Pappy's Dark
Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant

Pappy's DarkPappy's Dark
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Strong Ale - American
Ranked #120
Ranked #16,681
3.92 | pDev: 13.52%
Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant
Oregon, United States
Very Good
Pappy's DarkPappy's Dark
Notes: "Brewed with six malts of Belgian & British origin. Bourbon in color with a very complex and interesting malt profile. Matured in 9 & 10 year old bourbon barrels for 2-4 months. Bright aromas of bourbon, fresh baked bread, caramel, and oak. Velvety texture, rich malt and bourbon flavours with an enticingly warm bourbon finish. 10% alc/vol 40 IBU's"
Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 124 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TreeBear
TreeBear from Oregon

4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage cellared properly and showing no signs of infection. Pours a dark amber color. Smells like bourbon, caramel, raisins. Taste is nuanced and deep. Unlike some of the more popular barrel aged beers this is refreshing. I drank half a bottle of this and didn't feel like I was hit by a truck unlike other beers I've experienced. Will this beer blow you away in terms of overpowering flavors, no. However there are so many levels of flavors making it a pleasure to drink over the course of a couple of hours.

Oct 18, 2015
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themaj from Illinois

1.75/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

2011 vintage. Thought only the 2012 was infected but after tasting this I think it is as well. Straight sour smell and taste. Pained me to do it but had to pour out.

Apr 19, 2015
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Rifugium from North Dakota

3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, consumed July, 2014. Served slightly refrigerated.

Medium brown color, murky, with a small tan head that sank to a ringlet, leaving some random streaks of lacing and legs on the glass. Aroma was a little off at first (medicinal mostly), but after it breathed for a few minutes, it was fine. Notes of dark sugars, dark fruits, bourbon. In the taste, sweet malts, caramel, bourbon, wet oak, vanilla, brown sugar, figs, dates, some solventy booze. As the beer warmed, the bourbon/vanilla came out more, keeping the sweetness in check. Body was medium, mouthfeel was slick and unctuous. You definitely have to expect something different than a BA stout with this beer, otherwise you'll be disappointed. The bourbon was fairly smooth, lacking any major boozy heat, making the 10%ABV seem just about right, and making drinkability easy. Overall, this was an enjoyable beer. Not mind-blowing, but really everything was right where where it should have been.

Jul 26, 2014
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the pre-FWIBF bottle share held at the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, CA.

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with no head. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is sour with malt, fruit, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with sour malt and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is definitely infected but not all that bad as it is.

Jun 04, 2014
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention and minimal lacing. Aroma consists of caramelized malt with some bourbon notes and some woody notes. Taste is a weird mix between some woody notes with some bourbon some caramelized malt notes though not as much residual sugars as I would have expected. Body is about average with good carbonation and some warming alcohol. Disappointed by this beer which lacks the balance I was hoping for and veers close to the messy category.

Feb 17, 2014
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danwho from California

2.55/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Received in trade from the Pacific NorthWest a few months ago. Was told of the infection issues and to open soon.
Took to a bottle share today and it had soured. Some nice bourbon in the nose, but otherwise nothing but sour tartness in taste. I would have liked to try this fresh, oh well, at least we opened a Rare.

Nov 18, 2013
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itsiilegal from California

3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Barely audible pop to the cork. Pours very slowly. High viscosity, very sugary looking. Body is very still, 1/2 cm lacing around glass, no other head. Quite murky looking and the color of dark maple syrup.

Smell is not nearly as boozy, sweet or bourbony as I was expecting or like. What is there is some brown sugary, woody bourbon. Slight maple sugar and oxidation smell.

I normally expect this style to explode onto my mouth with sugar, bourbon, oak, wood, smokiness, something. This starts off very small with slight apricot tartness. Incredibly slight irish whiskey taste jumps in and a little brown sugar, apricots and plums still dominant flavors. Very mellow and long lasting middle taste. Finally lingers away to leave tell tale warm bourbon and brown sugar. Slight boozyness stays on back of tongue and throat. Apricots and stonefruit overpower the entire taste.

