Thanks to Tom Bergman from Binny's in Highland Park for trading me this so I could try it. Tasted following a team dinner at Hy-vee and in for a relaxing night after a tough workout.
Appearance: Snifter poured. As the liquid left the bottle it resembled quite a thick consistency. The color is pitch black with a deep tan foamed head. The head dissipates into a thin foamed film across the surface of the beer. Micro fizzed carbonation only visible against the glass, and nothing more.
Aroma: Sweet and roasted malt immediately hits the nose. There is a mellow coal fire spiced note at the finish but is overwhelmingly pushed to the back by the rich malted aroma. Some licorice/maple and even molasses touches the nose.
Taste: Starts quite sweet, but immediately transitions into a full forced smoky bitterness that resembles a half burned coal pit after some one tried putting it out with maple syrup. Gradually my palate adjusts and the enjoyment is prolonged, but still has yet to accept the finish. I enjoy the start as it combines toasted and roasted malt with a maple-like sweetness. The licorice remains an integral part of the beers mid-taste. Burnt dry finish.
Mouthfeel: A fantasizing mouthfeel and a thick full body. The carbonation is minimal, yet just enough to distribute some complexity throughout the palate. Extremely smooth and delicate texture, and maybe even chalky, makes this characteristic top notch...for a porter?
Overall Impression: A strange and far out beer, representative of the types I enjoy seeking out. These are the types of beers go against the grains of American beer and re-define or establish a stylistic flavor that is achievable and favorable to the public. Well done, This was different, palatable as well as entertaining to my senses, although I may not be a fan of the finish, its with these beers that one can become accepting of foreign flavors.