The smell is sweet. Caramel is the first word that comes to mind. The hops are not too big in that first impression.
The first taste is bitter. The liquid coats your mouth and leaves a hoppy taste lingering.
After a few more minutes, my tongue gets past the bitterness and starts experiencing other flavors like toasted coffee, very light chocolate hints - maybe toffee??? Hmmm....
There is light carbonation streaming across your tongue in every sip, but the highlight of this beer is still the aroma. I could use some of this as an air-freshener in my car. Mmmm... Delicious.
This is a solid offering from Rogue (Rogue Ales Brewery - Newport, Oregon). There is a lot going on in this beer. The aroma is a little misleading. At 69 IBUs you expect more bitterness. You don't smell it right away, but it is definitely there when you taste it - almost surprisingly so.
This beer would be great on a cold day with thick heavy food - like pot roast - mmm.... pot roast - maybe after a long day of skiing. There is so much flavor that I think it could get a little fatiguing after a while, but at 6% ABV you don't need a lot of it before you would get yourself in trouble.
Would I venture into the darkness again. I would - and so should you.
BBA Rating: 8