drewbeerme (3897) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 2, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
33cl bottle. pours murky dark red with off white head. nose is buggy, cherry, red wine, flavor is nice red grape skins and cherry pit, sort of a warm sake and wood notes surronds it, light acidic and mild sourness coming through, a very earthy, pitty, slight medicinal finish. lively carbonation. alcohol is noticed and it does numb the tongue slight. iíd bet this is more than 7%. wild yeast? tastes like it. sake? you can taste it but it would be hard to guess it. really great and easily a worthy try.
DrHomolka (761) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JAN 2, 2008
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a muddy copper/brown color with an off-white head that quickly diminishes to dozens of fat clear bubbles. Aroma is very interesting and unique yet familiar. Woody, fruit, tart, frangrant, perfumey. Earthy. Potpourri. If this were a blind tasting I donít think Iíd pick up the sake but knowing itís there I can detect its presence. Taste is fruity, slightly bitter yet acidic with a quick finish that leaves just a trace of perfume. This is not the most fun or easy thing to drink, not that it is too sweet or alcoholic but its floral qualities seem not too appetizing. That said it is very interesting and unique so overall I think this is probably a success and certainly worth trying.
yobdoog (1888) - Kingston, New York, USA - JAN 2, 2008
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Not sure if I would jump on the sake aspect if I didnít know it but since I did it was evident. Very powerful aroma and taste of barrel wood and rice. Very nice and interesting. Complex in flavor but not overwhelming.
TheEpeeist (3523) - Media, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 28, 2007
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
11.2 oz bottle. Hazy ruby brown with a bit of whitish froth. Nose is cloves, mulled apples and wood. Taste is not at all what i expected. Begins sour, tart and oaky; just enough to jolt the palate. Watermelon and candied peel turn to apricot then pith. Lingering sour yeast and tapioca. Light carb, silky but light, a little sticky. Exceptionally unique, world-class stuff.
yespr (34865) - Copenhagen O, DENMARK - DEC 26, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
11.2 fl oz bottle. Pours hazy dark orange with a light yellow head. Fruity and orange like aroma. Flavour is caramel malty, quite solid sweet and slight spiced. Just before the finish it has a liqourice like note. Clearly taking some flavours from the sake barrels. Lovely flavourful. Finish is a lingering fruity and barrel like flavour.
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. Thereís 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. Thereís some solid bitterness keeping the fort up and some desirable nut-skin like astringency. another gem from asiaís best brewery.
re-rate: Thatís 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 itís 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.