Purchased from Galena River Wine and Cheese over New Years with my Christmas gift card. In an attempt to finally empty out my beer cellar before moving to Holland, this was the next in the mine-up of beers needing to be enjoyed. A little late in season (given the 70-80 degree weather). Tasted with Josh on Monday night following an Indian dinner of Saag and Basmati Rice.
Appearance: Rustic red in color, but dark mahogany when there is no light to penetrate the glass. The head is consistent and dense of a foamy off white consistency. Lacing is both styrafoamed and wet. There is a lot of flocculated particles and hop matter present in the beer...I like!
Aroma: Dark candy sugar and raisin fruitiness make up the foundation of this beer. To compliment, I get chocolate and dates, along with a robust Belgian yeast bill to make up the majority of the complexity. Some funk/ horse blanket is present, but very minimal. Definitely an adequate spice mixture and fruitiness. Some of it reminds me of Bailey's Irish Cream?
Taste: Starts warming and sweet. Reminiscent of figs and dates along with a roasted plum and dark fruit flavor. The malt base is difficult to decipher, but nevertheless intuitively complex. Some yeast flavors emerge by the midtaste, followed by a hint of cocoa and spices. I think all the spicing is held to a minimum to the point that no other masks another, but still contributing a flavorful element to the beer. As the beer warms, more of the dark fruit and roasted plum character emerges. Spices remain negligible, but still contributive. Slight alcoholic finish. Very warming. Overall, I get the coriander the most out of all the other spices, yet still hardly anything over subtle.
Mouthfeel: Fluid, but still boasting a thicker, syrupy texture. There is a tackiness on the lips, although there is no cloy of slickness on the roof of the mouth. Carbonation is low, and dissipates throughout the session, but nevertheless is enough to pair very well with the flavor profile
Overall Impression: This is the winter beer of choice in my book. Balanced, in no way aggressive, rich and complex. I cannot get over the fact that each spice makes an appearance throughout either the taste or the scent, but still remains in the background of the general flavor/aroma of the beer. Warming, while drinkability remains high and savorability (my new word) is this beer's highest objective.