Very thin mouthfeel for a 10% bourbon barrel english beer. Sugars do coat the tongue slightly and are persistent. Very slight carbonation would normally compliment flavors, but do not particularly hurt od help this beer.

Overall I am an enormous Block 15 fan. I was very let down by Pappy's Dark. I cellared for about 2 years and really wish I would have drank fresh. I cannot see this getting better. I also would really like to try on tap or a different batch, this has great potential. For style, this is too tart apricots, not quite enough to make me think it's spoiled / infected, but certainly does not help the beer. It is still drinkable and nice but would not buy again unless I have tasted a better batch / bottle.

About 2 months after reviewing this beer I received an email from Block 15 stating possible infection issues in some bottles of 2012 Pappy's Dark. This confirmed my suspicions. Block 15 graciously offered full refunds to any opened or unopened bottle of 2012 Pappy's Dark (proof required). In their email they go on to explain they will be doing a full system clean, purge, sanitation and swap of all auxiliary equipment. They are also starting an in-house lab to keep track of yeast and quality. Nick and everyone at Block 15 handled this problem professionally and I will continue to be a loyal supporter. Cheers.

Oct 16, 2013
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jegross2 from Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing Pappy's Dark from Block 15 out of Corvallis, Oregon.

Score: 95

2013 vintage bottle served in a Portsmouth snifter and enjoyed on 02/24/13 to celebrate the Oscars. Review is from iPhone notes. Thank you Danny for the bottle!

Appearance: Pours a thin film of tan head. The body is dark reddish-brown in color, like a murky barleywine. Poor lacing, minimal retention. 4/5

Smell: Coconut, luscious vanilla, and a nice dessert-like sweetness that is reminisce of Scotty Karate. Freshly baked beer bread, cocoa powder and oak. Toffee and molasses complexities too. A little bit of alcohol is apparent. 4.5/5

Taste: Even more coconut on palate than nose! Good alcohol warmth upfront on palate, but not fusel or "boozy." Molasses, toffee and vanilla. Coconut finish. Nice sweetness upfront that mellows before the finish. If you let this beer it on the tongue, you get a nice little bourbon burn and smooth molasses flavor lingering. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, minimal but perfect carbonation. Silky and smooth. Nice level of sweetness. 4.25/5

Overall: Past batches of this beer did not have the best reputation, but the 2013 vintage hit the ball out of the park. This beer is a coconut-vanilla bomb, and had I known just how excellent this beer would be in advance, I would have surely sought more. Abandon all preconceived notions and acquire yourself a bottle from the latest release.

Cost: $15 for a 750 ml bottle.

May 11, 2013
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HuskyinPDX from Washington

4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle opened and split two ways on 4.7.13.

A - Pours a dark cola brown with a few dark tan bubbles that quickly move to the glass and leave lots of streaking lacing.

S - A bit tart, but lots of barrel notes, toffee, and wood.

T - Lots of barrel, almost a tartness, but more woody. Lots of toffee/carmel, and of course bourbon. One of the best.

D - Lower carbonation with a medium body.

O - A bit tart and woody, but a very nice bourbon influence. Pappy is always nice.

Apr 09, 2013
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours a flat reddish brown body. No head. The thinnest of collars going on.

Smell - Bourbon, lots of caramel, vanilla. Not as impressive as I remember it.

Taste - Richer caramel, lots of barrel and vanilla. Finishes astringent and bourbony.

Mouthfeel - Mostly flat. Slight booziness to it.

Overall - Just a bland beer in a good barrel. This would be a nothing beer without the barrel.

Apr 02, 2013
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer appears a murky shade of burnt copper with virtually no head. The aroma offers oak, vanilla, bourbon, sweet malt. The flavor is very malty, with tannic / vanilla notes. Perhaps a hint of citrus from excessive barrel character. Light in feel with low carbonation. Overall, this was ok.

