deyholla (5972) - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA - APR 6, 2010
3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle. Poured black with a large brown head that dissipated slowly. Aroma had a nice dark chocolate aroma with hints of coffee and caramel. Flavor was a bit weak with a dark chocolate flavor, but not much else.
BBB63 (5743) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - APR 3, 2010
3.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Corked bottle and served in Duval snifter: Pours deep brown mahogany with a HUGE fluffy beige head with left lots of sheets of lace upon the glassware. The aroma has notes of fig and plum, heavy toasted, smoky and dusty kilned malts, a hint of red wine tannins and lacto sourness, some tobacco, coffee, flaked rye, and bakers chocolate. Light alcohol and medicinal vapours does come out more as it warms. The taste is interesting to say the least. Part sweet malt, part twangy and sour fruitiness, and part flowery and earthy yeast overtones. Get a nice rush of rye and juniper spicy tone before heading toward a slight alcoholic, ashy burnt wood and over roasted coffee finish. Part of me really likes the flavor profile for it’s complexity but then part of me thinks it is too muddled and lacks focus, all I know is that more than one glass is too many. The mouth feel is sprite and lively enough, dry ashy and boozy finish.
I could see how some "non-stouties" could really dig the unique flavor and aroma profile (much like other Belgian stouts methinks), but I grew tired of this quickly. The base malts needed more room to shine, too much influence from the yeast. IMO this is more a Strong/Imperial Porter or Belgian Strong Ale than an modern Imperial Stout. Utterly disappointed... I am sad.
badgerben (4362) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - MAR 31, 2010
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Black color with a large head. Nice aroma of chocolate, coffee and roasted barley. A bit of an herbal aroma, like an Abt (Rochefort 12 or St Bernardus 12). Interesting taste. Milk chocolate, a little lactose and oats.
Ernest (6031) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAR 29, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Head is initially large, frothy/creamy, brown, fully lasting. Body is black (not opaque, flashlight tested), bottle conditioned. Aroma is moderately to heavily malty (roasted grain/coffee, dark chocolate, caramel), lightly hoppy (apricot, grapefruit, resin), with notes of vanilla, cassis, prune, chalk. Flavor is moderately to heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly to moderately bitter. Finish is lightly to moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter. Medium to full body, creamy/velvety texture, lively carbonation, moderately alcoholic. There has been a trend in Imperial stouts that seemingly flaunts alcohol and syrupy sweetness...most of the popular examples these days are 12-18% alcohol and, as a brewery marketer might say, "HUGE". This one tends to play things a bit more low-key without being "just a stout". And that’s admittedly where my tastes tend to lie. Rich, roasty, chocolatey, fruity, and delicious...without being over the top. Not mind-blowing, but very solid.
heemer77 (5080) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - MAR 28, 2010
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I had a difficult time getting the cork out of this one, ended up using a cork screw. Finally, the first big stout I have had in a while that was truly black, no light showed, even when held to light. The large head was dark brown sugar colored. The nose was strong with pancakes as well as chocolate cake. There was also some light walnut. The taste starts with strong milk chocolate and then some raspberries. Then, as the beer slides across the tongue, you start to get dark stone fruit and some coffee. At the end of each drink, I got notes of rye as well as some fairly strong herbal hops, almost like orange peels. There is also an overarching cola note throughout. Definitely made for small drinks, this one is complex and big, but not totally disjointed. The myriad of flavors work fairly well together, even though I am tasting so many different things. I am jaded when it comes to imperial stouts anymore, but this one brings me back to realizing what I enjoy about them, just big in your face flavors. Not overly chewy or alcoholic, I find this one fairly easy to drink, despite the confusing flavors. Interesting anyway.
SledgeJr (3577) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - MAR 28, 2010
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
In the 750 mL cork bottle from Beertopia. This is an unusual Impy Stout in that it is masquerading as a sweet stout. Black with a fleeting dark beige head, the aroma has a great coffee roastedness to it. I’m geting a mouthfel of something richer than a typical stout, but this is nowhere as chewey or oily as most imperial stouts. I am just blown away by the well-worked sweetness though. Not diabetic sweet, but definitely not in the dry stout domain. I doubt that this is a beer that will improve with age. It certainly is a shocker to see here that it is nearly 10% as it drinks much smoother than that.
Pawola22 (3262) - Woodridge, Illinois, USA - MAR 27, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
750ml bottle with batch number 2010-1 and best by date of 01/13 stamped on the label. Pours a black body with a big, two finger-width, creamy, dark brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves a veil of lacing on the surface and glass. Very pretty beer. Aroma is quite nice. Lots of chocolate and earth up front with a mild roastiness. As this warms, the Belgian yeast becomes present and gives off a bit of an estery, plummy fig smell. Some nuts, fudge, leather, and smoke with a trace of vanilla. Flavor seems to lack the complexity of the aroma, but is still solid. Semi-sweet, chocolate fudge and nuts up front before a good amount of dry roasts come in. Much more burnt and ashy than the aroma. Still fairly earthy with just a light leathery vanilla. The Belgian yeast and plummy flavor is there, but the roast seems to cover it up. Finishes very dry with a light bitterness and plenty of roasts that leave a lengthy aftertaste. Medium to full body and somewhat chewy with a higher level of very creamy carbonation. Overall, another solid Smokestack release from these guys. I liked the complexity of the aroma a bit more than the flavor, but it was still very tasty. The carbonation works perfectly with the body and drinks exceptionally well. No hint of the 9.7% at all. Solid beer all-around.
smith4498 (2910) - Miami, Florida, USA - MAR 24, 2010
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
RBWG 2010. Pours black with tan head. Roasted malt and chocolate aroma with some hops present. Flavors of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, some spiciness, slightly smokey. Full body with minimal carbonation.
drowland (5958) - Valdosta, Georgia, USA - MAR 23, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Courtesy of Cavie. Big props for sending me an old Midwest fave... single tear... Pours a very black hue with a dark brown head. The aroma is tinny roasted malts and grainy dust. The flavor is sour American stout with big dark chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee, and again a definite sour kick. Not a bad American Impy, but not amongst the greats.
NachlamSie (2646) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAR 23, 2010
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
750 mL from Kahn’s. Pours a deep red/black with serious head formation that never fully disappears. The aroma is mellow, not real roasty, not real sweet. Hints at chocolate, hazelnut, dark fruit and fig are noted. The palate is super creamy, really nice. Flavors of various artisan breads like oat, rye, and wheat are hinted at along with notes of coffee and a mellow fruitiness. Belgian yeast is not overdone here, it works with the malts rather than clashing. Finish is very ashy and a bit smoky. This is really drinkable and quite different for the style. I like it.