Lumpy (1802) - Carrollton, Texas, USA - NOV 17, 2004
Bottle. Nose smells strongly of Pecos cantaloupe. Flavor is amazing-first and foremost it is bitter on the finish. Now, having said that, there are so many freakn’ flavors going on here that I couldn’t even begin to describe: hops, sweetness that is not over powering, fresh fruit, apple, citrus, burbon/wood, and alcohol. Wow. I like this a whole lot more than I was expecting. This is outstanding. A hop head’s dream. Quyntarious (33) - Ohio, USA - NOV 16, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 12, 2007 2004 bottle over a year old. This has mellowed so well, the alcohol bite is gone and it’s so pleasant to drink. beerinmarch (2830) - Washington, USA - NOV 16, 2004
This years release was much better than last years in my opinion. But then again, this beer is never a let down. Tons of thick sweet malt in the aroma, citrus fruit, pineapple, and a enough hops to satisfy even the craziest hop head. Pours blood red with a light tan head, looks amazing in any glass. Taste has a powerful malt kick, a bit toasty and fruity, then a big blast of hops to balance this monster out. Very crisp and dry finish. burgerlicious (308) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - NOV 15, 2004
mmmmmm. tasty. an almost sweet, but hoppy smell. not so sweet on the palate, but tasty. a strong complexity, with some maltiness, hoppiness, and a pleasant alchoholliness. a beer i’ll come back to. Hab40oz (242) - Grants Pass, Oregon, USA - NOV 15, 2004
Aroma is of malt with a weird mix of hops to give a bitter grainy smell. So freken strong, I love it! Its very well balanced with a lot of malts and a lot of hops. Makes for a extremely full bodied taste. Sweet and spiced througout with a great alcohol kick.
jasonp (1581) - Ashburn, Virginia, USA - NOV 14, 2004
UPDATED: JUN 17, 2005 Beautiful deep clear crimson with a thick off-white head. Great hoppy, malty aroma with a hint of cherries. Taste is very sweet, malty and hoppy as hell. Pretty complex - has notes of pine, citrus/grapefruit, dark fruit/cherries, honey and toasty malts. Nice lingering bitter aftertaste. Has an alcohol presence on the back end with a big, thick chewy body. Very creamy with subtle carbonation. Has great lacing and head retention. Tastes more like a barleywine as it ages. Great stuff. Gromit (479) - Port Orchard, Washington, USA - NOV 14, 2004
Chalk this up to another "damn, I’ve had how many of these and I *still* haven’t rated it yet" moments... And then "what can I add that hasn’t been stated by the 300+ other ratings..."
So, um, it’s light and refreshing, just a hint of hops and malt, kinda like some of the other low carb beers on the market...
Oh, wait. Wrong beer.
Okay, this is so vicious that it almost broke the glass as I poured it. Dark brown with a nice head and respectable lace.
Aroma is huge; malt, hops, dark fruits...
Flavor is a bit wimpy. < cough > Seriously, though, it kicks you in the jaw. Very well balanced. I don’t know what it is about Browns and Ambers that I hate so much (too sweet/malty) yet this has as much of that and is great. Maybe it’s the balance, maybe I just can’t define it. Huge dark fruits, coffee, some natural spices, and maybe a hint of chocolate, but only a hint and I’m likely reaching for something else I can’t quite put my finger on.
Palate... Yeah, I used to have one before this. Thick and bitingly crisp if I may coin a phrase. It has some minerals to it as well.
Overall, it’s damn good, but the hype is real ("you probably won’t like this..."). This is an extreme beer and the *last* thing you want to give your PBR-loving friends unless you also like writing obsenities all over their faces when they pass out drunk and give them pure habanaro sauce when they think they’re eating Pace. Use sparingly.
joshpiledean (316) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 13, 2004
Pours clear reddish brown with a nice tan head. Aroma is very intensly bitter with sweet caramel, hops, and a little alcohol, which is covered suprisingly well. Suprizingly smooth feel with loads of flavor. Bittering hops dominate, but not with the what I expected. Some kind of chocolate/caramel/coffee blend going on but I can’t pick out a dominant flavor. Slightly sweet flavor, alcohol is covered very well. Rich and thick feel with a wonderful aftertaste that lingers and lingers. Wams on the way down. Great beer, strong like bull. LIKE BULL! brentfeesh (1208) - Mansfield, Ohio, USA - NOV 13, 2004
UPDATED: SEP 14, 2009 2003: Wow! An intense caramel nose with light citrus hops in the background. Very enjoyable. Great color, caramel with amber hints. The taste is BIG and complex. Malty caramel (I seem to think this had a great deal of caramel to it), smooth milk chocolate, and light bourbon or wood notes. The hops are there in the background at first (light pine resin) and the alcohol is noticeable but well incorporated. Nice pine resin and grapefruit hops and linger and intensify towards the end and finish long. This is GREAT! Far superior to its little bastard brother (who is no slouch himself).
davidflores99 (225) - Signal HIll, California, USA - NOV 12, 2004
Vertical of 2003-2005 (Enjoyed with friends the Weekend of May 13th – After the launch fiasco). I can not believe I last rated this in 2003. I love this beer.
2003: this has become a malty bomb! Lots of malty caramel flavors layered throughout finishing with a light bitterness. I did not notice any oxidization in the. The alcohol is very well hidden and I noticed a plum or date type of a flavor (definitely a fruitiness that I don’t normally catch in this brew). Still aging well though it’s loosing a lot of its hop punch.
2004: this is where it’s at. A bit over a year old seems to be where I like this brew the best. Much bigger aroma than the 2003 (crisp and malty) and the body is lighter as well (due to more hop presence). At this point I think the hops and malts have integrated fully and this is an outstanding brew.
2005: The freshest of the lot. And it’s definitely hotter. The hops are much more in your face and the mouth feel is a big more crushing, rather than the smoothness you discover after a year on the shelf. I may rate this years again, but I’m telling you. I really like this brew with about 1-1.5 years on it.
Poured an amber dark color with an off white creamy head. Aroma was hoppy and citrusy, very nice. Flavor was harshly hoppy but I loved it. It had a smooth finish and alcohol was hidden nicely as well. I’ll be getting more of these in the future.