Still have not bottled this beer and unfortunately it seems to have oxidized. Taste has some nice rum/molasses character of the candi syrup and a bit of fruitiness but these are muted by the flat, oxidized flavor. I had planned to bottle long before now but a number of issues have made me reschedule and this one now seems doomed. Perhaps this will go down as a lesson that the high number of beers I brewed in the early months of this year were beyond my capacity to manage and I need to stick to one or two beers over a similar time span, not 4 brew days with multiple variations leading to 7 beers.
Bottled with 2 oz table sugar. Still seems a bit oxidized and less strong than expected but has some nice dark fruit flavors as well.
Appearance- very deep, opaque brown, just a shade above black. Huge, fluffy, light tan head that's well supported by a huge carbonation rising thought the beer.
Smell- dark malt, caramel, toffee and dark pit fruit aromas are somewhat muted by a stale character I take to be oxidation. Some definite alcohol in the mix as it warms.
Taste- dark fruit, molasses, rum, raisin, clove and warming, slightly hot, alcohol. As it warms there is a bit of that sherry-like oxidized note but the stale, cardboard flavor doesn't dominate as strongly as I have noticed in the past. There is some moderate bitterness in the finish that knocks away the sweetness and leaves a lingering alcohol and fruit sensation.
Mouthfeel- hugely carbonated but moderately light in body, this is pretty spot on for a belgian style giving a creamy, smooth drinking, effect.
Overall- this feels like a beer that could have been very good, lots of fruity, spicy, sugary flavors from malt and yeast and a great body and carbonation level. Unfortunately the early oxidation of this beer keeps it from being a terrific example. Yet another data point in my quest for a great homebrewed Belgian Quad, but maybe the most informative data point thus far.
Update: hugely carbonated was right, opened the laundry room to find shards of glass and dark sticky beer everywhere. At least two (edit, it was 6!) of these have exploded so far. The culprit is likely adding too much sugar as they don't give an off smell (they actually smell great) and were certainly given plenty of time to finish initial fermentation. Still I only used 2 oz in nearly 4 gallons of beer, which should have given a volume well under 2.5, which the bottles should be able to hold. Time to figure out how to trash the rest; not worth having a bad and dangerous beer sitting around.