beerguy101 (5338) - Newark, California, USA - SEP 25, 2002
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2000 vintage. Medium brown color, small head. Very deep malt flavor, rich and robust, toffeeish. There is a nice hoppyness to this beer as well. Intense malts are balanced by a sharp, subtle and spicy hoppyness. Mouthfeel is very full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is malty. Interesting beer. High alcohol content 11.5% is evident, a slightly oiliness, not much of an alcohol bite.
Racegoer (353) - Indiana, Indiana, USA - SEP 24, 2002
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
1998 Version, smell immediately grabs you and says alcohol, damn strong alcohol. Color is that of Chestnut and Brown with a medium head.I have poured this into the glass to let it warm, waiting for the first sip.Taste the licorice, dark cherry, and raisins. This is one fine beverage on a cool clear night it warms me, after this long HOT terrible Summer it is time for this type of beer, it tells me that Summer has broken its grip on us and Fall has begun. Sip, enjoy and if you prefer as I do light up a fine Cuban Cigar.I will be getting a few botles of this for the beer cellar. Highly Recommended !
crdic (105) - California, USA - SEP 22, 2002
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
I had two bottles of this side by side: one of the 1988 vintage, and one from 1998. Even the ’98 bottle by itself would have been the oldest bottle of beer I’d ever had. These bottles were an interesting experience that I will probably never repeat. They are the closest thing to cognac that I’ve ever found in a beer, and pretty good cognac at that; the problem is that I don’t much like cognac, or, for that matter, any hard liquor, as it always reminds me unpleasantly of paint thinner. The ’98 bottle was more obviously a beer than the ’88; it had a nice head, and the cognac-like qualities hadn’t fully developed yet, allowing the rougher beer flavors to show more clearly. The ’88 had no head at all, and age had precipitated a fair amount of sediment to the bottom of the bottle, leaving a smooth beverage that came across as a slightly beer-flavored cognac, albeit with considerably less alcohol than the real thing. This is a very well-made ale, and beer drinkers with a taste for hard liquor will probably love it, but it’s not for me.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 6, 2002
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 14, 2005 1997 edition sampled Sep 2002: it poured a beautiful deep gleam of rubiness with a generous amount of tan foam shrinking to swirling lace..Aroma was a schizophrenic mix of alcohol and cherry twizlerz..WOOAH!!!!! a switch stance 180º change in the flavor to thick & creamy 100% pure black licorice ..I kid you not..A black licorice lovers freakin wet dream..simply amazing
Re-rate 1989 edition sampled Feb 2003!: WTF..this is a 14 year old beer..deeper flavors of wood, vanilla, licorice, alcohol, and smoke..it poured with no head but still had a trace or more of carbination..its warming...its still lovely with its aged complexity..but about a tad past its prime i suspect..
Drinkingdan (375) - East Norriton, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 2, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
I had the 2000. Nice deep color. Rich and creamy with alcohol present. A caramel finish.
P-tor44 (886) - Anchorage, Alaska, USA - AUG 25, 2002
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Last beer I had before leaving to Utah. That kind of distorted my feel for this one.
herbjones (742) - Orange, California, USA - AUG 18, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
1998 vintage. Thick chestnut brown color with a huge tan head. Nose has malt coming from every direction. Alcohol is very evident in a fine cognac type of way. If this beer was broken down by vintage like Fullers this could be a top 50 IMHO.Palate is like thick velvet going across your tongue. Flavor is to complex for my humble vocabulary. Your just gonna have to try this yourself.
Zach Diesel (906) - Sisters, Oregon, USA - AUG 18, 2002
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
wine candy, alcohol from the very start, this one’s rough on your palate but worth it
Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 5, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JUL 2, 2005 “1997 Vintage”: Been quite sometime since I broke into my stash of J. W. Lees, stash hell I’m down to just a 1988 plus some 4 bottles of 2004, well I guess its what happens, can’t keep them forever. Once liberated from its nine-year incarceration in the 275ml brown bottle, it appears in the glass to be a deep ruby color with a diminutive frothy light tan head that evaporates quickly leaving a velum like coating of lace on the glass. Nose “Woo Hoo”, fusel alcohol dominates with a strong sweet maple sugar sweetness to back it up, a presage of what’s to come at the start, sweet with a modest grain profile, the top fair to middling in feel. Finish is benign in its acidity, the hops present, but totally overwhelmed by the alcohol, vinous, dry and lingering aftertaste, the beer certainly warms the tummy, but after 9 years of setting on a shelf, its still “Magnificent”, damn I love these monsters.
On a personal note, drinking one of these beers, once a year makes all the other “Over The Top Bad Boys and Girls “ seem tame by comparison, but if the occasion arises, don’t pass it up, these beers are a major league “Hoot”!
“1988 Vintage”: Decanted before decocting to get all the “dregs” that coated the bottom of the bottle, much to the chagrin of many beer purists, I like all the little “strange particles” that inhabit the bottom of a vintage beer such as this one. The decanted color a cloudless walnut brown, the decocted color, something akin to a rusty nail. The pour produced little head, and less lace. Nose “Whoa Nellie”, fusel alcohol, sweet, five star brandy, bubble gum, over ripe pineapple, what a treat for this old schnozzle. Start is maple sugar sweet, top is middling in its feel to the palate, finish negligible on the carbonation, hops I’m sure I taste them, but the big alcohol bite just overwhelms all your olfactory and gustatory senses, and the “tummy warming” sensation quit noticeable, one spectacular beer, but most certainly something that is not meant for those persons weak of heart and or any other body part and or function, “Whew”!
“1986 Vintage”: Deep muddy brown color, No Head and No Lace. The nose, where the "Hell" do I begin, Strong alcohol, brandy, vinous, fresh plowed "Midwest" dirt. (A smell I love) Front is all malt, the middle full, the finish, "Alcohol" dominates, spicy hop bite, under the lingering alcohol dry long lasting aftertaste. "Robust" more like ZAP, ZONK, ZOW, POWIE, Batman, this beer isn’t for the weak hearted, or anyone who wants to keep their taste buds. “God” I loved it! But then I’m quite strange.
“1998 Vintage”: The beer pours a thick cloudy Brownish-Copper, the head profuse, and the lace lavish sheets to coat the glass. Nose is deep roasted malt, caramel, and bittersweet chocolate, somewhat smoky and yes even a bit "Brandy like. Front is sweet, the top "Thick", the finish is mildly acidic with a bounty of hops and the long lasting alcohol bitter aftertaste to end a magnificent beer. I need to find a source for these beers those ships to Arizona, as I must sample more.
joet (2424) - Santa Rosa, California, USA - JUL 28, 2002
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Vintage 1997: Softer, similar. 2000 Vintage: Rich and creamy, strong malt aroma character. The taste is strong and sweet but not cloying. This is Hair Of The Dog Adam if it were a Plush Puppy -- soft and understated. The texture is very nice and makes for a good medium for getting at the sawdust, plum and vinous qualities.