Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Speakeasy Payback Porter

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1120) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 1, 2014
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $1.99 ($0.09 per ounce).

Appearance: Black as night opaque body with a large, dark tan, frothy head which laces and retains tremendously.

Smell: Similar to that of an RIS with a strong black grape and chocolate syrup presence.

Taste: I should disclaim this review by mentioning I got this bottle at my local beer store off the clearance rack, which is usually where expired beers are kept. However, I’m not so sure that’s the case as Speakeasy Payback Porter still tastes and drinks as well as a seemingly fresh bottle. Just like the nose, the palette here is akin to that of a Russian Imperial Stout, only much less intense. It’s certainly stronger than your average porter, though, with strong notes of dark fruit, chocolate and grape.

It starts out on the sweeter side with a familiar and traditional robust porter assortment of flavors. Dark cherry, black grape, chocolate syrup, clove, and a touch of dairy flavor are all prominent right away. Some bitterness at the crest of the swig with just a hint of roasted malt. It ends just as it begins with the same flavor notes, only in reverse order. It’s not a particularly sticky, chewy or cloying palette, but it’s sweet enough to be a true porter rather than a stout, as the hops and roastiness are subdued.

Drinkability: If Speakeasy Payback Porter were a stout, I’d look at the 7.5% ABV on the label and think of it as a relatively light beer. However, I went into this expecting something heavy and I was not disappointed. This is a big bodied brew in every way, though the actual delivery process is quite nice. The mouthfeel is thick, calm and soft, but with a velvety texture and smooth finish. It finishes fairly clean, though there is some residual sweetness. It works as a dessert in a glass (though it’d pair well with a steak I’m sure), and I had no trouble handling the entire bomber myself. 
Grade: 8/10

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