jazz88 (2585) - San Francisco, California, USA - NOV 28, 2006
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle from San Francisco (9th St.) store. A very dark brown to black color with a lush lasting creamy foam light brown head. A strongly spiced aroma with bread and Belgian yeastiness. I found the flavor more complex and interesting than the aroma, although still the flavor was not multidimensional enough to vault it into a great ranking. A dry, fizzy carbonated front with a light fruity malt finish. A smooth malty, spiced, nutmeg, cinnamon, banana, and malty bread flavor.
Tmoney99 (11624) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - NOV 25, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle from Cincy store. Poured dark brown color with a large light brown creamy head that diminished slowly and produced good lacing. Good malty, fruit and spice aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Full complex fruit and sweet malty flavor with a long fizzy finish with a small alcohol tone. Good brew at a fair price. I will get another bottle to age for a year.
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 25, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
750 ml bottle from TJ’s Pacific Beach - $4.99!!!. Pours dark brown and opaque with brick higlights and a huge fluffy head. Aroma is roasty with dark dried fruits, notes of black rye bread, brandy, spice, molasses and bittering herbs. Sweet, dark fruity malts dominate with a nice tart counterpoint - fruity and yeasty, figs, molasses and sourdough bread, bitter herbs and a some noticible alcohol. Medium to full body, gently prickly carbonation. This was good and quite drinkable now, but will likely be quite nice with a couple of years aging.
Metalhead (633) - Lake Zurich, Illinois, USA - NOV 25, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Aroma of mild yeast,spices,hints of dark fruit,spices. I did not find this brew very complex yet still tasty. It reminds me of a crossbreed between 2/3s Unibroue 2005 and 1/3 Great Lakes X-mas ale. Very smooth and the 9% abv is well masked. The finish was a bit short lived. If you like beers with holiday spice you should enjoy this. I bought a case and killed 2 bottles over a couple hours or so. Whooppee!
Naven (1000) - Poway, California, USA - NOV 22, 2006
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
This beer IS heavy on the spices, no doubt. But, the spices don’t seem to be overwhelming to me, and overall, it’s a nicely balanced ale. Rich, creamy and filling. At $4.99 a pop, I have no complaints.
Saarlander (1686) - Saarlouis, GERMANY - NOV 22, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Abit mellower to me than last years version, not so much of a bite to it, but still plenty of alcohol, that creeps up on you. More of a spice character to this years, a plus for me, very nice slow drinking brew, I like it! A great bargain @ 4.99 at Trader Joes, Upland,Ca
Bartzilla (561) - La Mesa, California, USA - NOV 22, 2006
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
I’d say the spices are a bit more than subtle with this one. I got a nice wallop of nutmeg, which I don’t particularly care for. I imagine aging this stuff would be the way to go, but I just can’t really get into spiced ales. I liked last year’s offering much better.
Hopgeek (90) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 21, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Aroma - Rich, purfume like malty aroma, dark dried fruits, subtle dark cocoa, cherries, banana esters, bready, yeasty, biscuity. No discernable hop aromas. Very strong esters. Slight hint of plastic-y phenolic.
Appearance - Dark brown hue, opaque. Creates a long lasting off-white mousselike head that is very long-lasting (>5 min).
Flavor - Extremely complex malt profile. Dark dried fruits - raisins, cherries, dates. Sweetness in the front but dries out in the finish. Phenolic clove-like quality is well balanced w/ fruity esters. Slight salty taste on the sides of the tongue. Malt focused, yet well balanced.
Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied. Warming. Medium-high carbonation. Peppery texture on the palate. Creamy, dryess in the finish.
Overall Impression - This is an excellent example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. With a bit more body, some tuning of the slightly off phenolic quality in the flavor and changing the sodium levels in the water profile, this would be nearly all 5s! For $5.99 @ 750ml you can’t beat this beer. Another great beer from Unibroue, highly recommended.
mjg74 (2695) - Salem, Oregon, USA - NOV 20, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle from TJ’s La Mesa. Pours a very dark opaque brownish color. Spices dominate the aroma. An almost medicinal spice aroma. Some darker fruit are buried in there somewhere. Very spicy nutmeg or cloves. Almost numbingly spicy. Some dark fruit comes to light at the very end. I think this is a really nice winter warmer. Alcohol blends in nicely. It doesn’t really seem subtly spiced, it seems really spiced.
beernightscout (37) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 18, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Is there a beer NOT brewed in limited quantites? When unlimited beer is invented, please tell me, along with Bob and Doug McKenzie. Anyway, this limited quantity beer is excellent in a really raw way. If you like your Belgian-style beer simple, headstrong, and sweet, or if you just like really strong flavors, you’ll like it. The nose can make you drunk, with sharp alcohol, spicy smelling esters, and an obvious sweetness. Color is as dark as a stout, with a huge head. Taste is simple, very sweet with all the yeast flavors knocking any possible malt and hop flavors out of bounds. The alcohol presence is huge, and yes, the beer is effervescent like a sparkling wine. Maybe as this ages, it will balance out more. But that’s not saying the flavor is bad, I really liked it. I drank the whole 750 ml bottle waaaay too fast. Good thing I got three more, since they’re only $4.99 a bottle. FYI, palate is a five because if the beer was heavier -- it’s medium bodied, with the aforementioned effervesence lightening it up even more -- it would be too cloying; they hit the palate on the head perfectly.