green (186) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - FEB 13, 2005
Cellar Temp. English Pint. Pours brown. Totally opaque with a very nice tight dry tan head, holds well and but does not lace well. Aroma is very mild malt, mostly ethanol. Light brandy, slight hint of licorice, underpinnings of raisin and plum. Finishes with roast barley. Light body. Exceptionally well balanced. Not a very muscular imperial stout, but it is subtitle, revealing flavors often cloaked in stouts with chocolate and nuttiness. The 9.1% ABV is brilliantly concealed in the finish; got to give points for that. kathouse (1942) - LAS VEGAS, Nevada, USA - FEB 11, 2005
I ended up drinking this from a cold bottle, so the ratings may change later. Nice mild hop aroma was followed by a smooth, but mildly bitter taste. Alcohol level was noticeable but didn’t take away from the character. Dark roast, mild chocolate and a definitive bourbon flavor finished dry. Great characteristics for an imperial stout. Nice sipper. Doppelganger (1389) - Dry County, Arkansas, USA - FEB 10, 2005
A velvetly blend of vinous, roast, coffee, bourbon, and mineral aromas. Very smooth, but very big. As the glass warms, the hops break into the aroma just a bit. Pours nice deep black, with just a small amount of tawny head, leaving a nice little bit of lacing. Palate is dry up front, but the astringent bite lasts just a moment, with a nice smooth finish. Flavors of bitter chocolate with a resinous hoppiness that clings to the mouth. Some nice warming, tanic red-wine things going on. Mmmm. Such an amazing mouthful of flavors! cathcacr (649) - Washington, USA - FEB 6, 2005
Aroma is highly reminiscent of Bells Expedition Stout. Didn’t hold up quite as well after that, though some warming seemed to help. (By the same token, at a later point in the game, alcohol intake wants to impair ratings judgment in its favor.) Maybe I can go blame it on the bottle again (this one had sediment, bottled 11/4/03). Watery; at least I didn’t get that throat sting I’ve come to associate with ImpSto’s. Maybe could be a session ImpSto? Didn’t have that awesome head that Bells did, though it is fascinating to stare into the void and watch the symmetrical bubble patterns form. Could quite nearly make the final cut for the 2001 Star Gate sequence. Over time, a spotted tabby laying stretched out belly-up appeared briefly in the main foam gathering area.
euserphriendly (168) - Holland, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 5, 2005
Currently playing: Frank Zappa, "Fifty Fifty" (Over-Nite Sensation)
The thick mouthfeel and warm alcohol flavors will sooth you on that cold winter day. A truly great stoudt
Homebrewerguy (320) - Oil City, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 4, 2005
Bottled 12/7/04 - Zis vas ein gut imp stout. Wary hoppy it vas but vis gut malt nosyness. Grass hoppen taste but it vas still ein baby. I say, "Helga, com be schmellink zis caramel aroma", unt she do it. Zhe zay, "Hummph, schmellz like bier!"wnhay (722) - Princeton, New Jersey, USA - FEB 1, 2005
Earlier Rating: 2/3/2005 Total Score: 4.1
I’d call this an American Imperial Stout. The American hops sets it apart from any pretense of being true to an English style stout. That being said, this is a wonderful beer. The aroma reminded me of dark honey. The balance was perfect but with a grassy hop flavor halfway thru the beer. The flavor was a bit less complex than a dopplebock, but was great. The head lasted thru the beer as did the adequate carbonation. I’d like to do a side by side taste test with Guinness next.
UPDATED: OCT 19, 2005 This is my first Imperial Stout, and what an introduction to it. Pours a beautiful black espresso like color with nice lacing at the top. The smell is difficult to analyze. I get coffee, espresso, chocolate covered cherries, dark chocolate and Kalua. The hops are also very present. The taste is also tough to analyze because it is so complex. There is espresso, chocolate cherrie, dark chocolate, kalua, and malts. I’m glad I got to try this because Victory knows how to make beer. I have been impressed with all their offerings so far.
Re-rate- There was a hint of tobacco in the aroma as well. This is so great that I have to score this a little higher. Finishes with a hint of wine and chocolate at the same time. Spectacular beer indeed. As someone else said there is pine in here. I missed that interesting aspect regarding this beer. Odeed (1806) - Bakersfield, California, USA - JAN 31, 2005
UPDATED: FEB 24, 2007 oct. - 09 - 03 bottle.again,much props to the man kp for this brew.poured into a snifter to give a black as black body with a small light brown head.when the head died down it left nice lacing on the sides of the glass.i was surprised at how much hops i could gather in the aroma of this imperial stout.it was definately above all others.hiding in the back were a bit of coffee,some figs,and some chocolate covered cherries. the first sip of this blew me away.this is yet another one of those beers where the palate changes four or five times.it began with some hops,then chocolate,a bit of smoke,roasted malts,and finally some cherries.the mouthfeel is nice and full yet its still very smooth and slides down the throat with ease.after every sip the snifter glass fills with lovely lacing and a nice head swirls back to life.this is simply delecious!!!!!(RE-RAT AFTER MANY BOTTLES)i dont know if they changed the recipe of i changed my palate but this just doenst stand up to most imperial stouts i have now had.to sweet and a little thin. doubletriple (53) - Illinois, USA - JAN 27, 2005
The final beer tasted at the Great Madison Street Stout Off, from a case that has been cellaring unopened in the basement of the bar I work at for almost 2 years. From a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. No head. Pitch black. And the taste.....wow....an upfront bitterness, but then sweet chocolate and bread pudding. Wonderful stuff, cant taste or smell the alcohol...could be dangerous..... mullet (849) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - JAN 26, 2005
Bottled Sep 2004. Black with a dark tan head which is pretty sparse. Aroma is absolutely dominated by really piney American hops, which is nice but not at all what I was expecting. Very slight roast barley burnt character but no esters or other malt aromas. Again the flavour kind of lacks the thick maltiness I was expecting (not that I’m any kind of Imp Stout expert), just a fleeting sweetness before a massive, dominant bitter, burnt, orange rind LONG finish which is great. Quite savoury and nice, but it’s really lacking malt, fruit and as a result, complexity. It’s more like a black IPA than an Imperial Stout I reckon. From what Jim Busch has written on the HBD it seems like a real simple grain bill and I’m afraid it tastes like it, which is a real shame because I’ve taken to this philosophy with my own brewing and now I’m not sure if I should be rethinking it. Good beer but not excellent, which seems to be a trend with US micros in my experience (except Pelican IPA). They have some REALLY good elements but the whole package isn’t quite there.