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Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged) - Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

95 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 18.02%
Wants: 95
Gots: 4 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 05-25-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 75 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jimbomill
1.55/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I may have got a skunked bottle, but this had a sour, vinegary nose.
The taste was like a bad lambic - no Bourbon hints, no real body, despite a nice dark pour that was visually enticing.
The bottle top came off normal, so I had no warning of anything gone wrong, but this was mostly undrinkable.

jimbomill, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of wisrarebeer
1.55/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Batch 2.

A: near opaque, too dark for a porter, very nice rocky head
S: sour, acetic acid nose, where's the roasted malt and bourbon?
T: extremely sour, aged way too long in the barrel, beer doesn't have the guts to overpower the sourness
M: like gargling with vinegar
D: way off base with sourness

I was holding this for the holidays and was extremely disappointed. I'd give it another shot but based on the other reviews that mention the sour/tart character it appears that it's just aged way too long for the body of the porter.

Note: tried the rum version the day after this tasting and the beer was very, very good. It's obvious the bourbon aging was way too long.

wisrarebeer, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of rhinos00
1.55/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Batch 2. Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a dark brown color with two fingers width of tan head. Slowly reduced to a ring over time.

S- Something is wrong here. Right off the bat I'm getting a sharp, sour tinge that just makes me want to shudder. Beneath this layer is a distant scent of bourbon. Not much going on here whatsoever.

T- Oh boy, there it is. Most definitely infected. Aside from the initial hint of bourbon and a slight smoked flavor, this beer is dominated from beginning to end by a horrible, disgusting sourness. Even I couldn't stomach much of it and I'm a huge sour head.

M- For the brief moments I could put the rancidness aside, the beer seemed to have a light to medium body with great carbonation.

D- If I could give this a -5 I would. Absolutely undrinkable.

I don't know what has been going on lately, I have opened three beers in the last 2 months that have been infected. First, Pennichuck's Pompier, then Thomas Hooker's Liberator, and now this. Come on people. Start getting your shit together, this is unacceptable.

rhinos00, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
1.65/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Batch 2

A fizzy light tan head rises above the beer. Of note a large bubble formed atop the bottle and will not pop... Looks like a perfect marble. I've never seen that. Anyway, deep brown in color, like espresso or dark chocolate.

Aroma is a touch sour. Based on what I've heard, I am now scared. I think I smell a touch of vanilla, but I might be searching.

I am pissed. This is just like the Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Imp Stout. Clearly sour in flavor. Probably from the barrels. Tastes like a sour. Very tart. In the back I can taste a bit of chocolate. The tartness just takes over.

Mouth feel is sour... I know that's not a mouth feel, but it's so overwhelming....

Drinkable. NO. I hope to be able to replace this review at some point with a decent bottle.

Reagan1984, May 22, 2009
Photo of portia99
2.3/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 750ml bottle - batch 2 into a Portsmouth goblet. Received in trade from cakanator. Thanks!

A - Poured into the center of the glass with a dark brown, opaque color. Giant, thick, dark tan head forms - about 2" high. Head lingers a while, doesn't want to give up - leaves nice, even lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Smell is dominated by bourbon with some sour, acidic presence...not much else here - no malt or hops presence.

T - Porter???, I don't know. Flavor is dominated by sourness, some bourbon flavor enters and just a touch of smoke, which mainly lingers in the aftertaste. Hard to get past the sourness - just not right for a porter.

M - Mouthfeel is quite puckering. Carbonation is strong, body is medium, and sourness just causes your lips to suck together into a kissy face.

D - Drinkability is not high. Attempting to drink this bottle by myself...not sure I'm going to be able to get thru it all. Very tough.

Not sure if this beer is supposed to be this way. I seethat people think this batch is infected (I tend to agree) and others really like it the way it is...overwhelming sourness and all.

portia99, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of brentk56
2.73/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Batch 1

Appearance: Pours a charcoal color with a tightly bubbled tan head that blankets the liquid while leaving the occasional wisp behind

Smell: More like a Flanders Red than a smoked porter, with tart cherry and oak

Taste: Oaky dryness permeates from the outset, but the expected porter flavors aren't there, up front; rather, there is a tart cherry that adds a woody character by mid-palate; plenty of puckering tartness after the swallow, and perhaps that smoked porter tries to peek out on the finish, but maybe that is just wishful thinking

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very fizzy carbonation

Drinkability: I kept trying to like this as a sour but eventually I just gave up; this beer clearly didn't come out as planned

brentk56, May 29, 2010
Photo of Lupe
2.75/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours dark brown, almost black, with deep reddish hues. Nice sized tan head sticks around for a while before dropping to a thin sheet. Some sheets of lace are left behind.

