Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged) | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

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Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Very Good
97 Ratings
Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)

Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mcallister on 05-25-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 97 |  Reviews: 76
Reviews by d0ggnate:
Photo of d0ggnate
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 1/10/09. Poured from bottle to goblet.

A: Black/brown pour with 2 finger head. Patchy fading to near nothing quickly.
S: Barrel funk! Bottle-conditioned sourness! Subtle smoky whiffs arose.
T: The funk continues. Sweet anise and black licorice. Dark fruits, of plum and fig, also poke through. Complex profile.
M: Highly carbonated. Lasting flavor, that lingers across the palate. Intriguing complexity.
D: Mmmm! I really enjoyed this one. I was shocked at what I just enjoyed. I was expecting something else when the word bourbon appeared on the bottle, but I was impressed by this departure from other barrel-aged options.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Ben7773
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1, picked up from the brewery, large green bottle. Pours very dark, dark tan head, showing less then moderate retention and leaving scattered lacing after a gentle swirl. Nose shows traces of vanilla, bourbon and dark, ripe fruits. Flavor notes consist of plenty of whisky/bourbon, dark cola, vanilla, and over ripe rum soaked plums/fruits. Wow, complex and heady stuff. Nice fall/winter beer, good after dinner/dessert/night capper type creation. More fine brew from Scott V. and the Captain....

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Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding for style. Another smooth creamy full mouthfeel,great drinking sipper from this brewer. Dark colour, agreeable aroma. Reasonable 6.4% ABV. The Smoke, the bourbon, is moderated. Well balanced though not complex. Tart aftertaste.Found at Oak Tree Supersaver last fall.

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Photo of jimbomill
1.62/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I may have got a skunked bottle, but this had a sour, vinegary nose.
The taste was like a bad lambic - no Bourbon hints, no real body, despite a nice dark pour that was visually enticing.
The bottle top came off normal, so I had no warning of anything gone wrong, but this was mostly undrinkable.

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Photo of Photekut
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of prototypic
3.21/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Many thanks to csmiley for the bottle.

Batch 2

Smoke from the Oak pours a very dark chocolate brown. It's nearly opaque, but a little light reveals faint garnet highlights at the edges. It's topped with a mocha colored head that's over three fingers tall. It took quite a while to completely disappear. Lacing was very thick and sticky.

The nose is interesting. It features a very rich bourbon aroma right out of the gate. Chocolate and roasted malts are noted. It smells a little cocoa-ish rather than sweet. There's a very sour, yeast aroma to it that permeates throughout and drowns out virtually any other qualities it has. It's very out of place for the style. I got a friendly tip that a lot of these bottles were infected and I believe that's probably the case here. It doesn't completely destroy it, but it certainly negates or masks some of its qualities.

The flavor profile suffers much the same fate. It starts out with a nice bourbon flavor. It's pretty well restrained and doesn't taste too bourbon heavy. It apparently was meant to play a complementary role and it does that pretty well. There's some light chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Very faint roasted coffee is noted. But, the sour and acidic yeasty flavor rears its head and really takes over about midway through. Honestly, it doesn't taste all that bad. I suspect the infection rumor may well be true. I have a tough time believing that such a bizarre flavor was intended. But, it's far from undrinkable and does have a decent flavor and some good qualities. It's a far cry from good though, that's for sure.

Its body is on the lighter side of medium and is too thin. Carbonation is very high and buzzy. It's not smooth and really doesn't work for the style. A Porter this big needs a more substantial body. Drinkability is average. Average is surprisingly good for a beer that's possibly infected. The flavor really is interesting and more than tolerable. That being said, it's not very good.

Well, I have no reservation saying Smoke from the Oak's been a huge disappointment. This bottles about 7 or 8 months old and seems to have veered far off course. It's likely that this bottle's infected, but I don't know that for a fact. The flavor's just way more sour and acidic than it should be. But, in a way, it's interesting and not a total disaster. I'd love to have a fresh bottle just to get an idea of what Captain Lawrence intended for this one. I'll have to wait on that. If it's materially different, I'll post a different review. As it is, it's disappointing. As for Batch #2, I'd suggest taking a pass and wait for the next one.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of scootny
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 1

Thick head that recedes gently leaving good lacing. An opaque brown with no visible carbonation.

Smell is bourbon, sour cherries, and vanilla

Taste is sour cherries, oak, vanilla and coffee. Dry tart finish with light graham crackers. A good amount of bourbon throughout.

Mouthfeel is medium weight with a touch of chewyness. Lively carbonation.

A good sipper, maybe a very good one to warm the nights with.

From tasting notes 6/18/2008

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Photo of dvmin98
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look is lighter than your normal porter. Smell is funk, mild vinegar and malts. Some bourbon comes through. Flavor follows the nose. Obviously this has changed over the years, but it is very pleasant. Basically, this has turned into a slightly sour porter. But then again, it is 10 years old. Pretty nice.

I just read a bunch of earlier reviews and it sounds like this has pretty much always been a 'sour' porter, so it really hasn't changed too much. I do like it.

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Photo of tendermorsel
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a red wine glass. First batch!

