Stick a fork in me. I’m throwing down my weapons. Waving the white flag. Laying down under the bus. Alright already; I’m done. I surrender.
This beer owned me. From first pour to last sip, it was utterly dominant … The Empire Strikes Back dominant. It beat me into submission. The Rebel base? Captured. Han Solo? Frozen in carbonite. Luke’s hand? Sliced off. All hope? Lost.
Ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit … but trust me, this is a demon of a beer. Prepare your feeble palate and weak alcohol tolerance for some serious liquid. You’ll get a sense of what you’re in for when you pour it out…it looks almost like reddish oil. And the odor emanating from the glass is potent. If rum and port wine were combined, it might smell a bit like this. Sticky, thick, sharp and sweet. This is no hop bomb (although generous amounts of hops are used). This is an all out invasion of malt and alcohol. Not sure why I chose a bright summer’s day to open it up…
Things I tasted to some degree while sipping: caramel/toffee, raisin, pepper, honey, brown sugar, leather, Robitussin®…oh yeah and alcohol. There’s plenty of that. It goes down like something between wine and whiskey. No real hint of hops to speak of, although there is a slight lingering bitterness that thankfully takes a small edge off the sweetness. And wow is it sweet. Beastly sweet. If it was a bit thicker, it could almost pass for glazing on a pound cake.
I nursed my snifter for about 4 hours…then I couldn’t take it anymore. And don’t get me wrong, it’s quality stuff. Avery makes great beer, and I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to brew a batch of Belgian Strong Dark Ale that’s this strong. I didn’t want to pour my last few precious ounces down the drain. But this brew is—at best—just as savage as it is delicious. And I would argue more the former than the latter; my head hurts just thinking back on the experience. Drinkability? Don’t be silly. Its moniker is an honest warning of what you’re getting yourself into.