TAR (2627) - Marshall (Asheville area), North Carolina, USA - OCT 16, 2005
2.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 7/20
UPDATED: MAY 28, 2006 Blackened ruby. Tiny bubbled ring of light cinnamon froth. Huge nose of fruitcake, alcohol, port, molasses, and cocoa. Light waft of marshmallow, bittersweet chcolate, and aspirin. Velvety carbonation pillars the massive body. Heavily raw upfront with a bombardment of alcohol and cakey malts. Quite heavy on the char, and perhaps to a fault. Burnt cookies and charcoal lend a drying effect while exaggerating the metallic zing, which, along with the slight carbonic prickliness, hinders the body. Roasted grains lay buried beneath the gluey consistency and smoky molasses. Discordant combo of tannins, alcohol, and crunchy char thrusts forth and never relents. Hint of black licorice gels with the meaty yeast, which imparts a noticeable degree of vegetal astringency. Oversweet, as well, with medicine and overripe plums. Finishes pudding-thick and perpetually charred with burnt toffee, black pepper truffles, and deeply caramelized custard notes residing over faint breaths of grapefruit, aspirin, and ashen malt grit. Talk about an unruly monster--Overly yeasty aroma, heavily alcoholic and harsh in the flavor dept., and not a great deal of depth, overall. Far too kitchen sink-ish for me, and doesnít show the slightest bit of direction.
JoshuaB (476) - Detroit, Michigan, USA - OCT 16, 2005
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours a deep black, like Texas crude. Loads of beautiful brown head. Just gorgeous looking. Aroma knocks you on your feet, but only preps you for the amazingness you will experience later. Aroma is hops and mad mad wicked roast, with a hint of EtOH noticeable. The first sip knowcks you to your feet with flavor. So many flavors, just beautifully meshed., and the alcohol is barely noticeable on the finish. Dry dark chocolate, loads of anise, vanilla, oak, molasses, caramel, pepper, tobacco, and dark fruits are just some of the flavors that stick out. This beer just keep makes you thinking, trying to understand everything that is there. Defintely the thickest beer Ive had, this stuff really is chewy. Oh man, pure goodness. The scariest thing about this beer is that it is still young and will age beautifully, just like Expedition. Its going to be hard to save this stuff for anything longer than a week.
temporrari (397) - Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA - OCT 16, 2005
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: APR 20, 2008 Pours black with creamy dark brown head. Looks thick. Aroma is mostly all piney hops, perhaps a bit of roast. Kind of reminds me of Yeti. The flavor just kicks you in the mouth on the first sip. Something of a shocker. This is probably the thickest beer Iíve ever sampled. The only other brew that is this thick is Dark Lord. And I think this is thicker. Tastes of bitter hops and roasted grains, finishes with a fair amount of bittersweet chocolate. Itís really quite bitter and Iíd like to know what the IBU count is on this. Iíll bet itís rather high. There are some coffee notes, and the alcohol is apparent. Lots of flavors. I canít get over how damn viscous this stuff is. Itís also extremely young and it shows. The mouthfeel isnít bad, and itís quite heavy on the tounge. I imagine it will become very silky smooth in time. A beer like this needs a good year in the bottle or even two to really come together. This hasnít even been bottled a full month as of this review. In time, this beer is going to transform into something extraordinary, complex and incredibly decadent. Right now itís just too fresh. It is notable however, that for itís age, itís damn good, and that says something about the quality of this brewery. Iím really glad they made this beer. Iíll return in 6 months to check on itís progress.
At 2 1/2 years old, this stuff has aged quite well.
