Bill Becker (2003) - Casper, Wyoming, USA - NOV 29, 2017
From Jul 2008
I got this bottle in a trade with nutbrown. Thanks Alan!
This pours from red foiled and capped 750ml bottle(batch E!006) a clear reddish amber with a 2 finger and growing head of billowy foam. Holding my glass up to the light, I can see that it's slightly hazy. Ha! This certainly is a looker in my glass and the head looks like it's not going anywhere soon.
The smell is a malt lover's delight! Loads of caramel malt hit my nosebuds right off the bat but there's also a fruitiness in the nose along with some toffee.
The taste starts off with big notes of sweet malt but then I get roasted malt, some bread, tofee, some fruit(mostly cherry when I swish it in my mouth), the complexity just never seems to stop! And....where *is* the 10abv?? You gotta be kidding me! Ok, by the end of the session, I guess that's where I'll notice it but dang, no sign of it in the taste and no sign of it after the swallow. Amazing.
Update on the appearance: Ring after ring of lacing after every sip and the head is still a solid 1". Also, it goes cloudy after the second pour.(I use mini pours to refill my glass)
I want to say that this is full bodied because of how silky smooth it is so, I'll say it, it's full bodied with a nice lightish amount of carbonation.
I haven't mentioned any hop presence thus far but it *is* there...some nice notes of grapefruit that kick in some bitterness in between the luscious layers of malty goodness.
Wow. Is this a fine American Strong Ale or what?!
Ok, bottom line time. I'm really having a hard time finding *any* faults with this beer. In fact, I'm going to ask nutbrown if he can get/save me another bottle. Ithaca has proven to me, time after time, that they have some real masters of the brewing art in their fold and this one literally is off the charts. So *damn* highly recommended! 'nuff said. DrSilverworm (10000) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - JUL 12, 2015
750ml bottle, from Dutch’s. Up front, I’m very pleasantly surprised at how much hop character and bitterness still comes through, especially considering that this seems to be a 7 year old bottle (kept in a dark cooler all it’s life, I’m pretty sure). Mostly clear red brown color. Nice thin off-white / khaki head. Ropes and bits of lace. Looks good. Nice bigger amount of earthy hops. Bigger bit of caramel malt too, but it’s not cloying sweet or anything. Nice amount of dryness. Moderate sweet taste, light to moderate bitter. A surprising lack of oxidization for it’s age. Drinking amazingly well. Medium to bigger body. Smooth, kidn fo soft, lighter carbonation. Light dry finish. Nice bit of mild fall-type spice to it. Surprisingly solid. It was the last one we had in the cooler, glad I decided to grab it. I’d wager that of all the bottles of this that still exist, this one has to be one of the ones that’s been kept in the best condition. phaleslu (10890) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 2, 2014
750 ml bottle I bought somewhere in Cincy in like 2009, I think. This probably came out in 2008, so that’s probably right. This is still on shelves here; not sure if from the original release or if they re-brewed it. Anyway, I finally opened it at Thanksgiving and it pours a hazed brownish amber with an off-white head that settles into a ring and film. The age is there, in the form of an overlying cardboard note, but there’s caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, tobacco and other dried leaves, earth, and pumpernickel toast. Light-medium bodied, with low to moderate carbonation and a malty mouthfeel. Not much distinct character to it anymore, and any booze edge is basically gone. Still worth trying, though, and I liked it more than anticipated. generallee08 (778) - New York, USA - JUL 5, 2014
The body has a deep russet brown color with a deep hazy orange glow when held up to the light. The pour produces a one finger thick white foam head which fades to just a thin film covering. Lacing is minimal, slick and spotty. There are loads of nice citrusy hop notes in the nose as well as a solid base of sweet malt and sweet alcohol. It flavor starts with a deep rich base of sweet malt. It reveals hints of caramel, dark dried fruit and dark alcohol laced cake. This make for nice mellow warmth though out. Hop flavor is also present and adds some mild citrus as well as earthy and spicy bitter notes. The palate has a big full body soft carbonation and firm smooth, almost sticky texture.
