Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 1, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Ah the first of the “New Year 2004” beers and one from my current most favorite sub-style a “Belgian Strong Ale”.
The beer pours to a foggy orange color loaded with dross, both suspended and slowly sinking to coat the bottom of the glass. On the pour the head formed was gigantesque in size, creamy in texture and a toothsome light tan color, over time as I let it breathe and warm to the glass and room, it also formed a thick and clinging sheet of lace to conceal the glass. The aroma of banana, fresh cut pineapple, strawberry cotton candy sweet, fresh malt, clean and quite pleasing to the eye and nose. It begins lightly sweet, rich in malt, the top light to middling in its feel to the palate with the finish stinging in its acidic bite. Hops are pleasing in their spiciness and they increase their presence as the beer warms to the room, quite dry aftertaste that lingers long on the palate, a fine beer to start out the “New Year”.
Jokes (1453) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 29, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Opens with a rush that left me with a quick shower of saison. I opened the bottle and beer violently escaped arching up and coming down to land on the top of my head and drip down. It was frustrating to lose a whole third of the bottle, but I was certainly wearing the nicest perfume in the room. The color is an awesome combination of deep reds, light browns and brilliant golds. A huge, rocky, white head continued to slowly escape from the bottle at a snail's pace. As mentioned above, the aroma is simply delightful. Fresh, sweet fruit combined with a variety of herbs (mint, rosemary?) hidden at the edge of edge of pine forest covered in the morning dew. The body is nice, encasing the tongue is soft satin and robust flavor. Strong malt flavors with the bread and biscuit character dually noted. The fruits are present, fresh and surprisingly non-sweet. The yeast character is subtle, but there is perceptible funkiness involved. Likewise, the hops are equally balanced for flavor and bitterness. This was a tremondous drinking experience. Definitely let yours settle, because wearing this is not as exciting as drinking it. One of the better holiday beers.
Schroppfy (2360) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - DEC 29, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 30, 2005 Again: Slipped again - the original bottles of this that I had are more like the regular Moneuse. Honey and sweet to complement the funk, but it’s muddy. Again: It’s slipped - the newer bottles don’t seem to have "the funk". Rerate: The best beer I’ve ever had, upon resampling. Honey, and loads of earth - the freshest scent ever. Original: I am pleased to write this rating, and it is nearly as high as ecrvich’s, but my notes reveal some differences. Aroma is earth and pine needles, bitter tops of carrot (chard?), bitter dandelions. Incredibly fresh and among the top aromatic experiences I have ever had in a beer. Slightly dark golden and sparkly; islands of just raised foam laze about. The flavor contains nary a hair of sweetness; although initially the body is silky like cotton candy there’s none of those flavors! Herbal and bitter with a soft toasty malt (sourdough bread? - or better yet, make some bread with this - wooo hooo!) - no sourness or acidity as I think exists in gueuze, but also not full, soft round and slightly sweet as in a biere de garde (but I can see some resemblance to those two styles) this is instead the best saison I have ever had. Lightness and straw and the same hop as in Orval (stryian?). Softened, then sharpened, by the addition of a HUGE amount of sediment. Lichens and moss envelop you here. Funky and bizarre and fantastic.
Hildigöltur (5104) - København, DENMARK - DEC 26, 2003
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Deep amber coloured. Notes of cobwebs, cheese, cork and yeast in the aroma. Quite malty flavour with some sour/acidic notes.
urbnhautebourg (997) - Annapolis, Maryland, USA - DEC 26, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
What remained in the bottle after the initial explosion upon opening was fantastic--exactly as JP Dipso describes: peaches, honey, cinnamon and other spices on an alternating dry and rich palate. Totally wonderful beer. I just wish that 3/4 of the bottle didn't geyser out into the sink.
ARMed (597) - Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 13, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
An excellent winter brew with a nice aromatic entrance of oranges, peaches and spiced eggnog. Mellow tatse with a smooth finish. Not oevrly strong in alcoholic permeation, rather it is a subtle penetration of a nice warm finish.
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 10, 2003
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Hazy orange liquid with a voluminous ecru head. Heavy aroma of cobwebs, and toasted rye bread spread with peaches, apples, Cinnamon, passion fruit and honey. Dry malts start the taste-buds on their journey. Complex malts and yeast flavors. Seems like a light Gueuze de Garde. So dry in the start with a yeast bit, but not the big sour finish a more refined finish of light fruit and spice.
DrBeer (829) - Solna Stockholm, SWEDEN - DEC 9, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottled 2001 vintage.
Orange with white thin head.
Green apples, cellar and mineral in the nose.
Pointy alcoholic flavor with sweet fruityness, almonds and some malt.
Strange beer. I´ve never understood saisons.
SirTom (88) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 5, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pretty good. * Had this at a beer club meeting with many other beers, hence I don't remember all my comments - only the ratings which I wrote down at the time.
omhper (19187) - Tyresö, SWEDEN - DEC 4, 2003
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottled, 2001 vintage. Dark orange with lively rich head. Aroma of cheese and minerals. Medium dry, pleasantly soft and malty with sparkling mouthfeel. Grassy bitter finish. A good beer with some depth.