KBeer (117) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - OCT 14, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
This is the biggest beet Iíve had in a while, and the first Iíve bothered to enter the rating for in ages. It has a massive tan head the leaves strong lacing behind. It appears black as night, but there is a very dark ruby tone. The alcohol is present in the nose as is the heavy roasted flavor. The mouth feel is very heavy and smooth. The flavor is complex dark chocolate, coffee, pepper, and more. It is good now, but I have to imagine it aging great and smoothing out well over time.
jtw (1152) - farmington, Michigan, USA - OCT 14, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
inky black liquid from the 12 oz bottle. not as opaque as some imperial stouts but its blackness is extraordinarily inviting. aroma is a bit alcoholic, but essentially comprises the spectrum of bells 3 "big" beers: a blend of expedition, third coast, and eccentric ales give it fruit and spice and roast, and the hops are just sort of along for the ride. holy crap, how many ingredients are in this stuff? thereís coriander, pepper, cherry, orange, coffee, dirt, hops, malt....sensory overload. this will become exquisite over the next few years when the alcohol smooths a bit....
ampp (155) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - OCT 13, 2005
3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Poured from the bottle. It is dark brown and thick. There is a light brown head that disappears quickly. There is cherry, chocolate, pepper, and alcohol in the aroma. Lots of cherry-wine cooler and chocolate in the flavor. Maybe a bit too sweet. You can feel some sting from the alcohol. A pretty interesting drink, but a bit too sweet and strong.
iwantalambic (1478) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - OCT 13, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: NOV 24, 2009 12 oz bottle (sampled November 2009): same pour as I remember...thick and black, seemingly missing any semblance of head and then an abundance of brown bubbles start at the center and quickly form a huge 3 inch dense, thick and lasting head...almost overflows my Duvel glass...the hop resin has died into thick, sweet caramel aromatics and flavours, increasingly sticky and overly bitter and acidic in the finish. Still incredibly thick and gooey. Doesnít compete in my opinion with an Expedition stout from the same year aged the same amount of time, but still tasty and very drinkable. Cheers!
12 oz bottle (fresh in October 2005): deceptive pour Ė initially it looks flat, but suddenly a huge, dense, fluffy ruby brown head rises out of the black abyss that is the body. Eventually the froth diminishes, but I am left with a half centimeter of thick foam. Aromatic hop resin with burnt rye, freshly cracked pepper, toasted (though moist) tannins, and apple butter. Creamy, vinous, hop laced palate. Thick cherry and raisin soaked flavour with flecks of carbon, gooey alcohol, and bitter hop flowers and citrus rinds. After trying a variety of Bellsí beers with several having characteristic yeast and hop flavours, this one however is unique, this one is special in its own right, well done guys!
Zach Diesel (906) - Sisters, Oregon, USA - OCT 12, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
inviting chocolate and slightly winey aroma, black as my feet after a bender wearing flip flops with a red tinted head that leaves beautiful belgian lace, some oaky notes initially then tons of burntness and some tobacco notes, getting a little licorice and lots of dark chocolate thatís bitter with hints of sweet red wine and alcohol, an overpowering imperial stout, 12% and you can feel it, lingers for awhile, more like it loiters in your mouth like a hobo outside a liquor store, an exceptional effort, one that will silence some of the Bellís haters
heemer77 (5283) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - OCT 12, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
The body is black with a thin and light orange head. Seemed to pour like pancake syrup. The aroma is rich with coffee and some dark chocolate. There is also some oak goodness with some sweet caramel. The taste an amazing mix of dark chocolate and coffee. There is some oak dryness and a little bit of caramel sweetness to balance it out in the finish. This tastes excellent, but I want a little less roasted character. The mouthfeel is amazingly slick and creamy. Like the consistency of good hot chocolate. This is a very well done beer. Thanks for the traded beer, OhioDad.
Dogfish120 (143) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - OCT 12, 2005
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Where to START? Wow, as I looked upon a black body of creamy liquid, I noticed its charcoal head that lasted but a while. Its nose was of coffee, fruit, nut, burbon, wine qualities, and much more. Mouthfeel was creamy and creamy to say the least, like their expidition but better. Flavors included the starting with coffee, then the introduction of port and burbon sensations, mingled with cream and candied malts, follwed by a swift kick of alch with a perfectly balanced beer. I will find this beer again and store it for my cellar pleasure.