DarkElf (3050) - La Jolla, California, USA - MAY 8, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
(12 oz bottles: Obtained in trades with Goblincat and hopsrus, thanks Mike and John!) Back when I lived in DC, my Bud-swilling buddy used to call any dark beer "motor oil." He has no idea. This brew pours with such thick viscosity, it may well be actual motor oil. I mean, Kalamazoo is only a few hours from the Motor City, right? He should see this stuff. Totally black in color. I turn on a bright light and hold the beer up to it. Nothing. Absolutely and totally impenetrable, even at the edges of the glass. For a few seconds, there isn’t even a hint of a head, but slowly, it builds to about an eighth of an inch. Light brown in color, but very small and a bit dissappointing. Fades away to a small halo before I even take my first sip. The nose is amazing though. Quite roasty, a bit hoppy, and a fair amount of alcohol, but what hits me the most is the earthy, mushroomy aroma, which is one of my favorite aromas in a beer. It’s a perfect lead in for my first taste. Whoa! Massive roast, very bitter but twice as sweet. Underlying the huge roast is that earthy, mushroomy flavor, pretty strong in its own right, but still nearly overwhelmed by the roast, but it’s this earthiness that really makes this one of top Imperial Stouts. Intense, dark fruit, like prune but more intense. Molasses. Fairly smoky in the finish. There’s so much flavor, I don’t think it matters what you’ve had to eat or drink before this, Expedition will obliterate it from your palate, and prevent you from tasting anything else for hours. Rich, sticky, and thick mouthfeel, coats every crevice of the mouth. Nearly syrupy, but not thick enough to slowly slide down the glass which I’ve seen with a few Imperial Stouts along the way. Lots of alcohol in the flavor and nose, I think I’m already feeling it in my head. I’m gonna have a slight buzz by the time I finish this glass, I know it. I love Imperial Stouts, but now that I’ve had Expedition, Speedway and Peche Mortel, I know for sure that this isn’t my favorite style of beer. Close, but not my favorite. Perhaps Expedition is a bit too "palate bashing", but this is still an incredible beer in almost all respects.
meathookjones (245) - Sterling, Virginia, USA - MAY 7, 2005
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
The poured out an opaque ink black with a huge brown head I had to sip to keep from spilling over the glass. Great retention and chunks of lace left decorating the glass as I consumed this. Aroma is thick with dark chocolate and roasty coffee as well as a touch of fruit and some other unidentifiables. I will have to try and figure out more with my other bottle. The flavor was similar with a strong chocolate taste and notes of roasted malt and espresso. Dark fruits were also in the mix as well as some earthy hops. The finish was a mixed of roasted malts, hop bitterness and a slight alcohol bit. Excellent all around flavor that I couldnít ask any more of. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Damn good drinkability here. Great all around Russian Imperial Stout that is near the top of my favorites.
Incubus1981 (12) - Michigan, USA - MAY 7, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: MAY 15, 2005 Pours black like espresso with a thin but lasting brown head. Aroma scared me a bit at first because I detected some kind of weird olive smell, but that melted away to roasty chocolate and coffee, toffee, again lots of dark chocolate. Flavor is very potent, bitter chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, with a slight sweetness. Other, subtler flavors present, but they were overpowered to the point that I couldnít really identify them. Long bitter aftertaste. Feels full, smooth, and thick in the mouth with just enough carbonation. Very bitter, though, in the aftertaste, to the point that I couldnít finish an entire 12-oz. bottle. Itís almost like drinking espresso- a little is more than enough.
scraff (2121) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - MAY 2, 2005
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Motor oil black pour, super thick dark tan head. The aroma just canít get any better if youíre an Impy Stout fan. Rich and complex nose of dark chocolate, caramel, roasted coffee, vanilla bean, and brown sugar, with an underlying tone of ruby port. The flavor is a near perfect balance with huge dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel notes up front, nice bitter hoppiness spread throughout, and more sweet darkened malt again in the end. 11%+ ABV is expertly hidden. Ultra full bodied and thick, pillow soft carbonation, bittersweet finish. Not really sure how you can get better then this. Unreal!!
dm9831 (1512) - Monee, Illinois, USA - MAY 1, 2005
2.7 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
brown head, rich brown color, impervious to light. strong flovor, with a hint of wood aging. however, it leavs a fruity aftertaste. a walking around aftertaste (it took me a long time to shake it).
RAYBOY01 (2012) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 1, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 29, 2006 Deep rich roasted malty beer with strong caramel, toffee, and dark chocolate. Very strong alcohol presence in the lingering finish. Good work once again from these guys.
pootzboy (1653) - Hawgville, Ontario, CANADA - APR 29, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
12oz bottle... 2 years old. Decanted like pitch black tar...incredible cocoa colored cap..moderate lace, soft carbonation. Aroma comes from Gambrinusí own grace: like honey mixed with capuccino, prunes and a slight musty hay smell. The body is like liquid gluten ...but smooth!!. This brew lends credit to the term "chewy malts" . A glorious burst of cocoa, coffee, dried fruit and citrus peel in the front and middle, then the finish is slightly salty and warming...un-Fín-believable!! Wadda brew.
OKBeer (1171) - Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA - APR 27, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
12 oz. bottle. Opaque black colour with ruby highlights around the edges. Diminishing thin creamy cappucino head. Very well blended dark fruit, dark chocolate roasted coffee, and faint alcohol aroma. Dark fruit, coffee, light alcohol and chocolate flavours with a roasty and grapefruit bitter finish. Full bodied, thick, creamy, and smooth mouthfeel. Many thanks Slikwily - definitely worth the wait!
FoolishMortal (990) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 26, 2005
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thanks to BBB63 for the bottle. Pours an opaque black, thin dark brown head dissapates quickly. Some sheery-like aromatics, with a hint of coffee and of course the requisite roastiness. Acrid fruit nose, later becomes caramel and chocolate in flavor. This melds into a deep roastiness that pairs well with the alcohol bite. The finish maintains the semblence of roastiness. Mouthfeel is so thick it is almost oily. Incredibly balanced, with a high level of drinkability for such a style.
OhioDad (2492) - Hilliard, Ohio, USA - APR 24, 2005
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: APR 25, 2005 Pours like motor oil black as night with very little brown head just ringing the outside of the glass. Deducting a point on appearance because there is no head at all. There is no light at all making it through this one. Aroma is coffee, some dark chocolate and caramel. Taste is very much roasted malt with hints of coffee, chocolate and molasses. This is very smooth for an imperial. Very drinkable and the high alcohol content is very well hidden. On the palate this is thick and coating in the mouth. A little bitter at the end but not much and it doesnít take long to feel itís warming effect. There are so many flavors dancing around in this one you just donít know which one to comment on. The flavor gets better with each sip as it warms some toffee coming out at the end. Iím glad Iíve got a few more of these in the cellar.. A great way to end your night!