Category Archives: Porter

Omnipollo/Buxton Original Texas Pecan Pie Porter

Rating:

22195508_755398857977595_520070486629531753_n“Part of the Buxton/Omnipollo ice cream beer series, Texas Pecan is a pecan caramel porter brewed with vanilla and lactose.”

Served in a snifter. It hits the glass with a pitch black body and forms a short brown cap on top. The head fades to a ring with reasonable lace work as we indulge.
The aroma is absolutely divine! Like liquefied chocolate and pecan pie in a glass. It’s got sweet and nutty overtones for days with that feature pecan centre stage. There’s endless back up from bittersweet dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee to marshmallow, milk sugars and caramel. The booze is there but it’s ultimately well disguised. Brilliant.
And it all rolls right in to the flavour profile too! Mouth-watering waves of pecan pie, vanilla, caramel, nutty malts, lactose and cocoa flow majestically from the front and through the mid palate. It hits a super sweet syrupy note as the warming booze is injected. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee and mild roast then finishes it all off in style.
The mouth feel is dense but surprisingly silky considering the 10% ABV. Medium-full in body. Really warming and well rounded, lovely stuff.
This is our 2nd crack at Omnipollo and Buxtons ice cream series and it has just set the bar very high! The pale ale, although decent, was a tad underwhelming and has nothing on this delicious and slightly hedonistic porter. Seriously impressive drop here folks.

Newstead Brewing Co ’21 Feet 7 Inches’ Porter

Rating:

21270845_743875405796607_3851977415781873708_n“Murky, silty and black as your hat. Chocolate and coffee flood the palate. Toasted malts are the heroes, with noble hop aroma and spice filling in around the edges. Oozing with creme this smooth Porter is perfect for quaffs on the river. Or in it.”

Served in a snifter. Pouring a relatively impenetrable black colour with a short tan head over the top. Seeing some spotty and slightly wet lacing as it ebbs.
The aroma offers some pretty decent depth. We’re picking up lighter scents of milk chocolate, cocoa powder, cherry, toasty malt and mild coffee but it gets its real depth with subtle notes of peat, licorice and molasses. Quite the surprise package actually, with low ABV (5.2%) and no feature additions it presents as a pretty solid traditional porter.
The flavour profile follows the nose with light toasty malts and milk chocolate that moves in to a delicate coffee note backed up by a soft hop bitterness in the middle. The finish is nice and roasty with a touch of dryness in the tail.
The mouth feel is well balanced between the smooth silky malts and the dry bitter hops. Just the right amount of carbonation to give it that lift. Medium body. Quite the sessional porter we have in front of us.
Very much in the conventional style. Very well balanced and sessional which isn’t easy to achieve with dark beers. Good thing we picked up a six pack then! Firm offering from Newstead here.

Anderson Valley Brewing Co Salted Caramel BBA Porter

Rating:

20768201_735329456651202_8487172828871458150_n“This slightly sweet porter is brewed with select additions of crystal malts and sea salt to create flavors of peanut brittle and caramel without being cloying. The medium body and mouthfeel lay the perfect foundation to support the rich vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors imparted by extended aging in Wild Turkey® barrels.”

Served in a snifter. Hitting the glass with a deep brown hue and topped off with a wispy overlay that reduced to a halo. Laces well, posting a set of rings down the walls of the glass.
Not quite the big, sweet and bourbony aroma we were predicting, not even seeing a great deal of conventional porter characteristics either. As it settles in the glass the delicate caramel begins to creep through with the dominant woody oak and slightly tart and or salty umami accents most discernible. It’s safe to say that the aroma is a massive let down.
We can’t work out where they’re going with this flavour profile. We can certainly taste the oak and the hints of bitter chocolate but the whole ‘salted caramel’ feature is grossly exaggerated. Same goes for the bourbon flavour – very subtle with hardly any impact. What we keep tasting is mild chocolate and a slight salinity that moves in to a light roasty finish with a trace of bourbon sweetness in the tail. Pretty decent length we’ll give them that.
Nice and full-ish in the mouth with a kind of salty/mineraly texture. Well concealed 6% ABV with medium co2.
Extremely disappointed here. This porter looked a million bucks on the shelf but has only produced a tenth of that. We hate to say it but it’s weak, misleading and unconvincing. What a shame!

