For Christmas I got two specialty bottles of Rogue beer, each 1 pint 10 ounces in resealable ceramic bottles (like Grolsch). I opened one of them up today: Morimoto Imperial Pilsner. The review summary: I liked it!
First, an oddity: there was no carbonation to the beer to speak of; only the slightest hiss when I popped the cap and no head formed when I poured it. Very odd; reading the reviews on BeerAdvocate, they all mention a nicely carbonated beer. Oh well, you get an odd bottle from time to time; it didn’t detract from the beer for me.
Aside from the lack of carbonation, the beer poured a nice, slightly hazy straw-orange color. Darker than a traditional pilsner, it reminded me of a pale ale, though the aroma was the subdued, hoppy-ish "pilsner smell" I associate with the style.
Taste first impressions: hoppy alcohol bite, like a light barleywine. I like barleywines!
It’s dry, though "barleywine sweet"—that is, you can taste the malt. And the hops. BeerAdvocate reviews describe a fruity taste, but I’m not getting that at all. This might sound strange, but the phrase "hop syrup" comes to mind—I suppose because without carbonation, I get a syrupy sense from the beer.
It’s good, though—I quite like it. I would defintely drink this again, though with 8.8% alcohol by volume (they do put the "Imperial" in it!), it’s not a beer you would drink an abundance of.
The BeerAdvocate score is 89 (out of 100), with 98% approval. Quite so.
And, a little bit of triva: I first tried this beer at the 1999 Oregon Brewers Festival; this was (I believe) the first year Rogue had brewed it, special for the Festival. My (poor) recollection of it then was a lighter, more pilsner-like strong beer. Unusual at the time, but very good. Good enough, anyway, that they brewed it commerically starting in 2003.