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on tap

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RATINGS: 1600   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.79/5   EST. CALORIES: 330   ABV: 11%
Vast in character, luscious & complex. Brewed with peat-smoked barley, this strong ale is brewed with organic juniper berries, vanilla & maple syrup. It’s aged on oak and fermented with a blend of English & Belgian yeasts.

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pivo (2685) - GERMANY - NOV 25, 2003
Strong alcohol in the nose - like whiskey. Rusty amber color and a low tight head that dissappates. Relatively quick malt front with hints of brown sugar and maple syrup. Metallic, peaty finish is almost smokey. Very peppery. Crisp palate with rough dirty edges. This burns the throat like a good whiskey. Excellent. Interesting, bold, but controlled and well-balanced. Another outstanding offering from a first-class brewery.

DrBeer (862) - Solna Stockholm, SWEDEN - NOV 12, 2003
2 years cellared bottle. Redbrown beer. Fruity and a bit smoked aroma with tones of syrup and higher alcohols. Smoked hoppy flavour with dry finish. Not even half-bad.

DrnkMcDermott (3122) - Downers Grove, Illinois, USA - NOV 11, 2003
UPDATED: NOV 29, 2007 I first rated this from a year-old bottle at my local homebrew club meeting in November. Unfortunately, the beer had somehow gotten contaminated (bacteria?). I rated it very low, but with the caveat that it had clearly gone bad outside of the brewer’s control. Within minutes of posting the review, DFH’s brewmaster messaged me, expressing his concern about the bad bottle. The fact that these guys are checking outside consumer feedback like this and want to learn the circumstances of a bad rating, even if it’s one out of 250 raves, speaks volumes about Dogfish Head. He notified me when the next batch had shipped so I could get a fresh bottle to re-rate. Here it is:

Bottled Dec 2003.This is definitely the kind of beer one would expect from DfH! The hop aroma of grapefruit and pineapple assaulted me as I opened the bottle. It poured a light brown, just slightly hazy, with a fizzy, short-lived head like any barley wine. The taste is, how to say it... just like a heavy Belgian except that it’s not a Belgian: "Thick," even "chewy" comes to mind. The maple is very apparent, with vanilla as kind of a backup. Only then did I notice the big toasted malt leaving its sticky mark on my lips. The fruity hop aroma doesn’t translate in tasting, instead it just shows as a tingle on the tongue. The alcohol gives it a brandy character, and starts to make me lightheaded in the first few sips (Have to remember that this is not the strongest beer in DfH’s arsenal, either). Exceptionally smooth. Then a slight taste of bubble gum toward the end.
And this is still a "raw" bottle. I got a second bottle, but may have to share it with the club so they can all get a better idea. Guess that means I should seek out more to cellar for myself.

Rastacouere (6177) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 10, 2003
Big beer which pours orange with a thin head that quickly turns into a ring, slightly hazy, not quite impressing visually. Aroma is deep, malty and very complex with huge fruitiness reminiscent of peaches, apricot and even prunes/plums. An easy 10 on the belgian-like aroma which I would basically almost wear as a perfume. The taste is also very malty with good balancing hops character preventing from being too sweet. Light and comfortable bitterness toward the end. Hints at vanilla and nutmeg, damn this is complex. The body is a little weak I found though for a beer of this magnitude it was rather thin although comfortable and very clean. Rich and full-flavoured, thanks a lot to Egajdzis!

Enormo (25) - Davenport, Iowa, USA - NOV 8, 2003
Poured a caramel color with a short lasting head. very rich feeling in my mouth which I love. Definite vanilla coming through. You don't taste the strength of this but you will feel it for sure.

BückDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - NOV 8, 2003
Aroma is very hoppy with a interesting malt background, notes of vanilla are prominent as they mention, but I'm also getting molasses & grapefruit. The flavor is also lightly sweet, the juniper berries are apparent as a light grape hint. This is a very complex BW, they give away all the qualities in the description, I have nothing to add over that.

Sham (1844) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 8, 2003
Pours mahogany with a very thin head and no lace. Big hop character in the aroma, some alcohol present. The hops dominate the nose, though. Smoky hops are prominent in the taste, hints of the juniper and vanilla in the description. Woody palate that lingers a bit. Odd for a barley wine but pretty enjoyable.

crazyvin (2026) - New York, USA - NOV 7, 2003
good beer! Poured a nice dark amber color with an almost white head. Really sweet alcohol presence on the nose. Vanilla and a mild smoke taste was noticeable and seemed to mix well with the alcohol.

CrazyPete (3) - Lincoln, Rhode Island, USA - NOV 5, 2003 does not count
Poured with a very minimal head, which seemed odd compared to other reviews I've read. Appearance was very nice, like melted maple candy. The aroma was quite inviting, vanilla, maple and a hint of smokiness (?) were present, as was a tinge of alcohol. The taste was much too sharp upoon first sip, it didn't hide the alcohol very well, though I had just purchased a six-pack of this bottled in August of this year, so I'd imagine it mellows over time. Overall not a bad beer, but definitely not one to drink every day, or for a long while yet. I'll have to let this age a bit longer before trying it again.

MaiBockAddict (1497) - Good Beer Bar Deprived, New Jersey, USA - OCT 31, 2003
UPDATED: JAN 6, 2004 Cask update: 2 year old cask at Andy's Corner Bar, Bogota, NJ. Awesome smmooth, complext malty character that is nearly indescribable. Yum Yum. Bottle (first taste): Aged almost 1 year in my cellar. Pours cloudy with a white lasting head. Aroma of smoke, vanilla, maple, carmel, cedar, alcohol, and paper bag (but not complex at all). Perfect carbonation assists the smokey flavor of the thick and gooey malt as it flows eligantly over the spongey surface of the tongue (I think the word tongue is not used nearly enough on Ratebeer). The wonderful flavors of vanilla, maple, cedar, malt, alcohol, fudge, and whatever else I can think of blend wonderfully on the palate. I did not think that this was all that great when I tried it last December 2002. But now it can be made a favorite. The worste part is now I need to buy another six pack and let it sit for 10 or 11 months before drinking. Live and learn.

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