auerbrau (3203) - Ithaca, New York, USA - MAY 11, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
My bottle is warming and is almost ready for itís uncorking. This is my first caged, capped and corked beer. Iím anxious. I must admit that I have fears about this bottle, as with other top end Belgians I bought from the store. They spent time in a continously lighted cooler, potential months. The Orval and Rochefort 10 were lucious, the Traquair and Founders Imperial Stout were not. Iím hoping this falls on the right side of the spectrum. The cork ejects quickly, with vicious power. Carbonation is rising. I sniff the cork. A vinous winy typical cork aroma seeps up my nostrils. Slowly into the Tulip glass goes the beer, it develops a healthy, yet uneven head. Itís a pearlescent ivory tone, with fine bubbles and a clearing center. So far so good. To the nose: cherries, plum and a swirling reminsicense of an overdone scotch ale with port and currants. Honey and wine bring back the airy thoughts of a fresh flower field and a dose of potpourri. Savory tones creep in from the sides, with aged oak, balsamic, and juniper berries. The aroma is complex, but not glowing. Brought to the light, this beer glows of deep dark cranberry juice, flecked with yeast like a fresh robinís egg. The yeast stays well suspended in a clear blood beer. The beer is opalescent, running from amber to golden to deep red. The carbonation is fine like Champagne. This should be good. Unfortunately on the palate, Iím let down. Itís a scotch ale, with sherry. Thereís more, but first, Iím dissapointed. This is one dimensional. When the beer is in my mouth, it bursts into a fury of carbonation and turns into foam. Itís not clingy, oily, or sugary. Just a slightly sweet beer, with some water to wash it down. The beer really expands and foams in the mouth, which isnít really a desirable trait for me, since it doesnít give my tounge a chance to participate, instead it just hints at a touch of itsí taste and then leaves an aftertaste. The flavor is dominated by brandy, apples, and plum pudding. That rich, lucious deep wheat and yeast are most omnipresent, really showing strongly in the middle. The alcohol bursts on the back end, adding a nice growing warmth to the profile. Raisins, sherry and port make flash apperanaces, but donít detract from the quality. I donít think this beer has suffered any age or light damage, it just is what it is. The aftertaste is dominated by green apples and butter diacetyls. The palate is average, with a drying trend. The complexity is pretty good, but the texture and depth seem one dimensional. As the beer has warmed some more, itís starting to show more nuances and unveil subtlties, but nothing jumps out at me, the beer just gains more body, tone and depth. The texture gains some chewiness and fullness. A fruit swirl laced on top of a rich yeast and sugar base, with some deeper notes. Overall, Iím somewhat let down, but generally pleased with the way the beer has gone, although it leaves me longing for more. Iíve enjoyed my time with it, but look forward to new horizons down the road. How fitting for how this past semester of school has gone and my thoughts of a friend I wish I could be closer to. This beer is a true tribute of the evening.
brigg (606) - Washington DC, USA - MAY 11, 2005
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: SEP 9, 2005 Terrific. I bought this at Michaelís Bistro to celebrate my last exam of college Ė and it rose to the occasion. Strong flavor and aroma, yet so smooth and easy to drink. I look forward to trying it again. Cloudy hazel brown color with a hint of amber. Diminishing tan head. Good lacing entire time. Strong, sweet aroma smelling of apple and grape covered with chocolate or caramel. Definitely smooth. Bubbles dance on your tounge the whole way down. Very well balanced. Tastes of nuts and sweet fruit. Also coffee and toffee.
lagermonkey (725) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - MAY 10, 2005
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours a dark, hazy brown with a huge, dense, tan head. Very lacy. Aroma is very fruity. Tart apples with a light alcohol smell. Some raisin and winey aromas as well.
Taste is very fruity. Spiced apples and white raisins. Some port flavors hanging around, dancing in and out of the alcohol. Caramel and molasses. Part of this flavor profile reminds me of mulled wine.
Mouth is sweet and sticky. Really smooth for 10% ABV. This is excellent but could be aged just a bit to blend the alcohol flavors better. Lived up to the hype for me...
MoritzF (9267) - Ottobrunn, GERMANY - MAY 10, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
(bottle) Murky brown colour with a foamy tanned head. Yeasty nose with dried fruits and caramel. Soft sweet flavour and a complex taste rounded up with elements of spicy liquorice, nuts and plums on a toastmalty bed with a bittersweet finish. The alcohol is good embedded.
Magjayran (1378) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAY 10, 2005
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
From a 750 mL. Pours a deep brown color with a thick and lasting white head. Aroma is sweet and malty with hints of caramel and toffee. Rich and sweet flavor with hints of caramel and brown sugar along with a roasted nut taste. Some alcohol burn near the end of the bottle but not offensive. Great beer.
Ughsmash (7507) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 8, 2005
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAY 10, 2005 Poured a deep reddish-amber with about 1" creamy ivory head. Some sediment noted. Excellent head retention. Floral and fruity aroma with grapes, apples, and oak coming through. Full-bodied, and powerfully complex flavor, but the fruit and oak were very well balanced. Mouthfeel was creamy, yet well-carbonated. Fruity aftertaste was very pleasant, and the beer warmed the stomach well. I am assuming that this is a recent vintage (expiry date 7.20.09), so I will put the rest of these away for a few years, and re-rate at that point.
jackamackson (127) - USA - MAY 7, 2005
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
pours a dark, dark red/brown. nice lasting off-white, fizzy head. yeasty, fruity aroma. bready, sweet taste, somewhat fruity, and a little alcohol in there too, but it is well balanced, for 10%. medium/full bodied, with crisp carboation. good, complex beer.
giarcsr (104) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 5, 2005
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
What a great beer. Pours a nice dark amber with quite a bit of sediment. Aroma is what you would expect from a great belgian. Itís sweet, malty and slightly caramelly as well. Flavor is well balanced and you really canít tell this is 10% . Itís malty, and caramelly, and belly warming all at once. Truly deserving of its high rating.
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - MAY 3, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Poured a mostly clear amber color. Aroma and flavors of fruit with sugar and alcohol and a touch of cherry. Semi-dry. Not too sweet and nicely balanced. Slightly smokey.
TomDecapolis (4618) - Milton, Delaware, USA - MAY 2, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Very complex strong Belgian. Head stays with the drink the entire time just about. The alcohol taste was a little too up front and not very well hidden. At times was almost coming across as having wine like characteristics. I actually like some of the other St. Bernardus beers better, but this is still a solid beer.