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

Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
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Smoke Porter
3.92 | pDev: 17.09%
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 97 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by portia99:
Photo of portia99
2.36/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 750ml bottle - batch 2 into a Portsmouth goblet. Received in trade from cakanator. Thanks!

A - Poured into the center of the glass with a dark brown, opaque color. Giant, thick, dark tan head forms - about 2" high. Head lingers a while, doesn't want to give up - leaves nice, even lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Smell is dominated by bourbon with some sour, acidic presence...not much else here - no malt or hops presence.

T - Porter???, I don't know. Flavor is dominated by sourness, some bourbon flavor enters and just a touch of smoke, which mainly lingers in the aftertaste. Hard to get past the sourness - just not right for a porter.

M - Mouthfeel is quite puckering. Carbonation is strong, body is medium, and sourness just causes your lips to suck together into a kissy face.

D - Drinkability is not high. Attempting to drink this bottle by myself...not sure I'm going to be able to get thru it all. Very tough.

Not sure if this beer is supposed to be this way. I seethat people think this batch is infected (I tend to agree) and others really like it the way it is...overwhelming sourness and all.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Lupe
2.81/5  rDev -28.3%
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 Bitterbill
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade with nutbrown. Thanks Alan!

Batch 1:

It pours a near pitch black with some reddish hues and a 2 finger head of billowy tannish foam. Nice lacing. Very good head retention.

The smell has notes of bourbon and a strong sour nose that reminds me of a american wild ale. I also get a little vanilla. Not exactly what I was expecting, or was I?

The taste has some bourbon, some vanilla, some good woodiness, a touch of chocolate, and strong sour notes. The sour, imo, is just a tad too strong here and does seem to dominate but it certainly is, for me, an easy drinking Porter. I can't say that I detect much of the smoke....some day, I would love to try the version that isn't barrel aged just to see how it compares.

The mouthfeel is medium-light, the carbonation is fairly robust, and it finishes with a nice taste of that bourbon. Like I said before, it's easy drinking so I'd guess the abv would be in the ~6%abv range.

All in all, I like this offering from Captain Lawrence, as I did the rum barrel aged version. Very interesting flavours and pretty darned palate pleasing.

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Photo of Gavage
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Label states Batch #1.

Appearance: black in color with a 1" head that sported some big bubbles. Some spotty lacing developed during the session.

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate, and bourbon are easily detectable and pleasant.

Taste: thick roasted malts, chocolates, raisins, prunes, vanilla, and strong bourbon tones. Alcohol is strong and provides serious warming. Bitterness levels are just right to balance out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth throughout. Very long aftertaste as the flavors cling to the tongue and takes a while to leave.

Drinkability: despite the high alcohol level, this is a nice slow sipping brew that I enjoyed in front of a nice fire. Definitely could have had some more after the bottle was emptied. Great beer.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #1

Pours dark mahogany and barely translucent when held to a lightsource.
A massive, four-inch head of beige swelled up with a gentle pour.
The dense froth slowly deflated, leaving huge sheets and threads of spectacular lacework.
Aromatics lead off with a surprisingly vineous and slightly lactic tinge. Oaky bourbon, charred malt, and dry chocolate follow through.
The mouthfeel is medium but slightly chewy. Somewhat creamy and drying.
The pallet has layers of boozy chocolate nubs, smoked hardwood, roasted malt, and lingering red wine.
Hopping and bitterness is subdued, and the bourbon is well integrated with the other components.
The hint of lactic tang found in the nose is barely traceable on the tongue.
Finishes extremely vineous with dark fruit, oak char, bourbon vapors, and cocoa-dusted grapefruit.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
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 Gueuzedude
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 Release; Sampled March 2008
The beer gushes just a bit as soon as I pop the cap, not much, but just enough to let me know this is a bit over carbonated. A careful pour yields a three-finger thick, cocoa stained, tan colored head. The beer is a very dark, concentrated brown color, but does show some brilliantly clear, ruby highlights when held up to the light. From the aroma you can definitely smell the Bourbon barrel influence. There is also quite a bit of sourness in the aroma, nothing overwhelming, but it makes me think that this has some wild bugs in it. The Bourbon barrel is the dominant influence though with notes of warm alcohol, buttery oak, spicy wood and ample vanillin (especially if you dig around a bit). There is a bit of sweetness here, reminiscent of prunes and wrapped up in the Bourbon notes, but to be honest I can't smell much of anything except the barrel influence here, even the sourness seems to have dissipated with time.

