Ding Points: 87.00
Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00
Dark brown (close to black) pour with a modest, pitted, light beige colored head. Lace is medium, retention OK as the beer settles to a pleasing film and collar on, and around, the surface of the beer. A LOT of floaties – a lot. The (presumably) yeast pieces, resemble a cork that has disintegrated into the beer.
The nose is very malty with a little Belgian yeast. It almost smells a little like a bready, Brown Ale. A few dryish chocolate notes, too.
The tastes offer an interesting combo of light tartness (not necessarily discernible to me as cherry), a little ‘lacto’ milk character, and some dry Baker’s chocolate/cocoa. Mouthfeel is pretty light too, but it comes with a really good depth of flavor. The mouthfeel makes the beer very drinkable and moreish without detracting from the tastes.
The finish is a little dry, but not as dry as a combination of potentially puckering cherries and cocoa might initially suggest. A pleasing bitterness about the beer which is nicely balanced and tempered with a light licorice note in the finish. The chocolate definitely wins the battle of the additions, with the cherries taking a back seat. To me, it feels as if the tartness of the fruit with the milky nature of the chocolate produces a beer which has some milk stout character. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sweeter than most of those and gives a decent Belgian Dark character, but there is something undeniably lacto surrounding the beer for me. The more I drink of it, the more it feels like it’s going from milk chocolate character to dark chocolate, and this is a nice complexity revealed.
I really like this. There’s a very good depth of flavor packed into a beer that one might expect to come with a heftier ABV than the 6.8% advertised. I’ve drunk many beers with higher ABV’s that don’t do as much as this.
Belgian Porter? Well, I can see where that moniker might originate from, but the beer really drinks more like a chocolatey, light lacto, Belgian Dark, but of course that wouldn’t make any sense! As a self-confessed style traditionalist I don’t really like the Belgian Porter reference, but another part of me (that loves to have the bottles’ label description match the contents), feels better about the words on the outside.
Good stuff, definitely recommended.
Other: 6.8% ABV, Belgian Dark Ale.