Monday, April 30, 2012

Sixpoint Gorilla Warfare Porter

Sixpoint brews a lot of beers that are limited releases and tap-only (their canned beers represent probably less than half of the products they make). Anyway, this beer came to my attention via Twitter - specifically Adam from Sixpoint's Twitter who said this was available on growler fill at my local beer store. I went over there the next day and got a 16oz growler filled. Since there's no bottle or can to show off, I decided to film this review kind of lazily at the webcam. It's been a while since I had a coffee beer that knocked my socks off - would this one?

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (656) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 27, 2012
Some great imperial stouts and porters happen to have a coffee bitterness and/or flavor as a result of the way their malts are roasted and brewed. But Sixpoint Gorilla Warfare Porter is all about the coffee - or more specifically - espresso, as one pint of this beer is roughly equivalent to two shots of the specialized coffee beverage. And I can see why, as there’s never a moment where coffee isn’t prevalent in the palate.

I got a 16oz growler fill at my local beer store. I poured it into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Opaque black body with a frothy, tan head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Strong coffee aroma, closer to an actual coffee beverage than a beer.

Taste: It begins with a sharp, dry coffee bitterness. There’s also an underlying sweetness and taste similar to a cola (odd). It then transitions quickly to genuine coffee flavor, especially that of sweetened iced coffee with lots of cream and sugar. The finish reverts back to the beginning with more coffee bitterness and leaves a slight aftertaste akin to drinking regular coffee, although it is quite clean considering how robust the palate is.

This is certainly a delectable, pleasant taste, at least for me because I like coffee and I like these types of beers. The only problem is it’s a little repetitive. Pretty much all you taste is coffee. Those looking for the genuine porter components may be a little disappointed. There is a brief taste of roasted malts on the finish, which is nice, but a little more of this would’ve been great. Still, I can only count on one hand the number of beers that are as coffee-forward as this one - that’s quite an elite club for this beer.

Drinkability: Since this is a porter it’s not surprising the mouthfeel is a little thin and the carbonation is on the lower side. While it does go down smooth, Sixpoint Gorilla Warfare Porter is not exactly a chuggable beer because it’s so energetic and bursting with coffee flavor and bitterness. I found myself drinking this in smaller sips than usual. Its weight at 7.2% ABV seems about right as there’s definitely a lot of chutzpah to this palate, but it’s thinner body and relatively clean aftertaste is what you expect from a strong porter rather than a motor oil-like imperial stout. A great beer to have after dinner instead of hot gourmet coffee.

Grade: 8/10

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