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

Not Rated.
Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

65 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 65
Hads: 96
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 14.91%
Wants: 80
Gots: 7 | 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:
Beer added by: gregc on 09-10-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 96
Photo of Murchmac
1.76/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I hear stories about this being infected about it not being infected. Im reviewing this with the mindset the brewery wanted this beer to be a sour. If i'm wrong then i'm wrong.

smells of apples, tastes of a sour porter, like the New Glarus Unplugged English Porter but way more sour. You can taste the dark malts coming through this beer, but the sourness is not pleasureable.

Would not recommend.

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Photo of Onenote81
1.99/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Bottle received as awesome bonus from calise1122 in a trade awhile back. Thanks!

Popped the cap, and this beer foamed all over the counter. Because of this, it took me about 10 minutes to pour a standard pint glass'-worth. Dark ruby-tinted cola colored, with a frothy tan head on top. Retention was fair. Left little lace on the glass. Scents of old apples, vinegar, pineapple, and a weird chemical twang. No smoke, and nothing resembling a Porter by any means.

The body was full and creamy, but it had such a sour puckering taste that it gave the mouth a bit of a sharp bite on the end. Flavors of extremely tart, old apples. A bit of a stomach-acid flavor in there as well, which is not pleasant going down. Vinegar in the mouth in addition to the nose. I am getting no smokiness, no roasted malts from the original Porter, no hop bitterness. Nothing. As other BAs have noted, this beer is so far gone from a Porter, it's a shame it even claims that style. I had to pour the rest of this one out. What a shame, I had such high hopes for this hybrid. Can't win 'em all.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
2.54/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Batch 1
Pretty carbonated pour into a snifter. Fizzy manilla folder creamy yellow head. Aromas of Brett, green apple, cinnamon, apple cider, nutmeg, fudge brownie. Fizzy on the tongue, spicy and stingy. Really carbonated...hits the tongue and bubbles.

Drain pour...infected. Tried really hard too.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.64/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. Courtesy of a trade with JayOh. Thanks Tim!

A: Pours a dark brown body. I want to check out the edges and see if it's translucent, but the head -- 3 fingers of huge, fluffy bubbles -- lasts forever. It collapses in sections and is easily stirred up by a gentle second pour. I was told this is infected, so I wasn't surprised to see this.

S: Tart dark fruit and a touch of brett. It smells like a nice wild ale, without much smoke or any of the other porter elements coming through. I do get a nice whiff of green apple.

T: Tart dark fruits, toast, and a hint of green apple. Chocolate as it warms, and oak in the finish. I also get a light element of smoke.

M: It's dry and has a light booziness to it. Feels a bit thin, and the flavor is short of medium bodied. High carbonation (too high).

D: Finishing the bottle alone is a chore. It's an interesting beer, but it's really only worth it for the novelty.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 1 Bottle received in trade from alpinebryant, thanks for the opportunity!
This eventually became a dark brown/black liquid after the tan head that filled most of the glass subsided. Yup another disappointing infected and over-carbonated beer from Captain Lawrence.
Smells of tart fruit, funk, a hint of alcohol, a bit or earth and ash. Very little if any porter left in there. The flavor is actually a little better than the SFTO's from the previous two nights, theres a hint of porter left in the flavor. A little bit of roast and chocolate with a lot of tart cherries and lemon and strangely still a hint of alcohol burn. Medium body with an asinine level of carbonation and a tart ashy mouthfeel. On the plus side I hear they have gotten better at barrel aging these days.

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Photo of ATPete
3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

capped 750ml

purchased on release day, thanks man!

My god this beer has a striking resemblance to cola, except for the big brown head that forms and stays atop the rich colored brew. Lots of smoke, some wood, nothing really screams apple brandy yet but we'll see. Super smokey, toasty, burnt and slightly tart porter. It doesnt taste much like the other SFTO brews, the base beer at least. Roasty, burnt chocolate malt dominant, ashy with an odd bitterness late palate, the apple brandy makes an appearance on the finish and briefly into the aftertaste, i do like how that flavor comes across, im just not thrilled with the overall execution. It tastes to me like this brew was intentionally barrel aged to hide a couple flaws, just my opinion.

