ClarkVV (3891) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 23, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
March 2005 bottle, one year old, consumed on 3/22/06, chilled to start, from a wine glass
Initial nose is plummy. Brett carving the way and lactobacillus in its wake. Oily, with mature oak notes, dry black cherries, moist prunes and the barest hint of choco-caramel adding faint sweetness on the very end. I could almost mistake this for an Italian red wine blend were it not for the malt on end. All this, and I havent even poured the beer yet. Decanting releases a huge blast of aroma. Cherries, prunes, cranberries and plenty of yeast. Lactobacillus emerges very lightly.
The body is a deep ruby-mahogany with strong amber-caramel overtones. A creamy, beige head leaves heavy lacing. Head is perfectly retained. Very minute bubbles rise vigorously in the liquid.
Warming and breathing allows, finally, for some stronger malt tones to emerge, caramel and vanilla, with the chocolate fading. Will there be enough there to combat the tannins and wild yeasts? I can’t tell from the aroma.
But upon first sip, phew!, a big sigh of relief. Not only is there enough residual sweetness, but there is just the right amount of it, allowing brisk fruits (apples, cherries, pears) room to maneuver, while still comforting the palate with creamy sweet caramel-toffee notes, reminiscent of Bavaisienne, but with much less fat honey and rich caramel. Wild yeasts produce tight carbonation, but so much of it, that it comes off overcarbonated for the first 20 minutes or so. Lactobacillus hangs on the edges lightly, but the brett phenols are still quite notable, adding dry, fruit rind notes and further deepening the complexity. Thus far, the wood has been only lightly nutty, mildly tannic, but the tannin-build is inevitable, increasing as it warms. Like dry, nutty almonds/almond skins. Not sure where the cherry (esters?) is coming from, but it is bright and very welcoming, helping to combat the tannins. However, as I finish the bottle, I would hardly say the tannins are overdone. Certainly present, but I think this beer escaped their ruinous effect seen in the reserve series and others. Thanks for the bottle, SuIIy.
Dickinsonbeer (5077) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - MAR 19, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Big thanks to willblake for sharing this at HWOH. 750 bottle. Once again, the artistic label is very cool on this bottle. Pours a slightly hazy wood-like light brown and a lasting beige head. Aroma is very pungent with wood, thick sweet caramel malts, light brett, acidic, light sour, with a touch of diacetyl. Flavor is earthy and malty, lightly sour and tart, more wood, oak and vanilla, with hints of dried fruits and more caramel and other toasted and stewed malts. Smooth mouthfeel and goes down easy. Very complex. I liked this a lot.
willblake (2645) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - MAR 13, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
03.11.06 750ml bottle, trade from Schroppfy, shared at HW OH. Ron has wowed me once again. This beer was so complex, so elegant, and so enjoyable that I actually sat down and zoned out for a while during the open house, thinking only of the beer. Of course, as often happens with a great beer experience, I took terrible notes.
Aroma is plumy, sticky, caramel candy, licorice tea. Long and sticky hop bite is more assertive than expected. Plum abounds, from the astringent skin, to the tart, slight pith, to the juicy flesh, the dried prune, and the sucked clean stone. Milk chocolate. Bean sprouts with sweet and sour. Tropical fruits.
Wood and brett seem less prominent in this JP offering, although this might just be the one in which I was expecting the most. Regardless, it was lovely. Thank you, Michael.
bu11zeye (11925) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - MAR 13, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: MAY 21, 2007 (750ml bottle) Pours a cloudy rusty brown body with a moderate off-white head. Aroma of mustiness, dark fruits, citrus, funkiness, and spices. Flavor of malt, grape juice, orange peel, bretts, and a hint of oak in the finish.
