Nuffield (4252) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - DEC 31, 2006
Pitch black, completely opaque, with a dark head (I really love that), though not clinging to either of two glasses we had--I would have expected more stickiness? The aroma is very subdued. All attempts to warm and swirl this simply couldn’t get the aroma to burst the way I needed it to. The most prominent part of the nose is the hops--it reminds me of a Rogue Impy. The palate is the best part. This must be as thick as any beer I can remember, except perhaps a 20 year old Hardy’s or something. Syrupy, oily. There’s a bit of sourness to the flavor and the most prominent dimension is chocolate covered cherries. It’s a fine beer, but it’s not to my liking. I much prefer a) my Impys to be on the grape/port scale, b) to have more roastedness if anything, and c) to have less hops. Too much is suppressed here, particularly in the aroma. Most Impys are fine to drink, and this one is too, but it isn’t great within its own style. The alcohol is much suppressed, to its credit. (on tap at Blue Nile restaurant) JCapriotti (1379) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 28, 2006
Growler thanks to Chuck. Dark motor oil pour. Frothy brown head.
Nice sweet fruity hops covered by tarry roasted malt. Quite reminiscent of a Batch 7000 or a fresh 2004 Dark Lord. Alcohol, drinking chocolate mix, piney hops, dried maple syrup, soap, some envelope glue.
Thick satisfying mouthfeel. Sweet roasty maple syrup, cloves, light fruit. Everything is thick between dark roasted sweet malts. Comparable to the Dark Lord (way better than 2006) and quite good. Great and fun to drink, but not as complex as I’d like (maybe the roasty sweetness covers it)
My snifter is now stained. But its good! LePoopie (151) - Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 28, 2006
Thanks to Chuck for saving a burning orphanage, curing cancer, and standing in line to get this beer! The aroma is very pleasant and chocolatey. It has a nice, pitch black color, thick body, and a nice creamy brown head. The flavor is excellent, roasty and a definite strength, but nothing too poweful to detract from the enjoyment of the beer. It has an excellent body and texture, thick and viscous. Overall, this is a groin-grabbingly excellent beer. DavidP (1747) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 28, 2006
From a growler kindly brought down from the far North by Chuck. Black body with a big foamy brown head that leaves good lacing on my glass. Surprisingly hoppy nose - indistinct C-hops and chocolaty-sweet graham crackers. The low level of carbonation should help the mouthfeel but it keeps the aroma in check. Fantastic mouthfeel - creamy, mouth coating, and viscous. Lip-smacking goodness! This beer falls into the hoppy imperial stout category. Tasty and strong dark chocolate dominates with coffee char around the edges - grapefruit and lime rind zest float on top. Resinous hops and coffee bean char lingers in the finish. This score feels too high in comparison to my other ratings but the numbers by themselves seem OK. 1FastSTi (3358) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 28, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 29, 2006 Thanks Chuck for being second in line on this release on 12/23 and acquiring a full growler. The beer pours to a pitch black beer with a nice thick dark brown head and lots of slow reverse carbonation. Spotty lacing in some glasses and excellent lacing in others. The aroma is huge and laden with lots of chocolate and bright grapefruit and lemon hops. The palate is insanely creamy and rich. Extremely full bodied. I want to give an 8 on palate... The flavor is extremely malty with lots of chocolate, creamy chocolate silk pie, nice bright citrus hops. Freaking phenomenal.
MIBRomeo (2579) - Wisconsin, USA - DEC 28, 2006
Jet black pour w/ a huge dense well laced creme of wheat looking brown head. A well hopped aroma in an IS, a big strong malt aroma lots of carmels and grass hints of citrus even some noats of oak light alcohol and soem fruits possibly uderripe green apple and a light touch of vanilla. Big fluffy well coated mouth feel with a nice creamy finish. Flavor is well roasted malts a good amount of carmel and a lot of hop grasses and citrusses come through cleanly and strongly, very odd for an IS but a nice twist on the style. After that there is some more roaste notes then a hint of vanilla and a hint of a fruit I can’t quite pick out. Very good stuff.
