Style: Imperial Porter
Brewed At: Westbrook Brewing Co., SC, USA
Brewer’s Note: “Shall one compare thee to a fair beer,/ Not even this perfect porter before thou will do thee justice./ Thou art more complex, brave and cunning./ Thou have changed more than a brew will ever./ Thou may be lil’, but thy mind is greater than words can speak and beer will ever taste.”
The beer’s label is weird. I’ve always found Evil Twin’s designs a little weird, and this style of label seems to be the norm for them. The geometric, almost pixelated picture of a human’s face is mildly terrifying and strange… Plus, on a beer bottle, it takes me a very long time to figure out what the label is actually of. I find the color scheme subdued and boring on this label, and the actual graphic strange and not my style. That said, I actually like the font choice a lot, and I like how it is all pretty much uniform. I also love the lack of clutter on this label, as it brings your eye right to the important things. The poem on the side looks awful and is hard to read, but at least it is out of the way of the rest of the label. I would not hold on to this label.
The beer pours like dark roast coffee, oozing between a deep brown and a black coloring. It pours with a tiny head of miniscule, dark khaki bubbles (as is expected at this ABV), which quickly slicks into a scrim ring along the glass. The beer leaves a super slick, thin curtain of lacing when it washes over the glass, along with a small set of legs to suggest its alcohol content. In body, the beer is too dark to penetrate, but as it pours it does not seem to be the thickest thing to ever come out of a bottle… On the nose, the beer smells richly fruity with dark plum, raisin, and chocolate notes. Brown sugar and dates also appear on the nose, along with the ghost of fusel alcohol. The smell is richly fruity both in malt and yeast character, blending with slight nutty smells. Roast coffee is also present, but it is sitting beside a very pungent raisin/date/plum dipped in brown sugar and chocolate. On the tongue, the beer tastes richly sweet at first, almost cloying with definite alcohol notes, but this perfectly melds into a dry, lightly bitter roast as the beer finishes. There is a light, tart pop at the back of the finish, which adds a level of complexity that I did not expect from this beer. In flavor, the beer begins as sweet plums dipped in a light chocolate. Faint raisins and brown sugar dance on the tongue after the initial flavor, but they are buoyed along by cloying, sweet alcohol that takes a little away from the beer. Luckily, this alcohol is very brief, and is bludgeoned aside by beautiful, dry, French roast coffee. A touch of vanilla and cinnamon, also, bring light spice to the tongue, perhaps from the alcohol, just as the coffee flavor moves in. The finish is light, but long and gives hints of praline, pecans and milk chocolate. In the mouth, this beer feels silky smooth and on the heavy side of medium in body. Carbonation is smooth and velvety, blanketing the tongue in oozing goodness. The mouth is left roasted dry and slightly sticky. Overall, this is a beautifully complex and rich porter. Its thinner mouthfeel and silkiness definitely lend it to the porter style, and not to the thick and chewy stouts, but it works beautifully. This beer is not revolutionary, nor is it even that weird in today’s beer world, but it is well crafted and richly nuanced. I think it could do with a little aging to smooth out the cloying alcohol in the middle of the sip, but I still think it’s great to drink now. I would love to see the variations of this beer, as it is rich and flavorful on its own. This beer is also one of the best “ABV for Price” beers I have ever purchased. Yes, it comes in a 12 oz. bottle, but its 11.5% and I bought mine for $4. Try this beer.