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Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla - Red Brick Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla GorillaRed Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla

Educational use only; do not reuse.

81 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 81
Hads: 194
Avg: 3.56
pDev: 24.44%
Wants: 15
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Red Brick Brewing Company visit their website
Georgia, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: AdamBear on 09-21-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 81 | Hads: 194
Photo of maximum12
1/5  rDev -71.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to, well, you know who you are, for throwing this into an excellent springtime trade. 12 oz. bottle poured after the kids are down & the wife is out. I should really be sleeping.

Pour is dark & fizzy with red highlights, & I like red highlights. Smokiness comes out to play quickly in the nose...& that's about it. Huh.

Smoked Vanilla Gorilla is infected by something mind-blowing. This might be the FIRST BEER EVER that's so terribly I can't take another sip. Not one more. If this were a science experiment, the scientist would be dead or an extra in Deliverance by now.

Putrid. Looking down a few more reviews, it's pretty plain that this one is infected. Strong contender for the worst single thing I've ever put in my mouth...oh, never mind. Complete & utter failure.

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Photo of tewaris
1.12/5  rDev -68.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

By the label and by its very name, it's clear that this ale might have a lot to offer. Let's find out. Pours a very thin looking dark brown with some bubbles. Smells disgusting: stale coffee and... urine? There definitely are some restroom notes in here. Barrels? Vanilla? Smoke? Negative on all counts. Sour as hell and that's about it... raw mangoes? This is one of the few unintentionally infected beers I have run into. The bugs have taken over everything this might have had to offer. A major fail.

3, 1, 1, 1, 1

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Photo of AutomaticBastard
1.39/5  rDev -61%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A- Looks like a porter. Dark brown/black, has a small mocha head that goes away rather quickly.

S- Not much smoke, if any. Hint of vanilla, with some spiciness.

T- Sour. Infected

M- Didn't get past the sour aspect of the taste to really analyze it much, but it was medium bodied I'd say.

O- Not much to it, it was sour. Not how I like my porters.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
1.59/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Dark brown with deep red hints when held to direct light. Head is small, bubbly, and light tan. Relatively clear.

Smell: Burnt popcorn. Char and cardboard. Vanilla runs sweet and sure. So much smoke. Some lingering sweetness. Charred fire and smoke. Day old cigarette ashes. This wasn't smoked so much as it was set on fire and put out with a wet piece of cardboard covered in vanilla extract.

Taste: Did I mention that it's smoked? So much burnt and roasted malts. It has almost nothong else too it. Almost lactic tart flavor has to derive from the overcooked malts. Aggressively bitter in the sense of pure unsweetened cocoa. It's not sour persay but imparts it. Some lingering notes of vanilla, but it's quickly overshadowed by the char and burnt nature of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Thin and bubbly. Burnt lingers and dries the whole thing out.

Overall: This is by no means infected. It's so over smoked and bitter it comes across as lactic and sour. Vanilla is almost nonexistent and would really help out if it made an appearance.

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Photo of Beejay
1.69/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

A: Pours dark brown, in the glass it is black but when held to a bright light it turns deep crimson. The head is chocolate milk in color, and fluffy.

S: There is a hint of sour mash in there, as well as a floury bread aroma. Not picking up a lot of dark malt character, although the vanilla is coming through.

T: Tart and sour. No smoked character, some bready flavors, with some vanilla aftertaste. No whisky. Not really any Porter flavor.

M: Fairly thin on body. Carbonation feels a little lack luster. There is a lingering tartness that continues to pucker for a bit.

O: While this certainly isn't the worst beer I have had, it may very well be the worst beer that I would have imagined to be great. I should love everything about a smoked, whisky barrel, vanilla porter. However I am greeted by a thin, lack luster, sour mess of a beer that's only resemblance to a porter is the color; which is a shame because considering some of the other reviews, I think I really would have liked it.

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Photo of largadeer
1.77/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Extra from jpmclaug. Thanks!

