DocLock (6789) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 17, 2008
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Batch #2, 750 ml bottle from my good friend Rusty Kuntz (not his real name). The pour is deep mahogany with 2-fingers of brown head and great lacing. This one looks great. The nose is amazingly complex, a smattering of elderberries, scotchy malt, cherries, oaky bourbon, spicy yeast, brown sugar, cabernet. I smelled this one for a good long time. The taste is fruity, starting off almost like a fine blackberry merlot, yet evolving over time to introduce more oaky spirity and holiday spicy and yeasty notes. This one never got hot for me, and I was amazed at how many flavors and aromas this threw at me, all the while remaining in perfect balance. This is indubitably one of the best beers I have ever had.
Marsiblursi (2952) - GŲteborg, SWEDEN - AUG 14, 2008
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: SEP 21, 2009 (Bottle thanks to Maxxdaddy and his mommy) Pours dark brown to black with a creamy, medium, light brown head. The aroma is vinous and fat yet soft and complex with tones of oak, malt, dark fruits and a light spicy yeastiness. Notes of creamy chocolate, salt and sweet liquorice, brown sugar, molasses, dark cherries, sweet dark grapes, blue berries, wild strawberries, prunes, figs, rum raisins, vanilla, bourbon, butter, cardamom, mild nutmeg, mild white pepper and of course a touch of elderberries. Bit fiery on the nose from both the alcohol and the bourbon barrel. The flavour is perfectly medium sweet, light bitter and with a light acidic finish that mixes well with the lingering buttery note from the oak. Tones of chocolaty/dark bready malt, elderberries, vanilla-ish bourbon oak, brown sugar/molasses, touch of hops and subtle spiciness of white pepper and nutmeg. Very vinous as well with tones of blue grapes, cherries, prunes, figs and blue and black berry jam. A touch of mango. The mouthfeel is full, velvety, soft, smooth and light oily with a fine medium carbonation. The aftertaste is of tart-ish elderberries, a peppery spiciness, faint hops and molasses. Medium to full bodied. This is a near perfect beer that is some sort of crossover between strong porter and Belgian strong ale.
JB175 (1665) - Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 21, 2007
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAY 4, 2008 Batch #1. Dark brown color with a slight reddish tinge and a nice size tan head. Aroma is powerful and sweet - bourbon, wood, vanilla, some dark fruit, and bits of chocolate and coffee. Taste has some woody & berry sweetness upfront combined with rich chocolate and coffee. The bourbon flavor is prominent, but not overwhelming. Alcohol is noticeable, but works well with the brew. A pleasant and tingly aftertaste lingers. This one is just a really well put together beer that, despite its youth, is complex and well crafted. Iím psyched to try this one as it ages and am very happy to see these guys producing such quality beers! Rerate on batch 2 - 5/2/2008 - All the same goodness with a smoother, more balanced finish. Wonderful. Always good to see a great beer improve from year to year.
dmac (3166) - Toms River, New Jersey, USA - DEC 28, 2007
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: AUG 9, 2009 Batch #1 750 ml bottle enjoyed Christmas night. Pours a deep dark brown with slight burgundy hues dancing around the outer edges and small light tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing. Aroma is fantastic with lots of wood, slight bourbon, vanilla, molasses, honey and lots of dark fruit, must be the elderberries. Initial wood flavor gives way to berries, vanilla, bourbon and then back to wood again. Wow was this some good stuff, perfect ending to a great Christmas.
tdtm82 (668) - Essex, ENGLAND - OCT 3, 2010
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle; thanks to the generosity of Puzzl. Andy, you rule mate! All-round rating at Kernel Brewery.
Very very delicate oak aged bourbon aroma; quite faint, bourbon, chocolate, grainy texture and aroma, lots of amazing sourness ala rodenbach, wild berries, really excellently balanced, not at all aggressive, very very drinkable, soothing alcohol. A really great winter ale. Another winner from Captain Lawrence. Thoroughly enjoyed in London rain.
Ernesto987 (2372) - Connecticut, USA - JUN 18, 2011
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: JUN 19, 2011 batch 5, This is the most complex beer Iíve ever had. Amazing nose, tart, rich malts, dark fruits, hoppiness. Flavor is slightly tart, sweet, berries and bourbon add a rich complexity. There is no tasting this alcohol, amazing beer.
GG (1980) - NorCal, California, USA - FEB 26, 2008
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
NorCal Feb í08 - BATCH NO. 1 - What an absolute pleasure to consume. Rarely does a beer like this come along and when it does, I want to savor every little drop of this elixir of the Gods. An incredily complex aroma of vanilla, dark fruits, lightly roasted malts, caramel, balsamic vinegar, bourbon, molasses, oak, earthy, smokey, subtle soy sauce notes....crazy tasty. The flavor is equally as complex. Dangerously easy to consume as the 12% was nowhere to be found. Sublimely easy to drink, you canít help but want to taste this beer because it seems to change with each and every sip. Kudos to the guys at Captain Lawrence for making this beer. Easily the best they have to offer IMO. I wouldnít mind having another 6-12 of these on hand. But I donít, which sucks.
MartinT (6934) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - APR 30, 2007
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JAN 20, 2008 My Bottom Line:
Wise elderberry vinosity teams up with an equally sagacious bourbon/vanilla sweetness to render even more complexity and flavor to the chocolatey roastiness of this serene strong ale. Of the utmost class, this fascinating masterpiece of Scott Vassaroís should get as much attention as Tomme Arthurís own heavenly creations.
Further Personal Perceptions:
-A lasting sheet of foam garnishes the mauve blackness.
-Its fruitiness (elderberries, black grapes, blackberries, etc.) is simply sexy.
-Alcohol is always well hidden, while contributing to the soulwarming experience.
-Subtle leafy hops decorate the finish.
-This is so drinkable for a beer this size!
-The licorice and vanilla apport of the bourbon barrel is well placed.
-Batch #1 was as enthralling as Batch #2, even though the barrels have been changed. Mesmerizing.
Bottles; Batch #1 and #2.
mkobes (2132) - paramus, New Jersey, USA - MAR 28, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Draft at HDG. Deep dark brown in color with a nice off white fluffy head. Bourbon, smokey aroma. Caramel notes. Smokey vineous vanilla flavor. Malty fruity notes. Finish is fruity and sweet. Full bodied. Strong tasting and needs to age for some time. Very nice beer.
Nuffield (3348) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - JUL 31, 2009
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Batch 2. Killer beer. Thereís the from level of beer and then it kicks in with a second level of finish from the bourbon. There are many other layers of excellence revealed. Lively but balanced palate. Bottle shared at RBSG 2009 grand tasting.