TAR (2506) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - MAY 13, 2008
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAY 14, 2008 Batch 1. Borderline-opaque bronze. Thick collar of beige froth surrounds a scattered center. Seductively complex notes of nougat, tobacco, port wine, nutty malt, vanilla, butter toffee and cocoa invade the olfactory senses. Hint of cherries, juniper, medicine and zingy yet remarkably well-cloaked alcohol. Softly carbonated, but fairly fuzzy on the palate. Initially airy yet supple, rich and malty with an extravagant undertow of bright, soft, resinous wood which seamlessly melds with the lush, hearty, and deeply layered toffee-drenched malt core. Tannins are entirely nonexistent. Black malt poignantly bristles as it contributes a hint of burnt cookies and creamed java to the bouncy, pillow-soft malt base which beautifully offsets the brisk, lightly metallic char bite. Clean alcohol is felt in the gullet and perfectly tempers the sweetness, but never tarnishes the array of subtleties. Firm black malt acidity echoes the tangy raisin, cherry and prunelike fruitiness while clingy dabs of port wine and molasses continue with a weightier pull to support the sharper, more-defined malt (Crystal?) tones. Finishes with an artful balance of bright wood, succulent tobacco, tingly char and a faint plum and cherry fruitiness which lingers. I pretty much lost hope for this brewery as it seems it’s been a number of years since they’ve produced a great batch of beer. I’ve gotta say that this beer has rekindled my excitement. Intricately layered malt mammoths such as this are always a treat. Absolutely well done!
radagast83 (4781) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - MAY 13, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours an extremely dark brown. Aroma is vanilla, with caramel, toffee, dark fruits, wood. Flavor is full of vanilla, fruits, toasted malts, with a touch of chocolate. The beer is shockingly easy to drink for it having 12%.
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - MAY 13, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a dark mahogany brown color. A translucent cola color shows at the edges. The frothy, light brown head settles to a thin, fizzy layer, leaving sticky ribbons of lacing on the glass. The aroma shows a complex blend of dark chocolate, molasses, indiscernible dark fruits, scorched wood, and vanilla. The woody note is similar to beechwood on the nose. There is a faintly tannic feel to the fruit component, balanced by a touch of overly-ripe banana sweetness. Flavors are equally complex, ranging from imperial porter-like chocolate roastiness to Belgian strong ale fruits and spices. The vanilla component is huge, with the distinct wood imparting darkly charred, funky vinousness. A medium-full, slick body is finely carbonated. Deceptively easy to drink at 12%. Finishes long and roasty, with lingering tannins. A truely unique and finely tuned brew. This one defies conventional categorization, and defies it well. Great beer.
punkrkr27 (903) - Berkley, Michigan, USA - MAY 13, 2008
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark, almost black, brown pour with a small tan head that fades quickly to a thin ring. Dominant vanilla aroma with notes of toffee, caramel, hazelnut, charred wood, and a dark vinous fruit quality. Lots of vanilla, roast and wood flavor with more vinous fruit. Bitter spicy hop finish with notable alcohol. Medium full body with a healthy alcohol warming.
EricE (1368) - Silver Spring, Maryland, USA - MAY 13, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark brown opaque pour with a light tan head. A nutty aroma with lots of cherries and fruit, some sourness. Very fruity taste, grapes and cherries. Finishes with chocolate. Very complex beer...there is a lot going on here! Bitter finish with some alcohol. Very good.
dalepryor (305) - Paducah, Kentucky, USA - MAY 13, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
poured from 12 oz. into pint glass, wow this is one dark brown ale, the head is tan and short lasting, the smell is very roasty, i smell mostly caramel malts, and possibly wood also alcohol is present. The flavor goes with the smell, as i it i’m getting some hints of vanilla and fruit. another complex dogfish head addition. good stuff all around
talon1117 (1152) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - MAY 13, 2008
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JAN 17, 2009 Pours a very dark brown color with a light brown, pillowy, fairly small head; it settles to a very small layer and leaves a bit of lace. Nose is nice but somewhat unpronounced for the ABV; vanilla bean is prominant with faint notes of caramel, burnt wood, hazelnut, roasted malts, and an obscure fruit note. Flavor is better with vanilla bean dominating still but with also: maple, charred wood, roasted hazelnut, semisweet chocolate, faint raisin, and some caramel nougat. It is quite sweet but has a moderately light, earthy bitterness to it. Palate is full, chewy, slightly syrupy, nearly lively and slightly warming. Finishes with an almost cotton candy sweetness from the vanilla and the caramel nougat notes; it also remains on the tongue for quite a while with some mildly dry semisweet chocolate and hazelnut notes. I really wanted to like this one with the creative wood aging and the imperial brown ale base, but the sweet vanilla notes became almost cloying at times. The Palo Santo wood does add an intriguing new quality to the beer, but I feel it might be better suited for an imperial porter or stout given the high vanilla character and the charred notes could be more balanced by more roasty or bitter notes. Or even the Palo Santo wood could be used with some other wood to age it? Nevertheless, I have to give DFH credit for trying something inventive and pushing the boudaries again.
carl4beer (522) - Fairfax Station, Virginia, USA - MAY 12, 2008
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
12 oz. pours dark with a small tan head. aroma is vanilla and some nut and woody notes. mouthful is crisp with nice full brown ale flavors that finnish crisp and delicious! There is no hint of the big abv, even after some warming. i think this is the best dogfish has brought to the bottle, perhaps my favorite from any brewer. even at the big price i will buy as much as I can get my hands on.
maniac (3800) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - MAY 12, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JAN 16, 2009 On tap at Capital Ale House - Midlothian on 08/29/2008. Dark black body with a small tan head. Big smokey chocolate and molassas aroma. Big smoke character, molassas, anise, caramel flavors. Full body with medium low carbonation. 8/5/8/3/16 - 4.0
05/12/2008: Dark brown body with ruby highlights and a medium creamy brown head. Sweet caramel, roast and rum soaked fruit aroma. Very smooth caramel flavor with rum soaked fruit and molassas and some light wood. Medium full body with moderate carbonation. 8/4/8/3/16 - 3.9
sebletitje (6830) - Enghien, BELGIUM - MAY 12, 2008
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On bottle at OTH.
Really great flavor, bottle indicates hints of vanilla on Paraguayan Santo wood. I could smell more hints of banana with little touch of the vanilla.
Hard to believe the beer clocks 12% abv. another great addition to the Dogfish Head family.