Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Imperial Version) - Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Imperial Version)Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Imperial Version)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

125 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 125
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 12.34%
Wants: 59
Gots: 30 | 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: 125 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by deapokid:
Photo of deapokid
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on 5/17. Picked up the boxed set at Bierkraft in Brooklyn in January. Reviewed from notes.

Liquid has a dark purple body with a brown head of foam and the lightest swirl of lacing. Looks sweet, like an imperial stout, but without the deep black visage.

Smoke and wood are the most prevalent aromas, making my nose strain for that apple acidity. Luckily, the warming alcoholic scent in the conclusion brings brandy to mind.

Taste is smoky (dare I say rauchbier-esque) with the apple brandy peaking out in the acidic and boozy conclusion. Anise, irish cream liqueur, coffee and a woody earthiness are also present. It's nice to sip, if a bit on the strong side.

The mouth is quite smooth with a roasty bite that's not as abrasive as something with so many strong elements can be.

Overall, the flavors are interesting and original, but I feel like this is a step or two behind the rum-barreled version. Also, the apple brandy isn't forthright enough, allowing elements of the base beer to take over.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
4.52/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bottled in '10, this one has been in my "cellar"/closet for about 10 months.

Pours black, dark tan head, staying and staying at about the 1/4 inch level. Going quite slowly to a well developed thicker blotchy film, thick collar and nice amounts of strands and bits of sticky lacing.

A sniff reveals brandy, wood, vanilla, honey.

Super complex and tasty brew, with notes of the aformentioned brandy, wood, vanilla, honey, plus fruity jam...

I truly enjoyed every ounce if this offering from the good Captain.

Fine creation in brewing.

Photo of ehammond1
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2010, I think?)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, whartontallboy!

(Aged for 1+ year)

A big, thick, black stout. This pours without a lot of visible carbonation even after a fairly aggressive pour. It leaves the glass coated with an oily sheen.

The aroma is certainly smoke-forward with almost a pork-like character to it. There's a good amount of barrel character and a touch of vanilla once you can find something other than smoke. Per the style, it's very nice, though I'm not the biggest fan of smoked beers.

A very well integrated smoked/barreled beer. There's roasted malt character to be found underneath the smoke, wood, and slight boozy sweetness. Well rounded, moderately bitter, and very drinkable.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

This beer is so big, expressive, and flavorful on its own, I think it would hold up nicely against some big assertive foods: funky cheeses, barbeque, or sweet chocolates.

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Pours black with a tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with large amounts of boozy green apple aromas. Also present are slight amounts of smokiness.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though note as robust. Moderately roasted malts up front are joined quickly by sweet and boozy green apples. Midway through the apple flavors fade a bit, allowing some smokiness to shine through and carry on to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall I enjoyed this beer, as I have with most beers aged on apple brandy. My second favorite, slightly edged out by the rum barrel version. A nice combination and a beer that is well worth a shot.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Nice khaki head with a thick collar and nice surface wisps.

Smell - Smoky, but not too intense. Sweet smelling. Chocolate. Lots of vanilla. Some oak. I get some brandy, but I don't think I'd peg it as apple.

Taste - Chocolate. Smoke. Sweet fudgy chocolate comes back after the smoke. Oak. Sweet brandy flavor. Woody finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Pretty sweet and kinda boozy. A little sluggish.

Overall - Nice all around. I appreciate that the smoke isn't overwrought.

Photo of Gmann
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a big dense tan head that settled into a solid cap.

The aroma primarily is of smoke. Nice charred wood, peat, and meaty aromas. Just beautiful smoke aromas. There is also a hint of sweetness, though you can't really tell what it is. I imagine it is from the apple brandy, its a bit vinous. Also a hint of sour oak.

The smoke is definitely not as strong as the aroma but is still there. The taste starts off with a solid roasted malt and caramel base. This is followed by the sweet brandy flavor with hints of red delious apples. The smoke follows through in the end bring some charred wood, soy, and peat flavors. Just a real nice transition of flavors.

Moderate body with tingly carbonation. Great balance on the palate between the sweet and the smoke. A hint of ABV belly burn but really not much and it finishes slightly sticky.

Great smoked porter. Perhaps not as smokey on the flavor as I expected but such great balance between the barrel aging and the smoke.

Photo of scootny
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A brown black brew with a light brown frothy head. Some lace here and there with nice amount of retention. Smell is sweet with notes of chocolate, coconut, cherries, molasses and caramel. Good amount of smoke and oak. An undercurrent of dark fruits and light coffee. Vanilla wafts through atop a wave of mild apple brandy. Some light earthiness. Yumm. Taste is much like the nose with a larger oak and brandy presence. Some lovely dry tartness as the alcohol cuts in toward the finish adding a sweetness as well to a crisp dry somewhat astringent finish. Dry oak and cherries linger along with burnt caramel and charcoal. Feel is lighter that you would expect but still a beer with some girth to it. Nice smooth carbonation helps to keep it from sticking as this beer has a light syrupiness to it. Goes down well and while a sipper it is definitely easy to sip fast. Just a perfect beer for this chilly spring night.

