Drew (2413) - Kent, Ohio, USA - DEC 30, 2002
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Come over to the dark side, young Jedi...This is the darkest brew ever; and looking straight down at the head, you would think itís a rich chocolate malt milkshake. We held it up to 500 watt spotlights and nothing shone thru. Aroma was not as strong as the taste. It seems that many imperials lean towards the roasty side, this oneís all about the chocolate - like Hersheyís Dark Extreme. I wouldnít exactly call the palate "thick", more "full" - when I took a sip, my entire mouth was filled with flavors - not just the tongue - the roof of my mouth, the back of my throat; and warmth as it oozes down to my belly. It left a sticky residue everywhere. The sweetness on the sides became cloying as it warmed, but at the same time, some medium roasted flavors came out. I know thereís some hops in there, but it could actually use a little more to dry out the sweetness. Did not taste the 13% at all, but felt it a little. Marinaro500 - many many thanks to you for bringing the growler to Cleveland!
Kodos (200) - USA - DEC 24, 2002
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
I have tried quite a few Russian Impís. This has got to be the TOP! On tap. Dark, dark, dark. Not much aroma...? Super complex tastes...Chocolate, fruity/plum/nuts...so much more...Vanilla in the end. Is there alcohol in this? Wait a minute...Heat in my chest says yes...Oh yeah, 13+%. Not apparent in the taste at all. This has got to be Nickís BEST creation yet...PLEASE continue this beer . We ALL want moremoremore!!!
raindog (560) - Evansville, Indiana, USA - DEC 22, 2002
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: JUN 6, 2006 Black,but not the darkest,with a nitro looking tan head.Bubbles are moving toward the top at the slowest rate I have ever seen.They are struggling.Aroma is more restrained than expected.Aromas of charcoal,molasses,tar,roast,chocolate(dark) dark fruit.Mouthfeel is soft,but intensely thick.Mouth is full of molassses,whiskey tinge,coffee,roast-burnt flavors.After a minute some caramel,grainy flavors lead to a brutal malty,charcoal,finish.Hops are actually detectable but in the limelight.As it warms Vanilla is all over the finish.Got to be one of the thickest beers I have ever had,and sometimes that is not a good thing.
TAR (2376) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - DEC 22, 2002
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAY 16, 2005 2005 issue: Not-quite-opaque molasses brown. Sandy, finely-bubbled mocha foam. Alluring nose of rich java, mocha chocolate, and molasses. Lightly yeasty and vaporously alcoholic, as well, with glazed pecan, burnt toffee, and vanilla hints. Rush of velvety-soft carbonation fills the palate. Lip-sealing mixture of chocolate fudge and molasses quell the cheek-buckling alcohol. Intensity is off the charts, but thereís loads of char, sharply-vinous fruitiness, and alcohol to assist the initially-overt richness. Takes on more graininess as alcohol couples with the firm roastiness to slowly pierce the wall of viscosity. Brief soft coffee bean and cinnamon flavor gracefully collide with the delicate underbelly of assorted berries and ink. Closes with a sizeable black malt/burnt cookie bite backed with a flash of arid roast and rich java. Thereís nothing terribly unique about this (with the exception of the interesting yeast character), but it certainly is a huge improvement upon last yearís [bottled] version, which was less lush and overly viscous in the mouth. Much like Expedition right out the gate, itís rough around the edges, albeit highly delicious, when fresh, but like Expedition, this will become more magical with each passing moment in the cellar..
AustinMilbarge (681) - Denver, Colorado, USA - DEC 22, 2002
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JUN 10, 2003 If I try to describe this beer I will be doing a disservice to the quality and taste. The flavor is very complex and sits extremely well on the tongue. The color is fantastic, the aroma too. I have to thank jskendzel for turning me on to Three Floyds and bringing me to the brewery.
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - DEC 21, 2002
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAR 14, 2009 2005 bottle sampled on 3/14/09: Rich, oily opaque pour with a rich light brown head. Aroma of rich dark chocolate and caramel with lots of dark fruity complexity. Body starts hugely rich and creamy with a lot of complex coffee and dark chocolate. Very smooth, although still quite thick, but seems to have aged well.
