Silphium (3199) - Traverse City, Michigan, USA - FEB 2, 2004
Bottle #67/115. John (hopsrus) was generous enough to share this beauty with Jeff (TAR) and myself. Perfect appearance, opaque and dark with a creamy light tan head. Wood and bourbon are strong in the aroma along with alcohol and underlying roasted dry chocolate. Flavor is also heavily influenced by the barrel aging, with bourbon and wood character finishing with a creamy, buttery coffee and roasted chocolate malt medley. Smooth and velvety palate; this is not a sticky Imperial, but it is smooth as silk. I can understand why this is currently the top-rated beer on the site, though I would be interested to taste this (2002) batch without the effect of barrel aging and the bourbon flavors aging imparts. Probiere (992) - Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 8, 2004
Very dark chocolate, vanilla esters, caramel, and almond. Big, oily mouthfeel with dark-roasted malts and caramel. Too much alcohol in the finish and aftertaste. Still very tasty, though. I'm glad I didn't have to finish a bomber of this....it would eff me up but good! Many thanks to Eric for sharing his bottle! Had at RB Philly gathering February 2004. madsberg (11773) - Søborg, DENMARK - AUG 1, 2004
Bottled: Pitch black coloured. Huge chocolate brown head. The looks dosn’t get any better. Smoke, alcahol, chocolate, roastyness and fruit in the aroma. Alcahol is dominant but not in a unpleasant way. Coffee, cocoa, roast, loads of alcahol (more smoot than the aroma), malt, spices, you name it the beers got it. The alcahol almost totally burns you lips in the end before a delightful bitterness lightens up everything. Not as complex as I would expect from a top 5 beer, but still a damned good beer. cb (810) - Roeland Park, Kansas, USA - NOV 17, 2003
UPDATED: FEB 5, 2004 Everything about this was planned to be marvelously decadent and did not disappoint. The perfect amount of bourbon. Texture was a velvet wash of creamy dark chocolate with a top-notch (think Jamaica Blue Mountain) espresso thickness. Hint of licorice and toasted coconut. Molasses-like mouthfeel. The liquid version of drinking a Girardelli flourless torte. I imagine some ripe raspberries and pound cake alongside this delight. JohnC (3008) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - DEC 2, 2003
UPDATED: DEC 22, 2003 This may be surprising, but this imperial poured jet black w/ a small tan head. The taste of the bourbon barrel aging was quite evident. between the bourbon overtones and the coffee flavors, it made for a very nice stout.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 3, 2003
str8 outta the barrel in Dec 02: this was probably the best sample as it had whispers of vanilla and oak to add to the complexities../ 2002 Bottle/ sampled 03: darker than tupac on a dark alaskan night...tan swirling galactic lather designs gathering thicker at the edges...coffee aromas with subtle hints of vanilla and chocolate bars...rich and thick but a tad bitter at the back of the tongue..extremely heating..smooth..vanilla & chocolate covered fruit flavors..im not getting as much bourbon flavor as others..and i dont get enough bourbon chewiness to it.. CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JAN 5, 2004
UPDATED: MAR 11, 2007 2004 vintage sampled on 8/2/06: Pours a rich opaque black with a thin-lacing wispy covering of dark brown head. Aroma of sweet chocolatey bourbon and some aged caramel malt. Body starts fairly full and sweet but doesn’t have much coffee character compared to the fresher non-barrel aged version. Smooth milk chocolatey palate has decent bourbon character, but doesn’t quite have the freshness and complexity but hides the alcohol well and is very drinkable. A nice beer, but not a top 10.
jamrun (137) - Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA - OCT 3, 2004
2002 vintage bottle 13/115, courtesy of Rodolito sampled on 1/5/04: Pours a thick oily black with some dark brown around the edges. Head is almost non-existant with a thin ring of light tan foam. Rich, robust, complex dark chocolate and bourbon aroma, with hints of caramel and dark fruits. Starts thick and caramely sweet going through some plum and bittersweet dark chocolate before arriving at a strong whiskey-like, roasted coffee alcoholic finish. A very nice imperial stout, but I think the barrel aging, although adding a touch of complexity, has greatly increased the feel of alcohol in the finish. I honestly prefer the normal version, and fear this is a touch over-rated due to its availability. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a great brew. Thanks again to Rodolito for hooking me up with this gem!
UPDATED: OCT 4, 2004 aroma heavy chocolate alcohol, extremly rich thick taste chocolate smoke coffe boubon many more I have no words for. finnishes with alcohol burn BückDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - SEP 27, 2005
Bottle 101/115 graciously provided by DrunkAsaSkunk. Tasted at Larry Pitonka’s September Tasting in SeattleMangino (1027) - Mississippi, USA - OCT 4, 2005
Dark brown color, black edges. Tan lacing with light head. The nose is lightly coffeeish with some astringent roast and woody antique guitar notes (no pun) with a bit of cobbwebb. Very rich and creamy, lots of caramel and a touch of soy sauce. Nice, very nice. I think this aged nicely and it really is quite a different animal than the original.
UPDATED: OCT 4, 2006 04’- Huge thanks to Blake for sharing this one at the Pre-GTM gathering. Having had the earlier version (and at the time much more aged) I was not such a fan of this one, though I’m guessing with time It will be just as awesome.
02’Thanks to Gordo for this one! Pours a pitch black, small medium brown head. Aroma of whiskey, fresh roasted coffee, almost overpowering. Flavor is full of whiskey/barrel, coffee, with the alcohol and coffee taking a backseat compared to the regular version. Damn fine brew.