Beer

Friday, January 11, 2008

I have been in the midst of a brewing extravaganza. I have brewed every-other-week for 2 months now, and most has gone out the door as Christmas presents (and I absolutely blew one batch...I have never cried so many tears as pouring 5 gallons of beer down the drain). Given that, I have been at Michigan Brewing Company a whole lot recently, which is where i get my supplies (Things Beer, which is attached).

The last visit I made, I decided to try their Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout and the Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter. I was wildly impressed with both beers.

Today, I'll go over the Porter.

Typical of a "robust porter" the beer poured a dark enough brown to be just shy of black (betrayed by garnet highlights when held to light). Dark, enticing, thick. The head was somewhere between tan and eggshell white, foamy, and with decent retention. Just a thick, begging-to-be-quaffed porter.

Right up front, smack in the face, is bourbon on the nose. What's awesome is that you don't get the vague nosehair singe you get from inhaling a glass of bourbon. Instead, you get all of the lovely bourbon sweetness without the resultant headache. Underneath what seems like an entire double-shot of bourbon is this gorgeous roasted aroma mixed with a soft maltiness that aproaches bready and chocolatey. If there are any hops (of course there are), they were overshadowed by the bourbon (which is juuuust fine for this kind ofbeer). What you get on the nose then is a surprisingly soft, sweet and mellow aroma for such a normally strong kind of porter. The bourbon scent just mellows the whole beer like you'd expect a glass of bourbon on your porch in the summertime. Slow, sippin' mellow.

Normally a robust porter has some big roasted/burnt flavors right up front with a roasty, dry finish. Again, as in the aroma, the bourbon flavor is what dominates instead, which forces the "robust" character out of the way and highlights the other softer flavors of the porter: chocolate, coffee, bready roundness. There is still the roasted character tat I love in a porter, but the bourbon totally recharacterizes this beer into something sweet and pleasant. Again, maaayyyybe there were some hop flavors, but it's the bourbon that balances the roasted character of this beer rather than hops that compliment or enhance it.

This beer, like its liquor counterpart, is meant for sippin' and contemplatin'. I can't say enough how cool it is that the bourbon barrel aging totally changes the character of a porter into almost a different kind of beer; how the softer flavors are accentuated rather than the bitter/roasted qualities (yet still balanced) of a normal robust porter. This beer was truly a pleasure to drink, and hat's-off to MBC for doing a great job.

7 comments:

Bob/Poindexter "Chief Beer Advocate" 12:26 PM  

Maybe you should send your review link over to MBC.

Probably not my favorite type of beer, but nice review. Maybe I will buy a single.

Bob/Poindexter "Chief Beer Advocate" 12:28 PM  

"I have been in the midst of a brewing extravaganza. I have brewed every-other-week for 2 months now..."

And you never thought to invite over your a-team for a brewing clinic for just one of those brew days?

B Mac 1:13 PM  

Did someone say, "Brewing Extravaganza"?

Yep, I think someone said "Brewing Extravaganza".

DED 6:09 PM  

Wow, that porter sounds great! Too bad I'm in CT.

Sopor 2:52 PM  

Brewing Extravaganza? I haven't had a Brewing Extravaganza recently... but I have had a bit of a Beer Extravaganza recently! In the last week I've been to Founders new bar, the pre-opening party at The Hopcat, and to Old Chicago. It's been a good week =)

EXCEPT that Millenium Digital Media is absolutely worthless and my internet has been out for almost a week! I'll be able to tell y'all more when that gets fixed...

I personally feel that the whole bourbon barrel aging has become a bit too common, too 'cool'. The beer is still good, but it just feels like a fad to me.

Bob/Poindexter "Chief Beer Advocate" 6:26 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitt 6:28 PM  

Beer? In am a wine man. French wine of course.

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