MatSciGuy (907) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - JUN 1, 2008
4.1 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
[Growler] graciously shared by OSLO and Guerde. Pours mahogany with a medium off white head. Aroma is pinot noir, caramel and raisins. Flavor is of warming alcohol, wine, and oak. The mouthfeel is slightly thin and quite dry, presumably from the wine characteristics and finishes a little tart. Overall a very nice beer, but the flavor doesnít quite hold up to the nose.
akevitt (97) - Valhalla, Minnesota, USA - APR 30, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thanks to OSLO and Guerde for sharing the growler. Pours a ruby caramel color, with thin tan foam. When chilled oak and malt were the dominate aroma and flavor. As it warmed raisin and plum began to be detectable. The 10% alcohol was very well hidden. If you like the taste of oak, but not bourbon this beer is a must try.
JK (4812) - St. Louis Park, Minnesota, USA - APR 27, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Thanks to Oslo for sharing. I enjoyed this but not quite as much as the other guys. To begin, I would describe this as more of a barleywine than a Belgian strong. The palate is far too thin for a Belgian strong. The aroma has sugar and sweet, fermenting fruit. Flavor is a little sour, with dried fruit, oak, some alcohol. I didnít pick up on the grapes or pinot. Very full flavored, but it might benefit form the addition of a little more malt.
badgerben (4549) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - APR 26, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Huge thanks to Oslo and Guerde for bringing this one back. Dark brown or reddish color. Wonderful aroma of sweet barley, wine and grapes, and a bit of French oak towards the end. The flavors are just outstanding. Plenty of sweet malt and barley. Woody and French oak vanilla. A little berry and raisin. Not much Belgian yeast character. Out-friggin-standing.
Guerde (1200) - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA - APR 26, 2008
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
(growler) Pours out light brown with a soapy white head. The aroma of this beer is incredibly complex. When colder the oak really asserts itself, and is a lot more sharp, with some hints of pepper, but thereís also some raisin that makes its presence known as well. Upon warming, the aroma really rounds out, with a lot of fruit coming through, (notably blueberry along with plum), with a lot of vinous smells too. Being 10%, there is only a subtle whiff of alcohol in the nose. The taste is very good with raisin, light caramel and plum, along with a lot of Pinot taste as well. The finish is really great with plenty of tannins, slight pepper, and just a hint of bakerís chocolate. The oaky finish and earthiness just lasts forever on this beer. Medium mouthfeel that really does coat the mouth. This is a great beer, and the barrel has been superbly integrated, very well done.
sthlm (1240) - Minnesota, USA - APR 26, 2008
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: APR 2, 2009 [Growler] Pours dark reddish-brown with a small white head. Aroma is big on the pinot, with raisin, blueberry (as Guerde pointed out), a touch of brown sugar and some grape. Taste is fairly bitter, especially when chilled, but it really opens up after awhile with raisin, light sourness, a little chocolate and some malt. A bit of alcohol is detectable after awhile also. Medium mouthfeel with a long finish. At first I wasnít overly impressed, but it really grew on me and overall it is a very, very nice beer.
Update, January 09: This is one of only a handful of beers that I regularly crave. Iím going to have to bump it up a point and hope that I can try it again.
tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - APR 26, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Growler. Initial aroma of dark fruit esters. Plums and raisins. Light chocolate. Spicy and creamy esters. Plenty of grape tannin with a touch of blueberry essence. Very nice, that continues to develop as the beer opens. Pours afairly standard hazy amber/brown. Flavor has lots of plenty of tart grape tannin. Big Pinot barrel prenece. Sweeter esters develop into lush grape skin tartness. Lush body. Tongue coating texture with a very pleasant tannic finish. Thereís the smallest hint of btiter bakers chocolate on the finish as well. Excellent use of barrel aging. Thanks Alister and Andy!
Stine (1642) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - APR 26, 2008
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Poured from a growler, courtesy of Alister and Andyís mystery mule. Thanks! Ruby brown pour lightly hazed. Aroma is tannic, musty, and dark; all wet wood, wine opened to the air, heavy molasses bread and pit fruits. Bit of heat, but not to such strength as indicated; lagered fruitiness lending smoothness and polished character. Flavor is dry and very tannic with the tangy, ebullient bursts common in Pinot still evident despite this bitter nuttiness and aged attic quality that seems more prevalent. Tart cherry and pomegrante wisps. Palate is medium to full with a firm, whisking earthy texture that dries out heavily with some spiciness in the finish. A generous, unconventional, well executed warmer; plenty of erudition in this blanketing sipper.
ElGaucho (2272) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - FEB 26, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft at Winterfest 2008, St. Paul, MN. Bourbon barrel aging aspect is evident in the nose. Caramel hints and alcohol strength. Dark, cloudy reddish brown with orange and yellow hues. Some lace. Not my favorite barrel-aged brew. Nice flavor, just not spectacular.
BDR (2534) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - FEB 22, 2008
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Winterfest 2008. Boy was it a treat to get something barrel aged in something other than bourbon! Fruity aroma with cherries and some misc berries over the grape and hints of oak. Similar body with a smooth finish.