Mar 16, 2013
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cavemanlawyer from Oregon

4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle poured into a snifter. Wanted to try this one fresh. I believe this version was aged for 12 months in Old Rip Van Winkle barrels that were used in the PVW Family Reserve 20 year.

After a somewhat vigorous pour there is very little initial head. The head does slowly form and then sticks around for the rest of the glass. Dark brown body with tan head and moderate lacing.

Smells of toasty vanilla and bourbon. Some chocolate notes as well and a lot of oak from the 20 year Pappy barrels. Very inviting.

Taste is smooth bourbon all the way. Even has a nice bite at the finish that is strongly reminiscent of the 20 year PVW we had at the bottle release party. Lots of toasted oak barrel, vanilla and some dark fruit.

I wish the beer was a bit thicker. As it was it was good for the style but felt a tiny bit thin. Carbonation was good and the flavor lingered and evolved.

I think this might be my favorite vintage of Pappy's Dark. The 2010 and 2011 are both drinking well now but Nick and crew really dialed it in with this version.

Feb 20, 2013
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John_M from France

4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap during the Hop and Vine event.

The beer pours a tawny, cloudy brown color with good head retention and decent lacing. This beer has the look of a beer that has seen a bit of barrel aging in its time. The nose is intense and a bit unusual, as I pick up noticeable bourbon (of course), brown sugar, plum, light sour and vanilla. The bourbon does not overpower the rest of the aroma components in this beer, which I think is a good thing. On the palate, this beer is just a treat. The beer is fairly sweet and rich, but has enough bourbon and dark fruit to keep the sweetness from coming across as too much. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a long, rich, brown sugar and vanilla infused finish. This beer carries its 10% abv. very well, and is not at all heavy, hot or tiring on the finish. You can certainly tell it's up there, and I'm not sure I'd ever want more than a single glass at a sitting, but this is definitely a very nice beer that I wouldn't hesitate to order again.

Feb 18, 2013
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dirtylou from New York

3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, split, hill farmstead glass

PAPPY BARRELS. A difficult beer to categorize or describe - pretty big bodied, caramel and toffee are the dominant flavors - bourbon is percolating, but not particularly refined. Brown sugar and molasses contribute additional weight and sweetness. I'm not sure about this one - some nice things going on, but kind of a mish-mash and the barrel aging really was pretty sloppy in my opinion.

Jan 06, 2013
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claspada from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 edition.

Pours a semi hazy medium brown colors with a small eggshell head that recedes to leave some decent lacing.

Aromas begin with some brown sugar, caramelized sugars, light maple and candy with some emerging bourbon more and more as it warms. There is also some light oak and toasted bread which emerges as well.

The tastes follow those nose with some toasted biscuity bread, caramelized sugars and light cocoa maltiness. The bourbon and oak complements the flavors and does not assert itself too much or overpower the base beer but works in harmony. Some vanilla and maple also emerges as it warms more and more.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with medium to light carbonation. Finish is decently sweet but no where near cloying thanks to what I assume is some Belgian yeast which adds some necessary dryness.

Overall this is a fantastic beer and probably the darkhorse highlight of our last group bottle share. It is a beast flavor-wise yet extremely balanced and drinkable compared to other offerings in this ABV level and style. Definitely worth seeking out if you ask me.

Jan 06, 2013
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cbrunpc from Oregon

4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage opened on 1/13/13 morning. Happy new years!

A: a little cloudy, carmel to amber in color.

S: Very malty, can smell the bourbon.

T: Malty, bourbon, carmel.

M: Medium body, I think the aging has reduced some I the carbonation.

O: Super drinkable, but packs a punch!

Here's to 2013!

Jan 01, 2013
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage shared by Mike (AgentZero). Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - Tan foam settles to wisps, a collar, and specks of lace. Opaque brown-orange body. Pretty solid considering the higher ABV.

S - Malt-heavy, with cherry brandy, dark fruits, marmalade, bourbon, and oak as well. Even with all those sweet flavors it manages to avoid being cloying - the oak and whiskey bite help in that regard.

