tronraner (2459) - Walland, Tennessee, USA - OCT 1, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: OCT 2, 2007 Ok, the beer’s 10th rating. On cask at Otto’s. Pours a very dark black with amber extremities and a dense brown head. The aroma is lots of molasses, a little bit of smoke, some walnut, and some alcohol. The flavor is molasses with some notes of smoked beef jerky and a little bit of soy sauce. Woody notes float around in there, too. Peanut shells and alcohol come out as it warms. The finish has ash, bitter chocolate, and some alcohol. This is a fine imperial stout, indeed. I love smoke, so the addition of some smoked malt to this was a pleasant surprise. Highly recommended.
adrian910ss (2272) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 13, 2007
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
On Cask at Otto’s. Pours a thick oily black with a thick creamy brown head. nice lacing. Aroma of strong malts, black licorice, chocolate with a hint of smoke. Taste is full of roasted malts and black licorice with a nice smoky finish. Excellent.
kmweaver (3203) - Petaluma, California, USA - SEP 9, 2007
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 12, 2008 22oz bottle, sample #18 in a blind imperial stout tasting. Pours a dark, cola brown color; slight viscosity; minimal head left. Some cardboard and toasty malts and light fruitiness in the aroma; quite relaxed. Medium-to-full mouthfeel: inky, oily dark fruits, chocolate, and leather; emphasis on chewy dried fruits and leathery notes. Lengthy, sticky candy sugar and oily dark fruits in the finish; sweet. 18.104.22.168.15=3.8
Cask @ Otto’s. Pours a perfectly dark, brownish-black color; huge, fluffy brown head with at least a quarter-inch tall head that lasts forever, leaving thick, web-like lacing. Charred and burnt malts and smoke in the aroma; definitely a sharp, burnt edge to the whole thing, along with a chewy, dark chocolate core; hints of citrus bitterness; the burnt / tannic presence becomes a bit much. Full mouthfeel: oily, soft, chocolate-laden palate; plenty of charred and burnt malts with some smokiness; nougat and dried fruits appear as well, giving a dense, complex presence in the mouth; the soft carbonation keeps this (somehow) very drinkable and light; like a dense, badass, chocolate and charred-malt cloud. Lengthy, doughy and burnt finish, with plenty of nougat and milk chocolate.
auerbrau (3117) - Peace Dale, Rhode Island, USA - AUG 25, 2007
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: SEP 29, 2007 Aug 2007 Cask
Nose presents a subtle roast coffee, tannic barrel residual, vanilla and cream mingled with salt. Not particularly strong or aromatic. Pitch black pour with the densest, creamiest, silky espresso and milk foam. Pure chocolate milk. Flavor is quite outstanding. Thick soupy consistency, yet a long ways from cloying. Texture carries that absolute silk cask feel. There’s lots of delicious subtle character. Italian cherries, roasted Mexican bean, bold warm scotch notes, bits of hickory charcoal, toasted sesame and a bowl of macerated figs and brown sugar. Dessert with savory notes swirled in. Hops pick up towards the rear with light herbal spiciness and lemon verbena leaf. Density and structure like I’ve never seen, but not sticky, sickly, oily or greasy. Just heavy cream leaving the palate feeling fresh and dappled with walnut skin, barbecue ends, molasses and brandy sugars. Awesome. Another one of those super clean, stunningly fresh, quiet Otto’s beers. Deftly brewed. The palate the real winner here. TOTAL=4.2
Re-Rate: 22 Oz Bottle
Subtle salted caramel and oak aroma, backed with Amaretto truffles, candied Orange peel, Virginia Burley, and heavy molasses. A little low, but there. Pours a seductive deep black, rimmed with a tanned froth of creamy soap, lacing nicely. Flavor is a dense and intense creamy malt, with luxurious sugars backed by flourishes of coffee bean, noir chocolate, touches of brandy and nice bourbon character. Dryness arising from coffee grounds, roast malt, and caramelization. Nice solid flavor profile with all the expected nuances. Palate suffers just a touch, losing that irreplaceable cask character and forming more density, which works too. Drys out in hickory, charcoal and oats. Hops percolate a little leafy essence to the smack. Nice and pretty close to cask. TOTAL=4.1
DocLock (7421) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 1, 2006
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Draft. Deep black pour, with tan head. Aroma of molasses, chocoff, some hops. Tastes chocoffy, with some molasses, roasty malt, and slight hop hints. Dense on the palate, with great complexity. I enjoyed the BA more, but this one was still a marvelous beer!
