Small Batch Series No. 4 - Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 8 | Display Reviews Only:
3.59/5 rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
Received in a trade, Bottled 11/27/12, poured into a snifter
A- Pours nearly all foam in the glass, then quickly settles to a small sudsy layer on top, short lasting legs when agitated, beer is nearly pitch black in color
S- lots of smoky aromas from the mesquite, some hints of chocolate, oak and vanilla, not really picking up and bourbon aromas. Any of the aromas that result from the barrel aging seem to be overpowered by the mesquite smokiness, which I believe is the base beer itself
T- The base porter is simple with some light chocolatey notes, the mesquite smoking actually compliments the base beer quite well, without being overbearing. The mesquite gives some woodsy and herbal flavors. I'm not really picking up any barrel flavors, maybe if I try really hard I can pick up a hint of bourbon on the finish. But like, the aroma, the flavor is dominated by the smoke of the mesquite
M- medium body with high carbonation leads to a pure foam mouthfeel all the way to the finish, a bit over-carbonated. ABV is pretty well hidden though, with just a little bit of heat at the end
O- This was a nice concept, but I don't think that they got enough influence from the barrel to match up with the smoke of the base beer. Regardless, its a good beer, but doesn't hold it's own in the barrel aging category
I noticed previous reviews mentioning infection issues, I didn't experience anything sour or that would suggest infection
Serving type: bottle
12-16-2013 02:58:23 | More by Treyliff
2.63/5 rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75
Bottled 11/27/12. Reviewed live, making this a month or so shy of a year old. 375ml brown glass bottle with waxed-over (black wax) pressure cap and nondescript label acquired at a local bottle shop for $6.99 USD and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery. There is no indication of the style on the label, but it's identified on Ranger Creek's website as an "Imperial Mesquite Smoked Porter Aged in Ranger Creek Bourbon Barrels." Reviewed as an imperial porter.
Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
A: Whoa! We have a gusher! Severe overcarbonation! Liquid all over my desk...
No bubble show forms as I pour.
Pours a three finger wide head of khaki colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. Subpar frothiness. Messy "legs"/lacing cling(s) to the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes. Head retention is quite good for the high ABV - about 7 minutes - but I'd credit this to the rampant overcarbonation.
Body colour is a dull murky opaque dark brown-black. No yeast particles are visible.
Overall, it's not looking great for an imperial porter. The body colour should be a jet black and the head could be fuller and more tan. Not unique or special.
Sm: Obvious mesquite wood, vanilla, bourbon, oak wood, dark malts, and chocolate malt. The aroma hit me as soon as I opened it. Unfortunately, the mesquite overwhelms the oak, depriving the aroma of nuance. Sea salt. I look for the marshmallow mentioned on the beer's description on Ranger Creek's website, but don't find it. Maybe some mesquite smoke. I also get some spiciness which I believe is from the mesquite, but it lends the beer more of a rye whiskey aroma than a bourbon aroma. If not for the vanilla, I wouldn't have found the bourbon.
An assertive aroma of high strength. It's not particularly appealing for the style; I want more cream and chocolate as well as less aggression - it's really in-your-face.
No yeast character, hop character, or imbalanced alcohol is detectable.
T: Heavy mesquite wood and spice. Smoked meat. A kiss of peat. Boozy rye whiskey. Quite woody, but it's all mesquite and no oak. The bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate notes from the aroma are nowhere to be found, to its detriment. Even the dark malt base gets overwhelmed by the aggressive mesquite. Not finding any marshmallow. That's one hell of an overbearing flavour profile, bereft of any nuance or subtlety at all. Perhaps the least intricate barrel aged imperial porter I've ever had. For all the effort that clearly went into this - aging in their own barrels, using mesquite wood (and maybe smoke) - it comes off shockingly one note. Huge flavour intensity, but no depth of flavour. Duration of flavour is average.
The barrel notes are sorely lacking, leaving this feeling like a smoked imperial porter - not a barrel aged one. I suspect the base beer is pretty underwhelming; it seems it was easily taken over by the mesquite.
I wouldn't call it balanced, but there's some general cohesion. It's not gestalt. A bit musty; the flavours don't ring clean or distinct but feel tainted - maybe this is why some reviewers are suspecting infection.
Do I like it? Not really, no.
No hop character or yeast character comes through. I do pick up on some light alcohol warmth.
Mf: Lightly coarse. Wet. A bit rough; has a slight cardboard feel. Overcarbonated. Unrefreshing. Has some heat to it. Not at all soft; indeed, it's a bit rough. Has an aggressive heavy presence on the palate that doesn't suit the style particularly well; smooth sleek bourbony textures are ideal, not a harsh spicy whiskey feel. It doesn't suit the flavour profile well. Not very carefully handled; disappointing execution.
Not oily, buttery, or astringent.
Dr: Difficult to drink given the sheer aggression of the beer coupled with its noticeable alcohol presence. If it drinks this rough with nearly a year of age, I can't imagine how abrasive it was fresh. I've had some good brews from Ranger Creek, but this isn't one of them. I do love the idea of a mesquite aged bourbon porter, but the execution of that concept here is very lacking. Quite overpriced. I wouldn't recommend this to friends or trade partners. Very disappointed.
Not to be aged; it isn't worth the cellar space and I doubt it'd develop or mellow with age.
Serving type: bottle
10-08-2013 03:36:16 | More by kojevergas
2.58/5 rDev -23.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5
Poured from a waxed 375ml bottle into an Avery Mark of the Beast pint glass. Bottled on date of 11-27-12. Label suggests that beer can be enjoyed right away or cellared for an extended period of time.
A: 90% tan foamy head and 10% dark brown/blackish, nearly opaque body. A gusher that never quite settled down. Pour carefully.
S: Sour and funk strong, but not quite overpowering. Mesquite, meaty smoke there as well. not much else.
T: Fortunately, the sour and smoke reverse themselves here. Dry woody finish. Noticeable alcohol warms.
M: Thin for an amped up BA version of MSP. Definitely overcarbed.
O: Another infected small batch offering from Ranger Creek. I gave this one 10 months to fester, so it could have been worse. If you find yourself purchasing one of these (or get gifted a couple as I did), drink ASAP. Pour carefully and over your sink. Ask yourself if sour will complement or clash with the style. Haven't experienced an infected Small Batch on draft, FWIW.
Serving type: bottle
09-03-2013 03:27:38 | More by videofrog
Small Batch Series No. 4 from Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
78 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.