boboski (1095) - Alabama, USA - FEB 7, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2006. This is the most beautiful looking Belgian I have ever had, the first beer that made me wish the appearance scale could be adjusted to a higher number for special circumstances. Such a picturesque, statuesque and stately head, boldly bobbing atop a gleaming mahogany body that is hazy and so creamy, seems to be melting rather than diminishing. Rarely have I been so thrilled at the sight of a beer. The aroma is mind boggling in its complexity and stunning array of fragrant nuances. Berries of every variety mingle seemlessly with robust caramel malts and chocolate. Vanilla is intertwined with spicy and earthy ginger and sherry. Miraculous it is not, but itís darn close. Flavor is very sweet, with tastes of caramel, more dark fruits, dates, chocolate, hazelnut, port and/or sherry and alcohol coyly hiding in the shadows. Monstrous yet balanced, playful yet so refined. Effortless though it is to partake in, itís near impossible to sit down, or even admire from afar. The palate is a touch spicy at times but lovely in its entirety. Finishes sweet and elegant. Masterful to the Nth degree.
highlandlad (1402) - Blue Mountains, AUSTRALIA - FEB 7, 2007
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
An exceptional Belgian strong ale displaying a delicate sweet/sour balance. It reminded me a bit of Thorogoods Billy Bís Malted Golden Ale in its intensity of flavours. For my money, it errs on the sweet side, but thatís a minor criticism of a fine ale. Brown with a solid head. Not as sweet in the aroma as the Pannepeut - this has sherbet and plenty of sour cherries. Perfect palate - soft and creamy. Lots of caramelised sugars, tokay and dried fruits. Terrific stuff but just a bit too sweet IMO. (Bottle courtesy of Duff at the Sydney RateBeer Jan 07 gathering - thanks amigo)
Hugh (153) - Zillebeke, BELGIUM - FEB 5, 2007
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: MAR 20, 2008 Competently brewed. Brown, possible red-brown beer, meduim carbonation. Brown sugar present. Too sweet for my tastes but typical for the more commercial Belgian barley wine brands. The label lists other flavours to be discovered, but unlike other reviewers, I couldnít find them. Looking at the five reviews below this, and the aromas and flavours found in them, I had to laugh at the power of suggestion.
Stine (1453) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - FEB 5, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 1, 2008 The pour is a dense chocolate-coffee brown. Chocolate and oaky whiskey in the aroma with touches of black licorice and vinegar. Flavor is quite confusing but approachable, and strange in a favorable way. Elements are bitter chocolate, soy sauce, red bell pepper and malty brown sugar. Whispers of amaretto and smoke put the finishing touches on this very heady concoction, defying descriptions. Warming with a searing intensity, yet comfortingly rich and smooth. To be sure I certainly wouldnít recommend this a "fishermanís ale" - it strikes me as more appropriate for less docile or predictable adventures.
Murphy (1759) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - FEB 4, 2007
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Pours with a huge fluffy beige head, body is dark reddish brown, almost opaque. Rich aroma of yeast, plumb, molassis. Flavor is diverse fruit, molassis, brown sugar. Almost smokey malts. Clean finish, slightly oaky. Body is near perfect, silky with light oil. Moderate ethanol, appropriate. Very balanced, delicious beer. Thanks Nick!
Aarleks (409) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - FEB 2, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle (Sydney Summer Gathering 2007): Oh my! For a bitterly cold winterís night you couldnít really ask for anything else. This fortifying ale lives up to its reputation and puts to shame most other attempts at the style. Almost opaque black under a tan head. Aromas of cola spiced with licquirice and medicinal herbs start to warm the blood. In the mouth the heat burns sweetly with figs, dates, and other caramelised fruits and lots of dark brown sugar, delivered via a beautifully creamy palate. However, these words simply canít do justice to this outstandingly good beer.
tennisjoel (1154) - Rochester, Minnesota, USA - FEB 2, 2007
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I am eagerly anticipating drinking this. Opened the bottle and it was a gusher. But I was able to save most of it. Huge muddy colored head. Awesome aroma. Raisin, plum, cocoa, spice, and cherry. Very sweet flavor, although I detect sour cherry which keeps it from being too sweet. Yum.
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 2, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: FEB 3, 2007 Deep burgundy body with noticeable jets of carbonation and a persistent rippled, foamy tan head. Aroma of nutmeg, anise, rum raisin, brown sugar, dark chocolate, and pepper. Sweet and delectable flavor with nice integration of clove, licorice, and pumpkin spice with pleasing dark malt and candy sugar. Has a plum-skin character with a light edge of acidity. Velvety body with soft, mouth-filling carbonation. This is an undeniably well-crafted and creative beer, but could be out-of-this-world with a little more attenuation.
badgerben (4362) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - JAN 30, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
2006 Bottle. Pours pretty much black with a thick, tan, frothy head. Wow... the aroma is just sadistically good. Dry malt along with very light cloves and cinnamon. It almost smells like a Christmas ale in the making! Insanely complex taste... Itís got some sweet malt rounded out with a mild yet very obvious spice. Iím not sure Iíd stick with my cloves statement, but think wintery spices, not corriander and "typical" Belgian spices. Cardamom? Some yeast, but not overpowering. It may be the description influencing me, but almost salty? Holy damn is this a fine freakin brew!!
thebaldwizard (1205) - Ohio, USA - JAN 30, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle from The_Epeeist, thanks a ton!! Malty, vinuous aroma with just a hint of sourness. Very dark brown with a monster tan head. Medium to full palate is extremely smooth. Big brown sugar taste with yeasts flavors and a great malt backbone. This is an excellent brew.