When I talk with people about the beer, the main issue most people bring up is how boozy this brew is. It's hard to argue that fact because this beer comes in around 13% and the big Belgian malt flavors do an ok job hiding it but the only thing that can cure the alcoholic heat is a little bit of age. Many Belgian Brewers will actually leave their 10% and above beers in the bottle for a year before passing them on to distribution so you and I can enjoy it. I think time is critical.
I drank this beer fresh and then had the year old version the next night. I wanted to do them side by side but I wasn't sure my review would be clear at that point, but I do what I can for you the reader. As a whole the beer is big and sweet with a lot of Belgian phenolic flavors typical of the traditional yeast strains. There are tons of dark fruits: plums, raisins and figs. It's accented nicely by a bit of bready malt and just a hint of something toasty.
When drinking these beers side by side ish. The big change is the level of alcohol on the back end and the amount of sweetness. The fresh beer almost has a liquor like burn on the back end that does a pretty good job of balancing out the sweet front end. The aged version has less sweetness and the booze like flavors have mellowed nicely. It's hard to find a. Beer above 12% that you can honestly call smooth, but a little age puts this brew right there. After a year, very little oxidation has set in. I think a little bit of be sherry character that comes from a few years of aging would be a great compliment to the dark fruits. I have a couple still from the first release, and I can't wait to see what 3 or 4 years does to mellow this beer out.
I'm thrilled that Bier sold out of this beer quickly because it shows that people are looking forward to its release. I believe in buying local, but only if it's good beers this is both local and good. It's the only packaged release Bier does. Compared to some of the other breweries special releases I think this one delivers ten ones over. You should give Sanitarium a try if you haven't, but bring a friend it's a great beer to share