Skyview (5360) - Papoose Jct, Minnesota, USA - OCT 24, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Sampled from bottle shared by Guerde. Pours an opaque black brew with a thin and fast dissolving tan head that dissipates to a thin film top. Aroma of both black and red licorice, raisins, some tart berries, dark chocolate and some plum. Taste is full bodied, thick and semi-chewy texture with flavors of roasted dark malt, licorice, raisins and prunes, dark chocolate a touch of coffee and even character of aged brandy. Finish has a high alcohol warmth with a fast dissolving raisin aftertaste. Uf dah! Good ’n strong, yah.
badgerben (4682) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - OCT 23, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Big thanks to Guerde for sharing, and also to Yespr for the bottle of this I am sure to enjoy in the future! Black color with a thin head. The aroma starts with some light licorice and roasted malt, then turns to a bit of sherry and coffee. A hint of a berry, seemed like Lingonberry. On first sip, the heavy roasted malt smacks you right away, almost an acrid touch. As this fades, the berry becomes quite apparently lingonberry. The berry skin stands out. Lightly tart finish, and Guerde’s deScription of a snap pea pod on the end is spot on. Really nice.
Guerde (1247) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - OCT 22, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
(bottle from Sparky27, thanks Eric!) Pours black with a tan head. The aroma is very sweet and all over the map. Scents of port, prunes, red vines, chocolate, anise, and berry skin all leap out to me initially. The aroma doesn’t change too much and retains this sweet smell throughout consumption. The flavor is quite different than the aroma. The taste starts out similar with the chocolate, prune, and berry skin (which is more prominent now), but the finish I found to be a little unpleasant. The roasted malt that wasn’t evident before rears its head in a big way on the finish, which lends a flavor reminiscent of green snap pea pods. As it warms the finish becomes more bitter as well. The mouthfeel is medium and carbonation is minimal. This was a good beer, but the finish really detracted from the overall experience.
FlacoAlto (4045) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - OCT 22, 2008
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Canadian Import Label, Best By Date April 2013; Sampled October 2008
A solid pour easily produces a four finger thick, creamy consistency, nicely browned, dark tan colored head in my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass. Lots of lacing sticks to the sides of my glass as the head, fairly uniformly, slowly recedes. The beer is a dark, opaque, deeply concentrated brown, really near black color that is opaque when held up directly to the light, but showed a clear, dark chocolate brown color as I was pouring it. The aroma has an up front fruitiness to it that smells of prunes and fig. A deeper inspection shows the same fruit, but with the alcohol produces notes of brandy and rum. Towards the middle / end notes of cocoa, lightly roasted nuts and toasted whole grain notes. As my nose gets used to it a faint, funky, musty notes starts to become noticeable; light notes of ripe cheese, decaying wood and a touch of dried, musky sweat contribute, what seems to be recurring, a signature Struis character. The alcohol can be a bit too prominent in the nose at times, making this a bit hot, but it is just about complex enough that I don’t really care. I wasn’t really expecting much roast character here, and at first I didn’t notice a whole lot, but now that I have dug around a bit there is definitely a sharp, a bit acrid, at times substantially toasted, roast / burnt grain note towards the finish.
Soft and creamy at first, then some prickly carbonation sets in and the beer gets a sharpness from the roast malt that also tends to add some thinning effect; never enough to keep this beer from being chewy and a definite sipping brew though. Substantial chocolate notes up front are tempered by darkly roasted, coffee-like notes towards the finish that add both a roast bitterness and some burnt acidity to the finish. This hides its alcohol fairly well in the flavor with just a touch of warming as it runs down my throat. A substantial, rich, concentrated fruit character becomes much more noticeable as my palate gets used to the dark grain notes; flavors of tart / sweet prunes, moist dried figs and some definite brandy-like fruit / alcohol notes. As the beer warms up it picks up more sweetness, which helps to balance the roast malt and alcohol notes a bit more. At times, in the finish, there is a substantial, toasty nutty note that reminds me of chestnuts and perhaps a touch of roasted pepita (pumpkin nut). Towards the end of my glass it starts to pick up a bit of chalky dark malt character.
Definitely a good beer, it is lacking the finesse that I was hoping for though. The complexity is there in the nose, but, while tasty, it doesn’t seem to fully follow through in the flavor.
hopdog (10284) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 19, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle acquired in trade with Sammy. BB April 2013. Poured a dark black with reddish/brown edges and a large sized tan head. Aromas of chocolate, roasty, some coffee, and a littley earthy. Tastes of raisins, prunes, chocolate, molasses, caramel, roast, and other dark fruits. Smooth and creamy body that ends lightly syrupy. Alcohol content well hidden.
dalekliz (903) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 19, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle, sampled at RBSG 08, with thanks to yespr. Pours a deep black, with a small, tan head. Sour and tart malt aroma, with a lot dark fruits. Taste of sweet malt and fruits, with a hint of sourness. Lingering malt and fruit flavors. Very nice.
scraff (2121) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - OCT 18, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Thanks for sharing, kmweaver! Black, tan creamy head. Sweet coffee and milk chocolate aroma rides wafts of black currants and warm golden raisins. Sugar coated dark fruit and chocolate coffee flavors round to soft bitter finish. ABV only shines a touch. Full bodied with pillow soft carbonation. A nice sipper for sure, but I just don’t get the hype on this one…
awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 18, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
From a 330mL Bottle. Dark brown, fudgey black pour with a firm finger of creamy tan head. Dark malt aromas of chocolate and roast coffee, accompanied by some earthy, leafy hops. There are some plum and charred prune fruit flavors as well, along with hints of a less pleasant apple character. Medium full bodied, creamy carbonated mouthfeel wiht a rich, malty texture. Chocolate fudge malt and white pine resinous hops up front. Toward the middle, some softer toffee and nougat malt complexities start to come through. The hop flavor is strong, and I find it to be overwhelming some of the malt complexity more than I’d like. Long finish, with smooth roast coffee, black licorice spice, and bitter hop resins lingering in the final smack. Moderate alcohol warmth. Pretty good beer overall, but it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping. I was expecting more of an "imperial" version of the De Dolle Export stout, perhaps spiced with Pannepot inspirations, but I ended up getting something that tasted far more American than Belgian, and in that I was a little disappointed.
Swolf3 (262) - Elkton, Maryland, USA - OCT 16, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle poured black in color with nice foamy tan head. Aroma was very nice, with coffe, chocolate, and malts. Silky smooth body with flavors of caramel, roasted malts, and chocolate. Finished smooth and very good.
TheEpeeist (3608) - Media, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 15, 2008
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
11.2 oz bottle, imported by Shelton Bros. Ebony with a dense tan head that leaves a thick, lacy ring. Nose is licorice and coffee with subtle barnyard and earth. Silky body with a tang and airy alcohol. Starts very sweet with molasses and smoky honey. Notes of chocolate and raisin finishing with a firm bitter bite. A distinctively Belgian take on an Imperial Stout.