5000 (6300) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - FEB 21, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle pours a somewhat viscous dark caramel color. Opacity is very much akin to a good stout, very non-transparent. Virtually no head and very little lacing. Guessing this has aged a bit. Smells of malt, molasses, nuts, and some oak aged bourbon. Sorta like a quasi Barleywine crossed with a Strong Ale. Very inviting! Sweet molasses & vanilla up front, as well as some maltiness. Woody (Oak) and Bourbon greet you in the middle, then fade with a sweet hop bite along with some citrusy & nutmeg spices. Sweet from start to finish, very nice. Smooth mouthfeel, great flavors. Hard to believe this is 11%. I'd definately have this again. Thanks goes out to raindog for the trade!
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - FEB 5, 2004
2.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 9/20
UPDATED: NOV 10, 2004 Now I have had some fucked up beers, but this one takes the cake. I cannot imagine Bells thinks that it came out exactly how they wanted it, but is that at all possible? Too big of a barleywine maltiness to be even drinkable. Eccentric? Gimme a break and some toothpaste. The only Bell’s beer I cant stand.
edden (925) - cow- lumbus, Ohio, USA - FEB 1, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
opaque, nut-brown body with large chunks, that quickly settle to the bottom. flat and tranquil with no head or lace. aromas of alcohol, malt, pepper and nutmeg. the nose is also slightly sweet with hints of fruit. full flavor, which includes evidence of sweet malt, fruit (orange zest), alcohol and some spice. there are also some bitter hops towards the finish. (not sure of the vintage, somewhere between 2000 & 2002).
Aggie80 (788) - Michigan, USA - JAN 24, 2004
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Little or no fizz or head. Dark orange brown with nice aroma. Toffee, coffee, and vegetables? Hard to say what the little spices and flavoring is. Even though it is 4x Hopped, it doesn't overpower everything. This is a great beer for a cold winter evening and something good on TV!
Silphium (3188) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - JAN 19, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 13, 2006 2003 bottling. Pours like liquid caramel, with a murky orange-brown body that is topped with just a film of off-white carbonation. The aroma is an explosion of caramel and toffee with apple cider highlights. This is an exercise in flavor. Candied apples, caramel, toffee and buttery flavors are enhanced by an almost minty spiciness, finishing with piney hops bitterness. The big, sticky, relatively flat body is at least as thick as 2002 Expedition Stout. It is as if somebody melted gooey, buttery, spicy cookies in a liquid matrix. Delicious gooey, buttery, spicy cookies, that is. Alcohol is warming but subdued by the syrupy body. Thanks Mike (BBB63) for this rare gem! I have now entered the zone of beer debt.
1993 vintage sampled at Bells 20th Anniversary Party.
Another treat at the Bells gathering was a 750 mL bottle of this vintage treat, which I’ve only sampled once (the 2003 version). The body was dark copper-red, with a thick cream-colored head. Minty, spicy aroma with hints of rosemary. Densely caramely body with brown sugar, prune, grape, rosemary, mint, and definitely ginger. A fellow sampler suggested it was teriyaki sauce, which was a fitting description. Not as Christmas-cookieish as the more recent vintage I tried, but still tasty and quite rich.
Rating for 1993 vintage Eccentric Ale: APP: 5 ARO: 8 FLAV: 8 PAL: 5 OV: 17 (4.3 overall).
2005 vintage, released December 2006.
This year’s release had a deep fiery red-brown body, topped by a thin, dissipating light buff head. The aroma was primarily of cinnamon and ginger, met by sharp notes of hot alcohol. The body is dominated by sweet malts, almost soda-like in their sugary immediacy, paired with the spices mentioned above. Alcohol detectable but not overtly so. Not as complex or interesting as the other vintages I’ve tried, this even comes across as a bit thin due to the lack of depth exhibited by the exaggerated sweet malts. Rating: 7-4-7-4-14 (3.6).
Kinz (3467) - Glen Allen, Virginia, USA - JAN 18, 2004
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 15, 2008 Murky orange brown, the faintest trace of bubbles finally breaks the surface. Just not a pretty beer. Aroma initially of grapefruit baked with brown sugar on top, but just before it hit my lips, a strong waft of powerful malts rose up. The flavor is thick with molasses, toffee, and caramel, with a strong, drying hop character to balance that introduces flavors of grapefruit and a good sized pine forest. Any spices used suffuse nicely into the beer character, and serve to enhance, not overwhelm. Wonderful stuff, would age magnificently. Tried a 2006 at the 2008 VRBT. Deep brown, rich malts, caramel, treacle, almost sour tannic fruits, then a bitter hop finish. Like a good but very unusual barleywine. Identical score.
Aubrey (3482) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - JAN 9, 2004
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Looked a lot like apple juice. Extremely spicy nose was bursting with wafty aromas. Very sweet malts (brown sugar, molasses), but not quite over my threshold. Spices were heavy and knife-like and very aromatic. Alcohol fumes wafted as well, adding another dimension to the edginess of this beer. Notes of fruit and spiced apples. Hops fraternized with the spices, making it difficult to distinguish ... but I could pick out some pine, quite possibly a little grapefruit, and a little bitterness. Dryish finish. Overall, I didn't know what to think at first, but I seemed to enjoy it more and more with every sip. And looking back, I wish I had more. Thanks, John!
egajdzis (5521) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 8, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a murky mahogany color with a ring of bubbles around the top of the glass. Nutty aroma of red wine, some hops, malt and alcohol. Very barleywinish. Musty taste included hints of dark fruit, ginger, caramel malt, some hops and alcohol as well. Very fulfilling mouthfeel. Thanks BBB63 for the rare Bell's hookup in PA!
TAR (2518) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - JAN 7, 2004
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2003: Moderately hazed orangish rust. Headless. Microscopic, lethargic bubbles fight their way to the surface. Tangy, succulent malt aroma with tobacco, sap, and pepper notes. Hints of pine, sage, peppermint, wood, and brass. Thick and vicious as can be on the palate with miniscule carbonation. Billowing spiciness is greeted by chewy, leathery malts and a surging, unifying juiciness. Pine needles prick the palate along with a touch of mustiness and sage. Leathery malt finish with pine cones, solvent, fairly spicy bitterness, and perfectly fruity. Long sprucy, herbal afterthoughts. Intriguingly superb.
2002: The aging has produced more mellow malt and sherry notes. Spices are still at the forefront with tobacco, woody malts, pistachio, and gooey caramel. Subtle phenols, toasted graham, mulch, and some melon and peach esters. Much more integrated with a year under its belt. Round and thick. Full-bodied is an understatement. Intense spiciness tingles the roof of the mouth. Hints of wax and coarse rubbery alcohol. Finishes with spicy alcohol and bushels of savory malts. As expected, a bit mellower than the ’03, yet it still has plenty of life as there is no sign of oxidation, the malts have developed more ripeness, and the spices are still loud and clear. Need I say superlative?
craven5000 (103) - Westville, Indiana, USA - JAN 6, 2004
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 14/20
No head at all. Cloudy/dirty brown color. Thick spice aroma. Very full in mouth and syrupy. Thoughts of cough syrup and V8 came up. Challenging to drink but very easy to sip. The taste was powerful with alcohol and reminded me of non-cherry cough syrup. Very long and strong after taste.