UrbanCaveman (74) - Ohio, USA - NOV 19, 2014
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 15/20
12 oz bottle, poured into a tulip glass at approximately 45 degrees F.
A: Pours a clear red-amber, that reminds me of a good Vienna lager. Forms a nice three-finger head of foam that quickly collapses to a cap and thick ring, which leaves decent lacing. Appears to be highly carbonated.
S: Sweet cherries over caramel malt open the aroma, with other yeasty undertones appearing, such as banana and plum.
T: The sweetness from the nose is present, alongside a wallop of tartness. Fruit flavors abound through this beer, with the cherries being front and center, surrounded by some fig and plum along the sides through the middle, and a distinct hint of banana at the finish. There’s an alcohol heat that appears in spots as well, and a touch of spice flavor - clovey, not the usual winter beer suspects.
M: Sharp and prickly carbonation, this beer tries to bite back. Aside from that, it is a thin and light brew.
O: Not bad. I was honestly expecting a winter warmer when I picked this up, as opposed to a Belgian ale. I don’t know if I’ll repeat this one when it’s on shelves next to Trois Pistoles for a comparable price point, but it was a pleasant surprise.
egg (99) - USA - NOV 16, 2014
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle on 11/16/14. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin off white head. Aroma is cherry, apricots, dark fruit, booze. Taste is is sweet, booze, dark fruit, light brown sugar, cherry. A lot of overripe fruit. Alcohol and fruit to finish. A little too light in body for me. Makes it resemble malt liquor a bit but for 11% abv but pretty good overall.
bennetporter (51) - East Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 15, 2014
4.2 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Good fruity aroma with a strong banana component. Clear red/brown color. Flavor is weighted toward sugars and alcohol, and is cloyingly sweet.
Robinbeer (2) - Maryland, USA - NOV 10, 2014 does not count
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Primarily Cherry aroma off the bat - but there are also hints of chocolate and honey.
It’s got a very clear finish and a thin brown head. The appearance doesn’t quite give the impression of the taste to follow (aside from the ruby color and the cherry) - mostly how thick/heavy/syrupy (not sure the best word to use here) it is.
The first one of the season seemed a little stronger than I remembered, but I got past that quickly. You can definitely taste the cherries, honey, and chocolate malts - and since it is so "thick", these flavors linger for a while. Sometimes it can taste a little "cough syrupy" but I do not often find myself thinking that.
Overall, a good cold weather beer... Not exactly sure what it would be classified as (I’m thinking it would lie in the "brown ale" family), but I really don’t care because I like it...
AirForceHops (3513) - Epping, New Hampshire, USA - NOV 9, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12 oz. bottle thanks to Chalumeaux, much thanks! Darker red/ maroon color with some head retention. Aroma of plums, cherry skins and light traces of cinnamon.
The flavor is a exact duplicate of the aroma. The alcohol is hidden well but provides a slight warming after the sip. A nice winter warmer.
HourGlass13 (128) - North Carolina, USA - NOV 8, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
This beer pours a reddish amber color, with an off-white head. Aroma is coriander, cinnamon, cherry, nutmeg, and dark fruit.Taste the aroma and taste go hand and hand sugary alcohol, with Christmas spices, some dark fruit and honey. The texture is some what sticky, the carbonation is lively. It has a full rich and spicy alcohol flavor. A heavy hard hitter but still enjoyable.
e303 (120) - - NOV 7, 2014
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle to pint glass. The pour is a clear ruby with an offshore head that doesn't last. The aroma is alcohol, Belgian yeast qualities, some mild honey, and a tart cherry. The taste is just shy of sweet with lots of honey and Belgian qualities with a nice cherry picker at the end. It's a sweet cherry/honey linger that's very nice. The finish is well carbonated and decently slick. At 11% this is a seriously dangerous beer.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
freekyp (1537) - Thomasville, North Carolina, USA - NOV 6, 2014
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Wham bam thank you Santa! One of my all time faves, this is a juggernaut of holiday cheer crammed into a bottle. Cherries, chocolate and woody notes assault the nose in a weird rum fruitcake topped with cherry tart sort of way. Smells like dessert. Well, that’s because it is. Strong and not ashamed, the Mad Elf delivers its husky 11% without shyness. Sweet but just short of cloying. Spicy but not overly so. Fruity but the muscular malt bill still shines through. Umm hops...not a power play so much as they are there to keep the sweet tooth Elf in check....which they do...barely. They sell this in a 6 pack. That’s dangerous. Mad even. Mad.
beerex (3) - - NOV 4, 2014 does not count
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
$16/6 bottles available at Lowes Foods in King,NC. Fruity, yeasty and alcoholic aroma. Clear reddish/copper color with a short lived off white head. Moderate roasted grain flavor, spicy medium hop profile, fruity esters, warm alcohol, medium to long caramel/buttery finish. Not far from a great beer, I’m thinking this might be one to cellar for a couple years.
teromous (77) - - OCT 28, 2014
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
Appearance: Dark transparent ruby brown ale with an eggshell white head that fades to a creamy layer on top of the beer. Some lacing. The red color of the beer gives it a nice holiday accent.
Aroma: Alcohol esters right off the bat, then there is a fig note. A slight scent of bananas at the end. It doesn’t have much Belgian Yeast character on the nose.
Taste: Mellow flavor of banana chips and figs with a hint of caramel at the end. I should note that although the label states that this an "ale brewed with honey and cherries," neither of these characteristics are present. I don’t get a honey flavor, and it doesn’t give me that fermented honey "mead-like" flavor either. The ale itself tastes pretty average for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but don’t expect cherry flavor from this.
Feel: Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. The alcohol is present enough that it is noticeable as a slight warming sensation at the back of the mouth, but the smoothness of the beer keeps it from burning. It is full bodied but not quite as thick as I would like from a BSDA.
Overall: It’s pretty average stuff for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It has a slightly lighter mouthfeel than what is experienced traditionally, so if you find standard BSDA’s to be too thick this might be right up your alley. For me it is a bit too light. It has a decent amount of flavor to keep me interested and enjoying the beer. I am disappointed in the distinct lack of honey and cherry flavor. For a BSDA it’s a good beer but for a spiced holiday ale it lacks what people crave in a holiday beer. Drinking this early (at the end of October) with no presence of the advertised flavors, I can only imagine how it will taste in two months...