3fourths (9357) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - DEC 4, 2007
UPDATED: OCT 10, 2013 Imperial stout rating #150. First thing noticed other than a silky dark brown head on a near-pitch black body was a distinct soy note, that had me worried, but it was rather low key and later on in the drink it disappeared, so probably just a result of the slightly too-cool temperature this was initially served at.
First taste is rich and decadent buttery mocha and bourbon, extremely heavy and thick on the tongue, with a chocolate residue, so smooth and creamy, with some lighter notes of char and soy. The intensity rises over the back of the palate into a striking finish, complete with sharp bourbon, soothing chocolate and butter, so rich and decadent, creamy like fudge with just a really wonderful bourbon note, not harsh or dry at all, very vivid and alive on the palate. The high alcohol of the 7000 works much better with the bourbon barrels than does the Double Cream/Expedition blend, and at a warmer temperature there was such a serious bourbon note emanating from my glass, it was about as perfect of a winter warmer as you could ask for, relieving and relaxing you from the below freezing temperatures outside. Overall it’s an amazing beer. I was surprised it was so nice, since I wasn’t much of a fan of Batch 7000 (had 4-5 bottles no older than 9 months, which would explain the difference now). Seriously deserving of high praise. Ughsmash (7508) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 13, 2007
On tap at Maduro – GTMW pre-party. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Take one of my top-notch stouts and give it a little quality time in the bourbon barrel. Poured deep black with a light ring of darker tan head.. highly-viscous. Aroma was of very deeply-roasted dark chocolates and dark fruity goodness smacked upside the head with a powerful (yet somehow intricate and well-integrated) presence from the barrel.. heavy vanilla and bourbon sugars with splinters of oak CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - AUG 19, 2007
Vanilla and bourbon were also major players in the flavor department, and were very enjoyable!.. well-roasted dark chocolate, dry espresso beans and brandy-like vinous sugars ride through the back end to the long and very warm finish. The booze was not shy in this one, but was quite welcomed! Creamy and thick on the palate with well-placed sourness accenting the roasty finish. Fantastic!!
UPDATED: FEB 20, 2008 On tap at Maduro prior to the 2007 GTMW: Pours an oily opaque black with dark brown edges and a thin coating of frothy, well-lacing dark brown head. Incredibly rich, sweet dark caramel and chocolate aroma has a good amount of vanilla oaky bourbon complexity and some raisins and brown sugar. Body starts with a full sweetness, dense molten dark cocoa and complex bourbon oak with a mild touch of grapefruity hops that are still fairly assertive given the age. Great bourbon balance and thick, yet smooth palate. An awesome barrel-aged imperial stout! BBB63 (6557) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - AUG 11, 2008
1.5L bottle @ GTMW, thanks to who that was for running over there and getting this for me: Inky jet black with a minimal head or lace, oily legs. The aroma has notes of charred astrengent and chocolate malt, oak and vanilla bean, phenolic booze, prune, fig, anise and a leathery yeast profile. The taste is twangy fruits, palate biting alcohol, sweet malts and woody spiced finish. Rounded for the most part and incrediable dpeth of palate. The mouth feel is sticky and full-bodied, heavy and aggressive. A wonderful brew that sadly needs to be retired now... maybe Bells wants to do a "pooh" version ;-) Skyview (6093) - Papoose Jct, Minnesota, USA - AUG 10, 2008
For rating 2700, sampled at GTMW ’08 from large Magnum bottle and shared by the Bells volunteers. Pours an opaque near black, syrupy brew with no head but some fine film swirls on top. Aroma of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, some charred oak, dark raisins and a touch of coffee. Taste is full bodied, thick, no carbonation, with flavors of bourbon, dark chocolate, caramel, raisins and a touch of vanilla. Finish is just as thick and chewy as its flavor with a nice dark chocolate and bourbon aftertaste that lingers long after the finish. The brew was so thick it required nearly five water rinses to clear out my sampling glass.
