TAR (2401) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - FEB 3, 2007
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draft: Deep obsidian with a ruby glimmer. Dense ring of beige bubbles. Blackcurrants, ink and licorice accompany the strong port wine aromatics. Silky body with gentle pricks of carbonation. Opens with an extremely soft concentration of ink-doused currants which are cut by a deeply blackened malt undertow. Prominently sweet and the body is considerably limp despite the robustness of the char and hop bitterness. Oak imparts substantial caramelized notes which enrich the charred malt. Harsh minerals lend an overbearing chalkiness which clashes with the already brisk oak and char.
Finishes richly meaty and portlike, with trailing notes of burnt fruitcake drizzled with liquefied licorice. Oak deposits a dusty dryness that lingers. A pleasingly authentic replication, overall, but I find the flavor to be a bit too sweet and the aroma is fairly oxidized.
Pretty dag gone good, considering.
beerbuzzmontreal (3490) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 31, 2007
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
The pour reveals a pitch black color with a ring of light brown lace on top. Very good aroma of chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor is very good, thereís a rich roasted malt with chocolate and fruity esters. The palate is solid too, the body is full with a creamy texture and moderate carbonation. A very fine imperial stout.
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - OCT 15, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Growler shared with several Quebecois and one other drunk American at tiggmtlís going away party in Montreal, from a New Belgium glass. Opaque ebony with a thick, dark tan slow-receding head....luscious chocolate-caky aroma, with caramel and liqueur touches making for something much like tiramisu, spiked with a touch of anise; grapiness shows up on more nosings and detracts a bit....very, very sweet on the tongue, no alcohol apparency whatsoever, lightly fruity (dates, plums) with some nice roast at midpalate becoming fairly intense towards the finish....with greater warmth, the fruitiness evaporates largely and full-on roasty bitterness takes over....low, natural carbonation, thick lightly oily mouthfeel.
ClarkVV (3734) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - SEP 9, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Growler drunk with the Montreal crew on 8/27/06. About 3 weeks old at serving, stored extremely cold prior to drinking.
At first Iím worried about the carbonation, but slowly, a rich, dark-tan head cascades down in to the liquid and slowly builds until it is sitting pretty about a finger high above the liquid, very dense and rather well-retained. Unfiltered body is utter black, nearly-opaque. Minor lacing.
Slight glimpses of char in the nose before becoming fruity and moderately vinous. Strong aroma. Oily, almost dry smokey-like with some juicy prunes. Deep, resiny-juicy hops definitely provide bitterness and battle the roasted barley that mounts a fair assault on the senses. Through it all, some minimally sweet bakerís chocolate gives it a bit more approachability and with warming, melds in to a lovely, creamy-sweet chocolate syrup and vanilla cream note. Quite varied and certainly concentrating on the dark side, which I guess goes without saying, but for all of the char, roast, vinousness, bakerís chocolate and deep, bitter hops, I wasnt put-off, not too much anyways (it is still quite strong).
Body is unrelenting. From the massively unfiltered, chewy, creamy, thick, rich malt and fair amount of residual sugars, to the low, engaging carbonation, it just about wraps around and strangles the tongue. Creamy, but with enough char and bitter chocolate to prevent syrupiness, it descends on to the palate, with some oily, tar-and-resin-like bitterness, balanced by chocolatey-sweet malts. Powerful, not something to be drunk quickly (screw it, I did anyways, itís not so bad). Peanut skins, minor astringent roastiness, a touch of fuselic warmth, but well-buried beneath the layers of oil, tar, cake and chocolate. Wow, decadent, but complex enough as to ward off being too overdone in any one area.
Rastacouere (6107) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 6, 2006
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
From the growler, yet dispensing a large beige head which is surprisingly persistent. Pretty much black and opaque. It produces a strong perfumey fruity and vinous nose with plenty of residual sugars making for a strongly cakey profile. The roastiness does come in the form of a dark chocolate, cocoa and beany form, but itís not to say that sweeter chocolate is not felt as fudge and ice cream are also hinted at. A rather rich and desserty concoction. The body is rich, filling, medium-full is size and clearly unfiltered. Large berry range as well. Thatís a good one, not as straightforward as most. Couldnít catch a glimpse at the alcohol.
MartinT (7476) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 4, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: MAR 2, 2009 Any first impressions?
-A sheet of foam cover the opaque darkness.
-Latte emanations reach the nostrils accompanied by their nearby cake acolyte.
-Roasted coffee beans cut the foreseen sweet molasses predominance with pugnacious roastiness.
-The mouthfeel is velvet, smooth and creamy, and goes down every so easily for this mammoth of a brew.
What if you dig deeper?
-Vanilla accompanies the molasses in trickling upon the tiramisu slice.
-A combination of wealth and drinkability never disappoints me.
-Hops and alcohol are barely present in the flavor profile, but arenít missed.
-Even though I may appear underwhelmed compared to all those who think this is a masterpiece, I still think this is a beautiful performance and I am always happy to see it in my glass.
From a growler filled a few weeks prior, and from a bottle of the í09 vintage.
GonZoBeeR (2800) - Ste-Eulalie, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 3, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
From a growler...
Appearance:Dark,good tan head...
DarkMagus (472) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 8, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sweet coffee and cocoa aroma with heavy malt and dark roasted grains underneath. Jet black, with a thin tan head of tiny micro-bubbles. Smooth and silky mouthfeel. Great range of sweet malty and (very) dark roasted grains, with easily distinguishable coffee and cocoa notes. No trace of the 10.5% abv. An amazing beer.
trokini (1025) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 3, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Easily the best beer from Portsmouth. Black pour with a tiny brown ring on top. Aroma stacked with coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts. Huge flavor. The alcohol burn enhances the coffee and roasted malt, and brings out the little hops contained in this one. Excellent beer.
wilkie (1208) - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA - AUG 1, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Draught at the Brewery. Small tan head (they seem to pour them that way here) blackerín hell. Aroma is very malty--coffee and chocolate. Aroma is similar, winish, with a dry finish and malty alcohol aftertaste. Would be perfect for a New England winter.