I poked my head into Roots last night, where they were having a special on five--count 'em five--huge winter beers: Festivus, Imperial Stout, Epic Ale, a tripel, and a Wee Heavy. I decided to skip the entire flight (I needed to work today), but did check in on this year's Epic as well as the Imperial Stout. Quickie reax:
To really reach its potential, this beer should probably never be served greener than a year old--which for a brewery is financially unviable. (You can, of course, by an $85 jeraboam, but at 3.3 liters, it presents its own problems.) Anyway, here are my notes: looks like viscous Coca Cola in its little serving goblet. Lacks much aroma--just a thick, barleywine malt faintness. It is rich with dark fruit and candied orange flavor, followed up by a sharp hop bitterness that keeps the beer from cloying. In a year, probably amazing; from the tap, an interesting, very intense ride.
Imperial Stout (nitro)
Exquisite. Ultra creamy and misleadingly delicate. A friend described it as an Irish type stout, and I thought he was just being dim. But it's true--the density and alcohol are lost in a froth of chocolatey creaminess. It does finish dry, and is more akin to a dry Irish than sweet stout, but bears no resemblance to an imperial. Never mind, it's amazing.
(Incidentally, I also had two mouthfuls of Festivus, which struck me as being a little out of balance and underwhelming. This isn't a reliable review, but you might try the tripel or Scottish first. After the stout, natch.)