MartinT (8396) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 27, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Any first impressions?
-A halo of head hovers atop the rubyish dark brown.
-Red meat, port wine in chocolate, and nutty delicacies infuse plenitude through their sweet luxury.
-Wine grapes and chocolate toffee devilishly seduce with their intricate decadence.
-The low carbonation could be activated a little more to make this even more entrancing, and more drinkable.
What if you dig deeper?
-Salted meats, as in prosciutto, skillfully protrude in the aroma soon enough.
-An alcoholic utterance warms up the caramel maltiness and fat grapes.
-These guys’ extraction could hardly be improved upon.
-A buxom, complex sipper for the sweet tooth whose quality and tooth-licking goodness a chocolate artisan would struggle to replicate.
Bottle; 2005 vintage.
Rastacouere (6153) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 26, 2006
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 15/20
Filtered dark mahogany appearance where the head quickly becomes a memory despite the enormous carbonation we’d expect from a beer inspired by Maîtresse du Moine. The nose bursts out really complex with invigorating alcohol roundness that covers gently sherry/port oxidation that braises nuts and pear accents. The huge malt base shines its 1000 fires in the shape of cocoa, hazelnut, anise, maple, all easily picked out as singleton if you set your mind on it. Mostly balanced altogether despite its richness, but you’ve got to be able to tolerate some level of wooden oxidation to enjoy this overwhelming richness. Obviously very sweet in mouth, though once you swallow, you realise this was not nearly as overbearing as the nose would leave your anticipations, never cloying and with barely noticeable balancing leafy hops. Well fruited dark black berries, dates and nuts meet raisin bread in a malt showdown, no clear winner there, mostly just the everlasting apparitions of new contenders. Where it loses its points got to be in the mouthfeel department, which is a bit tired, almost lame in its lack of carbonation and rather dull, loose thin texture that fails to bring the flavours together on a proper vessel. Otherwise a remarkable malt art piece if you’re in the mood. Thank you Darkelf.
shadey (1977) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - FEB 13, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle: The pour is a dark brown with plenty of carbonation. I’ve come to expect plenty of carbonation from these folks. The head is non-existant except for little lillypads of cream colored bubbles hear and there. The aroma is huge and very complex. Dark fruit, sweet candy, oak, chocolate and a touch of light and attractive alcohol. I haven’t tasted it yet, but I am very excited. The serving temp might be a bit on the cold side, but I have a big bottle so here goes. The flavor is much like the aroma would suggest, but there is no sticky feel. The beer washes cleanly over the tongue while it imparts mass stimulation to the nose. The finish is a little tangy with a a little alcoholy. This is a beautiful beer that really should be made on a regular basis. The oak keeps the finish bone dry. I like it.
hopscotch (9996) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - JAN 29, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle... This beer rocks!... Clear, very dark, ruby ale with a small, frothy, khaki head. The aroma is vineous, fruity and earthy. Notes of molasses, chocolate, seasoned oak, dried plum, soy and red wine. The flavor is a nicely balanced medley of dark chocolate and dark, dried fruits, deeply roasted malts, red wine, dry oak and light smoke. Full-bodied and silky with lively carbonation. Finishes smokey, rich and malty. World class effort. Thanks go out to DarkElf for the bottle!
OldGrowth (2864) - the Containment Area, North Carolina, USA - JAN 27, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
From trade with timmcd64 & juzy. Shared with ClarkVV. Good nose, sweet. Big carbernet initially which mellowed as it warmed. Dried fruits, raisin/prune/date. I get a uncooked beef thing. Like I do from some wines. Bitter flavor, Fruitiness takes on a grape/cherry thing. Molasses/caramel maltiness. Medium body, lite creamy, syrupy mouthfeel. Dry finish, though it’s a ABV kind of dryness. A wonderful beer! Thanks for this rare treat timmcd64 & juzy.
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 24, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Big thanks to hopdog. Translucent mahogany hue with a silky beige head. Great aroma of sweet molasses, brown sugar, young port, and caramelized nuts. Flavor adds a nice dark cherry aspect and great wine barrel character. Sweet, decadent, and sublime.
CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JAN 22, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle shared by goldtwins, courtesy of DarkElf, many thanks!: Pours a very dark mahogany with a frothy, nicely-lacing tan head. Very complex, enticing, sweet dark Belgian malty aroma has good oaky cabernet notes with a hint of dates and bready yeast. Body starts with a nice sweet dark toffee maltiness and some Belgian yeast before the full cabernet oaky and dark fruit finish. Very complex, incredibly balanced, sweet and semi-tart body. An amazing beer. I sure hope Midnight Sun brews this again!
ClarkVV (4058) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 22, 2006
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: AUG 16, 2007 2005 bottle HUGE thankks to OldGrowth for the opportunity. Consumed on 1/22/2006.
Purple-magenta tinges throughout a garnet to mahogany brown. Head is off-white, medium in size, receding quickly to cover but retained there. No lacing. Quite clear, having settled out in the bottle nicely, with plenty of sediment on the bottom. Head is foamy/creamy and bottle conditioned. Smells right away, of intense cabernet notes. Very grape oriented and as it warms and breathes, the oak character emerges and dries it out. The beer characteristics are last to emerge, but once they do, they form a more complete picture. Prunes, raisins, and a touch of alcohol dryness, very elegantly apparent. Rich chocolate and toffee and sweet dates, with a light Belgian yeast apparency, though rather reserved in that aspect. As it warms and breathes further after 20 minutes, the aroma is soft and inviting. Plenty of dry grapes and wood, but yet tons of soft maltiness. Flavor is full of cab grapes turning to dry wood and gaining a yeast dirtiness, unfortunately. More vinous notes and some barley. Light bits of caramel, minor drying alcohol warmth but no alcohol flavor or sharpness. Finally, chocolate, raisins and prunes. Chewy toffee and yeast dryness combine to provide a balanced finish. Never gets very sweet, being very attenuated. Alcohol masterfully hidden. Carbonation is low, bottle conditioned and quite engaging. As with the regular maitresse, the texture is just a bit too lean, IMO. I think it would benefit from some chewier maltiness and a more supple texture. Though, to its credit, it is no where near over the top in sweetness, yeastiness,
or alcohol (the barrel character is overdone, though). Quite drinkable on account of the lean body.
Having Cambridge’s wine-barrel aged Blunderbuss has made me rethink my rating, showing me that even young, the wine does not have to be as overpowering as it is here. It really is about 75% of the aroma, perhaps more, whereas the blunderbuss is incredibly subtle, yet still noticeable enough to add a very pleasant aroma and flavor.
hopdog (9588) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 19, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
22oz bottle acquired in trade with DarkElf (thanks a ton for this one!). Poured a dark brown with a very small sized off white head. Aromas of oak, vanilla, almonds, some dark fruits and port. Vinous tasting with oak, almonds, dark fruits, vanilla and caramel. I really like this one. We opened it up the same night as the Great Lakes BA Blackout Stout and this one was overall better.
weeare138 (936) - Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 19, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Thanks to hopdog for breaking this out...
Appears a dark brown with a red hue. It leaves spotty lacing around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, oak, caramel, chocolate, vinous, along with a touch of something reminding me of nutty peanut butter.
Taste is nutty, chocolatey, and vinous with some notes of dark fruit.
Mouthfeel is just slightly thin with a nice nutty finish.