Note... I’m contrasting this in my head to darklord and it’s definatelly a better brew today. I would have to do a side by side w/ an 04 vintage DL to be fair to taht though. badgerben (5387) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - DEC 2, 2006
UPDATED: MAR 12, 2010 First Rating, 12/2/06: I managed to sneak over to the Blue Nile to snag a glass before it’s all gone. Pours pitch black with a nice medium tan head. Strong aroma of hops and oak, even though I’m quite sure this is not a barrel aged brew. The taste is not what I expected at all: a huge hit of dry, roasted malt that’s layered with tons of piney American hops and more than a subtle hint of citrus. The alcohol is beyond well hidden. Nice thick feel to it as well. My only gripe is based on personal taste. I like my Imperial Stouts to exemplify the next level of "stouthood", meaning it should be ramping up what a "normal" stout is like. In this case, the hop varieties used are a huge turn off for me. It almost makes it like an incredibely darkened IIPA with a bit more burnt malt in it. It’s not that it’s bad by any stretch, it’s just not something I would enjoy a lot of. If you’re a big fan of Dark Lord, you’ll love this. 7-5-7-3-16 3.8beerpunk1969 (2) - Minnesota, USA - NOV 27, 2006 does not count
Second Rating, RBSG 2007, 2006 Vintage: I feel I can justifiably bump this up several notches now. The hops that I disliked the first time around are still there, but much more subdued. The pine taste/aroma is still there a bit, but the citrus is gone. It somehow seems thicker and more oily this time around, which deserves a bump in palate. Big difference, though still not my end-all-be-all. I’ll be curious to try this again when it’s re-released. 8-5-7-4-18 4.2
Third Rating, 3/7/10, 2009 Vintage, Bottled: Haven’t had this in a while. Pitch black with a medium head. Aroma of soy sauce, strong roasted barley, dark fruit and light pine hops. Big fruit flavors, like plum and raisin. Strong, bombastic malt and roasted barley. Rummy. Very light pine hops. Much more like a year-old bottle already. From what others had said, this year’s was very hoppy and it seems to have fadded a lot quickly. Huzzah! 7-5-9-4-18 4.3
Very, very dark and opaque to the eye as it is poured from the tap. Develops a dense, dark tan head, which is very pleasing to the eye. The head along with the lace ("the stickiest of the icky") rings the glass and never seems to let go. The hops are definitely present in the nose, but are blanketed by notes of fruit (ripening plums, Concord grapes) and mild-yet-pungent yeast. Just a touch of lactic sourness on first sip, alongside hop bitterness, notes of green apple and iodine. A rich, smooth, oatmeal stout-like quality pervades the mouthfeel, and carbonation is appropriate for the style. The yeast character remains consistent as this warms, and both vegetal and medicinal qualities are present as well. The alcohol is boozy and warming yet unobtrusive, and the hops are biting yet not overly assertive, and are woven intricately into the aromatics. Malt-driven and full-bodied, yet by no means is this sweet in the cloying sense. Near the end of the glass (and as near to actual room temperature as I can get without busting out my handy thermometer) I’m getting cocoa, vanilla, and a touch of sour cherry. Final thoughts: while the alcohol is stated to be 9.5% ABV, it is extremely well hidden here and Darkness drinks a little bit "lighter" than a beer going nose to nose with 10%. A complex and very well realized brew, definitely a sipper: if I get the chance to do so, I’d like to try this neck and neck with the Le Coq some day, as it brings to mind some fond memories and notes of comparison to that brew. Many thanks to Pigfoot for his grace and hospitality whilst sampling thisfine offering! hellomynameis (877) - Mayer, Minnesota, USA - NOV 26, 2006
An unexpected treat at McKenzie’s bar before a concert...it came in an odd tulip glass coloured black as night. There was a thick topping of brown filling the top. This really reminded me of a 2 year old Expedition stout I once had. The aroma was filled with chocolate and a hint of burbon. In fact, the head on this had the same soapy effect that the burbon dark lord had. Thick and creamy perfect 5 mouthfeeel. The flavour is great, filled with hints of cherries, lots of chocolate, some caramel, and an interestng black licorice appearance. This is a very luscious and drinkable big stout. joebrew (608) - Farewell Minny; Hello Puyallup, Washington, USA - NOV 24, 2006
UPDATED: JUN 25, 2007 Wow what a great beer. This impy pours jet black, the way an impy should. The aroma is that of bourbon, chocolate, dried raisens, and a hint of vanilla. The flavor is fantastic with that thick port like profile of dried raisens chocolate, vanilla, a hint of caramel and an explosion of fig prune and toffee followed by an unbelievable hop profile. This is a great balance between hops and malt. The palate lingers for forever, mostly due to the hops, but the cocoa and toffe/caramel stick as well. This is a great brew, and it is even better because it is local. All of you outside the Twin Cities I pity for not having the opputrunity to purchase this brew