merc7186 (3160) - North Tonawanda, New York, USA - NOV 7, 2013
A: Amber/Brownish Hue, Passes Mild Light, Off White Head, Great Lacing
S: Dark Malts, Raisins, Sweet Bread
T: Raisins, Dark Fruity Malts, Sweet Bread
M: Decent Carbonation, Medium Bodied, Semi Sweet, Mildly Boozy
Overall, after almost 5 years, this beer still has a lot of malty kick and sweet boozy flavor...not much left in hops (obviously)
Pawola22 (3262) - Woodridge, Illinois, USA - SEP 20, 2012
750ml bottle from Dutch’s Bar & Bottle Shop in Cincinnati, OH. Batch E!014. Pours a lightly hazed, deep ruby-brown colored body with a finger-width, dense and creamy, light brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice lacing. Aroma is big, somewhat sticky caramels and toffees with a bit of a toasty bread and a good amount of fruity hops still giving off some orange citruses and berry fruits despite being dulled by age. A few earthy and raisin notes as well. Flavor is similar. Big, sticky caramels and toffees with a light chocolate note alongside the toasty bread. A nice earthy bitterness comes with a bit of a spiciness to balance the big sweetness. Finishes with some dull citruses and red fruits while staying sweet and slightly sticky, but somewhat dry from a medium-high bitterness. Lengthy aftertaste with a bit of a warming alcohol following a full body and a soft, moderate carbonation. Overall, this has held up pretty well over the years. The hops have definitely faded, but there’s still a firm enough bitterness to balance the bigger, sticky sweet malts. Enjoyable. alobar (3966) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 3, 2012
Pours a reddish brown color with an off white head. Aroma of caramel, dark fruit, and some pine. Heavy malt flavor with caramel, toffee, dark fruit unfront with a touch of hops at the end. Overall, exceptional beer! jtclockwork (17604) - , New Jersey, USA - AUG 1, 2012
Bottle. Dark reddish brown with off white head. Nose/taste of rich malt, toffee, grass, sweet sticky caramel and sweet tea. Medium body. Finishes slightly dry and slight grassy/pine. Still very tasty. Mora2000 (6158) - McKinney, Texas, USA - JUL 6, 2012
Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.
The beer pours a reddish-amber color with an off-white head. The aroma has a lot of the malt I typically associate with red ales, as well as some toffee and grass. The flavor is similar, with a lot of red ale notes, toffee, grass and alcohol. As the beer warms I start to get some cinnamon notes, as well a some pine and resin from the hops. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. FlacoAlto (4228) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 13, 2012
Batch E!006; Sampled January 2012
A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a two finger thick, amber tinged, dirty tan colored head. The beer is a dark amber / plum color that shows a lightly hazed brightly red stained, amber color when held up to the light. The aroma smells of lightly aged malt, dark fruit, and aged citrus / berry fruit aromatics (this last seems distinctly like a hop signature). Oxidized, caramelized malt notes lean a bit towards sweet tea (though without the sticky sweetness), definite caramel, toasted-brown-sugar-crusted desert breads and a touch of nuttiness that is even more accentuated by some oxidation character. The hop character here is still quite present, even after four years, though it is certainly greatly diminished it still reminds me of citrus infused berries and ruby red grapefruit.
The beer is fairly sweet tasting, though this is fairly well tempered by a lot of citrus oil hop character, some palate coating hop bitterness and a toasted and nutty / oxidized malt character that comes into its own towards the finish. Flavors reminiscent of caramel soaked grapefruit zest, fresh pine needle syrup, ripe / fresh spruce tips (with that woody / citrus vibrancy). The hop character still has enough vibrancy to them to add a green, almost astringent edge towards the end of each sip, and there is still a lot of fruity hop character here, despite it being obvious that the hop character has been quite reduced since it was fresh. My wife describes the confluence of aged / oxidized malt and hops as smoky, which I can definitely see, but wouldn’t have come up with on my own.
This definitely has a nice character to it; it reminds me a lot of an aged bigfoot; it is certainly better fresh for those that are pure hop heads, but this is close to the sweet spot for the oxidized malt yet still fairly aggressive, but greatly mellowed hop character. Actually, as I work my way through the second glass, after the beer has warmed up a fair amount I really start to get a peaty, smoky, umami / not-quite salty character that is definitely noticeable; I would swear that there is some smoked malt in this, but age could have done it, and seems the most likely that this last is the case.