NOTCH ONE FOR PORTER in its ongoing death-match with stout, as well as one for Nils Oscar for this potently earthy brew. Plenty of tang and a slightly gnarly attitude here that one usually wouldn’t find in a stout, even before considering the beechwood-smoked seasonal ham roast aroma that comes from 80% of its malts. A slight metallic finish grows over a bottle’s worth to replace the initial bread crust and caramel notes, and the Fuggle/Amarillo hops become more apparent in its midsection as well, but roasted malt is still the lasting impression. The creamy and faintly yellow head takes some coaxing and carbonation, and though prominent on entry doesn’t kick up too much—thus it may mellow a bit overmuch in aging. But such an investment would be worthwhile, as this has plenty of flavor to go around and isn’t yet too sweet at any stage. Nearly black color with hints of red, like a port, robust by its 5.9% and middling body (estimate 3 final Plato). None of the greasy vibe some smoked beers give off and uncommonly balanced, considering its recipe. Improves continually as it warms.
Served: 500 ml bottle best by Nov ’15