Alengrin (3221) - BELGIUM - APR 17, 2015
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAY 17, 2015 One of the most classic and critically acclaimed American imperial stouts. Very dark mahogany brown colour, almost black but still transparent on the edges in the end and in that sense a bit less dark than many other imperial stouts, under a dense and creamy, cappuccino-like, tan head with good lacing and good retention; the beer itself also leaves thick, oily, yellow ’legs’, as expected. Powerful bouquet rising up from the bottle upon opening... I put my nose above the snifter and I find myself in beer heaven once again: the purest fondant chocolate, ristretto, candied dates, raisins, brown bread, some baked banana, charcoal, fine cognac with a fine cigar, something pleasantly and refinedly sourish not unlike balsamic vinegar but very subtle, bayleaf, subtle vanilla notes, mocha ice cream, fine hints of peat, fermenting soy sauce, pine wood, even something flowery and a very refined and subtle sweetness reminiscent of tawny port. Pointy, ’aristocratic’ taste, with a noble, restrained candied sweetness in the onset, very light sourish, salty and umami accents all working perfectly well together, oily and supple mouthfeel, not too sticky as is often the case in this style, soft carbonation exactly as it should be, with prickly little ’stings’ to the tongue, providing perfect balance with a powerful, profound yet still relatively ’light’ and elegant maltiness, deeply nutty and bitterly chocolatey, a bitterness which becomes even more powerful when the roasted barley appears in full strength, leading to a very pungent, creamy, mouth-lining, deep bitterness embellished with some floral and resinous hops and gently, but deeply warming, bourbon-like alcohol. The fine, powerful but still delicate, almost woody and nutty espresso bitterness remains in the back of the mouth for hours... In my quest to find the best stout (or beer, for that matter) in the world, this gets eerily close: the word ’balanced’ may be used all too often, but here it clearly is no cliché. You can feel that this brew is made with the greatest care; there is not one flaw in it, every part fits in perfectly... Gracious sweetness pops up, makes room for a deep bitter tone, and so the play goes on. This is one of those authentic, I’d almost say ’historically evocative’ executions of the style, it makes me feel I’m at the court of the czars, like the aged Courage Russian Imperial Stout did when I first tasted it. This stout is so cleverly made, it does not need any further additions, no barrel ageing, no weird ingredients like chilli peppers or whatever; not cloying, no burning alcohol in the finish, good head formation - and retention, noble, elegant, restrained, this achieves near perfection to my taste. Yet, I still have to taste that Black Note version, waiting in the cellar, so I’ll refrain from giving it a perfect score - for now. Wow... I’m sure anything else I’ll have on my tasting table tonight will only be trivial compared to this. Fantastic.
aenima (311) - Askim, SWEDEN - APR 16, 2015
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Heavy aroma of dark chocolate and roast. The taste is like the aroma heavy with a lot of taste os chocolate, roast and coffee without being sour. Perfect balance!
Nero55 (865) - Wisconsin, USA - APR 11, 2015
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Opaque black with thin brown head. Aroma of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, light burnt sugar, and a hint of coffee. Heavy body, roasted and burnt malt, chocolate, some alcohol warmth, moderate sweetness, and a bitter finish.
Abijen (1857) - ’s-Hertogenbosch, NETHERLANDS - APR 8, 2015
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks to Benzai. Schenkt een zwart bier met een mooie bruine schuim kraag. Ruikt gerijpte fruit, koffie, pruimen. Smaakt drop, geroosterd, koffie. Heerlijk dik, plakkerig.
GriffDaddy (93) - - APR 6, 2015
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Wow, this is a huge beer. Very dark pour, with a thin, dark tan head that quickly disappeared. Big, dark, sweet aroma of sweet, dense chocolate and alcohol. Nicely bitter, lots of chocolate that is bittersweet at best. Drier than a lot of stouts, a hard sweet burned sugar flavor that is more flavor than sweet. Very pronounced alcohol burn, could have been more subtle. Beautiful bitter -malty finish that lingers for a very long time. This is a giant, satisfying beer that is complex and just slightly too alcohol forward. I expect that this would age beautifully and moderate the booziness.
katrinaez (580) - norristown, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 5, 2015
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Heavy hitting imperial and let’s you know it. Rich and black. Been a long time since I had it.abv will knock you out but it’s easy enough to drink and not notice.
Hinez57 (190) - Clinton, Mississippi, USA - APR 3, 2015
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Frankly when fresh this isn’t nearly a 100 percentile beer in my book as the alcohols are to assertive and it’s a little unbalanced, bordering on harsh, but is a wonderful even great brew. However I’m drinking one aged 6.5 years and it’s easily one of the best flavors my mouth has ever experienced. AMAZING! Full, round, faded roast, mildly figgie with hints of stone fruit, dark sugars, mildly earthy, sweet malt forward yet drinkable. Dangerously delicious, now if only Bells would age it 5 years before release! Soy aromas, dank fruity aromas, mildly nutty, very grainy/malty. Mmmmm!!!
davidezdonz (58) - , HONG KONG - APR 2, 2015
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
A friend helped me bring back two 12oz bottles of this to Hong Kong for me from the US. They were packaged on 9 October 2014, so around 6 months now. The beer poured pitch black into a snifter with a one finger brown head that dissipates in less than a minute leaving some spotty lacing. First were strong chocolate smells followed by sherry, malt and pine. The alcohol also does come through at times. Tastes begins sweet with chocolate and malt, then turns bitter dark chocolate, pine with a herbal-ey lasting finish. Like the nose, the alcohol is there but leaves a warm feeling. It is full bodied, light to medium carbonation, warm and sticky. I only got 2 bottles of this… and this was the second bottle. As per the description on the bottle and brewery website, I wish I had more so that I could age it and compare the differences it would make. Having said that, 6 months in, this was nice.
FROMTHEBOTTLE (28) - Ontario, CANADA - MAR 26, 2015
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
12oz bottle. Oh My God. Pour is near perfect. Thin circular head surrounds a dense,almost opaque, pitch black beer. All the elements are there (roasted malt,expresso,chocolate,licorice). The list goes on. A little alcohol heat on the palate .Mouth feel is rich and creamy with lingering bitter dark chocolate. Hard to find anything wrong. Rating scale needs to offer half"s. Would have wanted to give this beer a little more, but not comfortable with whole point on any of my scores. Should have gotten more than one. A year or two in cellar and wow.
Benzai (9995) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - MAR 26, 2015
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle [from trade with mista] @ weekly tasting shared with Dutchdrebus, Joes, Martinus, Ansjelaah and Judyvv. Opaque pitch black color, medium sized dark brown head. Aroma is malts, roasted malts, liquorice. After it warms up for about a half hour (since it was pulled out of the fridge) the aroma also gets some liquor, a hint of vanilla and possibly a hint of oak. Taste malts, roasted malts, dry, dark chocolate, bitter, some alcohol. Again, after warming up for quite a while some other flavors come through like vanilla, dark fruits and malt and hop bitter. Full body, suitable carbonation. Good beer for sure, but not one of my ultimate top ones.