Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version) - Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

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Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version)Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version)

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very good

92 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 16.45%
Wants: 35
Gots: 28 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: aerozeppl on 12-19-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 38
Reviews by foogerd:
Photo of foogerd
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch opaque black, some brown/reddish highlights at the edges. Coffee colored head, looks like an impressive brew.

S- Smoke is a bit more subdued in this version, vinous sour tangy aroma, red grapes, a touch of vanilla.

T- This version really suprised me, to me the wine integrated with the smoke in a more balanced way than the other two version. Nothing screams at you to grab your attention but its amazingly balanced. You have your smoke, thick roasty chocolatey porter character, and then the sour tangy red wine, but this all melds together in a way I didnt think was possible with wine barrel aging. The vinous character really works well here, thats what will blow you away, the balance. Everything is perfectly smooth, theres a dry tannin like finish.

M- Not viciously thick but pretty thick nice and smooth on the palette.

D- Very tasty, takes your taste buds for a trip theyre sure to remember.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large capped bottle, "Bottled in 10". Been sitting with its cousins in the snazzy gift box, since before spring evening with next to nothing to do, seems like a sensible time to crack this baby open and enjoy.

Pours near black, dark prune, moderate mocha head, leaves some thick sheeting, a thick collar and moderate slippery lacing.

Big and bold nose of smoke, cooking meat and red wine.

First stuff is rich, densely flavorful, and viscous, thick, luxurious and creamy on the tongue.

More smoke, red wine, sweet malts, dark fruits, and a hint of sweet melon in the finish.

Add it all up… I get complexity, intrigue, a world class sipper/dessert beer/night capper.
Well done Captain Scott. Drinking great now, likely only better with a year or two in a cool dark place…….

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Corey – thanks! Side-by-side with the rum and brandy versions.

Pours black with a tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of robust roasted malts with large amounts of smokiness and hints of tobacco. Also present are mild amounts of tannins and dark fruits.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Heavily roasted malts up front are joined quickly by large amounts of smokiness. Midway through the smoke fades a bit, allowing dark fruit flavors and light oak to work their way into things, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall this was the version that was least-influenced by the barrels. A nice showcase of the base beer however I would like more of the wine barrel. Still, it’s worth a shot.

Photo of Gmann
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black color with a big light brown fluffy head that slowly settled into a light cap.

The aroma is big on smoke, burnt wood, and charred meat. Exactly what I expected from a smoked porter and then-some. Some nice caramel undertones and a bite of red wine from the barrel.

Again big on the smoke, with some peat, burnt wet wood and charred beef. Noticable sour presence from the wine barrels. Doesn't add much flavor but adds a strong offset to the smoke. I actually think the sour from the red wine takes too much away from the smoke.

Full bodied with prickly carbonation. Sweet and smokey on the palate but is nicely offset by the sour from the wine barrel. Very balanced for a smoked beer.

A very well made and surprisingly balanced beer. Bold flavors. The wine adds a bit too much balance for my liking as I like my smoked porters quite smokey. Still very excellent.

Photo of scootny
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The SFTO wine was always my fave in the series. It was kind of a smokey "half sour" that was wonderfully complex and surprisingly drinkable. This imperial is a great progression of the brew. A real winner in my book as this hits on all cylinders in progressing from the original version. The rum and brandy versions benefitted the most but to be honest they all do and the SFTO Imperial Series is an unqualified success in my opinion. Truly great beers.

Dark brow fluid with a brown head that leaves lots of lace and stays for quite a while. Light covering remains. Not as sticky as the others as I guess the rum and brandy added a sugar component that thickened things up. Aromas of smoke, cherries and oak with a whiff of alcohol. Dark roasted malts at the core and notes of char and chocolate. Taste follows the smokey half sour paradigm of the original and builds on it. The bigger beer backbone adds a burnt caramel and molasses center and and chewy brown bread malt foundation. Dry cab and oak facets really blossom and make that at times like a thick rich carbonated molasses wine. The finish is earthy and super dry with a silky feel and spot on carbonation. A sipper for sure as the oak and vinous flavors are quite strong but I quite enjoyed large sips as the feel and big sweet malts we just wonderful to hold in the mouth while the smoke and oak filter through the nose. This a kick but super complex brew that I really wish I had a plate of cheeses and smoked foods to enjoy with. Will have to get more/

Photo of jegross2
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Company. This is my first ever beer from Captain Lawrence, but I have heard good things about this brewery out of New York.
Score: 90

Unknown vintage bottle (forgot to check the label!) served in a "The Bruery" brand tulip and enjoyed on 03/23/12.

