Gregis (1281) - Stilwell, Kansas, USA - JUL 18, 2011
2.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Fresh growler from the brewpub. Pours a deep, deep brown with two inches of thick tan head: a creamy pillow from the top with large pits when viewed from the side. Iíve never seen a schwarzbier with head retention like this one. When it eventually recedes, it deposits patchy lace in its wake. The nose is a blend of toasty cara-Munich and chocolaty malt notes with supporting spicy/herbal and floral hop notes. Light-bodied and fairly thin with a drying, roasty and mineral-forward finish, the palate is not at all what my brain was expecting, especially given its appearance. Itís a bit sour and a touch astringent at the finish, as well. The flavor is equally "off" from the expectations created by the pleasant aroma: up front, thereís a heavy mineral-water base that gives way to a roasted malt (burnt chocolate and Munich) and "green" hop combination that remains a bit disjointed even as my tongue acclimates to it toward the bottom of the pint. Iíve come to expect Free State to produce "above-average" to" truly stunning" examples of whatever lager style they attempt. While Iím sure that skewed my expectations for this beer, the bottom line is that Iím just not digginí this one.
badlizard (5533) - Berkeley, California, USA - JUL 15, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Black with a fizzy tan head. Roasted grain and light chocolate aroma and taste with a big coffee bite.
theisti (3984) - Kansas, USA - JUL 12, 2011
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
10 oz draft at the brew pub in Lawrence, Kansas. Pour is black, touch of brown with a well formed 1/2 inch light khaki head. Nice lacing coats the glass as it drinks down. Aroma is roast malt, along with some light cream chocolate sweetness. Taste is the lightly sweet cream chocolate, followed close behind by a muted char taste, finishing with dry pine and mineral. Palate is medium bodied, coats the mouth initially than clears with the drier finish. Decent Schwarz, not quite as clean as other recent Free State Lagers.
TAR (2708) - Marshall (Asheville area), North Carolina, USA - AUG 22, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft: Light prune liquid. Spiderweb lavework. Lovely aroma of raisin, toffee, glazed pecan, cocoa, and concord grape. Undertones of earth and chocolate. Firm, snappy carbonation. Very toffeeish. Starts mildly roasted with notes of toasted marshmallow, followed by a green, floral german hop snap. Big notes of caramel-coated coffee bean, nutty bread aspects, chocolate, toffee, and vanilla in the resounding finish. A truly impressive piece of work.
JPDIPSO (5865) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - APR 29, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Chestnut color with a a stable light tan head. Aromas of griany malt and a hint of cocoa. Grainy extract flavors with a small hops bite near the end.
cb (810) - Roeland Park, Kansas, USA - APR 19, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Malty goodness, cherry cordial colored. Caramel taste and texture...very smooth. Not complex but so well done. My non-beer drinking friend said this replaced Ad Astra as her "favorite."
Indra (2711) - Suburbia, Kansas, USA - NOV 16, 2002
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Deep, clear dark red-brown color with an even head. Dark bready malt aroma and flavor, with some roastiness and hints of brown sugar. Malty, sweet, lightly toffeeish finish with a creamy, smooth, effervescent mouthfeel. Decent.