DarkElf (3035) - La Jolla, California, USA - MAY 7, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
02-Apr-06 (Draft: O’Brien’s in San Diego, CA) Once again, the Barrel-Aged version is on tap; I don’t think this is ever NOT Barrel-Aged nowadays... I liked this so much last year, I have to try it again to validate my opinion. It pours a gorgeous, deep brick red/mahogany color, with some transparency at the edges. Not much head, sort of a light-tan color, fades rapidly but maintains an island in the center, thanks to the De Koninck chalice focusing the carbonation bubbles. Cherry, woody, lightly sour aroma is quite appealing. Mildly tart, fruity, plenty of cherry and wood in the flavor. Only mildly sweet with a nice, tart woodiness. Medium in body, pleasant carbonation, very clean finish. Could drink more of this, but Belgian Ales at O’Brien’s are cost prohibitive for me. While I think I was a bit exuberant with my high praises last time, this is still a very enjoyable beer.
16-Jun-05 (Draft: O’Brien’s in San Diego, CA) Okay, so this updated rating is for what is called the Barrel Aged version of Shock And Awe, and my new rating is considerably higher. Sweet, malty nose shows no hops or roast, but smells really nice. When cold, the flavor is sweet and malty, sugary and candy-like, but not in a bad way. However, as the beer warms, a fair amount of woodiness and some sourness develops. Dark brown in color with ruddy highlights at the edges, topped by a dark tan head that dissipates rapidly. (8, 4, 8, 4, 17 = 4.1)
24-Dec-04 (Draft: Oggi’s in Mission Valley, San Diego, CA) The paper label taped onto the tap handle said "Shock + AWH", and the bartender assumed it was a mistake too, but I can’t be sure what the intended name is supposed to be. Being that this is a military town, I’ll go with the notion that the brewer went with the military’s Iraq offensive to name this Belgian beer. Odd name, to say the least. Anyway, this may be the best beer I’ve had at the Mission Valley Oggi’s. Up front, this is sweet and malty, lightly roasty, and yeasty, finishing with a prominent spiciness and a moderate bitterness. The alcohol is evident but well under control. Belgian nose is sweet and yeasty. Mahogany color. Very small carbonation bubbles rise slowly through the above average viscosity of this Belgian. Light tan head is fairly small on the pour and fades to an even sheen quickly. Generally, I think the beers at the Mission Valley Oggi’s are pretty standard brewpub stuff, but the brewer has done a nice job with this one. (7, 3, 7, 4, 14 = 3.5)
chilehead (186) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - APR 25, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at O’Brien’s. A fascinating brew. Head was thick and creamy, I’m almost positive it was on nitrogen tap. Flavor was a rich and creamy belgian double, with sarsparilla and woodsy notes. Mouthfeel was very full. Quite an elegant brew, serve it with a steak knife.
arjoseph (639) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - APR 17, 2006
2.5 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 9/20
On tap, O’Briens, San Diego (in a De Konick chalice). Barrel Aged version, sampled with cquiroga, summer 2005. So, I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t like this. I thought it was very muddled and unbalanced; it had none of the things I enjoy in a Belgian Strong. Maybe it was the bourbon barrel aging that threw it off, I don’t know. Opaque muddy brown, head completely diminishes. Smells of bourbon acidity and grape juice. Tangy at first and completely flat from the beginning. Sour but not crispily tart like good sour beers. Bourbon and golden raisins dominate the uninteresting body. Alcohol all through it; actually, the alcohol was the only enjoyable part, it was kind of woody and port-ish. Not enough to make up for the rest of the beer, though.
elnadeau (786) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - APR 11, 2006
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at O’brien’s: This beer had a fine bubbled head that rode over the muddy brown liquid the entire time it was in front of me, could have been nitrogen charged in the keg. Very nice aroma of malty dark fruit, flavor is complex, rich and elegant. An outstanding beer.
papajohn (1249) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - MAR 3, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap@O’brien’s: Murky dark brown color with purple highlights and just a wisp of foam. Light sweet aroma of dark fruit. Flavor starts lightly sweet turning syrupy with a touch of prune The middle is tangy with a spicy (peppery) bite. The finish is dry with a hint of banana. Rich smooth palate. An interesting brew. The 10% ABV very well hidden.
joshpiledean (315) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 2, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Tap, O’Briens, San Diego. Dark brown, cloudy, with purple hues. Aroma was somewhat light, with dark fruits and alcohol. Nice rich and full malt body, sweet dark fruits and moderate spice, some roasty tones, and a slight alcohol tinge. Powerful stuff, good indeed!
Sickboy282 (1115) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 27, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a deep brown/cloudy hue with a small tan head. Aromas of bananas, some toffee and roasted malt. Flavors of the same with a nice dry finish. Nice balace of hops thrown in for SoCal measure.
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 27, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
This belgian pours with a dark red-brown body topped by a thin head with some lacing. The aroma is sweet, malty and full of dark fruit notes. The flavor is slightly sweet and malty with notes of dark fruit, some caramel, and a touch of bitter hoppiness. Full bodied, smooth and slightly tingly.
CaptainCougar (7132) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - FEB 24, 2005
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
On tap at RFDs in DC: Pours a clear dark brown with a frothy light tan head. Aroma has a toasty caramel malt character with a touch of chocolate and some western hops. Starts malty and candi sugar sweet with a light carbonation and mild bitterness. Finishes toasty and bready with a hint of roasty dark chocolate bitterness and floral hops. Kinda reminded me of a double brown ale, like Stone 8th Anniversary. Interesting and enjoyable.
Hairofthedog (419) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 23, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This beer was on tap at O’Brien’s. The beer poured a deep brown color w/ orange highlights; thin lasting head and lacing. The aroma smelled like apricots and soury fermented dark fruit w/ a hint of flowers. The flavor was caramel, soury fermented fruit, apricots, and a slight citrus and banana note. The mouthfeel was creamy yet aggressive and well-rounded.