BuckNaked (1230) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - MAR 10, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
750ml bottle thanks to Styles: Pours to a mostly clear dark amber that shines with some ruby-brown hints when held to light. Though it does becomes hazy further into the bottle. A large beige colored head forms quickly on top that is bubbly and quickly disapating without much lacing. The aroma has some distinct dark fruit notes up front: vinous grapes, plums, raisins, light figs, along with hints of sweet caramel and dark bread which really remind me of a belgian dubbel. Beyond this some mild lemon, tiny bit of hops, as well as some tannic oak barrel, light molasses, caramelized sugar, along with pepper & ginger. (Believe it or not I didn’t read FlacoAlto’s rating until after I wrote this). The flavor begins with an ever-so-slightly sour and acidic bite that shows some lemon/citrus notes (maybe even a hint of hops?), then quickly opens to a bit of apple, grapes, a mix of merlot and california sparkling wine, plums, and light raisins. There’s plenty of spice in the flavor too: cloves, pepper, hops, ginger, and even the oak adds some zest here. Finishes with some mild tannins, a touch of bitter floral hops, a fleeting hint of figs, and a bit of straw. Medium bodied, lively carbonated, ends up feeling quick full in the mouth without getting chalky, syrupy, or heavy. At first I liked it but was not blown away. However after taking my time drinking and really allowing this one to breathe, this beer reveals itself to be a marvelously complex beer. I think initially the bitterness from the hops and oak was a bit too much to allow the flavor to develop, but as my palate adjusted (or the beer breathed) the flavors really opened up. Nice.
FlacoAlto (3759) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 16, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Sampled February 2006
Pours a lightly hazy, ruby-hued, dark amber color. It is pretty well carbonated, which produces a two-finger thick, frothy, lace prone, tan colored head. The aroma is nice and fruity up front with a mix of raisins, sweet plums, and fresh figs. The aroma is quite fruit focused actually, underneath this is a solid caramel malt note, which in its brightness only tends to accentuate the fruit aromatics. Among the fruit notes there is a light tartness as well, but it is fairly subtle. There is also a bit of spiciness that becomes noticeable after a bit of time; I get notes of bergamot, some clove, and perhaps a little bit of something sharp (sort of a cross between black pepper and ginger). The aroma is quite nice, though it is perhaps lacking a bit in the complexity department, I really like the straight forward, appealing fruit notes that are rounded out by the other supporting aromatic notes.
The taste has that same rich fruitiness to it. In fact it almost has a jam-like quality to it, though this beer is certainly not sticky or sweet. There is just enough sweetness to accentuate the fruitiness, but without anywhere near the levels of sweetness that would make this unappealing (this coming from one who is not a huge fan of sweet fruity beers, even of the more complex variety). Definitely ample notes of ripened plums play center stage here, it is joined by some raisin-like notes, which at times are even more prevalent than the plum notes. There is some spiciness here, but mainly that of the sweeter variety; some definite clove, and perhaps some allspice like notes (including a bit of a ginger-like thing). The finish has a certain astringency to it, I would almost guess that some of it is wood derived, and some of it would most definitely be fermentation derived.
This is quite a rich beer, and I don’t mean that in a sort of thick, palate sort of way. Instead the fruit notes just give this beer a certain richness, that seem to make it an appropriate after meal time drink. A solid, though light, acidity finishes this beer off at the end of a sip; it is tart like an apple or plum perhaps. This is really accentuates that feeling, for me, that this would make a good after meal drink. The acidity almost acts as a digestif for me, it keeps this light enough on the palate to be drinkable, but the rest of the beer keeps this rich enough to be a contemplative after meal treat.
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - FEB 15, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Poured a slightly hazy color witha small whte head. Fruity aroma with caramel notes. Woody and lightly tart and citrusy. Flvaor follows the fruitness. More sweet caramel. Semi-dry finish with a light bitterness. Some warming sensation. Thanks Jay.
Sammy (8351) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - FEB 7, 2006
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
cloudy amber colour, lots of lace. Sourness in nose.Wheaty, biere de garde, aggressively carbonated, making for full mouthfeel Well malted more than Jenlain. Bitterness at end.Woodiness. aftertaste
Dextolen (151) - Michigan, USA - FEB 7, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
A rich amber color with light tan head that leaves decent lacing. Earthy, plum, raisin and oakey aromas. Caramely sweet flavors with a bready aftertaste. A bit of a bite. Good stuff from a great brewery.
SpringsLicker (3114) - Tennessee, USA - JAN 30, 2006
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 2, 2007 Thanks to Sully (Secret Santa) for enabling me to share this with the Georgia Crew at our Cask Eve Tasting!
This begins with a clear dark amber body under a medium off white head that slips away fairly quickly leaving nice lacing behind.
A combination of maple and dark fruits in the aroma.
Smooth and lightly sweet flavor with a touch of acid and a bit of astringency in the finish. Another winner from JP!