zathrus13 (1685) - Mount Laurel, New Jersey, USA - OCT 8, 2013
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pours dark brown, with a brown head. Aroma is chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon, and roasted malt. Flavor is roasted malt, dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, wood, and vanilla. Medium body. The flavor isnít as good as the aroma, but this is still quite good.
50belair (1825) - Florida, USA - OCT 3, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Dark brown pour with a tan head. Roasted malt aromas. Big caramel malts, dark fruit sweetness, and a roasty finish. A bit effervescent with bourbon and oak undercurrents. Decent body and mouthfeel.
fattybladdy (423) - Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA - SEP 27, 2013
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Deuce @ home. Wonderful scent of wood and bourbon. Dark brown in appearance. Taste has a good amount of sweetness, dark fruit, bourbon and oak, and chocolate. A tasty brew.
jkwood04 (3260) - Connecticut, USA - SEP 21, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
750ml bottle in a snifter. Pours black with a thick, lacy, tan head. Aroma of roasted malts, some coffee and chocolate, a little bourbon and oak, and some light bitterness. Flavor the same with a nice blend of everything. A pretty good beer.
DocLock (7445) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 19, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
750 cc from a friend via his Willamsburg vacation. Pours thick and dark blackish with khaki head. Nose is big roasty dark malt, chocolate, oaky bourbon, vanilla. Tastes rich, roasty, with notes of dark choc, earthy oaky bourbon, molasses, and hops. Gets more chocolatey as it warms, and just pounds the palate relentlessly. Nice stuff.
ThisWangsChung (747) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - SEP 17, 2013
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12.7 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Pours a nearly pitch black color that doesnít look particularly thick coming out of the bottle. The head is typical for the style, a one-finger khaki shade. Itís nice and creamy, but doesnít retain well (as expected). Slight hints of lacing are left on the glass.
S: Upon popping the cork, a HUGE aroma of chocolaty goodness emanates from the bottle. After itís actually poured, it turns into more of a typical barrel-aged stout. Thereís plenty of oak, roasted malts, butter, and vanilla here. This definitely seems bourbon-forward enough.
T: Dark chocolate opens up the flavors nicely. Thereís also something savory in between the chocolaty start and tannic finish. Iím venturing to say itís just a pure bourbon flavor, but it also has a quality of roasted nuts. All in all, it grows on me after a while, and I enjoy it a fair deal. Problem is, thereís not much (if any) complexity. Itís simplistic to a fault - which is fine for some A-class pilsner or AA-class IPA, but this is the major league of barrel-aged imperial stouts. You need to bring everything to the table, and this doesnít quite do that. On the positive side, the sweetness is nicely controlled; even BCBS, as fantastic as it is, comes across too sweetly at times.
M: Itís suitably creamy, so it meets the bare minimum for what the style should feel like in the mouth. The finish, too, is nice, managing to be both dry and long-lasting. On the other hand, itís also rather thinned out and clean - the latter must be why there isnít much depth. Still, I am pretty impressed how this has a decent bourbon flavor with little burn considering the sweetness is restrained and the body is slender.
O: 3.9 (or whatever the rAvg is) isnít a great score for a barrel-aged imperial stout, but going by my tendency to rate most everything half a point below the typical average, Iíd even wager this is slightly underrated. Iíd probably lambast this somewhat if it had the same level of hype as BCBS does. All I know is that A) itís better than the chocolate/coffee aged version, and B) with a few tweaks (more body, more complexity), it would be up there with the elites. Right now, though, itís still quite good.
BeerFlavoredBeer (254) - New Hampshire, USA - SEP 17, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Jackl, I am glad I wasnít the only one that struggled with the cork! I am pretty sure my bottle is just the straight-up barrel-aged Dark Hollow (rather than the chocolate/coffee version), but I still get lots of smooth, dark chocolate and espresso in the flavor. The nose is faint coffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak. Some bitterness and booze in the finish, but overall this is a very good barrel-aged stout. The different flavors balance well and it changes pleasantly as it warms.
mrmartin (649) - New York, New York, USA - SEP 6, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I found this to be disappointing (but only on account of having had a lot of other highly rated Imp Stouts)
On its own accounts its quite good. Black-brown pour with thin tan head.
Notes of roasted malts, chocolate and whisky. Smooth full body with notes of coffee and chocolate rounded by the barrel process. A slightly boozy bitter finish.
jackl (3781) - Charlottesville, Virginia, USA - AUG 24, 2013
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Man, was the cork difficult to release on this bottle. Emasculating, bro. The pourís deep brown with a pillowy tan head. Attractive pour after all that effort. The nose is toffee, sweet cocoa. A bit of coffee. Rocky road fudge. Toasted oats. Hints of vanilla, barrel aging. The taste is full of roasted grain, wood. Moderate vanilla, booze. This has definitely spent time in a barrel. Dark-roasted coffee. Dark chocolate. Moderate bitterness on the finish. Slightly thin on the palate for the style. Light carb. Overall, not bad, not earth-shattering.
deaconmike (300) - Roswell, Georgia, USA - AUG 23, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at rattle n hum in NYC. Jet black with a mocha head that leaves some splotchy lacing. Aroma is roast and chocolate. Taste has some complexity to it - a little sweet and a little bitter. Licorice and vanilla extract. Then a dry finish. Medium body; a little syrupy. Tasty brew.