elnadeau (786) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - JUN 27, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Brown amber with reddish highlights, appropriately sized medium head, overall appearance is excellent. Aroma is caramel malt with a substantial hop presence, flavor hits with sweet grainy malt and aggressive citrus hoppiness almost simultaneously. Mouthfeel is medium to full, finish is bitter clean and satisfying. I would say that this is more like a light version of an American Strong than a strong amber. Regardless of style, this is a terrific beer.
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUN 7, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Deep garnet and translucent with a thin but tannish-grey moss-like head hovering on top throughout the experience. Chocolate covered raisins team up with pomegranate fudge for one of the most unique aromatic concoctions, exploring additional nuances of elderberry bitterings, chocolate raspberry iced mochas, and walnuts on top of whole wheat brown bread. Flavor is emulated fairly well from that one-of-a-kind aroma. Some citric flavor hop activity livens the otherwise dark malt mood. Heavily caramelized with some scotchy traits. Chocolate raspberry breakfast smorgasbord pulls from cereal and coffee characteristics. Mild chocolate-rye activity to compliment the broiled prunes. Bitter backbone claims more palate territory than an amber would naturally acquire on its own. That being said, balance is out the window. This one’s a whimsical, successful celebration of craft brewing ingenuity. Brown sugar drums up support in the finish, coordinating with caramelized and slightly burnt chocolate plum pudding with an artesian touch of brandy flambé. Expect great things from Drakes. Big thanks to tpkenned for the bottle!
Cletus (6355) - Connecticut, USA - MAY 25, 2006
3.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle courtesy of Dark Elf. Red with a tan head. Smells hoppy and rosey with peppery hints. Tastes of earthy hops, pepper, hints of citrus and roasty hops.
Snojerk321 (2960) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 23, 2006
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottled, A very good brew from Drakes. Pours a deep amber color with a tan head. Nose of hops and roasted malts. The taste was of hops, some dark fruits and roasted malts.
marcus (9212) - Sacramento, California, USA - MAY 21, 2006
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
This dark amber ale poured with a large tan head. The blend of malt and hops is exquisite. Starts off malty, then the hops catch up to provide a pleasantly bitter finish. Drake turns out one great beer after another.
trokini (1025) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 25, 2006
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours clear amber with an off-white head. Aroma is a lot like an IPA, lots of hop and pine, but mixed in with some roasted malts. Taste is heavily malted to counter the hops. Nice toffee and caramel finish. Just another great Drakes beer.
DarkElf (3057) - La Jolla, California, USA - APR 19, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
(12 oz bottle: BevMo in La Jolla, CA) Okay, I have no doubt now that, along with AleSmith, Pizza Port, Stone and Russian River, Drake’s is one of my five favorite breweries in the state of California. Is it even conceivable that Rodger and Melissa can brew a bad beer, or even a mediocre one? I think not. Expedition Ale is simply amazing. I bought a sixer figuring I’d rate one and send the other five out in trades, but I have my sincere doubts that any of the other bottles will make it til my next trade. Pouring the beer, it’s amber-brown in color with excellent clarity. The off-white head rises enthusiastically to about an inch in height and settles slowly to a thin but complete layer atop the beer, depositing significant amounts of patchy lacing on the glass. But wait, it gets better, much better! This is an exceptionally flavorful amber ale. Actually, even before tasting the beer, just bringing the glass to my mouth, the gregarious hop aroma bursts out of the glass and tantalizes my senses. Sweet, floral fruitiness and dry, toasty maltiness accompany the hops aroma, making one magnificent bouquet to savor to the fullest. And did I say this was tasty? Fine, I’ll say it again, wow, I can’t stop gushing over this beer. Beautifully malty, fairly roasty, lightly toasty, dry and earthy, yet only lightly sweet in the grand scheme of things. The bright, bitter, citrusy, herbal, and floral hops is more than up to the task of balancing the supreme maltiness, yet the beer stays balanced from start to finish. Amazing balance from start to finish, as well as a finish that doesn’t even begin to thin out. Body is medium-full from start to finish, yet has a dry, clean, crisp, refreshing and quite well-carbonated mouthfeel. Maybe this makes me a pussy, but this beer is so good, it brings tears to my eyes, and I mean that quite literally. I can’t say this any other way, or any clearer, this is an exceptional beer, at the top of its class. I rarely buy six-packs, and haven’t purchased a full case of 12-ounce bottles in, well, I think ever. I just might buy a full case of this. I’m THAT blown away.
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 16, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12 oz. bottle, thanks to DarkElf for this one! Pours a deep, clear mahogany color with a large, beige head. Aroma of lightly roasty malts, molasses, nice floral and citrus hops with some juniper as well. Flavor is congruent with the aroma, more roasty malts and molasses, bitter herbs, lovely floral hops and spiciness. Medium body and creamy carbonation. This is another nice one from Drakes.
zathrus13 (1764) - Mount Laurel, New Jersey, USA - APR 10, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours deep amber, with an off white head. Aromas are citrus, caramel, and some roasted malt. Flavors are citrus (stronger the the aroma), brown sugar, chocolate, and slightly smokey malt. Ends dry. Thanks to Davecooks for this bottle.
GG (2332) - NorCal, California, USA - APR 7, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
An absolute pleasure to consume. The aroma is piney and citrusy, with a touch of sweetness. Appearance is just absolutely incredible with a sunset reddish/purple color and a nice fluffy head. Mouthfeel is medium to full. Flavor is roasty, hoppy, citrusy, and malty. A lovely beer.