I’ve had this a few times before these notes, so this is a collective narrative from more than one sitting.
It pours with a lovely look. Dark brown, a better than average head and lace when one considers the ABV, and a retention that is also better than I was expecting.
Nose offers little other than a slightly surprising acidity. This is not really reflected in any tastes. Some bakers chocolate in the initial tastes. This is followed by some dry alcohol, some raisin based fruit, and a touch of solvent. More drying character, and a complicated ending. It’s also surprisingly roasty and to me starts off with a little marmite yeast and a light stout-like feel.
Alcohol is quite well hidden, and there’s something about the beer that doesn’t quite add up. I wouldn’t say it was muddled (that would be far too harsh) but it somehow seems not quite pulled together. There are quad notes (the raisins especially), and the beer drinks easily enough, but it’s missing something. Honestly, I don’t know what. Some bitterness in the finish. For me it drinks belwo the advertised 10.2%.
As it warms this dramatically improves, and the beer falls into place rather nicely. There are beers that are very temperature dependent, and it’s not always obvious which ones they are. I’m not talking about the way that ALL beers develop with changing temp, rather I’m talking about beers that seem to become something different as the environment changes. There’s still some acidity in there and some oxidized chocolate, but the particular bottle that note belongs to is best before 06/10/24 (drinking in Sept ’23).
I don’t (and didn’t ever) love this beer, BUT there’s something about it that brought me back on multiple occasions. Every time I felt like there was something else to experience, and each time I thought that I appreciated it more, I’m sad to see it go.