lilannie (384) - Adamstown, Maryland, USA - AUG 21, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: SEP 1, 2007 On cask (Revised 09/01/07)
Aroma: mossy, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, fresh cream, and coco
Appearance: dark brown-- -->black, light chocolate head, lacing
Flavor: coco/dark chocolate, red grape skins, light bourbon, creaminess, and vanilla beans
Palate: smooth, silky and creamy, coats the mouth, nice dark chocolate aftertaste
Nate (3522) - Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 17, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: OCT 7, 2007 On cask. Really nice oaky chocolate arom. Thick rich coffee and chocolate cream Some vanilla and maple. Roasted grains and nice sweetness. Mild alcohol notes and vinuous plums. Dark black oily with thin lacing brown head. Thick oily body, light carbonation. Alcohol warming, creamy and smooth. Starts sweet and thick, with nice chocolatey coffee notes. Dry hops bitterness and roasted grains make for a pleasant finish. Mild molasses sweet tang and smoky notes in after. Overall, it’s just a bit too sweet and could use a bit more body. 9,5,8,5,16
From bottle. Alcohol vapors, chocolate, coffee, smoke, Tootsie Roll, vanilla, oak, plum. Thick black-brown clear body with thin chocolate brown lacing head. Thick oily body with medium carbonation. Taste is phenomenal - I think it’s even better in the bottle, if that’s possible. You can feel the effects when drinking a whole bomber yourself, for sure. But it’s addictive. Starts with sweet chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Light smoke, bitter tang and rich overripe fruit. Toffee, oak, and Tootsie Roll. Mild to medium nutty sweet bitter finish with rich chocolatey coffee after. Just a damn fine example of the style without being overly dramatic. Tasty, tasty, tasty. 9,5,9,5,18.
3fourths (7764) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - AUG 10, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JUL 25, 2012 Aug 2007 batch
Served from cask in a snifter at the brewery
Deep black body, but of course I’m sitting in a dark bar so everything this side of pale ale looks black, but I’ve had this while sitting on the patio a number of times last fall, and assuming they didn’t change things too much, I can assume it has the same color. The head is still foamy, firm and solid... delicious appearance. Perfect. The nose is a rich cream, toffee, bourbon and vanilla note mixed up in the sweet, malt-forward, sticky dark chocolate and coffee flavors, with just a little touch of roast and smoke. I get more of an astringent smoked grain smell and flavor than before, but still it’s not too bad. It did bump my rating down some, though. Flavors centered on sticky, sweet roasted maple and dark chocolate syrup, with faint hints of amaretto, almond and vanilla, with more of that mildly atringent motor oil smoke flavor. I had this late at night the day it was put on cask (plus more than a few the next weekend, and the next), which was also the same day I got to try Narke Kaggen Stormaktsporter and Mikkeller Black Hole, just a couple of hours before. I figure this would be a good test for the Jolly Roger, and I can honestly say, with little-to-no “homerishness”, that I preferred Jolly Roger over Mikkeller Black Hole. I can’t compare it to the Narke, though, since Kaggen Stormaktsporter is barrel aged and Jolly Roger is not, but the fact that it beat Black Hole head-to-head made me happy enough. Granted, Black Hole was heavy on smoke and soy and char, and I usually prefer more malty, less-smoky imperial stouts, so take that into consideration.
2007 bottled batch - the mild astringency of the cask/firkin is gone - this is what originally brought my rating down from around 4.5 to 4.3 - and instead the amaretto/almond/vanilla notes are turned up slightly. More fruit and liquer notes, especially at room temperature with a only a few ounces in a lar
chriso (7344) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - JUL 31, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at the brew pub. Served from cask by handpump. I have to say that at some US brewpubs the tapping of a cask firkin seems to be something of a gimmick and the beer is often not in peak condition. No such worries here. Not the darkest stout but a fine, reddish black appearance with just a slight head. The balance is pretty immaculate with big, deep roasty malt and slightly smoky edge on the nose and just enough light bitterness to provide the counterbalance. Although its plenty rich enough, this isn’t an Imperial stout that just aims to be as big as possible - there’s restraint and subtlety here. A great package.
jason (1674) - Easton, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 17, 2006
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JAN 10, 2007 Draft on the Hand Pump!!!
WOW!!! This my be one of the all time best Imperial stouts I’ve ever had! The aroma makes a great first impression. Very mellow scent with a pleasant malt appearance. The look is fanatastic in a snifter. Very gracious head that stays until near the end. Very dark, awesome looking. Flavor is not bursting with flavor but mild and Extremely Pleasant! This is like tranquility in a snifter. Very peaceful with a perfect balance of malt and low bitterness. I think this is the best brew that I’ve had from Charlie at Otto’s. At this rate he will need to bottle these fine brews to rival the other heaveyweights. Triple Cheers!!!