Frank (4210) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 29, 2003
UPDATED: JUN 23, 2010 I original gave this beer a 4.2. This was in 2003 and in 2003 Dogfish Head, was one of the high rollers in the world of avant-garde brewing. Almost everyone thought this beer was really something. In fact, we all wanted to get our hands on the stronger version. Nowadays, there’s lots of people like me wizened to the ways of this sort of brewing and, frankly, don’t really find it to be worth much. This is just sort of a stout-like substitute for port wine though, unlike even some very moderately priced ports, it burns like a motherfuck and is not really the kind of thing you want to sip on at all. It has a mildly tart old coffee flavor and is just generally sweet and boozy w/o much else to it. Had this been my first taste of it, I’d imagine I’d rate it still lower than I have now. I honestly winced on a couple sips. More of a curiosity than a beer, this is something I can really live w/o.
jbak (111) - Torrington, Connecticut, USA - DEC 26, 2003
Original rating: Bold and black, quite a bit more head than the 23% version. Thick, boozy aroma with an edge of roasted barley. Sticky, thick mouthfeel, low carbonation with enough alcohol to warm the cold heart of Uncle Scrooge in the dead of winter. Sweetly port-like with a wash of earthy bitterness in the finish. A lovely nightcap or early morning brew.
Pours a deep black color with some reddish hues. Almost no head that doesn't last anyways and has zero lacing. Aroma is malt, malt and more malt, some raisin and licorice. Taste is much of the same with notes of chocolate and vanilla. Body is quite heavy. This is much better at room temperature than even slightly chilled. Alcohol is much less apperent at warmer temperatures. Overall, a very nice beer, much better than most super high ABV beers. haddon90 (1634) - Newport Beach, California, USA - DEC 25, 2003
Deep black pour with a slim, thin tan head. Thick aroma. Licorice, malty, chocolate, among other things. Nice flavor. Lots of malt, alcohol, sweet. Lighter then the 23%. Very flavorful, great taste! warrior (213) - Mt. Wolf, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 22, 2003
Aroma of licorice, some roast malt and molasses. I also get the alcohol in the aroma. Dark opaque has a small tan head that lingers. Huge malt with chocoalte and some roasted malt flavors. The malt flavor is not syrupy sweet because the alcohol content helps thin the beer. I can definately tell it has a high alcohol content but would never have guessed it to be close to 19%. This is an excellent and very flavorful beer. I have to rate this right up there with Sam Smih's Imperial but on a different level. Tidiaguy I couldn't wait till Christmas eve I had to try it tonight! Eyedrinkale (3214) - Astoria, New York, USA - DEC 21, 2003
UPDATED: MAR 18, 2004 Nice black pour with almost no carbonation. Malty, chocolate and dried fruit. This stuff is a monster for sure.
estoppel (1028) - Buffalo, New York, USA - DEC 18, 2003
UPDATED: APR 3, 2004 2003: Near black body, small brown head, burnt fruit nose with banana notes. Nose is less sweet and less alcoholic than 2002 vintage - a good thing. Flavor is far better than 2002, with roasty malts, banana, rum, coffee, molasses and a hint of chocolate. Slight bitterness in the finish, with sweet banana. Nice mouthfeel, and alcohol is far less prevalent than 2002. Great stuff. Trappist (286) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - DEC 18, 2003
Much better flavor than the 23%. However You still have to swish this one around in your mouth a little to get used to the taste. This is a lot like a port wine in many aspects. I detected subtle hints of raisons, and maybe plums? More carbonation than the 23%, but it still dissapates just as quickly. Much effort went into the making of this stout. BeerLimey (2154) - California, USA - DEC 17, 2003
Thick black opaque pour, very little fizz and minimal foam. Intense dark malty aroma, dark fruits: raisins, cherries prunes, molassses, port, obvious alcohol content. Sweet thick palate, licorice, cassis, burnt raisin bread. Thick and syrupy right through to the aftertaste with an impressive growing alcohol warmth. Finishes more like a port. While I thought it was a great beer, it loses marks for drinkability because I had a hard time finishing it. Oh for the 7 oz bottle. Dogbrick (13151) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 16, 2003
Courtesy of From The Vine in Lewis Center, OH. 2003 Bottle: Pours a viscous black color with a thin milk chocolate-brown head. Very little head retention and thin lacing. Powerful alcohol in the nose right off the bat, with a nice underlying roasted malt and chocolate character. The body is big and rich, with a complex blend of chocolate, malt, coffee and plum in the flavor. The finish is where the light alcohol burn reminds you it hasn't gone anywhere since the initial whiff. There is some bitter coffee in the finish as well. Overall this is a really good Imperial that will be fantastic if aged a bit. Suttree (6430) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - DEC 11, 2003
Welcome, one and all, to Suttree's first ever live beer tasting! Starting with aroma - first is the mere-ist whiff of alcohol, then a big chocolate fudge aroma, witha a hint of smoke. Appearance? Black, with ever so slight red hi-lites. What head is there is goes away quickly. Ahh, time to describe the flavor - Well, to start, there is the aforementioned fudge - thick and chocolately. Then some fruit, like plums and sherry. Familiar flavors of red wine and port pop up, some, to. Cakey flavors - vanilla and chocolate - are there, as well. it finishes with a hint of crispness, but not particularly dry. Continuing on - as it warms, earthy, but still mellow, tastes of caramel and toffee and espescially molassess begin to assert themselves. There is also a touch of honey, but the chocolate fudge flavor is the real flavor here. Eventually, a few coffee flavors come through. The palate is rich and what I expect from an Imperial. I can't remember what I rated the 23%, but i like this better. It kinda makes the 23 look like a parlor trick - "Look how high we can get the alcohol!" - but this is a real beer, well made and complex. Yes, it is that good.