I'm greeted by a blast of vanilla as soon as I uncap the bottle. Pours a muddy auburn color, but rests in the glass an opaque dark brown capped by a thin but lasting head. Smoke is much more dominant on the nose once this is in the glass, but there's an element of sweet vanilla along with an undercurrent of tart dark fruit and roasted malt. The palate is all over the place, with clashing flavors of smoke, acidic dark fruit, lactic sourness, vanilla and charred malt. I can't imagine that this was intentionally soured, and boy does the sourness not work here. The body is pretty thin, and the finish is more sour than roasty. This may have been an interesting beer prior to infection, but it's hard to tell.

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Photo of nickfl
2.04/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Pours with one finger of tan foam on top of a dark brown body with dark amber highlights showing through. The head settles rapidly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Molasses, smoke, and caramel.

T - Sweet, and slightly sour caramel up front with a bit of molasses. Smoke and black cherry notes in the middle with a disconcerting band aid note. Finishes with more sour fruit and unpleasant phenolics.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Wow, this is flat out awful. The smoke and vanilla come together to create a beer that tastes like rootbeer with bandaids floating in it. I couldn't pour this one down the drain fast enough.

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Photo of russwbeck
2.24/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: The beer pours out thick and black, but really has nothing else going for it. Only a thin ring of light brown head raises out of the beer, and doesn't lace or hang out at all. The beer bubbles slightly, but isn't anything special. 2

S: The smoked porter is clearly apparent right off the bat. Huge roast, char, and smoke. Next up is the vanilla, which attempts to provide some balance, but actually takes away from it. The smoke and vanilla don't really seem to work with each other...fighting for prominence in my nostrils. I don't note any whiskey. 3

T: The balance on the taste is off as well, which really disappoints me because I was looking forward to tasting this beer. I think the smoke just overtakes the whiskey too much. The taste is dominated by smoke, char, peat, and big hits of vanilla. The finish is actually really nice, with lingering chocolate, slight vanilla, and hints of booze. The aftertaste leaves the remnants of too much vanilla that I noted throughout the aroma and taste. 2

MF: The beer has a medium body, with the lower than average amount of carbonation I expected from the appearance. The finish is slightly unpleasant, with lingering flavors that don't exactly work. The alcohol presence is hidden well, but not even that can help the drinkability. I just find this to be too smokey, vanilla-y, and unbalanced. 2

O: Pretty big disappointment here. Thought it was going to be a knock out as I really appreciated Red Brick's other beers I've had. Can't win them all! 2

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Photo of angrybabboon
2.34/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Consumed 4/28/12

Appearance: Dark brown, light tan head, leaves wispy lacing - unexpectedly dark, could pass for a stout

Smell: So much smoke - kind of like a rauchbier - smoky, burnt organic matter - somewhere between charred meat and charred vegetables - overall, it kind of smells like a poorly maintained, musty barbeque grill - wet wood

Taste: Smoke and weirdness - ridiculously burnt and smoky, tastes... unhealthy - some chocolate and vanilla underneath - lots of damp, wet wood - an odd undercurrent of sourness, some odd fruits - some cardboard - I honestly don't know if this is infected, or just that there is a weird interaction between the extremely smoked malt, vanilla, and other elements

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium body, adequately carbonated, smooth, a little sticky

Overall: Not sure if infected, or just bad

So much smoke, and so much weirdness. Smoked malt doesn't begin to explain this. It's like someone decided to burn some smoked malt. Very strange, yet not awful.

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Photo of macrosmatic
2.34/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown to black, and forms a thin tan head. Not much visible carbonation, if any.

S: To me, the aroma is all smoky. Try as I might, I just can't get any vanilla scents. Well, as it starts to warm some, there is just a bit of vanilla here.

T: Taste follows the nose...sweet & smoky. In the flavor also, I can't find any significant vanilla until it warms, but even then it seems more of a background flavor. The smoke flavor just overwhelms any other flavors unlucky enough to be in here.

M: Thick and sticky. The smoky flavor coats the mouth.

