egajdzis (5459) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 21, 2003
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: DEC 28, 2003 This is the 21% courtesy of Jcalabre. Pours an opaque black color with a nice tan head and lacing. Aroma of roasted chocolate and barley. Awesome creamy start with an awesome dry finish full of roasted malts and chocolate. Alcohol was very well covered, considering it was 21%. Out of 2003's versions (18.8 and 21) this is my favorite. I tasted the 18.8, 21 and 23 tonight and this was by far my favorite, and perfectly drinkable. Matter of fact, everyone I was with tonight, enjoyed this the most as well! On the top 50, this should be higher.
Cobra (1100) - - DEC 14, 2003
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
12 oz brown longneck bottle. No freshness date seen, but none really needed at 21% ABV. Definitely the 2003 batch. Poured out black as midnight on the dark side of the moon. Not completely opaque, however, as red highlights can be seen thru the beer if held to the light. Vigorous pour only produces a smallish dark tan head, and even that doesn't hang around for the ride. It does, however, produce a nice lacing effect in the glass. Aromas are of bananas, tons-o-malt, slight breadiness, some cloves, and alcohol. Although well hidden, this beer does have some aromas of higher alcohols, slight pheynols even. Tastes are of bananas, roasted coffee, strongly roasted malts, yeast, and alcohol. No discernable hops aromas or bitterness. Incredible mouthfeel, rich, smooth, and creamy.
Burning alcohol as it is swallowed, other than that, an incredible beer overall. Well done, Sam.
herbjones (742) - Orange, California, USA - DEC 7, 2003
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pitch black brew raising a thin but persistent tan head. Aroma reminds me of alcohol soaked raisins.Very rich and creamy mouthfeel. Almost like an alcoholic hot chocolate,just not hot.Besides the chocolate you get hints of vanilla and just a touch of plums. Very nice and a definite improvement over the 23% in my opinion. Almost forgot, a big Thanks to jcalabre for the beer!
beerslayer (753) - New Jersey, USA - DEC 4, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Great stout and will be even better if cellared for a while.Alcohol, bannana, and chocolate flavors. Finishes crisp, smooth , creamy, and clean. Great stuff. Recommended.
21iceman40 (1732) - Grafton, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 18, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Deep black color with a solid chocolate aroma. The body is also a nice dark chocolate but i found that it was down the hatch in a fury, it didn't hold on as long as I would have liked it to. Regardless this is still a solid beer.
cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - NOV 17, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
11/11/03. Poured out of 12 oz. bottle, bought at Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel, CA 11/11/03. Dark brown-black color. This year's brew actually gives a decent-sized head. Beautiful shimmering but spotty lacing. Still pretty amazing for a brew of this size to have the carbonation that it does. Vinous nose and slightly porty, but without that kind of sweetness or oakiness. Alcohol taste, dark malt and even some hoppiness. Sweet but very malty. Dry, syrupy, full body. Glowing-- almost burning-- finish, again, surprisingly hoppy and strong like an "imperial barley wine." Finish is sticky and sappy, almost gooey. Longer finish than average, but not quite as profound as it could be. Cellar this, and it'll be unbelieveable in 5 years. Better-balanced and more drinkable than last year's, but not as spectacular. For most people, that's a good thing. . . I see it as a lateral move, but this is still damn fine stuff.
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 14, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Darkest brown and opaque and a medium brown head. Aroma is caramels, chocolate, molasses and definite alcohol nose. Flavor is rich, dark, dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate and again an alcohol bite. Thick, heavy body with slight carbonation. Definitely a treat, but I kinda wish I'd had it earlier in the samplings at the So. Cal. RB gathering.
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 12, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
The black body of this brew has some red accents and is topped by a medium thick head with a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is sweet, malty and roasty with a slight bitterness. The flavor is slightly sweet and malty with a slight bitterness, caramel notes and a touch of roastiness. Full bodied, thick and warming. I didn't notice a lot of alcohol, but it was there. The 18% is still the best.
leaparsons (8478) - Leicester, Leicestershire, ENGLAND - NOV 11, 2003
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Ouch, £6.99 a bottle. Its worth it, though. Thanks Safeway for importing it. This stout is pitch black and thick like oil. Aromas are the expected coffee and chocolate along with sultanas and some smokiness. Oddly, not much in the way of alcohol vapour. Flavours are rich chocolate, coffee with syrup. Sweet, but never sickly with a nice earthiness. Eventually there is a warming alcohol burn at the back of the throat. Difficult to drink at any speed which is a blessing. A real nightcap!
obxdude10 (2093) - Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 9, 2003
4.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Even though I rated last year's batch a 4.9 I think this batch is probably a little better, but I'm not sure if I should go back to last year's listing & change my rating, but anyway, they toned the beer down from last year as I'm sure everyone is well aware, black in color, a bigger head this time around, tan in color, still very little carbonation though, roasted aromas with a hint of alcohol, big malty flavor filled with vanilla, chocolate, hint of alcohol in the flavors as well, big malty finish, very excellent stout