CampesinoTino (800) - Seattle, Washington, USA - SEP 19, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bomber. Pours a solid mahogany and amber color with a thin crown of beige foam. The nose is dominated by vanilla, caramel, coconut and toasted oak characteristics. The taste starts out with lots of toffee, brown sugar, candied date and caramel malt flavors. From the oak, there’s notes of vanilla, bourbon and caramelized sugars. The body is slightly syrupy with soft carbonation and a dry, oaky booze burn finish. Overall, it’s a tad sweet and hot but offers up enough oak aged complexity to balance things out.
corby112 (2804) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 18, 2012
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a very hazy, dark amber/copper color with dark orange edges and a one finger yellowish-beige head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Sporadic streaks and spots of lacing left behind.
The aroma of this beer is dominated by a really strong barrel presence that never becomes one dimensional or overly boozy. There’s a delicate, spicy bourbon character but the toasted oak, vanilla and coconut notes really stand out. The barrel seems to be nicely integrated into the base with some caramel malt, toffee and hazelnut. The American oak addition seems to tone down the bourbon, adding a woody toothpick presence. To be honest, I’m not picking up much of a hop presence but the nose of this beer is still complex and very inviting.
Medium bodied with a sweet, spicy bourbon barrel presence that’s nicely integrated into the flavors of the base beer. The barrel is really stong up front dominating the flavor but the virgin oak counters the bourbon character really well. Dry toasted oak/earthy wood along with silky vanilla and toasted coconut flavors tone down the spicy bourbon heat but there’s still plenty of sweet spirit flavor. Again, I’m not picking up much hop bitterness but there’s a substantial malt backbone underneath the strong barrel flavors. Sweet caramel malt along with toffee, nut, bread, biscuit and subtle light fruit notes. At first there’s some strong warmth/alcohol heat in the finish but once the palate adjust, the high ABV is decently masked, making this complex sipper easier to drink than expected.
andyburnette (26) - - SEP 17, 2012
4.1 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Wow. Tasted in bottle in mid September in Baltimore. Has lively end of year holiday overtones...especially at 12%! Lots o vanilla ala holiday cookies, marzipan (almond paste) from German pastries spicy from oak and sweet caramel loveliness. Will put away some bottles for holiday cheer!
timfoolery (1126) - California, USA - SEP 16, 2012
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle from Nugget. Aroma and flavor of a full, malty ESB. First taste was rather bitter, followed by a more mellow session of maltiness and not much else. There’s some barrel in there somewhere as well. This needs to age a bit as well.
Dodgrblu (706) - Sacramento, California, USA - SEP 16, 2012
2.8 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle from Nugget Vacaville at Tim’s. Carmel and booze dominate. I wouldn’t call it bad but I don’t like it.
keepersj12 (3036) - Sicklerville, New Jersey, USA - SEP 16, 2012
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A very strong brew that lets you know it. Pours. Cloudy brown with a thin head. The aroma has a lot of fruit, vanilla, wood, candy sugar. The flavor has these too. More flavors emerge as it warms. Lots of booze in the finish.
Godofthecellar (677) - NYC, New York, USA - SEP 16, 2012
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bitter, barrel flavor is prominent. Sweet, brandy, cherry dark fruit, smell of dark fruit and alcohol. The abv is not masked that well but leaves you with a warm finish
craftycarl21 (2338) - Seattle, Washington, USA - SEP 15, 2012
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draft at Churchkey. This beer is really quite stupendous; very few vestiges of the supposed base beer; not even remotely a bitter in any way, shape, or form. Big oaky sweetness including vanilla, caramel, molasses, confectionary sugar, but with lovely dryness and stunningly well balanced attenuation on the mouthfeel. Delightful nutty walnut and marzipan mixing in as well. Absolutely superb as usual from FW.
NikkTwist (2416) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 14, 2012
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draft at Eulogy. Hazy orange brown pour with a slim white head. Surprisingly big barrel aged flavors. Medium dark red fruit flavors. Raisins. Red plums. Dates. Caramel apple. Dark brown sugar. Vanilla bean. Bit chewy. Sweet but not cloyingly so. Medium full body. Very nice and well blended but missing some complexity. Higher ABV not hidden. Thicker brighter fruit content than a stout. Quite good actually. Heads above the non-barrel aged version.
PapaSkeetSkeet (1007) - Providence, Rhode Island, USA - SEP 14, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle of "Imperial Special Bitter." Chestnut brown with cloudiness due to considerable yeast at the bottom of the bottle. Aroma, like other walker reserve-series beers, is comprised of a huge vanilla/oak kick with a hefty serving of bourbon, some candy sweetness, light leafy hops may also be apparent. A bit of the forest and ferns on a clear spring morning. Body is medium-heavy. Flavor is boozy bourbon and lots of vanilla/oak. Maybe a little bit of interesting fruitiness from that English yeast strain, and some nice grain flavor, but all of this just seems to showcase the bourbon-barrel aging. Some candy and light lingering bitterness is present. This bitterness coalesces with the vanilla in the aftertaste.