I am presented with a very dark amber yet crystal clear beer with a low off-white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is very rich and complex. It leads with a toasty malt backbone with layers of dark, dried fruit, clean ethanol perfume and toasted bread crusts underneath. It even has a slight spiciness that comes across as hoppy and alcoholic -- but not woody. From the aroma, I am expecting to taste a strong beer; and I do. The complex malt flavors once again lead with fruity malt (grape and dried fruit) with the alcohol jumping in and supporting nicely. The malt is not quite as complex as the aroma implied, but it is still a multi-faceted flavor profile. While very malty, there is a touch of bitterness in the finish and the alcohol does a fine job keeping it malty yet dry. The beer is strong and warming yet easy on the palate. I cannot say I specifically taste rum or a barrel character, which is actually preferable to having too much barrel or too much naked distilled spirit. The extra alcohol complements the malt flavors without overpowering them. This beer is a great twist on a classic German style; perfect for sitting by the fire, contemplating the next day’s activities.