Tmoney99 (9974) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - OCT 11, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Black color with a large cascading creamy light brown head that was lasting and produced good lacing. Complex heavy molasses and roasted coffee aroma. Full body with creamy texture. Full flavor with a long duration finish with no alcohol bite. Very good and interesting brew.
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 10, 2005
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Rich near black body with a hint of orange through the liquid as it is poured. Dense light brown head that settle ot a thin lid and lots of lace on the sides of the glass. My second bottle and and the nose seems different this time, but its just likely the expectation vs. knowledge type thing. Heavy hops pulse through the nose. Grapefruit, lavender, stewed prunes and a touch of alcohol in the aroma(9-). I am catching qualities of Anchor OSA and HotD Adam. Thick and smooth feel that is a touch too thick in the end. Flavors of pine and juniper with a mild citric flare. Lightly sweet, with light caramel, blackberries and sweet licorice. Finish is quite bitter and slightly prickly. Linger has a rich espresso and mildly burnt malt quality. The balance is quite adequate at this time to be drinkable, but I can see the hops mellowing and the malt complexities increasing expediently in the future. A few of these will be forgotten about in the rear of my beer cabinet.
Silphium (3156) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - OCT 10, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Opaque dark brown body, thin ochre head. Looks like the Expedition Stout at first glance. Roasty, chocolatey aroma with a hint of vanilla, plum, grapefruit rind, soy, bitter hops notes, and alcohol. Quite complex but a bit harsh too. The body hits with big, bitter, rindy hops (grapefruit, pine), with chocolate and prunes/plums dancing underneath the stomping hops chorus. Becomes fruitier and raisiny as it warms to room temperature. Bitter, bitter finish with a definite alcohol bite. Pretty rough palate for the time being, with a diversity of flavors that havenít quite reached harmony yet. Oily and inky. My overall impression is that this is a sort of "black barleywine" combining the characteristics of Batch 6000 and Expedition Stout. This is a good beer to cellar for awhile. Heck, Batch 6000 is still a bit harsh on the palate two years after its bottling.
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 10, 2005
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Moderately thick pour and impenetrable black in color. A once dark tan head has left a sparse web in its place. Aroma has all indication of an impy: deep, dark rich chocolate, roasty, burnt almonds, singed bark, scant trace of ABV and pervasive cocoa espresso. Flavor heavily zings. Like a bitter espresso oil spill. Next sip, and it zings again, imitating a lick from a French roast press. Delinquent dark chocolate twirls from the flames and happily wreaks havoc on the palate. This bitch is rich. Burnt breakfast toast adds a new layer of nuance, closely followed by yet another, this time in form of blackened oats clinging to the sides of Calphalon. Oily blanket and bitter unfoldings on the palate. Amped up and ready to play with a prolific hopping profile. Finishes like maple and brown sugar oatmeal that took liberty in its preparation by substituting espresso for water. A spawner of adjectives in its present youthful form, and destined to take on additional descriptors over time.
unclebleen (620) - California, USA - OCT 9, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
I bought this as a farwell to Michigan. I think this is the first stout Iíve tasted in 7+ months. Very dark with a really creamy and long lasting head. Tastes bitter sweet with a great smoothness on the finish with a hop bite as well. Had trouble finishing the bottle -- just wasnít used to the boldness on an Imperial Stout. Nice.
BBB63 (5699) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - OCT 9, 2005
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle served in my Expedition snifter:
Pours much like the Kzoo Stout, extremely dark with a beautiful creamy tan head and very good lacing. The aroma displays a interesting mix of heavy roasted and burnt malts working with a lot of citric and fleshy fruits. The piney hops are noticeable as well as some earthy and alcoholic vapors. The taste starts quite malty and earthy but quickly a bold statement of PNW style hop bitterness come pushing through. The beer has a components of mocha, coffee, plum, anise, molasses, and clove coming in and out through out the tasting. Much like Three Floyds Alpha Klaus, you will find this a hoppier version on a style. The feel is equally interesting, one part smooth and thick and one part lively and crisp. Nicely warming as well after finishing the glass.
I salute Bells for making a stout different from itís siblings. It isnít Expedition but could age to equal greatness. GET YA SOME!!!
Brodie (540) - Blowing Rock, North Carolina, USA - OCT 9, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Big aroma - chocolate, coffee, resiny hops, mixed fruit, and alcohol. Pretty close to black, small but dense tan head. Sweet, bitter, and tart all at the same time. All of the components from the aroma are in the flavor, with the hops standing out in particular, both in terms of citrus flavors and bitterness. Finishes with a lasting bitterness, both from roasted grains and hops. Full bodied, tongue coating, warming. Overall, it has tremendous potential. Right now itís a big, in-your-face imperial stout, with strong flavors on all fronts that I think are a little out-of-whack. With age, the sharpness of the flavors should mellow and meld together, at which point I think it will be amazing.
OldGrowth (2417) - North Carolina, USA - OCT 9, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle, from trade with JCW. Good aromas, chocolate/cocoa, little fruit- cherry/plum, perfume, and ABV, which to me had a vodka thing going on. Beautiful brownish black color, first pour had small head but I had poured it slow, when I did second pour nice big brownish beige head. Bittersweet flavors, like aromas. Had a viney, burnt, grapefruit thing that dominates. Maybe I should say baking chocolate and vodka. Thick body, viscous, creamy mouthfeel, Bitter, hot finish that has a powdery coating n the tongue. Definately brash, some age is going to do wonders. Bells is a masterful stout maker. Thanks JCW for this one.
DavidP (1746) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 8, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pours with a viscous black body under a tick tan head that laces as it diminishes. Choclate kidís cereal and grapefruit flesh in the aroma. Holy crap is this ever a thick beer. I was pissed at paying $19 for a six pack but itís making more sense now that I sip it. Interestingly enough the first flavor that reigsters isnít the expected huge roasted malts but rather grapefruit and tart apple hops. Hops taking the lead in a I.S.? Pretty soon dogs and cats will be living together. Underneath the bright hops is chocolate milk and coffee. Some bittering hops come out towards the finish as the sweetness dies down. Despite the super-thick mouthfeel this beer isnít terribly sweet. I expected Dark Lord-level sweetness but I got Kalamazoo Stout instead. I have very high hops for aging this beer - 2 years from now those flavor hops will die down and this will be a super-rich sweet stout. Itís no slouch when fresh, though!
1FastSTi (3271) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 8, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAR 7, 2006 Picked up a 6 pack of this. Seemed to be quite expensive, but hopefully thatís a sign that this suckerís loaded with Malts. I popped the cap off of one and poured it into my snifter. The beer has a very dark molasses colored head thatís thick and creamy/rocky. The body is to be expected, really dark brown that appears black in quantity. Beautiful lacing. The aroma has a huge Pac NW hop aroma to it. Dark chocolate, citrus hops, molasses/brown sugar. The flavor is a roasted barley start that morphs into a semi-sweet chocolate, then come the citrus hops. Citrus with chocolate sometimes can be a mismatch. Not in this. During the finish, tons of thick molasses becomes overbearing. The palate is thick, creamy, and nice, but has a lingering stickiness that I donít really care for. Nice bitterness. Donít get me wrong, I like this but have had better beer. This is made with care and is high quality. 8, 5, 7, 4, 16 = 4.0
Dave gave me a bottle of this. It was much better in flavor. Mmmm... 4.4!