Nice bourbon and vanilla, and a healthy dose of vinegar dominate the aroma. Roasted malt, chocolate, and dark fruit lay in the background.

Starts with nice a bourbon and vanilla character with some charred woodiness. Strong sourness comes next - very tangy and overpowering. Notes of chocolate, roast, fruit, and a touch of spice round things out. Not sure if all the sourness was intentional, but it was just a too strong and dominated what is a very nice and easy drinking Porter. Finishes bone dry upfront yet with a cloying sourness at the back & top of the mouth. I was really into this beer with the first sip, but that sourness just kept building and really sticks to the back out the tongue.

Medium-light in body, dry and spicy from tartness on the tongue. Alcohol is well hidden and the bourbon adds just the right amount of flavor. Not overly woody or liquor-like. The sourness though is too much for me and really takes away from the drinkability. Got through half the 750ml bottle and had to bail.

I love CL's Nor'Easter and enjoyed the Rum Barrel version. This one just fell short. Perfect if you want a bourbon barrel aged American Wild Ale, but not a BA Porter. Perhaps a bad bottle, but judging from the other reviews, I'm just not digging this.

Lupe, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of plaid75
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured a deep brown hue with a one finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a dominating bourbon aroma. Perhaps some roasted grain peaked through, but certainly not enough to cut through the bourbon. The same can be said for the flavor. A slightly vinous bourbon element completely dominated. There was really no porter character remaining.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness.

Overall not something I would have again. If you are crazy about the taste of bourbon, but don't want to drink a pint of it, this might be something of interest.

plaid75, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.7%

ygtbsm94, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of IrishColonial
3/5  rDev -21.7%

IrishColonial, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of HopStoopid120
3/5  rDev -21.7%

HopStoopid120, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -21.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of johnnnniee
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from Batch 1 courtesy of mcallister, thanks for the opportunity. Pours a solid dark brown/black color with a huge off white head that fills half the glass and takes forever to recede. The aroma holds some roast and chocolate with a solid hit of bourbon and oak and a curious fruity tartness. The flavor follows the aroma with the sour cherries and lemons taking over the lead role and just about obscuring the porter that was once in this bottle. Medium body with a ludicrous amount of carbonation and an tart ashy bubbly mouthfeel. This beer is a shell of its former self. Some wild yeast have gotten into the bottle and turned this beer, or maybe I just sat on the bottle for too many years.

johnnnniee, Oct 09, 2012
Photo of DefenCorps
3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

25.4oz bottle, batch 2. Thanks, George! You warned me that this had turned funky, let's see...

A: Jet black in my Duvel tulip with a dark brown head that's rather massive, receding to a solid disk. Some patchy lacework, pretty darned impressive. Some visible carbonation running up the side of the glass

S: Interesting. Funky and smoky, mildly vinous too. Bourbon is hidden behind the funk. This is very very compelling, reminiscent of the SFtO: Wine. I do wish I'd got my hands on this before it got infected, though, 'cos the Rum barrel SFTO was pretty great.

T: Wow. This is absolutely nothing like the base porter. The infection has completely taken over, the palate is pretty much infected beer. Thankfully, the house strain at Captain Lawrence is rather tolerable, good, almost. It opens up sour, quite clean with a hint of smoke in the back. Finishes dry, tart. I'm having a hard time describing the sourness - it's not acetic, but is partly lactic with something strange going on. Lemony? Bourbon? Nope. Porter? Nope

M: Light on the palate with good carbonation, this one is one sour, puckering beer. Interesting stuff but as I keep drinking it, the harshness of the sour is a bit much, it even gets in the way of the oak

D: The whole bottle might be a bit much but I'm enjoying it despite it not being what I'd hoped. *A bit in, this beer is pretty undrinkable, rather too harsh for it's own good.

Notes: For all intents and purposes, this is the SFTO wine without the vinous character of that beer and a harsher sourness. It's a soured porter, an amped up JP Marcabio Especial, something along those lines.Split this 2-3 ways. Unexpected infections aren't always fun. 8oz of this beer would get moderately higher marks

DefenCorps, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle, batch 2. Pours a dark brown with a super thick tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of roasted malts, oak, and a slight tartness. The tartness really picks up in the flavor leaving behind only a background of roasted malt and maybe a touch of bourbon. My tastebuds are quite sensitive to bourbon and even they didn't really pick up much. I haven't been able to figure out if this bottle was intentionally or unintentionally infected with lacto. Either way, it didn't do much for the beer. The tartness/sourness and roasted porter notes did not mesh well together. Similar to the SftO Wine, this was just an odd beer.
7/4/6/3/14 (3.4/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of prototypic
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Many thanks to csmiley for the bottle.