Murray’s ‘Frankie’ Best Extra Porter

Rating:

20638168_732747673576047_594292114244897072_n“Murray’s ‘Frankie’ Best Extra Porter was created in our Bobs Farm ‘laboratory’ through chemistry and alchemy! This beast-size bottle contains the richly dark brown spectre of roasted chocolate and full bodied maltiness from British Maris Otter base malt. An extra helping of East Kent Goldings hops perfectly sutures the balance of this monstrously good winter warmer.”

Served in an English pint. Deep brown in colour with a short beige cap that reduces to a halo. A decent lace is managed despite the lack of head.
It smells like a traditional English Porter and the ingredients definitely back up that assumption. There’s plenty of roast about it but the nutty and kinda earthy notes really bring the central character. Mild coffee and chocolate notes are detectable along with undertones of spicy aniseed and vanilla bean. Traditional with a twist..maybe.
The flavour packs quite a punch. The alcohol (7% ABV) is the first subtraction from our initial thoughts of a traditional porter. Although in saying that there’s plenty of earthy hop and malt flavour, nutty and bready overtones and a suggestion of toast and mild coffee that develops nicely. A healthy display of bitterness rounds it out and adds length on the back palate.
The texture was somewhat light and effortless with medium body. Slightly raised bitterness with active co2.
We’d admit we’re a little conflicted here. We feel that at its core it wants to be a traditional porter but the boosted ABV and what seems like slightly heavy-handed hopping appears to clash a little. Can’t take points away from it because it still is a well tasty porter but it’s neither here nor there for us.

Mountain goat ‘Silence of the rees’ coconut porter

Rating:

imageThis is an In Breed beer, whereby we let a single brewer create something uniquely their own. This is Alana Rees turn. Five malts plus flaked barley give it a smooth, complex mouthfeel. Then the coconut, vanilla and cacao round things out. Perfect winter drinking.

Poured into a snifter, we see a mat black body with a 10-15mm tan coloured, tightly packed head that retains gloriously. Decent carbonation seen bubbling up to the undersurface of the head that makes it look lik it’s growing around the rim of the glass. Initial aromas of roasted malt, bitter chocolate, nuttiness, caramels, and some mild vanilla pod and booze. First sip is heavier than the aroma. Big roasted/charred malts, sweet caramels, vanilla spice, more nuttiness from the coconut with mild to moderate only bitterness. Body is moderate with luscious, almost creamy mouthfeel which has nice length on the palate. Carbonation doesn’t overpower and there is a little tingle on the tongue with each sip. 6.3% Alc vol here and that seems apt for a porter. We don’t get too much booze burn. There is a touch of heat though. We are enjoying the balance of flavours mid way through this brew. The sweetness of the malts blends nicely with the bitterness from the hops and cacao. The spice of the vanilla tingles the tonsils and the nuttiness of the coconut adds a fullness in the mouth. It’s almost buttery. Virtually no lacing on the glass here as we near the finish line. This is a tasty porter. It’s ticks all box’s. Toasty, nutty, spicy, with a nice balance of sweet and bitterness. Good effort.

Bacchus Brewing Co ‘Balt Action’ Baltic Porter – Oak Editon

Rating:

image“A high alcohol sweet version of a robust porter whose style originated in the Baltic states. Fermented as a dark lager with a rich malt profile and a soft roast. This batch was fermented on French oak for added complexity.”

