Rastacouere (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAR 29, 2005
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Hand-bottled by footbalm, thanks to ClarkVV for sharing. Very dark brown appearance, not totally opaque. Limited tan head quickly fades away. Strong overwhelming minty bourbon aroma. Develops an interesting complexity. Dark toasted breadiness goes hand in hand with the aftereight chocolate and woodiness that evolves into a light, well contained roastiness. Strong dominant bourbon on the palate makes it feel ver strong in alcohol. Slightly vegetal profile through its vanilla beans components. Minty flavours stay all through while a light bitterness takes place, not very bitter, but certainly very dry finish. Solid imperial, but another one with strong bourbon character that seems to thin the mouthfeel a lot.
MartinT (7288) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAR 29, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: NOV 9, 2011 Peppery oak is laid onto chocolate and molasses which coat a subtle roastiness...A bourbon whisky splash sprinkles the velvet-y thich flavors... Flavorful, not overdone, and pleasantly robust, this has become over the years, one of Americaís best examples of the style... Bravo!
cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - MAR 29, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
3/28/05. Poured out of 12 oz. bottle, obtained in a trade with footbalm on RateBeer 3/16/05. Hand-bottled. Very dark brown-- not black but a sort of chocolate brown-- oily body. Pretty weak head, gray-tan, that lingers in a light, dusty film. Lacing is weak. The 3 could be even lower, but itís that high mostly because itís not totally transparent. Unimpressive for an imperial stout. Nose is great-- sweet chocolate with some dark toffee and light roasty elements, a hint of black licorice and some subtle winey and alcohol notes. A touch sour. But the bad news is that itís a bit too faint, unfortunately. Some Tootsie Roll sugary hints too. Taste is dark chocolate with a sort of bitter hop bite, some kind of inky acrid roast. Some dark, wet woody notes in there, as well as shades of sweet bourbon (beneath the cheap chocolate). Vanilla extract (not the vanilla you like) and a distinctly unsophisticated dessert flavor. Smores! Feels very dark and prickly but thick and oily at the same time. Finish is boldly roasty with dark char and some soured espresso, hints of cheap chocolate. Body leans dry with a somewhat prominent sour roasted malt, full body and long finish but a bit too unfocused-- I get the roast and alcohol, but the sour burnt coffee and oily licorice donít sit all that well. Finish hums along well after the swallow, but lacks elegance until the heavy sweetness of the cheap chocolate subsides. The long end of the finish is quite lovely, however. I donít know if Iíve ever had a dry-oily imperial stout that I completely loved. Still, very good despite many reservations.
ClarkVV (3579) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 27, 2005
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: OCT 4, 2007 2004 vintage, I assume, hand bottled by Footbalm and sampled with MartinT, Muzzlehatch, Rastacouere and Tiggmtl on 3/25/05. For being bottled from a growler, this sure did pour a wonderful tan head atop a dark black/dark-mahogany brown body. The head was about one-finger high and quickly diminishing, probably due more to the alcohol and barrel-aging. Aroma has notes of vanilla, sour-mash whiskey, lightly charred oak, thick, salty chocolate and bitter black malt. Light alcohol esters are perceived, but it is not anything out of the ordinary for a barrel aged Imperial stout. Flavor, for me, was incredibly over-aged in the bourbon. It was sharp, alcoholic, acidic, bitter and just intensely dominated by the bourbon. Dry wood notes, stinging whiskey and light smokiness all make me cringe as I drink it. I did love the body, however, which was rich, creamy and thick to the last drop. As the beer finished and there was some respite from the barrel, a velvety, sweet chocolate flavor emerged, that had been hiding behind the barrel-flavors. This is the good part, and I thought it a shame that the barrel masked this through most of the flavor experience. Low carbonation, very well-made stout with a rich body, but just way too much harsh barrel-character, at least for my tastes. If this had a subtle barrel character, my score would be more like a 9/5/8/5/17
Ernest (5869) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAR 27, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottled from growler. Head is initially small, frothy, brown, fully diminishing. Body is black (not quite opaque). Aroma is moderately malty (chocolate, caramel, roasted grain), with notes of vanilla, cask wood, whisky/alcohol, . Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter. Medium to full body, creamy texture, soft carbonation, moderately alcoholic. Very smooth and enjoyable, not mind-blowing but very well-behaved.
Aubrey (3356) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - MAR 27, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Black with brown edges. Thick, heavy and very rich mouthfeel. Bursting with roast, dark chocolate, Rolos, smoky wood, and sweet bourbon. Grassy bitterness complements perfectly. Delicious beer.
Murphy (1759) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - MAR 27, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thanks Nick! Dark brown, not much head. Aroma is coffee and whiskey. Thick, viscous and slightly oily mouthfeel. Big coffee taste, and whatís really nice is the balanced whiskey barrel flavor- doesnít overpower. Nice chocolate flavor in the finish with hints of bittering. Long drawn out finish. This is how barrel aged beers should be done.
Crosling (1863) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - MAR 26, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
1/2 Gallon Growler. Deep black color with a pillowy and close-knit head of light tan foam. Sharp, fragrant aroma, but unfortunately, I donít smell a lot of malt complexity in the nose, just a ton of vanilla, bourbon, and oak character along with a snippet of scorced fruits. Regardless, of the somewhat one-dimensional nose, the flavor and feel on the palate, is extremely complex. This truly took on the essence of the barrel bringing forth elements of vanilla, oak, bourbon and a touch of cocunut along with a pure chocolate, coffee and scorced fruit malt profusion. Rich, coating mouthfeel. A bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout that still remains classy and elegant. Oh I so do wish I could visit this brewery on a regular basis. Cheers to Town Hall pimp Pigfoot for sending this my way.
TAR (2376) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - MAR 20, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
growler: Blackened ruby. Wisp of ivory foam, but with good density. Pleasant nose of port-soaked prunes and freshly severed vanilla beans. Lightly roasty and tannic with hints of alcohol, toasted oak, and melted toffee. Soft on the tongue with an oily fullness. Opens with a contrasting display of vanilla beans and dark chocolate-glazed toffee. Flavor teeters on edge of cloyingness as the unspent roasted malt flavor fuses with thick notes of molasses and vanilla oil. Faint corny huskiness. Salty tannins hug the palate toward the core and amplify the throat-warming alcohol, while producing a sumptuous black licorice effect. Toasted oak touts its depth, showing hints of char and caramelized sugars which lend substantial dryness and delay the roasty intensity that follows. Lingers with a deeply toasted oak flavor, but the huskiness and sweetness hinders its overall elegance. Enjoyable, but whatís beneath the whiskey-derived complexity is a fairly mediocre imperial stout (no vinous fruitiness or bitter espresso, etc.). Thanks, Wawood.
Brewso (238) - Mt Kisco, New York, USA - MAR 16, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
í05 St. Paul Winterfest and then from a growler. Iíve been waiting for this one ever since I set eyes on the Town Hall list of beers. Pours from a growler and yields a cocoa colored head that quickly recedes. Smells of vaporous bourbon and whiskey. Taste is of whiskey and bourbon but followed unmistakably by dark chocolate and roasted stout flavors. I donít like sherry and boozy tasting beers. I think a beer should be a beer. This one harnesses the barrel influence nicely without abdicating its identity. Flavors continue to evolve as it warms- wood chips, vanilla, malted milk balls with a nice hop bite at the end. But hands down the best feature of this beer is the palate or mouth feel. It is silky, full and simply perfect.