greco (43) - Zeeland, Michigan, USA - JAN 31, 2003
From Growler. The nose is a little flat but still good. You can't pass light through it. The flavor is strong, with heavy coffee, a little vanilla, and some maple flavors. Very strong, with high alcohol finish. I marked it a little low based on the high coffee which just isn't me but a great overall beer. Very happy to have made my buddy drive out of his way to get it. DaSilky1 (2608) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 17, 2003
UPDATED: MAR 9, 2005 bottled from a growler. This poured super super thick and super super dark leaving no room for anything but blackness..no head at all..the aroma was kalamata olive, chocolate, dark plum, and burnt things and a mesmorizing alcohol heatedness that warms your nostrils..low carbination..maybe lost in flight..super thick and creamy mouthfeel almost like having melted chocolate in your mouth without burning yourself..now the flavor is where this beer blossoms..chocolatey, coffeeish, vanilla, fruit juice, more chocolate, some tangy oranges dipped in double black chocolate...chocolate covered cherries..smoother than any other beer i have ever had..like a throat filled with cashmere.. the alcohol is completely hidden in the taste..now i know how a car feels when it gets an oil change..mmmm..and a dessertish sweet ending...I want to take another sip but my lips are stuck together..THank you HopsRUs..Points deducted for the bottled version being much less enjoyable than the bottled draft version. joet (2672) - Wilsonville, Oregon, USA - JAN 17, 2003
Bottled from Growler: Beautiful black color, sparkles, soy aromas, burnt fruit aromas of plum peaches, incredible bitter sweet balance and easy round feel allows touches of light and deep suggestions of mango and molasses. Elegant feel. Props to hopsrus. Excellent job and care bottling and sending this one out. mwsf (361) - San Francisco, California, USA - JAN 16, 2003
Bottled from a growler: Velvety black beer. Wonderful roasted malt aroma. A velvet fog of flavor. Nice balancing bitterness. A little on the sweet side. Tastes like smooth dark chocolate. Plums. Prunes. Extremely rounded. Wonderfully balanced. This is a big beer and you can tell. Reminds me of aged Expedition Stout. I really wanted to not like this beer as a response to all the hype but man, most of the hype is warranted! It's friggin good!! Thanks to hopsrus for bottling and sending this out. Thanks to user_ex for sharing. CherokeeJarod (54) - , USA - JAN 15, 2003
Growler ½ gallon
jayme9874 (756) - Hamburg, New York, USA - JAN 11, 2003
When poured into the glass from the big glass, it was black, black and powerful as the name, and thick like a bottle of 10W 40. When held up to a high intensity light I noticed that the black wasn’t actually black, but a blood brown black. Dense was the color. The head seemed to bubble up towards the end, like the dark lord rising from the black primordial beginnings, its color was a medium brown color, thick but not deep. As I stuck my finger into it to see if it was as sticky as it looked, I swear I felt a pulling sensation. It was sticky but left no lace on the side of the glass. The aroma was intense! I nosed cherries, sweet malt (molasses), tobacco (like skoal or coppenhagen), wichester sauce and as I stirred it, the alcohol peaked its nose up at me and whispered “I’m here too”. The taste was thick and creamy. If there was carbonation I missed it. Not flat, just thick. I noticed flavors of sweet molasses, spices, port wine, fruit (cherries) as it warmed I also noticed hints of chocolate and more cherries and alcohol. Like many beers of this type this only got better as it warmed, warmed from the fires it was born from, stirred and created from the Dark One himself. Truly one of the greatest brews made. I felt different after only consuming 2 ½ pints of this potion, different like I was possessed. The wife said that she was either going to call a priest for a exorcism or take me straight to church because of the look on my face. It was an experience all its own. Thank You 3 Floyds for this beer. Thank you
UPDATED: MAY 11, 2006 Black as black can get. Thin dark brown/orangey foam, decent lacing. Aroma of dark vinous fruits, cherry, port, vanilla, burnt caramel, hint of chocolate, coffee and alcohol. Pretty thick chewy body, oily, smooth with immense flavors that just takes your whole sense of taste hostage. Burnt currants and chewy, sweet malts with hints of molasses, cherry, bittersweet chocolate and others. Lots of complexity and dangerously smooth for its size. Hops show up at end to try and balance the big sweetness but man, the flavor just lingers forever then a little kick of expresso pushes in. The alcohol is hidden nicelyfor it does not taste 13%. This is a big complex imperial that distinguishes itself from the rest. A bit sweet and maybe needs a lttle more carbonation but worthy of the hype. Would love to try this and meph side by side one day. Well hell, lets take the top 10 imperials and have an imperial party and settle whats the best one once and for all:) Enjoy boys. Ernest (7862) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - JAN 9, 2003
UPDATED: JUN 17, 2005 2005 bottle. Ringo (963) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - JAN 9, 2003
Head is initially small, frothy, dark brown, mostly diminishing.
