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 (2093) - 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 (6067) - 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.
biz82 (1328) - austin, Texas, USA - DEC 15, 2004
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Aroma of carob, honey, hops. Dark red and clear with no head. Rich and resinous in flavor with a bitter kick. Caramel and rum and nuts in the flavor. Has a kind of dated micro flavor.
Lubiere (10873) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 13, 2004
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Deep dark reddish ale with a light raisiny malt aroma. Sweet raisins and vanilla , slight acidity, and sharp hops. Nuts in final. Lighter bodied than expected but still good. Thanks to Argo via Capflu. (Sept. 2004)
PullMeABeer (203) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - DEC 12, 2004
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. Pours chestnut brown, with reddish highlights showing through. A wonderful billowy head formed and the lacing was pristine. Sappy/piney hops, chalky chocolate malt, and loads of sharp alcohol hit my nose. This beer is to be savored slowly. The first sip showed high amounts of barley malts, caramel, spices (licorice, nutmeg, berry?), followed by huge hop bite (floral/piney/risen). The beer finishes with a truly warming sweet alcohol kick, which made the beer very rich on the palate, but very nice. Drinkabiliy medium/high. "This was my third beer of the night a it kind of leveled me!"
Steib (613) - Queen Creek, Arizona, USA - DEC 11, 2004
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Sweet malty aroma. Does have big hop character but its the sweet malts that overide. A lot of hops for a english strong ale. Hop bite dominates the palate in the aftertaste. Decent alcohol presense. This is a beer that has trouble defining itself the balance just isnt there. Still an interesting beer in itself.
ztrvz (218) - st paul, Minnesota, USA - DEC 11, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
sweet caramel odor. cloudy, amber with decent head that lasts a bit. sweet caramel flavor, initially, with a giant burst of hops. nice full palate. a lil bit o alcohol present in the finish. this is a very nice beer.