O: In the interest of full disclosure - since apparently I don't have the patience to actually read a label in the store, I didn't realize this was a smoked beer until I got it out of the fridge. Certainly not my favorite style, but I've had a few that I actually liked. This one, though, was absolutely *not* for me. Trying to get past the smoke flavor, I thought two things: 1)It doesn't seem real possible; and 2)With Gorilla in the name, I expected to be smacked over the head with Vanilla; and was disappointed in that respect. Drain pour.

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Photo of Kromes
2.36/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Pitch black with a finger's width tan colored head and good lacing down the glass.

S: Sweet roasted and smoked malt with chocolate and a bit of vinegar....which is weird.

T: Up front there is a little bit of roasted malt, but it is taken over by a very, very citric acid bite. No Bueno. I'll keep this review until I can try another....yuck.

M: The beer is rather light and smooth...but then finishes with a citric acid bitterness that kills everything.

O: Not good. I'll try again and update if necessary.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
2.57/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: deep, dark ruby color, clear, with nice tan head that was full but dissipated to a veil
S: more chocolate and roasted malt than smoke, medium nose
T: there's something wrong with this beer that is not evident in the nose, sour taste like it's gone off, not incredibly sour but enough to realize it's there and it detracts from what should be a chewy porter
M: I can't get past the sour taste, thin for its ABV and style

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.65/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into an A-B flute on 12/14/11

Lighter to cap resulted in a loud pop; I'm surprised it didn't commence to gushing.

Medium brown; settles dark with half ruby, half stained wood highlights. Three finger head crackles to life (very noisy) and slowly settles a thin layer that bunches at the collar. Some lace catches and keeps up over time.

Smells like something might be wrong, but I can't be certain. Tangy roasted grains give way to mild notes of coffee, smoke, bitter dark chocolate and earth. I'm not picking out any vanilla. The barrel aging seems to have done little to impart whiskey tones; all that's going on here is a musty swamp wood note. Wait, just got a stray whiff of vanilla; very seldom seen.

Tastes questionable, too. Messy roasted notes of grain, chocolate and even some caramel it seems. There is a soft sweetness that I reckon could be attributable to the vanilla but it doesn't live up to an inclusion in the name of the beer. Heck, neither does the smoke. Some whiskey nips are appreciable but come across as generic to begin with and stale beyond that. Tastes dirty. Becomes a tad sweeter as it warms.

I find the feel to be obnoxiously thin; carbonation is far too vigorous, too. The feels hurting and already damaged beer; not a good thing. Finishes with mustiness and suggestions of murky barrel and the above hodge podge.

There's enough about this beer to be suspect and not enough to even consider a repeat visit. It's ok to try, but I'm debating whether to pour this out or not.

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Photo of stakem
2.92/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. The brew appears brown in color with some clarity around the edges. A finger of tan head rests atop and produces some spotty lacing as the cap fades. A light swirl revitalizes more than a finger effortlessly back to the surface.

The aroma is smoked like beefy bacon alongside an awkward amount of alcohol tang. There is a fruity aspect present that is not all that inviting along eith an earthen to rocky/mineral feel.

The taste is quite tangy like whiskey mixed with chocolate. Some earthen flavors mingle with the beefy smoked aspect. There is quite an abundance of mineral flavoring into the aftertaste that is not that enjoyable.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The whiskey reinforced tang is interesting but not that good. If that wasnt bad enough, the mineral aspect was even worse. Not at all what I was expecting for a "vanilla smoked porter."

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Photo of SmartyPints
2.92/5  rDev -18%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a dark black color. No real head ever really comes of this beer. Just some light legs on the sides of the glass and no real lace.

S- The smoke comes through in the aroma first with hints of dull vanilla and light barrel notes. Nothing really else comes with the aroma. It's simple straight to the point and as much as this pains me to say this I wish the smoke was a little bit held back.

T- Light almost chocolate roast on the front of the beer quickly gets overtaken by a charred smoke flavor. This dies down a bit by the middle giving way to some light vanilla notes. These notes combine in the ending with a dull oak flavor. The bourbon that I expected in this beer never shows at all...I get oak flavor and that is it...no booze to follow. Smokey throughout the beer with the backside having it subside and linger a little more.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little lacking in this bottle. Lots of smoke left on the palate. Aftertaste is lingering smoke, light alcohol, and stale barrel notes. While there were no off flavors there could have been a little better use of the flavors in the beer. Medium alcohol drying on the palate. Beer just felt dull on the palate.