Photo of trappistlover
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(750ml bottle courtesy of Cuzco!). Pours a nice black color with a thin espresso head. Its a really nice picture. Aroma is savory smoke, beef jerky, faint, but sweet apples. The smoke is so powerful, but the fruit does peek its head out in a very pleasant way. Taste is sweet; much sweeter than I expected. I recall trying the other two versions and I thought they were harsh (but good). The smoke is there for sure, but the apple brandy has really started to emerge. Medium bodied and a slick texture. Finish is smooth except for the alcohol bite. This has been my favorite of the imperial SFTO beers, but a revisit of the other two is now something I’m very interested in.

Photo of smakawhat
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at Smoke & Barrel. Batch 1, from notes.

Interesting hue here on the head. It's purple, with a light bit of tan, guess it's picking up that real nice hazy reddish brown body. Bit of a pour from the bottom of the bottle so it's got some yeast cloudy character, but it's still quite attractive on first glance.

For a barrel age, it doesn't come off particularly oaky for a bouquet. But the nose provides a mild bitter chocolate and sour berry tinge, almost crabapple sense, but it gets into under-ripe raspberry or some red berry, with some slight funk. Solid.

Palate is a strange mix of wet and creamy texture. A very light body for a barrel aged brew, with a mild sour bit of tart kick, and mellow milk bitter chocolate and sour cherries. The feel does provide even with the lightness a real good creamy texture surprisingly, the feel seems to be the best part. It's almost contradictory to how the flavors come out on the palate. I don't get much smoke off of this either.

Overall though, kind of mellow, simple, and alright. It's ok but I can't get a sense of style for what this is either.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

32 oz growler procured from Nathaniel Square Corner Store. Imperial smoked porter aged in apple brandy barrels- sounds tasty! Let's go.

Pours very dark. Foamy, mocha-colored head forms, then dissipates into a very oily film on top of the beer. Very good, sticky lacing.

Smells like apple brandy, chocolate, and vanilla.

The taste is similar, with added oak, mild smokiness and char, roasted malts, caramel, and boozy fusels. The alcohol presence keeps the taste from achieving perfection, but it's pretty damn close, really.

Slighlty thinner body and mouthfeel than I would've expected. The thin mouthfeel allows the alcohol to make a stronger presence that I'd ultimately want. Still, for a porter, pretty thick mouthfeel nonetheless.

Probably the best brew I've had from Captain Lawrence. Would love to try the rum version.

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

ark as night with a heavy tan head that was thick and gave the beer that thick and creamy look i had so wanted it to be. nice lacing down the sides of the glass as well..

aroma starts with warm vanilla and roasted malts, hints of light oak and coffee, some smoke peaking its head up at times, very interesting. nice touches of chocolate and a warm brown sugar as it hits room temperature. flavor follows suit perfectly as the warming from the roasted malts and rich barrel flavor are simply superb. rich vanilla and caramel, chocolate, roasted coffee and a nice smooth finish that was dotted with notes of light bitterness that were balanced against the malts with near perfection, creamy, full and just a delightfully wonderful beer.

Photo of metter98
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is very close to being jet black in color—slight traces of reddish brown are visible near the edge of the glass when it is held up to the light. It poured with a thin light tan head that died down and left a large patch of bubbles in the center and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of iodine and smoke are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark malts and smoke, the latter of which lingers through the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is deceptively drinkable for clocking in at 12% abv as little if any traces of alcohol are perceptible in the taste.

Photo of Arenbeer
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a C Lawrence goblet glass.

The last of the series for me to try. If this is anything like golden delicious I know it's going to be amazing!

A- Pours solid black with a fluffy 1 finger brown head that sticks around. Not much retention but leaves some really nice legs on the side of the glass.

S- Just like the rest of the series the smoke and meat notes dominate with subtle tones of burnt coffee and dark chocolate. Not really getting to much from the brandy unfortunately, other than some slight strong boozy notes as I swirl it around the glass. I think the smoke is just to strong. It's definitely there but I feel as though if I didn't know this was apple aged I would have never picked up on it.

T- Well unlike the aroma the first sip just coated my palate with a nice boozy heat and subtle yet distinct flavors from the brandy. Sweet apple or hard cider flavors mix wonderfully with the strong smoke that takes over the palate. I was a little leery after the smell but wow the taste of this beer makes it the best of the series. So simple yet so complex in flavor.

M- Full bodied with moderate carbonation and a nice wet strong finish that will warm you all the way down.