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Photo of Phelps
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Batch 1, poured from a chilled bottle shared by tlay10.

Popped off the bottle, the cap rolled off the counter and to the ground. As I bent to pick it up, I heard excited shouts from Tyler behind me. I look up in horror to see the beer pouring all over the counter like a foamy volcano. We manage to salvage most of it, however, pouring my bit into a tulip glass.

There's about two fingers of cardboard-colored foam topping this cola-colored brew. It's dark, but not encompassing; some maroon highlights are visible at the edges. The foamy head recedes slowly, becoming a thick top layer that lingers for a long while. Some thick, jagged streaks of lace decorate the glass.

The nose is all sour brett and sweet cola. Some searching reveals the porter underneath -- I get brown sugar, maple, a bit of dark chocolate.

Before the swallow, the beer feigns tartness. It seems like it's be very sweet and sour as it rolls over the tongue. Once it's down the throat, however, the porter flavors emerge: chocolate, light roast coffee, cola, vinous oak and sweet marshmallow. Very light smokiness.

The infection seems to have decimated the body. This is a fizzy, watery mess. It's like drinking soda.

The bottle exploded and there's a distinct sour character -- both telltale signs of infection. But I don't have a ton of experience with apple brandy, so I'm not entirely sure this isn't how the beer was intended. If it is, Captain Lawrence created some nice flavors but needs to work on the balance and mouthfeel. If it isn't, it's too bad and I'll have to try this beer again someday.

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Photo of mothman
3.32/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into old guardian snifter.

Pours a huge layer of fluffy tan head. Fades down leaving some thick lacing. Color is fairly black. Too much head for a porter.

Aroma: Reminds me a lot of the wine version. Some sourness, oak, chocolate and caramel showing. Fairly roasty. The oak and apple brandy is fairly subtle.

Taste: Wow, this one is a bit too smoky/roasted. It has a bit more of the apple brandy showing with some sweetness, but it still has a sourness to it. Chocolate and caramel malt base behind the roasted malts. I like the barrels on this one better than the wine.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and a bit fizzy. Medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation for a porter. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, the sour/tartness really makes this porter odd. It is very roasty/smokey. It is somewhat enjoyable, just weird. I think the SftO Series is just an odd series overall. Somewhat drinkable.

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Photo of Drazzamatazz
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed at the BA-themed SMBDC meeting. Batch 1. Review from notes.

A: Dark brown in color with a very respectable head for the amount I poured. Head also stayed around until the very end of my pour, something I really enjoy seeing. Laced nicely considering it was in a small Val Dieu glass.

S: Tart apples front and center. Nice roasted apples follows with caramel bitterness. Not really picking up much straight smoke, more subtle toasted tones.

T: Crisp young apples. Fortunately I'm one of those people who enjoys eating all the unripened apples when I go apple-picking. This is almost so tart and tangy that you want to pucker. That toasty caramel bitterness comes in at the end to stop you from looking like you just finished doing shots of tequila.

M: Lots of acid. Again, it almost feels like you are sucking on a Warhead (everyone remembers those right? Maybe I'm too young). You're left with that same dry palate at the end; great if you've got something to eat or drink, but not so pleasant to just hang around with.

D: I think I understand why certain foods stay foods and drinks stay drinks. While I definitely enjoyed this quite a bit while I drank it, looking back I'm left with the same kind of disdain I felt after trying one of those "milk & cereal bars" awhile back. I can definitely see how you could drink a few of these in a row, they almost force you too by how dry the finish is.

Note: Don't tell anyone...but this was my first Captain Lawrence experience. I wish I knew what the standard smoked porter tasted like before it got fertilized by the apple brandy barrel.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 06/04/11 notes. Shared this one with a few friends. Big thanks to dmeadows for sending me this one; thanks Dennis, huge want! Batch 1, poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with a brownish tint when held up to the light, moderate carbonation evident, and two fingers of fluffy light tan head. Looks pretty nice.

s - Smells of apples and fruit, though a bit sour, roasted malts, very light smokey malts in the background. based on the sour dark fruits, I'm afraid this one might be infected, though I still enjoy the nose quite a bit.

t - Tastes of sour dark fruits, bretty, roasted malts, smoke, sour apples, lactic notes. Definitely infected, and a huge step down from the nose, though still not awful.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a bit disappointing due to the infection. I actually still liked this one compared to some other infected porters and stouts I've had, but would love to have it again the way it was intended to be drank.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing this one, Bobby. Bottle from Batch 1.

