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Nickel Brook Maple Porter - Better Bitters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nickel Brook Maple PorterNickel Brook Maple Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

65 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 65
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.35
pDev: 18.51%
Wants: 0
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Better Bitters Brewing Co. visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
A fragrant, dark ruby porter, brewed with a blend of six malts, toasted barley and infused with pure, dark Canadian maple syrup. The result is a complex mixture of roasted malt and maple syrup flavours and aromas.

Nickel Brook Maple Porter is a unique Canadian interpretation of an ancient classic!

18 IBU

(Beer added by: pootz on 04-04-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 65 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of deonreds
4.5/5  rDev +34.3%

deonreds, Jul 13, 2013
Photo of Noxious26
4.15/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Special edition 341ml bottle via Pootz poured in a pint glass.

Almost looks more like a brown ale. Chestnut brown with a 1/4 inch beige head on the pour. Head settles to a thin cap.

Aroma is more like a porter though. Roasted and toasted malts, syrup sweetness (presumably the maple), subdued earthy-woody tones.

Roasted malts jump out right off the start. Then fade slightly into a tight prickly carbonation rush. After the rush, a woody, earthy, nutty quality comes through and pushes ahead at the finish. Some smokey-peaty qualities in the background. Mildly bitter roast malt finish with a little char.

Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Carbonation feels like tiny sharp little thorns on the tongue.

A very unique experience. Unlike any beer I've had before. Quite complex and layered. Attributes come to the foreground in varying degrees as it warms. Shares some qualities with a porter, and some qualities with an american brown ale. Styles be damned! Who says something as interesting and tantalizing as this has to fit a guideline?

Noxious26, May 10, 2007
Photo of pootz
4.13/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from the bright tank at the brewey prior to kegging...and from unfiltered bottles 3 weeks later

Tapped a hazed deep burished copper-cola color with ruby highlights and a wonderful frothy mocha cap...lasted well and laced well.

Aromas are subdued but complex...light toast, maple, hay, smoke, and some woody-earthyness.

Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel.

Starts with a flash of maltiness then the other flavors take you right away into a collage of nutty-smoked maple tastes while the hops rigidly maintain a tight cedar bittering....finished clean with the smokey maple and hops creating a unique marriage on the palate tending to a biting drying....slight metallic and bready after taste.

Remarkable...and it’s definately NOT sweet as you’d expect...this is a unique hybrid with a porter-like character and profile but with the "charred" astringency swapped out for cedar bittering and a lovely smokey-nutty- maple decernment that just works well in this malty ale with the dry finish.

Oh and did I mention its very drinkable?

Bravo to the brewer on this one...an experimental brew that works well

pootz, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of trevorwideman
4.1/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into a pint glass. Thanks to pootz for sending me this special, straight-from-the-tank, unfiltered sample.

Pours a lovely colour. dark but still a bit transclucent. The colours of autumn in southern Ontario, deep red with a bit of copper and orange when held up to the light. Medium-high carbonation keeps a nice bit of tan lacing even though it didn't produce a massive head. Smell is very unique. The maple aroma is very deep and heavy and earthy, much like maple syrup should smell, but surrounding it is a great roasted malt aroma with a woodiness that brings to mind fire and boiling maple sap and fresh baked goods. Vanilla tones are there as well, with an anise like aroma sneaking in the back.

Taste starts out with a bit of roasted caramel malt, almost charred tasting. The woody tones really come through and compliment the very light maple flavour. I was afraid that this would come off too sweet, but there's a bit of lactic sourness to keep it in check, and the roasted bitterness helps a lot as well. There's a quality that I would almost call herbal about it, but it's closer to the way the air tastes in the middle of a deciduous forest. Very earthy and leafy. Metallic note in the finish. Carbonation is medium and the body is medium-thin. I could drink this in spades, but on just the right evening, when a chill pervades the air. Octoberish I'd say. Maple Porter? You might as well just call this one "Canada", it embodies everything I love about the Canadian autumn, and it does it so unpretentiously. A real treat that I hope to have again someday.

trevorwideman, Jun 20, 2007
Photo of hopsolutely
4.03/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle picked up at the LCBO yesterday, so assume this to be part of the 2013 release. Other than getting extremely frustrated removing the wax, would rate this beer (and Nickel Brook in general recently) as exceeding expectations.

Pours a near-black with ruby highlights at the edges of the glass. Large coffee-coloured head disappears fairly quickly, but still an attractive beer. Aroma of roasted dark malts with the faintest hint of wood earthiness and maple in the background - don't think I'd have picked up on the maple if it wasn't sold as a maple porter. Nice roasted malts with chocolate and caramel elements in the flavour, which is well balanced and has decent depth. The finish is more abrupt with a quick transition to a relatively simple bitterness, but overall a pleasant beer. Would love to try it on tap – or anywhere without the wax.

Well done, Nickel Brook.

hopsolutely, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of ThinkAgain
4/5  rDev +19.4%

ThinkAgain, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of thehyperduck
4/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO (2014 edition), served slightly chilled. I've had more than a few maple beers over the years, but there are very few that I have bothered purchasing more than once.

