realale420 (399) - west covina, California, USA - APR 29, 2007
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Sampled at Woodshop Tasting. #300. Poured a dark brown color with a nice light brown head. Aroma was caramel with hints of dates, raisins, chocolate and a classic trappist yeast. The flavor was sweet caramel with a mix of raisin, toffee, plum, dates and the list goes on. The one beer that really lives up to itís name.
Avatar (84) - Gliwice, POLAND - APR 28, 2007
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle at Kulminator in Antwerp. And Iím not the one who is able to describe it properly, so at the moment I leave it to the other. I just can say that was probably the best beer Iíve ever tried.
vyvvy (4777) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - APR 26, 2007
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: APR 27, 2007 Rating #1000 I did a side by side between an approx. 5 year old bottle (labeled at 10.6%) and a 6 month old bottle (labeled at 10.2%). I will give the beginning stats on the five year old and then the traits / differences of the 6 month old.
The five year old bottle had a minor "pfft" when the cap came off. Poured with the color of brown sugar with a nice beige head that was very respectable for the age. The aroma is full and open with plums, raspberries, brown sugar, thick caramel, earthy malt, red wine notes, buttered toffee, raisins and more - there is something new with each wiff. Full body thatís thick and velvety smooth with some incredibly soft carbonation. The flavor starts with brown sugar, Belgium earthiness, plums, raisins & smooth rich toffee-like earthiness. The finish adds some spice and a surprising sharpness and some astringency. As it warms the raspberry aspect comes out more and the finish loses some of the sharpness and becomes more lush and adds dark cherry, brown sugar and caramel. (9/4/9/4/18/4.4)
The six month version pour deep mahogany with a dense tan head - everything darker than the older version. The aroma has cola, brown sugar and other flavors of the aged version, but all of the favors are more subdued and sharper. There is less earthiness, but more fruit. More brown sugar and caramel earthiness as it warms, but nothing like the aged bottle. The flavors are much tighter and hidden, the five yar was significantly more lush and opened up. Medium / full body with fairly sharp carbonation. The taste is more sharp with earthiness, very dark caramel, coriander and pepper. The finish gets quite sharp with anise and pepper. As it warms it opens up more, but nowhere near where the aged version was from the beginning. (8/5/8/4/17/4.2)
Overall, it is well worth aging the beer. Iíve held onto the aged beer for years and it was worth it. Big thumbs up for this exceptional beer, but if you have the patience with a fresh bottle it is advised to give this a bit of time to age. The rating numbers are for the older version as it was quite a bit better. I forgot to add on the original rating a big thanks to mkofron and mad_scotsman for the hook-up on the fresh bottle.
dmradus (227) - Ithaca, New York, USA - APR 26, 2007
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JAN 30, 2008 Bottle at ít Waagstuk, Antwerp. Pours a deep, deep brown bordering on black with a dense and foamy one-finger off-white, bordering on tan head. Nose is complex and distinctive. Dusty and earthy notes are heavy, as well as dark pit fruits that round into a nice fruity sweetness. Also significant yeast presence here, in the form of some interesting esters. Well balanced between an overarching sweetness and a subdued, massively complex and inviting stable of other elements. Taste does not disappoint: the epitome of the sweet/savory interplay that I find in a lot of really well crafted brews. Dark pit fruits in prunes and plums, caramel, hints of milk chocolate. Slight, complexity-adding yeast funk. Finish is short and sweet, after just a dash of mild alcohol. The lack of alcohol presence in this beer is really to be marveled at. Palate is so incredibly sexy: stunningly smooth and velvety on the tongue, this is the ultimate in sipper beers. Searched far and wide for this and it definitely did not disappoint. Easily the best Iíve ever had - 4.7 may as well be a 5 for me, considering how conservative I am in my ratings.
Update: had the opportunity to try a 25 year old (1983) vintage bottle of this at Ebenezerís in Lovell, Maine. It held up - mouthfeel a little lighter, taste definitely sweeter and noticeably complex. Estery, spicy notes faded and more caramel and chocolate came up front. Aged quite well. Rating still based on fresh bottle.
oberabcbbsok (687) - Hoboken, BELGIUM - APR 26, 2007
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
One of my top beers, only problem is the price is getting out of hand. I try to drink it about 5 times a year. Really top of the beers
KAME (160) - California, USA - APR 22, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottled. I had high expectations for this brew, and it didnít fail to deliver. It wasnít the best beer Iíve ever had, but it was quite wonderful. Aroma is sweet, but not cloying, with very present raisins, oak, and belgian yeast. Flavor is much more impressive than the Westy 8, with caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit, and a light alcohol presence all forming a quite wonderful brew. The creamy mouthfeel is probably the highlight of this very complex belgian quad, really explaining why it is so highly rated. Itís not the best at anything, but it does everything very well.
scanovajr (663) - Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL - APR 21, 2007
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Bottle 33 cl at Cafť Belgique, Amsterdam. Pours dark brown with a small beige head. Aroma is extremely complex. Caramel, fruits, raisins, wood and some chocolate. Hard to say everything you can feel drinking this beer. Taste is also complex. Lots of fascinating flavours. Sweet, caramel, cherries, oranges, chocolate, vinous. A bit of hops to balance everything. Sweet in the beginning and dry and warm in the end due to the high alcohol %. Smooth mouthfeel. Fascinating, the best beer I ever had.
bpcsatx (2) - San Antonio, Texas, USA - APR 20, 2007 does not count
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
The simple bottling and crating is not indicative of the great taste. The Trappist family simply knows how to make some of the best beer in the world. The fruit is quite amplified and the balance is perfect with just enough hops to compliment the fruit. Simply an enjoyable beautiful beer. To-date the best ever.
JohnnyOlhus (43) - Amager (Copenhagen), DENMARK - APR 19, 2007
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark beer, very little head. Taste of spicy fruit. Very wine-like in character and finish.
padrefan98 (854) - (San Diego) Santee, California, USA - APR 19, 2007
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle thanks to fordest. This poured with a very small head, that lasted throughout. Smellls of raisin and chocolate. Taste of raisins, fruit, chocolate, and spice. Very good. The best in this style for me. Excellent.