Overall the flavors of this beer are extremely unique and can honestly say I've never had anything like this even after having the rest of the series. The only flaw of this beer for me is the booziness. I'm normally not bothered by strong ABV beer but the brandy from this sucker warms you right up!

Highly recommend!


Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The regular version of this beer is one of my favorite beers. Let's see what putting it into a barrel did.

A - Black beer that gets a little bit lighter around the edges. Not really much left in the way of lacing, just some minor wisps.

S - Apple brandy adds an underlying mellow sweetness to the roasted and smoked porter. It is a nice mix, although I think I prefer the smell of the regular just slightly. Some barrel smell.

T - Taste is along the lines of the nose, although the smoke and roast is a little bit more pronounced. The base beer had a certain buttery characteristic that is not as evident here. Apple brandy adds touches of apples, and a mellowing sweetness that contrasts the smokey properties of the beer in a good way.

M - Full bodied beer with some fairly active carbonation.

O - Liked this a lot, although it would be pretty hard to mess this up given how big and good the base beer is. Not sure how someone gave this an F.

Photo of ironbike1
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Cpt.lawrence tulip. It is black as night with a tan head that is about 1/2" thick and fades slowly with nice lacing throught.
The smell of this is unique. I smell a lot of smokeyness and the brandy coming through nicely.
The taste is full of flavor from the smoke which hits strong to the backbone of the brandy. I get a faint taste of the apple and caramels in this aswell.
The mouthfeel is very thick and almost creamy with a nice little bite to it from the alcohol.

Overall another great beer form the Cpt. that I wish they would release on a regular basis aswell as a little more afordable. However this beer is fantastic and very easy to drink on my ownm goes down smooth but be prepared for the smoke flavor as it is huge in this beer, unlike any other smoke beer I have had.


Photo of dar482
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a dark brown/black color with some reddish brown.

The aroma has tons of smoke, but also that apple brandy barrel coming through. Oak coming and sweetness coming through.

The flavor has this extremely aggressive smoke flavor. There's some roasted malt, but it's dominated by the smoke and there's some barrel character as well with some vanilla coming through.

A huge beer and a bit aggressive for my tastes.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The final bottle from the set that I received from joefuzz. Thank you, Joe.

The cap comes off without a whisper, catching me by surprise. The beer, however, is carbonated, as evinced by the dark brown head that sits atop this black beer. With the poorest retention of the 3, the head falls off to a thin disk leaving minimal lace. The nose is rather excellent. With a blend of apple brandy, smoke and some vanilla sweetness, this is intoxicating. Couple the barrel character with the mild cocoa and caramel, you get this beer which almost seems sweeter than the other two. The pairing of vanilla, caramel and apple brandy makes this almost smell like an apple candy (I'm blanking on the name at the moment). The freshness and vibrancy of the liquor calls to mind a fine eau-de-vie. Excellent.

The palate bears to fruition the promise that the nose holds. While brasher and bolder in its booziness than the other beers in the series (I can't help but compare them), the apple brandy character does lend itself to bold flavors. The smoke character also does seem a little bit more intense here, with smoked mead and a handful of smoldering wet leaves thrown in for good measure. The mid-palate brings into focus the sweeter flavors, with the vanilla from the barrel and the creamy chocolate from the porter enhancing each other. The finish reveals that this is the most tannic of the series, drying out my palate and lessening the enjoyment from the wonderful flavors up until this point. With a lingering smoke and caramel apple character, I feel a little less tannin character would greatly enhance this beer. Still, and excellent beer and probably my 2nd favorite of the bunch.

Photo of foogerd
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Smooth and really rich looking pour, dark black body with some brown on the edges. A beautiful thick luscious looking coffee brown colored head, full lacing lining the glass.

S- Lots of sweet apples and smoke but a sweet smoke, some woody smoke as well but the apple brandy really delivers the smoke in a sweet bbq kind of way.

T- This reports to the palette in a more smokey way than to the nose. Here the smoke is showcased and the sweet apple brandy takes more of a supportive role. Theres a bit of heat as well at the finish, it would probably be best to sit on this for a year or so before cracking it open to see the full potential of the apple brandy treatment to this brew.

M- Cant complain here, full and rich would be the only way to describe this.

D- Very tasty but best to share.

