Bobsy (194) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 12, 2008
After hearing fantastic things about this beer, I promised that I would track it down and consume it, like a stealthy mountain lion hunting a deer. Christmas came and went. I lamented that the opportunity had passed without a sighting of the elusive deer. Sorry...beer. Then it came. The beer had been seen in a downtown brewpub. Last night I found a pint of glory placed before me.
A mocha head happily sits upon an extremely dark brown nectar. Vinous aromas mix with dark fruits to achieve a somewhat festive feel. Upon tasting I can clearly identify the Christmas cake elements:raisins, sultanas and either fig or date (I always get the two confused). There also seems to be a touch of hard liqor in there, but maybe I’m just imagining a brandy soaked Christmas pudding. Its quite delectable to have all of these flavours mixed with the traditional rastiness of a porter. Its capped off with a perfectly chewy mouthfeel, deserving of the brews name. In fact the last couple sips are chew, as the coarser filtration that has blessed this brew with so much flavour becomes evident. Man...Ontario brewers do seasonal porters so well. pootzboy (1830) - Kitchener, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 24, 2008
UPDATED: OCT 16, 2008 Dregs of the cask but worth it. Black as a tax collectors heart, rich mocha cap, wonderful roasty-fruity-cocoa aroma. As others have stated the flavor approximates the dark dried fruit-impregnated cake with spicing and a light nut-like discernment to it. I wish Perry made more of this...I could drink this all the way through the cold months. GregClow (3402) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 29, 2006
Cask at Volo. Deep brown, almost black, with a thin, long-lasting tan head. Aroma is sweet and spicy, with notes of licorice, cocoa, cinnamon and cola. Body is soft and smooth, very good. Flavour of licorice, cocoa, malt, vanilla, cinnamon, dark fruit - really, really tasty. A one-off for now, but I hope Perry brings it back again next year. jercraigs (11166) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 29, 2006
Cask at Volo. Very dark brown-black with a small creamy khaki head (3+). Strong notes of anise/licorice and rooty spices leap from the glass, mild cinnamon presence is pleasant. Spice is pervasive in the flavour but not overbearing, anise is fairly strong and lasts long into the aftertaste. Moderate sweet malt is a secondary character (7+). Average palate lacks the robust gravitas I had hoped for, but is good for a cask. A very slight reduction in the strength of the licorice/anise flavours with a similar small increase in the malt presence and body would take this from very good to excellent, at least for my personal tastes. Nice job Scotch Irish! HogTownHarry (7287) - Toronto (Harbourfront), CANADA - DEC 31, 2006
Cask. At Volo. Poured opaque ruby-black with an average frothy/creamy tan head. An initial huge up-front aroma of anise, but it settled down and in addition to almost burnt roast malt (mild espresso & chocolate toffees) I got some tart fruit, plenty of candied fruits, dates, molasses and leafy hops. The taste followed on, all the same elements, but some coffee grounds and pungent spice (cinnamon for sure) making the taste a little more bitter-balanced than the aroma - this was very elegant, actually. Slick, light silky mouthfeel - I could wish for a bit more malt body to it, but I always seem to with porters - quite still on the palate, but a nice complex, sophisticated finish, with some herbal hop notes popping up out of nowhere. Excellent job, Perry - I loved it.
DerWeg (1760) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 29, 2006
Pint from the cask @ Bar Volo. Deep hazy brown with a tinge of red, soft carbonation, small off-white head. Big sweet aroma with pie spices, a hint of chocolate, and a note of licorice. Taste is warmly engaging with a solid hit of spices, notably licorice but also suggestions of cloves or cinnamon, possibly cardamom? I notice at times chocolate, sassafras... Sweet hint of vanilla, that could be the dates. The fruits add a gentle richness and smooth feel to it, as the bittering hops are well wrapped in the package. Medium body and long lingering spices. Licorice is a little foreward but not unpleasant, and as a nearby taster comments, ’this (porter) feels good!" Could become a classic - a complex seasonal that has more subtlety & integration than you might expect in spiced Christmas beers. Happy holidays! VeloVampire (625) - Parkdale, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 30, 2006
Cask at Volo - arrived opaque black, though any traces of light at the edges would have been difficult to pick up in the candlelight. Huge anise/black licorice aroma, but a healthy amount of fig, plum, and raisin. Mmmmm. Flavour more balanced with a nice roasty maltiness and dark fruity notes again, along with currants and cinnamon. Quite sweet. Very gentle natural carbonation as cask should be. I would have liked if the body on this was a bit more robust and chewy - would have gone well with the big flavour profile. That’s the only real problem I had with this unique, intriguing and ultimately inimatable beer - the body was pretty thin/watery, although that may very well have been a result of the cask being very young (it was tapped earlier yesterday, just before we arrived). A fuller body would have easily pushed this into 4+ territory. Really so muich going on here. You’d be hard pressed to find a more anise-y beer, which, along with the overall sweetness, makes it difficult to have more than one pint.....but that’s the point - go slow, sip, savour, and enjoy.....Beautiful. Sammy (13106) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 30, 2006
Completely black with a bit of off-white head and initial soap bubbles. Chcocolate aroma, and later licorice. Some spice in the nose as well. Taste of an English porter with chocolate, and second sip licorice, way over the top of it. Then coffee grounds, a further bitter finish, and then chocolate Most complex, and probably better with food.
mabel (10007) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - FEB 28, 2007
[165-20061229] Cask @ Volo (Toronto, ON). Licorice anise, sweet fruity cherry aroma. Black body with a big brown foamy head. Nutmeg, eggnog spice and watery licorice flavour blends well until zesty aftertaste. Medium body, looks like it should be thicker feel. Great potential, don’t care for the aftertaste. DougShoemaker (3146) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 26, 2007
Cask @ Volo.
Huge chocolate aroma, with spice and nuts, darkest of browns, small toffee head. Very bold chocolate taste lots of spice, nuts,dried fruit, as Perry said "Christmas cake in a glass" The texture is thin chocolate pudding, so full bodied it’s almost out of whack. Fantastic!
Thanks for baking this beer Perry Mason.