Jack’s Abby Barrel-Aged Graham Cracker Framinghammer

Every year, my Dad’s side of the family has a reunion at my parents’ house. I usually end up cooking a lot and finally get to relax when the s’mores are brought out, so I was very interested in trying this beer.

ABV: 12%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Big, bold, black, and aged in bourbon barrels with graham crackers and lactose. Ever wonder what a s’mores beer would taste like? Look no further. The lengthy conditioning period in the barrels creates a silky smooth chocolatey mouth feel enhanced by the use of oats and brown sugar during the brew process. Noticeable sweetness gets balanced by roasted malt and hop bitterness.”

Random: This beer comes in at 45 IBUs.

The beer poured with a three finger, thick, light brown head. It took forever to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was black with some visible carbonation. The nose was filled with roasted malt and smoke and quickly transitioned into dark chocolate, graham cracker and burnt marshmallow. The taste was just like a s’more with more smoke. There was a lot of dark chocolate and burnt marshmallow up front. Graham cracker and brown sugar came through next. There was some oak and vanilla as well. The body was thick and chewy with moderate carbonation. It had a sticky sweet finish with brown sugar and graham cracker. I liked the beer a lot, although due to the sweetness, I couldn’t see having more than one. This is worth searching out.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Grimm Cassiopeia

When Val and I were in Hawaii, I loved looking at the stars because you could see so many more of them because of the lack of light pollution. I still like looking at the stars here, it’s just not quite as nice.

ABV: 10%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Cassiopeia is an imperial porter brewed for the onset of winter. Black as the night sky, our imperial porter is brewed from a blend of premium dark malts chosen for their complex caramel/chocolately/fruity qualities. Cool-fermented with a clean Scotch ale yeast that emphasizes malty richness and earthy, mossy aromatics — think of Cassiopeia as a Baltic Porter fermented like a Wee Heavy. This velvety, warming ale is surprisingly well attenuated, light on the palate and digestible. Cassiopeia is best served in a tulip glass or snifter at 45-55* F. It will age well, developing pleasant sherry notes in the bottle with extended cellaring. It pairs perfectly with chocolate, roasted and smoked meats, blue cheeses, and cold winter nights.”

Random: This beer has candi sugar added to it.

The beer poured with a one finger, light brown head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was black in color with no visible carbonation. The nose was filled with dark chocolate, espresso and some smoke as well. The taste had a bit more complexity than the nose. I picked up the same dark chocolate, espresso and smoke, but a caramel sweetness came through next. It paired nicely with the vanilla and leather notes. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sticky with chocolate and espresso. I cellared this beer for awhile, so I don’t recall the price, but I always pick up beers from Grimm, no matter how expensive they are. I thought this was another outstanding beer from Grimm. Since this is a Winter seasonal, you’ll have to wait another six months to get it, but it’s worth the wait.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Hardywood Savor X

This beer was one that I was excited to pop open. After Savor, some people popped them open on the street and drank them (I’m sure their hangover the next day told them this was a bad call), but I wanted to give it a bit of time. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 10%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to Savor’s website, “Exciting news, SAVOR fans! We’d like to share some early details on the 2017 collaboration beer: SAVOR X. This year’s beer (and parting gift to all SAVOR guests) is the result of a partnership between Virginia’s Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company. SAVOR X is a robust Baltic porter brewed with Virginia-sourced hops and Colorado-sourced cocoa husks. Here’s what lucky tasters of this one-of-a-kind beer can expect: Aromatics: Dark fruit, caramel, light coffee and milk chocolate. Tasting notes: Rich, creamy, roasted malt; caramel; dark chocolate; rounded bitterness. Appearance: Black with red hue. ABV: 10%. ‘We are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Peter Bouckaert and New Belgium Brewing on this beer for the 10th anniversary of SAVOR,’ said Patrick Murtaugh, master brewer and co-founder of Hardywood. ‘SAVOR X is a 10% ABV Baltic Porter with pleasant notes of roasted malt and caramel. The addition of cocoa husks from Nuance Chocolate in Fort Collins provides a distinct milk chocolate finish.’ Every attendee will leave with a bottle of SAVOR X to savor at home!”

Random: Savor was probably the best beer festival I’ve been to.

The beer poured with no head on top of a dark brown body. Due to how dark the beer was, I couldn’t determine the amount of carbonation. The nose was complex. It had a lot of dark malts, milk chocolate, coffee and dates. The taste was even more complex. The booze made an appearance early, but was easily overtaken by chocolate, dates, caramel, toffee and vanilla. It had a thick body with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sticky sweet with caramel. This beer was free since I went to Savor, but this was a delicious sipper. I would highly recommend this one.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Jack’s Abby Barrel-Aged Framinghammer – Cordon Rouge

Val and I are watching a marathon of “Say Yes To The Dress.” One couple wanted to get married in the water with dolphins. That would definitely be an interesting wedding. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.