Batch 2

Smoke from the Oak pours a very dark chocolate brown. It's nearly opaque, but a little light reveals faint garnet highlights at the edges. It's topped with a mocha colored head that's over three fingers tall. It took quite a while to completely disappear. Lacing was very thick and sticky.

The nose is interesting. It features a very rich bourbon aroma right out of the gate. Chocolate and roasted malts are noted. It smells a little cocoa-ish rather than sweet. There's a very sour, yeast aroma to it that permeates throughout and drowns out virtually any other qualities it has. It's very out of place for the style. I got a friendly tip that a lot of these bottles were infected and I believe that's probably the case here. It doesn't completely destroy it, but it certainly negates or masks some of its qualities.

The flavor profile suffers much the same fate. It starts out with a nice bourbon flavor. It's pretty well restrained and doesn't taste too bourbon heavy. It apparently was meant to play a complementary role and it does that pretty well. There's some light chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Very faint roasted coffee is noted. But, the sour and acidic yeasty flavor rears its head and really takes over about midway through. Honestly, it doesn't taste all that bad. I suspect the infection rumor may well be true. I have a tough time believing that such a bizarre flavor was intended. But, it's far from undrinkable and does have a decent flavor and some good qualities. It's a far cry from good though, that's for sure.

Its body is on the lighter side of medium and is too thin. Carbonation is very high and buzzy. It's not smooth and really doesn't work for the style. A Porter this big needs a more substantial body. Drinkability is average. Average is surprisingly good for a beer that's possibly infected. The flavor really is interesting and more than tolerable. That being said, it's not very good.

Well, I have no reservation saying Smoke from the Oak's been a huge disappointment. This bottles about 7 or 8 months old and seems to have veered far off course. It's likely that this bottle's infected, but I don't know that for a fact. The flavor's just way more sour and acidic than it should be. But, in a way, it's interesting and not a total disaster. I'd love to have a fresh bottle just to get an idea of what Captain Lawrence intended for this one. I'll have to wait on that. If it's materially different, I'll post a different review. As it is, it's disappointing. As for Batch #2, I'd suggest taking a pass and wait for the next one.

prototypic, May 17, 2009
Photo of OlieIPA
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Opened up and shared by my good buddy Kris and poured into a 13 oz. snifter.

A: A good looking brew! 1-inch tan colored head with a good amount of lacing to go along with it. Also, like most American porters...it exhibited a nice black hue with some delicate shades of red/mahogany.

S: Wow! Am I whiffing on a American Wild Ale? I picked up nothing remotely similar to a porter...a completely confusing beer. Some of the bourbon is there, but seriously...there is no smoke-like aroma, and just strong wild yeast strains and/or sour like notes. I'm pretty sure this bottle is infected, but I've seen other people writing similar things about it. Just not sure what to think...it doesn't smell bad, it's almost like they meant to do this...but overall, bad for the style intended.

T: A really dark malty sour beer. Again, doesn't fit with the style...but not a bad tasting brew; more intriguing than anything. The only difference between the smell and taste is that I'm able to pick up some of the bourbon and smoke-like flavors on my palate.

M: Extremely light with good carbonation...did they just label the style of this beer wrong.

D: Probably the most confusing beer I've ever had. This beer was from batch 2...and my conclusion is that it must have been contaminated. That only explains the weird and funkyness of this brew.

Overall: Horrible for the style intended...but as a beer overall...not bad at all. I took this into consideration when rating this beer...so I wouldn't necessarily say I'm judging this on the style...but as a beer overall. Not sure if this worth the trouble of getting. Cheers!

OlieIPA, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of billab914
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

billab914, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 Release; Sampled March 2008
The beer gushes just a bit as soon as I pop the cap, not much, but just enough to let me know this is a bit over carbonated. A careful pour yields a three-finger thick, cocoa stained, tan colored head. The beer is a very dark, concentrated brown color, but does show some brilliantly clear, ruby highlights when held up to the light. From the aroma you can definitely smell the Bourbon barrel influence. There is also quite a bit of sourness in the aroma, nothing overwhelming, but it makes me think that this has some wild bugs in it. The Bourbon barrel is the dominant influence though with notes of warm alcohol, buttery oak, spicy wood and ample vanillin (especially if you dig around a bit). There is a bit of sweetness here, reminiscent of prunes and wrapped up in the Bourbon notes, but to be honest I can't smell much of anything except the barrel influence here, even the sourness seems to have dissipated with time.

