wunderbier (1434) - Tampere, FINLAND - JAN 19, 2006
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
A thick and frothy off-white head descends slowly to murky orange-amber hued beer while constantly being buffered by rising carbonation. Still, the fade is relatively quick. Apricots and spry pale malts leap forth quickly followed quickly by bakery fresh bread and cookies. Floral hops with some citric qualities provide balance, albeit in favor of the malt. A doughy yeast presence nearly merges with the aforementioned breadish malt profile. Esters of light, tropical fruits play with reckless abandonment; bananas and pineapples with hints of kumquats and kiwis. There is also a subtle sour quality present, much like grapefruit but without the overall pungency. Detectible alcohol as well. Very sweet initially, along with a moderate dose of that sourness. The finish is still sweet, yet crisp, owing to an effervescent carbonation, slight tart acidity and moderate hop bitterness. A rich bodied mouthfeel, creamy until broken up by the carbonation, with an unfortunate tinge of alcohol. 750mL bottle, snifter, no discernable bottle dating. Purchased at <a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Beverage Warehouse in Savannah, GA.
porterdude (170) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - JAN 17, 2006
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
This beer will always have a special meaning to me. I shared this beer with my girlfriend on our one year anniversary while dining at the Archer Ale House in Bellingham.
It pours a pretty light brown color, completely clear with a nice thick and dense white head. A big aroma of bread yeast, fruits and spices sneak into my olphactory receptors. On first sip I notice a rather warming alcohol flavor that gave way to dates, fruits, yeasts and then finishing with a nice dry mouth feel. I might have to buy some and lay it down for more anniversaries with my girlfriend.
JPDIPSO (5133) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 12, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Lightly hazed copper to brown in color. Fairly thick and stable off-white head. Strong malty aromas, mild fruit of plums and dark currant, toffee and honey, also a mild dough yeast. Alcohol come out a touch more as it warms, but nothing too unexpected. Aromas translate to the flavors with the same fruit and sweetness. A touch of spice from the yeast and alcohol also creep in. A simple and effective belgian strong [or is it a quad ;-)]. Better than most local efforts at this style.
Storm (2684) - Amager, DENMARK - JAN 9, 2006
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
33 cl bottle. Yeast et the bottom. Amber colour with a nice rocky head. Nice aroma of dried fruit and some yeast. Flavour of spice, yeast and very alcoholic
willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - JAN 4, 2006
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 14/20
01.04.06 750ml bottle, undated but new. Burnished copper in color, clear, beneath a determined and lasting off white head, fluffy and unending. Sticky but spotty lace clings tenaciously. Aroma is sweet, full, and fruity with plenty of candied and sugared mixed tropical fruits (pineapple, mango, guava) and touches of citrus. The yeast is notably present in the aroma as a ripe dough, and in the flavor with bread and mild spice. Tends toward grainy with more temperature. Some woody notes bring dry and vinous aspects. Citrus sharpness breaks up the sweetness and alcohol adds to the spice, but neither overpowers. The beer feels soft, smooth, and round throughout, not at all unctuous or sticky despite its size. By the end of the bottle, the sweetness actually is over the top and the beer gets tiring. Oh well.
kepano (249) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JAN 2, 2006
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
The halcyon glades from which the Urthel gnome hailed have been, in all probability, lost to the profit of Paul van Steenberge’s colossal computerized vats. Yet in the confines of his new home this furtive fellow has saved his recipe and brews it today, same as before but on a much larger scale. I wish that was the actual story, indeed I wish there was a story at all. The fact is, this young beer seems to contain more history than its pale 4 years of existence would indicate. In appearance alone the liquid shows a weathered orange-red hue that subtly changes as the forms in the head move from frothy soap bubbles building to a plump and soft mountainous relief. These custard hills roll as the Munros of Scotland, and size permitting you could certainly go bagging for them too with only the dangerously delicious aftereffects to consider. The nose is rich and soft but also fruity. Aromas of citrus, pineapple, pear, banana, mirabelle, apricot and a hint of strawberry are apparent. Some sweet notes of bubble gum esters, soap, butter, corn, almond, vanilla, burnt sugar, caramel and honey create an impressive complexity and a truly delectable fragrance. The light malts become dominant in the flavor providing a very nourishing quality to this beer. The sweet butter, burnt caramel and brown sugar flavors are complemented by a smooth creamy texture that finishes "wet" and leaves a light warm feeling from the alcohol. Genuinely a great beer that demonstrates the talent of one of Belgium’s younger brewers, which is especially worthy of praise when the contenders have several centuries of practice!
