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Review by Dr. Rockzo on 11/08/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
88 2 11 18 4 9 0
Thanks to alex for sharing the bottle of this newly coveted BA BW…let’s see if it’s got the balls to overtake the best BA BW ever…Wooden Hell. 2009 version poured from a 22oz. foil toped bottle with no ABV marking into a Darkness snifter.

A: Pours a super deep dark crimson brown color with slight ruby hues when held directly to a light source…almost looks like a porter or a stout it’s so dark, but it seemingly has nice clarity. A short lived 1-1.5 finger light-mocha colored frothy head that fades into a thin ring with no cap almost immediately. A good swirl brings it back to life for a minute, but fades again. The deep color is mysterious and alluring, pretty stuff indeed.

S: The smell is pretty amazing, with lots of prominent barrel notes. A good mixture of toasted marshmallow, vanilla, butterscotch, and sweet/spicy bourbony-booze are very heavy upfront before an almost equally intense hit of malt backing comes in with more nuances. Lots of deep roasted grain (like walking into a brew session for an RIS), burnt molasses, and some dark cocoa covered dark fruits/berries (plums, currants, etc.) A faint earthy-piny hop aroma comes out of the background with a swirl. Pretty fucking fantastic smelling with an intensity that’s just a bit raw and “green”, should meld even better with some time.

T: The flavor is not quite as awesomely barrel-fied as the aroma, but is still intense and tasty as hell. Sugary burnt-molasses and dark roasty grains with nuances of chocolate-covered dark fruits are more prominent than the barrel notes were in the smell., but it’s not overly sweet There’s still good qualities of burnt marshmallow, subtle vanilla, and a touch of toasted coconut which wasn’t in the smell so much actually. The dark roasted grains are very strong in the flavor, almost leaving a stouty burnt bitterness in place of the lack of much hops (but there is a hint of earthy pine).

M: The mouthfeel is maybe the best aspect of this brew, with a very full and lush body with a lower level of smooth carbonation that allows the thick body to come across wonderfully. The consistency is so coating and viscous but not in a cloying way and has some good tannic and roasty (hoppy?) bitter bite on the finish. It goes down way to smoothly for being a 13ish% BA BW. There’s just a bit of warming spiciness left on the throat after half the glass which is a tad strong and keeps it from being perfect, but age should help in this regard.

D: This is a deceptively drinkable brew for how strong and intensely flavorful it is. I found my glass disappearing in minutes before my eyes and I very much enjoyed the evolution in flavors as it came closer and closer to room temperature…although it did start to get a bit warm ing and boozy which slowed me down a touch. Still, this should continue to develop for years and smooth out, a wonderful beer for the cellar.

This us no Wooden Hell but it’s almost close, a damn tasty BA BW nonetheless that everyone should seek out and try if possible. One of the best of the style I’ve had.

Served In: Snifter