TheBeerLover (1027) - DC Metro Area, USA - JAN 26, 2006
High Desert Imperial Stout pours to a beautiful, deep ebony color with a rocky dark tan head that fades and a soft to moderate amount of carbonation. The nose on this beer is just jam packed with character. Deep aromas of dark chocolate, roasted barley, espresso coffee, and peppery waves of alcohol flood the nose. The body on this beer is rich and decadent, very full and slick on the tongue, with massive flavors. Dark chocolate, espresso coffee, deep roasty notes, vanilla, and alcohol flavors of pepper, coat the tongue and glide down the throat. High Desert finishes with more complex chocolate, coffee, and roasty flavors and ends with a long, soothing, warming, roasty, and bitter finish that lingers.
This is one of the most impressive Imperial Stouts I have ever tasted. Stylistically it is flawless, and comes in at a warming 9.7% abv. This beer is the ultimate after dinner drink at Sweetwater, and is the perfect match with their key lime cheese cake or flourless chocolate waffle. 11026 (1772) - Alabama, USA - JAN 18, 2006
Bottle from Pailhead and Styles, Motown brethren. Handbottled. Pours an impenetrable black color with a slight brown head. Scant lacing is left behind. Deep roasted grain aroma, chocolate and coffee, fully loaded with roasted barley. Full bodied, lower carbonation level that is pleasant for the style. Roasted barley out the wazzoo, plenty of hop balance. Not really astringent which is great. Alcohol hidden nicely. Very nicely done!!! JPDIPSO (6216) - Wauwatosa, USA - JAN 18, 2006
Opaque dark brown color with a few small bubbles adrift atop. Thick and chewy looking. Sweet roasted malt aromas with a mild backdrop of pine-wood and a hint of alcohol. Strong and formidable flavors. Molasses and tar cover the road with licorice hops in the rear-view mirror. For me it lacked the dark fruits that really bring out some of the other complexities. DavidP (1748) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 17, 2006
Hand-bottled sample provided by Joel. Viscous dark brown body that leaves a brown coating on the glass. Vinous, coffee aroma with a sugar-sweet peppermint. Great flavor - sweet chocolate, coffee roast, lemon zest, mint. Roast acidity. Medium-light mouthfeel. StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 16, 2006
Hand bottle via Styles - thanks Chris and everyone else who made this happen! Slight hiss as the cap comes off, pouring opaque and inky black in color. Sexy legs and some miniscule bubble lacing serve for the head. Deep, roasty aroma, as it spawns dark chocolate, cinder and ash, espresso grinds compacted together for macho-ness, a slight hint of alcohol, and oatmeal made with a double batch of artesian coffee. Flavor is unforgettable. Full, dark chocolate and dense fudge brownies give us some thick fodder to chew while fully supporting encasing, blackened, flame scorched pecans. Man, this is good. Lingering dark chocolate truffles infused with caramel and Godiva liqueur. This one could run a marathon with Expedition. Feels hot in the mouth but alcohol is barely detectable, save the lightening of whit that signals its strength. Lovely, palatable array of melted fudge syrup. Admirable hop bitterness elevates it to imperial status while malts stay chewy and bear the brunt throughout. Finish is summarized by decadent artesian chocolate that’s almost designed to be looked at, because drinking it would bring the honeymoon to a close. I loved it.
1FastSTi (3360) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 15, 2006
Joel shared a hand-bottled sample of this. The beer pours to a deep black body with no head. The beer coats the glass well. The aroma is strong and good. Chocolate and deep malted barley. Light grassy hops and light fruit sweeness. The flavor is deep roasty malts with chocolate and charcoal. Light dark fruits. The palate is strong but balanced. Nicely coating. jsquire (4424) - St. Marys, Ohio, USA - JAN 7, 2006
Out of a growler from Pailhead at Styles’ place. Dark beer with a huge (!) rocky tan head that left sticky lace. Roast grain aroma with some ash tray in the nose. Viscous mouthfeel. The beer spilled over the glass when I poured it and it left a very sticky film on my glass. Molassess, tar, dusty chocolate, ash, espresso, celery, leather, and dark pit fruit flavors. This is a very big beer, and is very fresh, even out of a week old growler. Very nice sipping beer. BuckNaked (1230) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - DEC 30, 2005
Growler: Opaque near-black, dark brown with a small, well-retained, brown head that fades slowly to a small ring around the outside of the glass. The aroma is burnt roasted malts, thick dark coffee, bitter chocolate, with hints of alcohol and fruit. Taste is big roasted coffee and malt, dark burnt malts, espresso, light hops that come out fruity and piney, then some late wood notes. Full bodied, creamy, thick mouthfeel, moderate carbonation. Finish is long with dark roasted notes lingering. This is a nice example of the style. Pailhead (6539) - Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA - DEC 30, 2005
On tap: First I’ll begin by saying that this rating won’t mean much to you unless you’ve had Bell’s Batch 7000. Smells just like 7000 with a lighter hop character. Dark brown, virtually black, with a moderate brown head with great retention. Excellent lacing. Tastes just like 7000 with a tad less hops. Creamier mouthfeel, but not has heavy as 7000. I love 7000, so I love this beer. tiggmtl (4545) - East York, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 21, 2005
Chocolate covered berries are counterpointed by roasted malts with notes of soy, vanilla and herbal, leafy hops. Opaque black body is topped by a low but lasting, fine bubbled, off white head. Berry-like fruits and chocolate are very pleasantly balanced by strong roasted malt bitterness with hints of smoke and warm spices. Medium full body is somewhat syrupy with soft but lively carbonation. Sampled on the PA trip 2005.