GarrettB (1278) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 29, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: SEP 16, 2007 Antique shops, an old attic, garage sales and the elderly are a few of the best places to find the rare, exotic and underappreciated. The dual sense of guilt and ecstasy that comes with finding a rare gem and paying pittance for it is thrilling, but it takes a keen eye and overflowing charisma to find the right hunting grounds. However, if you’re not up to the challenge of walking through temples made of cardboard boxes, scaling hills of children’s clothing or risking life and limb sorting through old cutlery but still want the satisfaction of questing for a little known treasure, search for the gnome. The Samaranth gnome, that is. The sundown on a fall day color of this Urthel meditates below a light, buoyant tan head that oscillates with a whimsical swirl of the glass. Inside is a wide column of bubbles resembling a sea vent, and gives the beer the appearance of busily preparing itself to be the best taste possible. The gaseous preview contains apples, pears, brown sugar, butter, bubble gum, vanilla ice cream rounded out with a slight strawberry edge. In the mouth this unsung hero absolutely soars, resounding with moderate alcohol dryness, and a distinctive. Then it turns a deep sweet, like baked apples coupled with bubblegum, all upon a calming, smooth texture. When I plucked the Samaranth off the shelf I was making an arbitrary choice among a row of beers all decorated with a gnome. Of course the breweries were as different as the gnomes, and if art is any judge then the Urthel series was a major loser. The cover gnome may have had a strange tumorish growth under his poorly drawn beard, but maybe it was a design meant to give the drinker a mouthful of surprise when the beer turned out to be exceedingly good. Samaranth is a true find, because finding an under praised and unknown bottle of quality beer is a challenge on par with those of other treasure seekers.
thedm (5215) - Fort Wayne, USA - DEC 27, 2005
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This bottled brew poured a large sized head of foamy finely sized long lasting off-white colored bubbles that left behind a poor lacing. The body contained average carbonation, was transparent and golden in color. Its aroma contained notes of nice vinous malty floral caramel. Its mouth feel is initially tingly vinous with a palate and a weird flavor in the finish aftertaste. Its flavor contained vinuous malty spicy caramel notes and was very tasty. Nice mellow over-all balance for an 11.5% brew.
Dorwart (2464) - Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA - DEC 22, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Good sized off-white head in my Chimay glass. Fine, dense, creamy bubbles. Very good carbonation. Fruity aroma with apricots, peaches and spices. Delicious aroma. Color is a dark copper. Smeet, malty and delicious flavor. Little bit of fruit and spices. Warming but the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Finish is creamy and syrupy with a lingering warmness and sweetness. I think that I am going to enjoy finishing this 750! A good belgian strong ale.
HogTownHarry (6371) - Toronto (Harbourfront), Ontario, CANADA - DEC 19, 2005
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle (330ml). Poured cloudy amber-orange with a small foamy-fizzy head. Aroma of light roast malt, lemon, yeast, spices and apple - very yeasty. Taste - sugary light roast malt, yeast, alcohol, sharp spice, mild fruit, even some citrusy hop bitterness - the alcohol quickly begins to dominate. Mouthfeel lively yet flat, very alcoholic and moderately sticky - not bad, very warming but a little too boozy and the other flavours are too muted for this to be excellent.