highlandlad (1470) - Blue Mountains, AUSTRALIA - AUG 7, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
"If you stare into the Abyss long enough, the Abyss stares back at you" - Friedrich Nietzsche. This is a bruiser of an imperial stout. Lord knows I didn’t want to get into a staring contest with it, but out of the corner of my eye I could see it was as black as the name suggests and topped with a massive dollop of cappuccino foam. I was worried that if I sniffed it, it would sniff me back but damn it, I had a job to do, so I took the chance. Boy, was it worth it. This is a symphony of molasses, oak, pistachio and coffee grounds. [The Abyss’s rating of Highlandlad refers to "a stench of haggis, socks and cheap aftershave" and rates him 1/10 for ’Aroma’ - but he refuses to hold that against it.] In the mouth, this was thick and creamy - just the way I like heavy stouts. It’s a layer cake of bitter chocolate, marshmallow, coffee milk-shake syrup and turpentine with a rasping, astringent finish like the strongest espresso your Italian barrista can deliver. It’s the kind of beer you can wallow in for hours and wake up next morning several thousand brain-cells short of a full set but with a wry grin on your weary face. Then you get up, put the newspapers back on the park bench and try to work out where the hell you are. (Bottle courtesy of Linc at Sully’s Sydney RB Xmas gathering 2007)
redlight (2318) - Orlando, Florida, USA - AUG 4, 2008
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark roasted coffee with burnt chocolate notes. Pours black with a tan head. Bitter chocolate roasted barley, hints of wood, a very strong bitterness, rich, with hints of dark fruits like dates. Very decadent beer! It seems to hide the 11% well!
blankboy (7216) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 4, 2008
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
My 2500th rating!! Bottle (22oz) courtesy of Kevin. 2007 vintage. Wow, the big TWO-FIVE-OH-OH! I finally made it. Thanks to Kevin for the bottle, thanks to all of the great people I’ve had the pleasure of trading with on this site, and many thanks to my fellow Ratebeerians, especially the Toronto crew! 22oz of an 11% beer eh? This is gonna be fun. Here we go: Pours a beautiful, impenetrable black with a large lasting frothy light-brown head and great lacing -- we’re definitely off to a good start. Wonderful rich aroma of roasted malt, caramel, chocolate, coffee, plenty of hops and notes of vanilla, wood and bourbon (yes, just notes, this is bourbon barrel-aging done just right in my opinion) -- smells simply delightful. Flavour, oh that flavour, it’s definitely no slouch. Rich, roasted malt with coffee, dark chocolate, lots of hops, molasses and again, notes of bourbon, vanilla and wood and finally, a long roasty bitter finish. Alcohol’s noticeable, but nowhere near 11% noticeable -- it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the beer at all. Full bodied, creamy mouthfeel. This is pretty fucking outstanding stuff and probably (I didn’t check) in my top 10 now, simply superb. Thank goodness I have another bottle. Woohoo, 2500!!!
RichardGretton (4639) - Leicestershire, ENGLAND - AUG 3, 2008
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle@Beers of the World Live (NEC), 2008. Pitch black beer with a reasonable brown head. The aroma is roasted and the flavour is very rich and roasted. Overall a very nice rich and roasted beer.
uhre (384) - DENMARK - AUG 2, 2008
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
The beer is black with a brown head. Aroma of biscuit, chocolate, dark fruit and perhaps wood? Flavor is similar but with coffee notes. A very nice beer.
Oscbert (1242) - Sacramento, California, USA - JUL 30, 2008
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
~Pours black with big creamy brown head.
~Strong sweet chocolate malt scent, coffee , raisins, and slight bourbon.
~Coffee and bourbon flavor. Mild bourbon and licorice notes. Slightly salty. Delicious.
~Thick and creamy feel. Bitter finish.
~Very yummy brew. Lots of flavors and scents to ponder. Will have to get another to share with my stout loving friends.
beerbuzzmontreal (3487) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 30, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a pitch black color with a thin brown head. Aroma of molasses, chocolate and roasted malt. Solid flavor of liquorice, molasses, chocolate and roasted malt, it ends with strong bitterness. The body is medium with a liquorous texture and moderate carbonation. This is a very competent imperial stout.
skortila (5276) - Baarn, NETHERLANDS - JUL 30, 2008
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2008 Bottle @ Dutch Ratebeer Session. Aroma has chocolate, espresso, dark fruits and roast. Black coloured beer with a lasting, brown head. The taste is sweet with an intense bitter finish. It has chocolate, coffee and roast. Good beer!
sneagrams3 (2337) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - JUL 28, 2008
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
THE DAN JOURNAL #200! Tasted 7/28/08. 22oz bomber. Pitch brown with a Clinging, lacing beige head. Big nose. Notes of smokey bacon, coffee, anise, chocolate and cocoa. Touch vanilla woody aroma. Full bodied and big. Complex malts and noticeable alcohol presence. Sweet and bitter and tart. Big notes. Sweet dark fruity undertones. Big coffee acidity. Bitterness shines from the warming alcohol and the rather deep hop profile. Definitely pick up on the peppery, spicy anise, licorice taste. The molassis seems more reduced and crystalized. But it does mellow out some of the sharp edges. This is hugely complex beer with a depth to match!
Gooney (389) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 27, 2008
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAR 1, 2010 Rated again with a bottle of 2009. Poured a nice dark black with a brown rolling head. I didnít expect that out of the bottle. Shared it with my beer-loving cousin from Minnesota. He was duly impressed!
On tap at the Deschutes tap room in Portland - This was a surprise beer to get in the summer, and it was not even on the menu! And on Brewfest weekend! What a treat! This is a beer for beer lovers. It is a very good stout with some complex flavors. Iím looking forward to the next winterís brew!