StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 7, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thickly pour and midnight brown in color. Mostly opaque, with a creamy tan head that slowly recesses to a dusty web overlay and cascading vellum lace. Aroma is absolutely charming. A menace, but charming. Dark chocolate slabs, moderate black licorice, singed oak with engrained caramel, black currant, plums, chewy espresso, arid and dry chocolate torts with singed graham crust, burnt oats and brown sugar. Flavor proceeds in admirable fashion, with the house character imparting a tannic twist. Lactic dark chocolate elicits salivatory pardons. Distinct chocolate compounds whirl around semi-sweet cocoa powder melded with heartily roasted mocha java beans. Souring nodes come by means of french silk pie with whipped sour cream in place of the standard sugar-based whipped cream. At its most hearty state, itís like sucking on greasy coffee and cocoa beans for hours, without the gumption to discard them because of the beauty that reveals itself each precious second. Gummy, semi-sweet chocolate and a chewy sorghum sense. Effervescent at the first fork in the road, transitioning to syrupy, and then pulling on the palate like double sided tape to countermand the smooth, oaken background display. Formidably balanced, and I can only dream of how this one will thicken over time. Tannic, viscous finish with sticky semi-sweet chocolate aerating the playing field and begging for more, as delicate cocoa lingers long into the night. Thanks so much for the bottle, Schroppfy!
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - FEB 5, 2006
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: OCT 24, 2007 2005 bottle (or was it bottled in 2006), whatever the case, itís the first batch 750mL Bottle. Inky, midnight black, completely opaque and difficult to even find the deeper browns near the edges. Head is huge, deep tan, and well retained, creating powerful lacing. The nose of this mysterious beer wastes no time in showing off the lactobacillius. Lightly sour, complemented immensely by dry, bitter black chocolate notes from roasted barley. Crunchy, French roast coffee smooths the rough edges, aided by a touch of sweet vanilla iced cream. As the beer warms and breathes I do, unfortunately, get some raw alcohol notes in the nose, a trait I seem to keep finding in JP bottles. Itís not overly noticeable or brash, but itís a glue and ethanol-like note that dosent belong. The oak is very underrepresented, both in nose and flavor, just the way it should be. Light tannins add a little juiciness to the flavor and more complexity to the nose. Earthy black barley and prunes linger and some light caramel sugars intensify as it warms. The flavor begins with this light caramel sweetness, quickly balanced by anise, vanillin, oily lacto notes, bitter bakerís chocolate, flashes of wood tannins and a brief interlude of green, bitter hops. Hops are quite bold, but yet, shed mostly bitterness, while remaining light on flavor. Not sure what kind of hops, but they are not distracting, if they are American. The flavor lightens up, with some light cocoa, more creamy sugars and bits of dry, tart fruits (cherries, prunes, blackberries). The body is medium and quite drinkable. I think the way this beer courts sweetness, but never really commits to being overly sweet or overly dry (I guess it is closer to being quite dry) really makes for a drinkability you donít get in most stouts of this nature. Oily, lightly gritty at times, mouthfeel, but supportive and with a high, but tightly bubbled carbonation (and after an hour, the carbonation is fine). No note of the alcohol seen in the nose, in the flavor. Cheers to SuIIy for the gift!!
Every bit as good as when fresh (this is the first batch aged quite a while), with some thinning of the body as to be expected, but the lactobacillus hasnt overdeveloped, even with slightly warmer than average storage conditions. One of the better Belgian/Foreign stouts out there.
Pailhead (4761) - Brownstown, Michigan, USA - JAN 30, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle: Roasted coffee aroma with hints of vanilla, chocolate, and fruit. Pours a dark brown, virtually black, with a nice tan head with pretty good retention. Starts with roasted coffee up front with moderate chocolate. Finishes with moderate roasted grain, sourness that is lambic-like, and hints of wood. Coffee lingers for a little in the aftertaste.
MikeMac (185) - Wyandotte, Michigan, USA - JAN 30, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Thanks styles. Pours a dark brown to black. a small frothy dark tan head sticks around for quite some time. Aroma is full of a oak to musty smell. With some fruit, cherry and fig. Flavor starts out with some roast malt flavor that quickly transforms into a sour finish. Quite odd in my opinion but from jolly pumpkin I wouldnt expect to have it any other way.
SuIIy (1983) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JAN 29, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
750ml bottle.Served in a large brandy snifter. Pours a dark black color with a big tan frothy head. Lacing covers the glass through the beer. Nose is lots of roast and chocolate with soem dark fruits, raisins, grape skins, a light bit of funk and oak. Palate is nice and thick, a bit of fizz tickles your tongue. A light roast begins and is blown away by a big sour attack on your mouth. Wow, this is unexpected but so very interesting. Lots of sour grapes, with a dark roasty overtones fill your mouth. A finish that brings in a taste of chocolate. and finishes with your tongue guessing what the hell just happened?
BBB63 (6019) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - JAN 28, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Darn it Michael, you beat me to the punch, well I guess I will be the second rater of this beer. I too served this in an Expedition snifter from the 750ml bottle.
Poured opaque with a huge frothy tan head and outstanding lace. The nose detected lots of chocolate, black and roasted malts in addition to moderate alcoholic vapors, raisin, earthy and a bit of barnyard yeast esters, and a finishing smack of oak. The taste come out smoking with rich sweet malts and fruit characteristics that is quickly paired with a lactic sour nature. Under all that is some chocolate bitterness and earthy subnotes. This complexity leads to a bone dry finish. The feel is quite interesting as well as it a lively and sharp at the beginning before fading off to a chalky almost astengent finish. There is zero note of alcohol on the palate, way too drinkable! I happen to be a stoutie that likes those sour beers so the flavor profile works for me, but I agree with Michael that some could be put off by this much lactic and woody tones on their stout. Me thinks Jeff for one will like this, I know I do!
If I had to place this in a style, the basic stout will work, but if I could invent a style then this would be called a "Dry Flemish Imperial Stout"
Schroppfy (2360) - Łůdż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - JAN 27, 2006
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
55 deg F, Expedition stout snifter. For followers of JP, the color scheme here (label edges and bottle cap) is a beautiful dark blue. The beer is pretty much impenetrably black, even near the edges. Great carbonation level, perhaps slightly high. At first left some rocky formations which settled into a lasting thin layer. The aroma is very grainy, with tinges of alcohol, and with a bandage plastic component that is very nice. The flavor is roasty, and has a lactic sourness. No coffee at all, but perhaps a bit of dark chocolate bitterness. A bit raw in the flavors, with JPís house yeasts doing their job. I wouldnít be surprised if the sourness offends some stout lovers, but it works for me. Very drinkable at over 8%; in other words, the one thing I am not getting in the flavor is alcohol.