richlikebeer (838) - Easton, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 24, 2005
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: OCT 2, 2005 jimmack04 opened a bottle at the invitational, 2005 vintage. pour was a jet black with a creamy tan colored head that faded down very nicely to some light lacing. aroma is loaded with coffee and hints of chocolate and molasses. the flavor was a little bit of a let down for me, as there was a lingering bitterness mixed in with tons of coffee, hints of vanilla, and a tail made up of molasses, bits of chocolate, and some hoppy tanginess. the abv comes out a bit toward the end of the mouthful, and i thought the body was a bit thin, compared to some of the other top shelf stouts i have had that have had the opportunity to age. that would be my issue with this brew, dont get me wrong, it was excellent, but it felt too young...it needs to sit and age a bit to smooth out and achieve what i think is its full potential.
rerate: drank an ’04 bottle supplied by the ever generous BBB63, much smoother, much thicker body. great improvement over time. flavors were more or less the same, but the balance was so much better as the brew aged.
clvand0 (350) - Lexington, Kentucky, USA - MAY 24, 2005
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Thanks to kmpitz2 for picking me up a case of this stuff. 2005 vintage. Cellar temperature. This beer pours a darkest of dark color with a tall and thick brown (mocha) head that has great retention and leaves tons of lacing on the glass. Very attractive and also a bit daunting. The aroma is all about coffee. Lots and lots of coffee/expresso. Maybe a slightest hint of alcohol, but minimal. Some slight chocolate in there as well, but mostly coffee. The flavor kicks you in the face. Strong presence of coffee and chocolate with hints of dark fruit and molasses. Big, big taste. The body is huge. Tons and tons of body, but it manages to avoid the oily syrup feel (which is great). Soooo thick. Awesome. Just awesome. The alcohol is very well hidden in this darkness. Drinkability is extremely good for 13% and they somehow avoid some of the drinkability problems that other large impy stouts have. Awesome brew. Glad I have most of a case left.
Sammy (9981) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAY 23, 2005
4.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Gorgeous dark colour. Sweet sour. Bitter at first, Roasty finish. Chocolate malt subdued to roasty Starbucks coffee. Alcohol clobbers later. Very smooth. Medium-thick mouthfeel. Thanks Viggio, only $6 at Sam’s in Chicago, take note EBay!
mdi (573) - Nebraska, USA - MAY 22, 2005
4.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
22oz bottle...this was the 2004 release...and a beauty it is...the aroma doesn’t strike me as so great, but man o man this is a big yummy beast of a beer...it is so thick it just clings to the glass...what a treat! And yeah, I drank the sediment at the bottom after we were done...intense! Thanks Kevin!
0o9i (439) - Reno, Nevada, USA - MAY 22, 2005
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Cafe Mocha anyone(cappuccino + dark chocolate...screw the milk!)? Bottle, shared @ O’Brien’s in SD, courtesy of DSYSOCCER--THANKS!!!! Rich, thick, chocolaty, coffee...smoothe and silky, pitch black, nice sized, dark head...nice lace. I tried this and just went "Wow." Alcohol is hidden incredibly well. Super smoothe. It really tastes like something you could pick up at a coffee shop. Amazing stuff. I lost my notes from that night, but no beer I’ve had really competes with this stuff...in a class of its own for uniqueness--it’s not what you would expect from an imperial stout--and it’s really well done. I didn’t have any "man, they should have..." thoughts.
KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - MAY 20, 2005
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: APR 24, 2008 Thanks to Eric, aka ’footbalm’ for sending this prized brew down my way.
2005. Pours as it claims- like motor oil. Aroma is a sweet rauchbier with hints of vanilla and cherry. Okay, first sip of this highly cherished offering: Taste is a waterfall of flavor, with the smokiness at the apex of the formation, consisting of smoke and malted barley followed by a gradual widening of caramel and cherry. Interesting. This is obviously a very complex brew. There are a myriad of flavors that contort themselves around a solid center of roasted nut. As it warms, there are hints of raspberry in the finish, but it never loses its grip on the roasty/smoky flavor. I swear there is an oak tree somewhere in this bottle. The character in the finish is like a strong cup of coffee- bitter, biting, and thickly veiled. The alcohol becomes much more prominent as this beverage warms. Is it worth the hype? In some instances, yes, it is. Overall, I would rank this as a better than average Imperial Stout. Definitely worth a try.
jtw (1148) - farmington, Michigan, USA - MAY 20, 2005
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
2005 bottle thanks to captaincougar! holy holy crap. this beer oozes out of the bottle leaving a small electric-brown head. i think the room got a little darker when i poured this--light cannot escape the black hole that my glass has become. aroma is milder than i expected but still rich with chocolate, woody tannins, alcohol, even a touch of sweet vanilla and honey. before you can even taste it, the liquid spreads itself over your entire mouth like some sort of sentient cough syrup--then once your tastebuds are surrounded, they’re assaulted with more chocolate, oak, coffee, sugar, alcohol, some hop bitterness hidden deep away. the finish is....hmm. there isn’t really a finish. it kicks your mouth in the ass for as long as it can, and then it kicks you some more. good god i wish i could drink this more often!
doubletriple (52) - Illinois, USA - MAY 20, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
A big big one for number 50. Blacker than black, not an overpowering aroma, but nice. Suprisingly smooth, reminds me of Expedition without the bitter and harsh finish to it. A great brew deserving of its rank among the world’s best. Oh yeah and this one has taste for days!!!!!
Tmoney99 (12407) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAY 17, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
I was luck and got two bottles at Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati. Black hue with small dark brown head. Aroma was a complex heavy combo of molasses, chocolate and coffee. Full creamy body. Flavor was as complex of heavy sweet and a long solid finish. Clearly has earned this high rating and I am looking forward to bottle two.
Zeswaft (1505) - Charleston, South Carolina, USA - MAY 14, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAR 4, 2007 Rerate. I let this bottle sit in my fridge for 8 months. It didn’t quite taste like the first time. It seemed more mellow. Strong coffee and smokiness. I couldn’t really tell any difference between this and an Expedition stout. Both are excellent. This one is just a rip off.
Finally, after 3 years of waiting I got my hands on this and, story of my life, it didn’t live up to all the hype. It’s good, but no different than any other imperial stout. Black as coal with a strange brown head. Thick as molasses. Overwhelming scent of coffee, and flavor is skewed most specifically to coffee. Doesn’t really taste like a beer, more like a coffee milkshake. $16 a bomber is probably the biggest scam I’ve ever experienced. Don’t waste your time trying to find this. I’d rather have an Alpha King. RERATE. had it on cask and it just tasted like alcohol and coffee. together they tasted like apple juice.