O- I thought this beer was just average. It wasn't bad at all but it did leave me wishing it had more. A beer I could see maybe having once again but was wishing the barrel notes came though more and the smoked had less full flavor.

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Photo of CruisaC
2.94/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had heard about this one, I'm a sucker for beers with vanilla. Unfortunately I skipped over the "smoked" part since I almost never care r those beers.

Pours a dark brown/black with a fleeting dark khaki head. The best part of the beer.

I get the smoke upfront but there's a strange sour smell that's creeping in on the back end. Hmmm.

Taste is smoke and sour, sour smoke, a little roasted malt. I get no whiskey notes and especially no vanilla. I'm not sure if this is what they're going for. I hate to bring up the "I" word but I can't think this is what they wanted out of this. Should have a little sweetness, no?

Mouthfeel is a little thin. What's the base beer here?

A pretty big miss for me, after some high hopes. Maybe some infection issues, maybe I need to try the non-smoked version.

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Photo of beer2day
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown pour with forced 1-finger tan head. No retention and not much in the way of lace.

Nose is smoke and vanilla as expected. Roast malt and a hint of coffee. But there is a tinny, metallic note that throws things off.

Vanilla hits up front. Medium roast coffee, smoked peat, and worcestershire. Again, the metallic twang comes in - actually quite strong in the finish. Just puts me off.

Feel is a little on the light side for an 8% abv smoked beer. Wanted a bit more body here, even for a porter.

Overall, interesting attempt but that metallic flavor just does me in.

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Photo of cps98
3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this as an extra on a trade so figured it was time to give it a try.

A – Dark black with hues of brown when exposed to the light. Very jagged off-white head that dissipates very quickly.

S - Smoke up front very little vanilla

T – Sweet smoke flavor followed by vanilla which had some extra twang to it.

M - A very thin beer for as dark as it was. Little to no carbonation in the bottle I had.

O – This is definitely not a style of beer I find myself drawn too. The beer was too thin and the flavors did not meld together nicely.

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Photo of azorie
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: Pitch clear black beer in color, some spare head that quickly dies. Some tan lacing in a mug.

s: bourbon, vanilla, smoke. any hops or yeast was crushed in the barrel. lol. also no malt as is all overpowered in a bad/good way.

t: at first the smoke overpowers the bourbon/vanilla combo, then on the back of the mouth that flavor comes through. Sort of boozy. lightly sweet, no hops, yeast or malt as above. with the right food this beer could work.

m: oily, full body beer, rich thick and semi chocolate.

o: humm not a big fan of oak aged beers, or smokey beers. This is both. I bought the 4 pack and this is my 2nd go around with it. Its not as bad as the first one was. now with this beer the smoke overpowers it, but not in a bad way. I just find I like less smoke, and I bet the regular porter done this way would be OUTSTANDING! However if you are a smokey beer lover then you think this is a great beer and too you it will be, to me its so so. its worth a try but if you hate smoke beers stay away. I will never buy a 4 pack again.

drink: after taste when it warms up is like drinking an ashtray. YUCK!

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Photo of chinchill
3.26/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, undated.

A nearly black, clear liquid, topped by a moderate tan head.

Smoke, whiskey, oak and dark malt in the nose. There's a hint of vanilla in both the nose and the mouth, and it lingers into the aftertaste. A hint of hops in the flavor too, but the major change is from the very sweet aroma to a slightly sour taste.

O: too smokey and poorly balanced for my taste.

