Pretty sure it was an episode of Beer Geeks TV I saw that highlighted the Herkimer's 23% triple bock known as Toripuru. Created by brewer Mike Willaford with sake yeast, it was hard to resist a giant beer with such a unique brewing history.
Poured in its own snifter up to the name for the 5 oz pour. I read that Toripuru intended to be a yearly release, so the investment in special glasses makes sense in the long term and makes for an interesting drinking experience.
Color of the beer is unusual--canned beet juice on the edge, dark maroon in the center. Hazy, murky with no head except for a few random bubbles around the edge. Swirling the glass, legs on the side are apparent from the high alcohol. In the nose, the alcohol hotness grows quickly as it warms, and floats above peppery and earthy spiciness, overripe cherry and cocoa powder. Fruit and alcohol continue on the tongue with light chocolate and a heavy sweetness that doesn't overwhelm. Incredibly smooth and easy to drink through the almost bitter finish.
Very fun and unusual beer, and it seems that the sake yeast gives it a completely different feel. Compared to other high alcohol brews I've had, it is missing the fusel hotness of a Rosie's Ale from Barley John's, the whiskey-like characteristics of a Sam Adams Utopias or the woodiness of a high alcohol barrel aged beer. Good enough that I ordered a second glass, but I'm not sure I'm a dedicated fan yet. Overall taste seemed a bit muddled and lacked clarity. Plus, it didn't do well on the final test--the beer should improve all the way through the warming cycle, especially since it's clearly made to sip. In this case, this beer did better early before it sat waiting for me to finish my veggie mac dinner at the bar. I felt it was worth the effort midweek to drive to uptown for a taste and applaud the effort by Herkimer to push the limits of beer, so I'll probably give a try again next year to see how it changes on the next try.