Appearance: Coppered orange with an unexpected haze to it. Vibrant and glowing. The pour was aggressive in an attempt to produce an adequate head. Nevertheless the result was anything but. No head formation and hardly a ring on the glass. The beer itself looked very still and un-eventful, except for the occasional bubble that remained from the pour. At each tilt of the glass however, bubbles cascade briefly down the sides. As the beer warmed, the chill haze faded and the beer became clear!
Aroma: Bright citrus and American hop. The expectation was to be grassy and bursting with pine. The pine remained but more of a fruitiness came off. Still the aromatic maltiness, reminiscent of honey comes through, which is also a product in combination with the hops. The hops seem quite mellowed overall, with tones of sulfur and even a nice bouquet of rose petals.
Mouthfeel: The texture on the palate is quite thick with a syrupy characteristic about it but still remains smooth. The fine carbonation encourages a soft feel but with no loss to the honey like viscosity - and perfect for the style of big and bold. From the hops at the end they produce two things: a mild acidity that in a way, and oddly enough gives off a quenching aspect as does the dry finish. Still a lot of coating and cloy. Obviously, a burn finishes down the throat
Overall Impression: Well, there you have it. Certainly one of the biggest beers I've encountered. Was the experience all I expected? Pretty much. Was it how I would have hoped it would taste? Not really. I was expecting something with a bit more of a citrus bite to it. The nose was perfumy and scented of honey and alcohol, and the flavor was quite similar, though perhaps more on the malt side. I can definitely see this beer sitting well and developing a more woody/earthy character as the hops mellow down. I think this beer is one everyone should try, but I don't see myself really seeking it out for another year or two, unless the opportunity arises that I get to try it in a vertical or against an older vintage. Phew, it's a big one.