Served in a beer tulip. Impenetrable black appearance that’s topped off by a two finger head. It gradually reduced and settles to a fine overlay with random patches of lace clinging to the glass.
She’s certainly displaying a bit of funk on the nose. It’s quite interesting because on one hand we have this slightly tart slightly funky apple pie aroma and on the other we have an oak-influenced cherry ripe chocolate scent. Subtle hints of dark malt and chocolate are here but you’ve really got to get deep in that glass to uncover them.
The texture is light for a porter with that Bacchus trademark Co2. The 9.8% ABV is ridiculously well hidden with the body weighing in around the medium-full mark.
The flavour is quite complex. Definitely getting that subtle vanilla accent from the French oak. On top of that is this sweet and somewhat sugary note, kind of like prunes and or dates. That sweet texture leads on to an earthy and somewhat figgy finish with boozy and raisin notes carrying through to the back palate.
Tough one to review, a lot of nuanced flavour that can easily be interpreted differently. Not a great deal of actual Baltic porter-like aroma and flavour but we definitely have to give points for complexity and drink ability. Ultimately we aren’t that crash hot on it. Plenty of other better beers in his stellar range.

Deschutes Brewing ‘Black Butte XXVIII’ Birthday Reserve

Rating:

imageCocoa, vanilla, pleated malt, sweet orange peel..50% barrel aged in Bourbon and Scotch. The result is our 28th anniversary imperial porter.

Poured into a pint glass we see mat black with a 10mm tan head which retains well. There is minimal carbonation seen. Quite oily on the pour. No lacing seen here either due to the oily nature. Aroma is heaven. Rich barrel aged scotch/bourbon dominates with an interjection of chocolate sweetness, jaffa, smattering of vanilla essence, smoke from the peated malt, and minimal to moderate alcohol which is a lovely sign. First sip is everything we hoped for. So smooth on the palate. More whiskey bourbon, sweet chocolate that’s velvety, mild to mod orange at best, smoky peat malt. There is retrained bitterness here but we expected that given its a porter. Fullish body here and great length. There is a comforting booze warmth and we are impressed by the smoothness given its a toxic 11.6% Alc vol. There is a gentle booze tingle on the tongue. Did we say how balanced the flavours are? The oilyness of the body just glides down the gullet and the peat malt blends effortlessly with the barrel aging of scotch and bourbon. No lacing at all to be seen other than little blobs here and there. As this brew warms there is just a divine balance of smoke/peat, sweetness from chocolate, spice from vanilla which adds to the chocolate, and tart bitterness that hits with a good swig around the mouth. This porter is unbelievably good. We could drink it all night but we would be horrendously smashed. The alcohol is so contained..we love impressive brewing. All the flavours are there. Overall this is top shelf. We can’t fault it. Buy immediately.

 

 

Amager/Cigar City ‘Game Of Arms’ Imperial Licorice Porter

Rating:

18193966_683800108470804_8665873536026358749_n“This beer was originally brewed and released by Cigar City under the name “Top Roll”, apparently the name of a secret arm wrestling technique all employees at Cigar City must now learn to keep their job. All in the faint hope that maybe, just maybe one day one of them will beat an Amager boy. At Amager we shrug, and smile politely and wish them nothing but the best of luck.”

Served in a beer tulip. Jet black appearance with a short but very well retained cappuccino head. A fine overlay is established which leaves a spotty lace as it ebbs.
Smells like a stout, just a smidge lighter on the rich malts and overall density. All of those decadent roasty notes erupt out of the glass – coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, charred wood and beef jerky. The licorice component does come through albeit not as much as anticipated. Maybe just the slightest hint of peat and tobacco in here too. Oh man, sensational.
The mouth feel is interesting. Thick, dense and creamy but it’s kind of gassy…almost like it was poured with nitro. Excellent suppression of the 8.2% ABV. Just an inkling of hop bitterness forming late as well. Magnificent.
Dark fruits, coffee, cocoa and a slight suggestion of blueberries on the fore. The American influence starts to show through with a kind of leafy/grassy hop note through the mid. Again, just the mildest hint of licorice as it delivers a fairly dry and roasty finish with good length.
We’ve always been big fans of Amager but we wish we could see more of Cigar City down under. We knew when we saw these two world class breweries together for a collaboration the result would be incredible. And it was, so well structured and just down right delicious.

Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. Anniversary Ale 11

Rating:

17362441_663797757137706_3672993970232496696_n“This year’s Anniversary Ale #11, is a bit of a departure from the ones brewed in the past. Most of Murray’s previous Anniversary Ales have been firmly in the domain of English Barley Wines and Strong Ales. But this year we have produced a strong Anglo-Belgio Porter style beer that has been aged in Tasmanian whisky barrels.”

Served in a snifter glass. It pours an impenetrable black appearance with a thin wispy overlay. It quickly collapsed to a ring with scarce lace left on the glass.
For Murray’s 11th birthday the brewers have taken a different path and brewed an English inspired porter with additions of chocolate and Belgian candi sugars that has been barrel aged in Tasmanian whisky barrels. We know right, sounds way too good to leave on the shelf. That Belgian candi sweetness really pops as the rich, toasty notes are tucked right in behind. Really loving how the spicy and musky Belgian sweetness keeps evolving along with the plummy and subtle oaky characters. The sheer complexity on the nose is remarkable.
In the mouth it’s well weighted with good uplift from the Co2. The 10% ABV is evident but it’s dispersed well around the mouth, really costing the whole palate. A little oily in texture with a mild suggestion of tart acidity around the edges.
The Belgian flavours really lead from the front. We get the hallmark spice, fruity esters and musk followed by the rich toasty malts, oak, raisins and chocolate through the middle. It finishes with a drawn out candi sweetness that provides traces of oak, warming booze, licorice and a musty dryness that really sinks in to the rear palate.
This beer is super complex and we can only imagine what flavours will be uncovered when our 2nd bottle has a few more years on it. Until then…

Kereru Brewing ‘For Even Greater Justice’ Imperial Coconut Porter

Rating:

17191198_656127997904682_1882639898195718245_n“For Even Greater Justice, Imperial Porter (8.5%ABV) is the big brother of our popular 4.5% For Great Justice, Toasted Coconut Porter. Intense & chewy with bold notes of wood-fired toasted coconut, bitter chocolate, & mellow maltines.”

Served in a snifter glass. Black appearance with some very faint deep mahogany edges. It constructs a thumb of fizzy brown foam that reduced to a collar. It posts a nice set of rings as we indulge.
The nose is erupting with beautiful and rich aromas that include roasted coconut flakes, vanilla, cocoa, chocolate, subtle coffee and just the slightest hint of oak. It’s interesting though because it doesn’t say it’s barrel aged. Either way it smells like a liquefied bounty bar in our glass. There’s also an uncanny resemblance to Bacchus’s Lamingtonne (imperial lamington beer).
In the mouth it’s surprisingly smooth and accommodating. The 8.5% ABV is hidden and drinks well under its weight. Mild Co2, medium body.
The flavour profile boasts a delicious and somewhat creamy coconut with vanilla, chocolate and a hint of roasted malt at the forefront. As it warms the very subtle alcohol becomes more discernible, accentuating the mildly bitter chocolate notes in the process. Toasty coconut flakes, chocolate, cocoa and traces of coffee return for the well drawn out finish.
Tell you what it’s invigorating to come back to an excellent beer after that disaster of an imperial pilsner. As we mentioned previously it’s very similar to Bacchus’s lamingtonne so if you’ve had that and loved it (as we did) then you’re surely going to love this. Solid offering.

 

Bacchus Brewing Co ‘Wake up Buttercup’ Specialty Porter

Rating:

16508104_641146812736134_675538717258221625_n“We have taken a traditional English Porter and added peanuts, chocolate and the finest cold steeped coffee beans. Think of Reese’s buttercup with a little coffee kick. We think the combination is divine.”

