Hopper (827) - San Antonio, Texas, USA - JAN 23, 2013
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
12.7 oz green bottle. Pours black with a nice head. The aroma has plenty of roast but also is fairly strong with dark fruits almost grape like. The pinot noir barrel character really shines through. The taste is up front wine barrel character that finishes with a roasty like char. It’s a little rugged also. I wonder what the base beer tastes like as the wine barrel seems to overlap it’s potential.
ansermadide (1430) - Kyle, Texas, USA - JAN 21, 2013
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
The bottle (which, by the way, sports a beveled emu-like creature) describes this as a "stout aged in pinot noir barrels". Sounds different! Sounds like a great pairing!
One thing about this beer is impressive (even though it had a hard time forming much of a head when I poured it) is how well it retains a head... its carbonation sustains a really nice, frothy and fine, light brown head atop a black beer. Wow, that’s a frothy head for an imperial stout, and especially with this alcohol content.
Although it eventually passes as an imperial stout, it really smells like a 50/50 blend of a sweet, slightly sour, sangria-like wine and a soft imperial stout. Well-"balanced", Moa! My wife believes that if there was a blind sniff test, you’d initially think it was a wine (albeit an odd-smelling one), and only toward the end of the nose would some of the beer’s coffee give away the true nature of the beverage. I, on the other hand, smell the roasted malts up front just as much as that sweet, red wine. I’ll give it this - it’s definitely very soft on the nose.
At first sip, some of that aroma almost seems to redirect itself and sneak its way into your mouth. While the beer is in the mouth that same red wine flavor that was in the nose also remains, but you also pick up a woody sourness that wasn’t in the nose. The twist: swallow the beer and you’re in for side B of this smooth, vinyl concoction. A strange, tart sourness that I have a hard time describing completely takes over. If you look around for it, you can still pull out that sour sangria experience, perhaps some wood, but otherwise the culmination of all the ingredients and the pinot noir barrels creates a unique, new flavor that has characteristics of licorice, sweet tarts, cherry cough drops, and maybe even eucalyptus or other strange plant/herbal qualities. Now that I mentioned it, it really does seem to taste more and more like cough drops, but with a smooth, roasted malt finish.
Don’t let that scare you, though. It’s a great-tasting beer that gets major points for creativity and execution. Plus, it’s a beautiful beer that leaves some really sexy lacing. It actually leaves a mostly dry effect in the mouth post-finish. Neat. New Zealand is full of great stuff, isn’t it?
mansquito (3054) - Nueva York, New York, USA - JAN 20, 2013
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Total Wine, Fairfax 375ml ($4.50): Pours black with brownish head. Corked bottle was a wicked gusher. Aroma is a copious amount of fresh coffee, with milk chocolate, wood, and a bit of booze. Taste is kind of sharp and peppery. Taste is lightly sweet. Some of vinous and woody notes become manifest deeper into the beer. Lots of chocolate. Sticky mouthfeel. Pretty good, but not as smooth as I like my imperial stouts.
italianjohn (2208) - Penndel, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 15, 2013
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Black pour orange hue, with a beige foamy overcarbonated head and decent sticky lacing .... aroma of overcarbonated sugars and red wine ... taste of roasted and smoked malts, light bitter roasted coffee and def heavy notes of oaked dry pinot noir .... finish is dry bitter and abv slightly evident
jhamp9 (927) - Corinth, Texas, USA - JAN 14, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Near black with a thin beige head. Aroma is chocolate, dark fruit, wood, and a little vinous and a hint of pepper. Taste is bitter up front and then gets a little sweeter. Has chocolate, coffee, red wine, and sweet dark fruits. Dry finish and somewhat prickly carbonation. Really liked this.
vipinvelp (1823) - Velp, NETHERLANDS - JAN 7, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Black with lasting light brown foam head. Aroma is chocolate and smalle coffee. Taste is nice bitter with tones of coffee and bitter chocolate. Aftertaste is bittersweet. A truly nice beer. (Houston 201301)
BOLTZ7555 (2656) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - JAN 2, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark mocha colored pour with a tight khaki head. Cocoa, roasted coffee, vanilla, oak and hints from the pinot barrels. Get some of the red wine qualities, dark fruit accompanied by chocolate, vanilla bean, and rich coffee. Interesting and unique...definitely the best I’ve had from the brewer.
DavidWoodruff (387) - Windsor, California, USA - DEC 31, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle conditioned with medium carbonation. Black and opaque with a fine beaded tan head. Aromas of Chocolate, coffee and vanilla. Creamy mouthfeel. Flavors of cocoa and red cherries. Both the vanilla aroma and cherry notes are probably due to it having been aged in pinot barrels. Dry espresso like finish. Good example of the style but I would prefer just a touch more malt sweetness.
ryanfolty (1737) - Bourbon County, Minnesota, USA - DEC 30, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
December 29, 2012 - bottle at Brett’s tasting. Dark brown pour with lots of head and lacing. Roasted malt, smoke and red wine in the aroma. Taste was similar plus some wood.
Phillies08Champs (650) - Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 30, 2012
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle from Capone’s. Pours black with some head that lingers. nose is charcoal, fruity red wine, smoke, plums and black malt. first sip is similar with mild coco flavors. feels lighter than 10+%. finish is clean but a bit thin. solid Imp Stout.