IMtheOptimator (1162) - Bethel, Connecticut, USA - DEC 17, 2005
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured an effervescent reddish amber iwth a fizzy white head that dissipated completely. Aroma is cherries, strawberries, cinnamon, caramel, and a bit of alcohol. Aroma is lightly sweet caramel and dark fruit with some cinnamon, a bit of biscuit dough and toffee with a semi-dry clean finish. Pleasant fairly complex holiday ale.
HighlanderOne (1053) - Bergen County, New Jersey, USA - DEC 16, 2005
3.4 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
OK, I poured it sloppy from bottle on purpose to get some kind of a head, but it didn’t work. Iced tea has more of a head. Nice dark red amber color. Whew, that aroma is something - fruity pebbles and sewer gas. I’m beginning to worry. But wait...Flavor is good - it resembles a belgian ale in spice and malt content. Sweet and sour theme in the flavor is nice, good texture, cherry is noticeable in the aftertaste, not overpowering like some winter ales. Finished with a bit of a sticky feel, but that’s not unusual for the style. Yep, looks like Troegs has another winner.
TAR (2518) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - DEC 15, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
2004: Shimmering rufous. Frothy ivory ring of head clings to the glass. Doughy yeast and green banana aromas. Hint of yeast autolyzation and herbal hops under it all. Soft, yet snug, carbonation. Opens with an influx of yeasty bubblegum and clove flavors. Touch of medicine, although there’s a significant level of cherry brightness to compensate. Substantial heat from the esters and alcohol, but it’s never burdening. More green banana notes lend yet another layer of slickness to the array of esters. Still remarkably soft and florally hoppy despite its “busyness,” and clearly outshining the malt. Finishes timidly malty, with trace leather and vaguely astringent medicine, but overridden by a smoothly flowing river of cherry juices and soft, floral hops. While the aroma of this is more polished than the 2003, it suffers from being a touch too yeasty. But once again, the alcohol is marvelously concealed and the overall subtlety of this is astounding. I don’t see the point of aging this, as it doesn’t seem to have gained much complexity. And it’s not like the alcohol could be better concealed. A heck of a seasonal, this is. (8,4,8,4,15 = 3.9)
2003: Foxy orange. Creamy and pasty ring surrounds a scattered center of bubbles. Inviting nose of sherry soaked bready malt. Hints of smoke, clove, dates, and oxidation. Tightly woven carbonation. Glassy-slick body and so well-rounded. Delicate cherry juices tease the palate, initially. Understatedly sweet, but coarse with alcohol and lightly kilned malts. Dainty fusion of succulently flowery hops, fruity yeast, and fresh cherries soak up the peppery yeast accents and make a valiant attempt at allaying the remaining harshness. Alcohol imparts some coarseness, but, remarkably, provides no burn, whatsoever. Finishes playfully soft and elegant with a sneaky attack of rose petals amid a scratchy mixture of alcohol and hops. I much prefer the 2004 over this, as the nose has lost some of its brightness and the Munich imparts too much astringency. FWIW, the appearance is a shade darker than the 2004. (7,4,7,4,13 = 3.5)
maniac (3800) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - DEC 12, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: DEC 27, 2010 Bottle on 12/27/2010. Clear dark amber body with ruby highlights and a small creamy off-white head. Sweet caramel, cherry and light alcohol aroma. Sweet caramel, fruit and cherry flavor with some alcohol burn. Medium full body with moderate carbonation. 7/4/7/4/15 - 3.7
12/12/2005, updated 12/11/2006 - Clear ruby color with a thin white head. Sweet caramel aroma. Sweet caramel flavor with some vanilla hints. 6/4/7/4/15 - 3,6
Numenor (871) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - DEC 12, 2005
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Ruby gold color with a medium head. A nice sweet fruity aroma. Very light on the pallet with malts and spices. Mellow ending.
bombshelter (349) - San Francisco, California, USA - DEC 11, 2005
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
sixer from whole foods. doesn’t look as bright red as the picture...maybe dark cherries, or more dark malts? have to coax a big head out of this, and it subsides pretty quickly. aroma is big: booze, floral malt, cherries (especially as it warms up). full body but not chewy...finish is way more balanced than expected, with the alcohol and spiciness mostly balancing the sweetness. ends pretty dry, hides the alcohol very well. this is a winner.
radagast83 (5482) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - DEC 10, 2005
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle. Deep, redish orange color. Great smell of cherries. Taste is that of cherries and honey. Sweet, but felt pretty dry and was not as refreshing as I had hoped. Still good
TomDecapolis (4609) - Milton, Delaware, USA - DEC 10, 2005
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours a clear reddith orange with a small bubbly head that went away quickly. Aroma of cherries, grapes, pine, yeast and honey. Flavors of the same with a general sweetness. Rather smooth and slightly creamy despite the well hidden abv.
desurfer (1246) - Melbourne, Florida, USA - DEC 9, 2005
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
2005. Pours a deep, lucid mahogany with a small film of a head. Aroma of tart cherries and some oakiness. Flavor is warm and rich, with a creamy chocolatey character. Somewhat sweet with the fruitiness more subdued than expected. No indication of the high ABV. Unique, pretty good winter warmer.
pbjclimber (150) - Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 9, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Poured a chestnut color with a small tan head that did not have good retention or lacing. The taste is sweet with banana, cherry, and spices being able to be detected. The 11% alcohol is very well hidden. This is a pretty good beer.