A pretty careful pour produces a compact and creamy light brown head in my tulip glass. The beer is pitch black in color and is opaque even when held up directly to the light. Minimal lacing.
The aroma smells of darkly roasted grain, wholesome roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Despite being so roast focused the aroma is quite smooth smelling; it seems to be missing the acrid, sharp burnt notes and charcoal like acidity that plagues many a heavily roasted beer. Instead the aroma is just rich and quite enjoyable; ample aromas of toasted whole grain bread, roasted berry coffee notes, roasty / toasty whole grain crackers, blackened brown sugar coffee notes and lots of dark, sweet, complex malt character. Aroma is rich, fruity with hints of tobacco and oak. Almost has a wine-like quality; extremely complex.
Nice and creamy feeling as it first hits the tongue, this beer is fairly viscous with a low carbonation level. Rich body, the hard roast malts come through now combined with licorice and dried dark fruits and again these pleasantly smooth Cognac notes leaving some pleasant heat. This beer just tastes incredibly rich and decadent; up front lots of rich cocoa flavors combine with caramelized roast malt notes. The coffee accentuates a darkly roasted, but not burnt, bright berry flavor here. It also couples with the dark grain to produce a burnt bitterness in the finish as well as a roast acidity that provides a touch of needed balance to the sweet, chewy malt rather than being harsh. This beer has such a chewy, dense, rich body to it, it definitely has a syrup like viscosity to it as it rolls across the tongue and clings to the palate. This beer hides its alcohol extremely well; it is just such a smooth drinking experience. The roast character can be a touch smoky at times with perhaps a touch of savor, almost salty character to it at times (though it is clearly dominated by the complex malt sugars).
This beer has been quite a nice surprise, I really wasn’t expecting this beer to be so smooth and well integrated when I popped the cap; this keeps the typical harsh, bitterly burnt and astringent roast character of both the dark malt and the coffee well in check, and there is a ton of chewy malt character that easily balances what is here. I almost feel like I should be more critical of this beer than I am, but it is just so tasty, and quite the great experience. Drink this now, despite the ample alcohol, I don’t see this getting a whole lot better, it is perfect fresh, and I have a feeling any significant age will just make this more unbalanced (though it should still be quite tasty for years to come). I just may have had the perfect beer.