2008 bottle sampled on 5/3/08: Same oily viscous appearance as always. Aroma of sweet, rich dark caramel and chocolate with some roasty coffee notes and dark fruits. Smooth, full flavored and sweet dark malty before a rich, creamy bittersweet dark chocolate finish. Definitely as tasty as I remember from years past.
2004 bottle sampled on 2/26/07: Pours a very opaque, extremely viscous with a thin dark brown, wispy head and body that coat the glass upon swirling. Rich, complex dark chocolate aroma has some aged caramel malt and mild, light fruity esters. Body starts with a full, sweet raisiny, plum, brown sugar complexity with lots of thick caramel malt and earthy bittering hops toward a balanced dense finish that hides the alcohol extremely well. Itís like eating a rich dark chocolate cake (9,5,9,5,18).
2006 vintage bottle sampled on 7/2/06: Pours a dark opaque with dark mahogany edges and a dark brown, thin-lacing head. Sweet caramel malty and dark chocolatey aroma has a big strawberry fruitiness. Body starts with a big sweet viscous caramel maltiness and some light fruitiness with a more complex mild raisin and plum character. Well-balanced and should age well for years to come.
2004 vintage bottle sampled on 6/11/06 courtesy of EddieG: Still about 6 oz of sediment in the bottle. Pours a thick and oily black with only a ring of dark tan head. Rich dark fruity caramel aroma has tremendous complexity. The thickest beer Iíve ever had, very sweet and roasty. Nicely hopped and well-balanced. A unique and enjoyable imperial, yet expensive for the drinkable amount you get per
jskendzel (602) - Washington DC, USA - DEC 21, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: APR 28, 2003 There is a lot to say about this beer but many others have already picked it apart below...vanilla, velvet, berries...who cares, the beer is DELICIOUS!...so I will spare the details--I get sick of those fruity descriptions anyway. A beer should be respected because it is drinkable and when it bears the unmistakable stamp of its creator--3 Floyd's triumphs again with this beer. I would expect nothing less coming from them. I can't recall any other beer that is so complex and so satisying...I had one little glass and I am sitting here craving more...definitely something to dream about before I go to bed. Worth the hype so get your ass to the brewery to get some of this wonderful oil.
MrRomero (1973) - Nolanville, USA - DEC 21, 2002
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: DEC 15, 2004 Growler from brewery: A huge beer. Extra special thanks to Racegoer for this. Huge fluffy tan head. An incredible whipped chocolate/coffee mouthfeel with hints of vanilla and English walnuts. Just an unbelievable beer.
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - DEC 19, 2002
4.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: JAN 10, 2003 Dec 19 "02:Hard to believe a beer this great is brewed in a no-name industrial park in a no-name dull-as-dirt outer Chicago suburb, but here"s an American paradox for you. Looks like thick tough cowboy coffee, no head at all and midnight black. Nose primarily coffee and molasses, but with hints of whisky, vanilla and peaches? Very complex and lovely. As thick and velvety as anything I"ve ever had; molasses isn"t quite it, a milkshake is closer; a jamocha vanilla brandy milkshake, maybe. Powerful warming back end with enough hops to keep it from cloying, and amazingly drinkable for a beer this thick and alcoholic -- the alcohol is no more noticeable than it is in Expedition, which is the closest thing I"ve had to this masterpiece. On balance, this is better. I"m not calling it perfect yet, but its really close and I"m going to have a hard time not killing the growler in the next day or so. Behemoth and Alpha Klaus here I come!
Jan 11 "03: bumping it up a point because A) it lasted near a month in a frequently-opened growler losing nothing but about half its carbonation and B) I get a stronger, more sensuous nose, spicier and more perfumy. Near perfection, the equal of NC Old Rasputin.
JohnC (3000) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - DEC 14, 2002
4.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Thick, malty, w/ tastes of cocoa powder & chocolate on the palate. a wonderfully soft mouthfeel. this is one of the best. thx hopsrus