ABV: 10%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Big, bold, black, and aged in bourbon barrels with orange peel. The lengthy conditioning period in the barrels creates a silky smooth chocolatey mouth feel enhanced by the use of oats and brown sugar during the brew process. Noticeable sweetness gets balanced by roasted malt and hop bitterness. Additional flavors include bourbon, oak, and spice.”

Random: This beer comes in at 45 IBUs.

This beer poured with half a finger of tan head. It went away quickly and left no lacing on the glass, but did leave a small crown on top. The body was black with no visible carbonation. The nose had notes of cigar ash and red wine. I didn’t pick up any of the orange peel. There was also some smoke and roasted malt. The taste had a lot of leather and tobacco. It quickly went into red grapes, licorice and smoke. There was a slight note of orange peel. It had a thick and syrupy body that was a bit overwhelming with apparent alcohol. There was no carbonation to cut it either. The finish was syrupy with orange and bourbon. This was yet another beer gift, so no word on price, but this was my least favorite of the Framinghammer series. I wouldn’t rush to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Jack’s Abby Bourbon Barrel Aged Framinghammer

Tonight’s beer is another selection from the Framinghammer family. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 10%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Big, bold, black, and aged in bourbon barrels. This unusual lager style has many similarities to Imperial Stouts. A lengthy conditioning period creates a silky smooth chocolatey mouth feel enhanced by the use of oats and brown sugar. Noticeable sweetness gets balanced by roasted malt and hop bitterness. Additional flavors include bourbon, vanilla, and oak.”

Random: This beer came in at 45 IBUs and is an April release.

The brew poured with a huge, three and a half finger than head. It went away slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass along with a significant crown. The body was dark brown with no visible carbonation because of the color. The nose was more charred wood than anything else. It almost had a rye spice with a strong bourbon note and dark, roasted malts. After it warmed, I picked up some vanilla as well. The taste was equally strong bourbon notes with charred wood and dark malts. There was a dark chocolate note as well. Alcohol was overt on this beer. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with bourbon and vanilla. This is yet another beer gift, so no commentary on the cost. I think I did myself a disservice by having some of the variants of the beer first because I thought this was only alright, although it did make for a good Winter sipper.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Jack’s Abby Barrel-Aged PB&J Framinghammer

Tonight’s beer is one that my parents brought me home from a trip. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 12%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Big, bold, black, and aged in bourbon barrels with peanut butter and jelly. The lengthy conditioning period in the barrels creates a silky smooth chocolatey mouth feel enhanced by the use of oats and brown sugar. Noticeable sweetness gets balanced by roasted malt and hop bitterness. Additional flavors include bourbon, vanilla, and oak.”

Random: I’m in the middle of “Turn.” I love this series. There’s so much history in it. I hope they renew it for another season.

This beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown and had no visible carbonation. The nose was filled with grape jelly and cocoa powder. There wasn’t much peanut aspect to the nose. The taste had grape preserves and milk chocolate. There was a very slight hint of peanut butter and needed a lot more to balance this out. There was also a lack of oak and vanilla from the bourbon barrel aging. There was slightly more peanut butter as the beer warmed. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with grape jelly. I have no clue how much this beer was since I received this as a gift, but no matter what the price, this needed more balance and refining.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Jack’s Abby Barrel-Aged Mole Framinghammer

One of the benefits of blogging by my bay window is that I get to see all of the deer walking by. It’s even better when the bunnies are on the lawn. Anyways, beer time.

ABV: 12%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Big, bold, black, and aged in bourbon barrels with cocoa nibs, chili peppers, and whole cinnamon sticks. The lengthy conditioning period in the barrels creates a silky smooth chocolatey mouth feel enhanced by the use of oats and brown sugar during the brew process. Noticeable sweetness gets balanced by roasted malt and hop bitterness. Additional flavors include bourbon, oak, and spice.”

Random: I could go for a Mexican hot chocolate right now.

