Tag Archives: Porter

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 23 – Du Claw Sweet Baby Java

Image result for sweet baby java

So, I’m in Hawaii now. Enjoying the sun and the beach. I’ll be back in the new year with new posts. I’ve got another day of this Calendar to go and then I’ve got my write-up on Beau’s New Lang Syne which you can find in liquor marts and beer vendors around town. As a spoiler, I’d go buy one. It’s a fantastic beer and I think it’ll be a great addition to your New Years celebrations.

Today we have a beer from DuClaw brewery and is called Sweet Baby Java. It’s an Espresso Bean Infused Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter and sounds pretty tasty.

In 1996 Duclaw brewery opened its doors in Bel Air.  Within one year it had been dubbed Bel Air’s hippest establishment by a local newspaper. The founder, Dave Benfield, had one central pillar of his mission: to be cool.

Today, Dave and brew master Jim Wagner are the ones responsible for the wide array of craft beers made by Du Claw. Through the experimentation they have created over 35 unique beers and countless variations and blends.  They’ve got quite the write-up on their website, check it out.

Porters are a dark style of beer that was originally developed in London from well-hopped beers made with brown malt.  Originally this style of beer was created by mixing an old ale (stale or soured), a new ale (brown or pale ale) and a weak one (mild ale) to combine and create a new beer altogether than balanced the flavours and left a pleasing beer that was neither like the new nor the old.

Porters and Stouts are of the same stock.  In fact, when Guinness first launched its world-renowned stout it was as a focus on the mass-production of Porter.  At the time, there were two strengths of porters, either X or XX.  Stout at the time simply referred to a strong or robust ale, it has since developed due to the advent of coffee roasters and many of the malts that they could use to impart both colour and flavor, but originally this was its meaning.  Porters were part of this thread.

Appearance – Pours an abysmal black with about a quarter finger of tan head.
Smell –
Peanut butter on the nose along with some undertones of chocolate and coffee and roasted malt.
Taste –
Brings some crazy peanut butter notes dominating the palate along with some undertones of roasted malt, coffee beans, and chocolate.
Mouthfeel –
Medium bodied with good carbonation and nice semi-sweet finish.
Overall –
Good beer. Brings some interesting combinations of peanut butter, chocolate and coffee that, while the latter two are undertones, work well together. The porter base provides a good vehicle for these flavours without overpowering them and allows it to really be what it says it is.
Do I like it? –
I did like it. I love peanut butter and it was certainly at the forefront of this beer for me. The addition of the chocolate and coffee balanced it out a bit.

Beer 4 – Strathroy Brewing Company – 1815 XXXX Peacemaker

Beer 4 - Strathroy Brewing Company - 1815 XXXX Peacemaker

Things are really starting to heat up in Manitoba in respect to the craft beer scene.  Peg Beer just launched their merchandise site, announced some of there beers and launched the PEG 100 club.  The memberships went like hotcakes and are certainly going to be worth the entrance.  We also have Torque Brewing who have officially signed their lease and are getting things organized at the brewery. Barn Hammer is coming along as well and are finalizing preparations on the brew house.  Needless to say after I get back to the Peg in January, it’s going to be a different beer scene and I’m very excited for that.

This morning I had a much easier time getting the bottle of beer out of the advent calendar.  I think it’s just the cans that are going to be a pain.  Really hard to get a grip on those guys.  Today’s beer comes to us from the small municipality of Strathroy-Cardoc and is Strathroy Brewing Company’s 1815 XXXX Peacemaker.

In June of 2014, after months of work converting an old flour mill into a micro-brewery, Alex Martin produced his first batch of 1812 Independence Pale Ale.  He turned his homebrew hobby into a business with the help of friends and family.   Alex brought his older brother Matthew, an avid home brewer and chemical engineer, into the business.  Matthew combines his brewing knowledge and scientific expertise into the brewing of Strathroy Brewing Company’s beers.

