harlequinn (2744) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - FEB 9, 2004
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
This is truly a wonderful beer. Dark ruby appearance with a perfect two-finger head, and some really nice lacing. The flavor is incredibly balanced, but full of chocolate carob flavors. The malts are very sweet as are the hops. Alots of fruits, cherry and apricots, along with some coffee and toffee. Finish is very deep and creamy.
TChrome (1425) - Bedford, Texas, USA - JAN 29, 2004
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Good ruby red color with a beige head that is retained. Aroma is significant and hoppy and malty. Initial scent to hit the nose is citrus then nice malt sweetness, a little bit of alcohol also. Initial flavor is malty with some smoke and peat. Finish is dry, hoppy then a bit more smoke to fad out. Very good.
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 29, 2004
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Finally found this in bottles at Box Bar in Plymouth. 2003 bottle. Pours a drab brown, very muddy with some slightly lighter yellow tinges around the edges. Big dark yellow head. Bottle conditioned. Aroma was so good, I couldnt even wait until the beer warmed before trying it. Smells of spices, but mainly from hops and yeast, with some lighter sweet malts. Flavor is big with some cherry and other ripe fruit flavors, english style yeast and hops. Woody oak flavors meet crisp hops and plenty of nice english toffee and light chocolate. Very complex, approaching the grandeur of the Fullers Vintage line. Only setback was a slightly acidic astringency on the finish which seems to be found in most of these American ESAs. However, here it is much less apparent. Body is slightly less full and flavors are not as deep as Fullers Vintage Ales, but the fact that this beer actually comes close is impressive.
Beaver (1339) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - JAN 28, 2004
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
The 2003 Hibernation Ale poured a deep mahogany with a creamy tan head that went to a thin skim and laced the glass the whole way down. It smells of fig and malts with hints of chocolate, caramel and some alcohol. The taste is comlpex yet well balanced and appealing. It has a sweet malt start with a lightly hopped, crisp, slightly acidic finish. There are also some woody flavors mixed with a fruity fig/raisin taste. It has a subtle alcohol warming as well. The palate was full-bodied and creamy. Overall, a terrific winter warmer found late in the season. This is up there with Anchor OSA as my favorite of the season.
atpayne (615) - Zionsville, Indiana, USA - JAN 22, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: NOV 15, 2005 A very deep amber color with little head. There is a very deep fruit aroma, some raisin present in the aroma and in the flavor. A slight hint of alcohol was detected but there was a clean feel left in the mouth and a very distinct bitterness that lingered for awhile after swallowing.
2003 bottle, aged Nov 2005- There is a malt aroma that is as if I stuck my head into the grain bin at the homebrew shop. It is full of great robust biscut and toasted malt aromas. Very full malty feel and flavor. Mildly sweet and a nice robust malt. Various strings of malt flavors. Really quite nice. I’d recomend grabbing some of these and putting them aside for a few years. Previously 6,4,6,4,17.
brewbandit (312) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JAN 21, 2004
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A very nice mocerately hoppy ale with solid maltiness to handle its hop and alcohol. A nice winter brew.
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - JAN 8, 2004
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
GABF '03. Dark amber color with little head. Aromas of dried fruit to go along with big hop flavors that also included malt and caramel. Nice warm finish.
kujo9 (1093) - North Ridgeville, Ohio, USA - JAN 4, 2004
3.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 10/20
Mohogany brown beer with a lasting beige head. Chocolatey and malt aromas with an underlying earthy hop, as well as alcohol. Hints of wood and a light caramel sweetness, sherry notes, roastiness, and fruitiness as it warms. Odd, but there's a sharp acidic sourness in the initial sip, as well a malty sweetness and hop flavor. It is well balanced and has chocolate malt up front and gets a little sweeter as it warms, but that sourness just won't go away. Fruitiness creeps into the finish and has a hop aftertaste. Sourness is still there! Medium fuller body with low carbonation with an acidic bite on the tongue which I just don't get; alcohol is hidden very well. There's a light astringency, but it should mellow with some aging. I'm not quite sure where that sourness is coming from. It's not a dark grain sourness, it's more like a lactic acid sourness that just doesn't belong. It takes away from an otherwise seemingly good beer. I've also had this one last year...didn't rate it...but I don't remember the sourness. I'll chalk this up to a bad bottle since I seem to be in the minority here and I'll re rate at a later time and bottle.
PBOYNY (316) - Westchester, New York, USA - DEC 30, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
excellent dark ale with very high alcohol content-very chocolate-ty, and thick, mud-like thickness, perfect for a very cold night in Leadville!
3fourths (8228) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - DEC 24, 2003
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: JUN 14, 2012 Deep ruby red with a light brown head. Musty and nutty aroma, with some cherries and cranberries. Very syrupy and sticky, tastes of cashews, cherries, and brown sugar, but not very spiced, more of a wood/nut/cherry/raspberry winter beer.