Served in an English pint. We’re met with the standard Bacchus pour: Fast reducing head that vanished instantly revealing the jet black liquid beneath. No lace to speak of.
The aroma is sweet, very nutty, slightly toasty and a bit earthy. It just wouldn’t be Bacchus if it didn’t have some sort of association with either a moreish dessert or a sweet chocolate bar would it?! In this particular case they’ve honed in on an all time American favourite – the Reese’s Peanut Butter Bar. They’ve done it well but for us it seems like an all too familiar mix between the Snickers ale, the peanut brittle Gose and the Ferrari rocher.
The texture is fizzy, highly carbonated and a bit too bubbly for a Porter. Very gassy. Moderate in body.
The flavour seems to lack some of the intensity that the aroma has. Traces of chocolate and nutty sweetness comes on but it’s hindered by the overzealous Co2. Hints of roasted peanuts, cherries, a suggestion of vanilla and toasty malt punctuate with a slightly dry note on the rear.
Hhhhmmmm. Not their best. We say that in full knowledge of what these guys are capable of. The aroma hits its mark but it goes a little astray in texture and flavour. Personally we don’t like our dark beer highly carbonated, for us a Porter is best when low in Co2 and high in body and viscosity. Of course, this is our opinion only. They’ve done better.

Ballast Point Brewing Co. ‘Mocha Marlin’ Porter

Rating:

16143200_634691170048365_3052111019516474958_n“Coffee and chocolate come together in this brew. Our Black Marlin Porter is the perfect beer for a mocha mashup. The addition of coffee and cocoa plays perfectly off the roasty, chocolaty flavors of this English porter, while a hint of vanilla smooths it all out. It’s full-bodied, but not too sweet; try it for breakfast…or dessert.”

Served in a beer tulip. This big fish pours an impenetrable black complexion that takes a full two fingers in head. It steadily retracts and deposits a thick and soapy lace as it ebbs.
The nose is heady but well balanced with good uplift from the mocha component. The cocoa and coffee is nice and direct with the roasted, nutty and subtle creamy accents pushing up in support. Undertones of marshmallow, meringue and rocky road add a subtle but gorgeous layer of moreish sweetness to the aroma.
The mouth feel is passive and surprisingly accommodating for what presents as such a brawny beer. A nice, silky texture meets a mild-moderate body with a somewhat energised Co2. Not bad.
The mocha flavours come on nicely upfront. They’re we’ll backed up too – nutty, roasted and slightly earthy malts are bolstered as it flows through the mid. Flashes of that creamy vanilla lead in to a silky and effortless finish which offers decent length in the tail.
It’s extremely difficult to expect anything sub par from Ballast Point, these guys continually roll out excellent beers and this is just another example. It just further confirms their position as one of America’s best craft brewers.

Oskar Blues Brewery ‘Hotbox’ Coffee Porter

Rating:

15232254_608531702664312_900817411381649220_n“This porter (6.4% ABV, 30 IBUs) is based on malt flavors of roasted nuts, crème brulee, cocoa, and caramel, extracted from English and German roasted and caramel malts. Hotbox Roasters then crashes the party and infuses potent, cold-extracted coffee from Burundi and Ethiopian beans and deals out flavors and aromas of dark plums, chocolate, and hints of blueberry.”

Served in a snifter glass. This offering provides a jet black complexion with a tightly held finger of brown foam taking shape on top. The head maintains quite well as it settles to a film with some patchy lace being shed as we imbibe.
The nose is absolutely superb. A brilliant balance between heavy roasted notes along with bitter espresso is countered by wafts of lactose, vanilla and milk chocolate. Hints of cocoa, mocha, licorice, toffee and a very subtle smoky character are all in support. A fine aroma – tough not to like what’s on offer here.
In the mouth it’s perfectly weighted with medium body, moderate Co2 and a smooth, velvety texture. The 6.5% ABV doesn’t show up one bit. Very pleasant for a dark beer.
There’s a nice follow on from the nose here. The front palate is treated to a well balanced marriage of bitter espresso along with sweet vanilla and a somewhat sugary/crystallised lactose. The silky smooth chocolate and nutty malts continue through the mid and round out on to a mild coffee finish with hints of chocolate and a creamy milk sweetness in the tail. Length isn’t too bad.
Oskar Blues do it again! The hook for this beer has to be its session ability along with its seriously addictive aroma and flavour. If there was one criticism it’d be that it was a little predictable in the end, it doesn’t push much further past the roasted malts, coffee and vanilla. Take nothing away from it though it was a bloody delicious Porter.

