Alengrin (4262) - BELGIUM - NOV 21, 2015
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle bought at the Great British Beer Festival. I have tasted the previous John Smith version on several occasions, but always vintages of considerable age, and I was curious to find out how it tastes (relatively) fresh, assuming Charles Wells has maintained the same recipe, which I cannot assess at this point. In any case I find it very useful that this stout is still continued albeit by someone else as, after all, this is a beer with an impressive pedigree, in representing a direct lineage to the first Russian imperial stouts in history (at least in England - I read Ireland used the phrase "imperial stout" even before the export to Russia started). Pale greyish beige, irregular, very creamy head leaving membranous lacing on the edge of the glass, colour is a very dark reddish mahogany but this is only visible on the edges, otherwise this beer is ink black. Powerful and enticing aroma of all the classic ingredients: cold black coffee, bitter chocolate, toffee, bayleaf, pipe tobacco ashes, cinnamon, dry cocoa, damp earth, ’haemoglobin’ iron, freshly ground black pepper, dried leaves, subtle hints of soy sauce, smoked pork, burnt wood, vanilla and beef jerky. Intense and rich in the mouth but very well ’controlled’, with a restrained dried fruit sweetness (raisin, dried plum) at first glance, surrounded by a deep basic grain sourishness for balance and a light meaty umami flavour; soft carbo, thickly oily body, deep and rich, layered maltiness, caramelly and nutty, but very (bitterly) chocolatey as well, with coffeeish roasted bitterness towards the end, filling the mouth cavity in a soft, mild but thorough way; finish is a wave of this toasted and roasted bittersweet maltiness, gliding down the throat like warm chocolate sauce, along with warming, faintly rhum-like alcohol built in very cleverly and providing only structure, which goes for an earthy, slightly peppery hop bitterness as well. Delicious, bittersweet chocolate maltiness is the last thing that remains along with the alcohol warmth. Clearly this has remained as noble and classic as I remember it - this is the archetypical RIS everyone venturing into the style, should start with. Absolutely lovely.
hotstuff (4811) - Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA - NOV 15, 2015
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Rated on 6-23-2015 (Bottle) The appearance of this beer is a small tan head that is mostly lasting, opaque dark brown body, slow rising carbonation observed on the sides of the glass, and a fair amount of lacing. The aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, some coffee, fruity, and alcohol. The flavor is moderately bitter, roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, smokey, semi-sweet, fruity, and boozy. The mouthfeel is moderate carbonation and this beer is medium bodied. A very good sipping beer with a very good flavor. This beer is worth trying and a beer I would partake in again.
HogTownHarry (6374) - Toronto (Harbourfront), Ontario, CANADA - NOV 14, 2015
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
October 19, 2013 - at Cask Days 2013. Black pour, nice frothy light brown head. Aroma is treacle, molasses, coffee and quite bitter - alcohol too. Taste follows - molasses, alcohol, coffee and baker’s chocolate - almost intensely bitter. Slick, sort of syrupy, surprisingly light body; mild carbonation, leading to a boozy, charred cloying finish. Not amazing, but quite good.
Cousin_Larry (864) - - NOV 1, 2015
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Great looking beer - jet black, tan/brown head. Aroma is a little unusual - chocolate, caramel and plum. Flavor just isn’t there; but the feint hint I get caramel fruit. I drank this right after I had the Ridgeway imperial so I could re-use my snifter; Ridgeway was far better and flavorful in my opinion. Surprised to see Courage rated so much higher by my fellow beer snobs.
Martinus (4362) - Baarle-Nassau, NETHERLANDS - NOV 1, 2015
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark brown colour, off-white head. Aroma of caramel, chocolate, soy sauce, brown sugar, hint of coffee. Sweet flavour, caramel, coffee. liquorice and brown sugar. Finish liquorice, roasted malts and caramel.
(from 275mL bottle @ ZZT XII, ’Getting Joes’d to this’, Oirschot. Thanks for sharing, joes!)
Benzai (12601) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - OCT 24, 2015
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle @ ZZT XII. Opaque pitch black color, medium sized brown head. Smell and taste malts, some liquorice, dark chocolate, nice bitterness. Quite good! Nice one!
hohops (731) - Kent, ENGLAND - SEP 14, 2015
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2013 vintage. Appearance- black, opaque, a 2-3 finger thick and creamy light brown head. Looks the business. Aroma- milk chocolate to the fore, liquorice hints, molasses, raisin, coffee, roast malt, hint of smoke and leather, caramel malt. Taste- lots of coffee, brown sugar, cocoa powder, treacle, molasses, big roast malt. Chewy and silky mouthfeel, with a lengthy very bitter finish. Becomes more intensely roasted as it warms. Impressive.
GuideDogSaint (1084) - Xiamen, CHINA - SEP 11, 2015
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
275ml bottle from Tasty Life, Xiamen. Pours black with a thin off white head. Aroma of treacle, coffee and chocolate. Dry finish.
wvhoran (455) - Tasmania, - SEP 8, 2015
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. 2013 vintage. Black colour with a creamy-looking brown head. The aroma is assertive and refined with coffee, chocolate, and hop resins cutting through the dark malts. Full-bodied and dry with sweetness, roasted malt, coffee, spice, and a light fruitiness. Bitterness is lasting and lightly fruity, like a well made fresh coffee, into the final. This is really good stuff.
madvike (3182) - Middleton, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 4, 2015
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle - 2013 vintage - Huge tan head on top of a dark black body. Nose is cinnamon graham crackers, molasses, and a light fruitiness. Taste is the same, with lots of molasses sweetness and a bit of coffee and roast on the finish. Slick and medium-bodied with a lightly boozy finish.