VA Homebrewer (525) - Portsmouth, Virginia, USA - DEC 28, 2002
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
RE-RATE 11-12-02 From the handpump: Absolutely the best single pint of stout I have ever had. Black as coal with a heavenly, thick and creamy brown head that clung to the glass for the entirety of the beer. Bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, cream and dark-roast coffee combine to make a supurb flavor experience. Maybe a hint of earthy hops, but I don’t care about the hops in this beer.
Aromas are a bit subtle, but are dominated by bitter chocolate and coffee - mochaccino! Creamy body and soft texture is sublime and acts to take the edge off of the bitter coffee and chocolate notes. A beautiful creation that made my day. The fact that Melissa and I were sitting outside at one of my favorite restaurants on a warm and beautiful November day sure didn’t hurt either. ORIGINAL: Two words: Top notch! Chocolate is an appropriate name, as chocolate aromas and flavors appear throughout. Bitter chocolate, roasted malt and milk chocolate are signature flavors. Alcohol is present, but quite pleasant and not at all overpowering. Not at all cloying either. Finish is semi-sweet chocolate. Beautiful opaque black color with a brown head that dissipates quickly. Very enjoyable.
TAR (2384) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - DEC 27, 2002
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: APR 14, 2004 The 00-01 left me inspired. The 01-02 left me wondering what happened. The 02-03 left me saying 'It's back!' Gorgeous whipped cuppuccino gray/brown foam. The thickness of the opaque liquid is unmatched. Very solid aroma, full of caramel, vanilla coffee bean, peanut, coconut, leather, milk chocolate, bourbon, faint plum whisper, and malted milk. It somehow achieves such complexity without exuding any vinous or charred traits. Sits like heavy silk on the palate. Front flavors of feathery charred barley textures and milk chocolate. An amazingly long and ingeniusly complex finish with an interplay of light plum fruitiness, raw coffeee bean, and borderline acidity. Overall, its downfalls are the lighter than expected palate and the subtle traces of acidity. Probably not a good one to age. Otherwise, arguably the classiest in its lineage. Moreover, after a year in the cellar, the body thickens, which plays really well off the developing vinous acidity and plummyness. Ends with burnt matchstick and molasses. About as voloptuous as it can get. '03-'04: Recipe change? Contract brewed? Far too acidic than the previous version, which ruins the what used to be creamy mouthfeel and rich chocolate layers.
gbzia (195) - Cedar Knolls, New Jersey, USA - DEC 23, 2002
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Rich, dark, chocolate with light hop finish. Warming with a good mouth feel. A nice after dinner brew.
Pjones6738 (500) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 22, 2002
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Deep black color with a thick brown head. Nice chocolatey aroma. Good chocolate taste. Not as bitter as many chocolate stouts. Gets more and more chocolatey as it warms. Also gets more acidic. I wouldn’t drink it every day, but I’d certainly drink it again. Alas, all of the bottles that Hopsrus sent me (thanks!) are gone now, and I am sad.
nlanza (18) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 22, 2002
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thick, sweet, and warm. One of the best parts about winter is beers like this.
hopscotch (8369) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - DEC 22, 2002
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: OCT 16, 2003 Re-rate for '03-'04.
Even more aromatic and tasty than last year's brew. Delicious! Fuller palate and more espresso notes than last year's.
TheDean (786) - MIlwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 21, 2002
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Wow, this beer tase like a Hershey’s kiss without the aftertaste of most chocolate stouts. Someone needs to inform women of this beer, because women love chocolate, and men love drunk women!!!
DosWeenos99 (10) - Park Ridge, New Jersey, USA - DEC 21, 2002
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
The Ben and Jerry’s of beer!... add the ingredients until just before it’s too much. One of the maltiest sweet stouts with nice roasted overtones you will find. Cellars very well, I have several vintages starting with 1998-98 winter season. Great beer!
JahNoth (1039) - Rochester, New York, USA - DEC 19, 2002
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Pours like a can of motor oil with little head and a deep, rich color. Raisiny/plumlike smell leads to a winey flavor. Hint of burnt chocolate malt with a good dose of bitterness. This is a very over rated beer and another poor effort from the brewers at Saranac - the contract brewers for this beer.
BeerRhino99 (6) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - DEC 19, 2002 does not count
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 10/20