Appearance: Deep brown, mostly opaque save for a strip of brown highlight atop the glass when held up to a light. Between the glasses poured at the table, it seems like there is a combined 2-3 fingers of creamy milk chocolate covered head at pour that quickly settles into a bubbly ring around the glass. Minimal lacing, poor retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Huge notes of smoke, oak, and hickory wood. There's some funky white grape, white wine acidity, a little roasted chocolate and a light vinegar aroma too. 4/5

Taste: Like the nose, there is lots of smoke on the palate. I am glad I capped the evening off with this beer, because it's a lingering palate wrecker! Tart white grape, oak and roasted chocolate. There is a "fatty meat" flavor on the palate entwined with the smokiness that others described as "pork-like." I do not detect any booziness whatsoever despite the 12% ABV. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, high carbonation. Oily/smooth mouthfeel. Smokey and sweet finish. 4/5

Overall: This beer struck a real nice contrasting balance between the heavier smokey flavors and the lighter white wine/tart grape flavors that left an interesting effect on the palate that can only be described as a "prickley sweetness." I still do not like sours, and this one has Brett intentionally added to it, but I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. This one is a true smoke bomb. I would definitely be interested in trying the other variations of this beer at some point in the future.

Recommendation: Fans of smoke beers and wine wine should seek this beer out. Be warned, however -- this one is heavy on the smoke!

Pairings: Barbequed chicken.

Cost: $12 for a 750 ml bottle.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.62/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark brown, nearly black emerged from the bottled and rattled around the inside of the glass producing a nice three inch high head f tan colored foam.

The first notes to hit you were the nice sour funk that was present from the barrels. hints of chocolate and coffee as well; a rich imperial porter, smoked, aged in sour wine barrels. smoky flavor starting to come through in here now, after being nearly absent in the aroma. Nice chocolate malts and hints of roasted coffee throughout as well. This was a nice sweet porter, and I even could pick up hints of vanilla way in the back. t sour note just really kicked in. These must have been one hell of a set of barrels this was aged in as they were all over the flavor as well. The finish even was dominated by a long drawn out sour flavor that really just was just the icing on the cake.

Mouthfeel - This was a nice robust porter with a medium Mouthfeel and as you could imagine, absolutely awesome carbonation. A nice velvet like smooth feel going down, the bubbles tingled your tongue and kept it active throughout. There was a nice dry feeling in the finish. I have to admit, I was again really surprised with how well this went down.

Photo of Arenbeer
4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a Captain Goblet that came in the special 3 pack

Served at fridge temperature

A- Pours jet black with a 2 finger light brown creamy looking head that slowly dissipates. Not much lacing but some really nice legs on the side of the glass.

S- Interesting to say the least. Smoke and leather notes up front that combine surprisingly well with the viscous aromas. Actually has a slight funk and sour smell to it as well. Slight oak but mostly that smoke.

T- Just like the aroma your immediately hit with smoke, bacon, fresh leather, slight coffee, creamy milk chocolate and burnt malts. But just when you thought that was enough the flavors from the wine emerge and give you an almost brett like funk and slight sourness as well as a grape fruitiness. Excellent.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a puzzling finish for the mouthfeel hah

Overall this is an absolutely amazing beer. All of the flavors are so well blended and compliment each other perfectly. I'm impressed and pumped to try the other two.


Photo of jlindros
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks a ton to BlessedBeBeer for cracking this.