Well carbonated, this foams up quite a bit as it hits my mouth. A quick swirl of my glass gets this to a more manageable level. Ample spicy oak up front yields to a tartness that seems to be heavily influenced by oak. I could almost be convinced that the noticeable tartness is just a product of this beer being so light bodied, with the roast malt character and such a big barrel character, but if I had to guess I would say that some souring bugs got into the barrel. Speaking of the body, this is definitely on the thin side, some more heft would certainly help it to stand up to the Bourbon barrel. The base beer definitely plays a supporting role here; it picks up some toasted malt notes towards the finish, perhaps a touch of smokiness (though this is hard to separate from the barrel notes) and some dry, chalky, slightly astringent burnt flavors and roast notes in the finish. The Bourbon barrel also provides a bit of alcoholic heat to the finish of this brew.

As the beer warms up a bit the Bourbon flavors seem to soften just a touch; it really becomes a bit smoother, though they are still easily the most dominant thing about this beer. This is most definitely wee-beast influenced, the sourness here is very pretty clean, as I don't get any other funk derived notes, though it may be that the loud Bourbon barrel characteristics drown this out. What brought this to a head was the fact that I started to nosh on some fresh baked bread, which really brings to the four the sourness of this brew.

An interesting beer, but the base beer just doesn't seem to be able to stand up to the Bourbon Barrel aging, or put another way, this was aged for too long in the barrel for my particular tastes. The sourness, while interesting, clean and nice, just clashes a bit too much with the Bourbon character; I think that the base beer would do well when paired with either of the two, but not both at once. I personally like the barrel to play a supporting role to the flavors of the base beer. Having said all that, this is still enjoyable if you appreciate a good sour mash Bourbon from time to time.

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Photo of John_M
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Graciously brought to the BA gathering at Bailey's last night by BA Skortis. Talk about a generous donation...

The beer pours a hazy dark brown color with good head retention and fair lacing. On the nose, this is just wild stuff. Amazing just how different this version is from the rum barrel version. This beer is very, very smokey, but with a wild, sour, almost sauerkraut aroma. The oak aging in this beer has imparted so much flavor and aroma, it's hard to believe this is supposed to be a porter I'm drinking. As crazy as this beer smells, it's evern wilder on the palate. Interwoven with the sour smoke, I also get some wine flavor. How weird is that? The beer has a light, smokey mouthfeel and is fairly soft on the palate. As for drinkability, I'm not sure how to score this beer. The sour smoke was a bit too over the top for me, making this beer interesting to drink, but not in large quantities. It's both fascinating and a bit off putting at the same time.

An impressive beer. Not like anything I have ever sampled before. It's not for everyone, but still is something I would recommend, just so people can see what this is like.

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Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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 Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
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 ppoitras
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
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 drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At a recently tasting, all four variants of this beer were tasted side by side. I was personally surprised at the consistency of the results.

Beer is brown to black with a brown head that falls away and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass.

Beer's aroma is quite sweet with a hint of bourbon.

Flavor is sweet, mild heat, some tartness in the corners, growing sour the more I drink, the more hot as well. The woodsy nature of this beer makes it nice to drink. Second favorite out of all of the beers in this panel. Very good beer.

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Photo of brentk56
2.76/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Batch 1

Appearance: Pours a charcoal color with a tightly bubbled tan head that blankets the liquid while leaving the occasional wisp behind

Smell: More like a Flanders Red than a smoked porter, with tart cherry and oak

Taste: Oaky dryness permeates from the outset, but the expected porter flavors aren't there, up front; rather, there is a tart cherry that adds a woody character by mid-palate; plenty of puckering tartness after the swallow, and perhaps that smoked porter tries to peek out on the finish, but maybe that is just wishful thinking

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very fizzy carbonation

Drinkability: I kept trying to like this as a sour but eventually I just gave up; this beer clearly didn't come out as planned

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Biergotter Tasting - Day 3. Viggo cracked this one. Thanks! Batch 1.
This one poured with a giant, fluffy, dark tan head that left a lot of clumpy lace on the glass as it quickly fell. The beer was very dark with garnet highlights. The aroma was vinous and tart with a lot of berry and wood notes, some malt and a bit of chocolate. Smoke was more prominent in the flavour, combining nicely with a dark grain/porter base beer. Again, it was a bit vinous and had a light tartness in addition to a bit of booze. Medium to full bodied with average carbonation, mild tannins and a good texture overall. Very well done, highly drinkable with a mild alcohol presence.

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Photo of Viggo
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, batch 1. Now I can't even remember who I got this one from, I gotta write this stuff down! If it was you, remind me!