Evil Twin Brewing Co ‘Imperial Doughnut Break’ Imperial Porter

Rating:

15202489_606465116204304_5323987322559464476_n“Did the flavors of sugar and bitter sweet almonds and coffee in Imperial Biscotti Break also make you sentimental? Now we topped it off with insane amounts of doughnuts. This all time American favorite is making it’s way back into the spotlight and we at Evil Twin Brewing are not letting a tasty trend pass us by without taking it to the next level. Drink it with great gusto – Forza Doughnuts.”

Served in a beer tulip. The impenetrable black pour whips up a finger of dark brown foam that gradually retreats to a halo with some spotty but wet lacing left clinging to the glass. This behemoth ain’t about presentation…It’s about aroma and flavour and immediately the olfactory’s are all up in it with rich and super heavy notes of molasses, soy sauce, licorice, beef jerky and toffee. How these aromas translate into doughnuts we’re not sure, but who cares because once it settles in to the glass wafts of coffee and biscotti begin to open up with a nod to a different type of break….the coffee break! In the mouth it’s thick and syrupy with a chewy texture going on. The body is full and prolonged over the tongue as it meanders down the gullet. The initial flavour of this porter is complex and heavy but balanced with a thick, doughy sweetness (maybe the doughnuts coming in to play) that overlaps with molasses, coffee, nutty malts, dark chocolate and a very subtle salted caramel note. All of the flavours eventually convene on an indulgent, rich, syrupy and boozy finish that endures what seems like a life time on the back end.
Well if this is the kind of doughnut break Evil Twin are espousing then sign us up now! The sheer viscosity and depth of flavour showcased here is remarkable. At 11.5% it’s a slow quaffer and should be treated as so. Leave it out of the fridge for about 30 mins so it can come up to room temperature and reward those taste buds even more! Brilliant porter.

Hunter Beer Co ‘Slaked Magpie’ Vanilla Porter

Rating:

15219993_605002366350579_5125590346051036760_n“Based on our trophy winning porter recipe, this tasty brown ale has a little vanilla and some lactose (milk sugar) thrown into the brew. It makes for an easy drinking ale with a bit of vanilla, coffee , mocha & a touch of sweetness. Very popular! ”

Served in a beer tulip. We’re met with a deep brown centre that works to a gorgeous mahogany edge. A tanned two finger head develops but it recedes to a fine film with some scattered patches of lace left in its wake. The nose is definitely dark, toasty and nutty but it also touches on this sweet and lactosey vanilla scent that works in beautifully. We also pick up a few interesting undertones – we get an almost oak/woody note, charcoal and a hint of marzipan. Not bad at all. In the mouth it’s surprisingly lighter and more buoyant than we were expecting. The body sits around the mild-medium mark and to add even more session ability the 4.5% ABV is expectedly passive. The front palate is pretty timid with mild toasty notes, a hint of cola and subtle chocolate presenting. Not much in the way of distinct flavour through the mid as it rushes in to the slightly sweet finish that reveals soft chocolate, vanilla and nutty flavours on the rear. For us, something appears to be lacking. Whether it be the ABV, the lifted Co2 or the restrained flavour we’re not sure but it’s missing the big, rich malts and a teensy weensy bit more vanilla would have gone a long way. It’s not a bad beer by any means we just feel it needs a bit more oomph.

Bacchus Brewing Co. ‘Tamira’ Porter

Rating:

14581558_579329178917898_7839761984163411790_n“A deliciously sweet Baltic style Porter fermented with Belgian Candi syrup to lighten the body & then infused with selected coffee beans & the finest chocolate. The beer is then aged for 11 months in freshly drained rum barrels before bottling. Think Tia Maria Beer.”

