DMRz (230) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAY 24, 2009
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Pours a dark reddish brown with a short off-white head. The aroma takes one’s breath away - mulled apple cider, vanilla, brandy, and a hint of sour apple hard candy at the end. Flavor is similar but just as complex and enticing - green apples, roasted coffee beans, smokey peat, vanilla, and candi sugar. This beer is unbelievably smooth with a pleasantly warming bourbon like finish. Very nearly perfect - a truly remarkable beer!
RCL (2030) - Waltham, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 24, 2009
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
This beer is epic. Astoundingly complex aroma; smoke, oak, dried dates and figs, port. Just dynamite flavor, almost as complex as the aroma and over the top yet superbly balanced. Mouthfeel is coating with a hint of the high alcohol. This seems like after a year or two in the bottle it might get even better.
FlacoAlto (3800) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 24, 2009
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Served lightly chilled around 55ºF / 13ºC
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass just produces a fat-one-finger thick, nicely browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is quite dark, almost black really with perhaps a touch of brown to it. When held up to the light the beer shows brilliantly clear, deep, dark ruby highlights. The aroma is quite smoky, phenolic even; the smoke character doesn’t have the richness that I associate with beech-wood (Rauchbier) or alder-wood (Alaskan Smoked Porter) smoked beers, instead it is a little thin, though really this might be because the smoke is not nearly at the same level as those other smoked beers. The smoke here combines with a distinct fruitiness that reminds me of raisins, prunes and even some brandy like notes along with a touch of warming alcohol. At times the alcohol can be quite noticeable in the aroma, especially after I have started to drink the beer. The fruit character becomes very rich and interesting if you concentrate on the nose for a bit. There is also a touch of roast malt character noticeable after a bit as well. Not a bad nose, but the up front smoke character is a little thin and sharp at times, though it does have a nice underlying richness.
The beer is creamy and viscous feeling with only a faint carbonation that supplies a very soft prickle. The beer is fairly sweet, which accentuates a dark, concentrated fruitiness, but both of these are offset somewhat by a sharp malt influence. Roast grain notes provide a burnt-bitterness to the finish, perhaps a touch of acrid notes as well as a touch of burnt acidity. The smoked malt is a bit fainter than it even was in the nose, but it does provide a subtle smokiness that provides some richness to the beer as well as a hint of sharp smoke phenolics that is just noticeable at times. The rich fruitiness is the most noticeable part of the flavor; notes of prunes, raisins and roasted berry notes are all quite noticeable. Subtler fruit notes of caramelized apples, a touch of dates as well as some not so subtle rich, Brandy-like fruitiness. Alcohol is evident, but donesn’t get past supplying a nice warmth and a bit of spiciness. While rich feeling on the tongue, the beer isn’t overly heavy and in fact is a bit more drinkable than might be safe.
For a beer that has a fairly middling aroma to it, the flavor has turned out to be quite nice. This is definitely a sipping brew and I am really enjoying the rich, concentrated fruitiness here that is just supported by roast malt notes and a hint of smokiness. After a slow start, this ends up being quite an enjoyable brew.
BrianK (200) - Livingston, New Jersey, USA - MAY 24, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Shared by Rciesla I think. I found this beer to be very enjoyable until the hops take over. Great malt character with a little bit of smoke. I think this one will taste dramatically better when the hops start to age out.
Tweety (377) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 21, 2009
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Big thanks to Matt (fittingly enough) for hooking me up with this gem. The one thing that I found most notable was the amount that the apple shined through. The flavors in this were far too many to name and blended together superbly, for a great drink. What a great example of barrel-aged beers.
jkwalking05 (3685) - Arlington, Texas, USA - MAY 18, 2009
4.3 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle thanks to americanbrew. Deep brown in color with a small off-white head. Aroma is of an apple bacon breakfast casserole my mom used to make with notes of caramel, light pepper and oak. Taste is of pepper, caramel, smoke, apple, bacon, wood and some hints of bourbon.
waolsen (1358) - Littleton, Colorado, USA - MAY 17, 2009
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
bottle. thanks geoff. this is an abolutely amazing beer. deep black pour with thin head. green appple, oak aroma. super rich chocolate, toasted malts, burnt wood and smoke. just awesome.
JK (4400) - St. Louis Park, Minnesota, USA - MAY 17, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
No carbonation. Very dark brown. Lots of oak, some light bourbon, and a fairly thick palate. Not so much bourbon that it is ruined, and the bourbon is good so it works. Dry finish, but I don’t detect the smoke. Traditional ale? What kind of traditional ale?
BBB63 (6010) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - MAY 16, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pre-DLD tasting: Very dark mahogany brown hue, oily legs and spotty lace. The aroma has notes of fig, molasses, candi sugar, charred wood and ashy smoke, rye bread, and a bit chalky. The taste starts twangy and fruity with an aggressive woody and bourbon tone. Slightly spicy and minerally upon the finish. The acidity seems to be in conflict with the sweeter malts and wood. The mouth feel is oily but sharp aroudn the edges, ashy and chakly finish. This is okay but lacks the depth I expected that some hop character could have provided.
BrewDad (4889) - Olympia, Washington, USA - MAY 15, 2009
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Hair of the Dog Brewery – Portland, OR
Aroma: Sweet malt aroma with fruit in the aroma.
Appearance: Dark Brown in color, clear with a thin head.
Flavor: This was a nectar of the god with a huge fruity malt flavor with big malt and light hops presence.
Palate: Dry Sweet fruity finish, with a Good Mouthfeel.
Overall: Dried oak and barrel flavors came off this brew. Alan himself poured this brew for us from the North. This was a excellent brew and as it warmed up it gained more flavor. This is a truly awesome brew. Thanks Alan you rock.