Big shout out to Davey101 from BeerAdvocate for the bottle!
Im just going to jump right into this because it has been staring at me every time I open my fridge and I really want to review this one for you guys!
Out of the bottle it poured a dark brown that settled into a black once in the glass. Left a nice 1 finger head that stuck around a bit longer than the past few beers I have reviewed. After the head dissipates there isn't anything left other than a ring around the edge of the glass. Definitely some alcohol legs present when the beer hits the side of the glass. Head is a really light brown. This is a really interesting looking beer because I am used to a much darker head on these styles of beers.
Big chocolate. Big caramel. A lesser amount of dark fruit but still very prevalent. I also seem to get a bit of roast on the end. I get a really nice sweet note. Not from a chocolate or caramel but more like a lactose sweetness that you would get in a milk stout. Really cool. Some really big nutty aromas in the aroma, in my opinion. With that and the light roast and chocolate mixing together it seems to turn into hazelnut in a way. Dang this is a great aroma! I haven't mentioned the barrel character or bourbon notes yet if you haven't noticed. They are there but they just blend with the base beer so well it seems. Vanilla and oak mixed with that lactose sweetness I'm getting is really awesome. I am expecting a very balanced beer that has complex flavors with no heat on the finish. The aroma has hyped this up to be a mind blowing beer so I am hoping it lives up to that.
Right on the front of the palate I get smacked with dark fruits and on the finish I get smacked with a big roasted coffee finish. A bit of chocolate mixed with caramel but that is quickly cut by oak. Not vanilla notes or big bourbon notes, just oak. The oak does help dry the finish, though. Big roast and then just a dry lingering finish. The very small window between the oak and the roast I get a big dark cherry flavor but for maybe half a second. It is quick but it is there and is kind of nice on the finish before the big roasted coffee and oak dryness.
The beer is not one dimensional at all. Though I think it may be too rounded in the wrong areas, for my palate at least. I got a lot of dark fruit, oak, and a coffee finish. I love all of those in barrel aged imperial stouts, however, I like them to be balanced with a chocolate and/or caramel or toffee note not the forefront of the beer. I enjoyed this beer but not as much as I thought I would based on the aroma. Is it tasty? Oh yes. Did I expect more from this beer? Well, I didn't know what to expect since I never had the base beer but I did have an idea of what to expect from the aroma and it did a complete 180, aside from the dark fruit. I would drink this again in a heartbeat but I'm not too sure I would trade my cellar for a bottle of it. Thank goodness I didn' have to because people are awesome!
Cheers ladies and gentlemen!