Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mendocino Talon Smoked Double Porter

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1169) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 7, 2014
Smoked porter seems to be a legitimate subgenre within the porter style. It’s not something you see often because it’s difficult to pull off (then again, all smoked beers are challenging to do well). Mendocino Talon Smoked Double Porter is more of an imperial porter than happens to have a smoke character to it than a smoked porter per se. Nevertheless, it’s still a flavorful, robust, well-balanced brew and that’s what’s important.

I poured a 22oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. There was no freshness date. A friend gave me this bottle (thanks, Ben!).

Appearance: Opaque black body with no visible carbonation or sediment. Pours to a very large, tan, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Chocolate and dark roasted malt. Light smoky notes.

Taste: This beer has the usual porter traits and they’re recognizable right away: milk chocolate, roasted malt and a consistent dry bitterness. For a beer not brewed with chocolate, Mendocino Talon Smoked Double Porter has a lot of that character going for it. More a lighter, sweeter, milk chocolate flavor than intense dark chocolate. Slight dairy-ish notes towards the middle and back end, though the actual smoked malt comes through prominently right as it finishes and leaves a lingering, astringent aftertaste. For a big beer, there’s no alcohol presence here, though I got a touch of toffee which might be the booze in disguise. Either way, it’s still pretty interesting, though the smoke fades into the background eventually and the beer drinks and tastes like a solid imperial porter. I know Mendocino pasteurizes all their beers, and I can’t help but wonder how much better this would be if that were not the case.

Drinkability: You’d never know Mendocino Talon Smoked Double Porter was 10% ABV if you didn’t see that on the label (or read it online somewhere). Big in body for sure, though it’s not intense and aggressive. The mouthfeel is thinner than I was expecting, with no sticky or chewy sensation. It does leave a dry aftertaste, though that’s likely do to the smoked malt. A fine dessert beer, though drinking the entire bomber solo would be challenging. 
Grade: 8/10

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