Sampled April 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a dense, creamy, darkly browned crown of froth that rises three fingers in height. The head leaves copious amounts of dense lace on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is almost pure black in color, but does have a touch of brown to it. When held up to the light the beer shows just a touch of an amber hue to it around the edges, but I wouldn't really say that it is passing any light through. The aroma has the coffee leading off along with roasted malt notes, but it has a soft backdrop of vanilla that becomes more noticeable the longer I spend smelling the aroma (though it never goes beyond subtle). The vanilla accentuates a solid dark chocolate aromatic note here and it also helps to soften the sharp, roasted grain and coffee notes. The nose has quite a rich, satisfying, even satiating quality to it.
As the beer hits my tongue I notice that it has a rich, satisfying heft to it, though it is not quite as heavy as the nose might have suggested; it is still a sipping beer though. Vanilla flavors accentuate a malt sweetness as well as a dark chocolate flavor. Bitter, roasted coffee flavors are found in the finish and can get a touch acrid at times. The bitterness from the dark malt and coffee flavors really lingers on in the finish.
This beer has a nice balance to it, between the vanilla notes and sweetness up front and the roasted, biting notes towards the finish, but it can seem a little simplistic at times. The vanilla really helps this beer shine; the roast malt and coffee notes would be too aggressive, too acrid and too bitter without the vanilla. This is definitely a nice after dinner sipping brew and I find that I am quite enjoying it.