Wiper and True: Porter: Plum Pudding (England: Porter: 6.5% ABV)
Visual: Opaque black. Large creamy brown froth head.
Nose: Grated chocolate dust. Roasted notes and crushed peanuts. Slightly wheaty. Slight cloying sour touch. Mulled wine. Slight tart berries.
Body: Bitter cocoa. Roasted nuts. Coriander. Slight charring. Cinnamon sticks and light greenery. Slight sour berries.
Finish: Grated bitter chocolate and cocoa dust. Coriander. Light chalk. Cinnamon sticks. Toasted teacakes. Greenery. Slight tart berries.
Conclusion: Ok, I think by naming this Plum Pudding they were misleading expectations. Not too much, they were aiming for a Christmas theme it seems and this is a Christmas themed beer – but it feels more like mulled beverages than it calls to mind plum anything for me.
So – Setting myself a new rule 1- now I have mentioned that fact, and now I will here express mild disappointment in that fact – with that done, now I will look at it as how it works as a mulled spice beer and judge it as that rather than as a Plum Pudding beer.
Ok, now that is done, let’s split this into how well the porter base works, and how well the spice and pizazz on top of that works. The base is very solid – bitter cocoa and chocolate, slightly roasted with a well balanced mouthfeel. Not light, not thick – a good look when you are doing a porter rather than a stout, something smooth, but with just a bit of weight. It leans towards the darker, more bitter and charred flavours without being dominated by them. Not much in the way of sweetness and a surprising lack of coffee notes considering how popular that has been with porters for a while now. It, like a lot of Wiper and True stuff, is utterly rock solid and works its slight harsh edges well.
However the base, solid as it is, is not special. As just that I would be impressed but not enthralled. The spice is, well, the spice to the meal. I’m not a huge spice beer kind of guy, but here it is present while avoiding omnipresence. Kind of my preferred use for spice. Lots of cinnamon sticks in there – not sweetly done – kind of done drier, mixing in with coriander and greenery flavours that come out. Very much an understated mulled beer, which works a lot better than I expected it to on the first few sips.
On top of that there is even -and I don’t know if this comes from base malt, hops or extra ingredients – a light tart berries character that just about manages to keep the spice and dark notes from becoming too harsh.
So, not a … forgive me for this … not a plum choice (Oh I am going to hell for that one. And for being an atheist), but solid as hell, very high quality mulled style porter. Not quite must have, but you won’t regret giving it a go.
Background: Grabbed from Independent Spirit, this is one of my semi regular returns to Wiper and True’s stuff. They are a very solid one to return to and tend to go from good to exceptional. This is a porter made with mixed fruit, cinnamon and lemon zest. I have no idea if any of the mixed fruit is, in fact, plums. Not much else to say apart from I was expecting this to be at least good going in.