The beer sits dark and nearly opaque in the glass, with a tan head that has almost a whipped-marshmallow appearance for thickness. The dense bubbles sit a finger thick and dissipate slowly, leaving a constant coating of foam on the beer. If held up to the light, you can just see a trace of brown around the edges.
The scent of maple syrup comes through prominently in the nose, combined with caramel, a touch of alcohol, and some light floral touches. Overall it's a dense and strong smell that overpowers other aromas.
The first sip highlights the woody and sweet flavor of the syrup, with a mild bitterness following up in the back. Some toasted/roast and a very light chocolate flavor make an appearance in the back and aftertaste as well. I feel like there are some dark fruit flavors like plum in there as well, but they are more muted. This beer has an earthy, wooden, and organic taste to it. There is some alcohol flavor just around the edges of the tongue, but they are well hidden for sure.
There's some definite substance to the beer as well, with a medium-thick body, and a moderate-high level of carbonation. It's got a creamy feel to it as well, so the carbonation seems more pleasant to me. I noted just a bit of warmth going down as well.
Overall, I'm still very impressed with this offering from Dogfish and Sierra Nevada. It's extremely flavorful, and the alcohol is well hidden for 10.2 %. Although the sweetness and syrup flavors are able to come through, even prominently, the beer is still fairly well balanced and not at all cloying. Although I'm sure it will not appear on this year's "Best of" list (there's too many epic quality beers this year), it's still a well done beer and easily worth having.