A: The pour is amber in color, and surprisingly not as explosively carbonated as some of the other Smoke from the Oak beers I've had.

S: Definitely get a smokey aroma in the background and throughout the sniff. Some light tartness and fruitiness to the beer and quite a bit of brandy aroma.

T: The tartness is a bit more pronounced on the palate. Light fruit notes of green apples and pears, maybe some lemon zest. Apple brandy is in full effect and maybe makes this a bit too boozy. The smoke is omnipresent, but not overpowering.

M: Medium in body with a rather high carbonation.

O: Hard to evaluate this beer. I like what the tartness adds to it, but it's still not all that successful.

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Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from Dyan last week. Thanks!

Black in the glass with slight translucency. A gentle pour left me with a head three fingers high - this one's a bit overcarbonated. The head ultimately settles to a crown, leaving webs of lace in its wake.

Apples come through strongly in the aroma, tart green apples in particular. There's some roastiness, some chocolate and a hint of smoke. There's a bit of heat from the barrel as well. This has a slight bacterial sourness and funk to it, which was unexpected but adds an interesting dimension to the beer.

The taste is semi-sweet, apple-infused and slightly hot. Roastiness and lactic sourness are about even on the palate. The body is medium-light, carbonation quite high - a bit too high for this style of beer. It gets better with a bit of swirling. The finish is tart, fruity, dry and vinous with some lingering heat from the barrel. Pretty interesting stuff, I'm liking this trend of aging beers in apple brandy barrels. This could turn into something very interesting if the bacterial character develops.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brownish, cola-colored pour. A decent amount of foam sticks to the glass, and there's some nice lacing left behind.

Not surprisingly, the overpowering aroma is of green apples. Like a green apple Jolly Rancher. There's also a bit of roasty malt underneath, and some light almost chocolate-y sweetness.

It's really odd to drink a porter that tastes like green apples, but it's also really cool. The apple, chocolate, light roast, and vanilla play off each other nicely, but get devoured by the slightly drying boozy finish. I wouldn't have guessed that this was a 7% beer.

Would I be completely lame if I described this beer as "green?" Probably, but it's certainly a little rough around the edges. Would love to try this again with a little bit of age on it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to wedgie9 for sharing this bottle!

Batch 1. After the wine version, my mind is much more open to strange things from this series. This one pours a dark black-brown topped by plenty o' dark-ish tan foam. The nose comprises brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, light roasted malts, light molasses, red apple skin, very light chocolate powder, sour apple, and sour cherry. The taste holds notes of black cherry, white vinegar, light whiskey, green apple, light chocolate, light roasted malts, very light molasses, light brown sugar, and oak. The body is a light-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda sticky finish. Overall, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the wine version: The same kind of sour/smoked porter combination from that version is here as well, but the sourness was more brusque, more in-your-face, and more o'erpowering vis-a-vis the porter. This bottle was more of a gusher than the other (which had a warning sticker on it, no less!), so perhaps some further infection had set in, but I feel this is immaterial, as things probably would have been just as strange regardless. Still not a necessarily bad beer, just one that I can't see drinking much of again in the future (given the chance, of course). I am, though, glad I got to try it.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle split on 10/23 tasting.

The pour is dark and black. The head is tan and has a great formation.

The aroma has a ton of apple brandy character coming through. Green apple skins come through at first. When it warms, some of the chocolate from the base beer comes through. It has a bit of heat in the nose. I would like the aroma better if it had more porter character with some more chocolate. At this point, the barrel character overwhelms the porter. The apple-chocolate combination is just interesting. It fails to resemble some culinary masterpiece, but it's still good.

