happy4hops (376) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - JUL 23, 2003
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 7, 2003 Another masterpiece from DFH.2003-18.8%,Pours out Black.No light can be seen through this beast.This actually raises a nice brown head that quickly dissapates/a bit of nice brown lace.Aroma is lovely,sweet(yeasty?) yet roasted chocolate/alcohol.The flavor offers a very tasty representaion of the aroma,the hops also shine nicely in this years edition!.The palate is suprisingly smooth/this does warm(burn) on the way down at times.I still think this remids me of Youngs Old Nick or an Anchor porter yet w/ all this alcohol.Very enjoyable and easier to drink than many nice beers I have had.Get this sinister black gift from heaven at once(before I buy them all!)Less like a barleywine than the 2002 which I had rated in ignorance as the 18%.The 18.8% is so there but well hidden once you settle into this amazing beverage.I can sense alot of yeast every now and then.Was lucky enough to get another 23% so I can re-rate that in it's proper rating space.Better than any port I have tried.
BBB63 (6557) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - JUL 13, 2003
4.4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
After tasting the IPA line last night, I going after the stouts tonight. Opaque black with no head, oily like film on the edge. A powerful raisin/prune, chocolate, expresso, anise and sublime fruit nose. Ripe fruit, toffee, maple sugar and roasted malt flavors are huge. Vinous in style. All in all pretty nicely balanced and dangerous, if you can picture an elephant on a tightrope, you get my drift! Slight alcohol warmness on finish, does a good job of hiding most of the 18% ABV. Very oily and creamy mouthfeel, FULL-BODIED, thick and sticky. Just a little more hops and this would have been even better. I'm in awe of this brew, a work of art. Pour and enjoy.
Kinz (3737) - Glen Allen, Virginia, USA - JUL 3, 2003
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: FEB 21, 2004 "Rerate" is actually my first correct rating of this beer, I had accidentally dropped it under the 23% version instead. 2003 bottling. Pitch black, got a decent but short lived head much to my surprise, never thought a beer this thick could raise one. Nose of liquor, espresso, hints of chocolate, and roasted malts. Oily mouthfeel, initially like a coffee and chocolate liquor, but then the ethanol swoops in and burns away these flavors, leaving nothing but a trace of fiery vapor in your mouth. The roughness of the alcohol detracts too much from this beer in my opinion. Although more drinkable than the 23%, it wasn't quite as interesting somehow. Need to lay one down for some serious aging.
jgb9348 (5681) - Arlington (Pentagon City), Virginia, USA - JUN 27, 2003
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 31, 2003 2001 (18.0%) Bottle:
I'll first start out by saying i've been waiting a long time to sample this beer. In addition, I had the 23% (2002) version of this beer and absolutely loved it. Based on ratings alone, this beer should be even better! The pour is very nice....very thick black colour with a thin dark brown head. The head didn't develop very well, because I was hesitant to pour it very quickly with fear of some sediment on the bottom of the bottle. The smell is fantastic as well...definately roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. In addition, some sugar sweetness comes out in the aroma, but 'behind' the darker, roastier fragrances. The taste is pretty nice as well...very sweet, burnt flavours mixed with coffee-style bitterness and an aftertaste that lasts a good 3-5 minutes. The alcohol isn't very noticable, definately less so than the 23% edition. While it may not serve as any consolation, this to me is very similar to the 23%, aside from the alcohol taste. I wish I could have had them both side-by-side, and I can still do that....but it would cost a fair amount of money! A fantastic beer from a great brewery! I can't wait for 2003's beer! Score for this rating: 9,5,9,5,18.
2003 (18.8%) Bottle:
Pitch black coloured body with light ruby highlights and a thin fast-dying light brown head. VERY nice aroma of cherries, roasted malt, dark chocolate, a bit of coffee and some sugary sweetness. Heavy-bodied; Coats the mouth with sugar, grapes, raisins, plums and roasted malt. Aftertaste super sweet and clean-alcohol hidden well for the 18.8%! The best WWS i've had to date (including old 18.0% and the 23%) to boot! I got this bottle from Haddon90, which he purchased at Whole Foods in Vienna, Virginia and we sampled it on 25-December-2003...Thanks again Phil! Score for this rating: 10,4,10,5,19
VAYankee (345) - Virginia, USA - JUN 21, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Pours out deep black with minimal head. Emanates a powerful chocolate, slightly fruity (raisin), alcohol aroma. Complex flavoring that includes elements of chocolate, alcohol, raisins, and cherries. The alcohol is quite strong, yet still goes down smoothly. Overall this beer starts out sweet with a little alcohol burn and finishes with a lingering mellow sugariness. Truly unlike any other beer I have ever had.
miyagi701 (3) - Dyer, Indiana, USA - JUN 19, 2003 does not count
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
You can defenitly smell the alcohol in this one. Cutting into the alcohol is a nice roasty malt smell. Dark as night. What can you say about the taste except WOW! Very rich hints of chocolate and plums. Follows through nicely into the swallow without bite considering the ABV. Something you take at a sip at a time and savor each drop that you get.
amx1970390 (480) - Southampton, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 17, 2003
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Great aroma, but I feel that the 23% had better more "rich" smell. Very dark with minimal head like the 23%. Flavor is quite smooth with a chocolate covered cherry flavor. Not as acidic as the 23%. Good smooth finish. It is not as extreme as the 23% but when it comes to a beer like this I like it extreme. What would make this beer great would be some hop flavor
Lizabeth (360) - east falmouth, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 31, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Smells of dark chocolate and alcohol. Some malt presence. The beer is intensely dark with a medium tan head. The taste is richly complex ; dark chocolate, raisons, coffee, cherries, plums and liqorice. The alcohol presence was surprisingly mello. My advice: drink slowly and savor every drop.
mhanley (3) - USA - MAY 31, 2003 does not count
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Oh man what a draught! You know it's special just pouring it - thick, rich, like black cream. The aroma - like barley nougat, so smooth, with a hint of hops and noticable, but quite agreeable alchohol. This is not a beer, this is in a barley nectar.
Caton (160) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
An amazing brew. The beer is amazingly smooth for a 18% beer. The palate had great persistance of flavour. If you have this beer make it a small session of beers and dont leave it to last as Duff and I found out.