StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 4, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
2005 release (2004 bottle.) Syrupy pour to a deep ruby brown color, translucent in light, with a circular, mossy tan head that trails out with galaxy wisps to the sides of the glass. Aroma could start a fire. Alcohol is apparent, and itís a sinus elixir. Hammering hops join maple syrup and amaretto to pump out the sweet aromatic vibes. Other forceful wafts draw out freesia masking almonds, fruit salad and caramel apples. Flavor is equally dominating. Sweet, thick, syrupy hop train takes command. Nectar nodes, apricot chews and double-indoctrinated maple syrup McGriddles buns continue the eccentric evolution. Alcohol is discernable, but itís so hoppy that itís merely a footnote. Nuances and character number in the hundreds. Other flavor revelations bring out scores of brandy sautťed almonds, which are then pitched into a pool of caramel thatís traditionally reserved for apple dipping. Sticky, smacking and a raucous good time on the palate. Balance favors hops, but itís a melodious endeavor. Finish is marked by a glow at the throat while figs and apricots get pulled from a honey pool thatís now forever a part of them, and itís currently submitting its application for acceptance as one of the seven servings of fruits a day. This was 12-ounces of sheer mayhem and delight.
awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - MAR 28, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: NOV 27, 2006 From a 12oz bottle, vintage 2004, batch 6714.
3/25/06 Tasting Notes. 8/4/9/4/18 = 4.3
Dark brown, cherry wood, mahogany color with a ruby red glow and a delicate white lace crown. Honey, syrupy aroma with some balck cherry, caramel, and yeasty undercooked raspberry tart. The sweet and spicy fruitiness of this beer is truly amazing and definitely worthy of its namesake. The flavors are even more complex and eccentric than the nose. Distinct notes of celery leaf and cumin seed noted above the fruity base. Final smack of spicy fig and spiced rum. Awesome brew.
11/26/06 Tasting Notes. 9/4/9/5/18 = 4.5
Pours a murky nougat brown color with a fine layer of foamy cream head. Rich dark fruity malt dimensions that send waves of rummy fig and raisins to the nostrils. Some gingerbread spice and maple syrup tones are also hiding in there. A pinch of cinnimon and some caramelly bourbon with a hint of vanilla. Complex aroma that I can still remember vividly while entering this rate the following day. Full bodied, almost sticky mouthfeel, but with a shimmering carbonation that softens up the palate a bit. The flavors are as rich and complex as the aroma. Lots of caramel and vanilla begin on the palate with some dark fruity fig spice. This is dried up by some light toasted oak notes that darken up the palate along with some prunes and a very mild clove spice. Plenty of ginger as well. I love the spicy tingle it leaves on the palate. A pleasant hop bitterness rounds out the flavors, closing with a final smack of spruce resins. Very nice, and is how I would envision a woody spiced barleywine.
apoptosis (1317) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JUN 25, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
A big thank you to StewardofGondor for this beer! 2004 vintage. Itís delicious! What an interesting herbal/spicy beer from Bellís. As Iím typically a fan of their beers, Iím not surprised that I like this so much, but Iím surprised at its originality. Of course, I wasnít expecting such a high alcohol content, and I now realize that its going to take me a very long time to finish this! Dark brownish red body, with a dainty off-white head. Heavily spiced aroma with green raisins and ginger. The flavor is bursting with luscious fruits and especially exotic herbs. Eccentric, yes; exotic, yes. Somewhat vinous and wine-like. Very chewy - great mouthfeel. I canít believe Iím enjoying this at this very warm and muggy time of year, but Yum!
matt7215 (2272) - Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA - SEP 28, 2010
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
355ml bottle from northernbrews. pours deep brown with almost no head but modestly carbonated. for a bottle from 2007 it looks pretty good. aroma of anise, coffee, aged hops, aged dark malt. very well integrated and complex. very good offering from bells. id love to try other vintages.
Aggie80 (790) - 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!
jtw (1148) - farmington, Michigan, USA - AUG 23, 2004
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 8, 2005 found out from the man, larry bell himself, that my bottle was from approximately 1997. quite flat, but still a faint pssh on opening. murky brown. tons of spice and caramel malt, smells like worcestershire sauce, celery-salt and melon, red wine, hops. very piney mouthfeel, it canít really be 11%. feels a little like cough syrup, but in a warm tingly way. very mellow; this beer must have aged very well.
notalush (5512) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JUN 25, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Whoa - this is one killer beer - pours a deep, almost opaque brown (if thatís possible without sediment in the glass) - the aroma reminds me of the stronger rye beers Iíve had (bear republic, sixpoint) - loads of woody, earthy spice, huge nuttiness and chocolate, brown sugar and nutmeg - so much to take in, I canít possibly detect it all - slick mouthfeel, with minimal carbonation - the flavor is just as intense - the spices and huge hop profile take the stage first, with ginger and cinnamon being the most prevalent, but the huge hop flavor still makes all the other spices its bitch - perfectly balancing sweetness rises from underneath that, with chocolate, caramel, maple syrup and toffee flavors - all of this is followed by deep notes of wood and a kind of mild, earthy/cheesy funkiness that actually compliments the beer quite well - a most unique ale.
coyotehunter (694) - , Michigan, USA - DEC 5, 2008
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 6, 2008 Bottle, 2008 release batch 8309..
My loving wife bought me a case today. She Wins. Aromas of Nutmeg, spices, bread, roasted malt and prunes. Pours a deep brown with a thinnish tan head. Lovely creamy consistency, sticky on the palate with notes of caramel and syrup. Hints of citrus hops, nuts, raisins,honey and roasted malt, possible coriander. low carbonation with a slight alcohol burn at the finish. A little aging will make this one magnificent.
DutchHillbilly (62) - Mattawan, Michigan, USA - FEB 3, 2013
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
2011 Eccentric Ale. Taste the spices and chocolate. Touch of honey. Lots of Malt. Reddish dark with minimal head. Oily yet light. Very strong. Tastes awesome.
fattybladdy (628) - Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA - OCT 12, 2013
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2011 bottle. Dark brown, near black with a purplish hue. Aroma is strong and highly enjoyable, dark fruit and rich chocolate. Unique taste of plum, fig, chocolate. Fantastic. This is a great sipper.