Thanks to Justen Parris for giving me this beer along with several others following our tasting. I got to trying it following an evening 15 miler along the Davenport/Bettendorf bike path and the fantastic dinner Jen prepared for me when I got home.
Taste: The malt backbone boasts a tremendous sweetness compared to many of the winter beer I've encountered. The peat and smoked malt maintain themselves on into the flavor in the form of a subtle earthiness. Again there is a toasted/toffee malt present along with dark bread crust in the foretaste followed up by floral and dark fruit sweetness and then finished by a well melded spice finish while still incorporating the earthy flavors. Finally there is a prolonged woody bitterness into the aftertaste, that still remains appealing.
Mouthfeel: Big body but smooth and still relatively drinkable and refreshing (in my dehydrated case). The carbonation is small but still enough to buzz the tip of the tongue and finished with a toasted tannin dryness.
Overall Impression: Extremely complex and well balanced. Normally spicing is a bold attempt, and usually overdone. This beer finishes well and flavorful. A fantastic drinkable winter ale I certainly see myself getting again. Please come to Illinois, New Glarus...