Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brown's Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter (2010 re-review)

Kevin Burns of http://youtube.com/TheFoamingHead joins me for a back-to-back review of another New York beer. Not only is it a homestate beer, it's a hometown beer (literally!). I actually reviewed this about a year ago with http://youtube.com/Imasofat but wanted to review it again just for kicks.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (602) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 29, 2011
Barrel-aging is all the rage these days, so in a way they’re almost par-for-the-course these days instead of the rarities they should be. Many of the highest-ranked beers in the world are barrel-aged and for good reason. But most of those beers are extremely rare, difficult to acquire and expensive (i.e. Three Floyds Dark Lord; Founders KBS). What about an ordinary microbrewery in an ordinary town that was making a beer of the sort BEFORE it was cool? That’s exactly what Brown’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged Porter is - a delicous, robust porter with genuine whiskey flavor but without the density of those aforementioned imperial beasts.

NOTE: I have had this beer on tap and from the bottle MANY times, but for the purposes of this formal review I’m basing it on a bottled version.

I poured a 22oz bomber into a Brown’s tumbler.

Appearance: Opaque black body all around. Forms a large, dark brown, foamy head but it mostly dissipates and leaves minor lacing.

Smell: The whiskey notes are very prominent - creating for a strong potpourri of vanilla, smoke, wet oak and roasted malts.

Taste: The best way to describe this beer would be to think of any of those highly-acclaimed barrel-aged imperial stouts and simply reduce the energy level. What separates Brown’s WBA Porter from the rest is that it is at the core just a porter. It doesn’t have the intense roasted maltiness or bitterness of a stout, but rather the sweeter, sessionable qualities of a true porter. Vanilla is a very strong component throughout the palate, followed by a whiskey sweetness and a slightly smoky aftertaste. A syrup-like flavors of toffee and caramel are quite strong through the middle, but never become cloying. Overall, it’s a delicious palate that never grows old.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin and tepid, with a finish that is actually a little more clean than it should be. Probably the only beer I’d ever subtract points for not being thick and sticky enough.

Drinkability: The sweet whiskey taste combined with the thin, fairly clean mouthfeel make Brown’s WBA Porter amazingly drinkable. It glides across the tongue and down the throat leaving a pleasing, albeit short, aftertaste. It’s astounding that so much flavor is available from a beer that only weighs in at 5.75% ABV. I have sat at the brewpub many times sipping (or chugging) glass after glass without becoming totally inebriated. When paired with a beef or pork dish the appreciation for this brew grows even stronger.

Overall, Brown’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter is an amazing beer for what it is. I take tremendous pride in knowing I can get this on tap whenever I want.
Grade: 9/10

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