750 mL bottle, #396 out of 400; 2009 vintage. Shared with BEERchitect on a visit to Lexington, KY.
Standard, black pour with a less than impressive mocha-like head (ABV obviously curtails this a little)) but still surprisingly poor given the fizzy nature of the beer. The carbonation seems really high at first and this leads to an annoyingly, prickly mouthfeel that subsides a bit but seems present throughout the brew for me.
Nose and tastes release a LOT of burned character, and it all gets a bit much charcoal like for me. As Kevin said, burned berries are in there.
Not much smooth character at all, and although the beer does lose some carbonation as the time passes, it still seems overly aggressive and bitter. Not much chocolate, malt or coffee to temper the sharp edges.
I generally really like Southampton but this beer seems a bit on the high side of burned for me. Alcohol was obviously present but not too aggressive, but the charcoal notes would simply not die for me.
I dunno, this just didn’t do it much for me, perhaps a beer that would benefit from some longer term aging?