Ernest (6198) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAY 17, 2005
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Head is initially average sized, frothy, light brown, mostly diminishing.
Body is dark orange-brown.
Aroma is moderately malty (toasted/roasted grain, cooked caramel), lightly hoppy (apricot), lightly yeasty (cobwebs), with notes of clove, oregano, orange peel, cola.
Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter.
Finish is lightly sweet, moderately acidic, moderately bitter.
Medium to full body, velvety texture, lively carbonation, lightly alcoholic.
Like an imitation Fantome Black Ghost, perhaps, but without the rustic farmhouse character. Reminds me of something Ommegang would make for some reason (just a tad harsh/edgy/unrefined in the finish). Surprisingly good overall, though. Finally seeing a little improvement in the head size/retention from Stone here, but still disappointing compared to most Belgian beers.
Gachupines (884) - USA - MAY 17, 2005
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark brown color with a large head which dissolves a bit after drinking. Taste is spicy, some clove, but also a fairly roasted backbone. Alcohol is fairly hidden, pretty easy to drink actually.
OldGrowth (2649) - North Carolina, USA - MAY 16, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle, from Bauer wine and spirits. Good nose, sweet and spicy, molasses, clove,raisin/prune. Nice clean dark orangy/brown color, small head that faded quickly. Bittersweet flavors, same as aromas, the clove stands out, with the others right behind it. Medium body, lite oily creamy mouthfeel, bittersweet sour finish. Tasty brew, just enough of the clove thing for my preference. I think the ABV is hidden nicely trying to be patient and let it warm up...
GonZoBeeR (2920) - Ste-Eulalie, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 16, 2005
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
appearance:very dark brown,good head...
Flavor:Caramel,raisin,apple,grassy,spicy. for an american beer but not better than a real belgian dark stong ale...
hopscotch (9100) - Indian River County, Florida, USA - MAY 16, 2005
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle... Very dark, crystal clear, ruby ale with a small, frothy, lightly tanned head. Spicy, fruity, yeasty aroma with notes of banana, milk chocolate and coriander. Malty sweet, spicy flavors take the early lead, but are followed closely behind by a calvary of hop bitterness which more than balances things out. Warming alcohol. Full-bodied and lightly oily with lively carbonation. Bittersweet, salty, grassy finish.
FlacoAlto (3800) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 15, 2005
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Sampled May 2005
Pours a deep, rich, amber color that shows ruby highlights when held up to the light. It is topped by a frothy light brown to amber colored head that dissapears after a couple of minutes. As I pour this beer I get a definite note of cloves. As I go in deeper I get notes of concentrated plum, raisins, figs, chocolate and alcohol. The taste is sweet and fruity up front, but then moves to a spicy slightly harsh note in the finish. The rich fruitiness is quite good and reminds me of raisins, and figs. The finish is astringent with notes of higher alcohols, spicy notes of pepper and clove, and hints of roasted malt and chocolate.
I will say this, this is the first one of these that I actually see lasting a couple of years, it is still a bit young and harsh around the edges. This should be quite nice once the harsh notes in the finish mellow out and the fruitiness comes to the fore.
beerguy101 (5278) - Newark, California, USA - MAY 15, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Dark brown color. Small sized white foamy head. Aroma is banana, cherries and chocolate. A medium to full bodied Belgian Ale. Malts are fruity and sweet. Lots of fruit flavors, banana, cloves, and cherries dominate. Nice bright yeasts. Very smooth taste. A nice sipping beer. There are a lot of complex flavors going on in this one,some bottle aging will make this one awesome. It is very different for the rest of the verticals. Seems more in the ‘traditional’ Belgian style. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.
Darkover (1513) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - MAY 14, 2005
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Dark ruby/brown with a beige head. Aroma of spices, yeast and candy. Flavor of sweet malt, some spice, yeast and hoppiness. Doesnít really taste very much like a belgian beer.
brentfeesh (1207) - Mansfield, Ohio, USA - MAY 14, 2005
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JUL 8, 2006 Initially tried 5/2005....I really thought this was a good looking beer. Deep Bombay mahogany color, with some cherry looking hints. Wispy off white head. The aroma was hard to place but Iíd describe it as spicy with Belgian hints of clove, yeast and candy. The body is medium and slick, though it ends with a very dry mouth feel (bitter). The flavor is two fold, and I think itís good overall. There is some initial fruity sweetness that moves into spicy pepper and perhaps clover (or some such thing). These spicy flavors are pronounced. There is also some yeastiness and some burnt malt. Alcohol is present in a good way. Really gets bitter at the end with intensified pepper. While not great now I think this has some real potential! Canít wait to do the 03-06 release tasting Iíve set for myself next year!
I was getting a bit tipsy by the time I re-rated this one. My color notes were the same but my coments on taste and aroma lacked any of the spice I spoke about before. Any spice left in the aroma or taste were much more subdued as this point and I foudn this to be a well balanced treat. Iíve improved by taste score by three points. This is aging well.
BrewEd (182) - Wilmington, North Carolina, USA - MAY 14, 2005
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz: Gorgeous ruby-red and brown - as attractive a beer as Iíve seen. Not very aromatic but hints of apricot and dates. Sweet and malty up front with enough hoppy finish to keep the taste from being cloying. Very nice - I hope I have the opportunity to taste this in several years.