JMerritt (1928) - Macomb, Illinois, USA - DEC 21, 2012
2.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Very dark brown, bordering black, with no head. Ginger and nutmeg are heavy in the nose, though whiffs of cinnamon, vanilla malts. figs and dates are apparent (as is moderate alcohol at the tail end). Moderate-to-highly sweet flavor up front, turning a little dry and mildly astringent by the end. Finish has more ripened fruit notes and the Belgian yeast really pops. However, my bottle was tremendously under-carbonated - the cork didn’t pop upon opening (despite being stubborn as hell to get out) and there were only faint pricks of carbonation bubbles on the tongue. This was purchased around Thanksgiving and stored for the last month in a cold fridge, so perhaps these bottles needed more conditioning at room temperature before opening? Whatever the reason, this ended up feeling slightly cloying and a bit muddled.
nuplastikk (5668) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 20, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
750ml bottle. I don’t really think each years release warrants a new listing. Bigtime ginger spiced Belgian Black Ale, same as every other year. Not bad, but also not really good. Bitter, efferverscent champagne effervescence really carries it through the spicy sweetness. Too overbearing to really be a go to beer, The ginger and black malt combination sorts of lends a grape-like feel, sort of fruitcake. Probably a really enjoyable beer before the spicing or whatever they do, not so much afterwards.
Headbanger (3765) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - DEC 20, 2012
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
750ml bottle 12/20/12 (Trader Joe’s Naperville)-42° in Trappist Glass-Pours a dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma of spices, malt, chocolate, an yeast. Taste of the same with more yeast, caramel, and toffee. This full bodied brew is well balanced. It amazes me that this beer is that good for the price. Thanks Unibroue and Trader Joe’s.
bigbish (683) - California, USA - DEC 19, 2012
3.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 1/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a very dark brown, lots of head with small bubbles. Hangs around for quite a while. Aroma is yeasty, bready. Flavor has quite a bit of spice to it. Lots of cloves. Very good beer. I’m a fan, especially for the price.
TOSG55 (223) - Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 18, 2012
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pours a dark cola color with a head that starts out thick then dissipates. Nice yeasty aroma, with strong notes of spice and dark fruits. The flavor is quite similar - lots of fruit (raisin, plum, apple, etc), and spice (cinnamon, nutmeg). The yeast is also prominent, and gives it a nice tang and some added complexity. Alcohol is prominent but not overpowering. Quite reminiscent of the Trois Pistoles. A very nice winter beer, and a great value.
BigBeer45 (1402) - Michigan, USA - DEC 14, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle, sampled in a Gulden Draak and St. Bernardus glasses,
the cork was hard to remove, I had to use a pair of pliers to remove it and it gave a loud, good pop, when opened,
this ale had a clear dark brown pour (that had some dark ruby at the bottom of the glass when held up to a light) and made an initial two to three light tan colored head that receded to a thin cover and ring, the glass was too dark to see through but I did see bubbles climbing up the sides of the glass, there was a thin layer of dark brown sediment on the bottom of the bottle,
there were aromas of dark fruit – raisin and date, alcohol esters, faint spice of cinnamon, cumin, and others I cannot pin down with brown sugar sweetness,
it had flavors of dark fruit – raisin and date, toasted bread, brown sugar sweetness, spices, pepper, the finish had a little pepper,
the mouth feel was light and creamy,
the tulip had a bigger nose while the trappist glass gave a better flavor,
the spice were nice and gentle but may have been just a touch more than what was needed, I am aging some of this beer to see how it turns out.
Caytinator (1005) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 13, 2012
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
550mL bottle. Dark chestnut color, translucent, medium head fades off gradually, no lacing. Aroma is of undissolved yeast, basement aromas, and spices. Taste is strong, alcohol, sweetness, malts and a little spicy. Great mouthfeel, full...Great value. Trader Joe’s phones in their beer to unibroue, and it’s awesome. I’m going to buy 5 or 6 and age them!
dukeredhair (243) - California, USA - DEC 10, 2012
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 1/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Aroma of ginger, cloves and chocolate. Appearance is dark dark brown with a loose head that laces nicely. Taste is spicy aromas and little residual sweetness. Palate is dry and thin with high carbonation. overall its a good beer with a holiday flair for the right price.
kseecs16 (1215) - Naperville, Illinois, USA - DEC 10, 2012
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle. After pulling out the Unibroue cork and pouring in to a goblet the beer is opaque dark brown with a big cola colored fizzy head. Aroma is rich, malty with spicy and sweet fruity notes. Sweet upfront with some rich funky yeast character in the body and a mild roast finish.
cladinshadows (48) - USA - DEC 9, 2012
2.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Aroma is pungently spicy with some toasty/chocolate/roasty malt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Appearance is quite dark with minimal head and minimal lacing. Flavor is sweet, with a root beer/cherry cola impression and a cinnamon and nutmeg finish - it is quite strong in this young beer. Mouthfeel is light and prickly with carbonation (as is the case for many excellent belgian-style ales). Overall this beer is somewhat unbalanced at this time, but possibly with some aging the spice will become more integrated and other complexities will develop. Still a quality beer, just needs some time in my opinion.