Well carbonated, this foams up quite a bit as it hits my mouth. A quick swirl of my glass gets this to a more manageable level. Ample spicy oak up front yields to a tartness that seems to be heavily influenced by oak. I could almost be convinced that the noticeable tartness is just a product of this beer being so light bodied, with the roast malt character and such a big barrel character, but if I had to guess I would say that some souring bugs got into the barrel. Speaking of the body, this is definitely on the thin side, some more heft would certainly help it to stand up to the Bourbon barrel. The base beer definitely plays a supporting role here; it picks up some toasted malt notes towards the finish, perhaps a touch of smokiness (though this is hard to separate from the barrel notes) and some dry, chalky, slightly astringent burnt flavors and roast notes in the finish. The Bourbon barrel also provides a bit of alcoholic heat to the finish of this brew.

As the beer warms up a bit the Bourbon flavors seem to soften just a touch; it really becomes a bit smoother, though they are still easily the most dominant thing about this beer. This is most definitely wee-beast influenced, the sourness here is very pretty clean, as I don't get any other funk derived notes, though it may be that the loud Bourbon barrel characteristics drown this out. What brought this to a head was the fact that I started to nosh on some fresh baked bread, which really brings to the four the sourness of this brew.

An interesting beer, but the base beer just doesn't seem to be able to stand up to the Bourbon Barrel aging, or put another way, this was aged for too long in the barrel for my particular tastes. The sourness, while interesting, clean and nice, just clashes a bit too much with the Bourbon character; I think that the base beer would do well when paired with either of the two, but not both at once. I personally like the barrel to play a supporting role to the flavors of the base beer. Having said all that, this is still enjoyable if you appreciate a good sour mash Bourbon from time to time.

Gueuzedude, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of BGsWo22
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

BGsWo22, Jun 11, 2014
Photo of Mauerhan
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

cracking open this with vic and mike with amy curling up in the corner with my dog.

pours dark with a two finger cream/mocha head with moderate to solid lacing.

smells like a russian river brew. the name of this beer should be contamination. this just seriously smells sour, not like an american porter at all. hmm. a little confused. but lets soldier on.

tastes...interesting. sour. slight hints of oak but not a lot. not really feeling this.

im really not sure if this is what they were going for with this style but i was caught completely of guard...thats really all i have to say about this.

Mauerhan, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of emmasdad
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle. Poured into the snifter a very dark brown, almost black, color, with a fairly good brown head. Aromas of wood, bourbon, smoke and roasted malt. Fairly balanced on the palate, the bourbon works nicely with the smoked porter. A good beer, but not one I'd actively seek out again.

emmasdad, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of Douglas14
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yup, they're not lying about the bourbon barrel aging.

It pours deep black with a light-tan, thick head with pretty good retention. You can tell, tough, just from pouring it that it is not especially thick/ full. It has an intense aroma of bourbon...unfortunately almost too powerful. Nevertheless, the bourbon smell is sweet with intense caramel and sugary notes. The taste is also strongly of broubon: malty, sugary, caramel-y. Towards the end of each sip, a mild roasted and smoky flavor comes out. It has a medium body and a great mouthfeel. Overall, If you enjoy bourbon, this IS your beer. I can't wait to try and taste some of their other barrel aged beers.

Douglas14, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of koopa
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 2 bottle that I've been holding on to since it was released.

Appearance: Pours an attractive deep mahogany to borderline black with a 2 finger dark khaki crown that displays nice retention and lace.

Smell: Faint bourbon and oak mixed with a vinous quality that puts some sourness forward. The malt profile underneath is fairly nondescript but it definitely isn't very roasty or sweet.

Taste: Basically all about the light sourness at this point. Bourbon is really subdued and coupled with the bugs in the barrel it comes off more like a sour cherry flavor than anything else. Finishes a little bleh.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall: Goes down fairly easy, tastes decent, but nothing special. This one ain't getting any better IMHO so drink up if you still have one.

koopa, Jul 28, 2012
Photo of tendermorsel
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a red wine glass. First batch!

Rich & mahogany in color. Great thick brownish head. Very interesting beer. You could definitely smell that rum barrel had done some work on the beer. However, the rum flavor was not overpowering. Very well balanced. Quite sweet and rich. One question? Where is the smoke? This was not as smoke as was anticipating. Definitely a sipping beer. Somewhat drinkable although I don't think I would have more than two in one night.

This was a good beer. It scored lower in taste due to the high anticipation I had for this beer. Just not smokey enough for me. I would love to try their regular smoked porter to compare.

tendermorsel, Sep 05, 2007
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Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.