Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - DEC 23, 2007
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle at Diamond. Reddish brown with a decent sized head. Aroma is plenty of burnt wood with brown sugar. Flavor is grilled pineapple and caramel with a light alcohol burn. Very impressive.
xnoxhatex (1305) - Grand Rapids/Chicago, Michigan, USA - DEC 23, 2007
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle from West Lakeview Liquors Chicago, been waiting a while to try this one. Dirty red/brown haze with medium off-white head. Aroma is red apple, perfumey, lots of fresh fruit, very dominant sake aromas. Flavor is a brown ale that has sake undertones, caramel, soft alc, big sweetness, big fruit, once again that red fruit, sort of dirty and earthy, pretty nice. Medium body and slightly creamy, also there is a slight alc burn which is surprising considering that this is only a 7% abv beer. Pretty nice, could be a little better balance though. Also I should have picked up the regular to try them against each other, will do next time.
TheBeerOrg (2145) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - DEC 22, 2007
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours dark amber with a mostly receding off-white head. Aroma of oak, apple, caramel, plum and some herbal qualities. Taste is lightly tart, cherries, oak, lightly acidic with earthy malt. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Pretty interesting beer.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 20, 2007
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: OCT 16, 2009 This rating relates to all batches OTHER than XH.8.11, xh.8.11 is a bad batch and should be destroyed.
Murky orangish-brown color w/ thin, somewhat lacey head. Sweet candyish nose, with floating waves of fruit and creeping sour woodiness. Big wood flavors abound with nice wood-borne microorganism tartness. It feels but does not taste like it has more alcohol than it does. There’s sweet maltiness behind the flavors..it actually tastes quite similar to one of my favorite beers "Burton Bridge Old Expensive" at least the good bottles of that beer. This beer, however, is <almost> ALWAYS superb. <almost>ALWAYS. There’s some solid bitterness keeping the fort up and some desirable nut-skin like astringency. another gem from asia’s best brewery.
re-rate: That’s it, this beer is beautiful and it replaces what Old Expensive used to be like for me, except its readily available and more expensive. re-rate again: this is now my default beer and at over $5 for a 12 oz bottle, thats a problem. financially.
boboski (1095) - Alabama, USA - DEC 19, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: APR 7, 2008 Cloudy caramel coated teak is the body, a dense and heavily carbonated mass supporting a tall and frothy cream-colored head. The foamy descent is gradual, lacing is minimal. The nose is filled with apple butter woodiness that translates into rolling tartness. Vanilla and shochu sparks fly from the woody interior and immediately invoke a complexity that is singular and appreciable. Spent rice hulls surround light tartness and melon and candied esters. Cedar is hinted at but not defined succinctly. The interplay and crossover of dry and sweet notes is a rigorous duel that leaves a startling centerpiece, a mash-up of soft floral notes with a rigid wooden perimeter. Grape skins and tropical fruit nectars are intermittently dispersed throughout the aroma. Mild mustiness is noted as well, a dusty sheath that leaves the glass first and trails as it’s pulled back from the nose. Nods to multiple styles are surely unintentional but provide a beacon signaling a new dawn in the Asian arena of creativity in brewing. The remainder of the aromatic manifestation is carefully cultivated and cared-for yeast, bright and adequately utilized, filling the gaps between floral and timber ensembles. The flavor is rock-solid, very elaborate without venturing into terribly unfamiliar territory or strange realms. Sweetness is held at a mild bay by bold tannic notes and mild peppery spice from yeast and cask alike. Yeast is the emboldened flavor mover and shaker, still fresh at first, but chased by much heavier must, a very fun development. Apple and mild banana follow suit. Light caramel and rice wind wistfully into the me lee. Astringency is mild and bitterness too, both propelling the dry finish steadily to the forefront within milliseconds of the swallow. Another interesting component of flavor arises as temperature looms near that of the surrounding room: caramel in the malt takes on an old-style English character, muddled sherry notes peeking out from beneath. This furthers the mindset already ingrained that this is a masterful recipe, if only for the complex array of flavors and aromas it presents. The finale is extremely drying and satisfactorily quenching. Mouthfeel is medium-full to full bodied, very carbonated and fluffy soft. This is a tremendous beer, one I hope is the beginning of a long line of imitations and successors, from this brewery and others.