Pours an opaque brown-black cola colour, topped with nearly two fingers of fluffy, frothy tan-coloured head. Decent retention; it takes a fairly long time to wilt completely away, leaving a spongy pattern of lace behind on the glass. Looks great, with the malts being the more prominent aspect of the aroma. Roasted malts, toffee and maple syrup are all detectable, with a light touch of coffee and dark chocolate.

It didn't take me long to fall in love with this one - this is a yummy, balanced porter that drinks a lot lighter than the abv might suggest. Dark malts are the focus, with notes of baker's chocolate, caramel and molasses accenting the roastiness. A touch of raisin also comes through, with the maple syrup sweetness seemingly content to remain in the background. Nice bittersweet finish, with chocolate alongside some licorice and vaguely smoky notes. Medium-bodied, with a luxuriously smooth feel on the palate.

Final Grade: 4.0, an A-. Nickel Brook's Maple Porter is a solid dark brew, with the maple syrup providing a pleasant sweetness that should make this an accessible, enjoyable option for many consumers. I'm not real big on the format - this would be fine as a sixer or in cans - but as far as Ontario-made sweet porters go, this is a very enjoyable option that I'd consider returning to again.

thehyperduck, May 23, 2014
Photo of bulldogops
4/5  rDev +19.4%

bulldogops, Aug 15, 2014
Photo of Jeff8ham
4/5  rDev +19.4%

Jeff8ham, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of ZachT
4/5  rDev +19.4%

ZachT, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of jmkoscie
4/5  rDev +19.4%

jmkoscie, Apr 22, 2013
Photo of beerhunter13
3.75/5  rDev +11.9%

beerhunter13, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of RedAleMan
3.75/5  rDev +11.9%

RedAleMan, May 03, 2013
Photo of KrisDLSmith
3.75/5  rDev +11.9%

KrisDLSmith, May 25, 2013
Photo of paulish
3.75/5  rDev +11.9%

paulish, May 30, 2014
Photo of JasonLovesBeer
3.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

One of the ones who is drinking this tonight thanks to the Beer Advent calender. This was the inaugural beer from the box.

A: Jet black with huge, unrelenting head. Frothy light brown head. Normally I can gauge the darkness of the beer by looking at the edges but the head never goes away so that option's out. Reduces to a thick skin after a little while and never goes away. Lacing doesn't stick though.

S: This might be the highlight of the beer for me. Chocolate, some coffee (like a cafe latte), raisins, a bitterness I can't quite place, and somewhere back there a maple-vanilla sweetness. To my relief, I already know this isn't a maple-bomb at this point.

T: Chocolatey coat to start and a maple, brown sugar build towards the finish. I don't know, not a lot to report really. It's pleasant enough but not a lot to talk about. I think I've been spoiled by the richness of big-ABV beers but this just seems a little deflated.

M: It's thin but what reduces my vote here is the carbonation is just too high for the style in my opinion. In a saison sure, but in a porter I want pretty gentle carbonation and I feel like this is crackling on my tongue which is kind of not working for me.

O: Totally drinkable though the mouthfeel isn't super appealing to me, but not much to reflect upon. Glad I got to try it though!

JasonLovesBeer, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of korguy123
3.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into snifter.
Red wax top, special release for this spring. Re-branding or improved recipe?

Opaque black/dark brown pour. Dark ruby red around the edges up to the light. Zero head, just a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is non-existent.

Heavy coffee aroma up front, licorice and some bitter dark chocolate. Maple syrup is mostly subdued. It smells like a standard porter with a TINY bit of maple and a little smoke.

Chocolate, some smoke, a touch of molasses, some bitter coffee the tiniest bit of maple and something that resembles toothpaste or mouthwash... Maybe the Easter turkey is messing with my taste buds...

Light body, normal carbonation.

This is okay, it's nothing spectacular. When I see wax I assume there is something more than normal going on inside. I think the price and presentation don't reflect the beer. I'll revisit when the bottle hits room temp.

korguy123, Mar 31, 2013
Photo of decimator
3.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a pint glass. ABV 6%.

That must have been the toughest wax I've ever had to get through. Hope it was worth it.

A - Poured a dark brown to black with a thin beige head. Head quickly vanished. No lacing.

S - Toast, smoke, some coffee, somewhat burnt, just of tad of maple syrup in the background.

T - Brown sugar, caramel, a touch of maple, toast, coffee, bitter finish.

M - Medium carbonation, medium body, sticky, syrupy, crisp to dry finish.

O - Not as much maple as I was expecting but that actually didn't hurt the beer. Overall is still a decent porter. I think that wax cap was pushing it.

decimator, Apr 21, 2013
Photo of Derek
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Victory Cafe. It'd be great with their weekend brunch!

A: Dark, cola-colour with a light tan head; some retention & lace.

S: Big, BIG maple aroma, with underlying hints of nuts, chocolate & bread.

T: Big maple flavour with a light, pancake-like, breadyness. Hints of nuts & chocolate. Slight sweetness with a balanced bitterness.

M: Slight sweetness but it's well-attenuated with a dry finish.

D: Initially it's really enticing, but a glass was certainly enough.

Derek, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of tbeckett
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by a friend. From notes.

