dcschiller (2208) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - MAY 24, 2012
At 1702. Pours dark brown--very coffee like in appearance with an espresso head. Aroma is coffee, dark chocolate and some honey-like notes. Taste is sweet with nice roast to balance this out well. Would be too syrupy with less roast. Also has some dark fruits. Full bodied and slick. Smooth finish with some alcohol warmth. Very creamy and quite tasty. FlacoAlto (4182) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 31, 2012
Sampled on tap at 1702, Tucson; January 2012ragesaq (71) - Arizona, USA - JAN 30, 2012
Ample, richly creamed chocolate brown head, lacing. Concentrated Brown, opaque color that doesn’t pass light. Aroma is rich and malty, focusing on dark cocoa, ample toasted character and a backing roasted / burnt bite that plays a supporting role. The Mescal is far subtler than I was expecting, it is very well integrated and I am assuming it is contributing the interesting spicy notes that are found here in the aroma; there is also a touch of woodiness (though only just a hint as well as a toasted / smoky character that doesn’t seem like it would come from the base beer. The dark chocolate notes, and even a concentrated almost burnt prune character really set the rich tone for this beer in the nose. I wouldn’t have guessed mescal or even oak at all if I didn’t know about it before hand.
Dense, aggressively thick (almost, but without being too much) as it hits my mouth, the beer is somewhat sweet, though in a dark malt complex way and really accentuates the deep chocolate notes that this beer has. Yet, there is actually a very distinct flavor that is clearly not Imperial Porter; it adds spicy melon, a definite spicy oak and woody astringency, . The astringency really lingers on in the finish, it helps to dry out the up front richness from the malt and this is also helped by a touch of roasted / toasted, slightly bitter-burnt roast malt character. There even seems to be a touch of smokiness to the flavor that helps to play up the savory quality found in this richly, darkly malted base beer. The oak character becomes more and more noticeable as this warms up, though it is never aggressive; it combines with the dark malt and really makes me think of a bitter, complex, dark chocolate.
The chocolate character is so big here, that it really accentuates a complimentary vanilla flavor that is likely contributed by the oak character. This is certainly a rich tipple that is meant to be sipped and savored. Even for a beer of this strength, this is quite rich, savory and dense, but this really helps it to work with the mescal and oak that I had been worried that it would clash with. The mescal and oak was added with just the right restraint such that it boosts the complexity and adds a sharp counterpoint to what otherwise might have been a too sweet base Imperial Porter. The whole though just works quite well & gets a boost, in my mind, by the novel use of Mescal in an application I wouldn’t have anticipated working as well as it has.
A big chocolately, creamy porter with a robust but not too sweet finish. Hop character is subtle and and a little herbal, and the bitterness is just to keep the high gravity in check.
Then the interesting stuff happens. A little toasted oak/coconut comes in with a touch of smoke and a little melon like fruitiness from the mescal.
Pretty tasty, will have to see if its around to try again. Nothing really quite like this out there...