VENOM (941) - Connecticut, USA - MAY 3, 2001
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Strange combo of spices. Maltiness is overwhelmed by sage and juniper mix but I think this will mellow out over time. Iím saving the other bottle for another 2 years or so. First year Iíve had from this brewery so I canít say much about ranking it among previous years.
Aubrey (3356) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - MAY 2, 2001
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: NOV 19, 2012 2007: Murky amber with a nice head. Rich, thick, heavy body. Thickened with warmth. Notes of toast crust, syrup, brown sugar and yeast. Bitterness was mild yet drying and lasting. This beer had a mellowing quality. 2007 was MUCH, MUCH better than the one I had last year. Bold yet pleasant. Edgy yet refined. Iím liking it. 2012 bottle: Delicious ... wholesome malts, caramel, rock candy, toffee. Fruity. Full, creamy-smooth. Soothingly warm.
Oakes (11031) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - SEP 17, 2000
2.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
UPDATED: OCT 20, 2008 It has been a long time since I’ve had this, but back in the 90s I found it a sweet, relatively run-of-the-mill BW with a herbal accent.
Today, it has a cloudy-murky appearance, and an amber-tan colour. There wasn’t much of a head to start with but it’s gone quickly. Lots of bubbles on the side of the glass, especially for such a sizeable beer. The aroma is sweet and malty. It’s only been 9 months and you can smell already how sherryish this would be if we’d let it age. There’s some breadcrusty richness to the malts, and all sorts of caramel. Hops are fairly background in the aroma, lending just a hint of herbal accent, and even that it almost lost in a slightly footy yeast character.
On the palate, it’s thick, a little oily, and a little sticky. There is a slight carbonic prickle but just enough to drag this across the palate kicking and screaming. This is big chewy. My impressions from bygone years were pretty much on - this is a very standard BW. It definitely harkens to the formative years of the style in America, where big and chewy was all you needed to get respect. But these days, I like a little flair in my BW, and this doesn’t really do that. It’s very sweet, with just a shade of hop bitterness. But the malts are not dynamic, just more of that caramel/earth/sherry thing. I’ve had a lot of BWs like this. I still get that herbal accent, though maybe more sage whereas 10 years ago I thought juniper. It’s not enough, though.
At the end, the alcohol goes to the bash with the intense sugariness, with that dull earthy quality underneath. It’s an uninspiring dynamic, lacking in brightness, originality or muscularity. It feels tired...and conceptually it probably could go for a 21st century update because BW has become so much better in the past half dozen years.
PhillyBeer2112 (2473) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - MAY 9, 2000
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 12/20
First whiff is intensely fruit and sour, and
so is the first taste. Flavors were similar
to sour cherries and apple cider. A very rich, sour
and unusual beer. Difficult to finish. Overwhelms