ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - APR 13, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
500mL, counterpressure filled bottle from Jacob Lovenlund shared with OldGrowth and SuIIy on 4/9/06
Served from a wine glass well-chilled to start.
Wow, this aroma is like a caged animal. As soon as the cap comes off (actually before the cap comes off, as the beer was so well carbonated, it leaked) mounds of black chocolate, French roast coffee, dates, raisins, toffee and fudge pour forth. Cascade hops linger heavily in the background providing a leafy, citric backdrop. Another hop variety may be in there too, giving it a juicy, almost wintergreen and resin-like note. The hops just slightly offset the deep, cakey chocolate, while the dry, coffee-like roastiness imparted by the roasted barley fills the senses vividly. Maris otter adds that earthy, almost salty English toffee-like flavor. Incredible amount going on in the aroma, which dosent seem cluttered, importantly. Coffee, roast, hints of earthy smoke and leafy, juicy, flavorful hops keep a terrific balance. I sat and sniffed the beer for a good while before trying it.
The appearance is perfect, simply put. Huge tan head is immaculately retained for the entirety of the glass, being dense, creamy and full of lacing. Black, unfiltered body is opaque with only a light crimson tinge on the edge when held to the light.
The flavor is just shockingly reserved, elegant and importantly, not overdone. While this is a bit thicker of body than your typical porter, it is not some uber-hopped, hot, cloying mess of a beer. Quite the opposite. Vanilla and chocolate come to the front, both drying the palate, while sweet creamy milk-chocolate malts fill in the edges of the palate. Coffee flavor is mild, but still appreciated, as dark fruits (plums, prunes, raisins) enliven things and the tight, but well utilized carbonation forces the husky roasted barley dryness through to the end, where a symphony of deep, subtle hops, chewy, earthy, salty maris otter malt and soft fudginess all meld in to one satisfying finish. Texture, as I have made mention of throughout, is supportive, substantial, mostly chewy, but never heavy or sluggish. Tight carbonation sees to that. No sign of alcohol anywhere in aroma or flavor.
I was so skeptical of this, thinking it would just be an over-the-top, Americanized "Porter", (aka an American Imperial Stout or Imperial Porter) but it is not. Sure, it’s pretty hefty, but the dryness from the roast and chocolate malt, and the fruitiness, help keep it down to earth. As well, the unpasteurized nature gives it a really homely feel. Could session with this easily. Fullers London Porter eat your heart out.
kramer (5108) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 4, 2006
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAR 2, 2007 500 ml bottle, via sk8viking. Pours a deep dark brown, almost black body with a fluffy craggy two finger dark brown head. Amazing head retention. Complex nose of chocolate, roast, coffee, and a dry yeastiness competing for dominance. Lesser notes of alcohol, plums, and chalk. Flavor is even bigger than the aroma, big and chocolaty up front with a roasty backing. Coffee and alcohol stand out in the middle, and a bitter bakers chocolate, yeasty, and espresso laden finish becoming slightly vinous. Very good length to the finish. You can only describe the mouthfeel as chewy and full bodied with absolutely perfect soft carbonation. Finish is slightly oily. Overall, clearly one of, if not the, best Porters I’ve ever had. From start to finish this beer just exuded perfect craftmanship and a great attention to detail. The only detraction I can really see is that it is a bit high in alcohol to be categorized as a straight Porter, but that really has nothing to do with the taste. A truely awesome beer.
BrockLanders (774) - Panama City, Florida, USA - APR 3, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
The hits just kept coming as I opened that box of Danish beer. We love the porter style and were anxiously awaiting this one. Poured a dark, nearly black color with a nice tannish head. Big roasty, choco-coffee nose...lotsa malts. Lovely. Mmmm...sweetish coffeeish malt flavor is excellent...just enough hop bitterness to hold it tightly together. Great balance...nice full bodied smoothness too. Wish we had more of this great beer. Thanks again Rene!!!! I’ll post on your entire shipment tonight!!
dornoy (701) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - APR 1, 2006
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Brown head on a black body. I’m usually not a gat porter fan, but this one has it all : from the coffe-like aroma to the deep colour and a little sweetness, this is indeed a prince among porters.
Christian (11282) - Odense, DENMARK - MAR 16, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: APR 12, 2008 Canned version 2008-
Black with a beautiful and lasting pillow of light brown head. Roast malt dominates the aroma with some chocolate and the faintest hint of metal. Tasted next to a 2007, bottled porter, the flavour lacks quite a bit of the character it used to have. Thinner, more straightforward roast flavour, dry and without the fruitiness that used to make it such a perfect beer.
Original rating, way back: Rich roast malt aroma, with some chocolate and a hint of coffee. Perfectly balanced flavour, dry with some (dark, dried) fruity sweetness and lots of bitter, roast notes. Full bodied and despite the intensity, very easy to drink.
hopscotch (9559) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - MAR 14, 2006
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 17, 2007 Bottle... This beer rocks!... Pitch black brew with a mid-sized, light brown head. Sweet, malty, roasted nose with notes of coffe, cocoa and hickory smoke. The flavor is very well balanced with lots of rich caramel, chocolate and campfire smoke. Full-bodied and silky with soft carbonation. Finishes astringent, medium bitter and deeply toasted. Thanks go out to JensenTaster for the bottle!
bridge (659) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - MAR 10, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Suprisingly prominent alcohol, but generally a wonderful aroma of dark roasted malts and chocolate liqueur. Smooth flavour with dry roasted bitterness. Quite full bodied, and it seems to carry more depth than you’d expect for "only" 7.5% abv.
presario (4709) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - MAR 5, 2006
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Another great beer courtesy of Papsoe. Luckily I found a rare special beer to complete the package I am sending him tomorrow. Golden chocolate mousse head more than fills the glass over top of a black beer. Strong roast coffee aroma. Big roasted grain flavour defines the work "roasted"! Coffee and mild chocolate notes. Long finish makes it feel like the beer is still in your mouth long after it is gone.
acertain (249) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 5, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
My first beer from my first international trade. Thanks Papsoe! Pours jet black, with no hint of light or color showing even when a thin layer is held up to the light. Nice tan head. Fruity aroma with malty goodness and floral hops showing through; could definitely pick up on the caramel, not so sure about the chocolate. In the mouth it’s moderately creamy, with high carbonation. The flavor is an extension of the aroma, with the addition of moderate smoky bitterness upon swallowing. Definitely something I could get used to drinking, though not being a huge smoky/bitter fan, I could do with less of that.
jonas (5849) - Garching b. München, GERMANY - FEB 28, 2006
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Dark matter in a bottle, creamy brown head. Substantial dark roasted coffe aroma, some sourness, figs, raisins. Smooth milk chocolate flavoring, coffee bitterness, whisky, nutmeg and dark chocolate far into the aftertaste. Silky mouthfeel, bitter dryness, some sparkles. Wonderfull brew - thanks to sk8viking for carrying it down here :-)