I've seen this beer floating around a lot and was intrigued at the fact it is made with a minute amount of peppercorn. I had tasted it at Finnegan in Plainfield and the Beer fest in Des Moines, yet never had the opportunity to get some notes down on it. Fortunately Jen Misewicz brought a 4 pack up during her visit last week! Thanks.
Appearance: Realized from my first bottle that this beer needs a careful pour - lots of foam. The head is characterized by a beige soft pillowy texture with peaks and the lot, leaving dry lacing caressed along the sides of the glass. The beer itself looks to have a good mount of carbonation as there is a large accumulation of bubbles on the side of the glass. Pours a clear brown but looks primarily black and turbid in the glass.
Aroma: Mild roasted smell, yet encapsulating a choco-toasted element which makes the beer all the more enticing. A sweet carameled and chocolate malt scent permeates through. Some subtle yeast notes present as well. Very nutty and of spent sweet tobacco.
Taste: Foretaste is sweetened with caramel and lightly toasted barley. In no time though the finish is introduced with a phenolic Belgian undertone characterized with clove and stale roasted coffee (though extremely light). The carbonation and foam seem to hinder a lot of the flavor, especially on the back 9. After taste has a tobacco, chocolate and molasses, yet still maintains a drying farmhouse profile. Some pepper may be drawn at the very back of the throat, though even I wouldn't have noticed it without being told.
Mouthfeel: Overwhelmingly carbonated to the point of flavor loss. Rush of micro-biting bubbles across the tongue makes the body seem very light. A bit chalky to the mouthfeel. Finish is tremendously dry and even resinous.
Overall Impression: Given the massive carbonation, I'd recommend opening cold and putting it back in the fridge for a good half hour before drinking...Otherwise you may miss out on some of the complexities. Not as heavy as I expected, still maintains a good Belgian/Farmhouse element.