sfontain (851) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - MAY 4, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 13, 2012 Re-rate 12/13/2012 (new bottle):8/5/7/5/17 = 4.2
Re-rating without having read my original...
12 oz single bottle, Whole Foods Columbus. Poured at fridge temperature into a 16 oz tumbler (requiring a few minutes; the head would otherwise have run out of the glass) and drank over the next 90 minutes; utterly pitch black; no visible light gets through this beer; gargantuan, frothy, light brown head; very slowly dissipates into an un-ignorable light brown ring . Aroma up front is largely roast and coffee and is generally less balanced or complex than I was expecting; the other notes are very minimal and include bread, nuts, licorice, and just maybe brown sugar. Flavor is dominated by roast and not much else. Mouthfeel immediately after pour was truly amazing; rich, thick, frothy, full, creamy, silky; the awesomeness is tempered a bit after an hour in a glass, but still decent; palate would get a 6 if I could make that happen. Overall this is a very nice beer, but Iím not sure I could give it the "world class" stamp. This is 95th percentile, maybe even 98th, but I donít think 100th.
Original rating 5/4/2004 8/5/8/4/16 = 4.1
Well...I just got this two weeks ago and I just noticed that this was bottled on October 15, 2002. Hmmm...Has this really been sitting in the store for a year and a half at room temperature? Iím scared...
But never fear, it turned out okay after all. Pours a completely opaque black with a surprisingly thin brown head. Aroma is coffee and some chocolate. Flavor is malty with lots of coffee and a solid bitterness at the end. The alcohol is hidden very well, with virtually no alcohol taste or burn; just some vapors to be felt when exhaling through the nose. Feels like a substantial beer, but certainly not among the imperial stouts that are the thickest or longest-lasting on the palate. Extremely drinkable, especially considering the alcohol content. A nice beer, but not as extraordinary as I had expected from all the hype.
theFritz (4) - Brunswick, Ohio, USA - MAY 2, 2004 does not count
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
My first thought was I wouldnít like this one.Light brown head made me think too strong.But, after the firts sip I was overwelmed!Perhaps the perfect Imperial Stout.The Czars of Russia would be impressed.
madsberg (11369) - SÝborg, DENMARK - MAY 1, 2004
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottled: Whoa. What an impressive sight. Pitch black. Huge chocolate brown head, that last through the whole beer. Fantastic aroma. Cocoa, coffee, roast, hops and malt. Nice. Flavour is hoppy and coffeish. Expresso as others had pointed out come to mind. Some fruit notes is there. Quite complex. Has a heavy bitterness in the end with some lovely coffee notes. This is definately a great beer, but it dosnít stand out compared to others of the great American Imp. Stouts. I had better ones, I think. Many thanks to Raindog for trading this. Definately a treat.
Sammy (11170) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - APR 30, 2004
3.6 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Arguably the best beer in America. It was an expresso stout all the way, but still a rank lower than Fuller London Porter as a similiar style/taste. Good choice for the end of a session or meal because of the aftertaste. Unless you do not like coffee.
presario (4903) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - APR 28, 2004
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Very dark brown with hints of red around the edges. Almost no head to start, but a thin brown head builds while in the glass. Cool film drips down the glass leaving a light lacing. Seductive hop aroma with hints of spice and alcohol around the edges. Taste starts with alcohol and hops, more alcohol in the middle and a long coffee, hop and more alcohol finish. A number of subtle flavours emerge in each sip: roasted malt, chocolate. Not sure how you tell the difference between this and a good barley wine. Yummy beer for savoring and revisting.
leon919 (10) - San Jose, California, USA - APR 26, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Well rounded beer. Good flavor that lasts. Nice lingering smokey flavor. Beautiful look to it, I would say great color if it actually had a color. Definately will try this one again.
omnivore (270) - San Francisco, California, USA - APR 26, 2004
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark as night. I'm talking... this baby is a black hole with a fine tan head. The aroma is even dark. Dark, woody, sweet and a little soapy. The flavor is amazingly rich. Hoppy bitter attack that eases of into a slightly malty sweetness which in turn eases off to a serious smokey leave. Pretty cool.
beermaniac (86) - Pennsylvania, USA - APR 25, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Aroma: Hoppy, with coffeish dark malt in the nose.
Appearance: Black, opaque with low head retention but still some remaining throughout the glass.
Flavor: Roasty dark malt with a tasty chocolately slant. Citrusy hops and coffeish/chocolate flavor go well together. Some alcohol is evident but not overpowering.
Mouthfeel: Full with some dark malt acridness and hop bitterness, but its by no means astringent or unpleasant.
Overall: Excellent, I've had this several times and its always a nice hoppy, chocolately, roasty treat for when I'm not the one driving!
BuckNaked (1230) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - APR 20, 2004
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: AUG 25, 2004 Bottle (11/21/03): Pours to a dark black color with an average, foamy, dark amber head. Aroma is VERY hoppy for a stout, with scents of burnt chocolate, bananas?, and other floral aromas that remind me of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Taste is initially bitter (expected for the hops) and slightly like burnt chocolate - really assaults your mouth right from the start. Finishes out dry with a bitter then quickly sweet and floral aftertaste that begs you to drink more. Impressive. Re-Rate (8/25/04): I don't know why I went so crazy over this last time I tried it. It's very good, but not the 4.4 I originally gave it.
willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - APR 20, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: JAN 7, 2007 Bottle 04.20.04 (b.o.d. 10.23.03) Pours as dark and thick looking as molasses. Very little head, sporadic lacing. Aromas of burnt chocolate and prunes; some ripe bananas; concorde grape(?). There is a sense that some floral aromas were present yesterday, waning to reveal alcoholy esters today. Flavors are at first sweet, creamy caramel. Hops bitterness comes through early and biting. Expected dark malt taste. The palate is unexpectedly thin, finish overly dry for such a big stout. I expected more sweetness across the palate to balance the bitterness of the heavy hopping. I think Iíll cellar a few to see how it improves as this beer seems ripe for aging.
05.09.05 12oz bottle from same 10.23.03 batch. Totally rad beer, time has done nothing but improve this brew. Palate is creamy and soft with round roasting adding just a mild bitterness. No noticable oxidation after the extra year. More balanced than younger SK.