Picked this up in single bottles at Binny's. Contemplated several, but settled on two. Tasted in the evening with Jen before heading to Waverly Iowa the next morning for a lead off 1200m leg of the DMR. Served in a wine glass.
Appearance: A numerable amount of bubble accumulation on the side of the glass. Very dark brown/black but when held to light, exhibits a red translucent. Minimal head, only taking the form of a tan ring along the side of the glass.
Aroma: Carameled sugar and chocolate malt dominate the nose. There is a little bit of fruity tartness to follow along with a dark fruit undertone. Some notes of licorice and dark roasted malt. More of a hop profile to this one as well.
Taste: Some mild malt character, but this beer more so exemplifies the hops which exclusively take on a tangerine citrus in the mid to aftertaste. Similarly I find myself experiencing raisins as well as an alcoholic heft finish. Midtaste has little complexity, mostly of candied sugar and perhaps a chocolaty undertones. Fruits begin to dominate the flavor the deeper the beer goes. Still this beer is different than what we're used to. Some dark cherries emerge in combination with the citrus hops and darker malts. Interspersed throughout are overtones of grapefruit and pine. This perhaps would be a good candidate for a Black IPA in my book especially with a complex malt backbone and an even more charactered hop finish. Even a little spice in the round out.
Mouthfeel: More of a carbonation, but still appropriate for bringing through the flavors. Medium bodied with a little chew at the end. The alcohol isn't as drying to the mouth than I would have expected a 9% beer to do.
Overall Impression: A good beer at that. Not something from the usual book, and I'm certainly under acquainted with these stronger ales. Nevertheless I think the beer would have perhaps been a little better had there not been so much alcohol and perhaps more of a body and malt sweetness. It is what it is, and as a first to the X,X00 batches, I was still impressed. One cannot go into a beer with any expectation, especially one with such a simplistic label.