Brewdog: Christmas Porter (Scotland: Porter: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: A very dark brown to black. Loose bubbles in an espresso style form a head of light coffee brown. No immediately evident carbonation.

Body: Pepper seeds. Bubble gum. Cloyed cream. Milky coffee. Slight dusty chocolate. Orange juice. Warms to a more roasted character.

Body: Bubblegum, lemongrass. Milky chocolate. Bitter, definitely bitter. Tingly. Quite smooth. Slight pineapple. Slight mulled beverage spices.

Finish: Strawberry crème centres. Hops and chilli seeds. Dry hoppy bitterness. Bitter chocolate. Sour dough.

Conclusion: Here is my small acknowledgement that Christmas exists. A review of a Christmas beer. Woo. Yeah don’t all celebrate at once.

This has Alice porter at its base, but has a few distinctive differences. Aside from the obvious note of the extra ingredients that is.  The sorachi ace hop seems to have freer reign in this expression, making the bubblegum and lemongrass more full on. In contrast the cloying elements seem smoothed out, giving a much more easy to drink beverage. Possibly this could be attributed to the coca nibs, but I wouldn’t want to take that bet.

All the special ingredients seem to have similar restrained influences. The chilli hints itself in the occasional tingle, and the spice is moderate, an element of the beer rather than defining it.  Some people I’ve spoken to are not happy about this but I appreciate the subtlety. Its there, but only on examination, which is pleasing and rewards exploration of the beers nuances.

Not a huge jump from Alice Porter but the refinements are appreciated. The extra smoothness is key to making it a much more approachable beer, and the extra flavour means that you spend more time with it once you start. A good combination.  Compared to the overwhelming spice assault to “There Is No Santa” this is far more elegant and enjoyable.  So it has improved the quality Alice Porter, and actually defines well a quality Christmas. By that I mean the Christmas elements are unobtrusive and doesn’t get in my face every sodding thirty seconds. A beer all Christmas organisers should learn from.

Thanks Brewdog.

Background: This beer is based on Alice porter but has orange, cocoa and chilli added.  The base beer used the Sorachi Ace hop which is a favourite of mine, so I presume this beer does too. I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog despite my best efforts. With the time of year being what it is, I have had far too much home mulled wine beer and the like over the past week or two at Capoeira gatherings. This has left me quite amenable to the mulled styling. I may not be a huge fan of Christmas. So sue me.