tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - AUG 24, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Aroma of candi sugar, yeast, a whiff of smoke. Some pine and crushed apples. Mildly perfumy. Pours an unattractive swamplike brown. Lots of smoked meat (bacon) on the palate. Slightly earthy with notes of smoked malt, dry hops, apples and pears. Very lively carbonation. Medium bodied. Like a cross between a smoked and a belgian ale.
boboski (1095) - Alabama, USA - AUG 23, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
This beer pours out like it’s been planning a desperate escape from the confines of the glass walls that have contained it for some time. Frenetic carbonation boils up to form a dense, fizzy but compacted, tall beige head with modest retention. The body is a hazy chestnut with brighter mahogany hues at the perimeter. The aroma is the next to attempt a daring break for freedom, this time from the liquid from which it stems. Roasted grains lead the charge, smoke hot on its heels, notes of meats and campfire and burning holiday themed decor in a wild conflagration that is neither restrained nor focused. Juniper essence bolts from the vessel, acidic, a burning green like the aftermath of the initial backdraft from a chemical explosion from deep within the densely forested tundra. Vegetation burns brightly, a smoke signal rises to alert anyone around to its exact location, a bright light in the shady regions of the chilling and desolate northern countryside. Bitterness, like the cold, stings in the flavor. Acidity wrings the mouth dry, like a sponge, cutting into my tongue and cheeks like the bristling vegetation that fans the flames. Smoke is reckless, covering the surface area of the inside of my mouth, then my face, then the surrounding air, devouring oxygen as it bulids in intensity with each smothering sip. The juniper does a marvelous job of replacing hops for a quenching and devastating assault on the tastebuds. The mild sweetness that lingers underneath finds air to breath in a sustained finish, extinguishing heat and scattering cool sensations across the palate. Carbonation, like fireworks robed in silk, further accelerates a broadening of sensations and flavors. A unique combination of smoke and greenery melded into a near-catastrophic taste explosion results in something more refined, more thought-provoking. Holiday themes come to mind. What fun this was!
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - AUG 22, 2007
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours a hazy dark orange copper mahogany with a large-bubbled, lightly-lacing, airy off-white head. Dry, earthy, smoky toffee and juniper aroma. Body starts fizzy and over-carbonated with a very light sweetness, a hint of tartness and some dry, woody, lightly burnt flavor. Finishes with some lingering smoke and juniper bitterness and a touch of warmth. A unique brew, but a little too dry and over-attenuated for my tastes.
Nuffield (3657) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - AUG 21, 2007
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Big head, brown body. Big smoked flavor! Absolutely lovely, though I couldn’t get the juniper from this underneath all that smoke. Dry hoppy finish. Nothing ugly at all. My friends didn’t like this, but it was right up my alley. Bottle purchased in Baltimore.
tronraner (2459) - Walland, Tennessee, USA - AUG 21, 2007
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pours opaque dark mahogany with very large ivory head. The aroma is light smoke, assertive spiciness, some cedar-like wood notes (juniper and cedar are related, so I guess that makes sense), and some caramel. The flavor is very obviously smoke-centric, but it is a much more rounded smoke flavor than a typical rauchbier. A moderate chocolatey malt backbone lies underneath with some rather distant berry notes. The finish has an ashy sort of bitterness, entirely compatible with the other smoke tones, and some hoppiness as well. A lingering, charred dryness sticks around for quite a while. I really like this one.
Skyview (5150) - Papoose Jct, Minnesota, USA - AUG 21, 2007
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Sampled from a 16.9 oz bottle supplied by brewfiend. Pours a medium brownish amber brew with a creamy off-white head that has good retention and lacing. Aroma of roasted chocolate malt, citrus/piney hops, a touch of smoke and black pepper. Taste is slightly sweet, medium bodied, light carbonation with flavors of roasted malt, chocolate, some smoked hard wood and some juniper. Finish is slightly dry, burnt malt and some piney/juniper aftertaste.
OhioDad (2493) - Hilliard, Ohio, USA - AUG 19, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle pours dark brown with a creamy offwhite head that stays pretty well. Aromas of smoke, bacon, but a sneaky berry characteristic beneath that. Overall the flavor is dominated by smoked meat. Campfire, some caramel, and other slight yeasty flavors but an underlying tartness with the berry flavor. Interestingly complex and pretty nice to try.
BDR (2534) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - AUG 18, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Whoa, this beer was a surprise. Tossing 1/3 of the bottle into my glass resulted in a massive rocky four inch tall beige head that lasted for minutes. Initially, all I could pick up was a solid smoke on the nose. As the head slowly sunk into the body, an almost hop like berry character emerged. Unlike most smoked beers, the smoke on the nose didn’t remind me of meats, just good burnt wood. The body however was a different story. Holy smoked pork batman - I’m picking this up for my next Ramadan party. And I’m talking GOOD smoked pork here. The finish had a faint berry character which I assume is juniper. The flavor lingers quite a while. A truly excellent brew that I can’t wait to try again.
joebrew (608) - Farewell Minny; Hello Puyallup, Washington, USA - AUG 18, 2007
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a nice murky reddish brown with a huge rocky beige head. Definate somked meats and very light dark fruit aroma. Nice tart almost an odd berry flavor that I can’t place, light smoke, and a very powerfull bitter bite that I can only atribute to the nature of juniper berries, but the palate is killer and the finish is very long lasting.
sliffy (2040) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - AUG 16, 2007
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle: Pours a murky brown with a big tan head. Aroma, smoky with some dark fruits. Flavor, fruity, some smoky notes, and some caramel malts. Solid, and well balanced.