A - Poured black with a one finger beige head. Film of retention and no lace.

S - Maple, some boozy raisins, chocolate. Quite sweet.

T - Roast, much lighter maple character, nice sweetness, dark fruit, boozy raisins again.

M - Light carbonation, medium to full body, nice dry finish.

O/D - Pretty well put together. Nice maple character while not being over the top. Easy drinking with a modest ABV. Nothing mind boggling, but worth a shot.

tbeckett, May 20, 2013
Photo of Sammy
3.61/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from the brewery. Black with some white bubbly head. Maple aroma followed by mollasses, although the molasses dominates the taste. Above average mouthfeel, somewhat sour, and more carbonated than their usual lineup. Sweetness with no-frills mollasses.
Had on cask at The Rhino and it was a decent porter. Nicely drinkable.

Sammy, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of TheHammer
3.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: It's a porter, so it has a body as black as night. Well there is a slight dark brown tinge to it, but it's thick enough that you can't see the carbonation. Speaking of carbonation, the beer produced a half finger that did not retain very well but did produce some minor lacing.

Smell: It smells like a...maple porter...go figure. Seriously though, this beer as a bit more porter then maple as the dark coffee, charred wood and raisin smell pull the milder sweet maple scent into the background. Warming tends to bring out all aspects of the beer.

Taste: The light maple taste seems to just barely take control over the rich coffee like malt who slowly but surely take over as the bitter charred wood elements and a rich earthiness take over. However the maple puts up a valiant fight as it seems to reign in the harshness of the other aspects of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Remember how I said the maple reigned in the harshness, it's really present in the aftertaste as mild maple and milder notes of the rest of the beer are kept nicely in check even as you approach the bottom of the beer. The carbonation is a bit lacklustre though. It leaves a pleasant dryness to it, which honestly surprises me a bit/

Drinkability: It's on the heavier side of medium, but it's a solid sipping beer and settles down well. The harshness is subdued making it a refreshing experience not commonly found it porters, but the dry note stops you from guzzling like mad. Solid here.

Final Thoughts: All in all a positive experience, but I wouldn't say it's blown me away. However, it does seem to hint that the brewer knows how maple syrup in beer works, to which I can only hope to see if perhaps they will take a shot at a maple bock. I'd say give this beer a whirl, but don't expect your socks to be knocked off.

TheHammer, Apr 15, 2014
Photo of biboergosum
3.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle, day 1 of the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar. Under the cap: 'Penny for your thoughts, nickel for your thirst'? Kind of weak, that.

This beer pours a solid, brown-tinted black, with muddied basal cola 'highlights', and a teeming tower of over-effusive, frothy, and fizzy beige head, which leaves some Mediterranean grotto lace around the glass as it slowly abates.

It smells of musty dark chocolate, molasses, astringent black licorice, semi-sweet vague maple syrup, a bit of woodsmoke, and a hint of warming alcohol. The taste is much more rounded, and um, good - roasted caramel malt, bittersweet chocolate, cold coffee, oaken vanilla, dark fleshy fruit - figs and department store raisins - a rather understated sour wooden maple essence, especially given the order of the words in this beer's name, an unfocused leafy bitterness, and further subtle booze notes.

The carbonation is bit out of control, what with the literal eruption of rising head when any sort of aggressive pour is attempted, yet the effect on the tongue is limp and ineffectual, the body an adequate medium weight, and mostly smooth, with a hint of tattered creaminess. It finishes on the sweet side, still chocolaty and fruity, and tempered by a mildly sour mustiness.

Not a bad porter, really, the soft sourness actually pleasant enough. However, we all be jonesin' for some sweet, sweet maple, and well, this just doesn't deliver on that promise. Maybe it all wafted away back to Mrs. Butterworth's joint whilst this bottle was stricken in that big box o' beer these past number of months.

biboergosum, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of dreamchaser
3.56/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

A solid sweet porter. A little disappointing in the mouthfeel - weak and watery - but holds up the bargain in terms of nice balance of maple notes and more traditional roasted coffee and soft malt. The nose really carries the chocolatey malts in it but disappear in the flavour, which is a little washed out. Very drinkable for this reason - no flavours really stand out.

dreamchaser, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of JeanDuteau
3.51/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Like others reviewing around this time, I am reviewing this as the Day 1 of the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar.

This beer poured as a nice black beer with brown tones. The head was huge and a) would not go away and b) just kept coming no matter how slowly I poured it. This really took away from the review of the beer because I could not get very good smell tests and I had to wait awhile or end up drinking foam (I couldn't wait so I got a mouthful of foam).

When I could smell the beer, it had a nice sweet tang to it. It wasn't really a maple syrup taste, but I am assuming that the maple brought the sweetness with it. It had molasses and a hint of chocolate to it which is what I expected from the Porter.

The taste was very nice - the dark malts were overshadowed by the sweetness and there was a taste of raisin that was not in the smell. Disappointingly, there was not a strong maple syrup taste to it which I was hoping for. The mouthfeel was nice other than when the foam got in the way.

JeanDuteau, Dec 04, 2013
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Nickel Brook Maple Porter from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
78 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.