Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ithaca Embrr Rye Porter

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1243) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 18, 2014
I like it when breweries throw an ingredient into a classic brew style (well, when they work that is). Ithaca Beer Company went this route by brewing Embrr – a robust porter - with some rye to give it a winter-like spiciness. I find it’s actually more sweet than spicy as the rye is quite subtle. I don’t know if it’s any more wintery than any other porter, but it’s certainly a good one.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 9/24/14 and cost $2.90 ($0.24 per ounce).

Appearance: Black body with no lighter edge colors. Pours to two-finger, tan, frothy head which laces and retains pretty well.

Smell: Classic porter aroma of dark malt and a hint of chocolate and fruit, though a bit sweeter than most.

Taste: I was expecting the rye to be the star of the show given the marketing and labeling, but it’s actually used well as a background performer. The dark maltiness is what’s prominent here; tasty notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and some oatmeal-like sweetness (even though there’s no oatmeal in this beer). The rye only comes through on the finish, imparting a gentle dry spicy and light bready character. It complements the bitterness from the dark malt and the Sybilla hops (which are used sparingly). This palette does get a little repetitive, though, and it’s not exactly the most delicious or amazing porter I’ve had. Still, it’s a fine beer for what it is and should be appreciated as such.

Drinkability: Winter-themed beers tend to be big and bold and lend themselves to sipping; but when a beer like Ithaca Embrr Rye Porter is easily quaffable, is that a good or bad thing? The mouthfeel is a tad thin, lightly carbonated, but noticeably smooth and comfortable. It leaves little aftertaste, too. I’d probably prefer (and expect) more body given that it’s 6.6% ABV, so it does seem a little inefficient. 
Grade: 7/10

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