They’ve both worked very hard to get their beer into local pubs and restaurants.  Alex is a history buff and thus the name of the beer as 1812 Independence Ale, referencing the war of 1812.  The beer we have today, the 1815 Peacemaker, represents the treaty of Ghent, Belgium, the end of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and over 200 years of Peace between Canada and the USA.  Check out Alex talking about the beer.

This beer is a Belgian Brown Porter.  Now, this style of beer is a combination of a British Porter and Belgian strong ale.  Porters, like stouts, are dark and heavy beers that have been malted heavily.  They are rich and often flavored with chocolate, coffee, or caramel malts to give them some balance to that richness.  Belgian dark strong ales are also malty with fruity esters and bready malts.  The combination of these two styles should make for a rich malty beer with subtle spice and fruit esters. I’m excited to give it a try.  You may see this beer called a Traditional Ale.  This is a catch all for beers that do not fit within particular styles and are typically ancient or old styles not brewed often.

Appearance – Dark Amber.  Think tan head that fades quickly leaving slight lacing.
Smell – Black cherry, toffee, caramel notes.
Taste – Slightly sweet on start and bitter on finish. Interesting transition between the two.
Mouth feel – Almost a little too light for such a dark beer, very thin in consistency with lots of carbonation.  Slightly bitter finish.
Overall – It’s ok.  It’s a bit lacking in the flavour department. Decent for the style.
Do I like it?
– It’s okay.  I find that it lacks any depth of flavour.  I get a lot on the nose and I’d like to see that translate at least somewhat into the taste. Unfortunately it doesn’t.


Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 17

Beer 17

Today’s beer comes to us from Yorkshire, England.  The Wold Top Brewery is located on 600 acres of farmland in Yorkshire.  Owned by the family for generations, the traditional farm was not bringing in enough revenue.  The decision was made to diversify – after 8 years of planning and discussing, in 2003 they brewed their first beer.  Since then they have grown to include numerous traditional recipes and brew many beers that are distributed around the UK.

Being on a farm, brewery owners Tom and Gill use ingredients that they grow right on site.  Leaving space between their crops to allow for biodiversity, they make every attempt to brew using sustainable methods and local self-grown ingredients!  The beer we will be trying from them today is a seasonal that is typically brewed as a cask ale (a beer brewed and served from an oak cask) that they have bottled for limited distribution.  The beer is called the Marmalade Porter!

Porters, like stouts, are dark and heavy beers that have been malted heavily.  They are rich and often flavored with chocolate, coffee, or caramel malts to give them some balance to that richness. This one uses both barley and corn malts. It was rare to see corn malts in a beer until recently when the numbers of those with gluten intolerances soared.  Now we find corn and even sorghum malts used in beers to make them “gluten free.”  This one is not 100% gluten free – while it does meet the requirements for those who simply have an intolerance, it would not be good for those with celiac.  On to the beer!

Rating: 75/100

Appearance: Rich dark brown with no apparent head.
Smell: Chocolate, coffee, caramel and sweetness are apparent in the smell.  Hints of orange at the end.
Taste: Rich and heavy with a strong malt flavor and good sweetness.  Has an odd metallic taste to it and a strange after taste that I attribute to the use of corn malts.  Flavors are good and it is not overly sweet.  Not a high quality porter but a unique one in the use of corn malts and the flavor profile.
Mouth feel: Rich and full bodied with mild carbonation.
Overall: A standard porter. Nothing spectacular about it but it also does not have anything really dragging it down other than the metallic taste and the odd aftertaste.  The choice of malts was a good one, other than perhaps the use of corn malts in this case.  The flavor profile is nice and provides for a good balance.  Corn malts in a porter where malts are super important is a risky choice.  I don’t think it worked here.
Do I like it: I didn’t not like it, I’ll say.  It is definitely not my favorite beer and one that I likely wouldn’t want to have again.  It is a beer that I’d be fine drinking if there was nothing else but not one I would seek out to drink again.  Overall it’s an average porter and an average beer.