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

very good
97 Ratings
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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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 97 |  Reviews: 76
Photo of CaseyK
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch two shared with some friends and courtesy of galttfwo.

A: Very dark with a bit of a ruby tinge to it. Pours a thin head that stays for a while and leaves a nice lacing.
S: Wow, this smells sour. Has a nice fruit smell as well, maybe currants.
T: The taste of currants comes through right away for me. Has a nice oak barrel taste as well, not too heavy though. Has a nice sour puckering taste. I really enjoy the variety of flavors present here.
M: Nice mouthfeel, just the right amount of carbonation.
D: I could drink a decent amount of this stuff.
O: A very interesting beer. I didn't know what to expect of it really, but I'm glad I got to try it out.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #2 served in my Old Stock snifter. Pours two shades shy of black with a half inch, frothy, tan-colored head that dissipates into a broken skim and a thin, white band around the edges. Nose reveals tart/sour dark fruit, some woody notes, as well as a red wine character. Taste follows nose; however, some bourbon and buttery notes also come out. Mouthfeel is medium-light, with a slight, acidic burn at the back of the throat. Carbonation is quite lively. A very drinkable and complex beer that should be considered closer to a dark American Wild than an American Porter in my opinion.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle. Poured into the snifter a very dark brown, almost black, color, with a fairly good brown head. Aromas of wood, bourbon, smoke and roasted malt. Fairly balanced on the palate, the bourbon works nicely with the smoked porter. A good beer, but not one I'd actively seek out again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

All four variants of Smoke From The Oak served side by side at my tasting on May 29, 2010. Thanks to Pete, Chris, and Brad for supplying the bottles. Review is from notes.

This beer is a dark brown color. It has a decent sized head that fades quickly leaving very little lacing. Aromas are smoke, oak (go figure), and bourbon. The flavor is pretty nice. This was my second favorite of the four bottles. This particular variant was the most sour of the four bottles. There is some noticeable heat in the finish. Although, I would drink this again, I wasn't especially impressed by any of the Smoke From The Oak lineup.

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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 drabmuh
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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 -27.9%
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 illidurit
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark clear brown with a beige head. Chocolate malts, sherry, very light bourbon on the nose. Acidic tart cherries in the flavor, almost winey, some vapory barrel influence, dry chocolatey graham and dark grains. Pretty ridiculous how this all managed to come together from an accidental infection.' I dig it.

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Photo of rhinos00
1.62/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Batch 2. Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a dark brown color with two fingers width of tan head. Slowly reduced to a ring over time.

S- Something is wrong here. Right off the bat I'm getting a sharp, sour tinge that just makes me want to shudder. Beneath this layer is a distant scent of bourbon. Not much going on here whatsoever.

T- Oh boy, there it is. Most definitely infected. Aside from the initial hint of bourbon and a slight smoked flavor, this beer is dominated from beginning to end by a horrible, disgusting sourness. Even I couldn't stomach much of it and I'm a huge sour head.

M- For the brief moments I could put the rancidness aside, the beer seemed to have a light to medium body with great carbonation.

D- If I could give this a -5 I would. Absolutely undrinkable.

I don't know what has been going on lately, I have opened three beers in the last 2 months that have been infected. First, Pennichuck's Pompier, then Thomas Hooker's Liberator, and now this. Come on people. Start getting your shit together, this is unacceptable.

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Photo of gford217
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle, batch 1, courtesy of gregc.

Pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle and settles in almost completely black in the lass underneath a bubbly tan head that recedes to a big rocky collar being fed by bubbles from the bottom.

Aroma has lots of sour cherries with hints of dark chocolate and roasted malts in the background. I honestly didn't get much bourbon in the nose, just some acidic sourness on top of the small porter presence.

I actually thought the taste was much better than the aroma. The sour cherry tartness is present but not nearly as overpowering. The underlying toasted malts and chocolate are much more prevalent and the bourbon makes its presence felt as well, especially in the finish where there is definite burn as it goes down.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with lots of carbonation and silky smooth with toasted character battling with some dry tartness in the finish.

Unorthodox and interesting, this beer is like nothing I've had before. The aroma was a bit of a let down with no bourbon at all and a dominant sourness that didn't allow the underlying beer to come out much. The taste, on the other hand, brought all of the ingredients out and integrates them very well. Tasty.

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Photo of portia99
2.36/5  rDev -38.4%
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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Photo of bosco7
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. There is a porter in there some where I guess.

Aroma is very sour smelling, almost like balsamic vinegar with chocolate.