Pours a super dark colored beer with a creamy lighter head.

Nose has dark roasty but salty malts, lots of smoke, bit of brine, hint of chocolate, bit of booze, lots of roast, a bit less oak than the rum and a hint of red wine, also some fruit.

Taste has semi sweet dark roasty malts, tons of smoke, bit of brine and salt but less so than the rum barrel, dark malts, touch of oak and vanilla, bit of chocolate, nice smoked malt flavor and chewy caramel malts, hits of red fruits and a red wine flavor.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, decent carb, hint of warming booze.

Overall great but a bit briny and salty, nice smoke, nice malts, not too drinkable but great flavors.

Photo of AgentZero
4.34/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Second from the SFTO Imperial series drank side-by-side with the rest.

A - They all relatively of look the same. Black beer, brown on the edges. This one had a little bit more of a head than the brandy version, but I'd say they're comparable in look on the grading scale.

T - Holy balls, this is one of the best things I've ever smelled. Smoke, roasted malt, a little vanilla, some wood, and a great rich wine smell that mixes perfectly with everything else. Fantastic.

T - Taste is not quite as good as the nose, but its still quite nice. It's a little more disjointed, as the wine and roast/smoke seem a bit more separated, but it's still great. Some nice sweetness added from being in the barrel.

M - Medium bodied with soft carbonation.

O - This was my favorite one, just due to the amazing aroma. Would love to drink this again. Once again, not sure how this is an F beer, but to each there own.

Photo of KeefD
3.41/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Knifestyles for this extra! I'm assuming this is the correct version I'm reviewing as it says "Bottled in 10" on the side. Poured into a Captain Lawrence tulip that Chris also so graciously sent along with it. Thick, dark brown color, totally black and opaque in the glass with an inch or so of creamy khaki colored head that fell slowly and left some spotty lacing all over the tulip. Holy oakiness Batman! This thing just wreaks of oak, plenty of smokiness, and some red wine, but the oak really dominates the aroma in a way I've never experienced in a beer before. There's also a bit of plastic-like aromas that are little odd, but I guess that's from the oak as well. Taste follows suit. Oak just dominated, there's lots of red wine character, a bit of roast int he background coupled with a touch of raisin, dark fruit, and a whole lot of smokiness. I just can't get over how oaky this things is. Mouthfeel is silky/creamy/smooth, perfect amount of carbonation. I really want to like this beer, but not sure if I can get over the raw/wet oakiness. The wine must have been extracted about 3.2 seconds before they put the beer in there without any time for it to dry out. Just an oak-bomb, so if that's your thing, you will love this. For me, it's pretty good but now wishing I would have split this with others as it might be tough to down the whole thing.

Photo of jaxon53
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Again, another big thank you to my boy FishGetter, for getting me this bottle at the release. Batch #4. I've been waiting to try this for some time. Served this chilled, as the bottle states, but allowed it to warm abit before sampling.

Appearance: Smoke from the Oak Wine Barrel pours out a deep brown color, almost into black. Very gently poured this into an Ommegang chalice, not really sure of the carbonation level. I'd say about two fingers of thinnish, off-white head rose. Head faded away on the quicker side, leaving bits of webby lace behind. Can just barely see some tiny floaties moving around in the glass.

Smell: Quite a bouquet here. Definitely getting some soft wine notes. Just the slightes bit funky. Weak hints of oak. Roasty to say the least. Light touches of friut. Bits of wood here and there and some smoke.

Taste: Very interesting. Wine is in there, just not what I expected. A just barely noticeable tart flavor. A little funk, all but buried in the background. Roasted malt and some rich chocolate. A little smoke around the edges. Finishes smooth and dry, with a tart zip in the end. A little bit of alcohol is present in the finish. If I tasted this blindly I would have never guessed the base of this beer was a Porter.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. A pleasure to the palate.

Overall: Quite a complex beer, that I feel needs to warm a bit to really show off. Definiteley worth seeking out.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from joefuzz. Thank you for this trading this great set of beers to me. Like I said, it's strange that this beer's been out for about 10 months and is only at 25 reviews.

