ClarkVV (6862) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 19, 2005
2005 bottle. Pours a very deep auburn/light mahogany color, clear, with just minimal amounts of yeast sediment remaining at the bottom. Head is moderate-sized, and has a dark beige color to it, receding slowly to cover with ample lacing. The aroma wastes no time in bringing forth the clove, with notes of tart raspberries, orange peel, black pepper and moderately dry caramel malt. Flavor begins with a mix of light roasted malts, quite grainy and then works its way in to the clove esters. Highly spicy, they are impossible to miss and linger on to the finish. There is some sweet toffee and light brown bread with a chewy sort of carob/sorghum-liquorice thing on the end. More raspberry/citrus tones throughout and a sweet-and-sour sauce sort of thing on the finish, which, when combined with the clove, gets to be rather fatiguing by the end of the bottle. Full body, moderate carbonation, no thinning. I will agree that it is a little bit like "fuel" and the yeast seems a bit crude, but people seem to forget that they are trying to make this thing peak 7 or so years from now, not right now. Still I could stand for it to be a whole lot more delicate. You arent going to mistake this one for a real Belgian, IMHO. Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 19, 2005
UPDATED: MAY 31, 2005 Rising from a thick espresso-like creamy head is an aroma of spiced banana bread, caramel, and a touch of allspice--definitely Belgian-like but not overly so thankfully. The color is dark cola with a tinge of garnet red. The extremely deep flavor profile is pleasantly overwhelming at first. This beer tastes strong with a substantial alcohol edge which may be a touch out of balance (which will most likely improve over the aging process) and a bit of sweetness with subtle dark fruit, bourbon vanilla, and perhaps some star anise flavors too. The finish is bitter from both hops and roasted malt. The amazing elusiveness of this beer adds a lot of interest. It will surely age superbly. This is one of the most complex beers I have ever had. Steib (613) - Queen Creek, Arizona, USA - MAY 18, 2005
Smokey dark brown color. Fair malt and hoppy aroma, nice notes of raisins and dates. Semi-sweet flavor, almost a creamy mouhfeel. Taste like a young bourbon, needs some ageing but very drrinkable. A style I like to see, brings a plethora of different tastes and opinions. Tmoney99 (14970) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAY 18, 2005
Bottle. Poured a dark brown hue with an average light brown head. Aroma was complex of heavy roasted malt, hops and molasses. Full body with small alcoholbite finish. Flavor was moderate sweet and light bitter which was long in duration. Very good brew. whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 18, 2005
Burgundy-brown body with medium carbonation and a moderately frothy light tan head. Aroma of cocoa, dark candy sugar, and banana notes. Long dark malty flavor with an unexpected twangy astringency as if from burnt sugar. Has a tannic, peanut skin quality to it. Medium acidity with substantial, lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is like a decent medium-full strong Belgian ale. Not a great Stone beer and it still won’t be in 7 years, 7 months, and 7 days.
Ernest (7819) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAY 17, 2005
Head is initially average sized, frothy, light brown, mostly diminishing.
Body is dark orange-brown.
Aroma is moderately malty (toasted/roasted grain, cooked caramel), lightly hoppy (apricot), lightly yeasty (cobwebs), with notes of clove, oregano, orange peel, cola.
Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter.
Finish is lightly sweet, moderately acidic, moderately bitter.
Medium to full body, velvety texture, lively carbonation, lightly alcoholic.
Like an imitation Fantome Black Ghost, perhaps, but without the rustic farmhouse character. Reminds me of something Ommegang would make for some reason (just a tad harsh/edgy/unrefined in the finish). Surprisingly good overall, though. Finally seeing a little improvement in the head size/retention from Stone here, but still disappointing compared to most Belgian beers. Gachupines (1252) - USA - MAY 17, 2005
Dark brown color with a large head which dissolves a bit after drinking. Taste is spicy, some clove, but also a fairly roasted backbone. Alcohol is fairly hidden, pretty easy to drink actually. OldGrowth (3665) - the Containment Area, North Carolina, USA - MAY 16, 2005
Bottle, from Bauer wine and spirits. Good nose, sweet and spicy, molasses, clove,raisin/prune. Nice clean dark orangy/brown color, small head that faded quickly. Bittersweet flavors, same as aromas, the clove stands out, with the others right behind it. Medium body, lite oily creamy mouthfeel, bittersweet sour finish. Tasty brew, just enough of the clove thing for my preference. I think the ABV is hidden nicely trying to be patient and let it warm up... GonZoBeeR (3061) - ste-catherine, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 16, 2005
appearance:very dark brown,good head...
Flavor:Caramel,raisin,apple,grassy,spicy. for an american beer but not better than a real belgian dark stong ale... hopscotch (11236) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - MAY 16, 2005
Bottle... Very dark, crystal clear, ruby ale with a small, frothy, lightly tanned head. Spicy, fruity, yeasty aroma with notes of banana, milk chocolate and coriander. Malty sweet, spicy flavors take the early lead, but are followed closely behind by a calvary of hop bitterness which more than balances things out. Warming alcohol. Full-bodied and lightly oily with lively carbonation. Bittersweet, salty, grassy finish.