Starts with a hint of porter like flavors smokey, roasty, and bit of chocolate. Then a ton of acidic lemon and vinegar flavors dominate.

Very well attenuated and playful on the tongue.

Very nice little beer, not at all what I was expecting but very good. I say give it a try.

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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 Reagan1984
1.69/5  rDev -55.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Batch 2

A fizzy light tan head rises above the beer. Of note a large bubble formed atop the bottle and will not pop... Looks like a perfect marble. I've never seen that. Anyway, deep brown in color, like espresso or dark chocolate.

Aroma is a touch sour. Based on what I've heard, I am now scared. I think I smell a touch of vanilla, but I might be searching.

I am pissed. This is just like the Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Imp Stout. Clearly sour in flavor. Probably from the barrels. Tastes like a sour. Very tart. In the back I can taste a bit of chocolate. The tartness just takes over.

Mouth feel is sour... I know that's not a mouth feel, but it's so overwhelming....

Drinkable. NO. I hope to be able to replace this review at some point with a decent bottle.

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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 tpd975
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to fogdog for this one.

A: Pours nice dark blackish brown hue with a solid head. Great retention and wonderful lace.

S: Aroma had bourbon, a lot of sourness, roasted malt, and chocolate.

T: Taste is a little sour up front, then some alcohol. This is backed by a little chocolate, dark fruit, and vanilla.

M: Medium in body with good carbonation.

D: A nice sipper.

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Photo of drseamus
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to aerozeppl and avryle for sharing.

A: Dark body with a tan head. No light penetrates.

S: All funk and no bourbon. Good barnyard aromas.

T: If I didn't know this was bourbon aged I wouldn't have guessed it. A strong barnyard flavor from the brett.

M: Med bodied.

D: No smoke, no bourbon, but still good.

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Photo of corby112
4.62/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with a huge frothy beige head that lasts throughout leaving chunky lacing in the glass. Earthy oak aroma with hints of vanilla, chocolate, caramel, toffee and a huge bourbon presence. Full-bodied with a very smokey flavor. Notes of chocolate maltiness, oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Slightly sweet with tight carbonation, smokey and huge bourbon presence.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.16/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Opened up and shared by my good buddy Kris and poured into a 13 oz. snifter.

A: A good looking brew! 1-inch tan colored head with a good amount of lacing to go along with it. Also, like most American exhibited a nice black hue with some delicate shades of red/mahogany.

S: Wow! Am I whiffing on a American Wild Ale? I picked up nothing remotely similar to a porter...a completely confusing beer. Some of the bourbon is there, but seriously...there is no smoke-like aroma, and just strong wild yeast strains and/or sour like notes. I'm pretty sure this bottle is infected, but I've seen other people writing similar things about it. Just not sure what to doesn't smell bad, it's almost like they meant to do this...but overall, bad for the style intended.

T: A really dark malty sour beer. Again, doesn't fit with the style...but not a bad tasting brew; more intriguing than anything. The only difference between the smell and taste is that I'm able to pick up some of the bourbon and smoke-like flavors on my palate.

M: Extremely light with good carbonation...did they just label the style of this beer wrong.

D: Probably the most confusing beer I've ever had. This beer was from batch 2...and my conclusion is that it must have been contaminated. That only explains the weird and funkyness of this brew.

Overall: Horrible for the style intended...but as a beer overall...not bad at all. I took this into consideration when rating this I wouldn't necessarily say I'm judging this on the style...but as a beer overall. Not sure if this worth the trouble of getting. Cheers!

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Photo of Mauerhan
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

cracking open this with vic and mike with amy curling up in the corner with my dog.

pours dark with a two finger cream/mocha head with moderate to solid lacing.

smells like a russian river brew. the name of this beer should be contamination. this just seriously smells sour, not like an american porter at all. hmm. a little confused. but lets soldier on.

tastes...interesting. sour. slight hints of oak but not a lot. not really feeling this.

im really not sure if this is what they were going for with this style but i was caught completely of guard...thats really all i have to say about this.

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Photo of maximum12
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I always get excited when I receive boxes from certain BAs, & marcpal is on that shortlist. Rec'd this bottle in a nice big trade, & there's only one bottle still alive from our December back-and-forths...

Second bottle of the Captain, after the Nor'easter Mr. Pal surprised me with one evening, which was divinely odd & tasty. So I have high hopes for this one.

