RobertDale (3712) - Lansing, Kansas, USA - AUG 26, 2013
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
11.2 ounce, 2003 bottle. Pours black with a very small brown head. Aroma of malt, fruit, licorice, and alcohol. Taste is roasted malt, dark fruit, licorice, chocolate, caramel, and alcohol. Complex and interesting.
dnicolaescu (946) - Chișinău, MOLDOVA - AUG 25, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
GBBF 2013 backlog. CASK.
Head: coffee. Colour: black.
Aroma: complex, roasted, licorice, sourish, decomposing plants.
Taste: complex, salty 99% chocolate, semi-decomposed-plants bitterness.
Elwood (3336) - Leesburg, Virginia, USA - AUG 23, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Serving: Bottle from State Line Liquors. It pours black with a dense tan head. The nose is vinous at first with a little soy turning meaty as the brew warmed. Thick and rich on the tongue. Notes of aged red wine, port, leather, soy, and aged balsamic vinegar. A little dense on the tongue with an oily texture, but an interesting mix of flavors that evolve as it warms.
evergreen0199 (2144) - Northwood, Greater London, ENGLAND - AUG 20, 2013
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Cask at GBBF 2013, Olympia, London. A black coloured pour with a small beige head on top. Roasty, malty, soy sauce aroma. Tastes is similar, roasty, malty, soy, a little coffee and chocolate. Not bad but lacking in complexity.
EdKing (1985) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - AUG 14, 2013
2.8 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Cask at GBBF 2013. Opaque black, off white to brown head, bubbly. Nose is sulphur, eggy, ash, soy sauce, roasted malt, cardboard. Taste is roasted malt, lots of golden syrup, slight tasty saltiness, finish is roasted malt black coffee bitter. Alcohol. Nose is a shocker and taste is a little sweeter and nicer.
Niall73 (1871) - Greater London, ENGLAND - AUG 14, 2013
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Cask at GBBF 2013. Pours a dense black/brown. Meaty, sweet aroma. Full bodied. Chewy, meaty, boozy, lots of licorice, very treacle. A bit too cloying. OK.
Osprey87 (2061) - WALES - AUG 13, 2013
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Cask at GBBF. Black with slight foamy head. Smells of coffee, yeast and chocolate. Mouthfeel is very nice - soft, not foamy. Taste is liquorice and aniseed to start, then I pick up smoke, sweetness comes through, slight coffee. Complex. I liked this. A lot. Very slight sharpness in the finish if I have to pick a flaw, but overall this is a real winner. I bought a bottle in the hope it is as good as the cask version. Fingers crossed.
gregwilsonstl (1143) - Missouri, USA - JUL 6, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark like motor oil. Dark chocolate. No head. Very alcohol. Strong, but drinkable. Dark licorice. Really good. Thanks Seymour.
Dredd (702) - Bentleigh, AUSTRALIA - JUL 3, 2013
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Uber complex, rich prune and raisin aroma. Jet black with tan head. Flavor is licorice coffee, chocolate, prune with a rich oiliness. Absolutely lovely.
ThisWangsChung (747) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - JUN 30, 2013
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
9.3 oz bottle into a snifter, 2009 vintage. Bottle says 9%
A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a one finger tan shade that fades away gracefully. A creamy ring of lace remains on the glass before that fades, as well.
S: Man, my fellow reviewers weren’t kidding when they said this had a sour edge. The aforementioned tartness has a wonderful cherry tone to it, as well. When given a chance to open up, it develops stronger notes of chocolate, molasses, soy, and smoke. In a nutshell, the aroma is basically chocolate-coated tart cherries. Epic.
T: The first sip bowls me over in terms of layered complexity. It’s also roastier than the aroma suggested. Because I had every expectation of this being sour, its opening presence doesn’t bother me. Flavors become roasty near the middle, and smoky on the back end. A distant aftertaste of earthy notes become prevalent, as well. It’s far more complex than I described, though - the more I sip, the more distinct flavors I pick up (dark fruits, licorice, caramel, tobacco, peat, and leather). The only real flaws I can find is that the depth of flavor isn’t perfectly cohesive, and the finish develops a bit too much char flavor at times. Otherwise, this is some stunningly contemplative stuff.
M: It’s creamy, but at the same time, airy and VERY dry. The feel gradually becomes ’wetter’ as more is sipped, giving it the proper decadence it deserves. As a nitpick, it could stand to be a bit beefier in its body - especially since this isn’t something that I’d call ’easy to drink’.
O: This ain’t for everyone. I like to think of this one as a rite of passage for most beer drinkers - many will hate it, but those that aren’t initially put off by its strange chocolate-meets-soy sauce-meets-char-meets-sour cherries approach to a RIS will be rewarded spectacularly. In a word, superb; how fitting something of this magnitude was my 500th review on BeerAdvocate.