jayme9874 (756) - Hamburg, New York, USA - DEC 10, 2001
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: DEC 17, 2003 (2003 release) Black, quickly dying head leaving but a slight ring of lace. Wonderful nose of deeply roasted malt, cookie dough, caramel, slight port, cherry, plum, chocolate, searing but controlled alcohol. Full bodied, thick, chewey, sweet, lots of chocolate malt, marris otter as well (i smelled and tasted this in 99 bottle as well) dark fruits, tobacco and alcohol. The alcohol is very warming but not as much as last years obviously. I dont think its as balanced as the 2001 but might just need a little time in cellar to meld. This is a damn tasty little beast. Frigging good. Very similar to the 2001 just a bit more alcohol presence. 4.5 overall.
(re-rate bottle from 99)
Black, no head. Huge nose of port, chocolate, roast, alcohol, dark fruits, vanilla, molasses, caramel, brandy, hint of cherry and more. I really wonder if marris otter was used because i can really smell it as well. Medium-thick, moderatley syrupy, smooth with loads of flavor. Huge malts, sweet dark overipened plums, tobacco, caramel, cherry and slight roast. Alcohol shows in finish and warms the gullet nicely but nothing that distracts. A marvelous brew even though its a bit sweet. The drinkability of this is staggering considering the gravity. Aging has seemed to add some elements to it. Seems to have added some characteristics of an english old ale/barleywine. Im thinking Harvey's, an aged harvest ale and North coast old stock. Something in this is evoking memories of these beers.
(ORIGINAL RATING 2001) Almost black,short lived thin brown head and lace. Complex nose of wine, malt, dark fruits. You have to be kidding me. This is unreal. Palate is full of a sweet wine like malt, caramel,tobacco, dark fruits. Some graininess as well. Huge lush and thick body but not cloying. This is 18% and I swear it can easily pass for half of that. The alcohol is evident but not at all offensive or obvious. Long sweet pipe tobacco/molasses finish that sticks with you. Beautiful balance and beautiful brewing. Not the best beer I ever had but I think the most impressive. Im awestruck. Boys, this is a MUST find and try.
TheDarkertheBetter99 (27) - Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA - DEC 5, 2001
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Ever been hit in the head by a sledge hammer? Far better than the Chickory Stout which seemed to be 6 or 7 different beers poured into a keg, burnt to a crisp over a campfire and concentrated down to one beer bottle. This one however, is well-crafted, has some distinct bitter fruit flavors like blackberry and tart plum. Amazing how the alcohol content is so well concealed (from the mouth that is!) If you weigh less than 180lbs. one of these will floor you, I promise. Thatís appropriate, because youíll be broke after buying two. Overall, a great beer. Certainly one to hunt down. One word of advice, drink this on a semi-empty stomach and make sure you have a clear palate to enjoy the aftertaste.
fuchebu (146) - Croydon, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 4, 2001
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Whew, amazingly drinkable for the potency. These guys make some artisinal, outstanding beers.
-BB-99 (2) - California, USA - NOV 7, 2001 does not count
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Iím a little confused by the overall impression catagory (goes up to 20?) but anywaay, ALL Dogfish beers are GREAT (except maybe the Chickory one... But I was told that mine was just a little Skunked
brodieman99 (7) - Ellicott City, Maryland, USA - OCT 29, 2001 does not count
3.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 8/20
maltydog (14) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - AUG 30, 2001
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
A perfect, world class beer. Hard to believe just how strong this is. Many different flavors appear with each sip.
dolemike1 (1288) - Jeannette, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 13, 2001
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 20/20
Wow. This is just the most flavorful and complex beer i have ever tried. Great aroma of plums and intense malts. Very dark color, with a small short lived head. Tastes of plums, molasses, and most definitely port wine. Nice and smooth initial mouthfeel with a nice aftertaste that left just a little tingle in my throat going down. The alcohol content is nicely masked by the intense flavors. Take your time to enjoy this one. One of my top five.
fishman (350) - Philadelphia, USA - AUG 12, 2001
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Mmmm, mmmm, good! Very malty and roasty. Great mouthfeel, like a sweetish red wine. The 18%abv is masked most impressively with a caramel/molasses taste that is simply out of this world. Light notes of chocolate and coffee, and wisps of fruitiness with occasional hints of alcohol. Nothing short of spectacular.
Delbomber (387) - Philadelphia, USA - AUG 12, 2001
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Ready for a new number one? Here it is...a masterpiece in a bottle. Probably not the best Iíve had, but definitely the most impressive, mainly because the artist who crafted this beer has hidden the massive quantity of alcohol so well. Extremely dark black, almpost opaque, with a cappuccino-colored head (that died midway through). Alcohol is present in the aroma, however so are plums and tobacco. The flavor consists of plums, grapes, maybe a hint of amaretto, with a noticeable, but extremely well balanced, alcohol flavor. Served warm, I did not detect any carbonation, however the temperature unmasked the only negative quality, which is its syrupy texture. Very smooth, thick, and full-bodied, this is the equivalent of three 100-proof shots of vodka in a 12 oz. mixed drink. This example, I think, should help you put into context the true artistry that is on display here.
PhillyBeer2112 (2473) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - JUN 5, 2001
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: JAN 5, 2004 An unbelievably good beer. I was wary, but
whoa - this really does taste like beer
and is very drinkable and enjoyable. The aroma
contained notes of dark fruits (dates, plums)
but also tobacco, vanilla, and wine. The flavor was
similar - and highly comparable to a port wine, except
with a much drier finish that makes it much much more
enjoyable than some cloying ports. This beer makes
me want to throw my entire collection of port and madeira
and replace it with this - the first truly high powered
sipping beer that you can savor all the way through.
Slight head that dissipated quickly - but a definite mild
carbonation. Very black in color. Main drawback -
a beer this huge should come in 9oz bottles. One 12oz of
this will knock you back.
Draught addendum - still everything I
remember it as. Rich and complex with
vanilla and pipe tobacco notes.
Draught version is really no
different than bottled - for one,
it is not carbonated.<P>
Update for the 2003 version - I assume its the new 18.8% 2003 beer as it contains no reference to Vim and Vigor on the label at all. My notes: Room temp from a wine glass.
This is not similar to the original 18% beer, it still has many of the sweet roasted malt overtones but is markedly less sweet, with a new licorice flavor dominating up front. Licorice and maple are present in the nose. The beer is overall less roundly sweet than the original 18% beer and serves less well as a replacement to port/dessert wine. Both stronger bitterness and alcohol reduce the sweet front of the beer. Alcohol flavor and burn rise more strongly from the middle and end of the palate, making for an overall less savorable drink. Very dark brown color, near opaque with a thin brown head that fades to nothing, leaving only small dots for lace. Beer is more carbonated than I remember. I am not changing the rating numbers due to my love of the original beer, but I rated the new one to a total of 3.4 out of 5.