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Donkey Venom - Bellwoods Brewery

Not Rated.
Donkey VenomDonkey Venom

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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Awaiting 10 Reviews
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Reviews: 8
Hads: 42
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: n/a
Wants: 4
Gots: 3 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Bellwoods Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 10-19-2013

Who knew the venom of a magical donkey would taste so good? Aged in barrels with Brettanomyces and other bugs for 6-12 months, what was once a strong porter has emerged anew. Donkey Venom presents a well-rounded range of flavours, balancing roasted malt and tart characteristics. Deceivingly drinkable for its high ABV, this tart porter is among our more unique offerings.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 8 | Hads: 42
Reviews by evil_liver:
Photo of evil_liver
3.5/5  rDev n/a

More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev n/a

Photo of DaveBar
3.6/5  rDev n/a
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the Bellwoods bottle shop for around $9.00 or so for a 500ml bottle. Pricy to say the least

A- Opens well and pours a 2" high brown head that films out in a minute. Very dark brown

S- Lots of brett. Sour

T- Sour. This is a confused porter. Does not have the undertones of a porter nor the malt backbone. Not a good blend at all. Mismatched flavors.

M- Dry and tart

O- Not very good. If this was the LCBO it would be returned. Not a good blend at all and am glad I didn't buy two

Food Pairing

This ok brew went well with.... Pad Thai

Enjoy (560 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.75/5  rDev n/a

Photo of Adamthornton13
4/5  rDev n/a
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.62/5  rDev n/a
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of liamt07
4.25/5  rDev n/a

Photo of 111213forlife
4/5  rDev n/a

Photo of ludachris
3.99/5  rDev n/a
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A soapy cap of khaki coloured head rests on top of its nearly black body. Only a glimpse of its truly deep chestnut brown hue is revealed by light. Alcohol legs stick to where the head once was as it recedes.

The Brett is the dominating character in the nose. It's tangy, tart, and dry. Sweet cherry skin and even wet dog is there as well. Right behind it comes soft oaky vanilla. Underneath Brett's funky influence is the essence of a big Porter. Cocoa, dark chocolate, and sweet alcohol all manage to make an appearance. It's a little bit roasty and a little bit nutty as well. This is a very complex smelling Porter.

As soon as hits your lips you get the tingly pinch of Brett and its tart and dry ways. I find its character more akin to green grape skins in the taste with a wine-like dryness. The influence of the barrels encases everything with a soft and subtle sweet oakiness, helping to round out some of the intensity coming from both the Brett and the alcohol. The alcohol itself gives all the flavours a bit of punch and leaves a long warming feel in the chest. Its Porter quality is an underlying factor. There's some roastiness, some nuttiness, and a little bit of chocolate that becomes more apparent as it nears the finish.

A constant I've noticed in Bellwoods beers is how clean the feel is on all of them and this is of no exception. Its good drinkability is a result of this. The body is medium to full with a sticky dryness and a pinch of astringency.

In my opinion, the craft beer scene in Ontario and several other provinces are a few years behind our neighbours to the South. However, Bellwoods and beers like this are helping to close this gap. Their willingness to be bold, daring, and innovative, as demonstrated by their bottled version of a 9.5% barrel aged Porter innoculated with Brett not only legitimizes Bellwoods spot as one of the best in Ontario, but Ontario's craft beer scene as a whole and how far it's come in recent years. As much as I enjoyed this, I respect their effort even more. Well done Bellwoods! (2,051 characters)

Photo of Whatup14
3.89/5  rDev n/a
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Photo of byronic
3.61/5  rDev n/a
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Derek
4.06/5  rDev n/a
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit sour for my liking... (27 characters)

Photo of mmapes
4/5  rDev n/a

Wow, what an interesting beer! (Thanks to Andrew for the trade.) I'm not usually a fan of Brett beers, but this one doesn't have any of the dirty aftertaste of a brett-forward beer. In addition, the flavor is dry, a little tart, a lot like a red wine. Interesting stuff, without the barnyard taste I dislike about bretts. (321 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
4.25/5  rDev n/a
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-cask during Cask Days. This is the Lost River Baltic Porter aged in barrels with Brett.

Beer is black with a minimally-sized tan head.

Nose betrays a slight tartness, along with cocoa and oak.

Taste is very nice. Moderately sour, with cocoa, cherry and oak. A bit of roasted malt. Yum.

Full bodied, low carbonation.

Overall, very nice stuff. Look forward to more of this when Bellwoods releases it properly. (415 characters)

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev n/a

Photo of polloenfuego
3.59/5  rDev n/a
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of lgmol
4/5  rDev n/a

Photo of Jerboat
4.25/5  rDev n/a

Photo of Chappy-88
4.73/5  rDev n/a
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of KeKeKumba
3.75/5  rDev n/a

Photo of atsir
5/5  rDev n/a
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Incredible beer, my favorite of the year so far. (48 characters)

Photo of AMZB
4.48/5  rDev n/a
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.34/5  rDev n/a
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours opaque black with a modest coffee colored head that lasts a good while. Foam and chunks of lace drape the glass. Tartness, acrid black malt and coffee mix with a bit of barnyard funk in the nose. The taste is an interesting mix of lactic tartness and brett funk and roasted malt and coffee flavors. Berry and citrus fruityness shows in the background. A strong bready malt balast keeps any tartness from getting out of control. Hops are basically awol throughout – just a bit of requisite bitterness. The mouthfeel is full bodied and mouth coating with a moderate carbonation level. The finish is roasty and dry with a bit of tartness. The alcohol is very well hidden for 9.5.

This is a very interesting Baltic Porter. Lots of brett flavor and barrel aging funkyness. Highly recommended for a unique experience. (821 characters)

Photo of yancot
4/5  rDev n/a

Photo of biegaman
4.04/5  rDev n/a
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'd love to know how the brewery came up with the name 'Donkey Venom' - safe to say, you won't see any trademark infringement lawsuits over this one. Safe to say also that 4 months confinement in the barrel probably didn't turn this porter any darker or opaque than it already was; this is solid black, its only colour being the brownish tint of its head.

The aroma shares one or two characteristics with a wet dog. Barrel-aging the beer with Brettanomyces has accomplished exactly what it set out to do: funk-i-fy things. This porter smells like curdled chocolate milk (creamy and chocolatey but with a soured lactose twang) with the oak contributing a complimenting pinch of vanilla.

Barnyard 'funk' and malty remnants of coffee and black licorice are impressed immediately but it's the notes of sour cherries and over-ripe plums that prove to have the most staying power. Its faint rum cake-like flavour makes it slightly vinous tasting (overlooking the roast qualities, of course). It tastes like a cherry- and Kahlua-infused hot chocolate. Ginger or cinnamon too?

Despite an enthusiastic start the 'funk' proves surprisingly docile in the long run; warming brings more 'coffee and cream' sweetness and less 'farm animal funk'. As is typically the case with the big bad Brett, alcohol is less a factor than yeast; the texture is leathery and the finish tart like festering fruits. The bitterness of raw cocoa beans is dusted over the finish.

The only thing I've tried that compares to Donkey Venom (quality- and character-wise) is Jolly Pumpkin's Madrugada Obscura. Considering that brewery specializes exclusively in sours and Bellwoods still merely experiments with them, that's a mighty impressive fact. It is an offering as unique as its name and as good as you'd expect from one of Canada's best microbreweries. (1,825 characters)

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Donkey Venom from Bellwoods Brewery
- out of 100 based on 8 ratings.