Style: 18E Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Aroma: The characteristic apple nose is present, along with slight notes of cheery and what almost smells like cocoa/chocolate. There is also a sweetness in the background that almost reminds me of molasses. At 9% abv I would expect to detect some alcohol hotness, but none is present. No hop aroma is present.
Appearance: Gives a nice 'boom' when uncorked. An agressive pour resulted in a 2 finger head that dissipates fairly quickly to about 1/8" that remains throughout. Cocoa in color with slight carmel to amber highlights on the edges when held to light.
Flavor: The sweetness in the nost continues into the palate, but plays int he background when compared to a delicate symphony of flavors ranging from dark fruit with faint hints of chocolate and biscuit in the front to a slight fruity (apple/cherry) tartness in the finish. No alcohol hotness is present, but that could be masked by the high carbonation level inherent to the style. Only a very slight hint of hops are detectable in the palate, accentuating the delicate balance of this beer.
Mouthfeel: High carbonation makes this feel like a full bodied beer. Little to no diacytl, no DMS. This beer is very drinkable as a dessert beer, but certainly not quaffable in large quantities as the 9% abv would make you regret it the next morning. Drinks very smooth despite 3+ volumes of co2.
Overall Impression: This is a great beer at almost any price, but considering that I can pick this up for $6.99 per 750ml bottle at my local World Market, the price makes this a beer that everyone owes themselves the favor of trying at least once. If you like Belgian Dark Strong Ales, you will not be disappointed.
Overall Score: 42/50