This one is truly world class! Take one whiff and you will know why! I love me a porter and this one is probably going to stay on my top ten list for life. This beer is classified as an English Porter and that style has a bit of history behind it. First off, it's rumoured that it was most popular with transportation workers and that is where it got it's name. It was also one of the first "engineered beers", as Beer Advocate puts it, meaning that it is a blend of three different beers in order to appeal to the public, a first in English beer history. Typically the beers were an old ale that had gone stale, a fresh batch of brown ale and a mild ale. These three in different variances were aimed at using the best qualities of the three to make a beer probably what we now call "sessionable" or easy to drink them end on end. Now these beers are mostly brewed with lighter malts with small amounts of darker malts added to the mash or boil. Hops are mostly mild and english. Typically they are fairly complex with roasted coffee, chocolate and grain flavours being forthright and many other underlying tastes like vanilla, dark fruits, breads, etc... to tantalize the taste buds.
The bottle on this beer is great. Not only is it an attractive label, but homebrewers can reuse it to showcase their beers as well.
It pours a very dark brown/black that is almost opaque, but does allow light through highlighting some deep reds. It's not hazy but clear as you can tell by the bottom of the pint glass in my picture. The head is minimal and stays as a tan/brown ring around the glass mostly and has a decent dispersed polka-dot pattern that is pretty minimal.
I served this beer to myself too cold, which means that I am going to have to drink it slower that I desire so I can experience more of the aromas. I was first struck with roasted coffee and chocolate. I feel like dipping it in my fish tank water to heat it up. There are some notes of vanilla, caramel sweetness and some bread along for the ride. As I drink it and it warms up, I will make note of any other aromas if they occur.
The flavour is pretty much the same as the aroma. Creamy sweet maltiness starts off on the tip of the tongue and works its way back. By time it reaches midway it is in full force and the bittering hops become palpable while tastes like coffee, chocolate and, most importantly, vanilla start to show through to the end making it truly very smooth and creamy. Hints of bread also dabble in the mix.
The mouthfeel is sensational. Smooth and creamy dominate the drink with a nice moderately full body. The bittering hops take you through to the end leaving a medium dry, wanting feeling on your palate begging for another sip. The carbonation, mildly moderate to really help with the creamy soothing feel of the beer.
Overall, I would have to say that this is TOTALLY world class! I'm going to have to give this high 4's in most of the categories and ultimately the same for the overall score.
To H.E. double hockeysticks with the big boy beers! Get out there and taste what really makes a beer like this a craft. It was crafted long ago and perfected over the years. There is ages of experience in this beer and you have to give it a try. If you hate dark beers, this is by no means a mild dark beer, but it is one of the best and you owe it to yourself to try it. I guarantee that in the least you will appreciate this beer as a quality beer. You may not like it, in which case I would deem you insane, BUT you will know what a good beer truly is. Life is too short to waste on watered down experiences, go full throttle! *enter rebel yell here*