drewdogg (62) - USA - AUG 19, 2007
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Had bottle from 2006-07 winter. Very nice chocolatey ale with medium body. Hints of nutmeg, cinamon, vanilla, and caramel. Probably the best winter seasonal I have ever had as Highland has resisted the temptation to overly spice the beer or add gimmick flavoring like candy cane or licorice as some other south regional brewers do with their winter seasonals. I will definitely look for this beer again when it is in season this coming winter.
hopscotch (9163) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - AUG 7, 2007
3.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle... Murky, deep, caramel-colored ale with a small, creamy, white head. Malty, earthy nose with a boatload of toffee and a trace of Marciano cherry. Aged or stale hop flavor with subtle vanilla and cinnamon. No intensity, but nice. Medium-bodied with lively carbonation. Finishes minerally and slightly Flemish. Kudos to boboski for bringing this one down from Orlando!
mgumby10 (1856) - Jupiter, Florida, USA - AUG 1, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a lightly hazy caramel brown, with a very small, light tan head. A lot of sweet malts, caramel, dark fruits, and bread in the smell. Tastes of carmale and candy corn, vanilla, some cinnamon, pretty much like Halloween in a glass. very sweet and sugary, left the palate begging for more, as I am a sweet tooth. Kind of like a candy beer. i enjoyed it, it was fun to drink.
alexanderj (3318) - Branson, Missouri, USA - JUL 28, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle; poured an auburn-brown; with nice off white head. Earthy aroma with various spices, caramel and vanilla. Very distinct flavor with lots of vanilla, caramel and spice. One of the most distinct I have had in a while. Good mouthfeel, felt slightly creamy and smooth. Would be nice to have this actually during winter next time.
BBB63 (6045) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - JUL 21, 2007
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Tasted at the post-release DLD party: Clean caramel hue with good lasting frothy head and very good lace. The aroma has notes of juniper, cardamom, saffron, anise, wild flowers (i.e. very herbal) along with some caramel malt vapours. WOW, very spicy and sweet with a lot of malt leading towards a fruity midesection of candy apple, fig and peaches. The finish is spicy, minty and dry with a chalky aftertaste. The mouth feel is soft and smooth despite a high amount of carbonation. A nice spiced winter warmer but could use a tad more hop character.
DarkElf (3033) - La Jolla, California, USA - JUL 1, 2007
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
06-Sep-06 (1 liter flip-top bottle: Obtained 25-Mar-06 in trade with Jonathan3584, thanks Jonathan!) Ruddy brown in appearance and semi-translucent, the beer is capped by a half-inch, light-tan head that settles to a wide ring. Sweet spices, dark malts and brown sugar in the nose. First impression: wow, that’s spicy! Lots and lots of cinnamon bombards the palate, but once over that initial shock, the dark, lightly roasty malts able to stand on their own. However, the finish reverts back to cinnamon, plus brown sugar, candy caramel and hot cocoa mix. Not much in the hop department, and any bitterness is probably from the light roast, but this is clearly a spice and malt-dominated beer. Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Overall, despite the heavy dose of spices, the beer is still enjoyable, though a slight reduction in the amount of spices might serve this beer better. One final note: in a group tasting at O’Brien’s (who can drink an entire liter of beer like this?!), some really liked the beer, others thought it was overtly spicy, but it certainly generated a lot of good discussion, pro and con, and that’s the sign of a successful beer.
blankboy (6052) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUN 20, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle (650ml) courtesy of ross. Pours a deep orange-copper with an average size diminishing tan head. Aroma’s sweet, malty and fruity along with spices and vanilla -- smells nice! Flavour of toasted malt, quite fruity and spicy along with vanilla and light hops -- really tasty! Medium bodied. Wow, this is really good stuff, well done!
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - JUN 14, 2007
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
2006 Swingtop bottle from Oldgrowth, drunk on 5/26/07
Still plentiful carbonation resulting in a massive, auburn-specked-beige head that is slow to recede, yet eventually falls to cover, leaving light lacing. Mostly clear body, with nearly no sediment on the bottom is a chartreuse-orange with darker chestnut tints.
Smells meaty. Like gruit meaty. I was sort of expecting something of a spiced scotch ale, but I didnt really get that. Like they used lots of heather and a darker spice, not as dry and distinctive as cinnamon, but still quite astringent and puzzling. The rest of the beer seems to be an amber ale, with crystal malts hardening things and not really complementing the already dry spiciness. That meaty, almost vegetal quality returns on the end, with some vanilla and lots of toast. Maybe some anise in there too? Alcohol is well-concealed, but there could be a bit of DMS and the spices just dont provide any enjoyment that I can find.
Sweet caramel, with tons of esters providing plums, red apples and figs. Crystal malt hardness never really allows for a soft or full texture and the spicing goes from weird to astringent. An interesting cherry-orange-vanilla-anise thing going on on the finish, with lots of lightly tannic grains. Needs a lot more base malt, just gets too crunchy/earthy/toasty. Carbonation is quite high. Not really flawed, just overspiced and with a really strange malt bill.
ChainGangGuy (4376) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JUN 4, 2007
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Appearance: Pours a rich garnet-hued body with wispy, seafoam beige head.
Smell: Spicy, fruity aroma of oranges, cranberries, cinnamon and maybe a bit of ginger.
Taste: Beyond the toasty malts, there is a real medley of flavors at work here. For me, I’m picking up orange peel, cranberries, mint, nutmeg, and cinnamon (which really comes through in the finish).
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderately carbonated.
Drinkability: Interesting and well-made, but not particularly to my liking.
shigadeyo (3010) - Harrison, Ohio, USA - MAY 29, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Event: DarkLord Day 2007
Location: Evening tasting in jquire’s room at the Hampton Inn. Thank you for hosting Jeff!
Serving: Sampled from a 1 liter flip-top bottle.
Aroma: Caramel and vanilla cookies.
Appearance: Clear burgundy color.
Flavor: Subtle roasted malt quality with some fruit/berries, vanilla, and delicate Winter spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc.).
Palate: Medium-full body. Good mouthfeel; smooth..
Overall: This is a very mild and easy to drink Winter Ale. It sure would be nice to sit down with a liter of this tasty brew on a cold Winter day! Maybe I can talk Ross into sending me one this holiday season...