Style: American Strong Ale
Purchased at 99 Bottles
Aroma: Surprisingly peppery upfront with some dark fruit and cherries blending in. The aroma is quite light overall with only subtle hints of chocolate and caramel trying to come through. Not a whole lot in the nose on this one.
Appearance: Initially you’ll think this beer pours a jet black, but hold it up to the light and you’ll find a deep cherry red with nice clarity. Head easily pours creamy off-white with good retention. Some small lace down the glass forms as the beer disappears.
Flavor: Ripe cherries smack your palate first off before the flavor dashes between prunes and sweet candi sugar. Moving to the middle there is a distinct bite of alcoholic spice and hop bitterness, but the cherries come back again as Maraschino Cherry sweetness before the alcohol finishes the beer with a peppery spice at the back of tongue.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with high carbonation, the carbonation has an effervescent and tingling quality on the tongue. Alcohol bite is quite noticeable here, into the middle and through to the finish you’ll get almost a sting of alcohol heat that is bordering unbalanced but the flavors back it up.
Overall: While the beer lacks aroma characteristics, the real payout is in the flavor and body. Rich cherries and candi sweetness really set the beer off well against the alcohol, which always seems to be playing into the mix. An excellent late night quiet sipper that I would try to categorize as a Barley Wine, but the candi sugar throws it into a style all it’s own.
I rated this beer an “A-” on Beer Advocate.