notalush (5514) - Denver, Colorado, USA - FEB 6, 2009
3.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Thanks to TheCheeseMan for this - this bottle has been sitting in my fridge for a couple of weeks, and I’m sick of looking at it every time I go in there to grab a pickle or some cheese of something, so here we go - fizzy dark ruby beer - minimal, poorly sustained head - the aroma starts things off in a promising direction, with loads of spices and herbs (cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns), and an underlying caramel/cocoa/nutty sweetness - the flavor is tart and acidic - at first, I thought this was infected, but additional sips made me believe this was intentional - underneath this, that complex spice combination from the aroma comes through, as well as a light caramel sweetness - quite a bit of tart, nearly sour cherry character throughout - near the end, the beer gets very peppery and warming, with the slightest hint of chocolate - finish of lingering herbs and astringent acidity - I’m still not entirely sure this bottle is what the brewer intended it to be - either way, it’s a so-so drinking experience.
SamGamgee (2452) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - FEB 3, 2009
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Growler from the brewery last December, and somehow forgot to enter my notes until now. Dark purple-brown. Richly spiced aroma that does indeed have some similarities to mexican chocolate. Caramel and sharply spicy flavor. Finished a bit astringent. Started quite good, but by the end the spices were a bit heavy handed, and there wasn’t much chocolate flavor as advertised. Fun to split with a bunch of people, but I wouldn’t want a whole bottle of this to myself.
Beershine (5218) - The Sunshine State, Florida, USA - FEB 2, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Deep mahogany, reddish brown, tan head. Spicy aroma is similar to pumpkin ale Alcohol is noticeable. Gently carbonated but big mouthfeel. Goes well with the chili chocolate we have. Really like this, it’s nice and smooth.
Oakes (13966) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - FEB 2, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Dark brown colour. Murky. Rich, chocolate aroma with good fruit and spice as well. Very spicy palate with light chocolate notes.
FlacoAlto (4045) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 24, 2009
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
November 2008 Bottle Date; Sampled January 2009,br>
A soft pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three-finger thick, lightly browned, full tan colored head. The beer is a very dark, burnt brown color that shows a brilliantly clear, deep ruby hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells quite sweet more from spice notes and a touch of cinnamon than from the actual malt. I do believe I detect a touch of spicy chile in the nose as well, it is just a touch in the finish, but seems to add an earthy chile note. Caramelized malt adds some brown sugar like notes and there is also a light toasted grain character. By far the sweet spice notes are the most noticeable part of the aroma, but as the beer warms a bit more of the chile starts to come out; this accentuates some berry notes and there is also a touch of cocoa now towards the finish.
A prickly carbonation greets my tongue up front and adds a tartness from the carbonic acid. Some aggressive swirling releases some of the excessive carbonation, but there is still a tartness to this brew. This has a spiciness reminiscent of sweet baking spices (a mix of cinnamon, clove and perhaps a hint of nutmeg), that also add a touch of bitterness to the finish. The chile adds some spice and chile flavor to the finish without really being hot at all. There is a bitterness here in the finish from the roasted malt, which also adds some roasted, toasted character to the front end of the beer as well. This is pretty light bodied, though it does have some heft to it that becomes a bit more balanced as the beer warms up. This is quite fruity tasting at times and reminds me of tart currants, some berry notes, as well as some tannic red grape flavors. The malt also seems to contribute a touch of dark cocoa flavors in addition to the toasted notes.
This is an interesting beer. The ancho is not quite prominent enough and the beer itself doesn’t quite seem like it is rich enough to support the additional ingredients. This definitely has a certain tartness to it as well, though I think this is due to the dark grain and mash schedule than from any infection.
Purchased: South Bay Drugs, Imperial Beach CA
bhensonb (12960) - Woodland, California, USA - JAN 16, 2009
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle from Ledgers Liquor. Pours a dark ruby color with a fine four-finger tan head. Aromas of cocoa, malt and spice. Flavor is somewhat mild chili over chocolate. Quite a spicy treat. Body is medium with fine carbonation. Finish comes on chocolate/cocoa with a little chili - not really hot, just chili. Really well done.
JohnnyJ (5079) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 10, 2009
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
On tap at stone. Pours a creamy dark brown. Mostly chocolate flavor, creamy milk chocolate, cocoa powder, caramel malt, and spice. The finish has a bit of pepper chilies that leaves some spice in the mouth, but it is not very much. Medium mouthfeel. I thought this was a fairly enjoyable spiced winter ale, worth a try.
StefanSD (2218) - Lakeside, California, USA - JAN 8, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
750 ml bottle from Bev4less. Pours a murky dark brown with a dissipating beige head. The nose is complex with cocoa, spices, and some funky sour grapes. The flavor is sour and spicy, with pumpkin, cocoa, grapes, apple and chestnuts. The mouthfeel is full and silky smooth. The finish is long and dry with lingering spices. Overall: A very enjoyable winter ale, it kinda reminded me of Alpine Ichabod 2007.
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - JAN 2, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Courtesy TheCheeseMan. Pours a clear, dark, chestnut brown color. A foamy, beige colored head is well retained. Sudsy lacing mostly rejoins the body. The aroma shows a fairly complex and inviting blend of dried caramel, dehydrated figs, chestnuts, nutmeg, and allspice. A hint of vanilla lurks somewhere within, with a glint of smokiness, but no heat, stemming from the chilies. Flavors are basically the same, dry and earthy, with a light caramel and dark fruit sweetness, and slightly bitter, woody wintertime spices. Medium bodied and semi-dry, the palate is perhaps a shade weak and overly active for the style. This is a fairly nice, tasty wintertime brew.
hopscotch (10265) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - JAN 2, 2009
2.4 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 8/20
Bottle… Clear, dark ruby ale with a small, creamy, off-white head. Smells like ketchup – spicy and sweet. Medium-bodied with fizzy carbonation. The flavor is spicy, herbal and moderately sweet. Finishes spicy, light sweet and mildly acidic.