heykevin (1273) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - FEB 27, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I was amazed at how this improved from cellar temp (50-55F) to room temp. The first few sips of this the sweetness of malt was quite disjointed from the earthy hop charge, but quickly came together quite nicely. When it reached room temp it was quite good.
dorkasaurus (15) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 9, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
As good as it gets...it matches the 1999. Clean, easy, strong beautiful. Holds its head and flavor through the whole experience!!!
hopscotch (8460) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - FEB 8, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
This beer rocks!
What a brew!
I was going to wait until later this year to open this beauty, but fuck it!
The aroma is malty, yeasty and fruity. with notes of apple, apricot, caramel, English toffee and dark bread dough. For me, the hops are lost in the aroma. The alcohol is well-hidden also.
This sparkling clear, light copper beer, has a large, fizzy, off-white head. Partially lasting with decent lacework.
The flavor is of caramel, dark fruits, peaches and warm alcohol. Well-balanced with a bitter hop addition. The high ABV really rears it's head here. This is not a complaint as it is very cold outside right now and the alcohol is very warming and comforting.
Full-bodied with a full, silky mouthfeel and fizzy carbonation. Long, alcoholic, bitter, lightly pungent finish. Damp fescue at the wee end.
Excellent brew. Glad I popped it open a bit early.
More great stuff from Fullers.
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - FEB 8, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle 63618. Seems darker than the '99, a tawny caramel color, medium head that offers nice lacing. Aroma woody and butterscotchy, perhaps less complex than the '99 but still awesome. Very sweet; alcohol noticeable but well-integrated into the woody, creamy flavor. Smooth as silk. I need to get more bottles of this, the '99, hell every year, and keep 'em.
WISEGUY572 (1372) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 4, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
One beautiful, mouth filling ale. Taste is malt, caramel, some great hoppy bitterness, some citric fruit. There is some VOC ó I don't know the name, but it is too strong in some red beers like raison d'etre and raison d'extra. it is present here and is sort of a distraction ... it will probably disappear with age and I will like the beer even more. I prefer the 1999, but that may just be the benefit of an additional year of aging.
Oristo (67) - Orinda, California, USA - JAN 25, 2003
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Wow. Nice red brown with long lasting tan head. Medium strong, malty nose. The Hops are nice and strong aand counterbalance the powerful toasty malt. Love that alcohol burn but it would be lovely to get this experience in a lower ABV beer. I'd drink a ton of it!
MartinT (7482) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 16, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: MAY 17, 2005 Shimmering hops randomly explode in a minuscule hail of citrusy fire onto the crackling caramel heartwood...A faint garlic smoke blanket slowly emanates like a sleepy genie seeping out of his comfy urn...This beautiful bonfire is lighter and more Scotch Ale-like than the 1999...4.1/5
A 5-year-old bottle shows perfumy hand lotion and floral brightness as its most obvious constituents...Malt sweetness has dropped and wooden, resinous hops are still obvious...3.6/5
PhillyBeer2112 (2488) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - JAN 14, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 4, 2004 Sampled Christmas 2002. This beer is aging wonderfully. Nice caramel and fruity aroma and flavor, with herbal and spicy hop notes, and a med bitter finish. Balanced and smooth. It just disappears from the glass. Nice dark amber color with full head, long lasting, and heavy lacing left in the glass.
Update Feb 2004: This beer may be passing its prime. I tend to like these at 2-3 years, and as its approaching 4 years, I'm getting an increase in sherry notes, a slight tang, and expectedly reduced hops (but still present). Fruity esters are still apparent. Still, I'd say to start drinking these up now.
papajohn (1248) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - JAN 2, 2003
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle #72749 sampled 1/02/03, my first review of 2003: Pours a beautiful amber/copper color with a fluffy white head. Tiny bubbles rise to the surface. The nose is brandy like. Flavor: Start is syrupy sweet caramel, toffee and a little harshness from the alcohol (sometimes I like it a little rough around the edges) much like a barleywine, finish is smooth and sweet with a slight hop bite. Lingering mouth watering aftertaste. Warms your face as well as your tummy.
jaymobrown (1608) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 28, 2002
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle 63614. Side by side tasting with the í99 and í01 vintages. Personal favorite out of the three. Flavor tastes more like a barley wine with robust and dark wood tones. The alcohol is present, and gives it a thicker palate overall.