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Photo of lnashsig
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to ahlthe3rd (Hugh) for the chance to taste this one. Never heard of Red Brick or this beer and always looking to try new things! Poured from bottle into Brooklyn tulip. Pours a nearly pitch black/brown medium bodied pour. Barely any head and some visible alcohol legs. Smell- sweet smoked cherry malt. Some mocha and chocolate flavors behind it. That's about it for aroma. Taste- there is a wierd tartness to this, but I am not sure it is from infection, and might just be a malt characteristic. What I get absolutely 0 from here is anything related to bourbon. The flavors are the expected smoke, the sweet and tart malt backbone, maybe a little chocolate or coffee on the end. I like this beer, but it is not as I thought it would be. This is ok, but I'm not blown away.

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Photo of tut2528
3.32/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to atlcarl for this one!

A: pours a black as night, and even with am aggressive pour, I get almost no head formation.

S: bold smoke, tobacco, coffee, roasted malt, leather. this is just a very extremely bold brew. i'm not picking up any sweetness.

T: quite smokey, but it has an overall decent balance with coffee grounds, tobacco, bold and bitter dark chocolate, slight touch of molasses, nice creamy vanilla finish, alcohol is only slight evident..

M: medium bodied, leaves a nice smokey, dark chocolate taste on the palate, with just a slight creaminess. minimal carbonation.

O: i feel that this would be a nice fireside beer and might be a excellent to pair with some smores (i know that sounds ridiculous, but I think it could actually bring out the flavors of the brew)

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Photo of Cold
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Opaque dark brown, no visible haze, thin brown head dissipates quickly

S: Vanilla, caramel, spicy, dark fruits, smoke, meat, vinuous

T: Sour, smoky, charred, citric, vinegar, salty smoked meats (ham, bacon, jerky), dark wine, vanilla, spicy, dark fruits

M: Starts thick and heavy, finishes thin and solvent-like

A: Salty, cured meat, sour

Overall: This is a strange and complicated beer, with big bold flavors, many of which sharply contrast. It's somewhat off-putting at first, but if you take it at face value, rather than trying to fit it into a typical description, it's an interesting experience for any beer drinker's palate. Many of the flavors happen at once, so it takes several sips to really appreciate the complexity of the beer as a whole, not to mention that it was nothing like I expected (spicy-sweet, almost cloying, heavy beer), so it took a while to get my preconceived notions out of my head and focus on what I was tasting. While Smoked Vanilla Gorilla is a beer every beer lover should try, it's also a beer that I imagine very few would like a lot. Rather, it's more of an exercise for the palate; and while I wouldn't drink more than one in a given evening, I wouldn't hesistate to get another...after some time.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up while on vacation in Palm Beach, Florida. The title on this beer sounded really cool, and I like to try new, regional beers.

I poured this into a snifter. The beer looks like a "gorilla" color. It is black with only the slightest amount of light coming through. The foam disappears almost immediately.

You get a ton of smoke from the nose. It is very different from the stock, smoke smell. I don't smell any bacon presence. I also got some of the whiskey. I feel like there might be the slightest hint of coffee, but I may be imagining it.

In my first drink I get a lot of smoke, sour, and coffee past it's prime. The smoke flavor has a little bit of bacon to it. I don't get much of the whiskey in the flavor. There was no vanilla presence. It really isn't balanced. I wish I liked it more. I think I like the description more than the flavor.

The mouthfeel is fine. The flavor comes off pretty evenly. I actually pick up more from the after-taste than from the beer itself.

This was an interesting experience. I won't pick up another bottle, but I appreciate having had this bottle.

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Photo of match1112
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: a half inch of bubbly tan head settles on top of a black body. a thin ring and some lacing are left behind.

s: smoked pork mainly. not getting much vanilla, but a little bourbon is in the background(very faint). also notice a slight sour smell.

t: this is a very smoky beer. also that off sour note is in the taste, dont know why or what it is. very little of the bourbon shines thru the smoke.

m: seems thin for a bourbon barrel porter, especially with all the smoke, should be chewy. i think it has a little too much carbonation and too much smoke.

o: disappointed in this one. either make a rauchbier or a barrel aged porter, but not both mixed together. too much going on in there, and that off sour note is making me think about drain pouring it.

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Red Brick Brick Mason Series #4: Smoked Vanilla Gorilla from Red Brick Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.