JLAudio (282) - Crestwood, Illinois, USA - NOV 21, 2008
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
On tap at Sheffields bar (Chicago, IL). Poured into a goblet at perfect semi-cool temperature. Black opaque with a fantastic 3 finger tan head. The aromas of roasted malts hit my nose most predominantly along with chocolate, oak, and dark cherry. The mouthfeel was phenomenal, soft, velvety, and mouthfilling. It had slight, slight carbonation, it worked perfectly. The flavors were so refined and balanced, full of roasted chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, honey, and a slight bourbon. The IBU’s could be felt on the finish, along with a gentle warming of alcohol. Superb. One of the best imperials out there. Now I need to try in bottles.
GodOfThunder (1249) - Orlando, Florida, USA - NOV 21, 2008
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Thanks to Redlight, the owner of the best beer bar in the South, for sharing this with the Orlando RateBeer crew. Dark black cherry color with a raspberry chocolate head. The smell is dense with oak, chocolate, berries and a hoppy tartness. This is certainly more hoppy than expected and it is filled with chewwy raisin bits. Smooth and thick, it goes down pretty easy. More sweet, bitter and tart than I was expecting, and not totally balanced. Still, it is good, but it could be better.
TheAlum (6926) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - NOV 20, 2008
4.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
The beer I have been waiting for. Served on tap at Binny’s bar (South Loop, Chicago, IL). I was not dissappointed. Tulip glass. Poured a pitch black opaque with a dark brown sustaining and sizable head that looks thick and creamy. Aromas are heaven: chocolate and vanilla mixed with roasted malts, oak, and caramel with a hoppy twinge on the end. Initial is loaded with flavor: chocolate and vanilla mix liberally with a roasted and caramel malt. Prominent raisiny dark fruit notes present. A touch of charred oak and a nice hoppy bite to round out the finish. Wow. Thick and hearty full bodied beast. Lovely. So smooth and subtle, lasting aftertaste. Nothing harsh on the palate, extremely flavor packed. Hides the alcohol very well. Cheers!
17thfloor (2443) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 20, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: NOV 12, 2010 [2008 on tap at the Hopleaf] Pours black/dark brown with a mocha frothy head. Very sweet tasting, green hops a bit under-ripe, sugary, piney, some resin, dark chocolate and roast. Syrupy mouthful. I hear this one is all about the hops... well the hops are too green this year... so maybe some age would handle that... but I hear it doesn’t age well either =p 184.108.40.206.16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
[2009 on draft at Sheffield’s release] Pours an oily black with not much of a head. Aroma is wonderfully hoppy. Flavor is also wonderfully hoppy over top of a very sweet basically cloying thick malt body, no coffee what so ever which is interesting, dark chocolate, some sharp raisin but not nearly as prevalent as it can be in other impys, the green banana is there just a bit but not nearly like it was last year. Much better. 220.127.116.11.16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
[2010 draft at Hopleaf] Green, vegetal, dark chocolate syrup, touch burnt, tar, tobacco, ash, piney, my least favorite of the 3 so far, maybe. 18.104.22.168.14
nhorween (645) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 20, 2008
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
On tap at the Map Room. First off, what a nice surprise to get this beer on tap. Thanks CMUbeerman for the pour? I think? Great dark pour with a tan head. Excellent chocolate and roasty aroma, smoke, great piney hops come through. Long bitter and chocolatey finish. Warming in the chest but not hot. Sweet milk chocolate balanced by bitterness and smoke. Really great. Complex fruit in the distance. Give me more.
WickerBrew (311) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 20, 2008
4.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
OK its impoosible to describe these beers with out comparing, sorry. First it is incredible. Perfect blending of flavors - you can pick out all the tastes and none overwhelm. It is not as good as Dark Lord though. DL is just a little bigger on all levels and smells stronger. I would love to try it bourbon aged, I could see it then coming close to Goose Island. Luckly it is on tap just around the corner at map room, but i would travel much further to get it. The tap there was working perfect too, the carbonation and temp could not have been better. Its worth all the hype.
bdigital (658) - Ft Wayne, Indiana, USA - NOV 20, 2008
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: FEB 15, 2009 ’08 Bottle: Finally!!! I’ve been waiting quite some time to try this and that time is upon us. Pitch black pour with a maroon-ish halo around the edge...small tan head. Loads of roasted malts, dark cherries, berries, chocolate and underlying notes of vanilla bean and floral hops. Mildly carbonated, silky mouth feel. Flavor is so ridiculously smooth, notes of roasted malts, massive amounts of dark fruits, chocolate and an inspiring floral hop finish. Simply amazing.
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - NOV 20, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Review #400 so let’s make it Darkness. Bottles courtesy of a couple of super generous traders in Surly country poured into a snifter.
Not surprising, it’s dark...pours jet black with hints of mahogany as it comes out of the bottle. The head is tan and three fingers high before receding to an inch-thick cap that lingers throughout with tons of lacing.
While not typical of the style, I found the aroma fascinating. The first smell was of floral hops, especially pine, along with some citrus. As it warmed, some of the dark malts and chocolate came out, but still with a heavy hop presence. It smells damn near like a DIPA. Crazy.
The taste steers back toward an RIS, but not all the way there. The initial taste is a quick citrus hop kick that tingles the tongue before the dark roasted malts and bakers chocolate melt the tingling away to a thick malty coating. The finish is a tad dry with a slight hop bitterness as well. The sweetness of dark fruits comes out much more as it warms, but again this is probably the hoppiest tasting RIS I’be had.
The mouthfeel is truly exceptional. Very, very creamy but with the perfect amount of carbonation to help the flavors pop.
Well, this may not be the best RIS I’ve had, but it is probably the most original. I’d heard it was hoppy, but I just had no idea.
bradlyc77 (226) - Sebastopol, California, USA - NOV 20, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 11, 2009 Hoppy for a stout, great aroma. Sweet maltiness, but seemingly lighter in body than expected. Components of hops and malt seem not well balanced and separated, perhaps some age would help. Thanks to iowaherkeye.
NobleSquirrel (3439) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 19, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: NOV 13, 2009 Update: 2009 edition on draft at Kuma’s. Full pint pour of this bad boy. Much better this year than less, better attenuated, though still a bit sweet. Some chocolate and dried fruits. Big NW hops. Really hoppy and reminds me a lot of Storm King, but a whole lot more body. Will increase rating as much better this time. 8-5-8-4-16.
2008: Draft at Kuma’s. This was one of the most underwhelming beers I’ve had to date. Pours a pitch black with dark brown head. Nose is slightly hoppy and smokey, though mostly I get a ton of sweetness, which is what I get in the taste department as well. A very sweet beer with an unbalanced hop bitterness. Astringent and cloying. I’ll have to revisit, but I was sorely disappointed... 7-5-6-3-12