DarkElf (3013) - La Jolla, California, USA - FEB 26, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
18-Sep-06 (12 oz bottle: Obtained 15-Apr-05 in trade with Eyedrinkale, thanks Mike!) I might as well say this right up front... This beer is frigging amazing! Iím drinking nirvana. It brings peace and tranquility to my hectic life. All of lifeís worries are completely forgotten as I savor each and every drop of this delectable beverage. This Vintage 2001 winter ale from Dark Horse is about five years old now and is wooing me in just about every possible way with a wonderful complexity of genuinely delicious flavors and a terrific evolution from start to finish. The initial attack: rich, dark, moderately bitter, roasty malts combine with sweet, dark fruits and plentiful spices (especially nutmeg and clove), and are balanced by a mild cherry-like tartness thatís makes me reminisce about some of my favorite wood-aged dark ales. Tremendously flavorful, and so many flavors, all in exceptional balance. A light smokiness begins to emerge in the mid-palate, increasing intensity for a delightfully smoky finish. And given the age, Iím amazed that the typical chocolate and earthiness I get in most aged dark ales isnít present. In other words, I think this beer still has much more life in it and would still be amazing a few years from now. The nose shows a more chocolaty maltiness, not so much roast, but the nutmeg and clove are ever-present. Inarguably full-bodied and round right into the long finish, but with the bitter roast and spices lingering on the palate for several minutes, even the mere suggestion of a cloying nature is outside the realm of possibility. Carbonation is still ample but gentle on the palate. The color of the light-blocking body is deep, deep, deep, deep brown with a bit of ruddiness at the edges. Fairly small, tan head when poured, but given the age of this beer, itís entirely forgivable as far as Iím concerned. Nevertheless, a modest ring of bubbles clings to the edge of the glass for the entire session. Iím not one to gush so effusively over a beer very often -- Iíve had a lot of amazing beers in my life, but this beer is truly one of the most complex and exquisite holiday ales Iíve ever had. I had no idea this beer was this good or this RARE. Iím really sad that I drank this beer at home alone instead of at OíBrienís so my other Ratebeer buds could experience just how incredible this beer is. I bow my head in appreciation to the talent that was responsible for making this bottle of beer. And a second bow to Mike for magnanimously sending me this rare treat.
Lou18 (1353) - West Paterson, New Jersey, USA - MAY 21, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Thanks to Eyedrinkale, This is an honor to drink and rate , the 17th I believe.
12oz. 2001 bottle poured very dark brown, Nice foamy and creamy tan head. The nose is all spice and herbs and holiday stuff. The taste is the same. A holiday brew, but this has a nutty roasted flavor as well. There is a smokiness, but it seems to lend a creaminess that is pleasant. I enjoyed this in may, would love it in December.
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - MAY 15, 2005
3.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
12 oz bottle. Almost black color with a small head. Aroma is mostly Thanksgiving spices and it may be a bit too much. Pumpkin and clove dominate. The flavor is a bit smokey with some roasted malts and a hop bite. Not a bad beer but you just gotta drink this in the Winter.
jtw (1074) - farmington, Michigan, USA - APR 27, 2005
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
bottle thanks to wohlfs...2001 according to the label. tons of cinnamon in the aroma, ginger, clove, nutmeg like pumpkin pie spice. i was immediately reminded of anchorís christmas beer. enjoyable, it has held up quite well--i just wish they would brew this every winter!
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - MAR 23, 2005
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
2001 Vintage: Very dark brown color with a thin off-white head. Very heavily spiced aroma of musk, cinnamon, peppermint, and sweet caramel malt. Starts lightly caramely sweet with a nice cinnamon spice balance. Reminds me a lot of Anchor OSA. A nice winter ale.
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - MAR 19, 2005
3.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Label states 2001 vintage. Poured a very dark brown with a thin tan head. Aroma was huge with clove followed by spearmint, ginger, and cinnamon. Flavor started with malt and turned to mixed spices. Kind of a light body and light in the malt part of the finish.
flutetokill (523) - Fresno, California, USA - MAR 14, 2005
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Very dark brown color with a small tan head. Very strong clove aroma, with a little dark fruit. Very strong clove flavor, a little bitter, with some cinnamon and nutmeg. Thin, crisp feel. Interesting.
loweredsixth (946) - Clovis, California, USA - MAR 14, 2005
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Dark brown color...slightly translucent...with a small creamy beige head. The aroma was dominated by the cloves...WOW, big CLOVES...some fruitness and sugary tones present as well. The flavor was also very much dominated by the clove character...ginger, sugar, cinnamon, and sweet orange. The feel was rather thin and crisp...semi-wet finish. Thanks Wohlfs!
Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - MAR 9, 2005
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle courtesy of Wohlfs. Reminds me of that clove gum in the blue wrap you find from time to time. Canít really smell or taste much else. While this scores well in each category, by the end of the bottle it is a little too much.
11026 (1772) - Alabama, USA - FEB 19, 2005
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle of indeterminate age. Pours a deep chestnut color. A small tan head forms and quickly fades to a slight ring around the edge of the glass. Holy clove aroma Batman! Very dominant spices fill the room after opening the bottle. A little bit to much for my enjoyment. Flavors blend very nicely however. There is lots of clove, allspice and slight orange flavors. Seemingly a spiced porter??? Medium bodied and smooth. Malts balance out the spice nicely, aging may have helped to mute some of the spice blast. Pretty enjoyable as a sipper.