Stine (1642) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - DEC 3, 2007
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at the Bell’s dinner at Birreria Paradiso; 5.5 oz. pour. Inky black; tepid grey foam in a thin lining. Sherry, sour mash bourbon and the seared crust of creme brulee in the aroma; subtely oxidized and wooded with hints of soy sauce and some charred dark fruit. Shades of pepper and port linger near the bottom of the what actually may be characterized as a truly bottomless montage. Rich, bold, and refined, with a really thick meaty quality throughout; late suggestions of grahams and caramelized sugars, blonde brownies. Taste first presents the subtle colors of bourbon in vanilla and toasted oak; cherry cola and plenty of bright, sharp sweetness in burnt honey, hickory, peppermint and eggnog. These tones are slightly lactic and not as dark as the typical sugars of imperial stout, though the residual foundation itself is as black and chocolatey as ever could be. Softly carbonated, oily, and fully decadent mouthfeel; viscous, deep, and tightly balanced. Finishes with a type of drying alcoholic heat that suggests vanilla-tinted vodka, remaining quite sweet. Syrupy and a bit tangy in its final pulse; striking gold with the elusive success of bourbon integration in its both careful and brash disposition. Incredible; memorable.
Silphium (3188) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - NOV 19, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at Graydon’s Crossing, Grand Rapids. I was really excited to try this one, and the beer did not disappoint. Deep opaque brown-black body, tight brown medium head. Big oaky nose backed by strong roast, licorice, and plum/prune notes. Wow! Incredibly potent body. The oak quickly melts away into the deep roasty body, a complex but still rough-hewn gem of prune, acerbic woodiness, charred malts, burnt marshmallow, and chocolate. Sharp, prickly alcohol reminds the drinker of its heft. Excellent complexity. This is a rich, decadent beer without the barrel...the addition of oak makes every sip an experience.
Mangino (1027) - Mississippi, USA - AUG 27, 2007
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Maduro/PreGTMW07- This would of been the best thing I drank all weekend, but Bells out did itself with the expy blend. This is such a wonderful close second. The main thing I didnt like about 7K was the hop presence. This wonderfully took care of that. A little more age, and the bourbon, again not over the top. Bells seems to really know how to use a barrel to work with the beer, not against it. This was just fantastic, and I hope I get to drink it again.
Ofortuna (322) - Grafton, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 25, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
On tap at Maduro for the GTMW pre-party. Are you kidding me, a whole pint glass of this stuff!?!?!? As I settle into my leather couch to contemplate the insanity that is about to ensue with tonight’s event, I take my first sip. Immediately, Sombeast and I look across at each other and utter, "holy crap!" We were both blown away by the immense proportions of flavour associated with this brew and also by the fact that at 12% alcohol, and a full pint of this mind you, it was going to be one helluva marathon to get through all the Bell’s offerings on tap. The aroma is huge with enormous notes of bourbon, oak and vanilla with a certain sweetness also emanating from the glass. Wow, the mouthfeel is thick, oily and extremely viscous. Flavours of grilled steak (believe it!), raisins, dark-bittersweet chocolate and charred oak. A bit high on the amount of bourbon in place as I would have liked to have seen the oak character emphasized a little more. Later on, some noticeable caramel notes with a residual sweetness on the palate. Good complexity in this one, but a few hints of fusels on the finish support my notion that this could have aged a bit more. Overall, I’d still love to get some more!
csbosox (1228) - Prairie Village, Kansas, USA - AUG 25, 2007
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at the Maduro, the night before GTMW Black color. Oak and cappicino aroma along with cocoa & 70% chocolate. Mouthfeel is insane. Taste is vanilla cream, dark roast, dark fruit/berries.
CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - AUG 19, 2007
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 20, 2008 On tap at Maduro prior to the 2007 GTMW: Pours an oily opaque black with dark brown edges and a thin coating of frothy, well-lacing dark brown head. Incredibly rich, sweet dark caramel and chocolate aroma has a good amount of vanilla oaky bourbon complexity and some raisins and brown sugar. Body starts with a full sweetness, dense molten dark cocoa and complex bourbon oak with a mild touch of grapefruity hops that are still fairly assertive given the age. Great bourbon balance and thick, yet smooth palate. An awesome barrel-aged imperial stout!
brewblackhole (1588) - Muskego, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 14, 2007
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
A bountiful portion at Great Taste. One of the better Bourbon Brews I tasted,(at least of the one I remember),full rich Chocolate cake ,roasted malt and everything that is wonderful about good bourbon. Taste was the same. Yes,the bourbon was on the high side,but I dont dock a brew for that if there is arich smoothness to it,and if good malt flavors still manage to come through. This was a fantastic way to staart the Festival and really raised the bar
Philip (436) - Illinois, USA - AUG 13, 2007
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at Maduro. I’ll depart from my peers on this one in terms of the final score. I certainly enjoyed it, but I found there to be an excessive amount of bourbon, so much so that it detracted from the beer that underlay it. In nose and palate, BA 7000 very much resembled Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Special Reserve, supporting my claim that 7000 is more old ale than imperial stout, at least in the vein of the Harvieston interpretation. (And a tasting last week of the non BA 7000 offered additional supportive evidence, but I seem to have detractors here.) Concerning the specifics, notes of raisin, tar, semi-sweet chocolate, dried cherry, vanilla, and toast dominate. Finish is sherry and alcohol-fueled warmth. Good stuff, just not spectacular in my mind.
Ughsmash (7252) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 13, 2007
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
On tap at Maduro – GTMW pre-party. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Take one of my top-notch stouts and give it a little quality time in the bourbon barrel. Poured deep black with a light ring of darker tan head.. highly-viscous. Aroma was of very deeply-roasted dark chocolates and dark fruity goodness smacked upside the head with a powerful (yet somehow intricate and well-integrated) presence from the barrel.. heavy vanilla and bourbon sugars with splinters of oak
Vanilla and bourbon were also major players in the flavor department, and were very enjoyable!.. well-roasted dark chocolate, dry espresso beans and brandy-like vinous sugars ride through the back end to the long and very warm finish. The booze was not shy in this one, but was quite welcomed! Creamy and thick on the palate with well-placed sourness accenting the roasty finish. Fantastic!!
tjthresh (1866) - Greenfield, Indiana, USA - AUG 12, 2007
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
On tap at the pre GTMW party at Maduro.
Opague black. Fudgey dense with a ring of brown foam. The aroma reminds me of fresh fudge borwnies with a bourbon chocoalte sauce and some crushed coffee beans sprinkled on top. Little note of vanilla as well. The flavor didn’t dissappoint either. It was just so rich and dense on the palate. The bourbon was a fantastic compliment for an already top notch beer.