The brew poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated almost instantly. It left no lacing on the glass and no crown either. The body was a dark brown that was almost black, with no visible carbonation. The nose started with a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg. It had some shaved dark chocolate as well, but no chili peppers. There was some smoke too. The taste had a lot more depth than the nose. It started with the same shaved dark chocolate, but the cinnamon was more muted, although present. Chili peppers gave it a slight warming note and some vanilla came through next. The bourbon barrel was at the perfect level and didn’t overwhelm the other flavors. The alcohol was so well-hidden that this beer was ridiculously dangerous. It had a lengthy finish with cinnamon and dark chocolate. All of the flavors worked so well together and having it at 55 degrees was the perfect temperature. I have no idea how much this beer cost since it was a gift, but I would pay a decent amount of money for this one. This is worth searching out.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Jack’s Abby Vanilla Barrel-Aged Framinghammer

I’ve finally gotten through my backlog of reviews. I also took a week off from drinking and reviewing. I think that I’ll have something special tonight to celebrate getting through all of these reviews. This beer specifically is one that I was very excited to try. Anything that is barrel aged tends to be in wheelhouse and I don’t think I’ve ever had a barrel aged beer from Jack’s Abby.

vanillabourbonframinghammer

ABV: 10%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Big, bold, black, and aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans. The lengthy conditioning period in the barrels creates a silky smooth chocolatey mouth feel enhanced by the use of oats and brown sugar. Noticeable sweetness gets balanced by roasted malt and hop bitterness. Additional flavors include bourbon, vanilla, and oak.”

Random: This beer is an April release.

The brew poured with a one finger, khaki colored head that dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose had bourbon, leather and tobacco with tons of smoke. The taste was filled with oak, bourbon and smoke. It had a caramel note too. I also picked up some toasted malt and some booze. It had a thick body with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy with booze, oak and smoke. I enjoyed this beer quite a lot, especially because it was free. If I saw it on the shelf again, I would pick it up to see how it aged.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Devils Backbone Danzig Baltic Porter

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a Baltic Porter. I tend to really like the style and given that it’s getting colder, I should find some others to crack open. This is another beer from the Val DC trip stash.

danzig

ABV: 8%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A Baltic-style porter that blends a strong English porter with a Germanic lager approach, fairly robust – this strong black lager has notes of chocolate and coffee with hints of caramelized sugar. Black, Roast, Chocolate. Our Trail Blazers stray from the beaten path into a world of robust and daring beers featuring bigger, bolder flavors for fueling your spirit of adventure. Imagine yourself stepping out of the pilot house onto the pitching deck of a merchant ship plunging through the frigid Baltic Sea night. Squinting against the grey black horizon you spy in the distance the odd sparkle and glimmer; the far away lights of the Baltic port of Danzig are bidding you welcome. Tonight you will feast on dark rye bread and smoked pork sausage, all washed down by the famous strong black lager of the region, the Baltic-style Porter.”

Random: I think Danzig is a band…maybe?

This brew poured with a quarter of a finger of tan head that dissipated instantly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color, with no visible carbonation since it was so dark. The nose was filled with dark, roasted coffee and dark chocolate. It also had roasted malt, smoke and a hint of licorice. The taste was heavy with strong alcohol that took awhile to get used to. It had a coffee flavored syrup and roasted malts. It had smoke, but not nearly as much as the nose. It also had a treacle bread characteristic. The body was syrupy thick and had light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with the same treacle bread and coffee syrup and dark chocolate. This beer felt unrefined with how syrupy it was and the flavors did not transition well. This was $2 a bottle, which came to $.17 per ounce. As you can tell, I wasn’t a big fan of this beer. There are much better examples of the style.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Sixpoint 4Beans

It’s been about 4 months since my last Sixpoint beer. Much like this one, it was very polarizing in the craft beer community (Sixpoint Jammer) and I was not a big fan of it either. Let’s see how this beer was.

4beans

ABV: 10%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “With the addition of Madagascar vanilla beans, 4BEANS takes Sixpoint Imperial Porter to the next level. Romano beans used by bygone brewers provide body, as the flavors of dark malt, cocoa and coffee are rounded out by smooth vanilla. The result is a quadrality of roasted, savory, and complex flavors. Modern formulation meets Baltic tradition and BKLYN partnership… it’s Mad Science.”

Random: This beer is the big brother of Sixpoint 3Beans.

This beer poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. A slight crown was left on top of the dark brown body that had no visible carbonation. The nose had intense coffee and roasted malts. The taste started with notes of oily, coffee beans with some smoke as well. Roasted malts, dark chocolate and smoke came through as well. After a few sips, I picked up ash as well. The alcohol was well-integrated, but still had some warming that presented on the back of the throat. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. The finish was long and sticky with ash and dark chocolate. This was $3.50 for the single can ($.29 per ounce). I know this beer has gotten panned by a lot of people, but I thought it was solid. It wasn’t the best beer I had, but I had no major qualms with it.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0