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Review by MasterSki on 11/05/09  
 
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
100 3 12 20 5 10 0
2006 version, purchased at Oliver Twist. I've got the '07 waiting for the right tasting event back home. Aged in Mackymyra single malt whiskey barrels if I'm not mistaken. Served in a snifter. The bottle was given to me WAY too cold, so I let it warm for a bit.

A - First, I don't generally dig snifters for my RIS consumption - they generally reduce head volume by quite a bit, and my favorite brews don't benefit much from the aroma "retention". In any case, it had a late-rising dark mocha, even slightly red, half-finger of foam that dissipated pretty quickly to a ring with a few bubbles at the surface and some "legs". Pitch black - there's some pretty lace that's generated with each sip but it quickly slides down the edges of the glass and back into the abyss. It actually looked a lot like Dave's (d0b) pour of the Cigar City 110K+OT in my Darkness snifter. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt, but if I get subpar head volume in a different vessel next time I may dock this a half point.

S - Sweet Jesus - this thing smells epic. Huge whiskey, vanilla, oak, dark fruits, honey, roasted malts, tobacco, semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, molasses, and probably all the other descriptors used by my reviewing colleagues. The closest comparison I can think of was the incredible BA Decadence '07, but this brew brings a slight sour note to the table that is almost a little reminiscent of the most recent Perseguidor (batch 4). I'm not sure how much time this brew sits in the barrel, or whether Swedish whiskey is more conducive to "bugs" but it's a wonderful addition that adds a touch of depth and richness that can be lacking in other BA beers. There's not a trace of astringent alcohol either.

T - OK - you can pretty much taste everything listed in the smell, as there is really no drop-off in complexity. Whiskey, vanilla, wood, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruit, roastiness - they're all here. Near the back end of the palate it fleetingly moves into BA barleywine territory somehow, with the burnt molasses flavor in there, but then it finishes with huge tannins and oak - like on par with Toronado 20th here. I'm at a loss here, because I keep picking up slight sour beer elements that my fellow colleagues didn't mention - perhaps this is caused by the age, or the barrel used? In any case, it's as if someone took an amazing BA beer like Decadence and spiked it with a touch of Consecration or something.

M - There's a little heat to go with the full silky smooth body and lots of stickiness. The residual feel is that "I've been licking a piece of wood" kind of thing that shows up in barrel-aged brews. Fairly mild carbonation. No complaints here.

D - This is the only place I can really knock this brew. I was worried the 250ml bottle wouldn't be enough for me to really enjoy and reflect on, but it was plenty. The alcohol is well hidden, but the buzz creeps up pretty fast. Also, the heavy tannic finish and the somewhat mind-blowing flavor depth make this a true evening-ender. But what an evening!

It's not very often that a brew comes along that changes my perception of what a style can do. I'm not sure if the slight sour notes were intentional, or a by-product of the barrel aging process, but any beer that marries the best of brews like BA Decadence, Parabola, and Bell's BB Double/Cream Expo blend with stuff like Toronado 20th and Persguidor opens up my mind and palate to the amazing possibilities of beer. I understand this stuff is hard to get, but it should be tried be every beer lover at least once.

Served In: Snifter