JCW (1274) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 8, 2002
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: OCT 29, 2004 Re-rate 2004-I didnít care for this years batch. The balance between the sweetness and the hops that I liked so much wasnít there anymore. The colors was a brown and not a black. Much more coffee flavors than I remembered. A shear dissappointment.
One of finest beers Iíve had. Thick, malty sweet. Reading the reviews of the RBíers I was drinking with Racegoer,Jaymobrown and marinaro500 and I agree with what theyíre saying. After Iíve tried all the beers that I can try, I might rerate this a 5, but for now I donít rate 5ís. Rating then: 4.9
MartinT (7482) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 13, 2002
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: MAR 27, 2011 (First version, hand-bottled from the tap):
Amaretto-filled chocolate truffles, aniseed, berries roam within this sumptuous Imperial Stoutís hefty mouthfeel, while black pepper and resinous subtleties emerge from sagacious hops, only to be engulfed by huge caramel, maple syrup-like sweetness...4.8...
(Bottled 2005 version):
Agressive roastiness thrives in the portly body, but bigger bubbles diminish the viscosity. Still, one of the thickest beers out there, but simply not as huge as the tap version I had, or the 2004 bottle, imho. Green, citrusy hops are also more obvious in this young monster, blending perfectly with the roasty bitterness. Still an excellent imperial stout, but not the spectacularly balanced and refined behemoth that the 2 previous tastings had proven. 4.1/5
(Bottled 2009 version, in 2011):
Abrasive alcohol burns the heavy molasses, while deep cherry fruitiness surrounds resinous hops. 65% cocoa sweetness attempts to link it all, but this is still quite brash. Very flavorful, but nowhere near refined yet. How many years is it going to take? 3.7...
DrBeer (829) - Solna Stockholm, SWEDEN - NOV 12, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 13/20
Opaque black colour.
Malty and fruity aroma with tones of soy sauce and grains.
Coffee flavour with lots of alcohol and a roundness in the palate that is well worth mentioning
FlacoAlto (3737) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - APR 11, 2004
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 20, 2010 Sampled December 2009; Served at 60+ degrees Fahrenheit.
Slow to form, but ultimately thick, three finger thick head that lingers for quite some time, but doesní leave much in the way of lacing on the sides of my 25cl tulip glass. The beer is pitch black of cours. Aroma of coffee liquor, dark chocolate, sweetened roasted malt, some smooth alcohol notes. Much more simplistic than I remember, but it is still rich and definitely satisfies my current hunger for a rich stout.
This beer is definitely thick, rich and mouth coating; definitely on the syrupy side of the beer texture spectrum. Quite sweet, which really helps to temper the huge roast character, but in the finish the roast becomes quite bitter and perhaps even a bit astringent; the sweetness never fades as both the roast and the rich sweetness really lingers on the palate for a long time. The dark notes in this beer are layered with bitter black coffee, dark chocolate, acidic roast malt and burnt grain notes. The mouthfeel is quite rich, but can seem a bit thin at times compared to what I remember this beer being.
When I first had this in 2004, it was so rich and so decadent compared to anything else I had ever had. This definitely hasnít withstood the test of time. This is definitely a grand example of the decadent American take on the style, but really isnít nearly as lush, rich or complex as my memory had it being.
2004 bottle release, Sampled April 2004
Strong notes of alcohol and port. Notes of roast malt, coffee, toffee, chocolate liquor, are also found in the nose. The beer is thick viscous, and pours a deep midnight black color with a bit of carbonation but only a dusting of bubbles on the surface. When roused a thick creamy dark brown head forms, one of the darkest heads I have ever seen.
Holy shit, I have never tasted a beer with such a stupefyingly thick body as this. It is very creamy and coats my mouth, it is like sipping on syrup. As expected with this body, it is quite sweet. The sweetness is accentuated by a fresh hop flavor, that when combined give this beer a concentrated fruitiness. This thing must have been heavily hopped in order to have such prominent hop flavor in an Imperial Stout of this stature. From the front to the middle back of this beer you would guess that this was a bottle of concentrated hop nectar, floral character abounds with, grapefruit, bergamot, cherry, concentrated raisin and plum.
