Maddog (411) - Kettering, Ohio, USA - SEP 25, 2004
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
One bad ass brew. Dark, oily, heavy, but has roasty, complex flavors. Pours jet black with a dark tan head. I had the 2004 edition for the first time, and I was seriously impressed by its alcohol power and explosive flavor. A true gem. Give this to a puny bud lite drinker and he will be asking for his mommy.
IMtheOptimator (1162) - Bethel, Connecticut, USA - SEP 20, 2004
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: SEP 21, 2004 Poured jet black with a small dark brown head. Aroma was not as strong as I would have expected, and smelled of some coffee notes and a slight alcoholic character. Initial taste was slightly sweet with some roastedness. A definitive malt character was present throughout the mouthful. It ended with a moderate bitterness. Overall, despite the hype, I was not extremely impressed by this brew. However, I donít think my experience with it was situationally ideal, for 1) I served it too cold (although it did warm up and I did notice that it got more pleasant as it warmed), and 2) I ended having to drink the whole bottle by myself, and I felt rather ill towards the end. If I get my hands on another bottle, I will rerate it under better conditions at a future time.
zach8270 (3688) - Henrietta, New York, USA - SEP 20, 2004
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 7, 2008 [22 oz. bomber - 2004 vintage] Pours like motor oil with a slick and creamy looking tan head. Full roasted and sweet aroma of dark cherries, chocolate malts and coffee. Very complex flavor. Begins roasty and burnt with a very dark sweet flavor following it and a nice smooth and fruity finish. Very thick and sticky mouthfeel with a lingering sweet flavor that stays in your mouth for a long time. What a great brew.
estoppel (1028) - Buffalo, New York, USA - SEP 20, 2004
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: MAY 28, 2008 Early summer 2004 release, sampled 9/20/04: Really dark body, small tan head receding quickly, dark fruits and coffee in the nose. Roasty, burnt, coffee, licorice, some fruitiness, medium finishing bitterness. Nicely balanced, nicely done. RERATE: The second (warmer) bottle poured with a huge head, so Iím upgrading the appearance from 4 to 5. Original scores 9 5 9 5 18: 4.6. RERATE Spring 2007 release: This has an overwhelming charred flavor that is not pleasant at all. 6 4 5 3 11 RERATE Spring 2008 release, 5/08: Still has some charred tendencies, but much better than 2007. Heavy on the alcohol, still nowhere what the 2004 was.
GeniusGirl (221) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - SEP 17, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2003 bottle. black like motor oil, small mocha head. aroma canít hide the alcohol, like someone spiked your latte... thick flavors smmokey, mocha--thick--slick-- it settles nice and strong. *whew* an experience to say the least. I was so engrossed with this I forgot about the food in the oven and almost burned my apartment down
ontario102 (794) - Boise, Idaho, USA - SEP 14, 2004
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2004 bottle: pours with a dissipating, moderately small creamy head; deep ebony color, and thick as 10w40, esp. on the palate....lovely bready, chocolatey, licorice, and some coffee aromas; rich, complex, colossal flavor that includes dark fruits, smoke, mocha chocolate, and licorice; slightly medicinal/phenolic; great balancing (huge) bitterness; awesome brew
Goblincat (386) - Westland, Michigan, USA - SEP 13, 2004
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle. Pours a beautiful black with a rich looking chocolate colored head. Nose consists of malt, chocolate, coffee. This stout is good. Godly good. Flavors leap out, such as Hersheyís Syrup, malt balls, plum, and a touch of spice. Amazing.
shameusburp (171) - Virginia, USA - SEP 7, 2004
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: DEC 20, 2005 Tried it on tap at Pizza Plant on Transit in Buffalo NY. Truly great IRS. Awesome blend of flavors of malt and hops. Curiously minimal roastiness.
Enniskillen (2044) - Salinas, California, USA - SEP 6, 2004
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2004- Pours thick, black, with a thin bubbly tan head. Aroma is licorice, bitter chocolate, coffee, alcohol, raisens, and a lil caramel. Alcohol is nicely covered but still gives you that warming feeling which is very pleasant because it is so subtle; the alcohol seems more in the 7% range. Smooth, heavy, the flavor isnít as complex as the aroma would make you think, coffee and malt are the main tastes. A darn good I.S.
Pigfoot (2268) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - SEP 5, 2004
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Color is as black as sin, thoroughly opaque, utterly dark, and well-endowed with a full, thick, lush roasty-toasty tan head.
Aroma: Oh, goodness, gracious, golly! Sweetness, rich, lush, chocolatey, and burgeoning with a myriad of further flavors, dates, raisins, anise, molasses, maple syrup, dark, twisted, delicious...Iíve compared certain other Imperial Stouts to candy bars (Bellís Expedition, to name one, whose glass I drink this from), and this goes a touch beyond that, without testing the boundaries of sweetness. Magnificent.
Taste: No body could be fuller, no taste could be richer, the malt is thick and juicy, even, and the hops keep the tongue busy and happy. A complex melange, a viscous mouthfeel, constant tussel with the palate, insistent pleasure on the tongue.
Now, the thicker, slicker, motor-oliy feel kicks in, but by now, you love it, or youíre out. Strength, too, sets itís feelers out and begins to trickle into the feeling and the brain, as well. Sticky and treacly, though dark, and thoroughly delicious, if your tastes run like mine.
It rolls around and around the mouth, washing all the senses with this rich, dark, utterly decadent flavor.
Oh, what dark malts can do, for this flavor is so rich, so thick, so fully flavorful, this is decadence, indeed.
Finish? There ainít none! It just keeps going in the mouth!
Mouthfeel? It is utterly dominant, thoroughly covers every inch of the senses...an amazing beer!