Holy Sweetness. This beer is almost too sweet and totally not what you would expect. I had it in my mind this would be something akin to Avery’s Mephistopheles but I was way off. While this beer boasts a huge abv, it is surprisingly hidden by the massive sugar additions. This small 8.5 oz bottle is the 3rd edition of this beer. I’m not sure if this beer differs from the 1st edition, but given the sweetness and interesting yeast profile I would say everything is the same except for the packaging. A massive imperial stout that has Columbian coffee and demerara (cane) sugars added after primary fermentation is done, it then undergoes a second fermentation with wine yeast.
The pour is a rustic brown-black hue with a small film-like head. I could see the bubbles trying to escape the liquid so with the help of a gentle swirl it produced a little more. This beer does have some legs as it looks to be a thicker wine. My bottle was a least a year (if not more) old and it did not show any more signs of bottle conditioning. With all the sugars and yeast that went it, I would have thought it to have more. The only think I really noticed was the sediment at the bottom which consisted of coffee dregs.
A super sweet smell. Almost off putting. Aromas of coca cola, coffee, splenda, and a minor soy sauce rose from the snifter. I had to take smaller, intermittent wafts because it was so sweet. As it warmed more burnt flavors tried to fight their way through to give some relief to the sugar. The abv also started to make an appearance. A bittersweet dark chocolate aroma was more evident with the glass held farther away from the nose.
All sugar on the palate. It is sticky, syrupy and cloying. The coffee flavors do provide a bitterness and pleasantness in the aftertaste, but for the most part this beer is all cane sugar from front to back. I would highly recommend drinking this one right when you get it. Do not age/cellar it as I’m noticing a familiar soy sauce-like off flavor. Dark Horizon does have some great roasted malt and coffee flavors that I believe would have been better appreciated if fresh. However, this glass was very hard to finish. I think that the wine yeast played a negative effect on this beer. It did not seem to ferment that sugars completely and it gave a sake yeast-like flavor. While that might be more acceptable or work well in other styles, I do not think it worked well here.