There is a nice, green apple acidity that rushes the tongue first. One thing that was pulled off well with this beer is that the apple flavors come through without a cheap, solvent, liqour taste overpowering it. It tastes like your biting into a green apple. Not cidery, but more of a candy apple character. Next is the porter itself, which has some slight chocolate and good fruitiness. The smoke gets lost, although it is only a subtle character in the original beer.

The high carbonation works for this beer. It's nothing like a smooth porter, but instead is a spritzy, acidic dark ale. There is a slight liqour burn at the end. The drinkability was hurt by the barrell aging. I would have an easier time with a growler of the original smoked porter than a 750 of this beer.

This beer was enjoyable and interesting, but didn't knock my socks off. I'm not usually a fan of liqour aged beers, and I like the original beer better, but this was a nice twist.

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Photo of gory4d
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with russet around the edges and a thick tan head. The smell is roasted malts, under-ripe papaya, coffee beans, alcohol burn. The taste is tart apple, funk, black coffee, sour vinegar: rather straight forwardly funky and sour, with any mellow, roasted qualities way down in the mix. It's mildly carbonated, medium-bodied. A slow drinker: too sour. Not mellow, though tasty enough. I really prefer the wine barrel version, as this is moving very far away from anything a porter ought to be and is becoming merely an infected beer whose decent qualities have been overwhelmed.

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Photo of jlindros
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a SMBDC Stout tasting thanks to Amy and Michael, but don't remember who brought this one.

Almost no head, dark cocoa brown color.

nose has light smoke, apple tree wood smoke, burnt, light heat, smoked sharp cheese like, light roast, hint of bitter chocolate.

Taste has chewy malts, oats, creamy chocolate, light roast, cocoa, bitter earthy bark wood taste, apple wood, smoke, light campfire, light bitter roast and dark choc, caramel, etc.

Mouth is creamy malty, med bodied, light carb.

Overall unimpressed, maybe the age has decayed it a bit, but not great, a bit too crazy smoky, malts are lacking, overall a bit light.

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Photo of tpd975
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jdubfl for this one.

A: Pours a chestnut brown with a small brownish white head. No retention or lace.

S: Sour aroma. Lots of oak, booze, vanilla, and hints of dark fruit.

T: Light chocolate with hints of dark fruit. Lightly soured with the wood from the barrel standing out. Subtle vanilla, and booze.

M: Medium in body sort of biting carbonation that turns sort of dry.

D: Just Okay. Not a great beer, but my favorite of the series.

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Photo of WeaponTheyFear
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a big light brown bubbly head. Head quickly dissipates and leaves behind some adequate lacing.

S- Roasted malts/smokiness immediately come to mind followed but a wonderful sour apple aroma and candied sugar. Very inviting.

T- Not as impressive as the smell. The smoked malts are at the forefront which leads way to some roasted malt flavors and a slight sour apple undertone. The finish is much like CL regular smoked porter only there is a well perceived alcohol presence, especially considering it is only 7%.

D- Well carbonated, a little too much for my liking because of the style and the fact it is a barrel aged beer. The ABV makes it a sipper and I've had much more drinkable beers with bigger ABVs but I will chalk that up to the fact it has been in a barrel.

Overall- A good beer but not nearly as good as when I had it fresh. I wish I reviewed that one as it was my favorite in the SFtO series and just an amazing beer. I was actually hoping that the beer would become more sour but as with most BA beers the barrel flavors subsided and the true beer came out and while CL smoked porter is not a bad beer, it is not what I wanted to find in this beer. Recommended if/when batch 2 comes out and while not as bad as the last 2 reviews I wasn't overly impressed this time around.

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Photo of brystmar
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 1 shared by Denise, thanks!

Murky, ugly brown pour with way too much carbonation. Head erupts from the body spewing tiny bubbles in every direction. Smells a little like Rosso aged in brandy barrels. Some smoke and a very dry strain of yeast stand out in the aroma.

