murawski (160) - USA - NOV 28, 2006
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I did not realize that Unibroue (one of my favorite breweries in North America) was bottling its lesser products under labels like Trader Joe’s. I felt a little insulted and unsettled at first, but this is actually not bad. Nice dark malt aroma, great color of a nice dark Belgian ale, and fairly decent flavor/palate. A touch of spice gave it a nice holiday feel. At the price (4.99 for 750 mL) you should definitely pick this one up.
Overall, above average and worth stocking up on.
cbkschubert (2901) - BFE, Arizona, USA - NOV 28, 2006
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
750 ml bottle from TJ’s (Tucson) - Pours dark brown with a big light tan head. Light lacing. Aroma is yeast, spice, and esters. Flavor is similiar to the aroma. Lots of esters. Palate is kinda thin and dry. Medium body. A really good beer for the money.
jazz88 (2645) - 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 (12994) - 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 (643) - 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 (597) - 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.