Strykzone (5149) - Wood River, Illinois, USA - JUN 26, 2011
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Sent in a trade from Hayduke with whom it was shared via Facebook chat. This is not a typical Winter Ale. It pours with a gushing light tan head that takes a while to dissipate. the beer is dark brown and opaque. The nose is huge spices followed by more spices. That is the flavor, too. Tons of spice. Then chile peppers show up. They attack the tongue tip with a vengeance. At some point cocoa is tasted that is never big and reminds me of powdered hot chocolate mix. At the end dark fruit, especially raisins, emerges. The finish is pepper, cocoa and raisins. This beer borders on being odd but somehow it all works, but barely.
marcus (6860) - Sacramento, California, USA - MAR 17, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle from Nugget Market Woodland. Pours black with a thick beige head and a strong spicy aroma. There is a hearty roasted malt flavor heavily laced with multiple spices. There is a sweet chocolate finish. The overall flavor is a bit disjointed but not entirely unpleasant.
AHTOH (101) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 23, 2011
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
750 mL bottle. Bottled on 10/30/09. Drank 2/22/11. Poured into Duvel tulip.
APPEARANCE: Pours a very dark brown color that is opaque. When held to light, is deep caramel brown with slight hues of ruby, as well as pink and amber.
Thick tan head is 2-3 fingers and has long duration. Head eventually settles in a pillowy fashion.
AROMA: Sour – like an oud bruin – is the most prominent aroma. Chocolate (like powdered light milk chocolate) and caramel. Subtle notes of spices – allspice and nutmeg appear most discernible. Faint hint of chili on nose.
TASTE: Tart and acidic – similar to an oud bruin.
Front of palate is acidic.
Mid palate is some light malt sweetness with notes of chocolate and light caramel. Spices on mid palate as well.
Back of palate has a nice amount of chocolate come through (behind the tart/acidic character).
Finish has pleasant touch of heat from the chili – discernible, though hardly overbearing.
MOUTH FEEL: Lighter body than expected. Somewhat crisp. Lively carbonation.
OVERALL: Oud Bruin (Flanders brown [a sour]) with Mexican hot chocolate notes. Given its classification as Spice/Herb/Vegetable instead of a stout (eg, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence is grouped as a stout), was unsure what to expect. Hardly expected something this tart. At first thought it was infected. Still unsure if Telegraph was going for a sour with this. Wanted to like this, though must admit: better in theory than in practice. Aroma much more pleasant than taste. Although oud bruin has its time and place, this would have been much better if it had a different style as a base. Furthermore, it seems the sour character mixed with notes of Mexican hot chocolate hardly work well together.
Getbetter (905) - East Palo Alto, California, USA - JAN 23, 2011
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
From a bottle,coriander is the strongest flavor on my palate,a great example of a wit for a california beer.
popery (1496) - San Francisco, California, USA - JAN 8, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Great spice and chocolate notes. The chili is mild but provides a touch of heat. The taste has a some good sweetness but finishes without any stickiness. It’s about half stout and half winter warmer. Lots of chocolate malt. Some caramel. Mild roast. Some dark fruity notes. The spice is really the star and lends a mix of cinnamon and chili. Mouthfeel eventually gets creamy and smooth, but it’s initially over-carbonated. Very pleasant beer and has some very good holiday spicing.
DYCSoccer17 (3383) - Woodland, California, USA - DEC 11, 2010
2.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
750mL bottle purchased at Nugget Market in Woodland, CA. Corked and caged. No pop whatsoever when this was opened. The aroma is heavy on spices. White pepper, allspice, nutmeg are detected. Lightly floral with some roasted and burnt malts behind the spices. Transparent, watery-appearing cola colored body with no head or carbonation. Starts spicy with some peppery notes, before this becomes slightly sweet in the middle, before this becomes an awkward salty flavor towards the end. Some of the pepper flavor makes an appearance, but there is no heat associated with it. This is a very strange strange brew. I am not sure what to think of it. Definitely needs some carbonation and some body, and the saltiness in the middle is weird...almost mouth puckering. I don’t see myself purchasing this again.
douglas88 (6489) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 5, 2010
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle thanks to footbalm. Pours a dark brown/red color with a large off-white head. A spicy nose; some pepper and allspice. The flavor is nice; sweet and spicy, some light heat from the peppers, caramel and a slight tartness. Nice. The peppers are light but there.
PotjeBier (1774) - Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS - APR 4, 2010
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
75 cl corked bottle from Whole Foods. Pours beautiful red-brown with off-white head (that doesn’t last too long). Aroma boasts spices (ginger, cinnamon, anise, coriander), some chocolaty sweetness and some acidity. Flavor is slightly sweet and acidic (possibly a minor infection). Spiciness in the finish. Not bad, but not great either.
iowaherkeye (2697) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - FEB 4, 2010
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
$7.99 at the Best Damn Beer Shop. 750mL bottled on OCT 30 2009. Clear deep ruby with a very short-lived, two finger beige head. It actually looks like cola now, as quickly as the head faded. Plenty of cinnamon, and allspice in the nose with some toasted malts and light dark chocolate behind. There’s a tinge of lemon as well. Flavor is much the same with the lemon and a fair amount of alcohol warmth surprisingly strong, being only 6.5%. Roasty burnt finish with bitterness at a 2. Thin body with light to moderate carbonation. Didn’t really like this.
daleharshman (944) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 30, 2010
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Corked and caged 750 ml bottle from Holiday Wine Cellar ($6.99). Pours a nice deep dark brown-red with generous three fingers of foamy head. Strong aroma of "holiday" spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) along with weaker aromas of chocolate malt, anise, juniper, wood, and a hint of chili. Flavor is again dominated by the same "holiday" spices found in the nose. The chili taste is weak but there, but the chocolate and malt flavors are noticeably weak. Good carbonation but disappointing finish which is dominated by the spices yet again. This is a good idea -- I certainly enjoyed the Mexican hot chocolate I had when I visited Oaxaca in the winter. There in Mexico the rich chocolate, spice/cinnamon, and chili flavors comes together very well. This beer needs to tone down the spice while increasing the chili and especially the chocolate flavors.