I let the carbonation run its course before continuing, and that was a wise choice. Body is actually pretty hefty and creamy once the bubbles died down. Dark apple cider flavors meet dry porter roast; minimally smokey. Sweetness in the middle carries through to the back end, leaving a pleasant apple aftertaste in my throat. A decent blend of ingredients, though it's nothing special.

While this is significantly better than the newer imperial versions, it cannot touch the b4 wine barrel variant from 2010.

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Photo of Amalak
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Version 2010.

A. It is straight black ,with a good brown head that leaves some lacing. Totally black.

S. Very strong alcohol mixed with a malty grape scent.

T/M. It has a very smokey taste. It has a fairly strong alcohol taste--full bodied. Very big flavor. Some tobacco. A thick malt taste. Some dark fruit.

O. It is very thick and rich. Perfect for a 10 oz. pour, but wouldn't want much more. A bit over bearing, but complex.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Opens with a pretty good "pop". Talk about head when this thing is poured. I think I got about an inch of beer and 4 inches of head! Pours a deep brown color with the aformentioned big fluffy tan head. Smokey, earthy, and oaky smelling. The first sip yields a tart flavor that is kind of a surprised followed by a smokey oak taste. Pretty well carbonated but after it settles it doesn't really effect the taste. Medium mouthfeel. Good lace left on the glass as the head settles. Slight brandy booze flavor becomes evident as it warms. Wish it wasn't so carbonated but otherwise a pretty decent beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours dark brown with a large, billowing off white head with very nice retention. Great lacing as well. Clingy on the sides of my tulip. Nose is a bit smoky with some light, tart fruit and a bit of booze. Mild roast. Taste is similar with a light tartness and some heat. Feel is over-carbonated, offsetting some of the flavor. A bit of booze as well. Drinks well and is pretty tasty. I hope to make the release of the sampler pack they're doing.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprise, surprise (not) this beer pours with an excessive carbonation that produces a four finger thick, lightly browned head that lingers for a long time and leaves some light lacing as it slowly subsides. The beer is a deep brown color that shows some flashes of bright ruby color around the edges when held up to the light. The beer smells quite fruity, with a definite brandy note, there is a touch of spiciness that makes me think of cinnamon in some ways. There is also a touch of mustiness here, that almost leans towards a light funky cheesiness or a funky mushroom type note. If you really dig through the fruitiness there is a rich, toasted malt character in the finish; toasted whole grain bread notes, a touch of acidic roast malt, and maybe just a touch of smoke (but this is really hard to notice). The nose is actually pretty decent, it sort of reminds me of a really funky batch of crushed grapes that is in the middle of being fermented by a cheese and wine culture.

Tart tasting and quite dry, this is coupled with a toasted grain and a lingering light musty mushroom character. The excessive carbonation definitely contributes to an initial harshness, but luckily I can manually dissipate the excess carbonation. There is a light smokiness that also lingers in the finish along with a bitter / acrid roasted malt character. There is a touch more malt fullness than one might expect from a beer that is as dry as this is; the light acidity (which is definitely not just from the dark grain) tends to make this taste drier than it actually is. An at times biting roast character is noticeable here and can be a bit too jarring sometimes especially when you consider the light acidity. The fruitiness of the nose is not nearly as apparent in the flavor, unfortunately.

As the beer warms up it picks up a very light sweetness that lightly accentuates a dry chocolate note as well as boosting a very subtle smoked malt character. The middle and finish also begins to pick up some brandy like fruitiness, though just a touch.

This is definitely my second favorite of this series (behind the wine); it isn't nearly as funky, and in fact could actually work with a bit more funk if it had a more boosted fruit character like the Wine-Barrel one does. A bit more fruitiness would really help this be much more balanced, though this still achieves a balance that most of the other SFTO don't come close to achieving. Definitely an enjoyable beer, but it is showing hints of being great, but definitely isn't quite there yet.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 10/24/2009. Bottle. Pours a dark brown with a huge, gushing light tan head. Aroma of light tart apple, caramel malt, toffee, cinnamon (?). Flavor of oak, caramel malt, and faint tart, buttery apple notes in the finish. One of the better SftO barrels, IMO. The blend of smoked porter and apple brandy worked really well here. This is a nice beer.

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Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.