Pour is an oily looking, fairly light brown liquid which gives astonishing “legs” in the glass. That, and the searing alcoholic nose, give the game away in terms of the ABV. A touch viscous in the mouth, but what the hell were you expecting??
The nose is simple to place for me. It reminds me of a Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. In fact, that, and the tastes which are almost identical, make this basically a sherry to me. It does have more alcohol presence than a normal fortified wine, but it is sweeter. There is a mild caramel note and some extra brown sugar on top but not much else. A drier finish than one might expect from the initial sweetness.
Delicious, moreish, mellow, sweet and alcohol laden, but to me not especially complex. Nor is this “beer” by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, I know the process and the “formal” categorization puts it there, but this simply isn’t a beer when it comes to the drinking experience.
I REALLY, REALLY enjoyed it, but to call it anything other than a fortified wine of some description is largely meaningless – that’s the experience you will get when you drink it regardless of the official designation.
$150-$200 a bottle? I dunno, that’s really pushing it for me, especially when I can get largely the same warming alcohol experience from a number of other Sherry, Port and Madeira beverages. Still “exceptional” in many ways and a very, very enjoyable and tasty tipple, but to me we’ve moved out of beer and into an entirely different realm.