Dickinsonbeer (5074) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - DEC 5, 2007
On tap at Birreria Paradiso, the night after the Bells dinner. Pours an almost darker black than the expedition, with an even deeper more foamy orange head and better lacing! Aroma is way more intense, but not neccesarily better- tons of licorice, sharp black chocolate- tons of burnt black patent malts, nutty, light smoke, and bourbon is a bit sharper. Tons of sugary sweetness, and chocolate with hints of coffee, tons of licorice, tar, chewing tobacco, sharp bourbon, some green young hints that I get in the regular expedion new batches, and fairly bitter despite the sweet middle. A bit harsh and over the top , bourbon makes it seem even stronger than it is and is still very sweet, and not as mellow as the regular 7000- This reminded me a lot more of a Darklord. Pretty damn nice, but not quite as good as the BA expedition/double cream IMO. Brigadier (3725) - Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA - AUG 12, 2007
On tap at Maduro’s
1FastSTi (3361) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 12, 2007
This to me was the clear winner of the night. I was fortunate enough to try the Barrel Aged Double Cream/Expedition at the Great Taste the next day. This was in all ways equal. It will move instantly into my personal Top 10 which is quite a feat at this point. The only real flaw in this gem was the alcoholic bite which one will either love or find a turnoff.
Aroma / Appearance - The nose of this is so rich that even the smell of cigar smoke can not mask it. In fact it almost enhanced the rich combination. Coffee, smoke and licorice still stand out from the Batch 7000. They are complimented by the oaky vanilla creaminess imparted by the barrels. The body has not changed color at all - it is murky black even when held up to direct light. A beautiful tan head makes this perfect in all aspects - if you aren’t sure what it looks like just crack open a Batch 7000 and bask in its beauty.
Flavor / Palate - Creamy vanilla flows down the throat along with coffee liquor, anise and cocoa. A slight alcoholic presence begins to slowly gain strength. The mouthfeel is full, smooth and intense. It is perfectly balanced - the bourbon has given this great beer even more quality. The oaky finish leaves a chocolately impression that takes forever to fade. This is the best $4 pint I have ever had to date.
Tap at Maduro pre-GTMW party. The beer pours to a murky black body with a small creamy light brown head that mostly dissipates. The aroma is heavy on the roasted black malts, chocolate, pine hops, black fruits, bourbon. The flavor is heavy as well. Roasted black malt, molasses, maple syrup, chocolate, pine hops, bourbon, and charred wood. The palate has a medium sweetness and full body. The texture is oily and really creamy. The alcohol is very noticeable, but I liked that. kmweaver (3207) - Petaluma, California, USA - DEC 3, 2007
Draft, Birreria Paradiso, Bell’s Dinner. Pours a very dark, murky and oily brownish color; thin, fine-bubbled head with more oiliness than lacing. Very dense, buttery bourbon and dark chocolate and an impressively soft, toasty vanilla-tinged oak and intricate bourbon character in the aroma; just lovely. Exceptionally oily, dense mouthfeel: all the roastiness and oily, nuttiness of the non-BA version, with a soft, buttery bourbon character; plenty of vanilla and warming alcohol, but nothing harsh; creamy, dense, excellent bourbon throughout, without overwhelming the beer underneath. Medium, soft bourbon and chocolate and roasted nuts in the finish; oily and smooth. Silphium (3199) - Traverse City, Michigan, USA - NOV 19, 2007
On tap at Graydon’s Crossing, Grand Rapids. I was really excited to try this one, and the beer did not disappoint. Deep opaque brown-black body, tight brown medium head. Big oaky nose backed by strong roast, licorice, and plum/prune notes. Wow! Incredibly potent body. The oak quickly melts away into the deep roasty body, a complex but still rough-hewn gem of prune, acerbic woodiness, charred malts, burnt marshmallow, and chocolate. Sharp, prickly alcohol reminds the drinker of its heft. Excellent complexity. This is a rich, decadent beer without the barrel...the addition of oak makes every sip an experience.