SpongeRuiner (778) - Michigan, USA - OCT 22, 2013
2 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 7/20
Thanks for the split HisBoyElroy. Smell is rough. Thick chunky pour and leftovers. Cherry/black cherry flavors throughout. Really strong.
tectactoe (2337) - Michigan, USA - OCT 14, 2013
2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 6/20
UPDATED: APR 9, 2014 [Bottle / 1997 / ~16 years old] Thanks, Kevin! Black as night & thick as hell... Oily and viscous with residual, sludgy chunks left behind in the bottle. No head at all, only a few small bubbles that rise to the top. Aroma is huge & as strong as they come. Heavy, heavy sugary molasses, rich brown sugar, bittersweet chocolate, graham crackers, licorice, plenty of warm alcohol... So damn powerful and so damn sweet smelling. Very, very sweet. The taste is extremely sweet as well. Tons of dates & sweet prunes, syrupy licorice, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, intense residual sugar. Hot alcohol flavor with a huge, thick, sticky, viscous, chewy body. Doesn’t taste like "soy sauce" at all, as many people have said. It’s just way, over the top sweet. It’s not awful... it’s just, insane overkill. Way too sweet to enjoy more than an ounce or two. Even that ounce is pretty killer. Would be interesting to try other vintages to see how they compare. Thanks again, Kevin.
BlackHaddock (4144) - Shropshire, ENGLAND - SEP 25, 2013
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
1994 Brew Reserve.
The small 8.45 blue bottle had been with Marcus and Bryony for years: not since 1994, but not far off: the bottle was opened with great trepidation on 10th September 2013, especially when the cork snapped in two before it came out, cork screw required.
I loved it: a rich, mellow tasting Chocolate Port with malts, can’t think of a better description, sorry.
There were four of us to try it, luckily the ladies were not so keen, so Marcus and I had the Lions share.
This was the best beer I had during our 14 day ’Grand European Tour’ and a lovely gesture by our hosts for the evening to open something that had sat for so long in their flat overlooking the Mosel.
pushkinwow (2100) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - SEP 20, 2013
2.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 10/20
Purchased two 1997 bottles a couple of years ago in Buffalo, not knowing what they were, and finally opened the second bottle for a "special" occassion. Pours a dark murky brown with no head. Almost a half inch of sediment in the bottle, avoided pouring any chunks into the bottle this time (however will say this is a great bachelor party suprise beer...). Anyways..huge soy bomb on the aroma, some wet cardboard, sweet and slightly fermented prunce with some caramel and brown sugar, fair amount of sherry. Low carbonation, high alcohol, full but not necessarily good body, soy and alcohol really overwhelm the palate, long soy finish with some sherry and cardboard. Would love to have more of these to "share" and suprise people with but doubt that will happen. Actually smelt faily interesting but after 16 years the rest just didn’t hold up. Still glad I got to try these though.
EithCubes (5089) - New Jersey, USA - AUG 7, 2013
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Well, I’ve been sitting on this bottle for a while, I’m guessing 5-6 years, though it’s clearly the 1997 vintage, had here on 7 Aug 2013. Resealable self-opening cork and deep blue glass, though there’s no way you could tell that from the outside. I’m disobeying orders and starting this at fridge temp before letting it warm. On open, tons and tons and TONS of soy sauce, even at this temp, with some caramel and light sherry, tarry port. Into a small snifter it’s deep, dark brown, black at fuller volume, with an oily sheen, legs on glass, and absolutely no head. Viscous oily body, extremely so, with strong alcohol and extremely, outrageously strong soy sauce, light fish flavors and faint caramel, prunes, heavy toffee. Very sweet red berry/grape/raisin are buried deep in the bg but that initial shock of sweetness rivals the impact of the soy. A touch medicinal. There’s some tar and faint but ultra-dark chocolate (surpassing high-cacao percentages and leaning into heaviest fudge), the warming is gentle (the alcohol, to credit, is amazingly round and tamed - seems something like 9-10%) but intense and lasting. There’s some subtle but gummy yeast but nothing off-putting there besides the soy, no rubber or fumes. Slow warmth reveals more of the significant oxidation, but I’m getting sherry, Port, flat Madeira and no wet cardboard or depression. On the whole, this is a mess, and not pleasant to drink, but at a slow sip, with palate adjusted, and closer to room temp, there is a certain glassy-eyed elegance here, and it’s absolutely an essential experience for every earnest beer enthusiast to seek out, for its vision and influence within the industry as much as its technical/aging aspects. A worthy experiment, for sure, and honest history lessons don’t usually come this cheap.
