ClarkVV (3927) - 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 (4474) - 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 (3096) - 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...
TaktikMTL (6221) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 8, 2007
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Verre de dégustation, provenant d’une bouteille de 1 l avec bouchon de céramique, dégusté lors de la soirée "La croisée des chemins" chez Cathshlag. Arôme: Forte présence d’épices (canelle et muscade entre autre). Apparence: La couleur est ambrée rougâtre. Présence d’un mince col mousseux sur le verre. Saveur: Goût de caramel au beurre et d’épices avec une pointe de fruit. Durée moyenne de l’arrière goût. Palette: Le corps est moyen avec une texture légèrement huileuse. Faible effervescence en bouche. Présence d’épices en arrière goût. (Rating #1018)
Glouglouburp (6104) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 7, 2007
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Clear ruby body topped by a very small white head. Syrupy body with sweet cherries swimming in a brown-sugar cake. Herbal notes adds to an otherwise rather simple sweet beer. While drinking it I knew my taste buds were in familiar territories but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then a friend came to the rescue. Dr Pepper. Yes, that’s it. Overall I wasn’t too found of this Dr Pepper flavoured-beer although I actually like Dr Pepper. I also like milk but…
IrishBoy (3908) - Bakersfield, California, USA - MAY 6, 2007
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle from Ross; nose of sweet caramel and vanilla; rusty red with a small straw head; sweet and spicy with some caramel malt, fruitiness, and a tiny bit of hops. A decent Christmas ale!
MartinT (8281) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 6, 2007
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
My Bottom Line:
Caramel and vanilla cookies cherish the cherries, delicate roastiness and dessert spiciness which garnish them. This is a valiant spicy ale for sweet teeth.
Further Personal Perceptions:
-A ring of foam surrounds the clear burgundy.
-Spicy, herbal hoppiness finishes alongside clovey amusement.
-The chosen spices are well integrated.
-Even though it’s on the sweet side of things, it remains a fine winter warmer to accompany a meal.
5000 (6300) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - MAY 5, 2007
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle: Garnet in color, fairly dark, moderate foamy beige head, falls quickly leaving spotty lacing.   Heavy carob aroma, that
fake chocolate stuff from the 80s, as well as some butterscotch.   Some bready malts in there as well, but also a slight touch of
vegetable.   Chocolate malt, as in the old fashion shakes, on the tongue, moderate sweetness.   Hints of molasses and Earl Gray tea
as well.   Falls off somewhat quickly.   Little to no hop presense.   Definitely a malt oriented brew.   Moderate body and
mouthfeel.   Take some golden grahams and cocoa pebbles, put them in a bowl with milk... let sit for 20 minutes and then remove the
cereal... what you have left is what lingers, milky sludge smarmied with the dressings of breakfast cereal.   Certainly an interesting
brew, and spiced in a way I would have never imagined.   Decent, interesting, but not sure I would entertain this one again.
However, it is unique.   Thanks Jim for this one!
nolankowal (933) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - APR 26, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle shared by bdburdman. Crimson pour with a white head. Aroma of malt and light vanilla, and some yeast. Flavor of coconut, vanilla, and some sweet malt. Medium bodied. Not bad.
jpm30 (1587) - East Central, Georgia, USA - APR 24, 2007
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
From a 22 oz. bomber bottle with no bottling/freshness date, stored at cellar temperature and allowed to warm up a bit before sampling in a nonic glass.
Poured a reddish auburn with a foamy, bubbly head that settled into a thin sudsy lacing, minimal amount of sticking.
Aromas of red cherries and berries, butterscotch, vanilla, cocoa powder, sugar cookies and a very light amount of holiday spices.
Good, even moderate carbonation and a crisp, dryish, silky smooth medium bodied mouthfeel.
Good holiday/winter warmer taste, sugar cookies, butterscotch toffee, a light cocoa, a nice fruitiness, berries and apricots, winter holiday spiciness, the alcohol is barely noticeable, a lemon tea-like soft bitterness towards the end, and a dry spicy, fruity, malty finish.
A tasty seasonal from Highland, easy drinkability on a rainy spring day, very enjoyable.