Tasted Saturday evening following a day spent at Great River Brewery for the tapping of the 7 Reverends Abbey Ale. Tasted while cooking up a batch of brussel sprouts straight from the garden, while also making some organic Foccacia bread.
Appearance: Thicker and bubbly mocha colored head that poured about a fourth of an inch thick and dissipated slowly, leaving a thin film on the surface and small amounts of lacing up the side of the glass. Dark chocolate brown hue that is slightly opaque.
Aroma: Mild chocolaty aroma upfront, complemented by the scent of roasted malt bitterness. The backbone maintains a rich sweetness to hold up a malt forward dark ale like this inclusive of an note of earthiness. Interestingly, part of this beer reminds me faintly of...olives.
Taste: A lot more chocolaty than the aroma led one on. I enjoy a rich sweetness at the forefront of the beer, while immediately to follow emerges a chocolate bittersweetness. Rich darkened malt flavor reminiscent of crystal and cara malts. Mild roastiness at the finish, but gradually dissipates as one goes further into the glass. Finally, there resides a aftertaste of burnt grain and black patton malt, but this is only once the beer has completely left the palate and a coating bitterness remains. Hints of licorice are faint, but prominent if you quit focusing on the chocolate.
Mouthfeel: Velvety and robust in body (I'm thinking oats?). Nearly chewy with a nice carbonation to round out a soft mouthfeel. Goes down smooth and still presents itself as relatively drinkable. Sticky on the lips. Dry finish.
Overall Impression: Richly flavored while not over-presenting a roasted malt character. I liked this beer for it's smooth creamy body and a chocolaty base to match it. Licorice was well incorporated to not overpower itself or anything within the beer. Well done Bell's.