radio_nowhere (1472) - Maryland, USA - OCT 13, 2013
Bomber into snifter glass. Deep dark brown with dark tan head. Aroma of thick roast malt sweetness, chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruit, vanilla, and wood notes. Taste adds notes of dark chocolate, booze, espresso, more wood (pretty tannic), whiskey and light earthy bitterness. Heavy body, low carbonation, roasty, woody with lingering roast finish. Oak bourbon barrels seems to play a larger role in this compared to others, I love bourbon though so this is great. The cork on my bottle said "best by May 2013" but this still tastes great in October. DCLawyer (2847) - Falls Church, Virginia, USA - OCT 12, 2013
750ml->snifter. Black with medium frothy lite brown head. A: coffe, chocolate malt, booze. Tastes just like an Irish coffee. Very good. zathrus13 (1776) - Mount Laurel, New Jersey, USA - OCT 8, 2013
Bottle. Pours dark brown, with a brown head. Aroma is chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon, and roasted malt. Flavor is roasted malt, dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, wood, and vanilla. Medium body. The flavor isn’t as good as the aroma, but this is still quite good. 50belair (3680) - Florida, USA - OCT 3, 2013
Bottle. Dark brown pour with a tan head. Roasted malt aromas. Big caramel malts, dark fruit sweetness, and a roasty finish. A bit effervescent with bourbon and oak undercurrents. Decent body and mouthfeel. fattybladdy (628) - Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA - SEP 27, 2013
Deuce @ home. Wonderful scent of wood and bourbon. Dark brown in appearance. Taste has a good amount of sweetness, dark fruit, bourbon and oak, and chocolate. A tasty brew.
jkwood04 (5463) - Connecticut, USA - SEP 21, 2013
750ml bottle in a snifter. Pours black with a thick, lacy, tan head. Aroma of roasted malts, some coffee and chocolate, a little bourbon and oak, and some light bitterness. Flavor the same with a nice blend of everything. A pretty good beer. DocLock (10970) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 19, 2013
750 cc from a friend via his Willamsburg vacation. Pours thick and dark blackish with khaki head. Nose is big roasty dark malt, chocolate, oaky bourbon, vanilla. Tastes rich, roasty, with notes of dark choc, earthy oaky bourbon, molasses, and hops. Gets more chocolatey as it warms, and just pounds the palate relentlessly. Nice stuff. ThisWangsChung (836) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - SEP 17, 2013
12.7 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Pours a nearly pitch black color that doesn’t look particularly thick coming out of the bottle. The head is typical for the style, a one-finger khaki shade. It’s nice and creamy, but doesn’t retain well (as expected). Slight hints of lacing are left on the glass.
S: Upon popping the cork, a HUGE aroma of chocolaty goodness emanates from the bottle. After it’s actually poured, it turns into more of a typical barrel-aged stout. There’s plenty of oak, roasted malts, butter, and vanilla here. This definitely seems bourbon-forward enough.
T: Dark chocolate opens up the flavors nicely. There’s also something savory in between the chocolaty start and tannic finish. I’m venturing to say it’s just a pure bourbon flavor, but it also has a quality of roasted nuts. All in all, it grows on me after a while, and I enjoy it a fair deal. Problem is, there’s not much (if any) complexity. It’s simplistic to a fault - which is fine for some A-class pilsner or AA-class IPA, but this is the major league of barrel-aged imperial stouts. You need to bring everything to the table, and this doesn’t quite do that. On the positive side, the sweetness is nicely controlled; even BCBS, as fantastic as it is, comes across too sweetly at times.
M: It’s suitably creamy, so it meets the bare minimum for what the style should feel like in the mouth. The finish, too, is nice, managing to be both dry and long-lasting. On the other hand, it’s also rather thinned out and clean - the latter must be why there isn’t much depth. Still, I am pretty impressed how this has a decent bourbon flavor with little burn considering the sweetness is restrained and the body is slender.
O: 3.9 (or whatever the rAvg is) isn’t a great score for a barrel-aged imperial stout, but going by my tendency to rate most everything half a point below the typical average, I’d even wager this is slightly underrated. I’d probably lambast this somewhat if it had the same level of hype as BCBS does. All I know is that A) it’s better than the chocolate/coffee aged version, and B) with a few tweaks (more body, more complexity), it would be up there with the elites. Right now, though, it’s still quite good. BeerFlavoredBeer (254) - New Hampshire, USA - SEP 17, 2013
Jackl, I am glad I wasn’t the only one that struggled with the cork! I am pretty sure my bottle is just the straight-up barrel-aged Dark Hollow (rather than the chocolate/coffee version), but I still get lots of smooth, dark chocolate and espresso in the flavor. The nose is faint coffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak. Some bitterness and booze in the finish, but overall this is a very good barrel-aged stout. The different flavors balance well and it changes pleasantly as it warms. mrmartin (780) - New York, New York, USA - SEP 6, 2013
I found this to be disappointing (but only on account of having had a lot of other highly rated Imp Stouts)
On its own accounts its quite good. Black-brown pour with thin tan head.
Notes of roasted malts, chocolate and whisky. Smooth full body with notes of coffee and chocolate rounded by the barrel process. A slightly boozy bitter finish.