Tasting: November 30, 2012
Style: Imperial Porter
The first thing that struck me about this beer was the large bold words right smack in the center of the label – Contains Alcohol. Really, is this a surprise that needed to be pointed out with such prominence? Well, considering this is a called a porter and the alcohol by volume (ABV) is 13%. I’d say that would qualify as a surprise. Since I throw around the term ABV quite often, let me put it in perspective. By comparison, a typical lager like a Budweiser or Coors would have an ABV of 5% and a wine would have an ABV between 12.5% and 14.5%. So, we’ll just say that this bomber-sized bottle would have the punch of a bottle of wine.
This one is aged in rye-whiskey barrels. Like bourbon, rye has the requirement to be aged in new and charred oak barrels. The barrels are a one-time proposition for distillers and the liquor evaporates leaving the wood permeated with liquor awaiting their second use in aging beer. A quick side note – that evaporated liquor — distillers call it “the angel’s share”. These whiskey barrels lend some wonderful flavors like wood, smoke and vanilla.
Rich dark brown pour with a smoky aroma. Flavor is rich with smoke, bacon, cherries some vanilla. Definitely boozy — and the smoke flavor really takes over. It does grow a little tired. It’s syrupy and sticky and settles in for a nice night long sipper. A little pricy ($23), so it’ll get knocked down a few pegs for expense but definitely enjoyable — 89 points.