jonno (2345) - JAPAN - JUN 8, 2013
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 16/20
1997 vintage. Wow I feel like I just drank soy sauce and cooking wine. I don’t know what to say. There were hints of dark chocolate and sherry, but it is probably a one time only beer. RERATE. Heavily oxidised and the soy note was turned down. Still a huge beer and lots going on. Has something that I am still not totally enamoured by, but it’s a beast and very fun.
sherm1016 (1178) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 15, 2013
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
1997 vintage, purchased at Discount Liquor probably 10 years ago. Pours a dark purplish brown color with no head. Perfect cork, no floaties, but the inside of the bottle was coated with something. Aroma is fruity, cherry, raisin, leather. Heavy on the palate, flat. Flavor is sweet, raisin, leather, soy, molasses, with a sweet, malty finish. Not a horror story, but not as great as I remember it.
SrSilliGose (3270) - pouring bus, New Brunswick, CANADA - MAY 7, 2013
0.7 AROMA 2/10 APPEARANCE 1/5 TASTE 1/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 2/20
UPDATED: MAY 9, 2013 1997 bottle. @adnielsen: what the H kind of ratings distribution is this? well here goes. this bottle was provided by j12601 for secret santa maybe a few years back. try to open the thing and the cork crumbles in half with a huge chunk falling right into the beer! pours a deep dark brown with bits of cork strewn about. flat. aroma is big potent salty soy sauce. once you get beyond the wallop of soy sauce, got some black licorice, tar, ash, smoke. also some sweet prune juice. chocolately nose filling booze rounds things out. not so inviting. but not that bad either. initial sip leads to a norm macdonald-esque grimace. not too nice. notes of big boozy sweet prunes. motor oil. hint of death. finishes with a toasted purple grape drank medicine. undrinkable. a 1 on the budlight drinkability scale. pour this one out for the cates.
TaktikMTL (6031) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - APR 30, 2013
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Brassin 1997. Bouteille de 8.45 oz achetée chez Finger Lakes Beverage Center (Ithaca, NY). Arôme: Odeur d’alcool et de mélasse. Apparence: La couleur est noire. Saveur: Goût de caramel et de mélasse avec une pointe d’alcool. Longue durée de l’arrière goût. Palette: Le corps est plein avec une texture légèrement liquoreuse. Faible effervescence en bouche. Légère présence d’alcool en arrière goût. (Rating #4721)
Sarlacc83 (949) - Oregon, USA - MAR 24, 2013
2.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 9/20
Bottle bought for probably too much. 1994 vintage.
A: Falls out of the bottle like the nozzle is doing its best to expunge the material. Zero head and zero carbonation. Cork broke in the bottle, which is highly encouraging.
N: Nose is rich chocolate, soy sauce, prune and raisin. The oxidation you’d expect is here. Still has an alcohol presence, and honestly this, isn’t the worst thing. It smells a lot like Dark Lord.
T: Mint, chocolate, prune, and enough oxidation to rust off a hubcap. Dark sherry and peanuts. Alcohol is muted by now. Port notes. Not the worst thing in the world, though there’s too many discombobulated flavors to be good.
M: Placid and slimy. Not good.
O: Seeing as this was the 1994 vintage, I knew there was a chance this could be fairly decent. I was kind of hoping for a travesty rather than something merely bad and unpalatable. That said, it was a great joy to me to watch peoples’ faces shrivel when they tried this unpleasant concoction. I gather this was one of the ’good’ bottles.