Tag Archive: Port Brewing

Port Brewing Older Viscosity

Port Brewing: Older Viscosity (USA: American Strong Ale: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Medium sized chocolate froth brown head.

Nose: Thick bourbon. Caramel and toffee. Banana custard. Chocolate liqueur. Bitter chocolate shavings and chocolate sponge.

Body: Bitter chocolate cake. Slick and thick feel. Toffee and caramel. Bitter coffee. Slight bitter prickle. Slight spirit feel. Bourbon. Raisins.

Finish: Twix (aka chocolate, shortbread and toffee). Chocolate cake. Coconut meringues and, well, chocolate. Bourbon.

Conclusion: I guess I should give this a more rounded, and therefore fairer analysis than “Not bad”.

It’s not bad though.

This thing is very big on chocolate, like seriously big – it has sweet chocolate liqueur, bitter chocolate chunks, rough textured chocolate cake. This has a serious love of chocolate. It also is very big on bourbon. Very much influenced by the time in oak, spirity and with tons of caramel and toffee. For whatever elements it has it doesn’t do things by halves. Each element is rammed way up – the first feel is slick, but you soon realise there is thick viscous beer behind it pushing the powerful flavours.

Which, oddly enough, and slightly contrary to expectations, is why I only find it ok. It is all up front, and this means there is little surprise to the beer later on. Also it does feel a bit spirity and unrefined despite the smooth texture – the flavour is very good, but it doesn’t progress, it lacks the subtlety and range of many of its colleagues and competitors, and therefore does not become truly great.

The first few moments are where this beer really lived, there it is lovely, but by the end of the beer the lack of any variety means that it started to wear on me, Which is a pity as the notes it puts up front are excellent, and promises a special ale. The best I got progression wise was moving to a more raisin fruit beer, but that was about it.

I guess it is more a sign of the awesome state of the beer world more than anything else. A sign of exactly how high the quality bar is. because if this, which is a very nice beer, only seems ok, it is because I have encountered so many good beers. I imagine five years ago this would have blown me away.

High quality, but a bit brash and single minded, tad over spirity and lacking in progression.

Still, for all that, that one note it does it does very well.

Background: Older Viscosity, I’d heard of it a few times over the years. A beer from Port Brewing ( The USA style beer brewery also known as Lost Abbey for its Belgian style beers). Best I can tell there is a beer called Old Viscosity, which is partially barrel aged, this is the same but entirely barrel aged. This was picked up from Brewdog’s guest beer selection. Drunk while listening to White Crosses by Against Me! So far it hasn’t grabbed me as much as Transgender Dysphoria Blues, but it is growing on me.

Lost Abbey: Lost and Found (USA: Abbey Dubbel: 8% ABV)

Visual: Clear reddish brown. Large frothy sud like toffee coloured head.

Nose: Candy cane. Raisin. Slight oak. Chocolate dust. Brown sugar. Light cinnamon dusted coffee.

Body: Very smooth. Chocolate drinks. Plums and raisins. Sugar mice. Figs.  Brown sugar. Almonds. Candyfloss and chocolate liqueur.

Finish: Loose chocolate. More figs. Almond. Apricot. Chocolate liqueur. Light apple.

Conclusion:  This is a delicate one. Initially the beers seems weak on the tongue. A few moments with it though allows you to realise that this is just the immense smoothness of the main body. Roll the beer around the mouth for a while and the flavour builds up slowly, layer by layer. Even as each element is added on the abv is nigh completely masked, an impressive feat which I wonder how they achieve.

It is smooth and chocolaty, the dark fruits also call to the heavier interpretations of the abbey style.  The flavours, while taking a while to build up, last long, especially the chocolate. There are lots of lighter flavours as well, candy floss and sugar cane. The smoothness of the delivery is the thing here, from sugar cane to chocolate the delivery makes them seem like delicacies of the type.

I’m not sure if the added ingredients, such as raisin make much difference here. The flavours are close to what you would expect from the style anyway so it is hard to say what came from the beer and what from the raisins. I would imagine from my drinking of it that they enhance the current flavours rather than adding new ones to the beer.

As you can probably tell already the flavours build up well over time, there are new notes that come out over time and with changing temperatures.  I think my only real reservation is a personal one. It’s greatest strength can also be its main weakness. The smoothness seems a great contrast to the Belgium style it emulates. The Belgium beers tend to be much more evident in their flavours, even light abv beers are full flavoured and they never hide the force of the body. You are always well aware of what you are drinking.  The difference in intensity here is enough to almost seem a difference in type.

