RATINGS: 101   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.92/5   EST. CALORIES: 324   ABV: 10.8%
an exceptionally rich, powerful stout in the style originally brewed in England for the Tsars of Russia...warming and complex with flavors of dried fruit & chocolate...a silver medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO in September ‘01

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Travlr (27103) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - MAR 1, 2012
Draft at the source. Very dark brown color, small brown head with good retention and solid lacing. Aroma of rich chocolate syrup. Taste is thick chocolate ice cream soda. Very nice.

Drake (14447) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - APR 21, 2008
From a growler shared by maniac. Thanks! Thickly coating yellow-black color. Looks rather medicinal, but I like it anyway. Smoky wood aroma with a little bit of offputting plastic. Astringent taste with fruity peach and grape notes. Lighter mouthfeel and almost feels like a wine to me. Dangerously drinkable.

argo0 (14127) - Washington DC, USA - JAN 17, 2003
UPDATED: FEB 10, 2005 (2/9/05 -- cask) Black body with no head. Aroma is medium sweet, chocolate, vinous. Taste is moderately sweet, strong dark chocolate. Very smooth full body. Yummy! (7/4/8/5/16). (1/17/03 -- aged in a J.W. LEE Harvest Ale cask) Black body with no head. Mildly sweet aroma, woodsy, hint of port. Sweet taste, with good bitterness. No carbonation, but the richness compensates somewhat. Very nice imperial stout. (7/4/9/3/17).

jcwattsrugger (12589) - Florida and, New Jersey, USA - MAY 4, 2008
[email protected] Beach Throwdown-pours a tan head that dissipates to a ring of bubbles and black color. Aroma is dark malt-licorice/chocolate, some acidic. Taste is dark malt-licorice/chocolate, some acidic-hops/alcohol bite. Thanks hopscotch for sharing.

hopscotch (11526) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - MAY 11, 2004
UPDATED: JAN 10, 2007 Draft... This beer rocks!... Pitch black ale with a small, creamy, tan head. Espresso, licorice, cherries, alcohol and dark chocolate notes in the aroma. The flavor offers blasts of burnt and bitter coffee and chocolate. Very malty and not-quite-balanced... but darned close. Quite a feat for a big ABV beer... 10.8%, according to the beer board. Full-bodied with lively carbonation. Lengthy, bitter-sweet, burnt finish. World class imperial stout!

kp (10880) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - MAY 25, 2008
Name: High Desert IS
Date: 05/22/2008
Mode: Hand Bottled
Source: Tasting

Appearance: black, scant beige head,
Aroma: sweet dark chocolate aroma with a fruity winey character,
Body: creamy body,
Flavor: rich dark chocolate flavor with a nice roastedness for balance, milky sweetness from a dark caramel character, light bitterness,

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: **4
-------- /> I would like to rerate this beer.

MartinT (10239) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 21, 2005
The Lure:
Vanilla beans within the chocolate. Soy fruitiness somewhat bothers the quiet interplay of sweet malt emanations. Straightforward, obviously imperial stout.

The Festivities:
Big bubbles enliven the multifaceted malt character. Chocolate and vanilla again come to mind, this time backed up by coffee beans, molasses, and cigar tobacco. Smoky fumes are evoked, as fruitiness lightens the sugar load. An efficient rendition of a most luxurious style.

A dark hood somehow commends respect.

3fourths (9386) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - OCT 4, 2004
UPDATED: OCT 10, 2013 GABF 2004 - Under the name Great American Restaurants High Desert Imperial Stout - Black body, medium sized brown head. Musty, leafy basil, plum, compost and cabbage aromas, with a piney sweet hop/juniper note as well. Flavor of wood and plums, average body, medium alcohol presence with a chalky and sour finish. I sampled this beer on two nights of the GABF, the first time being turned off by the vegetable/basil notes, but on the second night I was more impressed. Something I have at the top of my list for a rerate.

radagast83 (8752) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - FEB 9, 2010
On tap at Merrifield location. Pours a dark black, with a small dark, tan head. The aroma is chocolates, coffee, roasted caramel. Flavor has a noticeable alcohol bite, with plenty of dark chocolate and roasted malts. About on par with the oaked version of the same beer, though I find it quite interesting that I did not have this until some time after having the oaked version of this beer. Aside from that it’s one of the best crafted beers that I’ve tried from them.

GenDV138 (8059) - Falls Church, Virginia, USA - MAR 14, 2014
Draft (tapped 2/7/14) at Sweetwater Tavern Merrifield poured into a standard pint glass. According to the board, this batch/year is 8% ABV. Pours black with just over a finger of nice frothy light tan head. Little brown hues around the edges of the glass. Head sticks around for a good bit. Very sparse lacing. Aromas of roast, dark chocolate, light dark fruit, coffee. Hard to get a good smell with the pint glass. Tasting notes of dark fruit including cherries, dark chocolate, caramel, roast. Medium body with a dry and slightly bitter finish. Light creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Pretty good beer and definitely one of GAR’s better brews, probably the best I’ve had from them so far. Wonder how this would compare to the original 10.8% version.

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