Barrel-Aged Shipwreck Porter

Image courtesy of beer

Image courtesy of beer

Barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter from Arcadia Aless, Battle Creek, MI is a black beauty that smells and tastes as lovely as it looks.  It’s not as thick as you would think based on color, but by not being too heavy and substantial it becomes more drinker-friendly.  The head is fleeting and the lacing is slight, but don’t let it get you down, the best is yet to come.  There are some nice, tangy sherry notes and a prominent alcohol bite in the nose (12% ABV, 50 IBUs).  Barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter is tart, sweet and has notes of chocolate, cherry and dried plum in the flavor profile, with some coffee as well.  The alcohol does warm the mouth and stomach a bit, and it’s satisfying.  Although it has been aged in bourbon barrels, it’s not as bourbony as some others iI’ve tried, but that allows for a good appreciation of the other tastes and smells that barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter presents.

Good stuff, Zum Voll!


Bigger Smokey Imperial Smoked Porter

Image courtesy of Pipeworks Brewing Company

Image courtesy of Pipeworks Brewing Company

Bigger Smokey Imperial Smoked Porter…the name alone got me on board.  Pipeworks Brewing Company, Chicago, IL get a big YES for this monstrous brew.  At 11% ABV Bigger Smokey Imperial Smoked Porter is not for the timid, and I’m far from timid when it comes to beer, or self-aggrandizement.  This deep brown porter doesn’t have much head retention, but a ring of foam will accompany you to the end of the ride.  Whiffs of dark chocolate, coffee, tart cherry and mild smoke prevail.  Bigger Smokey Imperial Smoked Porter is not as smokey as a Schlenkerla rauchbier, but wood smoke is a big part of the flavor profile.  Still, I’d say it’s really about sweet coffee and tart cherry here.  Bigger Smokey is not really bitter despite the roasted aspects of the malts, at least not very and not for long.  There’s a good shot of alcohol in the sinuses when you take a whiff of this one, and the complexity of flavors almost makes you think it might have been booze barrel aged.  I’ll attribute some of that to the beechwood and cherrywood smoked malts in the recipe.  This is a well done, well-crafted American Porter and worthy of a high score.

90/100 porter

Bean Gene

Image courtesy of Revolution Brewing.

Image courtesy of Revolution Brewing.

Revolution Brewing, Chicago, IL, changed my life with the introduction of their Deep Woods Series of bourbon barrel-aged beers a few years ago.  I scour the shelves of the local bottle stores in hopes of finding any of those black-boxed beauties.  I came across a vintage 2013 Bean Gene a while back.  It’s Eugene Porter, aged in bourbon barrels to become Mean Gene Porter and then steeped in Dark Matter coffee beans before brewing, ultimately resulting in Bean Gene.  What a brilliant idea!

Bean Gene is as black as coal with a fine bead 1/4″ thick head.  Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and cocoa powder waft from Bean Gene.  There’s a pervading sweetness to Bean Gene, but still the flavors of chocolate-covered cherries, coffee and bourbon (maybe more like Southern Comfort due to the sweetness) abound.  There’s a tartness in the finish, and a lingering coffee dryness rounds out the experience.

When comparing Bean Gene to the other offerings I’ve tried in the Deep Woods Series, namely Straightjacket, Very Mad Cow, Deth’s Tar, Mean Gene and 3rd Year, this is my least favorite.  I’ve had a bottle cellaring for a year, and I look forward to seeing how it has aged.  None the less, I enjoy Bean Gene and I recommend it if you are a fan of porters and coffee.

Black Butte Porter

Images courtesy of Deschutes Brewery.

Images courtesy of Deschutes Brewery.

Here’s a substantial brew for you!  Black Butte Porter, from Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR, is an opaque brown beauty that really sticks to your ribs.  The bouquet is full of coffee, roasted dark malt and an overall nuttiness.  Black Butte Porter is full-bodied and you will notice peppery spice notes, some yeast and a touch of chocolate in the finish.  At 5.2% ABV you may just decide to have 2.  A nice and substantial porter.

82/100 Porter

Bobo’s Robust Porter

Wow, I guess he is pretty scary!

As a young boy I was deathly afraid of a monster of my imagination.  This monster lived in the intercom box in my bedroom and had the power to magnetically attract me from any point in the house, with the intention of devouring me alive.  At least in my nightmares.  This intercom box had one red eye and a crooked trapezoidal mouth.  Sometimes a voice would come out of it (it was an intercom, of course a voice came out of it).  The monster’s name was Bobo.  That is why it is with great trepidation that I bring you the review of Bobo’s Robust Porter, a limited release brew from Big Sky Brewing Company, Missoula, MT.  Bobo has a big brown head on top of a black, opaque body wrapped in a shroud of lace.  The bouquet has earthy coffee notes and some homebrewy yeast as well.  The taste is earthy as well, with more coffee and a touch of molasses at the end, especially as it warms.  It has a nutty quality too, and oddly, it makes my breath taste like cat breath smells.  Is that and indictment?  Not really, but neither is it a ringing endorsement, obviously.

 I think I can sleep nightmare-free if I give Bobo Robust Porter a 69/100 on the beerbliographer scale.

Bully Porter

Here's a good one fer ye.

Boulevard Brewing Company has a great track record when it comes to producing excellent beers.  Find yourself a sampler 12-pack and see for yourself.  One of the brews included will likely be Bully Porter.  Bully is black and produces a huge and long-lasting head.  The Brussels lace is positively sexy.  It looks like something between a foamy, seven course brick wall (sexy to a brick layer) and lingerie lace (sexy to everyone else).  The bouquet has a bit of tang to it, attesting to the hops presence, but Bully has more prominent coffee notes.  The taste reminds me of a good homebrew, with yeast, more coffee and roasted nuts.  Bully is as substantial as it is drinkable.  Not a paradox, just a good brew.  85/100 Porter

Stone Smoked Porter

I like the idea of rye beers and of smoke beers.  Something just seems right about adding one or both of those elements to God’s perfect drink.  I

I Highly Recommend.

also think there is a lot of experimentation for the sake of experimentation in the world of brewing (Dogfish Head!) and it gets to be a little ridiculous.  Beer snobbery.  Look at how cool I am, I am drinking a Mesopotamian recipe that includes craftsman-hammered 20 karat gold leaf and Canadian thistle down.  That’s just bullsh*t.  Stone Smoked Porter is not bullsh*t.  It’s dang good is what it is, and if I am drinking something to make me look cool, this is my choice.  In my case, it’ll take a case at least to make me look cool, but there you have it.  The best thing about Stone Smoked Porter is that it introduces smoke without becoming one of those bacony rauchbiers or rawhidey, campfire-smelling smoke beers.  Stone Smoked Porter pours deep brown, ebony, with a hint of ruby when held up to the light.  It’s big, frothy head produces ample lacing that looks almost like an ice cream float head.  Very appealing.  Not a lot of smoke smell comes off the head, but some does, and it seems natural and appropriate.  Lots of roasted coffee and a little bittersweet chocolate, some caramel and hop bitterness, then finally some alcohol.  Smoked Porter is smooth on the tongue, and that subtle smoke note can be enjoyed along with a good dose of coffee as it excites the taste buds.  The bitterness in the finish is just right.  This is a very good smoked porter!   95/100 Porter