Pours a dark dark reddish brown, nice ruby edges in the light, huge and thick tan head forms, lots of chunky lace on the glass, good retention, settles to a medium layer. Smell is nice, a little sour and oaky, wine, lots of dark fruits, chocolate, light roastiness, sharp and acidic, smoke, not a lot of bourbon in the aroma, but smells pretty neat. Taste is nice and chocolatey up front, light smokiness, toffee, sour toasted oak, a bit chalky through the middle, grapes, some lemon/orange citrus character, bready maltys, neat. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to high carbonation, pretty interesting beer. Bourbon didn't come through as I thought it would, but the lactic character is pretty neat. I like it.

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Photo of Douglas14
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yup, they're not lying about the bourbon barrel aging.

It pours deep black with a light-tan, thick head with pretty good retention. You can tell, tough, just from pouring it that it is not especially thick/ full. It has an intense aroma of bourbon...unfortunately almost too powerful. Nevertheless, the bourbon smell is sweet with intense caramel and sugary notes. The taste is also strongly of broubon: malty, sugary, caramel-y. Towards the end of each sip, a mild roasted and smoky flavor comes out. It has a medium body and a great mouthfeel. Overall, If you enjoy bourbon, this IS your beer. I can't wait to try and taste some of their other barrel aged beers.

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Photo of hopdog
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle shared courtesy of Josh. Batch 1.

Poured a dark brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of vanilla, wood, bourbon, roast, chocolate, and coconuts. Tastes of bourbon, whiskey, vanilla, roast, and wood. The bourbon was done nicely. Not over powering. Once again, I'm a sucker for Bourbon Barrel Aging.

Notes from 10/26/07

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Photo of plaid75
2.88/5  rDev -26.5%
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 FtownThrowDown
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
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 rab53
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to mcallister for this brew.

750ml Bottle

Poured into a tulip a very nice brownish color, very nice carbonation, nice two-finger creamy off-white head, lots of nice sticky lacing (one huge pond in the middle of the glass. The nose is malty, bourbon, slight smokey, and sweet. The taste is very nice, malty, very nice notes of bourbon, nice little smokyness here and there, with some sweetness (vanilla). Full body, there is a nice creamy body to this brew, I like. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, highly recommended. Thanks Mike.

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Photo of grub
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Biergotter Tasting, Day 3: Barleywines and Others. Viggo threw this one in. thanks eric!

750ml bottle. batch 1. sampled nov 29/08.

pours deep brown with a big fluffy brown head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves tons of lace behind.

aroma is wild. lemon. touch of malt vinegar. bread and biscuit. light alcohol. bit of coffee. dark chocolate. light alcohol. caramel. bit of smoke.

taste is good. big smokey character. dark chocolate. bit of coffee. touch of sourness that comes across more baltic than i thought from the aroma. touch of caramel sweetness. big bready malt. light biscuit. cracker. dark fruit.

mouthfeel is good. just over medium carbonation level. medium body. fairly dry finish.

drinkability is great. nicely balanced. the sourness was unexpected, but it worked.

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Photo of mcallister
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Same as the rum barrel aged in terms of appearance. Deep russet with a tiny off white head.

Much fuller aromas than the rum version. Toasy vanilla enhanced oak with sweet bourbony esters. Peat type smokiness. Black currant is noticeable with raisin qualities as well.

Very nice, complex, full, lavishing and long. Finish is slightly shorter than it's rum counterpart but that doesn't take away from the depth of this brew. This version also shows more alchol in the mouth. Tongue coating mouth. A brownie type chocolate flavor with caramel, and vanilla, mixing nicely with a bourbony characteristic. Black and red currant and raisin make up the mid palate with a touch of mollasses.

A beer I could sip all day on cask. I believe this isn't the final version as it won't be bottled for a few more months. Bottled reveiws are imminent.

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Photo of gpcollen1
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mighty dark into my Smutty Big Beer glass with a nice 1.5 inch head that was slow to disappear. Aromas are dark and sweet with the bourbon sitting everpresent - whisps of alcohol - more from the bourbon aroma than the brew.

Hits the tongue loaded with all the flavor of the smoke porter but with all the other flavor on top of that; a sweet vineous quality coupled with the warmth of the bourbon and overpresent oak. A dry and almost sour finish to the one me thinks...

This one is quite good. It will be interesting to see how this matures. If I only had one or two of these, I would wait a few months to crack one and I bet the smoke and chocolate will come back into the picture a bit. I still ove it now...

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Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 97 ratings