tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - JUN 21, 2010
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JUL 2, 2010 16oz hand bottle. Holy god... this beer looks sexy as hell in the glass. Super thick and viscous with about the darkest brown head of any beer I’ve ever seen. A gentile swirl in the glass leaves a slightly golden brown motor oil stain on the sides of my glass. As with the bourbon version, the barrel aging mutes some of the original awesomeness of the aroma. Very light pepper/chili notes. Fairly heavy on the alcohol, but thankfully the stink of isovaleric acid that was so prevalent in the bourbon version is absent here. Mild wet wood notes. The vanilla and peppers come up a bit more as the beer nears room temperature. Decent... but fairly average barreled aroma. The barrel shows itself much more on the tongue than on the nose. Lush flavors of peppers, vanilla, decadent milk chocolate, toasted nuts immediately come to the tongue. Further warming brings out the wood and brandy flavors. The base beer is pretty much gone with the barrel leaving a goddamn decadent imperial stout. Slightly tart granny smith apples, plenty of warming (but not distracting) alcohol, wet wood... Huge mouthfeel but never syrupy or cloying. Damn near reminiscent of cask Darkness. Ultra velvety and smooth throughout. Bitter chocolate with a kiss of heat and wood tannin on the finish.
It’s been a very, very long time since I have been this impressed with an Imperial Stout (much less a Barrel Aged version) but make no mistake people, this is the real deal. Color me impressed. Thanks a ton Ryan!
Lubiere (9877) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JUN 18, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
A deep dark stout with no head, thick and oily. In aroma, more soy sauce saltyness, alcohol and chocolate, intense and enticing. In mouth, a classy imperial stout with bitter chocolate, coffee, prunes, warming alcohol, just wonderful. On tap at Cigar City, May 22 2010.
DocLock (7829) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 9, 2010
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Draft at Capone’s Philly Beer Week Cigar City event, sampled side by side with the regular version in 5.5 ounce snifters. Pours dark browniush black with off-tan head. Nose is oaky brandy, dark malt, raisin, fine tobacco, vanilla, hops. Tastes veru rich and complex, with a big malt bill, a lot of oaky brandy, molasses, fine tobacco, vanilla, prune, blackberry late, and hops. Extremely complex, smooth, and delcious, and this one straddles thee fine line between beer and spirit. I loved both this and the regular version about equally, and they both have their pros and cons (mostly pros, and the cons are infinitescimal). Delicious.
MrBendo (1064) - Swedesboro, New Jersey, USA - JUN 9, 2010
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: JUN 10, 2010 Tap at Capone’s. Dark brown color with a small wisp of head. Aroma of chocolate and dark fruit. Strange follow-up taste of syrupy soy and black olives. I usually like brandy aging, but in this case I really felt that it took away from all that is good about this beer.
Ibrew2or3 (6846) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - JUN 8, 2010
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
On tap at CCB pouring up inky dark soulless void with dark mocha head and long lasting ring of foam and some spotty lacing. The aroma is bold and tries to push you over with sweet brandy, coconut, vanilla, oak, rich dark roastiness and dark chocolate all coming together. The taste smooth and near velvety with dark roastiness and dark chocolate sliding into sweet smooth brandy booziness, vanilla, coconut and then oak as well. It leaves a pleasing rich dark chocolate, vanilla and coconut sense behind deep into the after taste. The balance ends up a bit more barrel forward than beer forward at this point allowing almost all of the beery goodness of this beer to shine through. I really wasn’t able to pick up any chili other than maybe a sense of heat combined with booziness and carbonation into the finish.
juiceisloose (1055) - Windermere, Florida, USA - JUN 7, 2010
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draft at the brewery from the Hunahpu’s release. Pours an extremely pitch black color almost like looking at used motor oil with its thickness. The body is topped by a thick, dark tan head of foam that shows good retention and leaves a sudsy wash as it slowly fades. This thing looks great in the glass. The aroma is fantastic and shows a complex blend of dark chocolate, brandy, vanilla, candied apples, and a dose of cinnamon spice. The ancho and pasilla chile peppers start to show on the back adding that spicy, peppery kick while the brandy oak ties it all together. The barrel really changes things offering sereval nuances to the beer. The flavor is just as decadent showing waves of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and sweet candied apples. There is even some toasted coconut in there to go with the peppery spice on the back end that adds just a touch of heat. The signature sweet candied apples and vanilla shine through the most from the brandy barrel adding to the great flavor and depth of this brew. The mouthfeel is full bodied, thick and viscous with balanced carbonation and a slightly warm apple brandy finish. This is maybe a touch sweet, but still an awesome, elite level brew.
regspeir (199) - Havertown, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 7, 2010
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
On tap at capones; Matt is THE MAN. Poured black with mocha edges to create a smallish head and good albeit surprisingly thin lacing. Nose is brandy, vanilla, chocolate, cocoa. Taste is a wonderful battle of the apple, brandy of the barrel and the chocolate, vanilla, pepper and especially the warming and booziness of the brew. The feel was creamy and almost chewy with a very nice level of carbonation to hold it up. Drinkability is also a battle between my desire and the abv. but price and availability probably push me over the edge. All-in-all a great imperial stout.
cprochak (590) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUN 6, 2010
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
6/5/10 on Tap at Capone’s. Pours midnight black with no head and only a couple bubbles. Aroma was solid cherry, apple and alcohol, with only hints of coffee. As it warmed, you could pick up a bit of smokiness from the peppers and a touch of cinnamon, but the brandy still dominated.
Flavor was very sweet dark chocolate covered fruit. Slightly dry smoky tobacco finish. As it warmed, you got a bitt more flavor from the peppers and felt the slightest tingle on the tongue.
This is an incredibly smooth and drinkable imperial stout that needs no further age.
Overall, this tasted like a solid imperial stout aged a bit too long in brandy. However....
6/6/10 at Hawthorne Cafe: This was like a completely different beer. I got a ton of pepper and smoke in the nose right from the start, but just balanced with the cinnamon and brandy. This was much more balanced and tasted like what I would expect from taking a great base imperial stout (Hunahpu’s) and throwing it in brandy. The aging was a great complement.
I’m not sure why such a disparity between the two kegs, but my rating is essentially my averaged impression of the two beers.
hopdog (8867) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 6, 2010
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at Capone’s. Poured a dark black, with brown edges, and a smaller sized brown head. Aromas of chocolate, brandy, some earthiness, and vanilla. Tastes of chocolate, brandy, vanilla, dark fruits, and lighter spices.
JAXSON (528) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 6, 2010
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Draft at Capone’s Cigar City event. Pours black with no head with some fine legs, later glasses had a rich dark mocha cap. Sweet, mild brandy on the nose, some lightly bitter chocolate, and a really pretty collage of sweet spices focusing on cinnamon. Flavor starts out with some mildly sweet apple brandy, very soft, then blossoms into this amazing array of cinnamon, cardamom, maybe pumpkin. Absolutely awesome. The bitter, charred elements of the regular version were erased by the brandy barrel, but in contrast to some others I found the spices far more prominent in this one, especially the cinnamon. A later pour near the bottom of the keg were a bit chalky and lost some of the glory of the first pour. One of the best beers I’ve had, not really a classic imperial stout, but just amazingly expressive and the flavor progression was in my mind for the whole day.