jpm30 (1587) - East Central, Georgia, USA - APR 11, 2008
12 oz. bottle, no freshness/bottling date, sampled in a pint glass. I checked a couple of other beer websites today and they listed the ABV as 8%. The Dark Horse site lacked this info.
L: Opaque blackish brown with a bubbly topped, creamy tan chocolate head the slowly dissipated into a thin sudsy layer. Like all the stouts I’ve tried in the Holiday Stout series, this has an appetizing, taste inducing appearance.
S: Right off the bat, a nice aromatic aroma of smoked peat, whiskey-like, followed by dark chocolate cake with a trace of vanilla icing. In the background is a light char scent, the slightest of dark fruits smells and freshly grounded espresso beans. The alcohol is a barely noticeable mix of peat and fruity esters.
F&T: The medium body, while pleasantly smooth, would benefit from more carbonation. The moderate carbonation gives this a skimpy creaminess, plus I feel that it holds back the malty chewiness and flavor. I would also like a bit more firmness in the mouthfeel too. The smoky peat malt is much more subtle in the taste than in aroma, becoming more charred tasting as you reach the end. In the middle milky chocolate and a mild fruitiness emerges, lending some sweet softness to the overall taste. Finishes on a burnt coffee note, like a coffee pot that has been on the burner for too long.
A decent American stout, but my least favorite in the series, just not as bold tasting as the other offerings. Still, I would recommend that any dark stout fan give this a try just to compare it to the other stouts in the series from Dark Horse, a mid-Michigan brewery known for quality beer. bu11zeye (13029) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - APR 6, 2008
(Bottle) Pours a black body with a small tan head. Aroma of wood, smoked sausage, chocolate, some black cherry peel, and roasted malt. Flavor of chocolate, smoke, cocoa, and roasted malt. Nuffield (4171) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - APR 5, 2008
At first I thought this was just too cold, but even as it warmed it didn’t really blossom. There’s definitely a smoked note here, and some frontal fruit suggests a great underlying stout recipe, but even so it had a slightly sour edge and lacked the dimensionality in the mid and late palate. A little bit thin on the palate for what it is. Really good appearance, at least. grimreeser (797) - Minnesota, USA - APR 5, 2008
Pours black with a small dark tan head, a little lacing. Aroma is chocolate, smoke, a little alcohol comes out as it warms. Decent sweetness, something seems to lacking. Thin and smooth. Not great, but pretty good. Syd (921) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - APR 3, 2008
Bottle pours black and viscous with a milk chocolate head and some spotty lace. The aroma is of a distant smoke, roasted malt, and minor hop combination. The flavor imparts, among other things, walnuts, bitter dark chocolate, long lasting roasted finish, bitter coffee notes, dark fruits and some lactic notes. Palate is smooth, rich, and coating – sticky on the lips. Yes, this works well. I like it. Much more appealing as it get to room temperature.
bdigital (658) - Ft Wayne, Indiana, USA - APR 2, 2008
UPDATED: MAY 31, 2009 ’08 Bottle: This pours about as black as anything I’ve seen with a sizeable tan head. Big roasted malt nose with hints of dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco and smoked malt subtleties. What a great transition this brew takes on, completely balanced flavors range initially from dark chocolate malts and some coffee and meld into a smoked malt beast. The smoke is so perfectly incorporated without being overbearing. This a phenomenal stout and will now be a staple. Anyone who hasn’t tried this...seek it out! Gurst (338) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - APR 2, 2008
Taste of smokey, roasted potatoes. More cocoa than coffee, more roasted than burnt. Slightly thin. SpringsLicker (3640) - Tennessee, USA - APR 1, 2008
UPDATED: MAR 11, 2013 Thanks to tronraner for this one.
Goes into the glass as a very dark black brew with a small fleeting dark tan head.
Sweet smoky malt aroma.
Sweet syrupy texture with a smoky light bitterness in the flavor.
Smooth, very drinkable.
Re-rate 3/11/13 About the same! sthlm (790) - Blank, Alabama, USA - MAR 27, 2008
[Bottle] Pours black with a small dark tan head. Aroma has a decent amount of smoke when cold, but it is more subued as it warms. Compared to an AS beer this thing has almost no smokiness, but I like that it blends instead of overpowers. There is also a good deal of roasted malt and chocolate aroma in there. The taste is largely roasted malt and chocolate, with a little alcohol, and surprisingly little smoke. Medium mouthfeel with a long finish where finally a little smoke shows through to go along with a roastiness that borderlines on charred. A solid beer. railcat1 (702) - Kissimmee, Florida, USA - MAR 24, 2008
I love smoked beers and this being a stout was even better,with hints of coffee and a nice smokey flavor with a thick and tastey head,it poured black and thick like an IPS but not overwhelming as one very good beer and enjoyable.CHEERS!