daleharshman (888) - 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.
Getbetter (815) - 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.
BucannonXC5 (802) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 31, 2011
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured from a 1 pint, 9.4 oz. bottle into a pilsner glass. Color was dark mahogany, closer to black than anything else. Just over an inch of head. Nice amount of frothy lacing on the top, that stayed throughout the beer. The film was sporadic, but stayed. The film always looks better in a pint glass than a pilsner glass, so I’ll take that into consideration.
Initially smelled deep spices with cinnamon and gingerbread the only two I mentioned. Gingerbread is a spice you say? Well it is for this beer. Also smelled cloves, caramel, chocolate and toffee. Good smelling beer.
The taste wasn’t as much like the smell as I would have thought. I got gingerbread first, followed by cinnamon and a deep dark chocolate aftertaste. Spices rule the day here.
Full body. Slick texture. Average carbonation. Long spicy finish.
I liked this beer. It was definitely what I could call a winter beer. Too bad I live in California and can’t really appreciate the winter nature of it. Good beer.
DenverLogan (773) - MileHi, Colorado, USA - MAR 10, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark brown; small head. Funky spice and toasty malt aroma. Absolutely crazy brew here with herbal flavors, pepper and other spices, bitter chocolate, other herbs, mouthwash, we’re talking funky spicy wild!!
mattyb83 (736) - Minnesota, USA - JAN 2, 2012
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
750mL bottle from thome50. Bottle opens with a nice pop, and there is an immediate spice presence emanating from the bottle. Deep mahogany color with a medium sized, barely, off white head. Aroma is mainly cinnamon and all spice. Pretty potent with those two ingredients. There is also a small cocoa and caramel presence. Wow!! That’s a beer filled with all spice and cinnamon. Flavor starts off with a nice dose of cinnamon and finishes with a long lasting, intense, all spice flavor. There is a hint of heat from the chilies towards the finish, but honestly I wouldn’t know it was there if it wasn’t for the fact that it is listed in the description. Don’t get a ton of the malt profile in this, but there is a hint of chocolate, but it is so masked by the spice profile it really doesn’t add much. I guess this would be considered unbalanced due to the extreme presence of the spices, but it is still really enjoyable if you like a good spice presence in your beer.
ineedbeer (666) - Oakland, California, USA - JAN 23, 2014
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle is approximately 3 years old - Batch 65.Aroma is mostly dominated by the spice, but there are also some dark fruit esters and malt notes. Light cinnamon and chili with moderate to moderately heavy allspice; I wish the all spice was more balanced with the other notes. Some raisin and prune with medium dark caramel notes and a light chocolate character. As it warms the chili is more noticeable. Pours a clear brown with hints of ruby highlights and a thick tan head that has really good head retention. Medium lacing with faint legs. Flavor is slightly to moderately sweet with spice again being the dominant characteristic. This time the chocolate notes are a bit more noticeable, but there is still a lot of allspice with lighter amounts of cinnamon and even less of the chili. Medium light dark fruit notes of plum, prune and raisin. Medium dark caramel and toffee notes. Medium low but balanced bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium to medium full bodied with medium to medium high carbonation. Low astringency and medium low alcohol warmth. Overall an alright beer, but I find the allspice to be overpowering and it hides the more delicate spice notes (unless they disappeared due to age). No signs of oxidation, but a slight faded character to the malt. Could use richer chocolate notes.
fro2218 (470) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - OCT 23, 2007
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark brown in color. A ton of spice in the aroma. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and mace. Some chocolate and wonderful dark malty caramel. very good.
burpfrank (299) - carpinteria, California, USA - DEC 23, 2006
3.5 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
This had an average aroma.It had a great head and color.The color was a very dark brown,almost black.It tasted mostly like a stout,with hints of chocolate,has a bit of a sour bite.Very slight hint of musky spices.Pretty good beer,but for this style I would rather be drinking Fuller’s London Porter.This beer is very close to being a stout.
mtjoseph (244) - Murderapolis, Minnesota, USA - JAN 2, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
750ml courtesy of thome50. Pours medium brown into a snifter with a big off white head. Aroma of BIG cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove notes with almost a hair of some pumpkin like vegietal presence. Very pungent aroma. Flavor is just a blast of all spice, with cardamon, nutmeg, whole cinnamon sticks, graham crackers, banana bread and pumpkin pie. Just a hair of the ancho chilies shine through towards the back of the finish. Medium bodied with some nice carbonation, which helps clean the palate at a steady speed. Sure enjoying this one.
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.