Donkey Venom - Bellwoods Brewery
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Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 5 | Display Reviews Only:
4.03/5 rDev -0.2%
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.
Serving type: bottle
12-21-2013 07:22:40 | More by biegaman
4.28/5 rDev +5.9%
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.
Serving type: cask
10-20-2013 21:12:17 | More by jrenihan
4.01/5 rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Nearly jet black, ring of tan head, some spots of lace as well. Smell is quite funky, cherry and vinious oak jump out, lemony and a bit of musty brett, chocolate is in there as well with a bit of roast. Taste is tart and funky up front, more of that lemony-cherry from the nose, oak and wine like flavours, washes away with chocolate and coffee, some roast flavours, oaky aftertaste, more porter flavour as it warms. Medium carbonation, drying medium body. Pretty good stuff here, similar to No Sleep Til Brooklyn with a bit more funk but still good in its own right.
Serving type: bottle
01-02-2014 14:58:58 | More by peensteen
4.35/5 rDev +7.7%
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.
Serving type: bottle
02-07-2014 04:10:28 | More by CAMRAhardliner
3.99/5 rDev -1.2%
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!
Serving type: bottle
12-11-2013 02:30:16 | More by ludachris
Donkey Venom from Bellwoods Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.