Rando7 (725) - Iowa, USA - MAY 19, 2011
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle pours dark brown with frothy tan head. Aroma smoky. Taste roast, malts, caramel, a bit of chocolate and a lot of smoke and barbecue. Palate medium-thick with moderate carbonation. Finish brief and roasty with a little alcohol burn. The porter aspects were not as strong other Baltics, and the smoky aspects dominated a bit much. Glad I got to try it.
bsp77 (724) - Minnesota, USA - SEP 6, 2011
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.
Appearance: Extremely dark brown without much head and very spotty lacing.
Aroma: Smoked malts, oak, molasses, raisins, vanilla and licorice. Impressive for a lager, which tend to be mild in the scent department.
Taste: Oak and smoke is very predominant, with nice rounded semi-sweet malts of molasses, plum, licorice and figs. Ends with a touch of spicy and bitter hops, which co-mingle nicely with the smoke.
Palate: Low carbonation, smooth and creamy lager body that is somewhat full bodied.
Overall: Very nice balance between a Baltic Porter, Rauchbier and Oak-Aged beer. Delicious and very easy to drink, belaying its 8.2% abv.
darkguardian (724) - Florida, USA - JAN 19, 2009
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pour from a growler courtesy Beerlando. Pours dark brown, the nose on this is amazing, smells like smoked bacon, underlying notes of coffee. This is a much better smoke beer than any other I have had, its more like smoked meat, not at all acrid. Lovely notes of chocolate and coffee underneath. This seems like it may be fairly strong in alcohol as it doesn’t feel thin at all. Guessing 7.5 or 8%. Guess we will never know. Amazing brew!
BeerBunker (709) - Burbank, Illinois, USA - OCT 28, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Cup at Darkness Day. Dark brown color with a tan head that lasts only a few seconds. Aroma was of toasted malt, chocolate, tasty smoked ham, wood, and a little hint of toffee. Taste was of malt, chocolate, and wood all balanced by smoked flavors making it all taste very earthy. Would go perfect with barbeque.
WisconsinBeer (703) - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA - DEC 15, 2007
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark viscous used motor oil color with a thick grimy head. Aroma is surprisingly light for a smoked beer. Smoke flavor is not overwhelming, but plays a nice complimentary roll. Medium bodied. Well done, as a lot of rauch beers seem to be heavy on smoke and light on body, which doesn’t describe this beer at all. Thanks to Omar for breaking this out on tap during Darkness Day 12-15-07!
camborne (655) - Hopkins, Minnesota, USA - DEC 24, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Deep smoky flavor. Meaty and mouthwatering. Strong flavor . Definitely a sipping beer. Nice
mlunger12 (645) - Orlando, Florida, USA - MAR 12, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
750ml bottle shared at Hunahpu 2011. Great smoke aroma, none of the offshoot Bacon like taste. Plain and simple. One of the best classic smokes I’ve had. Absolutely mouthwatering.
bookman10 (621) - Osseo, Minnesota, USA - DEC 4, 2010
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: JAN 15, 2013 I enjoyed it. The smoke is quite strong and permeates the beer to a significant degree, so if this isn’t your thing, try something else. It worked for me. Had a draft with a burger at St. Paul’s Happy Gnome. Little to no head. Some chocolate and sweet undertones there (hard to tell under the smoke). Not quite sure it’s worth the expense (I really wish Surly would get serious about bottling this and Darkness in larger quantities so they wouldn’t be so hard to find), but was glad to have the opportunity to give it a try. Complemented the burger well.**Update: 1/14/13: Just had a bottle of this that I’d been saving for a year and I have to say, it tasted pretty awful. Don’t know that this is a beer that will age well, at least based on this example (still have another year-old bottle to try).
EHopper (619) - Minnesota, USA - OCT 26, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This was a real treat to get on tap after getting 6 bottles of Darkness at D-day. If someone had said I would enjoy a beer that tastes like a campfire and charred meat, I would have smirked. But the dusty chocolate and roasted malts with almost a cookie like bite, somehow pulls this altogether. It is still impossible for me to say why a lingering palate of barbecue ribs in a beer could be so enjoyable, but I look forward to the next opportunity to find out.
ineedbeer (618) - Oakland, California, USA - MAR 28, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
2012 bottle based on the stamp in the wax; 8.2% ABV. Some rust along cap, but there was a hiss when it opened.
Aroma has a moderate smoke character, but ii is not completely overwhelming. Light chocolate character is noticeable with some faint dark fruit character.
Pours dark brown, almost black but not quite completely opaque along the edges. Fairly large, moderately thick, light mocha head that exhibits pretty good retention. Light lacing and fairly small legs.
Flavor has a nice sweetness that goes well with the moderate chocolate notes that are upfront. Light roast mid palate helps welcome in a medium light smoke character that lingers a bit in the finish with some dark chocolate. Light dark fruit notes of plum, prune and fig along with some faint dark caramel and toffee notes.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation and has a nice silky, creaminess to it. Low astringency and medium low alcohol warmth.
Overall a very nice smoked beer that has aged surprisingly well. The smoke character doesn’t overwhelm the underlying beer so the rich chocolate notes, dark fruit and caramel have a chance to show through.