FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 27, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip with an almost two-finger thick, cocoa stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is a thick black color that shows no light through it. Ample roasted grain notes of black coffee and charcoal are joined by a sort of chalky note that is almost musty (though not quite). Dark chocolate aromas couple with a rich nuttiness and a solid toasted bread crust note are found just behind the huge coffee character that even provides a touch of tartness to the aroma. Despite being such a huge stout, this actually seems to be dominated by the coffee aromatics, though it is offset at times by the nice chocolate aromatics. I don’t really get much in the way of Bourbon character in the aroma, which is actually a promising sign for me.
Thick and chewy up front, yet with such a huge roast malt and coffee character that it never becomes overly sweet. The beer finishes with a hit of Bourbon barrel flavors that provide a touch of vanilla and a deep buttery note that lingers for quite some time in the finish. Up front rich chocolate notes are quite noticeable (providing some balance to the roast character), these notes stick around some times through to the finish, where the Bourbon dominates, and are joined by a deep, toasted, nutty flavor. After the first sip, that initial wave of strong Bourbon notes seems to die down some; likely my palate just got used to it, but it becomes much more in balance with the rest of the beer. This definitely has a touch of tartness to it that is a result of both the ample burnt / roast notes (both coffee and grain) as well as some of the Bourbon influence. The finish also has a touch of hot Bourbon alcohol to it that is noticeable more as an aromatic oral nasal thing, but definitely makes me feel like I am exhaling alcohol.
At times a certain fruit character is noticeable that makes me think of sour prunes, figs and raisins; all of which have been left under the broiler to develop a bit of char. As the beer warms up and loses a bit of carbonation it becomes much more creamy textured and smooth, it also becomes much more mocha / chocolate flavored than it was previously, almost richly so.
I am not sure if my nose is not quite working tonight or what, but I am quite surprised how little of the Bourbon barrel influence is noticeable in the aroma. In the end the balance between roast character and smooth chocolate become really nice, the Bourbon barrel seems to meld into the background such that it supplies a nice complexity; so definitely serves this more towards 59°F / 15°C to get the best flavor balance. Much better and much more balanced than I was expecting; definitely a very good, moderate use of Bourbon Barrel character and coffee if drunk on the warm side.
GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - MAY 27, 2008
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
12oz bottle from Iowaherkeye. Many thanks. Served at cellar temperature. Poured an opaque black color with a thick brown head that retained its height well and left some lace behind. Smelled of chocolate, coffee, and burnt stick. Not really any booze in the nose relative to the GI bourbon county stout I tried with it. Relatively dry and roasty on the tongue with some delicate sweetness at the end accompanied by a splash of alcohol. Coffee was the dominant flavor, but there was also some mellow bourbon and vanilla supporting it. Pretty good beer.
sthlm (1233) - Minnesota, USA - MAY 26, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
[Bottle, thanks STLWill!] Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma has a lot of green pepper, chocolate, deep roasted malt and coffee. Huge green pepper taste up front, then chocolate, roasted malt, bourbon and coffee. Medium mouthfeel with a long finish of coffee. Not a bad beer, but nothing overly special.
badgerben (4502) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - MAY 26, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
OSLO and Guerde’s Memorial Weekend Tasting, 5/23/08. Thanks to STLWill for this one! Black color with a thin head. Big coffee and bourbon aroma. The taste screams both coffee and bourbon. Seems like Jack Daniels to me. A little thin, but still excellent. Dry malt finish and plent of roasted barley. Delicious.
Skyview (5269) - Papoose Jct, Minnesota, USA - MAY 25, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAY 26, 2008 Shared by STLWill and sampled at OSLO/Guerde’s Memorial Day Weekend tasting. From a 12 oz bottle pours an opaque dark brown brew with a thin tan head that quickly dissipates to a fine film and tan ring. Aroma of toasted dark malt, coffee, vanilla and hint of green bell peppers. Taste is a little rough at first, very light carbonation with flavors of coffee, vanilla, toasted dark malts and more green bell peppers. Finish has a slight alcohol metallic aftertaste with some vegetable character and a mild toasted malt finish.
Beerman6686 (4694) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 25, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a pitch black color with a brown head. Aroma is of chocolate, coffee and lots of bourbon. Flavor is of a lot of bourbon but smoothed out by vanilla and chocolate flavors. This stuff is extremely viscus
jrob21 (2670) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - MAY 25, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
This came from Eithcubes I believe, thanks for hooking me up with this tasty beverage man. Aromas of wood, oak, vanilla as characteristic of a bourbon aged beer. Alcohol bite at first but it gives way to a roasted malt, coffee, and most of all chocolate experience. You are left with a cocoa sort of sweetness on the back of the tongue. Tasty oak aged up front and chocolate on the finish. What more can you ask for from a style like this or beer in general?
Strykzone (5067) - Wood River, Illinois, USA - MAY 19, 2008
4.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
A thick black substantial pour with perhaps the darkest hued head I have seen. Aroma of coffee beans, sweet chocolate, and roasted nut. Feel is thick and almost powdery. This is such a smooth beer. Flavors of coffee that is full of creamer, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and a smidge of hop all cascade to the side of the tongue. Alcohol warmth is felt but not tasted. This beer is just so easy to drink. It doesn’t overwhelm like some impy stouts but definitely awes one. As good as Founders Breakfast Stout is this one surpasses it. Oak aging does such wonderful things to a beer. This is an example. It makes a terrific beer GREAT!
Soonah (1120) - Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA - MAY 19, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Super dark pour with a small, near brown head that is gone in a flash and only leaves a thin galaxy swirl atop the beer and little if any lacing. The initial aroma is chocolate. That’s followed by mild coffee and definite bourbon. The flavor is chocolate with mild coffee and some nice bourbon. The bourbon melds nicely with the coffee and chocolate, but this beer isn’t as dramatic as regular breakfast stout IMHO. I found it to be a very drinkable, very well made beer that didn’t have the aggressive stance found in BS, it was more relaxed, more sophisticated. The mouthfeel was very nice and the alcohol didn’t assert itself at all.
Mrthirstyneck (341) - Minnesota, USA - MAY 13, 2008
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
great coffe bump. nice smooth bourbon, not too heavy at all. superb coffee aromas here work great. booze is hidden nicely to0. really good brew here.