This smoothing out in the American interpretation could possibly be a call to different drinking cultures of the respective countries and expectations of the beers therefore, but it does cause some separation from the enjoyment of the beer for me as my expectations and the beer at hand clash.  This is however a personal thing as mentioned.

Overall it is very good, very smooth, and personal bias not withstanding it is very well done.

Background:  Lost Abbey (Aka the Belgium beer style producing side of Port Brewing) are widely viewed as one of the best makers of Belgium style ales outside of Belgium.  This bottle, which was shared with friends, is an attempt at the dubbel style which has had a raisin puree added to it for a little extra twist.  Picked up from Brewdogs guest beer section I had high hopes for this.

Port Brewing: High Tide: Fresh Hop IPA: USA: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellowed hazy body. Massive thick bubbled white head.  Small amount of sediment in the pour.

Nose: Resin. Pine cones. Meringue.  Dried apricots. Vanilla ice cream. As it warms adds toffee and cream.

Body: Good solid bitterness. Apricots. Resin.   Tangerine. Nettles. Light custard cream biscuits at the front. A tingly texture.

Finish:  Growing hop bitterness. Greenery. Still resin elements. Hop oils. Thick, slick texture that hangs on the tongue.

Conclusion: This thing froths up easily, if you aren’t careful on the pour it could bring a head bigger than a damn hefeweizen. Ok maybe not the most helpful start to a review but it’s definitely a true one.

The beer is an old school bitter kick. Lots of resin, greenery and hop bitterness. I half expected to find myself munching on leaves and twigs in the midst of the pint. The hop influence is very evident. Anyone who has ever rubbed hop leaves and felt the oils on their skin will recognize the feel this beer leaves in your mouth.  It encapsulates much more of the hop experience than your average beer.

Flavour wise it is surprising simple, predominantly hops, greenery and resin. It is much more about the texture than the flavour. The taste is good with nice apricot and tangerine, but it is the feel in the mouth that keeps me interested. The bitterness is bracing, the hop oils clinging and mouth freshening and the dry finish is thirst inducing.

I think these texture elements put it firmly in the fascinating beer group, if not quite into the fantastic grouping. It’s a very enjoyable experience.  If I compare it to Wipeout IPA it does badly, but that is being unfair to it as Wipeout IPA fricking rules and this is trying to be a very different type of beer.

This is more trying to be a hop experience, as mentioned not as much in flavour but in that it really expresses what a hop is in feel and oils and brings the bitterness in with it. For that I’m very glad I tried it. Not one I will return to frequently but I’m glad I had the chance to drink it.

Background: Port Brewing gained my respect heavily for their Wipeout IPA, so when I got the chance to try another IPA from them I jumped at the chance. This is brewed with fresh Centennial and Simcoe. Port Brewing is the American beer style side of the brewery also known as Lost Abbey. This was picked up from Brewdog’s Guest Beers selection.

Port Brewing: Wipeout IPA (USA: IPA: 7% ABV

Visual:Pale and light clear peach skin. A firm ice cream looking large frothy head that has a slight amber hue.

Nose: Lots of pineapple, peaches and grapefruit. Light hoppiness. Wheaty. Slight condensed cream.

Body: Hops and good bitterness. Wheat, apricot and cream. Pineapple, custard and peaches.

Finish: Solidly bitter and hopped. Apricot. The bitterness really grows over time here. Plums, oddly enough. Quite tongue drying.

Conclusion: This is so very nice. A sunset IPA, peach and grapefruit laden aspects with sweetening touches of custard and cream. Throw in the bitter hop back and you have yourself the makings of an impressive IPA.

Initially it doesn’t seem like an IPA though. It is so dominated by the fruity and sweet flavours that you can be confused. It’s still delicious, but its not until the finish that the bitterness and hops come through and remind you that’s an IPA in your hands.

Not over the top then, it takes sweetness and bitter and matches them so one slips seamlessly into the other. While the fruitiness is massively evident, it doesn’t play the hugest range of the flavours, but it more that makes up for it with the class with which it makes evident what it has. The peach and apricot flavours in particular dominate.

As said, a sunset IPA, or maybe a midsummer IPA, sweet and refreshing yet plenty bitter.

Not a mental over the top beer, a quality craft ale with knife edge balance. This is one of the all time great IPAs. So yep, I think its good.

Background: Port Brewing are also known for their Lost Abbey range of Belgium Style Ales. This, their more American styled ales, still have a very good reputation. Made with 5 hops, Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe and Summit.

