edwardbass (514) - Illinois, USA - FEB 4, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma is roasty malt, bourbon. Taste is lots of dried fruit, bourbon, bit of coffee, alcohol bite. Very tasty. Haven’t tried many black ales, but this makes me want to try more.
otakuden (1783) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - FEB 4, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Appearance: cork releases with zero pop though miniscule bubbles do rise to the surface. Pours clear pitch blacks and browns; not quite liquid oil but close. Settles solid black in glass with no head, no foam, no lace – like a black slick.
Nose: wood and charcoal, tar and char. Dry burnt chocolates. Rooty, black earth. Faint hint of vanillin and especially vanilla root still covered in moist dank black earth. Chopped firewood, raw and rough. Tickle of heat in the back reminds me of dried cayenne.
Palate: raw and hot from first quaff to last, lingering with an almost burning heat in the tummy akin to supping on liquid cayenne peppers coated in chocolate, earth, wood, vanilla, and melted caramel. Burnt chocolates are up front with burnt wood in the finish. Heat tinges the breath, like a campfire crackling hot whites and glowing embers. Long brittle ashen charcoal finish lingers long atop the tongue. Cinnamon sticks in with the cayenne. The edges of burnt fudge squares. Slowly sucks moister from mouth. Black root and black earth underneath.
Final Thoughts: great potential but extremely hot. The beer could have easily sat for a couple years, allowing the heat to smooth and settle while allowing all her lusciously dark flavors to meld and shine. Other than the heat, a black labyrinth I’d gladly get lost in time and time again.
jstraw (1920) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 29, 2011
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Black with massive, foamy, brown head / Nose of tobacco, chocolate, and coffee / Full body, chewy and some sweetness, with good hoppy balance and long, slightly hot, finish / Flavors of cigar box, licorice, bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee, coconut, oak, all the usual suspects / Excellent. Who are these guys?
ucusty (2691) - raleigh, North Carolina, USA - JAN 21, 2011
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark pour with a thin beige head. Aroma is roasty, smokey, creamy, nutty and hoppy. Flavor not as complex as the aroma but still decent none the less. Light metallic finish and licorice aftertaste
bhensonb (11060) - Woodland, California, USA - JAN 19, 2011
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
750 c&c from Malt & Vine. Pours very black with a slight dark tan head. Licorice/anise aroma simply from the pour. In the glass there’s chocolate and arguably oak. Full bodied with foamy carb. Flavor is anise/chocolate. Notes of vanilla/oak. It’s lightly sweet, but somewhat bitter. Maybe near balanced. Pretty tasty thing.
SuperDave (1932) - Beautiful Sunny Mesa, Arizona, USA - JAN 15, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Black pour, brown head. Molasses, milk chocolate, pumpernickel bread. Flavor is sweet and very malty. Lactose, molasses and sweet espresso. Nice.
pineypower (2509) - Pine Barrens, New Jersey, USA - JAN 11, 2011
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle from Canal’s Woodbridge. Pours out well....prettymuch black with a moderate tan head. Aroma is of roast, cocoa, some oak, black licorice, light molasses and some dried fruit. Mouthfeel is thick and slightly syrupy, but never over the top. Taste is very complex with some chocolate, light coffee, roast, licorice, fig raisin, oak, earth and some warming alcohol linger on the finish. Whole lots going on here in this sipper.
cgarvieuk (14287) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - JAN 10, 2011
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
bottle at home ... dark black ... thin tan head ... sweet roast malts .. big toffeee ... light bourbon nose ... little over fizzy ... light charcoal front ... quite a lot of bourbon .. big roast ... little burnt coffee ... some licorice ... nice enough ... quite heavy going but really quite nice
BeerandBlues2 (9685) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - JAN 9, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. Pours opaque with an average, frothy brown head, medium-long retention with fair lacing. Aroma is heavy malt (roasted, coffee, nutty, chocolate), average hops (floral, spicy), and average esters (fruity) with notes of alcohol, licorice, figs, and smoke. Flavor is heavy malt (roasted, coffee, nutty, chocolate), average hops (floral, spicy), and average esters (fruity) with notes of alcohol, licorice, oak, figs, and smoke. Full body, high warmth, medium carbonation and creaminess with a biting and drying finish, though some residual sweetness still coats the tongue. This is a nice, warm beer, though the warmth (and alcohol) could be toned down a bit to make this an even better beer.
MarinaMarket (211) - POULSBO, Washington, USA - JAN 9, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Nose of sweet dark fruit, coffee & malt. Pours very dark with a beautiful dark full head. Wonderful looking beer that does not disappoint! Flavors of malts, chocolate, molasses, dark fruit, and slight hints of licorice and alcohol. This is a really big beer with a huge mouthfeel. Oily, sticky, great lacing, and yet still quite balanced by the alcohol, hops, and brewing skill. I would lay a bunch of this down to enjoy over the next few years. Tasted from the bottle @ 62F.