OldMrCrow (1910) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 18, 2007
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: AUG 14, 2009 Bottle, purchased late summer ’07.
Wow. Fascinating beer. Pours a rich caramel brown with limited head and some small floaty sediment. Massive wood-barrel aroma, dry and tannic to the nose, vanilla-like perfume (though I assume this isn’t oak), some sour notes, hints of wine.
The aroma doesn’t really prepare me for either the brown-sugar sweetness or the sourness of the beer itself. Lots of wood flavors there, tartness, lemon, cedar. Mulled cider heavy with brown sugar but mild on the spice, more lemon, maybe a whisp of cut green apple, maybe baked into a pie with butter melted across the top. Low carbonation, very smooth palate, splendid feel and flavor once it reaches room temperature. My first reaction isn’t so positive, what with how surprised I am, but I move on, exploring the sherry and English barleywine aspects of this beer, I become more and more fond of it. Fascinating, and I’m glad to have a second bottle in the cellar to try around say ’09. 7/4/8/4/16=3.9
Two-year-old bottle fall ’09. Wow, the green apple has stepped back, and instead chocolate covered toffee-bark, the crunchy buttery kind that is basically an upscale skor bar. Very sweet, pretty of wood presence, the two years have really brought this one into its own. Rich mouthfeel but more prickly than I remembered. But yeah, really nice. I’d do well to lay down another bottle or two. I’ll bump the rating up to 8/4/8/4/17=4.2 with some of that overall coming for just how different and interesting this beer manages to be. (Also: 10%+ of flavor in a 7% beer - nice)
BobbyW3363 (154) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 17, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Beautiful Pour. Looks like dark liquor as it hits the glass. Mahogany colored with a tan head, and some visible carbonation. Sweet, somewhat yeasty aroma. Chewy texture with flavors of caramel, apple, alcohol, wood, vanilla, and spice. Very unique and enjoyable.
beastiefan2k (2499) - Emerald City (formely NYC & KS), Washington, USA - DEC 17, 2007
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Wow, this is what makes this hobby fun. I have long decided that, while this is a good brewery, they were incapable of making something like this... and I was wrong. Having an amazing time as I drink this right now.
This is a very ORIGINAL beer, I do not know sake well enough to attribute much of the flavor to the barrel, otherwise an awesome sour Belgian Ale. Aroma is lightly bretty grapes. Its tart with young tropical fruits, faintly vinegar-y. Taste is slightly spiky with light syrupy fruits and some lemon and tartness. Mouthfeel is full and a bit sticky. The carbonation is a bit below average but it is offset but the tartness and spikes in the flavor. Some brown sugar sweetness in there but it comes off so weird compared to the other sour flavors. The color is a deep, murky, muddy light brown/copper. Pours with a small head. A surprisingly sour beer that is very well balanced.
11.2oz bottle, St. Paul snifter/tulip glass.
WeeHeavySD (3359) - San Diego (Hillcrest), Oregon, USA - DEC 17, 2007
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz bottle a recent bonus from someone that I should remember. Shared with Cyn. So Pours dark brown with a tan feeling in the color if that makes any sense. Head is a thin off white. Nose has definite feelings of sake at least for me, it sure doesn’t smell like beer. Taste is sweet, slightly sour and pretty strange as a lot of the sake character comes through. Almost unique.
Driftwood6 (214) - USA - DEC 15, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at Map Room, Chicago. A very interesting beer. The sake flavor is not overpowering, but you can detect a sake/rice flavor-- no doubt about it. Very clean aftertaste and the sake flavor doesn’t bulid up on the palate to dominate the beer. Nicely done.