I detracted some points off the taste because of the heat but I believe this brews best days are yet to come with some age.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a-Just like the wine aged version and the unaged imperial smoked porter, this brew poured a silky black with a frothy creamy head that built as the beer was poured. Drank this one out of the tasting glass that came with the set which is a bit tulip shaped so it lends to pulling that nice head. Lacing is milkshake like and the brew is gorgeous. A quick swirl of the glass rebuilds the head on command.

s-Like the wine version, there is a peatiness to the smell and it really tames the campfire smoke of the base beer.

t-This brew seems even more tamed back on the smoke than the wine version. Heavy on the dark chocolate...the apple brandy adds a tingle to the taste, but nothing like I had expected, but it does give the beer a sort of sangria touch to it.

m-Very rich and creamy. Leaves a wonderful tingle in my mouth, but not much of the smokiness that I love about the original. Alcohol comes through most in the mouth. As it warmed the smokiness came out more in the mouth.

d-Dangerously drinkable, but awfully heavy and filling. The original imperial smoked porter is a phenomenal brew and I really wish that this set had a bottle of the original for comparison sake since I seem to be chasing that original beer in this set. Very enjoyable beer, but not quite as tasty as the wine version (IMO).

Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Thanks to Michael for sharing this.

A: Dark brown with a subtle crimson tinge.

S: Huge beechwood and applewood bacon smoke nose. The smoke is really strong. Chocolate lingers beneath, and there's a light apple brandy note. Malt is moderately roasted.

T: Milk and dark chocolate blend with a pervasive smoke element that's reminiscent of charred beechwood. Roasted malt is at a moderate level. The flavor doesn't quite match the quality of the aroma, but it's still nice. There's a low earthy bitterness.

M: Medium in body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and smooth.

Overall: A good beer with a great aroma. I haven't had the regular version for a while so it's hard to compare, but the aroma on this seems a lot smokier and more complex.

Photo of JGam115
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Creamy chocolate with slight hints of oak chips. Faint red apple finish. Not bad

Photo of Jwale73
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cuzco for the trade. 750ml bottle served at 53 degrees in my Darkness tulip. Pours one shade shy of black with a dense, half inch mocha-colored head that is refreshed with a gentle swirl. Delicate strands of lacing are exposed during the tasting. Nose is rich, sweet and malty with pleasant smokey aromas and a slightly medicinal quality. Taste consistent with nose - the smokey quality pleasantly infiltrates the rich malty backbone. Apple brandy becomes evident as the brew warms. Mouthfeel on this is exquisite - medium bodied with a light, almost still, carbonation and a creamy/velvety texture. I have to say that I found this beer much better than the previous version and more on par with my expectations. The base porter on this beer is really quite good and my interest is definitely piqued by the rum and wine barrel variations.

Photo of Jeffo
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got all of these variants from STEG a while back. Thanks 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: Milder nose with some definite smoke, dark chocolate, oak notes, and booze. Definitely more enticing than the wine variant.

TASTE: Smoked malts up front with some dark chocolate and nice vanilla notes through the middle and a bit of booze at the swallow. A milder aftertaste lingers nicely with some smoked dark malts, oak flavors and vanilla as well. Brandy notes are there as well, but not overpowering.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. Alright here.

OVERALL: A decent beer for sure, but nothing worth writing home about. Not one you’ll remember I don’t think. Enjoyed the flavor here much more than the wine variant, though the rum treatment is the only one I’d actively ask for again. Thanks again for the trade STEG. This set was good times!

Photo of Sean9689
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

A - Pours dark brown, thin ring, spotty lacing, thin filmy cap.

S - Apples, booze, smoke, dark fruits. Really enjoy the apple and booze on the nose. The alcohol is pretty smooth for 12%.

T - Smoke, char, dark fruits, apple, oak. I wanted more apples here, but still, not bad overall. The smoke and char show up a lot more here then compared to the nose.

M - Full body, rich, smooth, creamy finish.

O - I preferred the nose to the palate. The apples really stood out on the nose but then weren't as pronounced when it came time to taste this one. Still, enjoyable but I'll take the regular version of over any of the variants.

Photo of corby112
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

The aroma of this beer is dominated by a heavy smoked malt presence that overpowers the brandy barrel character. I don't know if it's because they made this imperial, but the smoke presence is really strong and the apple brandy notes that are so pleasant in the regular version are almost undetectable. I'm a huge smoke head so I'm not going to complain too much but it would be nice to pick up some of the brandy. There is some toasted oak but the nose is overwhelmingly smokey with hints of campfire, charcoal, smoked meat, ash and burnt toast. Really nice but could use something else for balance, especially in a BA beer.

On the fuller end of medium bodied with a subtle brandy barrel character that is faintly integrated into the flavor of intensely smoked malts. There is a sweet calvados character that gives of vinous and green apple flavor but that is quickly countered by toasted oak and almost burnt malt. Pretty dry but never becomes acrid with luscious smoked malt and subtle chocolate cake sweetness. Hints of charcoal, barbecued bacon, burnt toast, liquid smoke and ash followed by oatmeal and dark chocolate sweetness. There is some nice brandy flavor but the high ABV is very well masked, and although this beer is pretty intense, I'm loving the peated, smokey flavor and find it very easy to drink.

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Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Imperial Version) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 125 ratings.