Pouring black with dark reddish brown highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, thick, creamy brown head with excellent retention and lacing.The nose is great. The stronger smoked porter base is obvious, again lending a moderately meaty, smoky, mildly ham-like smoked salt character. The wine is difficult to describe apart from a generic tannic red wine. There's a blend of mild tartness, mild Brett character and the creamy, mildly caramel milk-like character from the base beer. Unlike some other reviews, I don't pick up much bandaid character on the nose. Solid stuff.

The palate is rich and luxurious. With a blend of cream, smoke (and a rather intense smoke character at that), dark chocolate (think closer to Lindt's 90% cocoa versions) and a rich, vinous character. The wine character is hard to pin down. It's got dark fruit characteristics, but none of the sweetness. I guess a blend of raisins and darker cherries, stripped of their sweetness, is how I can best describe this. Some moderately floral vanilla is present in the mid-palate as well. What all of this yields is a beer that's rich, savory and creamy, beautifully balanced and potentially very food friendly. Medium-full in body, this beer has a wonderful mouthfeel, helped greatly by the creamy carbonation. Smoky and mildly meaty on the finish, there isn't much of a tannin character that lingers. I guess my one complaint would be that the finish is *just* a hair watery, but not enough to make me penalize it too severely. As of now, the sourness (intended or not) hasn't fully fleshed out, and this beer is excellently balanced, and is ready for drinking. I think I prefer this over the original Wine Barrel SFTO.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a-Poured a stunning silky black with a frothy cream colored head that built as I poured into the tasting glass that came with the set. Lacing is milkshake like and the brew looks exactly as did the Imperial Smoked Porter (from my notes).

s-Soft peaty notes from the wood. Milk chocolatey malts. The smoke from the base beer is not nearly as in the front as it was in the regular Imperial Smoked Porter. The wine definitely chills it out and that was something I really loved about the original, none-the-less the mix still gives the feel of a barrel (reminds me a bit of some of the scotch barrel beers I've had, but much more subtle). as it warms the wine really takes hold in the smell and it works. creamy chocolatey milk shake. The smokiness is there, but again, the wine barrel aging really just mellows it out. There is a bit of a red wine feel to it (comes out a lot more as it warms), but no dryness what-so-ever.

m-Cooling with a soft tingle (the only sign of the alc in this beer). Smoky after effects in my mouth. Very full bodied. Meal in a glass.

d-I consider the original Captain Lawrence Imperial Smoked Porter to be one of the better beers I've ever had. This beer is heavy and rich, like the original, but the wine barrel really mellows out the smokiness and gives it more of a peaty feel. This gift set is great for any beer lover. Comes with a great looking glass and 3 varieties of one of the better smoked beers out there. Can't wait to see what the others in the set are like.

Photo of homebrew311
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance is murky reddish brown with active bubbles settling almost no head. Nose has lactic acid character with red wine, light chocolate, and absent of smoke. Taste reminds me of a sour porter. Getting plenty of oak and wine, not much else. Mouthfeel is effervescent with light body. Overall, a little more sour than I expected. The smoke takes a back seat.

Photo of Durge
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid black-brown color with a creamy tan head and fantastic lacing. The aroma has a nice sour lemon and wheat wine. Not what I expected from a porter and the smoke is not obvious, but quite likable none the less. The flavor follows suit with great sour lemony rhubarb in a malty Alka-Seltzer mix. This tastes like a decent sour and in no way like any typical porter. The smoke is only evident at the end of this brew and remains subtle at best. Medium bodied with fair tingly feel. Not sure about the style but I love it as a sour.

Photo of Klym
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Tasting-size portion poured into a snifter.

Dark pour with a thin head. Appleskins smoke and pine in the nose-- hard to believe that this is a porter, seems sourish. Taste is amazing with a feta cheese dominated flavor and apple, smoke, and tree bark dancing in the background. Stunningly complex and original. Would love to try all the variations.

Photo of jrbuch
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Captain Lawrence tasting goblet.

