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Beer #8 – January 8, 2010: Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter

January 8, 2010

Beer: Stovepipe Porter

Brewery: Otter Creek Brewing, Middlebury, VT

Style: Porter

Serving Type: Bottle – Bottled on 10/05/2009

Price: $7.99 / 6-pack

Availability: Year-Round

Glassware: Mug

Strength: 5.4% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: People often think that dark beers are heavy beers, but a beer’s color has nothing to do with body, strength or alcohol content.  This is a very “sessionable” (you can drink all night) smooth dark ale.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a deep but clear garnet black with a thin cream-colored head

Aroma: Sweet malt, roasted, slightly herbal

Mouthfeel: Not heavy, but has some substance

Taste: The initial raw sugar and coffee flavors remind me of “Manhattan Special”, a rich espresso soda that was in the cooler case of every pizzeria in my old neighborhood in the Bronx (though made in Brooklyn).  There is no real coffee in this beer, but the roasted malt flavors suggest similar flavors to coffee.  Flavors of cocoa powder, earthy kava root and mild peppery notes come through as well.  The finish has a slight char and a little bitter edge.  Overall, quite smooth and interesting.

Pairing: Trader Joe’s 73% Cacao Dark Belgian Chocolate Covered Almonds.  Trust me.

Trivia: Malted barley comes in many varieties, with color lending some hint to flavor.  Caramel malt is both caramel colored and has a caramel-like sweetness.  Chocolate malt is indeed a deep rich chocolaty brown and gives chocolate / cocoa flavors to a beer.   Biscuit malt, on the other hand, is somewhat lighter in color, and provides a bready, biscuit-like flavor.  Black patent malt is the darkest of all malts, kilned till almost charred, and gives that deep dark color to Porters and Stouts, and used sparingly to give a subtle over-roasted, slightly burnt flavor.

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