Batch 1, pours dark. There's a ring of gunk around the lip, I assume from the shipping, that hasn't settled after a couple of months. I wipe a bit on my finger & consider Nah. Next time. Smells strangely sweet, not at all what I was expecting, almost like bubblegum that's been soaking in a abandoned glass of booze all night.

I have to let this one warm up, it's not terribly distinguished cold, but it opens like the legs of...nicely. The smoky malts are first in the bunny hop line, with the bourbon bouncing close behind, but subtle, which is a nice change. The standard porter underneath isn't bad & proves to be a perfectly acceptable supporting cast, if just a touch thin.

Strangely bubbly for a barrel-aged beer, with plenty of carbonation to go around. Easy drinking for the style, with the smoothness of the b-aging offsetting the potential heaviness to make it go down like a

Very good beer. Makes me look forward to more Captain Lawrence.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

25.4oz bottle, batch 2. Thanks, George! You warned me that this had turned funky, let's see...

A: Jet black in my Duvel tulip with a dark brown head that's rather massive, receding to a solid disk. Some patchy lacework, pretty darned impressive. Some visible carbonation running up the side of the glass

S: Interesting. Funky and smoky, mildly vinous too. Bourbon is hidden behind the funk. This is very very compelling, reminiscent of the SFtO: Wine. I do wish I'd got my hands on this before it got infected, though, 'cos the Rum barrel SFTO was pretty great.

T: Wow. This is absolutely nothing like the base porter. The infection has completely taken over, the palate is pretty much infected beer. Thankfully, the house strain at Captain Lawrence is rather tolerable, good, almost. It opens up sour, quite clean with a hint of smoke in the back. Finishes dry, tart. I'm having a hard time describing the sourness - it's not acetic, but is partly lactic with something strange going on. Lemony? Bourbon? Nope. Porter? Nope

M: Light on the palate with good carbonation, this one is one sour, puckering beer. Interesting stuff but as I keep drinking it, the harshness of the sour is a bit much, it even gets in the way of the oak

D: The whole bottle might be a bit much but I'm enjoying it despite it not being what I'd hoped. *A bit in, this beer is pretty undrinkable, rather too harsh for it's own good.

Notes: For all intents and purposes, this is the SFTO wine without the vinous character of that beer and a harsher sourness. It's a soured porter, an amped up JP Marcabio Especial, something along those lines.Split this 2-3 ways. Unexpected infections aren't always fun. 8oz of this beer would get moderately higher marks

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle, batch 2. Pours a dark brown with a super thick tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of roasted malts, oak, and a slight tartness. The tartness really picks up in the flavor leaving behind only a background of roasted malt and maybe a touch of bourbon. My tastebuds are quite sensitive to bourbon and even they didn't really pick up much. I haven't been able to figure out if this bottle was intentionally or unintentionally infected with lacto. Either way, it didn't do much for the beer. The tartness/sourness and roasted porter notes did not mesh well together. Similar to the SftO Wine, this was just an odd beer.
7/4/6/3/14 (3.4/5)

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a big snifter twice. Got this one at the brewery in Pleasantville NY.

A- CL SFTO pours out of the bottle with a very dark red to black color. Once in the glass it looks like a dark black robust porter with red hues towards the surface. I filled half the snifter pretty hard and got a 3 finger tan to beige head with bubbles and fizz noise. Great lacing all around.

S- This does not smell like a porter to me at all, more on the tart and funky side with a lot of oak from the barrel. I really had to search for a while before detecting any bourbon. Along with the smoky presence i sense some coconut, apples and sour cherry notes. The nose is quite powerful with wine like qualities.

T- A huge taste of tartness and funk, not expected at all aside from the nose, seeing this is a porter after all. This taste more like a flanders old bruin to me and I am all for it as the taste is great. The sour cherry presence was dominate with some vanilla and coconut on backup. Bourbon notes are few and far between which is a bummer. A lot of wood with slight smoke. On top of all that the porter notes come out with the malts coming through, not any chocolate though.

M- This is hugely sour on the mouth and creates a puckering effect, unlike any porter that i had or probably ever will have. An apparent astringency comes with this and a full mouthfeel. A bit easier to drink as it warms.

D- Not knowing the ABV on this i polished off a bottle to the dome. It took me some time though. I'm guessing this is around 8 or 9 percent. A little bit of a task to finish the bottle so this is a great one for sharing in my eyes. Would have liked more actual porter characteristics though.

I've had CL smoked porter and can't believe that this is one of three results from barrel aging. I need to find the other versions.

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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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Smoke From The Oak (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 97 ratings.
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