Rich & mahogany in color. Great thick brownish head. Very interesting beer. You could definitely smell that rum barrel had done some work on the beer. However, the rum flavor was not overpowering. Very well balanced. Quite sweet and rich. One question? Where is the smoke? This was not as smoke as was anticipating. Definitely a sipping beer. Somewhat drinkable although I don't think I would have more than two in one night.

This was a good beer. It scored lower in taste due to the high anticipation I had for this beer. Just not smokey enough for me. I would love to try their regular smoked porter to compare.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a deep dirty brown/black color ale with a super large light brown foamy head with great retention and some lacing. Aroma of Brett with loads of sour and tart notes with some funky yeast and light warming bourbon notes. Taste is very nice with loads of notes of Brett with a clear tart profile and good notes of oak. Bourbon is harder to distinguish though still noticeable. Body is about average with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well done and very unique - makes me wish I had access to this on a more regular basis.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.51/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up this lovely Batch One bottle sometime last year and have kept it cellared ever since. I decided to open her up tonight, really just on a whim, as I wanted something a bit different. 750ml bottle was served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter. Consumed 08/19/2008.

What an absolutly beautiful pour, adn I have rarely seen better. Rich, thick, paque brwon notes were just a wonder to behind. Full head of at least three inches capped off the top and took what seemed like forever to settle down to a reasonable level. Once it did it left behind soo much side glass lace it was utterly obnoxious. Seriously one of the best I have ever seen.

The aroma was amazingly complex once it warmed up. Rich notes of sour cherries, light caramel, some molasses and a touch of bourbon, very light though on the bourbon. Lots of almost Brett like sourness though. THe flavor brought the game though. Huge note of sour cherry, tart was the understatement. Some light sugary notes, and the bourbon you had to go searching for, though it was there. Luscious mouthfeel with a carbonation profile that was second to none. One of the easist drinking big beers you are going to find, hands down.

Overall I was thoroughly impressed by this one. One of the best I have had in quite some time, i would have no issue in seeking this one out again. I do have to admit, I am a bit partial to the wine barrel, but still, a top notch beer here for sure.

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Photo of Amalak
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick, three-finger head that stays. Great lace. Black completely opaque, even darker than the Capt. Law. Porter.

S: Smells like wine or liquor. Very pungent smell of alcohol.

T: Tastes like an extremely sweet port wine. This is a sipping beer, but awesome.

M: Drys the mouth and leaves aftertaste of grapes.

D: Tastes like grapes after a while, but sooo smooth.

Literally, this beer came out last week and was bought at the brewery. It was from batch #1 and was completely awesome. Pricey though, $12 for a 25 oz bottle, but worth it.

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Photo of plaid75
2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured a deep brown hue with a one finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a dominating bourbon aroma. Perhaps some roasted grain peaked through, but certainly not enough to cut through the bourbon. The same can be said for the flavor. A slightly vinous bourbon element completely dominated. There was really no porter character remaining.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness.

Overall not something I would have again. If you are crazy about the taste of bourbon, but don't want to drink a pint of it, this might be something of interest.

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Photo of BGsWo22
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown in color with a nice inch of tan head. Smell is sour. A porter that is bourbon barrel aged that smells sour. Sure enough even more sour notes in the taste. There are very faint bourbon oak and vanilla notes in the taste. Not what I was expecting but still Im enjoying it quite a bit. Decent mouthfeel. This is a weird animal but Im digging it. Now the question is was the sour notes by design or by accident.

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Photo of Lupe
2.81/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours dark brown, almost black, with deep reddish hues. Nice sized tan head sticks around for a while before dropping to a thin sheet. Some sheets of lace are left behind.

Nice bourbon and vanilla, and a healthy dose of vinegar dominate the aroma. Roasted malt, chocolate, and dark fruit lay in the background.

Starts with nice a bourbon and vanilla character with some charred woodiness. Strong sourness comes next - very tangy and overpowering. Notes of chocolate, roast, fruit, and a touch of spice round things out. Not sure if all the sourness was intentional, but it was just a too strong and dominated what is a very nice and easy drinking Porter. Finishes bone dry upfront yet with a cloying sourness at the back & top of the mouth. I was really into this beer with the first sip, but that sourness just kept building and really sticks to the back out the tongue.

Medium-light in body, dry and spicy from tartness on the tongue. Alcohol is well hidden and the bourbon adds just the right amount of flavor. Not overly woody or liquor-like. The sourness though is too much for me and really takes away from the drinkability. Got through half the 750ml bottle and had to bail.

I love CL's Nor'Easter and enjoyed the Rum Barrel version. This one just fell short. Perfect if you want a bourbon barrel aged American Wild Ale, but not a BA Porter. Perhaps a bad bottle, but judging from the other reviews, I'm just not digging this.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to both kirok1999 and gregc for bottles of this one.

This beer appears to be a dark brown with a touch of cola coming through the edges. The head is a smooth and creamy tan.

Smells of nice balance of cocoa, strawberries and molasses but there's a whole lotta dryness on top. This consists of a sweet bourbon and a touch of lime sourness.

