shp555 (2024) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JAN 21, 2007
Pours dark black with a dark brown head. Aroma is of chocolate, caramel, raisins, and malts. Flavor is sweet malts with caramel, some raisins and finishes with a slight alcohol burn. Great balanced stout. boboski (1095) - Alabama, USA - JAN 20, 2007
UPDATED: JUL 9, 2007 Totally opaque, incredibly dense black body. Only remnants of a head remain after a moment, from what was thick and creamy at the outset. Nose is at first very vinous, with cilia trembling power and ferocious roast. Aromas of copious, costly chocolate, unwieldy roasted malt, fresh crisp anise, lumbering smoke and soured coffee. Just stupefying. Flavor is just as remarkable, unleashing more smoke and roasted malt, tamed but abundant hops, more licorice and coffee, more everything. Smoldering black nectar rich with complexity. Palate is very thick and full, coating and luxurious. Finishes with notes of dried fruits like plums, raisins and a substantial hop bitterness that doesn’t detract from any of the marvelous intricacies. What a masterpeice. It really is a daily challenge not to give in to the allure and crack open my remaining bottles. Near perfect, from my favorite style. And, wow, does this have style.
shrubber85 (11408) - Greenville, Indiana, USA - JAN 19, 2007
VERTICAL TASTING, 07-08-07
This created some interesting impressions. Notes indicate only components that stood out, not necessarily the entire impression, moreso just a comparison between batches. The original rating still stands and is still completely relevant:
Batch 6811, bottled 04-26-05
Thin head. Aroma: vinous, cream, touch of sherry(from very slight oxidation). Flavor: Slight oxidation(not bothersome), vinous notes, dark fruit, still moderately roasty. Creamy mouthfeel, very soft palate, low carbonation, drying roasty finish.
Batch 7205, bottled 01-12-06
Creamy head and body, touch thick er than 6811, still very thin head. Aroma: Chocolate, vanilla, raisin, prune, big alcohol notes. Flavor: very hot alcohol, roasted grain, bitter chocolate. Finishes sweet, then very dry, dusty and warming. Hot, biting mouthfeel.
Batch 7251, bottled 02-25-06
Same appearance as batch 6811. Aroma: chocolate chip, raisin, roast, toasty bread. Flavor: chocolate, red wine, roast. Off-dry finish, then very dry, very lengthy. Biting but creamy palate.
Batch 7740, bottled 12-19-06
Creamy, thick head, slow recession, sheet lacing. Aroma: roast, chocolate, alcohol. Flavor: roasted grain, bitter chocolate, toasty cereal grain. Finishes dry with chocolate, roast, coffee. Thick mouthfeel, medium carbonation.
Batch 7817, bottled 02-01-07
Creamy, very thick head, quicker recession than 7740. Thick gobs atop sheet lacing. Aroma: big alcohol, vinous notes, bittersweet chocolate, anise. Flavor: anise, roast, coffee. Billowing with creamy carbonation. Excellent flavor and mouthfeel.
I was surprised that coffee and anise didn’t make more of a lasting impression. The oldest and most recent batches were favorites.
Bottle. Smoky coffee, dark chocolate and hops aroma. Dark black-brown color with small but extremely persistant tan head. Flavor complex and comes in stages - initial flavor is of smooth cream followed by chocolate and coffee then a fairly strong astringent flavor and finishing with a brown sugar and nutty flavor. Then just when you think it’s done - a strong hops aftertaste hits you a few seconds after swallowing. A brilliantly made beer. jimijames68 (1) - milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 19, 2007 does not count
wow! the smells were alright...not overpowering, but a bit fruity....and a bit like bubble-gum....tricky!
tiny head with no legs whatsoever.
then came the taste....wow!
i was quite impressed....had about 3-4 different flavor tastings all at once when i had my first drink. my girlfriend who is not a big beer conni......loved it and wouldn’t give it back. choclately.....a bit nutty and fruity....very nice flavor.....and the abv% hits (females) as well.
congrats. bells....very nice! jmuhops (669) - Winchester, Virginia, USA - JAN 18, 2007
Pours thick and black with a very dark, small head. Big molasses, chocolate, smoky aroma. Piney hops blend well with the dark malt smells. They blend just as well in the flavor, where the whole thing is mixed with nuttiness and alcohol. Big tobacco notes in the finish. Excellent, unique Imperial in a business where they’re all too often exactly the same as the next one.
joebrew (608) - Farewell Minny; Hello Puyallup, Washington, USA - JAN 17, 2007
Pours jet black, with a nice off brown head. Aromas of toffee, chocolate(lots of chocolate), a little tobacco or grainy earthiness. The flavor is rich and deep and is dominated by the same characteristics of the nose. There is a decent alcohol bite and a nice roasted nuttiness that compliment the chocolate very well. Not my first Exp, and definately not my last. incutrav (577) - Woodbury, Minnesota, USA - JAN 17, 2007
UPDATED: JAN 3, 2008 I have read a lot about this brew and I finally picked up a sixer for 14 bucks. Not cheap but Thats ok. I have heard Surly Darkness is even better then this, here is what i now, i had never had an imperial stout before, and i was surprised. MUCH sweeter then i thought it would be, very thick, but one bottle is certainly enough for a night. I cellared the remaingin 5 botles, so ill fire those down in a few years and see how it is then...maybe ill come around (i used to HATE IPA’s too, and now they are my fav)I read lots of reviews on this, so it would be tough to live up to the hype, and i dont think it did, but maybe i jsut dont like this style? I will have to try the Surly to see for sure. JUST had a bottle aged about a year and it was quite a bit less sweet, and I like it way more then the fresh stuff from last year. johnykat (65) - Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 16, 2007
I think other raters have summed up the flavor of this beer just as well as I could. I just want to say that this is an amazing beer. At the time I had this beer, I thought I had a decent feel on what a good beer was. Then I tasted this beer. It changed everything for me. Beers that I would have rated highly dropped down a couple pegs after this beer. It is great and a must try for everybody that appreciates good beer...just great. mitch1261 (13) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - JAN 16, 2007
THIS BEER IS VERY DARK WITH A BROWN HEAD. IT POURS THICK FROM THE BOTTLE. IT HAS A SMOKED MALTY AROMA WITH HINTS OF COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE IN EVERY DROP. THERE IS DEFINITELY A PRESENCE OF ALCOHOL IN THIS BEER. oNE 12 OUNCE BOTTLE IS ENOUGH FOR THE NIGHT. porterhouse (1580) - Boothbay, Maine, USA - JAN 14, 2007
(Bottle (stamped "7205") via trade with <A HREF=http://www.ratebeer.com/ViewUser.asp?UserID=2 target=blank>OhioDad, thanks Scott!, cellared for 11 mos. after trade) A fine imp stout, rich and port-like...Pours thick-looking, very, very dark brown, virtually black. Very thin brown head recedes to ring around the edge. Aroma of coffee, port/wine and bitter chocolate. Mouthfeel very smooth but pretty chalky throughout. Lightly sticky in finish. Thin, fine sloppy lacing. Flavor is roasty coffee and dark bitter chocolate along with a hint of cherry-like fruitiness. Port wine dances in and out. Gets more interesting as it warms. Alcohol very well-hidden. Very good, not quite all I had hoped but a nice experience. Think I was hoping for more amazing complexity and was surprised by the chalkiness.