Body is opaque black (flashlight tested).
Aroma is moderately malty (roasted grain, dark chocolate), lightly hoppy (resin, apricot), with notes of alcohol and licorice.
Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter.
Finish is moderately sweet, moderately acidic, heavily bitter.
Full body, syrupy/creamy texture, soft/lively carbonation, moderately alcoholic.
Much better than the [IMHO] ruined 2004 bottled batch (which had hardly any aroma [and what was there wasn’t that pleasant], was cloyingly/syrupy sweet, and had a disturbing mouthfeel like split-pea soup), which I dumped down the drain after several months of resting and an hour of sampling deliberation, but I still can’t say this one is quite in my top five Impy stouts. Very good overall, no doubt, but...the aroma just isn’t that powerful, complex, or exciting. It’s pretty extreme, decadent, and very well-balanced, flavor-wise, and is unusually thick and rich in the mouth, but the aroma is surpisingly ordinary for the style. Whereas some beers are more exciting to smell than drink (Unibroue), this is the reverse.
March 2004 bomber. Virtually no head. Body is absolutely opaque black. Aroma is lightly malty (chocolate, molasses), lightly hoppy (resin, apricot), with a light note of soy sauce. Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. FULL body, syrupy/pea-soup texture, soft carbonation, lightly alcoholic. What I want to know is, what the hell happened (see review of previous year’s batch below) to screw this up so badly? The aroma is extremely faint and uninteresting, for starters (even in my usual brandy snifter sampling glass, still almost nothing there to smell). Literally the consistency of split-pea soup (and that’s before we get down to the bottom of the bottle where Lovecraftian horror awaits)...I used to think the thicker the better, but this is beyond the limits of enjoyment...it’s downright disconcerting and unpleasant to "drink". Just too many suspended solids. The flavor balance is mostly as before, virtually all sweetness with little to balance. Of course it’s opaque which makes the appearance score high, but damn, this is an absolute catastrophe, to the tune of Drain Pour Blues. This is one of the worst years for Imperial Stouts, I must say! Avery, Brooklyn, and now this one fail to live up to past batches, but this one is by far the most disappointing. (4/4/5/2/9 = 2.4)
12 oz bottle filled from a growler (Jan/03). Head is initially small, frothy, brown, mostly diminishing. Body is absolutely opaque black. Aroma is heavily malty (milk & dark chocolate, caramel, molasses, nutty, mild coffee), with notes of ruby port, raisin, toffee, vanilla, maple syrup, etc., hint of alcohol. Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Medium to full body, oily texture, soft carbonation, lightly alcoholic. (10/5/6/4/16 = 4.1)
UPDATED: JAN 12, 2003 This beer has the thickness of Triple Bock, but in this case it tastes great! Thick almost to a fault, it really was the consistency of oil. But it tastes nothing like oil. I did not notice the alcohol in the taste, but felt it warming the belly. This is some good stuff. BATLMULLET (127) - Highland, Indiana, USA - JAN 4, 2003
The beer that eats like a meal! Maybe the most unbalanced FFF beer with respect to malt sweetness...but that's good for an Imperial. Raisiny sweetness and an alcohol follow-through. Still plenty hoppy to offset. So black that it actually absorbs light...no really, I've seen it! Schroppfy (2362) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - JAN 3, 2003
UPDATED: AUG 3, 2003 Thanks to hopsrus for this gem. 13%...wow, it sure hides it well. Quite drinkable, also mighty sweet. There's a fair load of hops in here (not quite Storm King level), but to my mind it needs a touch more to balance out the sweetness, exactly as alcfron says. Thick, incredibly so. Super plummy, almost winey, oh yes cocoa...