jeffin7 (612) - Silver Spring, Maryland, USA - MAR 4, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Draft @ Sweetwater Centerville:
Pours black with very little head. Aroma is of chocolate, roast, a slight coffee. Flavor is of sweet chocolate syrup, coffee, bitter chocolate, slight licorise. Not much hoppiness but there is a strong balancing bitterness. There is nothing outlandish, over the top, or experimental about this beer it is simply an excellent expression of a classic imperial stout.
arjoseph (639) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 28, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: APR 11, 2005 GABF 2004. This was labeled as "Great American Restaurant" High Desert Imperial Stout. C. Quiroga and I drank about half of what they brought, I think. It’s funny now to think about how the brewer assiduously poured our first samples only up to the prescribed tasting line. After our fifth refill, he automatically topped us off. The appearance of this beer was the most remarkable I’ve seen for a stout, especially the head (for details, see Chris’ review). I could smell the wonderful roast flavors before tasting; after tasting, I was delighted that the flavor was as much imbued with dark fruits as it was coffee/chocolate. Importantly, I would say this was the "freshest" tasting impy I had at GABF, crisp all the way through. Considering the amount of traffic the table got during the times Chris and I stood there, this was a very underappreciated beer. You should all lament that you didn’t get a chance to sample it.
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - JAN 5, 2005
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Black as night with a tan head. Nice chocolate and roasted malt aroma with some expresso and hops. Taste is Belgian chocolates, day old strong coffee and a nice hop bite.
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 5, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
This impy stout pours a black body topped by a thick head with great lacing. The aroma and flavor are sweet and malty with slight vanilla and chocolate notes, a nice raostiness, as well as some fruit. Full bodied and smooth.
Sickboy282 (1115) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 2, 2005
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a deep black hue with a small brown head. Aromas of soy sauce, chocoalte with flavors of the same but with a little coffee kick to it. Very smooth with a clean finish. MInimal hop presence.
cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - OCT 16, 2004
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
10/1/04. On draft at GABF ’04 in Denver, CO 10/1/04. Called "Great American Restaurants High Desert Imperial Stout." Black-brown color with excellent dark tan head. I need to take a moment to sing the praises of this wondrous head-- it created a frothy, full, meringue-like seal atop the lovely opaque beer, and it was so plump and unwavering that I would tilt the glass like 70 degrees on its side (almost horizontal), and the surface of the head would stay level as the beer would fight to push its way out. Simply unbelieveable. And the retention was probably the best I’ve ever seen on an imperial stout. While the rest of the beer was pretty awesome, the head was really otherworldly. Roasty nose with some mulchy dark malts and only subtle chocolate and coffee aromas. Quite nice, but a bit simplistic and tame for an imperial. Flavor brings it home. Rich interplay of roast and burnt malts, subtly mingling with a hint of chocolate sweetness and a tinge of acidity. Terrific dry finish follows up the initial taste with a cocoa powder/dry coffee ground snappiness. Very nicely balanced and full-flavored. Medium-full body with a long and surprisingly subtle and delicate finish, only subtly alcoholic. Wonderfully refined and controlled beer. A damn good imperial stout.
3fourths (7884) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - OCT 4, 2004
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: OCT 10, 2013 GABF 2004 - Under the name Great American Restaurants High Desert Imperial Stout - Black body, medium sized brown head. Musty, leafy basil, plum, compost and cabbage aromas, with a piney sweet hop/juniper note as well. Flavor of wood and plums, average body, medium alcohol presence with a chalky and sour finish. I sampled this beer on two nights of the GABF, the first time being turned off by the vegetable/basil notes, but on the second night I was more impressed. Something I have at the top of my list for a rerate.
Ringo (963) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - OCT 4, 2004
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A sleeper in the Imp Stout wars - the "relatively" low ABV and lack of the "throw everything in there" flavor and syrupy palate combine to make this a better Imp stout than many of the "celebrities."
JCW (1274) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAY 29, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle for me by CaptainCougar-Many Thanks Tom!. Dark black, totally opaque. Aroma is chocolate and burnt coffee like flavor mixed with some sweet flavors like dried plums or raisons. Slight tartness. Moderate body for an Imperial Stout. Balance and perfect finish. Great Beer.
TAR (2444) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - MAY 26, 2004
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
bottled from growler: Dark chestnut highlighted with a maple border. Dwindling, jagged-edged dull tan head. Roasted wood, seared sugar in the nose mixed with spruce tips and ink. Minute alcohol presence with tangy chocolate fudge hiding underneath. Thick, pillowy-soft body. Minimally prickly carbonation. Medium-richness at first with tangy roast leading the way. Burnt malts soon take over while accentuating the roast immensity. Substantial hoppiness cuts right through the malt richness. Fluffy malt underlay and meaty molasses curb the gritty, chalklike astringency from the black malts as dried plums briefly soften the body. Firm Crystal edge agitates the vinous alcohol and stings the palate with the hops coming and going. Finishes on the dry side with raw hop pungency and spruce tips accompanying roasted barley and an espresso backdrop. This is a remarkable brew. Thanks, Cougar!