JohnnyJ (4356) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 16, 2009
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at Stone Bistro Firestone Night. Pours a dark black with tan head. Sweet roasted malt, oak, bourbon, chocolate, plum, vanilla, smoke, and some peat moss. Nice creamy mouthfeel. Excellent Stout.
kiefdog (1826) - Tampa, Florida, USA - NOV 7, 2009
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sample at GABF 2009. Pours a dark brown to black with tan head. Aroma is sweet and malty with notes of chocolate, smoke, molasses, ripe dark fruits, light bourbon, vanilla, and wood. Flavor is about the same. Medium to full body with a pleasing malty and bourbon finish. Well done.
nickd717 (3483) - San Francisco, California, USA - OCT 14, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Had a bunch of this at GABF. All in all, it’s a pretty kick-ass imperial stout. Pitch black and viscous with no head to speak of. Aroma is roast, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and wood. Not too much bourbon. Flavor is intense, awesome, and fairly sweet, with roasted malt, coffee, rich chocolate cake, hints of dark fruit, bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Nicely balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth, slick, and viscous with low carbonation. Overall this is, as I would have said 10 years ago in my awkward youth, "the bomb diggity."
HonkeyBra (3370) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - OCT 11, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sampled at GABF. Got the last pour of this one from the keg. Looks like I lucked out a bit. Pours plack and oily, stains the glass. Aroma of oak, bourbon, chocolate and roast. Flavor is very roasty, with strong, dominant bourbon. Lesser chocolate and vanilla flavors scuttle about. Big and heavy, yet slick on the palate. This is a bad ass Imp. Stout. Would try again if I ever got the chance.
craftbeerdesign (2175) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - OCT 5, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
sample from the pitcher at GABF on 9/26/09... pitch black pour with no head... slight bourbon nose... medium body with more bourbon notes over the mouth... very well balanced between the barrel aging and the roasted malt character. very nice BA Imperial Stout...
RSRIZZO (1853) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - SEP 27, 2009
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Had this brew at GABF on 9/24/09. Color is black with mellow carbonation and a small tight tan head. Aroma is deeply roasted with a sweet note and oak. This is a big rich brew with nice oak flavors, vanilla and a rich roasted taste. After taste is dry with the roasted flavors hanging on. Overall its a nice Imperial Stout.
notalush (4852) - Denver, Colorado, USA - SEP 26, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
GABF2009 - reminds me very much of FW10 and 11 - tons of toasted oak and coconut notes - however, where those beers were smooth and warming, this rough, and the alcohol simply burns - there is also a lot of charred wood character, which combines with some bitter black malt in ways I didn’t find entirely pleasant - thick and heavy in the mouth - lacks balance - there are things about it that are quite tasty, but it’s just a little too much.
DJMonarch (9159) - Northwich, Cheshire, ENGLAND - AUG 21, 2009
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
From the Jug at the GABF Colorado Convention Center, Denver 09/10/2008
Bourbon aroma. Beige head. Black strong in alcohol fruity and hoppy with a crisp dry and bitter coffee roast finish.
neepsntatties (1208) - Portland, Oregon, USA - AUG 11, 2009
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Had this on tap at the 2nd anniv. of Bailey’s Taproom in Portland, OR. Colour... black with a thin maduro edge around the rim. Nose... toffee, bourbon, dark sweet chocolate and coffee. Palate... not much carbonation but viscous, heady, boozy, sweet-dark chocolate, cold coffee, treacle and a looooong, smooth finish with hints of lust, greed and treachery (in a good way!).
elihapa (1525) - Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - AUG 10, 2009
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JUN 28, 2010 A big-ass RIS -- that I hyped considerably -- poured into a snifter at Blue Palms. Aroma was quite woody, with peat, dark chocolate and noticeable booze. Flavor had strong bourbon components, to go along with musty wood, licorice, soft roasts and firm booziness. Finish is very warming, with vanilla-sweetness. Palate is syrupy-thick throughout, verging on oily. And it lasts a long, long time in your mouth. There is much complexity here, but I think Firestone may have overdone this one. The sweet-booziness is quite high, overriding other (perhaps more interesting) flavors. Or am I just over the mystique of the “barrel-aged”? 3.8.
update, 2010 bottling: sampled 6/25/10: aged only a couple months. Pours pitch black, viscous, dark brown wispy head. Aroma is vanilla, oak, hint of chocolate and cigar, espresso. Mouthfeel is extremely creamy and full, slides across your tongue like liquid marshmellow. Flavor begins with almond-vanilla (barrel), bourbon, brown sugar. This is soon layered with creamy chocolate and more malt. The 80 IBUs is positively buried underneath all that malt! Finish is long, warming. Obviously a great beer, though to me doesn’t quite reach the intensity of flavors – or any one shining note, for that matter – that I find in world-class RIS. I’ll be happy to age a couple of these. 4.0.