A: Pitch black. Good amount of lacing with a mocha colored head. Head does not last long and settles down into a halo.

S: Smell is overbearing with smoke. Oak is very present, you could almost hold a piece of oak side by side to the beer and there would be little difference. Almost fruity and similar in a sense to Nor' Easter; CL house flavor.

T: Red wine, oak, smoke and chocolate malt. Sweet in the middle without much trace of the high ABV. Still very oaky with a deep malt character and balanced bitterness.

M: Mouthfeel is to style. Good viscosity, I might have expected it to be a little heavier, but fits the red wine persona.

D: Good, a stand alone beer or smoked food at most.

Overall a great smoked beer. If you want smoke from the oak, you got it. If I had aged this beer, the smell and taste most likely would be more balanced. Give this beer 6-12 mo. and it will be an A+.

Photo of Jwale73
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a chalice. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a frothy, loose, one inch, mocha-colored head that dissipates into a cluster of bubbles around the edges. Nose expresses smoke, band-aids and tannins towards the back. Fortunately, there is much less of a band-aid presence and more of a rauch-like quality in the flavor profile. In addition to the smoked malts, the wine barrel really comes out here. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a creamy/oily texture and a carbonation just shy of still. Overall, really interesting and complex. Having not had too many wine barrel-aged brews, I don't have much of a frame of reference, but this beer was quite pleasant and I have to say that I definitely like the Imperial Porter base on these beers over the old recipe.

Photo of alpinebryant
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When faced with an already great beer that has been aged in Wine Barrels that is now Imperialized, I took it upon myself as duty to see how the progression of the SFTO series has gone. CL did not disappoint and now you can feel safe for the time being of aging these without worrying about what it will taste like a few years down the road.

Pour is a dark brownish black with a healthy layer of light brown bubbles on top. Not a lot of lacing.

Aroma of smokechips, oak barrel and sweet malt mixed with a cabernet wine. Oak seems to be more prominent in here from what I remember of the non imperial SFTO wine, however the wine has really gotten more noticeable from what I remember of the original.

Taste of a heavily roasted malt with smoky overtones. The smoke I believe to be Hickory but I am not sure. It really comes through, leaving you with the sweet flavors of a high abv porter. Sweet flavors mixing with some ash and caramelization. Dark plum and candy coating your mouth, this will not disappoint with its full mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of vfgccp
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A – Dark black/brown with medium-brown highlights. Mocha head sits relatively low.

S – Blackberries. Light, hammy smoke. Grape skins. The fruit character is subtle and dry.

T – Boozy oak. The wine character is definitely present: oxidized merlot, tannins, and a sharp acidity. Gentle coffee note. Spice (mulling spice?) on the backend.

M – Highly carbonated. Medium / light body. Smooth. Peppery-spicy, dry finish with a lingering alcoholic warmth.

O – A very interesting and complex porter, but not necessarily the tastiest.

Photo of Jeffo
2.43/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Got this entire set from STEG a while back. Thanks for the trade man!

From a 750ml into a snifter.
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: All the variants basically look the same. Pours our transparent brown and yields a small, medium looking, tan head with god retention. Head fades to a wisp and ring. Black, relatively transparent looking body with no carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end and leaves lots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Smoked malts, a touch of roasted notes as well, and some dark chocolate. A hint of white wine in there as well, but mostly the smoke and dark malts are evident.

TASTE: Light roasted notes with some smoky flavors for sure. Oak in there as well, and some acidic wine at the finish. Mild but lingering aftertaste of smoke, acidic wine and dark chocolate. The wine notes don’t work, and give it an acidic tone that isn’t all that pleasant.

PALATE: Light and bubbly body with higher levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down fine and finishes dry on the palate. An acidic bite as well.

OVERALL: This was definitely the worst of the bunch. The wine barrel lent a line of acidity that just didn’t sit well with the rest of the beer. Not one worth seeking out unless you’re trying to complete the set. Regardless, thanks for the trade on this one STEG. We had a lot of fun with this set.

