BeerandBlues2 (7418) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - APR 18, 2012
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pours hazy brown with a medium, frothy and bubbly tan head, medium retention with good lacing. Aroma is dates and figs, brandy, oak and caramel malt with light toast notes. Flavor is caramel, vanilla and brandy, oak, light hops and bitterness with a sweet finish. Full body, medium warmth and carbonation.
Chad9976 (884) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 10, 2013
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I received a 22oz bottle into a trade with a friend in California (thanks, Mario!). I poured it into a Trappist chalice. There was no freshness date other than its 2011 vintage.
Appearance: Dark burgundy/mahogany hue, slightly translucent. Plenty of fine carbonation seen at the glass’s edge. Forms a small, beige, foamy/soapy head which mostly dissipates and doesn’t leave much lacing.
Smell: Dark red fruit with classic Belgian yeast character, plus significant chocolate presence.
Taste: There’s a lot of creativity to Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Grand Cru. Though technically a Belgian-style dubbel, the addition of vanilla bean as well as the aging in brandy barrels, really makes for a creative and impressive (dare I say amazing) beer. For a traditional Belgian style brew, it’s surprisingly American in character. Big and bold in pretty much all aspects, yet not cloying or imbalanced.
It’s actually a difficult palette to describe. The base recipe is that of an Abbey-style dubbel, yet that character is only noticeable at the beginning of the serving. The barrel-aging, combined with the addition of vanilla beans, create for a one-two punch of delicious woody/chocolaty flavors. You wouldn’t think these would complement each other, but they do surprisingly well. The dark and dried fruits of apple, cherry, fig, raisin and currants are all prominent as well, especially on the finish. Not much in the way of sourness or tartness, though, but there’s no overt wine character either (all of which is fine by me). This is a pretty delicious palate worthy of the "Grand Cru" designation.
Drinkability: I was pleasantly surprised by how drinkable Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Grand Cru was, as I assumed it would be an intense sipper. The mouthfeel is on the thicker and heavier end of the spectrum, but the body is calm, soft and comfortable. It goes down smooth with a mild malty/fruity aftertaste. The 9% ABV is a perfect size for this beer since it has definite weight, but nothing obese or overtly boozy. A great stand-alone dessert beer, but would pair well with the right gourmet food I’m sure.
Mora2000 (4042) - McKinney, Texas, USA - MAY 5, 2013
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle. Amber with a white head. Aroma is caramel, toffee and whiskey. Flavor is alcohol, caramel, toffee, vanilla and maple. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.
JohnnyJ (3531) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 5, 2013
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draft at oakquinox 2013. Pours a reddish brown, with a light tan head. Very sweet, apple, pear, dates, brandy, booze, and some caramel.
womencantsail (6896) - Garbage Grove, California, USA - APR 8, 2013
2.5 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 9/20
Draft @ Oakquinox 2013. Mahogany pour with a khaki colored head. The nose is full of acetone, green apple, and alcohol. Prunes, some brandy, cola, banana, vegetables, and caramel. There’s some brandy and sweet caramel malt to the nose. Overly sweet dark fruit character like prune and raisin. Some banana, cola, and cooked vegetables. A bit of acetone, lots of green apple, and booze.
arone12 (874) - Maryland, USA - MAR 25, 2013
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a dark color with some more wood. Fruity with some pears and apples. Maybe a bit of a dryer sheet feeling in the finish.
Glouglouburp (5562) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAR 7, 2013
1.2 AROMA 2/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 2/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 4/20
In short: A gross cloying mess.
How: Bottle 22oz, 2011 vintage, consumed when approximately one year of age, bottle sent to me by mcberko, not your fault Matt.
The look: Cloudy amber-brown body topped by a small beige head.
In long: Nose is absurdly sweet, smells like jelly beans swimming in some kind of condensed fruit juice. Taste is even more gross, sweet beyond belief, pomegranate juice, a shot of a cheap sweet shooter sold by sexy waitresses in dance clubs, sweet apples, sweet dark ripe fruits, a bit of wood. Far from nice barrels integration, this was more like someone poured a shot of cheap brandy in my beer. I was unable to finish my bottle, this cloying mess is unpalatable. Totally awful beer that also has no dubbel qualities at all (current ratebeer classification). And to think I went through the trouble of trading for this crap, now I have thoughts of suicide (I’m thinking of the brewer killing himself).
Dogbrick (6022) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - FEB 14, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Sample at a weekly bottle sharing event at Red House BBQ in Tehachapi, CA on 02/02/2013. The beer pours a mostly clear reddish-brown color with a medium tan head that dissipates steadily to an outer ring. Stringy lacing on the glass. Aroma of chocolate malt, dark fruit and vanilla. Medium to full body with flavors of caramel malt, ripe fruit, chocolate and subtle brandy. The finish is dark malts and brandy. Pretty good all around.
Reid (1602) - Salem,Oregon, Oregon, USA - JAN 6, 2013
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz from"Lifesource" in Salem.
On sale for $4.99
Pours a dark almost mahogany brown with a nice sized thick and creamy coffee’n creme coloured head.
Nice spicy,brandy,wood and earthy aromas..nice.
Very nice smooth balanced, spice,brandy,oaky notes, coffee and cream,slight walnut aspect.Dark fruits especially date or fig in the end.
Great silky creamy well integrated mouthfeel to this one.
Very nice beer indeed and for the price i paid fantastic
Ibrew2or3 (5758) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - DEC 20, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tasted at the Annual Black Friday tasting where it pours up murky mahogany with a tan head of foam. The aroma is sweet and candy like with vanilla, sweet malts, sweet dates, figs and then some toffee for good measure. The taste is yummy with molasses and vanilla mixing with prunes and dates and sugary smooth booziness. This is nice stuff. If you like ‘em sweet then this is for you.
demmbonz (302) - Wisconsin, USA - DEC 8, 2012
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bomber to snifter. Throw in on a trade. Wow what a bonus! Aroma is sweet and a bit perfumy? Super interesting brew. Smooth palate. Sugary dark fruit flavor.