In a blind tasting by BJCP trained experts, this beer rated


River North Brewery Mr. Sandman

Aroma: “Coffee and chocolate, with vanilla, caramel, and light roast. Some moderate sweetness, with light apple and pear, and a touch of smoky phenolic and metallic notes. Prune and plum are present, along with some oak.”

Flavor: “Spiciness up front, with licorice, mixed with moderate roast. It’s very fruit-forward, with prune and raisin, and had an underlying sweetness. Some chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and roasty notes like burned coffee, and some hops bitterness. Lots of oak and oak tannins. There’s a smoked-wood note, kind of like roasted or smoked meat—it’s fatty, and not a dry smoke.”

Overall: “There were some nice dark fruit notes in this beer, and with the black licorice, coffee, and chocolate, it was fun and interesting. The chocolate notes were sweet and bitter, and the roast was welcome and helped bring out the other flavors of the coffee, chocolate, and biscuits. The smoked wood note could be from an over-charred barrel, but it’s a fatty smoke—I would pair this with some fatty food. This would be easy to drink while enjoying a good book. It’s very contemplative.”