Have heard a few people rave over this beer, so thought with today being cold and rainy, would be a perfect day to pull out this warming porter.
Pours pretty easy but with a fairly brown head that seems to hold thinly over the beer like lace long after the pour. The first smell I get is a velvety/creamy chocolate which if course pricks my ears (and nose). There is a bit of vanilla with it (maybe from the oak) and can somehow smell the warming alcohol in it's lushness. Already has the trademark of a special beer.
On the palate the creamy lushness holds, which I am surprised to see in a porter, but somehow it still slides down the throat pretty easy, which where the alcohol comes in to thin it out on the backpalate. There is just enough carbonation to tingle the tongue but not take away from the texture of the beer. As I pour the second half of this beer, I see the sediment at the bottom of the bottle and see it has been bottle conditioned, which I thing really works seeing there is both creaminess and tingle in the texture.
The first taste reminds me of a Moo Brew Vintage Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, but doesn't coat the tongue so heavily in malt and alcohol. I would probably call this beer an Imperial Porter in style. The smell does not fully correspond into flavour, but enough to go along with the journey of this beer. The alcohol probably hits a little to early and strong to take away a little of balance, but there is almost a lovely cleansing nuttiness/spice in aftertaste with the alcohol that with the thinning at the back leave the palate ready for another hit, apart from the slight warming alcohol in the throat. As it warms/get towards the bottom of the bottle, I am also getting more licorice notes, which makes me wonder if it would have been better to mix in the sediment through the beer to help balance out the flavour and give more up front. I am not sure how long the beer is aged in the oak barrels for, but mostly the flavours are subtle and even and melded well enough with the alcohol so it doesn't spike too much. But an 8% porter is pretty big, and almost too much for the tired state I find myself in before I even tasted the beer.
So, as I 'struggle' to get through this beer, I can understand why it has been given 3 years for it to be drunk by, and I have tasted it 14 months after bottling. I could actually see it balancing a bit better with a bit more time, with the malt character coming out a bit more.
Overall a pretty impressive beer that has aspects of imperial stout, but still the light sweetness of a usual porter. The smell and texture were probably what I was most intrigued and pleased to find in this beer. For anyone that has taken their beer journey to porters, this would be a great one to start stepping up into stout and imperial stouts, or those that find stouts and imperial stouts too 'heavy' on the tongue and in the belly.
This one get the Beefy thumbs up. If you find it, I recommend grabbing a bottle...if you can find it. Then if you can, keep it for a while, and give it the aussie 'Coopers roll' to mix up the sediment through the beer.