T - A nice mix of fruity, toffee, and caramel malts yield to oak, vanilla, and bourbon in the finish. Notes of plums, black cherry, and raisins with some estery yeast as well - base felt a bit more like a Belgian Strong than an American one. Alcohol is very well hidden, and this went down fairly smooth for 10%.

M - Smooth, medium-full body. Creamy texture that evokes liquid caramel. Lower but present carbonation and well-hidden alcohol. Not sure if this would have been as tame out of the gate, but it's quite ready at this stage of the game.

D - A solid malt-forward barrel-aged beer. Nothing mind-blowing, but enjoyable all the same. You'll definitely need a few friends on deck to tackle the 750ml bottle, but it's perfectly drinkable in small doses.

Dec 30, 2012
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cosmicevan from New York

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Notes taken from early 2012 (March?) from a bottle share i hosted with the local crew.

Thanks kindly to hannont for the trade.

surprising amber color with a thin head. smells like a strong ale...almost brandy like. smooth and easy drinker. sweet bourbon and malts. good vanilla with a hint of coconut. smooth, very smooth. kind of old ale, like curmudgeon's better half, but better better half. really nice beer.

Dec 06, 2012
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Gobzilla from California

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown in color with burnt orangish brown highlights and a nice little thin head that barely left any lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots out sweetness prsence coming out of the aroma consisting of caramel, brown sugar, hints of maple syrup, toffee and some woody notes. The bourbon barrel character was not as intense as I thought it was going to be and the booze heat was well hidden.

T: caramel brown sugar sweetness with a blend of woody flavor hit the palate frist with just enough booze that was well balanced to me, alongside toffee molasses accents, a touch of vanilla and good bourbon character,

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a bourbon boozy, sweet, slightly woody, sugary and silky finish.

O: it was a pretty decent beer all around but was a little let down on the taste cause I thought it be more rich in flavor; oh well.

Dec 06, 2012
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Jeffo from Netherlands

3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer night with Doopie many Tuesdays ago. Cheers for good times man!

From a 750 into a snifter
Vintage: 2011

APPEARANCE: Pours a 1½ finger, looser looking, fizzy, off-white head with decent retention. Head fades to a looser foam cap. Maroon red with medium carbonation evident. A stream flying up the middle of the glass. A nice foam cap remains with touches of lacing down the glass. Decent looking, but the intial head was lack luster.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon, vanilla, caramel and toffee on the nose. LIght red fruits in there as well, but this is mostly bold barrel and candy aromas. Pretty nice really.

TASTE: Sweet with caramel and toffee, then bourbon and oak notes into the swallow. Lots of fruit at the swallow, dark fruits mostly, with raisins, dates and grapes, and then more barrel, oak and spicy yeast linger nicely. Not boozy at all, but plenty of barrel flavors with caramel and fruity sweetness. Good stuff.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Very creamy-smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. A touch of heat lingers.

OVERALL: Good stuff for sure. Really enjoyable and complex. Lots of barrel flavors with plenty of sweet malt notes to compete. Good beers Doopie. Cheers man!

Dec 02, 2012
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to kscaldef for sending me my first two bottles of Block 15, maybe the brewery I most wanted to try. This brew was on my let's get to it. C&C 750 ML bottle split with my wife from the 2011 bottling.

Nice label & good to see the eco-consciousness of another brewery. Pour looks like liquid caramel with redhead highlights. Smell unfolds as it warms. Great barrel notes, & enough hard malting to rival an old ale with that distinctive sweet caramel & booze. Very nice.

Pappy's Dark punches like a beer twice its ABV & makes my breath a fire hazard. Not only smells like an old ale, tastes like one too: big caramel & a brick wall of booziness warm enough to make me kick off my slippers & abandon my sweatshirt. Lovely goose of vanilla & gentle bourbon hit the bare midriff (bare because my temp is still going up). End-up is woozy boozy with a touch of toffee, slight breadiness coming in & oak causing a drought in my mouth. Could use a touch of carbonation, but hey, hairs, split, etc.

