Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter

Some of the best coffee beers tend to be imperial stouts, but a good alternative to those is a coffee porter. One of the best of the style I can think of is Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. A well-balanced, full-flavored coffee porter that’s tasty and easy to drink.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (803) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 31, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).

Appearance: Opaque black body. Forms a small, tan, soapy head which quickly fizzles away like a soda and doesn’t leave much lacing.

Smell: Distinct coffee aroma as soon as the cap on the bottle is popped. Medium roasty notes.

Taste: One thing I notice about non-imperial coffee porters and stouts is that the coffee flavor seems to fade fast on them. The first swig of Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter I got a lot of roasty coffee and roasted barley flavors. But the coffee seemed to homogenize with the rest of the palate rather quickly. It’s a lovely bittersweet taste of authentic coffee and vanilla creamer (the beer is brewed with vanilla beans, after all). More of the same through the middle with a burst of bitterness on the finish.

What’s odd is I get a slight vegetal character in the aftertaste. It’s easily overlooked and not distracting unless you concentrate on it. Still, I enjoy the coffee and general sweet flavors of this beer. It’s a bit of a simplistic palate, but the tastes it has going for it works quite well.

Drinkability: I was surprised by the mouthfeel and body of this beer. It was on the thinner, flatter side, though this enabled it to be comfortable in the mouth and lead to a smooth finish. I was also surprised to find Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter is only 5% ABV, as it seems quite robust for the weight. You could drink two of these for dessert and not feel guilty about it.
 Grade: 8/10

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