Thorpe429 (5012) - , Illinois, USA - APR 15, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Served in a snifter.
Pours nearly black with a thin tan head and a touch of lacing on the sides. A thin collar around the edges throughout. The nose brings quite a large amount of smoke, though not as much as in the French Oak version. The "bourbon" (actually Utopias) overtakes the cabernet a bit; though the grape character is still there and the two meld with the oak quite well.
The taste reflects aging in both of the barrels, with the bourbon character becoming a bit more prevalent; the cabernet sneaks out a bit more as it warms up. Smoke and chocolate also linger throughout. Mouthfeel is medium and quite smooth. Drinks incredibly well. A very solid beer.
Serving type: bottle
Reviewed on: 12-19-2010
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - APR 1, 2011
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
500ml bottle, tasted alongside the other 2 treatments.
Pours almost completely black with a moderate tan head that recedes quickly and leaves traces of lacing and very little retention.
The aroma is an interesting mix and has the best balance of the treatments with dark chocolate and roasted coffee alongside the light bourbon notes and hints of fruitiness from the wine.
The taste follows the nose and does a great job of balancing all the disparate flavors. There is the underlying smoked malts with bakers chocolate and espresso. The finish is dry and smoky but with some sweet burn from the bourbon.
Overall, this was the best of the treatments for me as the dry vinous character was balanced more effectively than in the straight cab treatment. Really well-crafted beer.
jrallen34 (3478) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 30, 2011
4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Thanks again to Thorpe...Looks like the other Fears, black with an ok head...A really awesome aroma of peat, smoke, and pork, balanced and just awesome. A hint of red wine is great...The taste doesn’t translate as well, the front is tons of fresh oak ( a little too harsh for me), oak kills a lot of the smoke and pork, which is my favorite part. More chocolate than smoke. Still good just a disappointment of what I was expecting...This is very good, my 2nd favorite.
HonusWagner (1365) - Florida, USA - MAR 29, 2011
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
One of the true "got dayum!" beers of Extreme Beer Fest 2011, this thing is a smoke monster but at just the right level to sit well against the chocolate malts and subtlety imparted from the barrels and blending. Great.
dnstone (2137) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - MAR 20, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Black (deep brown) with tan head. Smoked malt is the dominant aroma with lighter wood notes. Smooth and roasty with wood tones and hints of the bourbon/cab that complement without overshaddowing the beer. A nice complex porter.
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - MAR 14, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
500ml bottle, aged several months. Consumed last in the 3 part series. The pour gives a deep and extremely dark mahogany colored body with a small head of bubbly, milkshake-like, mocha tinted froth. The foam sticks around for a good while, leaving a skinny, broken arch and trailing micro-spots of semi-hard lacing on the glass. The nose shows a malt base of blended chocolates, both bittersweet dark and lighter, creamy milk varieties, suggesting of well made French truffles. Some raw cacao lends an earthy feel, while coffee roast leads in to the smoky, oaky overtones. Dark fruit and Belgian style yeast round things out, completing what is a complex and inviting nose. Flavors are equally well constructed, expertly balancing the sweet tendencies of the bourbony blackened caramel and rich chocolate with roasty coffee, earth, and semi-dry, lightly charred, vinous oak. Dried dark fruit skins lend some tannins, bringing further fruity dryness, as sweet smoke imparts a smooth, maple-kissed meatiness. The palate, while still big and ultimately a bit too sugar-laden, seems lighter than both the bourbon and wine barrel versions on their own. Carbonation is soft, yet active, and the yeast lends a drying sensation that is welcomed. Chocolate and smoke linger for ages after the swallow. This was my favorite version of the beer, without a doubt. The balance is spot on for a brew of this heft. This really shows Mr. Hill’s talents off nicely.
daknole (9052) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - MAR 14, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Oh yeah! Dark pour. Great aroma! Chocolate, dark fruits, yeast, red wine, bourbon, oak, raisins, light tart smell. Flavor is rich and has lots of earthy chocolatey tones, dark fruit, vinous and oak abounds, light vanilla. WINNER.
lithy (2996) - Capital of Appalachia, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 13, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark brown-red, tan cover. Aroma is red wine forward, light roast. The taste is a light smoke, roast mix, red wine, light oak and vanilla bourbon, smoky malt and wood char finish.
wedgie9 (1888) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - MAR 11, 2011
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Tasted on 3/6/11 from a 500mL bottle, thanks Ryan. Pours an opaque oil black with a thin tan head that leaves thin tan lace. The nose is very smokey with dark malt, coffee, and a something vegetal as well. The flavor has the same smoke, but a little more subdued with burnt brown sugar, caramel, black pepper, and toasty vanilla oak. The body is full with light carbonation and a long black pepper and vanilla oak finish, along with some tannin.
Snojerk321 (2960) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 11, 2011
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Thanks to the big homie Matt for bringing this over. Pours a deep, fairly viscous brown / black with a small creamy beige head. A good amount of smoke in the nose as well as barrel notes, roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate and faint herbal hops. Medium - heavy smoke in the finish. Not quite as smokey and the bourbon one, a bit more drinkable.