VENOM (941) - Connecticut, USA - JAN 1, 2002
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Luminous dark ruby with a thin head. Black malt aroma all the way. Crisp and medium bodied with a definite black malt bite and some brown sugar or molasses burnt sweetness. A sweeter yet firmer Schwarzbier if you will. Thanks AZ.
Aubrey (3432) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - DEC 13, 2001
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 4, 2003 Dark in color, similar to a porter in appearance, with ruby-red highlights. Tightly packed light tan head is frothy and lasting; nice and sticky lace patterns. Clean and smooth mouthfeel (becomes creamier as it warms). Carbonation level was right about perfect for this beer. Sweet base accented by very aromatic roasted malts. Hops were mild, but zingy and a little grassy; just a mild bitterness. Slight nip of sour/tart to even things out. Notes of raisins, chocolate and dark toast. Finish is roasty, toasty and slightly burnt. Aftertaste is rewarding and long-lasting. Not as sweet as a porter; not as full-bodied as a stout; and much more flavorful than a dunkel. Really good beer.
Heat99 (56) - Austin, Texas, USA - DEC 9, 2001
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
This has a black color, with a red hue as you hold it to the light. It definitely is not what I expected. I was expecting more of the sweet porter style flavors, but instead was greeted with a lighter-bodied smooth chocolatey flavor with slight hints of coffee and spice. Very delicious and surprisingly easy to drink considering its dark color. A very interesting and ’different’ brew.
TAR (2494) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - DEC 8, 2001
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
UPDATED: AUG 1, 2005 Bready/toasty malt with faint texture and taste of raisins and a bit chewy with a long finish as beer is cold, when it warms it becomes creamy, fruity and acidic. An original example of an unheard of style.
heykevin (1276) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - NOV 8, 2001
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Kudos to the New Belgium people for their history lesson. I find this rather inconsistant, even bottle to bottle in a 6 pack. At its best it is light in body with estery belgian notes as well as light toasted notes. At its worst, it tastes like very roasted barley with no body behind it. I’ll rate it at its best, though.
Dragon99 (57) - Laramie, Wyoming, USA - NOV 3, 2001
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Initial taste is very malty. Definitely uses dark malts, like chocolate and a bit of roasted barley. Aftertaste has just a hint of hops indicating a light hop profile.
Overall impression: very smooth and drinkable. Sweet, definitely not bitter. A nice warm-me-up for cold winter nights while still leaving your mouth as pleasant as it entered.
mattcolo99 (27) - USA - OCT 28, 2001
4.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Very nice...It’s fruity and sweet but a beautiful body. New Belgium hits a homer again.
K-V-F-L (292) - LaVista, Nebraska, USA - OCT 19, 2001
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Black ale, huh? I suppose that is closest to a porter or an old ale, ’cause the black or Schwarzbiers of Germany are lagers. I guess I found it hard to rate, and would have rated it higher if not for the unfortunate skunked aroma wafting in the background. A shame.
legion242 (2188) - Richardson, Texas, USA - OCT 10, 2001
2.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 9/20
I tried to like this. I wanted to like it. Just too thin for my tastes.
Oakes (12552) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - AUG 14, 2001
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: FEB 20, 2003 note of licorice and dried dark fruits in its spritzy body, finishing dry with some malty notes not unlike raisin toast.