notalush (4872) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JAN 10, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks to zathrus13 for this one - pours a rather dark brown, nearly black, with a small ring of off-white lace - aroma is actually quite earthy, with notes of coffee/cream, vanilla, wood, and, of course, bourbon - quite dry and smokey for an imperial, with lots of oak, some herbal qualities - plums and dates - vanilla and bourbon combine with some most typical IS characteristics (roastiness, cocoa, coffee) to quite nice ends - finishes pretty dry and chocolatey - all of the qualities in this beer come together quite well, and it never gets overwhelming, cloying, or out of balance like many other beers of this style (especially barrel-aged ones) - very nice indeed.
BückDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - JAN 4, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle: Compliments to Indiana_Red and OhioDad for this one. Dark auburn color, light mahogany. Good head and light lacing. Nose is toasty and bright with sweet herbal railroad tie and earthy creamy roast. Full bouquet with lots of fukumi-ka. Marshmallow flavor, lightly smoky with oak, bourbon, vanilla notes. Toffee, cocoa and cantelope as well. Not too burgeoning in intensity to reach this balance. Finishes dusty and tangy. Excellent.
IndianaRed (2490) - Boise, Idaho, USA - JAN 4, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle Pours a deep dark carmel colr. Not as black or inky as I expected. Small tan head and nice thin but lasting lacing. Aroma of vanilla, the burbon barrels and a bit of dark smokey licorice and chocolate. Feel was very soft and smooth. Lightly carbonated and flavors were rich chocolate, burbon, oak and the ABV came through a bit. Nice lingering warming feeling going down. Not quite what I was hoping but a delicious brew. Thanks again to OhioDad for this most excellent selection.
csbosox (1223) - Prairie Village, Kansas, USA - JAN 3, 2006
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Thanks to Eric/Heemer for this contribution to the 2005 KC holiday party. Eric was very generous to contribute a couple bottles for the tasting and another for the host! Dark brown color, no head to speak of. Foam dots are left on the glass. Aroma is oak & bouron, some vanilla, and chocolate. Good mouthfeel. Initial taste of chocolate, mocha, and bourbon. The finish is oak and bourbon.
acertain (249) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JAN 1, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thanks Hezron! Pours black with a thin head. Rich chocolate and coffee aromas with a hint of something I couldn’t identify. Maybe it was the bourbon, though it seemed a little off to me. Nice in the mouth. Flavor is a wonderful coffee/chocolate combination. It’s what I was hoping Bell’s Double Cream Stout was going to taste like. It’s not sweet, nor bitter, but it has significant alcohol warming. Definitely in my top 5!
tjthresh (1865) - Greenfield, Indiana, USA - JAN 1, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz 2005. Thanks heemer77. Dark brown with a full tan or light brown head that fades rather quickly. Aromas of bitter dark chocolate, oak, and the faintest bourbon character. As the beer warms, the boubon presents its self a bit better, but the bourbon character in this beer is way restrained. Medium body, but this for an impy. A nice beer, but not all that.
Indra (2621) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - JAN 1, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JAN 2, 2006 12oz. - 2005 bottling. Aroma features some caramel corn and sweet, chocolatey, roasty malt, only vague hints of bourbon, wood and sour fruit, perhaps some gingerbread. Dark brown in color, head is uneven and slight with lacing to match. Flavor profile is bittersweet, malty, roasty and fill of dusty cocoa, more caramel and toffee along with hints of bourbon, cherry and oak, finish is somewhat abrupt. Mouthfeel is semi-dry and lively, body is medium-full. Interesting in its somewhat reserved character, certainly not your typical over-the-top bourbon Imperial, and not just because the alcohol is so well masked. Thanks, Eric!
PhillyBeer2112 (2526) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - DEC 31, 2005
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Very dark brown with a touch of red. Slight hint at BO in the nose, with some caramel malt and a hefty nose of oak, baking chocolate. Bourbon character is restrained to my nose, with the woody oak character dominating. Smooth and rounded, slight oak flavors, seemingly alot of caramel malt up front, and a big acrid finish. Husky and tannic, the acrid black malt covers any bourbon character.
Gorbalev (2926) - Ontario, CANADA - DEC 31, 2005
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. Black, small beige head, lots of bubbles. Lovely whisky aroma - sweet alcohol and malt. Taste is also very sweet from the bourbon barrel, with alcohol and hops in the backgrounds. It remains pretty balanced, but can get a little harsh as it warms, something I have found in most barrel-aged beers. A rich tasting flavourful beer that I would like to try without the barrel aged part. Thanks again to Captain Cougar for the trade.
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 30, 2005
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: JUN 27, 2006 2005 bottle from StewardofGondor, sampled side by side with the non-barrel version on 12/22/05 with Rastacouere and Siroy.
Yet another intensely filtered pour yields approximately the same results as the non BA version. The lack of age on this one allows the head to recede a little more slowly, but it is soon only a tan ring on the edges atop a deep, milk chocolate brown body, that is frighteningly clear.
Aroma of strong bourbon aging, translating in to plenty of syrupy vanilla and dry woodiness. German chocolate cake soaked in brandy, quite dry on the end and fairly strong, but lacking any hops or roast.
Flavor begins with a strongly dry wood effect, huge vanilla and warming alcohol notes with the chocolate from the regular version mixing to add a sort of marshmallow like sweetness on the side. But the bourbon barrel is tyrant here, not so much, this time, from an over exposure to the barrel, as it is from the lack of a base stout that can really handle the barrel gracefully. Earthy, composty, salty coffee rinds build on the palate, with the vanilla softening and the alcohol only a slight sting on the end.
Body is mediumish, but horribly filtered and overcarbonated, leading to a vapid, unsubstantial texture. The word complex never really comes to mind. Basically a coffee-chocolate stout exposed to strong bourbon. Horribly lacking texture, no hop apparency. Barrel-aging is interesting, but why is this top 50? Not trying to be cynical and purposefully against the grain, but I just don’t get it. Will revisit in a year.
Rerate. 05 bottle consumed 6/27/06. It’s only been 6 months but still a rerate is in order.
Well this is just strange. Great head retention, nearly perfect and creamy with plenty of lacing. But the aroma is all bourbon, some very light smoke and traces of black malt. Very burnt and dark and like usual, too much bourbon (though the coconut vanilla has died down). The flavor is too bourbony while the texture still disappoints, watery and loose. Still, there is enough malt to keep interest and some nice ashiness and roast on the very end. 6/4/5/2/12.
Total score is an average of the two.