Review from 12/15/06
Thanks to Westsidethreat for this 2005 bottle. Yeah, he and I trade a bit.
A - Cork shot out without much effort or pull with a big pop. Nice dark brown opaque body. Big tan fizzy head subsides a bit after the pour, but then stays at one and a half inches for a while.
S - Smells of pine (not the hop note of pine), lemon zest, candy sugar and a hint of cinnamon. The more I swirl this one around the more I love it. It smells like Christmas. Candy canes, pine, and a fresh snow (yeah, many won't know this smell).
T - Man for everything my nose picked up, there was flavor to follow it up. Hugely complex with something new with every sip. I know I won't get it all here. Taste is fresh like a new snowfall right around the holidays. Candy canes, lemon tea, and a little bit of cinnamon. Nutmeg is in there too along with a touch of caramel. Delicious.
M - Medium full bodied with delicately fizzy carbonation.
D - One of my favorite Belgian holiday beers. I will have to buy a few bottles of this to age for the next couple years.
Served In: Pint Glass
Everything about this beer seems to be black - color is a super blackened ruby oil capped by a tall, softly whipped yet lumpy, cinnamon dusted, light tan head. Settles off to a thin, uneven skim and the lacing is whimsically placed in thin and webby broken sheeting.
Aroma is airy and pleasantly soft yet robust of black licorice, dirt, and the blackest of black malts without much sweetness at all. Cindering hints of bright pepper phenols and anise percolate right over the top.
Taste nearly mirrors the aroma with a tender sweet black malt, fainter dark fruity nuances, and cola sryup masked in a ever present black licorice spice. Finishes with shadowy cinnamon, anise, ginger, minty skoal tobacco juice, earthy pine needles; quick, yet muffled, phenol laced alcoholic heat, some leftover cola sweetness and a drying of light throat burning sweetness.
Complexly characterized in girth that sits just above a medium body but somehow keeps a general softer sweetness and spice that's magnificently handled. Lots of subtle spicy layering and a finely heated throat burn, belly warming, and mind-boggling play between sweet and dark; and, warm and spicy. Fun stuff. It really grows on ya as you engage in its presence.
Even with all its finely set warming and spice this makes for a really nice drinker and an even finer treat.
Served In: Goblet
Poured into my Duvel tulip glass and served at cellar temp.
Appearance is very good. Dark red/almost purple colored beer with a very nice plump, light mocha colored head. No murkiness yet haunting with a dark shadow-like appearance. Very nice lacing coats the inside of the glass as well.
Smell is good. Sweet, fruity malts jump out with an earthiness that's welcome. Belgian yeast fragrance is there as well.
Taste is above-average. Bubblegum, unripe plum, raisins and a HUGE alcohol burst initially. The alcohol was almost over-bearing in the taste at first. After a few sips you get used to it though. However, i wish it wasn't so prevalent in the taste. Burped and it tasted like bubblegum.
Mouthfeel is good. The heat from the alcohol in the back of the throat takes away a point. Other than that, a perfectly carbonated beer.
Drinkability is above-average. One 750ML bottle was enough.
Overall: A decent Belgian beer that's a little rough around the edges. I'm hoping the alcohol fumes calm down when i age a few bottles.
Served In: Pint Glass
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