The flavor is a little less balanced, but uniquely delicious in its own way. The flavor begins with a dry sting from something funky in the barrel. This unfolds into a lime rind and fades to a bit of bourbon. The porter from the smell comes through only faintly with a touch of tart cherry too. The subtlety of this one is rather nice.

Feels slick and clean with a small but playful carbonation. This seems to work excellently with the flavors here. I couldn't ask for much more.

Not a bad brew at all. It does seem a little unbalanced in that it's a little heavy on the funk and bourbon, but as I mentioned above, it's quite unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of soccerman7
4.39/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Had 2007 batch one release I have been sitting on. Not a gusher like others have had.

Nice tan head about 1/2 inch. Really complex nose. Smoke, bourbon, dark cherry sour notes. The taste was excellent. Really nice with the bourbon not over powering. Fruit notes were interesting with Brett character. The finish was a bit dry and oaky from the barrel. Overall a great brew from the captain.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Special thanks to Chris from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for this one!
750 ML bottle purchased for $13.99...
"Batch No. 1"
First thought - the appearance is absolutely phenomenal on this one... Pours a jet-black, deep, rich purple-hue with a massive-sized foamy and frothy head that exhibited enormous staying power and left a copious amount of lacing around the head of the glass.
Deep, roasted malt and bourbon aroma pours through on this one...
I can't imagine another beer whose flavor is more saturated in oaked-bourbon... The immense bourbon and oak flavors burst out from all sides on the tongue... A very spicy, heady, full-flavored and big-bodied brew, this one is certainly a sipper and should be enjoyed over a period of time...
Creamy, rich, spicy mouthfeel but only an average level of drinkability due to the high ABV and intense oak and bourbon flavors...
Very different...

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Photo of jwc215
4.82/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-cask at the Brazen Head (Brooklyn):

Poured black with a creamy head that left plenty of lacing.

The smell was of bourbon, vanilla, oak with dark fruits and chocolate. Vinuous with some peat smokiness.

The taste is of bourbon, oak, vanilla. However, it doesn't cover the other flavors that come through nicely and work well-together. Dark fruitiness - plum/raisin with chocolate/toffee. Long, dry finish.

Full-bodied and creamy. At a somewhat modest 6.5 abv that is well-hidden and with it's wonderful aroma, taste and smoothness, this one is very drinkable and enjoyable. Nicely done! Highly recommended!

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Photo of ppoitras
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gifted 750ml bottle. Thanks for the opportunity, Todd. Batch No. 1.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1 1/2" brown head above the opaque dark brown brew. Dense, frothy head just is not going anywhere, with tons of thick foam left in the wake. Aroma is vinous and bourbony, no smoke noticeable to me. Taste begins with the rich maltiness, falling to the tart fruitness in the middle in a flash, and then the veil slowly falls to reveal the warming bourbon character, which lingers and slightly numbs. Mouthfeel is somewhat limited by the tartness, and drinkability is alright as a sipper. Seems the flavors just don't flow together as nicely on this one. I'll have to put some age on my other bottle and see what happens.

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Photo of lightindarkness
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great big thanks to an outstanding trader, DrDogbeer, for giving me the chance to try this one!

750 mL bottle, batch 1

Pours a deep brown, basically black, with some faint burnt sienna highlights on the edges. Dark khaki foam climbs pretty fully, even with a gentle pour, leaving a nicely formed and decently lasting soft cap of froth, slapping patches of lace down the sides of the glass with each swirl.

Nose is not overwhelmingly strong, and yet what's there is quite sturdy. Vinous character comes through over faint dark roasty malt, blending plenty of oak with a mild smoky spice. Bourbon adds a nice mellow richness that gives slight depth to the overall aroma.

This wasn't at all what I expected, so I had to go back and check the label on the bottle just to make sure I actually opened the one marked "bourbon barrel," and not "wine barrel." The slight tartness and firm oaky character of this beer cause one to pause momentarily at how infrequently bourbon barrel aged beers come out with such delicate complexity. Some of my favorites resemble more bourbon than beer, yet this one is different, but alas, I digress... Slight porter notes begin on the palate, with hints of burnt grains yielding into an airy wood smokiness that mingles nicely with old oak flavor. Hints of tobacco and tart fruits fade into brighter new oak notes and a hanging smoky bourbon aftertaste. It has a lot of the deep leather, tobacco, and overripe berry quality of a heavily oaked Napa cabernet, but with the added mellow complexity of bourbon, all without being too strong.

The lighter medium body comes across as somewhat creamy with the full foamy carbonation bubbling with each sip. A nice clean feel, very nicely complimenting the flavor.

I have to admit the taste wasn't at all what I expected, especially for a porter claiming to be aged in bourbon barrels. Instead of a deep, rich, heavy, boozy dark beer, what I got was a rather complex beer, constructed with a unique CL yeast profile and some highly oaked but nicely balanced flavor. Smoke is also mild, only faintly detectable as a compliment to the beer and not as a stand out feature. The more of this I drink, the more complex and enjoyable I'm finding it. Very nicely done.

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Photo of Kaydogg
4/5  rDev +4.4%

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Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 97 ratings