cquiroga (371) - Sylmar, California, USA - MAY 4, 2003
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: NOV 6, 2003 Poured out of 12 oz. bottle, bought at Hopleaf in Chicago, 5/3/03. Unbelievable wallop. No head at all, barely even a single bubble on my pour. Very dark-- a little chocolatey, very roasty, very oily, and very pungent. Like squid ink or a Bic pen exploding in your mouth. Very bitter and very long finish. This is one of the most potent stouts I've tried. I can see how some reviewers complain that it's too single-minded. It almost offends the senses, it's so strong. Powerful, powerful stuff. (Original rating 8/5/8/5/15/4.1) Re-rate: Got a 2002 bottle in a trade, and I don't know if it's my more refined palate or the additional year of aging (I would suspect a bit of both), but this beer has gotten much, much better to me. Oily, dark chocolate with slightly raisiny aroma. Motor oil brown-- almost black. Incredibly long finish of dark ringing malt, bitter hops, and coffee. But the big change for me is the new balance it seems to have with the stronger bittersweet chocolate flavor up front than I remembered. I believe the hype about this beer now, but I think it definitely improves with a year or more of aging.
Wrath (362) - Valparaiso, Indiana, USA - APR 29, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAY 12, 2003 Very Dark stout. A little bitter but very complex. Chocolate and raisin can be tasted. Alcohol is noticed but still works well with everything else going on. Great beer by bells
21iceman40 (1732) - vienna, West Virginia, USA - APR 27, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
aight for a stout, was highly regarded but failed to live up to the hype. A nice black/ mousse color to it with generous head. Malted milk balls and chocolate fill the air. Flavor is straight forward choco/coffee with a few subtle hints of something, maybe fruit, maybe not. I can not say that this batch lived up to the high score, but whatever.
SilkTork (4919) - Rochester, Kent, United Kingdom, WALES - APR 27, 2003
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 13/20
With thanks to Inveglier. I had this with a Good King Henry Imperial Stout and a Harvey's Imperial Extra Double Stout. There was much they all had in common, but this was the one with the fullest mouthfeel, the least carbonation, the least sweetness, the least complexity, the most bitterness and the most chocolate. The initial fruit juice flavour is swiftly overcome by the bitterness, but it can be teased out as a red fruit of some sort. There is also some orange peel and some nutmeg in the finish. The aftertaste is a lingering pleasure, and is the best aspect of this otherwise overpoweringly single-minded brew. When comparing the nose with something of the complexity and wonder of Harvey's classic this just doesn't match up, however it does produce some delightful chocolate, plums and licorice. A very tasty brew, but the huge unbalanced bitterness and thick as two short planks mouthfeel mark this down for me.
LiebeBier (808) - Annapolis, Maryland, USA - APR 20, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
1996 Vintage Bottle - Thick, Black with no head or carbonation left. This beer was 7 years old. Wow! Chocolate, raisen and slight alcohol aroma. A sipping stout. So many flavors present in the beer. Malt chocolate, cream. Extremelly complex. Smooth. Very unique.
clvand0 (350) - Lexington, Kentucky, USA - APR 20, 2003
2.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 8/20
Pours very dark with a brown head. Like most other Bells beers - has character, but donít like the taste much at all. Some hints of coffee and maybe some hops in the flavor.
fly (1370) - austin, Tejas, Alabama, USA - APR 15, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Roast coffee brought to the table with no cream or sugar (well, maybe just the slightest tad), thank you. You needn't do any of that frothy, upscale esspresso lounge action for me either. If you put a dram of alcohol in it so I can catch just a hint as it slips past my lips and down my gullett, that would be grand. - Did enjoy this thouroughly and it helped me through theis "winter night" of a Ratebeer experience that I'm sure we won't soon forget. Thanks again to hopsrus.
brewbandit (312) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - APR 7, 2003
3.3 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
A thick very opaque headless brew. Roasted and burnt aromas nearly hiding the malt. Intense hop bitterness overwhelmed the malt sweetness. Maybe it should have been aged a few more years to mellow. Alas, I may never know. It was the only bottle I had access to so this is it!
Frank (2189) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - APR 5, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: FEB 9, 2005 This is one of those brews I keep coming back to. Whenever I burn out on imperial stout, I come back to this one and it reminds me why they are so damn lovable. Itís just intense in all respects. Very hoppy and very thick. Itís as much barleywine as it is stout and always a treat.
Original rating: Dark and oily. Nearly black. No head but thatís not really problematical for a beer of such high gravity. Aroma of strong coffee, dried fruits, and a touch of alcohol. Thick rich palate. Seriously. This is a meal in a bottle. Damn... More coffee, plumbs, raisins, molasses, and chocolate. Slightly acidic. Very slightly bitter. Alcohol is present but it works well with the other flavors. Beautiful.
JasonG (776) - Salt Lake City, Utah, USA - APR 2, 2003
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: SEP 24, 2005
re-rate: totally black color, with a small dark brown head and a bit of lacing. Aroma is chocolatey, malty, cherry notes. Flavor is smooth, dry, malty, chocolate and coffee notes, and a touch of bitterness in the finish. Iím not sure if consistency is a problem with this brew, but Iíve tried this three times, and this is the first time that I think the brew has come close to living up to what others have had to say about it.