Lost Abbey: 10 Commandments (USA: Belgian Strong Ale: 10% ABV)

Visual: A very dark ruby red with a fizz but no lasting head.

Nose: Honey, cough sweets or maybe lozenges. Raisins and slight apple vinegar.

Body: Mead, raisins. Smooth and malty with red grapes, malt loaf and slick oak barrels, Sweetness comes in glacier cherries, syrup and lozenges.  Mixed in is barley, sesame seeds with a hint of red wine and slight milk chocolate.

Finish:  Mead and white grapes. Bitter. Still feels thick on the tongue at this point. Sour red wine mixes with gin in the air. Crab apples, slight charred oak and the influence of fruitcake and raisins.

Conclusion: I’ve been calling a lot of beers vinous recently but this really takes the cake for it.  Mead (honey wine) in the nose, red wine in the body and white wine touches in the finish, with each element seeping through to the other stages as well.

Truly fruity, and yes vinous then, in many ways feels more like a replication of an old traditional style ale that your expected Belgium style ale. By alternate motions you get almost sickly sweetness and acidic sourness playing in the same glass.

I’ve found that often unusual ingredients can end up getting lost in a strong beer and end up being just a gimmick, but that definitely is not the case here. The rosemary, raisin and honey are in full display, nigh dominating the beer.  This actually reminds me a bit of Moors Fusion, but with a lot more on display.  I have a feeling that this beer would age marvellously as well.

Effectively a wine of the beer world, without compromising the power or smoothness that can come from an ale. The only thing I mark it down for is that the honey can occasionally be present too much, as if trying to have its sweetness fight the sourness of the main beer.

What we have here is a beer that calls to the tartness of sour brown ales, honey sweetness that calls to mead and a lot in between.  Unless you will hate the wine styling, then this is a very good beer.

Background: Lost Abbey is the other name of Port Brewing and is dedicated to making Belgium style ales.  This beer in particular is made with honey, rosemary and raisins.  Rate beer lists as 9% ABV, but the bottle lists 10% which I have gone with. This beer was shared with friends due to its size and abv, and aid was given with trying to name some of the odder flavours.

The Lost Abbey: Angel Share: Bourbon Barrel (USA: Barley Wine:12.5% ABV)

Visual: Very dark red wine to black, with no head and very little fizz.

Nose: Red wine, vanilla. Smooth creamy chocolate. Immense black cherries, fudge and black treacle.  Almost chewable, yet sweet. Fresh plums and prunes next to the more subtle spiced blood orange. Coconut and digestive biscuits at the outliers.

Body: Very slick. Toffee and treacle. Marzipan. A mix of milk and bitter chocolate depending on the moment.  Raisins, gin and vanilla. Very light hints of prunes, orange and black cherry. Initially very light, but builds.

Finish: Liquorice, aniseed. Blackcherry again mixing with port.  Bitter, but still slick. Bitter chocolate. Evident, but not overpowering alcohol. Coffee liquors. Big toffee and Cadburys cream eggs.

Conclusion: When pouring this I had to check twice to make sure I hadn’t picked up a stout by mistake. It pours heavy and thick with a nose not entirely unlike Good King Henry.

The body dispels that illusion, well partially. It still has massive chocolate, which calls to the Imperial Stout style, but the body has a very stylish smoothness and lightness of touch that even the slickest stout does not match.

Initially it is over smooth and slightly light, which results in the flavour not coming out well. Thankfully it grows, with subtle sweet slickness intertwined into the wine and chocolate body.  It’s still very slick, and seems very much a barley wine in the Port Brewing tradition.

So an almost Barley Stout (or Imperial Barley Stout) beer, subtle and yet rich. Its only weakness it the slow build up required to get the body moving properly. Sliightly sickly sweet, like Cadburys cream eggs or crème brulee, definitely a beer that encourages moderation.

A great beer, with just a few small points against it.

Background: The big 450th tasting note. I’ve heard about the Lost Abbey for a while, and have tried a few beers from the Port Brewing side of the production (Which in the case of older viscosity seems to share a remarkable amount of character with this beer). This beer was picked up from Brewdogs Bar in Scotland, and it was only on reading the back I realised this was the Bourbon aged variant, which is slightly rarer to my knowledge.  Due to its rep as one of ratebeers top 50 beers I decided to save it for one of my event tastings, and with this being the 450th I thought it was a good time to break it out.

%d bloggers like this: