joet (2154) - Santa Rosa, California, USA - JUL 3, 2002
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Black as coal with a rich, milky tan foam and a slightly hoppy, malty and cocoa with trace bits of anise in a nose that grows like Pinocchio’s as it warms. Feels very rich and then finishes remarkably clean. Refreshingly, I’m finding nothing worty or bready. Tastes sweet with hints of bubblegum and some fruity esters but my tongue is telling me this is remarkably dry. The alcohol is mostly background and is instrumental in making the finish so clean.
SkinFlick99 (1) - USA - JUL 3, 2002 does not count
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
AceOfHearts (1375) - Mountain View, California, USA - JUN 25, 2002
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Update: No change to ratings, but I tried a bottle out of the stash. Ridiculous!! It’s so freakin’ good. I can taste the alcohol quite clearly this time around, but it doesn’t degrade the taste in the slightest, it only enhances it. Genius!!
Original rating: My new fave. Tan head, utterly opaque black color. Complex smell: Alcohol, sweetness, a tad bit of fruitiness? The alcohol didn’t come out in the taste for me at all, very smooth for the alcohol content. The balance of roasted coffee and sweetness is absolutely perfect in all ways. This is the closest to perfection I have ever tasted. I just got home from San Diego with nine bottles and my only regret is that I didn’t bring more!
Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 23, 2002
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: SEP 10, 2004 Release 2004:
The beer after defection from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass as black as a starless night with the head modest and frothy in size, the color that of rich chocolate, the lace a thin and clinging sheet to the glass. Nose has a deep roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate aroma, toasted grains and a sugary sweetness, the start is rich in malt, sweet with the top as full as they get. Finish has a benign acidity, the hops majestic in their spiciness, quite dry and long lingering aftertaste and a noticeable belly warming, another great release of this magnificent beer, and to think at one time I thought it to strong; your palate does change over the years
The beer as it sets in my 30 plus year old “Chimay Chalice”, is as black as they come, the head is prodigious in size, a beauteous chocolate brown color and spumous in texture as it evaporates in the blink of an eye, the resultant lace forms a “Victoria Secrets” like sheet of lace “See-through” got to love that? Nose is dominated by the toasted grain aroma, backed up by the coffee, chocolate, and a fresh and pleasing crispness I find so appealing. Start is ambrosial, thickly malted with the top as thick as the “Ice” in Maine Today! Briskly acidic, hops spanking in their spiciness and the aftertaste desert bleached bone dry, and my most highly ranked Imperial, and one of my most favorite Stone Brewing Creations, which is a tie with the rest of their beers, except for that Levitation stuff, just kidding “Arrogant Nipple”, I mean Greg!
legion242 (2167) - Richardson, Texas, USA - JUN 21, 2002
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Black-orange red at the edges. Head was khaki- medium density but quickly turned still. Nose was each of the following: mocha, velvet, slight alcohol presence. Thick mouthfeel. Warming down the throat. Sweet and burnt- tiny bit of smoke. Finally a beer my wife wouldn’t share with me!!!!!!!
brewbandit (312) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JUN 18, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
A beer well worth the anticipation. Malty and roasted aromas and flavor very well balanced. Got to find some more.
belgianhomebrew (646) - Acworth, Georgia, USA - JUN 17, 2002
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
This beer is definitelt worth all the hype. Great roasted flavor and aroma. Balanced very nicely. SHould age quite well.
Ringo (963) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - JUN 15, 2002
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: SEP 27, 2004 Overrated. It's ok but not all that. Don't try this beer because of the hype, just try it because you want to try a new beer and rate it accordingly.
Ernest (6181) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - JUN 9, 2002
2.5 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 9/20
UPDATED: APR 8, 2008 2008 bottle. Head is initially small, frothy, brown, mostly diminishing. Body is virtually opaque black (flashlight tested, not completely but close enough). Aroma is lightly malty (roasted grain, cocoa, husks), trace hops (resin, grapefruit), with light notes of alcohol, acetone, and plastic. Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly to moderately bitter. Finish is lightly to moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately to heavily bitter, unclean. Medium to full body, creamy/syrupy texture, soft/lively carbonation, moderately to heavily alcoholic. Wow, this is pretty bad. Sorry, but...this should never have been bottled. Virtually no aroma, and what’s there is not pleasant. Dirty aftertaste and a harsh, burning finish. This beer isn’t even a shadow of it’s former self (yes, it used to be very nice, no argument there)...the 2007 was very disappointing, but this one has diminished to the point of being undrinkable. Hope they can turn their brewery back around...beers like this and Double Bastard used to be great brews, but both are now only the same in name, not in content.
Andrew196 (1091) - Katy, Texas, USA - JUN 4, 2002
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Gorgeous opaque color and beige head....you gotta love that in a beer. It had a nose of dark fruits and oats, some alcohol too. Reminiscent of old rasputin. It had a flat finish that kept me from rating it higher, a little more crispness and/or hops would have helped...great beer though.