j12601 (9286) - Poughkeepsie, New York, USA - DEC 23, 2012
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle shared by John at work. Pours a deep black with a thin to medium sized tan head. Bourbon on the nose right away, roast and cocoa, chocolate, wood. Warm bourbon, cocoa. Long sweet roast, more cocoa. Lots of depth and a good amount of subtlety. Lingering wood, roast, cocoa, chocolate.
slowrunner77 (9216) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 22, 2014
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
"Man...don’t know where to start with this one. This year’s blend (which over the last 2-3 years has become THE seasonal release) is rather stout heavy (42%). So was XIII, my personal favorite. This year’s is maaaybe a notch lower in pure awesomeness...better than 14, a step behind the barleywine heavy 15 (hard not to try and rank these in my head, but I love em all). Probably THE most complex of the blends. Still sweet leaning, a little heavy and sticky, but surprisingly lacking in alcohol burn. Warm? Yes. Hot? No. Aroma sensory delight...cocoa, mocha, leather, wood, bourbon/vanilla, and a hint of brandy and yes, tequila (very very subtle, a tiny bit more in the flavor). A floral honey-like sweetness from the Helldorado (probably my favorite componenet), light toffee and caramel (DDBA) and dark fruit. Taste is likewise so ridiculously complex (though bourbon and cocoa dominant, it goes waaaay beyond those flavors). Slight twang from "other" barrels and an ever so slight note of rye and hops from the Wookie (like last year’s use of DBL Jack, just to temper sweetness. Expensive at $22 per, but you can tell the craftsmanship that goes into something like this. One of the most decadent and complex beers I’ve had. And the best part? No hint of surprise in that statement. "
arminjewell (9210) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - FEB 5, 2015
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pour out of 22 oz bottle, thick black pour with tannish head, aroma is big bourbon, oak, coconut and vanilla, some plum, dark chocolate, some tart fruit into slight smoke and roast, some coffee opens in at the end. Taste is a mix of cocoa, molasses, caramelized sugars at the front into vanilla, oak, coconut, bourbon comes through into big dark cherry, plum, raisin, a slight tequila note pops through with a slight heat component. As the blend went, the biggest flavors correspond with velvet merkin and stickee monkee, though the tequila from PNC comes through a bit as well. Tasty stuff, glad this was opened a couple of years old.
BVery (9189) - Plymouth, Minnesota, USA - AUG 8, 2013
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 17, 2013 Bomber. Unbelievably good! Huge blend of bourbon, brandy, whiskey, tequilla, wood, and roasted/sweet malts. Blends very well together - awesome!!
phaleslu (9017) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAR 5, 2013
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
22 oz. bottle via trade. Pours a deep, dark, basically opaque brown with a small, wispy khaki head. The film and ring last a while. The aroma doesn’t quite pop like in other years but offers smooth chocolate, roast, and oats, bourbon, oak, tequila, vanilla, and toasted brown sugar. The flavor opens up more, with bourbon and tequila heat up front, oak, earth, vanilla, caramel, roast and oats, and dark fruits. Booze on the finish. Medium-bodied, with a smooth, rich, boozy mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Doesn’t get more complex than this series. Still, doesn’t stand out like other years.
DuffMan (8933) - the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta, CANADA - JAN 20, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JUL 11, 2014 Re-rate : RBAG 2014 vertical tasting. This was far less complex, thinner, and hotter than when I had it fresh. Almost a completely different brew. 3.7
Bottle, shared with Parksy and Grippitis. Dark lustrous near-black in the dim light of the pub, dense brown head that sits still on its throne. The nose is sweet and dark, and portends a richness that raises my hopes high. Toasted coconut floods the palate, vanilla, chocolate, roasted marshmallow, dark fruits, especially dark cherries and fig paste, reach the senses later, after my mouth is finished marvelling at the wonderful sweetness. Subtle spiciness. Luscious. Silky and velvety. It ranks as one of the most complex and deliciously interesting beers I’ve had. A new top-ten for me. I love finding a beer like this. 4.5
KyotoLefty (8847) - Kyoto, JAPAN - FEB 9, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Almost black, bubbly head. Huge nose. Bourbon and vanilla, wood, caramel chocolate, plums and raisin. Big bourbon barrel flavors, vanilla, chocolate, lots of dried fruits, very good use of the barrels. Great balance. Hugely tasty.
olio (8793) - Tampere, FINLAND - MAY 4, 2013
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Sample @ CBC’13.
Pours clear dark copper color with a small head. Aroma of mild hops, dark ripe fruits, some caramel malts and toffee. Mild wooden and vanilla notes appear on the background. Very refined aroma altogether. Flavor has some sweet ripe fruits, caramel malts, subtle toffee notes and wooden wine notes. Nice mouth-drying effect with a somewhat sticky and tangy finish. Excellent.
sebletitje (8789) - Enghien, BELGIUM - SEP 30, 2013
4.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bouteille 66cl de Ibrew2or3, cheers Dave for bringing this fine gem.
Brune foncé, col léger café au lait - moka avec un très beau doré au verre.
Arôme est envoûtant offrant à la fois une complexité de barrique et bourbon, le tout sur des notes biscuitées, toffee et caramel.
Palais est délicieux, note douce de caramel mais sans tomber dans le faux le tout mixé à des notes de barriques, doux sucre brun.
Boisé très léger et une impression de toffee couplé à une certaine douceur vanillée. Franchement dur de trouver les mots tant la bière est complexe tout en restant agréable à déguster. On se retrouve entre les malts, le dessert avec des notes de grillés, et chocolaté, subtile touche torréfiée complété par un barrel-aging efficace.
Dur de décrire cette expérience. Quoique portant nombres de similitudes avec les autres versions, Firestone démontre encore sa grande maîtrise des assemblages de fûts. Du tout grand art que cette bière.
marcus (8688) - Sacramento, California, USA - DEC 2, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle from Healthy Spirits. Pours dark brown with a disappearing tan head and a bourbon and treacle aroma. There is a satisfying dark molasses flavor with a carbonated oak finish and a warming alcohol trail. Very complex and tasty.