Bristol Brewers United: Smoked Porter : Bristol Collaboration 2012 (England: Porter: 6% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown with a red hue if held to the light. Dustings of vanilla froth coloured head that is more froth than bubbles. The head leaves a coffee cup side like trail as you drink.

Nose: Smoke. Rye bread. Dried beef jerky. Slight roasted elements.

Body: Very malty. Toffee and vanilla at the back. Smoke. A charred undercurrent and occasional liquorice trick.  Slight jelly like fruitiness with pineapple chunks. Slick and thick texture that comes slightly oily.

Finish: Slightly oily. Roasted and with a lot of smoke. Slight medicinal touch. Bubblegum. Still highly malted.

Conclusion: So do many hands make light work, or do too many cooks spoil the broth? Or other clichés.

Also, holy shit, how many breweries exist in one sodding city, and they all managed to get together to make this? Impressive.

The beer really shows the influence of the varied brewers involved.  It feels like new school fruity hops, an old school roasted base, very smooth character, restrained smoke and slight oiliness, all combined into an amazingly easy to drink pint.

Put it all together and, well, I have to say I’m impressed. The flavour is sweet but balanced by the roasted elements and smoke. It’s very BBF in its mix of old and new elements. There is a very solid sweet malt base which they build everything else off. This allows the smoke to be layered upon, and even just the very slightest Island medicinal character in the finish to keep you on the toes.  Very, very restrained though, more a hint that a full element so don’t let that put you off if that’s not your scene. The main elements are the sweet and smooth.

It is a restrained enough beer that you could manage a couple without being sickly, but it is still full of flavour.  It is a sign of the more old school brewers influences that this seems very well designed to take full advantage of the real ale and cask style to give a distinctive full bodied character.

Overall, yeah, if you can try it, do. It is extremely good.  Maybe I am being biased by the fact that it is such a big collaboration, or maybe by the fact that it is such a limited run. I can’t promise I’m not being influenced by that, all I can say is I really enjoyed this beer and I hope you do to.

Background: A collaboration between (deep breath) Bristol Beer Factory, GWB, Bath Ales (Which oddly, is in Bristol), RCH, Zero Degrees and Arbor Ales. That is some serious talent there.  I had to do some ringing around to hunt this down. Many thanks to James, the manager at The Salamander, who contacted me to let me know that it was on cask. (As of today it is available, there’s not much of it so if you want to try it I would advise going right away). Due to not having my camera on me at the time the photos are from a set taken on BBF’s Grain Barge – thanks to my mates for help with that one.