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - AUG 15, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JUN 24, 2006 Re-rate, hand-bottle courtesy of footbalm, via goldtwins: Pours a thick, viscous opaque with a thin ring of tan head. Aroma of lots of sweet caramel and roasted malt with some alcohol and big bourbon oak. Body has lots of sweet sticky malty complexity and big warming okay bourbon balance. Still a very nice beer, but this would be better if it could age some.
Dark Knight Returns (on tap at brewpub): Much more balanced and smooth than the original, while hiding its alcohol better. Still, both are great beers.
Growler (original Dark Knight): Pours a very dense, thick motor oil black with a thin dark tan head. Very complex nose of dark chocolate, coffee, plums, caramel malt and plenty of tart bourbon oak to balance it out. Starts milk chocolatey sweet with a touch of hoppy bitterness before the bourbon flavors take over and lead to a complex and warming finish. Not much carbonation at all, as has been noted previously. This is a real smooth, complex, and balanced brew with a great texture to it. It could hide the alcohol a tad better, but overall this was very enjoyable. Many thanks to footbalm for sending me a growler of this magnificent brew!