shadey (1815) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - FEB 25, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very dark red with a very quickly diminishing head. Aroma is beautifully smokey peat. Flavor is smooth and smokey with no alcohol evident. Its just a big smooth rauchbock. I would say this is bordering on something else. Smoked yes, but a simple bock it is not. 8.5% percent is big and the flavor is even bigger. Darkelf sent me this beer and he describes it as bordering on Barleywine territory. I would have to agree. Itís big, itís sweet and its rich. This is just another example of how Midnight Sun shines all night.
DarkElf (2988) - La Jolla, California, USA - JAN 19, 2006
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
(22 oz bottle: $4.50 at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in Anchorage, AK) Having just tried three rauchbier from Bamberg (predictably, the Aecht Schlenkerla lineup) over the last day, Iím excited to see if my good friends at Midnight Sun can pull off yet another winner. Well, yes and no. Itís damn good, but a smoked bock? Perhaps, but how about a smoked barleywine instead! Good heavens, this beer is frigging sweet! Extremely sweet and syrupy, very fruity, very malty, earthy, moderately bitter, yet through it all, the smoke really never steps out of the shadow of the barleywine-esque flavor. Not to say it isnít smoky, but itís not the first thing I notice when I take a sip. As the beer warms up, the alcohol becomes more evident. And Iím not quite sure what Iím picking up late in the finish, but at times I think itís a hint of oxidation and at other times I think butter. Iím actually leaning toward slight diacetyl because beside being thick and syrupy on the palate, it also seems somewhat slick. Carbonation is mild to moderate, so it doesnít make too much of a dent in the near-cloying nature. The nose is very fruity, sweet, lightly smoky and alcoholic. The color is a deep, rich, ruddy amber, bordering on amber-brown. The small, off-white head is very fizzy and fully dissipates within a few minutes. So overall, Iím not sure if I consider this a success or not because to me, the sweet, fruity flavor really steals the show from the smoke, and thatís not what I was expecting. But putting aside my expectations and just drinking the beer on its own terms, itís really good. Probably too cloying for me to finish the entire bomber in one session though, and so Iíll save the other half for tomorrow. Iím just a little distressed by what I perceive to be a buttery finish and Iím hoping itís either my palate being weird tonight, or just something with this bottle. Iíve traded away six of my eight bottles, but still have one left, so Iíll definitely be saving that last one, and maybe Iíll bring it to a barleywine tasting because at least up front, I think it shares many similar characteristics.
5000 (5606) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - JAN 16, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle: Dark caramel, hints of ruby, somewhat viscous, moderate beige head, frothy, settles quickly, spotty lacing. † Looks like a fine aged Barley Wine. † Campfire aroma, smoked malts, seems sweet, somewhat meaty. † Super sweet malty flavor, charred wood, campfire, becoming quite syrupy or sickly sweet on the backside. † Great start, but its a bit cloying at the finish. † Mouthfeel is quite well rounded, body is quite viscous. † Smoked finish, strong but not overly done, remains relatively sweet, with a slight touch of citrus peel. † I donít think this brewery can do no wrong.   Super big thanks goes out to DarkElf for the bottle!
danfosha (50) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - NOV 20, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This was a nice beer, but it doesnít have the bacon flavor I was expecting. If the standard is what you find at Schlenkerla in Bamberg, then this one has a bit to go. Perhaps that was the brewers had in mind, to do it differently. Standing alone, this is good - more like smoked peat, balanced sweetness, some caramel. I would certainly drink again.
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 19, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours with a deep red body topped by a medium thick head with little lacing. Itís sweet and malty with a nice smokiness, a little oak and a little caramel. Smooth and medium bodied.
puzzl (3216) - New York, New York, USA - AUG 31, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured a deep brown with almost no head. Aroma was malty, sugary, though not too strong. Flavor was really nice maltiness, smokey, brown sugar, with a sweet, round aftertaste. A very nice brew. Hopefully theyíll keep brewing it so we can get this one ranked.
biz82 (1328) - austin, Texas, USA - AUG 10, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Lightly hazy and brick colored with a short lived brown head. Smokey, earthy toasted malt aroma with some hops. Big bodied and sweet. Good smoked malt flavor balanced with caramel, some sourness and hops. Seems like it is made with Brown malt and Beechwood smoked malt to me. Quite nice.
hopscotch (8367) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - AUG 10, 2005
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle... This beer rocks!... Clear, dark, garnet lager with a small, creamy, white head. Nose of burning beechwood and pan-fried bacon. Sweet, malty, smokey flavor. No semblance of balance... this one is all about smoked malt. Just a whisper of dark fruit. Full-bodied and silky with lively carbonation. Finishes smokey sweet and astringent. World class!
scraff (2121) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - AUG 9, 2005
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
22oz bottle - Clear burgundy, thin creamy white head. Intense and rich nose of fatty bacon, sweet caramel, and campfire, with lighter notes of smoked cherry. Obviously, the flavor here is all about the near perfect blend of the sweet and smokey. Citric hops play out late to counterbalance the deep rich malt tones. Full bodied and slick, light carbonation, bittersweet finish. Just an amazing brew in my book. They should consider distributing this one beyond the brewery doors. Thanks go out to Gary at MS for this gem...
Prostman (1077) - Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 19, 2005
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This beer was very good. The color was dark brown but clear with red highlights. The taste and smell were smokey, with maltiness in the background. A great beer and worth a try.