NVBeer232 (467) - Reno, Nevada, USA - JAN 10, 2005
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
This is a big beer. Aromas were really dense. Lots of carmel and piney hops in the nose. The body and flavors are just a bit too heavy for me. Sweet, almost syrupy. Finishes like a mouthfull of pine needles. Decent beer, but just a little over teh top for me.
JK (4961) - St. Louis Park, Minnesota, USA - JAN 8, 2005
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Hop aroma. Dark brown with almost no head. Flavors of hop bitterness and sweet malty goodness, and a low key wood flavor. Heavy palate. Lacks complexity, but does hide the alcohol.
gabbledbabble (60) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - JAN 6, 2005
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Without any details I could put away a half dozen of these on any given day and be quite jolly. I mean, this is delicious! Calling winter warmer lovers: I dare you to find another better... Call it a strong ale, whatever, itís released for winter consumption.
Regarding specifics: Polished cherry wood, splippery on the glass, excellent on the palate, and quick on the wit. Short on aroma, but long on the finish. Mucho maltiness, great divide on the palate with appropriate hoppiness. I love what Great Divide does for me in the winter time. Check out their old Ruffian, too. After one sip this beer sits in the glass like a fine lady standing up and inviting you into the bedroom. You gonna enjoy that just once? Come again, I want it 6 times repeated at least. Get yourself a sixer too.
Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - JAN 1, 2005
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours dark mahogany with fluffy off-white head. Aroma is rosted malt and spices. Initial malt taste finishes all spice. Good lacing. Smooth beer but the flavor disappeared at times.
Cornfield (5570) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - JAN 1, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I poured this brew from a twelve ounce bottle into a twenty-two ounce glass, and the creamy, light tan head still almost overflowed. This clear but dark, reddish-brown ale has a rich, roast malt aroma coupled with a spiciness and an herbal hop bitterness. The flavor is loaded with malts, spices, and nuts. Itís got a dry, bitter, and mildly alcoholic finish that makes me want to pour another. Good stuff.
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 30, 2004
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 19, 2005 (Rating update of 2005 batch is forthcoming - hang tight.)
Huge off-white head - when I finished pouring, it was about an inch thick. Then it took on a life of its own and expanded to about two inches tall, with the top of the head pocked with craters. The head seemed to trap the flavor and preserve the taste and carbonation so that each sip was as fresh as the first. Very lively beer. Smelled malty and sweet, with traces of dry hops and spices, which I couldnít discern individually. I could also smell the alcohol. Deep taste; nutty, roasted almonds and bold, reminding me of wood bark or an open air bonfire. You can taste the alcohol but it isnít overpowering. Finish is marked by a dry/bitter aftertaste with a chocolatey/caramel feel to it. Very good beer. Very hearty, very thick. Me likes.
DavidP (1747) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 21, 2004
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very dark ruby-brown body with a thick creamy light tan head. No lacing. Sweet dark cherry / gingerbread malt head the aroma followed by dry, eathy hops. The flavor is where this beer really shines in its dark, sweet murky way. Starts with a woody cask essence giving it an old, aged feel. Then thereís chocolate/molasses malt with sweet cherry sweetness that gives way to hop and alcohol flavors. The hops seem kind of Saazy, but in an aged musty way. Thereís two parts to the finish, a dry woodyness layered over chocolate malt. Hop aftertaste and belches. Satisfying, creamy mouthfeel.
What a great beer! I had no idea this stuff even existed until the guy at the store (Brennanís in Brookfield) suggested it. He said "itís drinking real good right now", what a great way to sum up this beer.
piscator34 (2128) - Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA - DEC 21, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark red in colour with a nice lasting head. Sweet caramel malt aromas along with notes of floral hops. A fantastic flavor progression: caramel malts, giving way to dark fruit, followed by chocolate, and finally a resiny hop bite. A lasting finish too. Probably the best beer of this style that Iíve ever had. Well done!
HopsOrDie (687) - New Lenox, Illinois, USA - DEC 17, 2004
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours a nice deep ruby color with a fluffy cream head. Aroma is filled with earthy hops and dark fruit [very similar to GI X-mas]. Clean earthy hop taste with some raisin. Fairly thick drink. Alcohol is very present in the aftertaste. May be good on a cold wintery night, but the alcohol burn makes me feel like I can spew flames. Of course having chapped lips isnít helping.
PorterPounder (6209) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - DEC 16, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured from the bottle at the Ginger Man in Austin, Tx. Dark ruby red pour with a thick, creamy slightly off white head and thick lacing. Aroma is very fragrant with hints of fresh fruit cocktail soaked in brandy. Flavor has the same element with dates, raisins and citrus dominating. Very chewy and warming, an excellent companion for the cold winter night. High ABV is hidden rather well. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. A most excellent winter warmer - highly recommended.