The alcohol is not nearly as evident in the taste and the dark malt flavors are not as strong as I was expecting, the fresh hop character seems to mute them out quite a bit. The finish is quite bitter, though with the thick mouth-coating malt sweetness it is hard to pick out at first, but it is really the lingering bitterness long after the beer has left my mouth that lets you know that this is bittered quite well. The dark malt flavors kick in the end as well, just before the bitterness. Notes of concentrated espresso, bitter chocolate, burnt raisin, burnt caramel.
I must admit that with this intense fresh hop flavor, I am not sure that I want to hold on to the rest of these for a long time, though the 4 inches of sludge at the bottom of this bottle (even after a month of sitting) say that I need to move these to my lagering fridge for quite a bit. The fresh hop flavor is quite good right now, and it is so dominant that I can not even guess how this beer will continue to age. I have a feeling that in a year or two this will be a totally and unexpectedly different beer from what it is now. I have no doubt that the Dark Lord will age gracefully for the next 10 or even 20 years, but will it be better than it is now. Oh well only time will tell, I will just have to hang on to a couple over the years.
MaiBockAddict (1497) - Good Beer Bar Deprived, New Jersey, USA - JUN 20, 2004
3.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: MAY 26, 2005 Update: 2 separate samples of the í05.
Roasty aroma with a young alcohol presence. Big roasty flavors on the tongue, with an alcohol presence. Flavors and alcohol are obviously young, but this will develop into a fantastic brew when aged, much like Speedway. Give it a year.
Bottle sample from Eyedrinkale at Brewtopia. Deep Dark brown, tan head. Awesome aroma of sweet malt, fresh wort, and hops, and maybe some maple syrup. Flavor reminds me of hopped malt extract. Not what I was expecting at all. Doesnít even seem like a finished beer. Massive sweet hops. This brew takes me back to my first homebrewing days, and taking a taste of dark hopped malt extract from the Home Brewery. Thick chewey and sweet. Tastes good, but I am not as impressed by it as others are.
P-tor44 (886) - Anchorage, Alaska, USA - JUL 1, 2005
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Iím really not that impressed, its big (so much sludge) and milk chocolatey, everything is really just burried in the size of it.
ChillCoat (1029) - Concord, California, USA - MAY 1, 2007
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: MAY 2, 2007 Bottle í05. thick black pour with a frothy tan head that dissapates quickly. Sweet vanilla aroma with some slight leather and must notes. Thick and somewhat astringent with soy sauce notes. I had hoped for more from this, Iíll rerate with one of my 06 bottles.
GG (2019) - NorCal, California, USA - MAY 7, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Shared a bottle of this with about 10 people. And to be brutally honest, it was a let down. Thankfully, with all the great reviews of this beer, I will have an í06 bottle and an í07 bottle to rerate (thanks to moejuck). But on to the í05. Nose was overripe dark fruit, burnt caramel, roasted malts, chocolate and molasses. Appearance was absolutely magnificent. Mouthfeel was gloopy and sticky. Flavors were too much soy sauce for my liking, incredible amped up sweetness (I thought I liked sweet beers, but this was just syrupy sweet) almost like drinking molasses. I can see how this has the potential to be an incredible beer. Hereís to hoping the other yearís will bring a better opinion.
BleacherBum (177) - Blowing Rock, North Carolina, USA - MAY 29, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Probably the darkest, thickest pour Iíve ever seen. Aroma suckerpunches you....Big vanilla, coffee, figs, malt and sugar on the nose. Very, very rich. Big molasses and coffee taste. Lots of roasty malts, bitterness, burnt cherries and other fruit in there as well. Vanilla is very light here. Extremely smooth mouthfeel, but the overbearing sweet and bitter flavors seem to overshadow this. Lots of clashing aspects. This beer is HUGE. Lots of warming alcohol throughout. When compared with other FFF brews and other imperial stouts, this just doesnít seem to match up. Donít get me wrong: Itís big, bold, complex and tasty....just not the epiphony that many make it out to be. If anything, itís just TOO big. A mammoth Impy that is deserving of itís reputation, just not as enjoyable/drinkable as other Impyís out there.
TBone (11751) - Pori, FINLAND - SEP 30, 2007
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottled vintage 2006
Thanks marsi & blursi :) Dark ruby color, almost opaque color, small expresso head. Dark malts, coffee, some oxidation notes in the nose. Coffee, dark malts, some vanilla, roasted notes plus some sweetness. Somehow it didnít hit my sweet spot, expected more.