Pailhead (5193) - Brownstown, Michigan, USA - MAR 9, 2012
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAR 14, 2012 Bottle: The aroma is an excellent combination of strong roasted coffee, light-moderate chocolate, and light vanilla. It pours a dark brown with no transparency and a one finger tan head. The flavor starts with moderate chocolate, caramel, and a touch of molasses. The finish has lots of roasted coffee, burnt notes, oak, and a touch of vanilla. The bourbon notes are almost nonexistent since the coffee notes are so strong. Thereís no sign of the 11.1% ABV. It?s full bodied with light-moderate carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. Overall, it comes across as more of a heavily coffee influenced Imperial Stout instead of a barrel aged Imperial Stout...really good stuff.
bhensonb (11675) - Woodland, California, USA - MAR 6, 2012
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bomber from Brewforia - Release #3. Pours very dark brown with a 1 finger creamy tan head. Aromas of coffee and bourbon/vanilla. Full bodied and more. Flavor is incredible chocolate, with almost espresso, and tag along bourbon/vanilla sweetness. On one level itís chewing cocoa; on another itís licking espresso leavings. This is incredibly amazing stuff.
mikey (503) - farmington, Utah, USA - MAR 5, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Release #1. The nose is of roasted coffee, chocolate as well as some cherries & vanilla. The Taste starts with espesso followed hints of vanilla & bourbon. Next comes some sweetness, almost molasses-like, but not cloying at all. Slightly woody in the finish. Alcohol is present but itís not in your face. Full-bodied and heavy. The coffee leaves nice lingering roasted notes on your palette. Carbonation is perfect and creamy.
beernovice39 (3187) - Montana, USA - FEB 27, 2012
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle pours a jet black with a thick brown head. Scent is dark chocolate and then goes to massive coffee. Taste is coffee and dark chocolate. Slick feel. Very good!
Fratto (2700) - Arlington, Texas, USA - FEB 27, 2012
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle shared at the RBWG in Austin. Dark pour with a small brown head. Aroma is dirty coffee, dark chocolate, and earthy. Taste is lots of coffee, soil, more chocolate, and just dirty and earthy.
djd07 (3976) - Houston, Texas, USA - FEB 25, 2012
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: OCT 16, 2014 Bottle. Pours a dark brown with no head. The aroma is smoke and roasted malt. Thick mouthfeel with smoke and roast.
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 24, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Release #4; Sampled February 2012
A vigorous pour into my small De Glazen Toren tulip produces a three finger thick, densely bubbled, darkly brown stained head. The beer is a concentrated, almost perfectly black color that shows quiet opaque. As I pour this I get rich notes of dark chocolate and spicy / toasted oak. An actual stop to inspect the nose yields deep, roasted, coffee notes (bright coffee notes actually), a deeply toasted grain character, light vanilla notes, blackened chocolate, cold espresso, some malt ball like notes, and perhaps a hint of oak woodiness and spiciness. The vanilla and and coffee notes, along with the rich dark malt base, makes me think of some sort of vanilla scented, coffee liquor. The oak / whiskey Barrel character is weird here, the spicy, woody oak was definitely quite prominent at the front of my first smell of the aroma, but it is now a lot harder to find and blends in with the ample coffee and toasted malt notes. This really smells a lot more like a coffee dessert drink of some sort than like a beer; the coffee aromatics are just so prominent. I do like that the coffee notes donít quite get into acrid or sharp territory as the nose is quite smooth.
Rich feeling and viscous as it first hits the palate. The beer has a burnt sweetness to it that balances huge roast and coffee flavors, which really come to dominate the long finish of this beer. The bitterness in the finish is huge; some of it is hop derived, but a lot of it is contributed by the roasted malt and coffee notes that just cling to the palate and really dry out the finish. Toasted and even burnt whole grain toast notes are evident, though in truth it is like toast that has been burnt to the point that the fact that it is whole grain almost doesnít matter. Noticeable vanilla note help to soften the burnt character at the front and through the middle of each sip; other oak flavors of spicy wood actually help to accentuate the almost harsh roasted character and the added astringency in the finish makes the lingering bitterness all that much more piquant. Some Bourbon like flavors contribute to the finish and seem to dry things out a touch more. Some nice, dark chocolate notes are noticeable in the middle after the beer warms up a bit, but it remains dominated by the coffee flavors, followed closely by the roasted notes.
With so much roast character, the sweet malt character could actually be quite a bit bigger here; to be well balanced, either the roasted / burnt notes need to be dialed back or the sweet / residual malt character needs to be increased. Still this is actually quite a tasty brew and I really like how subtle the Whiskey Barrel character is here; it really only plays a supporting role and could almost be overlooked. I am on the verge of getting a cold & this is certainly a good beer to kick off the fact that I am going to be on a self-imposed beer drought for the next week to recover. Despite being aggressively burnt in focus, I am actually enjoying this a fair amount; it could be so much more acrid and harsh than it is & it somehow is escaping that. I really like that this isnít overly heavy or rich, on the other hand it makes it easier to drink a beer that is 11.1% abv, which isnít necessarily a good thing either.
Ughsmash (7203) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 20, 2012
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks to Connie for the bomber, Batch #2. Poured deep, but not super deep brown with a tall, well-retained, creamy beige head. The aroma picked up sweet and slightly smoky whiskey, coffee, and vanilla, with a layer of cocoa and some soapy hops not far behind.. this kept going back to the coffee, and Iím not one to complain about that. The flavor opened with tangy oak and peppery whiskey, then went straight to fresh, well-roasted and mighty tasty coffee.. cocoa and vanilla were complementary, and stayed in the background for the most part.. back to roasty coffee and whiskey plus a deep-rooted alcohol warmth on the long finish.. an odd malty character showed right at the end, and knocked the score down 0.1. Heavier-bodied with higher, rolling carbonation on the palate.. the carbo kept it moving well through the mouth.. delicious stuff!
LtDan (1796) - Los Angeles County, California, USA - FEB 19, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Appearance: Pours dark brown with a tan pinstripe of head. Looks thick.
Aroma: Old cold coffee, sugar faint whiskey.
Taste: Coffee, dark chocolate, tannins and booze. Finishes burnt bitter with a little alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied with creamy carbonation.
Overall: Pretty solid, but the coffee dominated the barrel/booze character to the point that I worked hard to find it.
maley1 (811) - calgary, Alberta, CANADA - FEB 17, 2012
4.4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark brown/black pour with dark tan head. Aroma of coffee, notablt espresso, chocolate and a hint of bourbon. Taste is espresso, chocolate and sweet roasted malts. Bourbon is lightly present. Creamy mouthfeel and a sweeter finish with no bitterness that most beers in this style have. Excellent beer!