This is a low-fi bruiser that mimcs antifreeze (now I'm free of my pants, yippee!). If straight-up alcohol & complexity is your thing, you'll like this. Me? Love the complexities, very good beer.

Nov 22, 2012
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Arbitrator from California

3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of ramnuts. Thanks, Frank! I opened this without reading the label or beer description.

A: The cork was ridiculously hard to get out. The beer pours a murky (pond-water like) chestnut color with a thin head that consists of large tan bubbles. Retention is poor.

S: The aroma is not very strong; requiring some agitation to bring it out. It suggests some Belgian influence here; it carries notes of figs and raisins. Caramel, rye bread -- a bit of toffee behind mild bourbon and oak.

T: Woody, with toffee, caramel, and dark fruit (perhaps raisin and grape, or fig) leading the charge. I pick up mild spice that suggests a holiday character -- clove and nutmeg come to mind. The bourbon is present but not overwhelming, and it delivers a small vanilla accent in the finish. Brown sugar in the aftertaste. The beer manages to avoid being cloying by virtue of being [relatively] dry, the astringency of the oak, and a mild hoppiness. It is, however, a desert sipper.

M: Medium-bodied with low carbonation. The finish is clean and falls off the palate quickly, leaving some slickness behind.

O: I found this tasty enough, but it has a weak nose, and the flavors are too muddled to swim with the big boys in the style (assuming this is an English barleywine). It's good, but it needs some polish to shine. As always, I'm impressed by Block 15 and think they have potential.

Jun 23, 2012
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sweemzander from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks again to Jason for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a rather dark burnt sienna brown color. Some tan froth and lace.

(S)- A nice rich, almost spicy brown sugar and raisin profile. Subtle bits of vanilla, oak, and bourbon too.

(T)- A nice subtlety to it overall. Has an old ale-like malt profile with caramel and toffee with bits of vanilla, raisin, and nice barrel characters like a stout.

(M)- A nice smooth carbonation level and balance. Obviously barrel aged, but it is integrated very well and nothing becoming overbearing or boozy; very well balanced.

(D)- Quite the nice take on the style. Expertly balanced and well integrated. Well done.

May 19, 2012
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4DAloveofSTOUT from Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for this beer! Thanks Hollis!

reviewed from notes taken on 4/25/12.

750ml cork and cage format bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance: medium brown bodied beer with 2 fingers high of light tan colored frothy head. Some fizziness in the head that quickly drops to ring around glass.

Smell: Really mild nose. You gotta really put your nose into this beer to get anything out of it. Caramel and toffee; oak, brandy, and dark fruits prominently figs.

Taste: Toasted coconut and smooth bourbon. Oak, caramel, toffee, and vanilla notes. Figs and brown sugar. Nothing really stands out the flavors all just meld together. Mild astringency and a dry quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low carbonation. Smooth beer with a warming alcohol. Slickness to this beer, but it seem a bit thin.

Overall: This brew reminds me of Figgy Pudding from Block 15. I wish it had a bit more flavor.

Apr 29, 2012
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spicelab from Australia

3.49/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle [email protected] 15 and brought back to Oz. Shared with mulder1010 and MrKennedy.

Treacle hue with a noisy, yellowy one finger head that falls without lacing to a minimal ring.

Mild leathery oak, dark fruits, muscatels, vanilla, coconut and candy cane.

Plethora of dark fruits, vanilla and heavy, bourbony, booze.

Carbonation feels way too jazzy and active for a big beer like this. Would be more suited to a hop-driven Pale Ale. A smoother, creamier body would also help to offset the hot booze. Finish is slightly tart.

There's lot of potential here, and plenty that I liked, but it's a bit hot to handle at the moment. Have another bottle that I will sit on at least 18 months and then revisit this review.

Apr 04, 2012
Pappy's Dark from Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 124 ratings