Served in a beer tulip. She pours a heavy, dark brown with soft edges of mahogany. A short tan head is constructed but it recedes quite quickly as it settles to a ring with scarce lace being left in its wake. The aroma is super complex and layered. Jumping out is this red wine-like tannin that offers slightly tart notes of berries. Hints of oak, black currants, subtle vinegar and an almost medicinal character has us baffled though. As it comes up to room temperature the candy sugars, dark fruits and raw coffee does pull the tartness back a bit but it’s all a little too sharp and sour for our liking. The weight of the beer is quite good considering the vinegary characters on the nose. The body is on the fuller side of medium with low Co2 and a kind of spiky, mineraly texture going on in the mouth. The 8.2% ABV is pretty nicely buried. She actually drinks quite well. Some of the more quintessential porter qualities front up in flavour. Underneath the vinegar and tartness are hints of chocolate, coffee and earthy malts that eventually get gobbled up by this persistent, lactic, sour cherry flavour that carries in to the finish and provides this dry, fruity wine tannin on the back end. We’ll admit, we really didn’t like this much. It’s too sour and vinegary and not enough malt, chocolate and coffee to balance it out. Kind of reminds us of Brew Cults Acid Freak Porter…and that isn’t good.

Knee Deep ‘Tanilla’ Porter

Rating:

imageThere are so many exceptional IPAs from this brewery, so to see a vanilla bean porter produced is exciting because the flavour profile could be immense given this breweries reputation for ridiculous IBU ratings. It states this porter is only 30 IBU so that’s a relief. The only interesting note is the use of ‘natural flavours’..we not so sure about artificial flavouring. Let’s see if it lives up to high standards.

Poured into a shaker, we see a dark brown/mahogany with a big 20mm off white head which is foamy, full of compact bubble and retains beautifully. Initial aromas of roasted malts, chocolate, espresso, vanilla, and mild yeasty barley. First sip is big on the vanilla bean. Huge flavours. Probably close to the most dominant vanilla porter we have ever had. We get nutty malts, more milk chocolate, very mild bitterness from the hops, a little spice on the tonsils, and no booze burn. This brew sits at 6.3% Alc vol and is bang on. Body is mild to moderate, with same length on the palate. Just lingering vanilla and chocolate malt. Back palate is very smooth with aforementioned flavour. Patchy lacing down the glass here only. It’s a smooth drop as it glides down the gullet. We have to admit we like the hop profile of knee deep beers, but for a porter it’s tasty. It’s nothing flashy but it’s a nice smooth drop.

Anderson Valley Salted caramel Bourbon barrel aged Porter

Rating:

imageThere is no info on this bottle, other than what is stated above. This beer has been aged for 6 months in Wild turkey bourbon barrels.

Poured into a shaker glass, we see a dark brown/black colour the body with an amber hit in the light. 10mm light tan head slowly fades to a light lacing around the rim. No carbonation seen here. The initial aromas are interesting. No hops, maybe a light roasted hit with a liquor like nose. Almost comes off watery and subdued. First sip yields sweetness like cola, a caramel hit which is mild and tastes a tad artificial, and there is an element of woody funkiness as you swish the brew around the mouth. Is this the woody barrel aged process? It’s a combination between bittersweet malt and bourbon whiskey. Obviously the 6 months barrel ageing process has ingrained the wild turkey like ‘heat’. There is a warming effect in the mouth. Body is light to medium at best. Definite watery/soft end to the brew. It’s only 6% Alc vol but we would like a bit more body. Mild carbonation. More roasted flavours, mild hits of caramel, and long bourbon notes on the back palate. We get mild vanilla, some nuts, some smoke but basically imperceptible. We really don’t get the salted caramel flavours that are boldly labelled on the bottle. This annoys us to no end as it sold us when purchasing. The beer is smooth though. Just glides down the gullet. Overall, we unsure of this one. It’s nice enough. Just not refined enough and missing the salted caramel/praline flavour which really would have added a layer of complexity.

