thehoff (596) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - DEC 9, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark brown amber looking beer. Nutty smell, sweet. Tangy, sweet, bitter nutty flavor to the beer. OK. Good. Nice winter beer.
ClarkVV (4216) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 9, 2003
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
2003 Bottle. True to the description its a fairly dark mahogany. Small orange-beige head. Clear. Smells of Goldings hops, quite dry. Begins with a relatively very large bitter hops flavor with lingering acidity through the body. Finally on the very end, some malt, mostly light cherry flavored comes out. Moderate complexity, some woodiness, touch of spices. Medium body, quite carbonated. Too unbalanced at the beginning. Bitter, dry hops overpower this beer. Tastes like a typical unbalanced IPA. I guess it gets more palatable as it warms, but still needs work.
egajdzis (5576) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 7, 2003
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Poured a clear mahogany color with an off white head and some lacing. Mild aroma of clove and some sweet bubblegum. Spicy taste of nutmeg and banana. Average mouthfeel, average beer.
jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - DEC 4, 2003
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Dark ruby with a medium tan head that diminshed quickly. Very spicy malty cherry aroma. Flavor is very dry and not nearly as sweet as I remember previous vintages. The alcohol is fairly prominent. Kind of one dimensional. Disapointing.
JCW (1277) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 1, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Like the commercial description, mahogany colored, translusent. The aroma is a neat mix of malt and fruit, cherry is the most obvious. Flavor is on the dry side, I would guess this beer is wood aged, although it isn't mentioned. British hops are very evident. Dry finish with a mild amount of bitterness. This one would take a bite out of the winter air.
papajohn (1249) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - NOV 29, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
The pour is beer bottle amber with a small tanish head. Nose is sweet with a hint of cherry and some spice. Flavor starts rich and sweet followed by a balanced hop bitterness. The finish is dry and lingers. A little lite on the palate with some carbonation, but overall a quite drinkable brew.
irishsnake (355) - Oakland, California, USA - NOV 28, 2003
3.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: DEC 13, 2004 A very nice amber/brown-ale with a good English hop nose. The flavor is quite good-not to sweet for its size, and with a nice bop bite (flavor and bitternes) in the back.
Re-Rate for ’04: pours a very pretty reddish-amber with a short-lived white head. aroma of toasty and sweet malts well balanced by earthy hops. unfortunately, that malt falls right out of the flavor-no where near enough to balance the harsh, astringent bitterness. like a tea bag boiled for an hour, leaving some serious fuzzy tounge. becomes marginally more drinkable as it warms; the malt ties to come out a bit.
Nuffield (3835) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - NOV 27, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle with 2003 label. Reddish brown color, little head. Before it gets too warm, this keeps a very Belgian quality. Generous aroma, caramel, alcohol, slightly plastic (like a brand-new rain poncho). More fruity complexion in tasting, and though malty it is still dry, with a moderate burnt bitterness in a long finish (grill-roasted asparagus, anyone?). Substantial carbonation in the mouthfeel, lively yet soft like a Belgian dubbel. As it gets closer to room temperature, it takes on more strong ale qualities, minimizing whatever fruitiness I had found earlier. Good beer, generally satisfying as it took me through a journey of some complexity, even though I wasn't amazed by where the journey ended up.
fly (1431) - austin, Tejas, Texas, USA - NOV 25, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
All prepared to give glowing account of the thick roasted malt and subtle spiciness, but going on the memory of the previous night. So I get another bottle out to refine the memory. Turns out that a bottle from the same six pack is chock full of banana esters. Weird and interesting and not the least bit like I remembered the bottle from the night before. Putting in the numbers based on the night before and recollection of liking it last year. Hope the other bottles I have don't exhibit the same as this one.
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 22, 2003
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pretty nice seasonal overall. Bottle, poured dark brown with garnet highlights and almost no head. Rich dark malt aroma, brown bread and spice cake with floral hops in the background. Flavor features the spices, nutmeg, allspice, clove, pepper and others. Rich maltiness also with a lingering hop finish. Nice mouthfeel and smooth carbonation. Definitely a winter brew.