Photo of Sean9689
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mike (AgentZero) for this one. Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours black, tan head, thin ring, thin film on top.

S - Huge cabernet note, which is delicious, slight chocolate, dark fruits, oak. Being a wine lover, it's probably my favorite nose of the three variants.

T - Not as much wine here, but still, very good. Tannic notes, chocolate, slight smoke, oak.

M - Medium to full, rich and smooth, creamy finish.

O - My favorite nose of the 3 but the taste doesn't live it to the nose. Still, very enjoyable and being that I'm a wine guy as well, liked this one. Recommend.

Photo of ChaseT
1.38/5  rDev -64.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured into a Spiegelau Stemmed Pilsner glass.

Appearance: Looked pretty good. Nice tan head on a very dark body. Faded fairly quickly, but was easily resuscitated with a quick swirl.

Smell: Band-aid that had formerly covered an infected wound. Simply awful.

Taste: Just as bad as the smell. I'm not sure what went wrong here.

Mouthfeel: The consistency is decent, but is impossible to appreciate due to the taste.

Overall: I was really looking forward to tasting this beer. I really enjoy both imperial porters and beers aged in red wine barrels. A huge disappointment.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A solid pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a three-finger thick, nicely browned head that leaves some nice layered lacing on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is a nice black hue that shows a hint of ruby to it around the edges when held up directly to the light. The aroma smells of roast and berries is apparent as I am pouring this, but a more focused look at the aroma smells of fresh cut sawdust that is backed by a sort of medicinal phenolic note that smells like a freshly unwrapped bandaid (I actually like that smell quite a bit, but I am not sure I want it in my beer). There is perhaps a hint of tartness to the finish (I am not sure if it is roast or whine barrel derived). Hmm, let me reevaluate that Band-Aid note, it is actually contributed partially by the smokiness from the malt, I still can’t shake the comparison to a Band-Aid, but it is much more pleasant than I had originally surmised; the oak character definitely mixes with the smoke to contribute to this character as well. A deep draught of the aroma reveals a rich toasted maltiness as well as the red-wine derived, tart berry notes, but you really have to dig for these most times. In the end the nose is fairly solid; not as objectionable as I had at first feared, but also not as appetizing as I would have hoped before cracking this beer.

The beer feels somewhat rich and viscous as it first hits my tongue, but it finishes with a light, dry oak and tart wine character in the near finish, but then the long finish sees a touch of the malt heft coming back to linger on the palate. Buttery oak flavors, spicy oak, ample berry like wine character and a fresh cut wood flavors define the good side of the oak contributions. There is a touch of plastic / Band-Aid phenolic notes towards the finish; again I think this is a flavor derived from the combination of oak and smoke flavors. The smokiness also contributes a touch of a savory quality to this beer. A dark berry character becomes more noticeable as the beer warms up, though it still plays a supporting role in the flavor. The malt character certainly has a richness to it that is quite satiating at times; the smoke definitely boosts this, but there are flavors of toasty whole grain (this really stands out in the flavor, especially as the beer warms up), amply roasted notes, some touches of roast bitterness, complex dark malt sugars (not sweet, but really moved towards the savory side) and a deeply toasted nutty note that stands proud in the flavor profile.

This beer really ends up being quite tasty and enjoyable as it warms up, though it never entirely shakes the Band-Aid notes (moreso in the aroma than in the flavor, though it is still always at least subtly in the flavor as well). I am not sure if the Band-Aid notes are purely from the oak / smoke combination, or if there is a start of something funky going on here, but this isn’t nearly as integratedly good as the funk’ified non-imperial Smoke from the Oak Wine Barrel; the lush texture is perhaps a bit better than the “regular” strength version, but every other category was better in the original (even if it was likely harder to be consistent). I have a feeling that my overall impression of this beer would be better if it had started out towards the high 50°F (mid 10°C), as opposed to the low 40s (~5°C) that this started out at; in fact I find myself giving this a bump up in its enjoyable quality as I drink more of it on the warm side of cool.

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Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.