Ballast Point Brewing Co ‘Victory At Sea’ Imperial Porter

Rating:

14199150_564945720356244_3709755010462133719_n“Our Orange Vanilla Fathom India Pale Lager continues our quest for exploration. The piney and citrus hop aromas of our Fathom IPL combines with sweet orange and creamy vanilla – while staying true to classic lagering techniques. Brewed with a touch of nostalgia, it may remind you of a childhood treat, but this one is just for adults.”

Served in a beer tulip. Impenetrable black body with a finger of thick, foamy head on top. Retention is excellent, stubbornly holding up and casting a sheet of lace down the glass as it ebbs. The feature coffee and vanilla have been used to perfection here. Bold roasted coffee notes are reinforced by rich chocolate, toasty malts, cocoa and burnt toffee. What we absolutely love is the prudent use of vanilla. There’s enough to balance out the robust dark malts and coffee but it doesn’t overpower, just the right amount to tie it all together. Maybe a subtle hint of cinnamon in here too. Brilliant. They’ve absolutely nailed the aroma. The mouth feel provides a thick and hearty viscosity while the 60 IBU’s not only spruik the American disposition but adds another layer of complexity to this Porter. Medium-full in body. Again, brilliant. An explosion of flavour is detonated on the palate. Initially we get everything from coffee, roasted malt and chocolate to vanilla, hints of alcohol and an assertive bitterness that transitions nicely through the mid. A well rounded warmth from the 10% ABV bolsters the bitterness as roasted malts, coffee and a subtle vanilla sweetness leads in to a dry and bitter finish that goes the length on the back end. Impressive stuff here. From the pour right down to the finish this imperial porter is simply bang on. She’s rich, aromatic, full flavoured, at times aggressive and down right delicious. Kudos Ballast Point this is an outstanding drop.

Mountain Goat Brewery ‘Captain Amylase’ Rum Porter

Rating:

13715985_543866445797505_753164876174308047_n“Malt, hops, yeast and water. That’s all our brewers need to make great beer. Well, that’s what they have us think…Our latest Rare Breed is dedicated to the unsung hero of the brewing process: amylase, or Captain Amylase, as we like to call him. Amylase is an enzyme that naturally occurs in the malt, breaking down the carbohydrates into sugar, which feeds the yeast and kick starts fermentation. We gave the Captain a big job, making his namesake a big, malty Porter, and added a splash of dark rum at the end for fun! This is a classic American style Imperial Porter, dark and full bodied with a chocolaty aroma. The malt-rich flavour is complimented by the subtle sweetness from the rum and some molasses, and winds up with a gentle, lingering finish. Captain Amylase was first brewed exclusively for The Great Australasian Beer Spectacular 2016 (GABS) and we were so pleased with the response we received we knew we had to share it with everyone.”

Served in to a snifter glass. The opaque pour produces a tightly held finger of brown foam that gradually peels off and settles to a fine layer over the top. Not a great deal of lace but some random patches do manage to stick. Really dense and heady aroma here. We certainly get the sweet rummy tones leading out. Strong wafts of coconut reinforce the rum aspect handing it a Malibu-like character. There’s another beautiful, yet subtle fruity sweetness which comes off like fresh pineapple, it actually works in brilliantly. The aroma is filled out with your four to the floor chocolate, roasted malts, licorice and cocoa. Just divine. They’ve got that balance between sweet and roasted down pat here. The mouth feel is well rounded and viscous with mild Co2. Full bodied with a magnificently disguised ABV (7.7%). On entry we get a complex marriage of roasted malts, cocoa and a hint of that rummy sweetness creeping in. Actually, the rum is a little less pronounced as it is on the nose. It does, however, carry nicely over the mid before delicious flavours of chocolate and toasted nuts prelude a lengthy, roasted and ultimately sweet and sharp rummy finish. Highly impressive stuff from MG. Although you could look at them as sellouts (as they sold to Asahi in late 2015) the two lads from inner city Melbourne were adamant on sticking around to make sure the standard doesn’t drop. Well, it’s working because this is a bloody top notch porter. The rum accents are tied in superbly. This is one we’d definitely return to.