GodOfThunder (1248) - Orlando, Florida, USA - JAN 8, 2013
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Thanks to Solan for the bottle. Pours with a lot of activity. Aroma is heavy on the oak, to the point of it being severe. Flavor is more of the same. Tons of oak. It tastes like it was left in the barrel for 15 months too long. A bite of vinegar accompanies the heavy oak. A dry finish with a bland cardboard maltiness. Perhaps we got a bad bottle, but the whole group I was with thought it was pretty bad, not just overrated.
Alengrin (3030) - BELGIUM - MAY 29, 2015
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Vintage bottle at five years of age, so I expect a lot of maderisation. After carefully removing the soaked cork piece by piece, I discovered a warm orangey amber coloured, initially clear beer with low fizz, becoming more and more ’misty’ as the bottle progresses and forming a still rather thick and broadly lacing, crackling, yellowish white head leaving a firm rim around the edges of the glass as well as thin veil over the liquid. The aroma, powerful but not ’too’ overpowering, is fantastic: a very complex array of sour cherries, blue grapes, orange liqueur, subtle but assertive vanilla tannins and clear wood, toffee and even a touch of white chocolate, unripe walnut and overripe apricot, candied oranges, artisanal honey, strawberries, lime, hints of banana, coriander, ginger, aniseed, cognac and calvados, ’speculoos’ (spiced biscuit), freshly cut red apples and apple cake - and of course the oxidation, but subtly so, as in an aged, medium dry sherry; clearly this belongs to the type of beer which only improves with age including some oxidation. Oxidation has indeed remained very limited here: it is there and adds complexity, for sure, while the overall aroma is still remarkably ’fresh’ in its estery complexity. Wonderful in the mouth as well: a noble barley wine sweetness marks the onset, banana, orange, peach, mango, melon - all in a ’candied’ kind of way; very finely tingling carbonation gives some relief from this bold sweetness and makes for a good balance, along with a certain, sometimes almost lightly lemony acidity which is almost certainly due to the wine barrel ageing. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft, as well as - obviously - very vinous; lovely caramelly malts form a firm basis for the fruity esters and the sourishness, lending them a very ’full’ character. Retronasally, a fair dosis of sweet but ethereal spices enter the play, lot of ginger, perhaps cinnamon, aniseed, and / or coriander, adding an aromatic quality and therefore complexity; finish is long and complex, caramelly malt sweetness of course, upon which a whole structure is built: the lingering, slightly resinous and drying ’winter’ spiciness, vanilla ’oaky’ wood, the increased grape tartness and even sourness with a drying effect, a deep and structural but still lasting, earthy and leafy hoppiness and, as expected, the warming ’flow’ of port- and sherry-like alcohol, not burning anywhere, just being a shadow in the distance, reminding you of the strength of this beer. If there is such a thing as a Belgian-style barley wine apart from the well-known English and American styles, this qualifies as the quintessential example of it, along with other (earlier and later) editions of the same and the different oak-aged Bush varieties by Dubuisson. Slow and gently warming, but rather ’sedating’ sipper for sure, expensive but worth every penny. I have had a sympathy for this brewery for a long time; they were the first in Belgium to offer beers which had been aged in wooden barrels which previously contained other alcoholic beverages. In fact, this one is a mere continuation of Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2000, which became somewhat of a celebrity in its day and age - and righteously so, as this one was indeed the very first in the series. Big cheers to Kris Herteleer.
sir__v (970) - Lille, FRANCE - APR 12, 2015
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle @ De Dolle, Esen - BE. Color: clear amber beer with no carbonation and really small white foam. Smell: sweet domination, caramel and candied apricot. Taste: small carbonation on mouth, sweet domination, and sugar. Candied fruits domination of candied apricot. Really amazing. Aftertaste: apricot finish and small alcohol finish. Excellent beer! Good job!
DedicatedToFun (3701) - Santa Monica, California, USA - FEB 28, 2015
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle, thanks GT2, brown pour off white head, nose and taste are boozy, sweet. Caramel, cherry, wow
djd07 (5416) - Houston, Texas, USA - FEB 26, 2015
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle thanks to Nick. Pours a cloudy orange with small off white head. The aroma is candy sugar, caramel, yeast, tannic grape. Medium mouth with nice tannic notes, grape, yeast, caramel. Very good.
Beerconnaiseur (166) - BELGIUM - FEB 23, 2015
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Pours dark golden, slightly viscosy with no head. Some lacing and retention on the sides. Nose is full on cognac, caramel, slight booze, round esters, banana, almond liquor. Mouth explosion of flavours perfectly in balance with the nose. Malty and bread at first, acidic hints on the sides of the tongue, long lasting aftertaste of tangy citrus with honey, stomach warming booze, soft mouthfeel. Complex and massive barrel-aged ale.
wedgie9 (2504) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - JAN 26, 2015
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
From notes. Tasted on 3/16/13 from a 750mL bottle at our epic Bottleworks tasting with Curtis, Jedi, and crews from Knoxville and Nashville. Pours clear amber/orange with a thin white head that leaves thin, bubbly lace. The nose is very unique, sour lemon peel, touch of malty balsamic, candied orange peel, a touch of bread, really great. The flavor is a bit more brown sugar malt forward with the sour lemon and white balsamic notes on the back of the palate, and very nice candied orange zest. The body is full with light carbonation and a long, nicely sour and touch of malt finish.
Iphonephan (4123) - McLean, Virginia, USA - DEC 27, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
From a 75 cl bottle shared at home post Christmas. Pours a clear deep copper with an ecru head. Aroma of tart apple and caramel. Flavors of apricot and tart white grapes. Superb. Has aged well.
Renobob (1141) - Besançon, FRANCE - DEC 23, 2014
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bue en bouteille de 75cl à la brasserie De Dolle avec Chris le brasseur. Une tuerie absolue, encore meilleure que la Stille Nacht classique, avec un côté boisé et vanillé à souhait. La meilleure bière que j'aie jamais bue. Sublime !
Karyots (23) - BELGIUM - DEC 22, 2014
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
At the Kirstbierfestival. Hazy with little head. Smell of plums, wine ( spoilt wine?). Taste with overtone of wine - but somewhere the recipe goes wrong. Like wine that is a bit spoilt or plums that have got rotten. Not sure why - but expected something much smoother. But still a very good beer to enjoy.
freretoc (1081) - Besançon, FRANCE - DEC 19, 2014
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bue en bouteille de 75cl très très bien accompagné. Couleur ambrée rosée, belle mousse bien compacte et effervescence moyenne. Au nez on sent la vanille et le sucre vanillé. En bouche belle attaque sur le tonneau avec une acidité juste équilibrée à la perfection et une pointe de vanille qui arrive grâce au tonneau de Pommerol. Sucre bien équilibré et incroyable finish sur la stille nacht. Incroyablement bon !