Sickboy282 (1115) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 19, 2004
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours a deep amber/brown in color with virtually no head. Aromas are of fruit and not much else. Flavors are of banans, cherries, lots and lots of honey. Mouthfeel isn't as thick as I thought, but still a alittle sticky. The alcohol doesn't burn as much as one would expect from such a strong brew. A little too sweet though for my tastes and as it warms it thickens.
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - APR 13, 2004
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Very rich in color, opulent orange/brown/topaz with a diminished cream colored head. Fruit punch bouquet. Passion fruit, bubblegum and bananas all mixed with a touch of nutmeg and poured over toffee. Where to start. by the ABV listed I was expecting a real warmer. Not really the case. No burn in the mouth or gullet, even the stomach seem to be spared, tomorrow morning maybe another story, but for now things are rather sedate. Actually just noticed the burp had a slight burn on the esophagus. Full feel. Spicy and rich in character, but lacks a lot of depth. I long for a malt linger, but it does not venture out to this tryst. Cherries do seem to become out more as this one warms. Honey seem to have thinned this one out in the finish. Still one of these on a cold night would do wonders. Thanks to jeffc666.
DocLock (7214) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 9, 2004
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I lucked out, and got to try a bottle that had been in stirage since November, 2003, at the Beer Yard in Wayne, PA, today, at their Troegs tasting event. I could not find this beer in 2003 during the holidays. This beer pours the color of my wife's toenails, sort of dilute candy apple red. One of the reddest beers I've ever seen, and a decent head. I don't see how you can rate the appearance less than 4 or 5 for this one. Huge aroma of cherries, honey, fruit, nutmeg, and cabernet. Tastes very smooth and amazingly complex, with hints of cherries, fruit, spices, malt, honey, and strawberries. Finishes very smooth, slight heavy. The alcohol is well hidden, but the beer is somewhat dense as you'd expect. One of the most complex beers I've had. I won't miss this one next year. First thing Monday morning, I'm putting myself on the Beer Yard waiting list for November 2004.
ClarkVV (3579) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - APR 3, 2004
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: FEB 15, 2006 2003 Bottle. Thank you Jeff (jeffin7). Great pour, golden brown, with some dark honey colors, lightly hazy but mostly filtered. Good enough beige head. Smells of cherries, meaty and somewhat prune like. Yeasty, and a deep caramel sugar tone as well. Flavor starts out with a belgian kick, like they threw some belgian style yeast in. Has a hint of cherries but not dominant. Body is medium, lightly fizzy, but mostly soft. Sweet on the finish, sugary, lightly yeasty. Very unique to say the least. I have two more bottles and I think, based on the slighty syrupy texture, it should age well. Excited for the rerate.
2003 bottle and 2005 bottle sampled side-by-side blindly November 2005. The 2003 was easy to pick out, the cherries having subsided somewhat, while there was a hint of oxidation, yet the flavors overall, were better homogenized. The 2005 seemed rather syrupy, tart on the end, and too carbonated at this point. Both still showed poor head retention, though the 2005 was better, obviously. Neither showed the alcohol. Still just a bit too meaty/bready for me.
5000 (5645) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - MAR 4, 2004
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle pours red, lacks any real head but it has gentle carbonation. Light aroma of vicks cough syrup, cherry flavored of course. Sour up front, smoothing out to a sweeter finish. A tiny bit of an artificial cherry flavor, as well as perhaps some other berries. Medium bodied, good mouthfeel. The 11% is well masked. Beginning to feel the warmth of this one. Even tho the flavoring seems a bit artificial, it is still an enjoyable brew. Luckily as it warms it becomes much more palatable. Either that or the 11% is kicking in! Thanks goes out to Pabobcat for the trade!
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - FEB 22, 2004
3.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Clearish glowing coppery red color, small ivory head that diminishes quickly leaving no lacing. Aroma has a fresh rose semi sweet malty tingle with light phenol and cleaning alcohol notes. Taste has a mild malty start with some slight fruityness that builds into the middle where the fruityness of cherry becomes evident mixed with light raisin and fig, finishing with a slight spicy burn of alcohol which unleashes some more sweet fruityness with nice dry molasses and a slight touch of phenolic yeast and spice notes. Simple in taste but effective in its layering keeping a certain level of complexity. Feel is close to full but falls off quickly, some light chewy and sticky smoothness and malty sweetness throughout with a nice mix of light cake-like drying aspects and even lighter spices and phenols. A nice warmer-upper and actually pretty drinkable even with its 11% due to its smoothness and milder tone.
dberger624 (1028) - Phila, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 2, 2004
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On draft at the Grey Lodge for Ground Hog day at 8am. Good winter malty beer. Nice smooth beer.
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - JAN 29, 2004
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Ruby red with a quickly dissapearing head. Spicy cherry aroma. VERY yeasty. Tastes like a thin cherry Nyquil. Not too impressed, cough.
Schroppfy (2357) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - JAN 28, 2004
2.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 9/20
Among my least fave of all holiday beers - but fans of big malty barleywines might like this alot - sickly sweet with no relief, no balance, syrupy.
obxdude10 (1945) - Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 25, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 7, 2011 Amber in color, very little head, sweet & malty nose, lots of sweet & malty flavors, subtle hints of fruits & spices in the body, the real flavors I think come through in the finish
UPDATE: Just out of sheer curiosity, I checked my rating for this beer while sipping on one on a rainy December afternoon. Good thing I did. My original review was all the back in 2004. Either this beer has changed over the last seven years or my palate has. Probably a combination of the two. Whatever the case, this beer, now in 2011, is better than the 3.7 I gave it in ’04. The vague notes I gave then still apply to the beer today. However, I’d like to add that this is a more flavorful beer than I first described. I get a lot of cherries, nutmeg, cinnamon, grass, cocoa, honey and other herbs and spices. Obviously this is a much better beer than I originally thought and described.