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

Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged)
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Porter - Smoked
3.93 | pDev: 14.76%
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged)
Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 95 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by mikesgroove:
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The kindness /of the BA community gets this one in my hands with the quickness. Served chilled and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 9/23/2009.

Pour was the typical huge Captain Lawrence pour. Dark as night with a towering three inches of foam coming up and over the top. Majestic looking I have to say. Rich tan lacing coming all the way down the sides of the glass and just immensly thick. I lean in for a smell and rich woody notes and light fruit coming up very quickly. Quite complex and just what I was looking for. Light touches of smoke, and molasses as well as a nice brown sugar all make this one quite sweet and subtle. Each sip brings more and more of the barrel forward. Incredible. Rich apple and a vanilla combine seemlessly into a rich creation that is playing off perfectly. Sweet notes of sugar are now blending with a light peat flavor and a really well done hint of chocolate. Very well carbonated and not overly heavy it balances all the flavor wonderfuly and the alcohol is soo well hidden I had finished off the bottle before I knew where I was!

Overall this was as solid as they come and next to the wine barrel my favorite in the series. I would do this one again any day.

Sep 25, 2009
More User Reviews:
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weeare138 from Pennsylvania

4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to josh for sharing this.
Appears a murky dark brown with a dark tan head that never fades. It settles into a thick, battery head. Scattered bits of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of cherries, cocoa, caramel, toffee, and mocha. It reminds me of Oerbier Reserve.
Taste is of the aromas with a wine like flavor with vanilla, and oak flavors pulling through.
Mouthfeel is sweet up front with tart and chewy caramel flavors.

Dec 04, 2009
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from the cellar, batch one.

Pours almost opaque mahogany with ruby tinges when held to the light. A massive, erupting head overflowed the glass and roared away with a cola-like fizzle. A placid surface with zero lacing within seconds.

Aromatics' first whiff confirm what the odd pour suggested. An immediate tart character steps forward quickly followed by green apples, charred malts, bitter chocolate, and brandy. Slightly boozy, plenty roasty, and seriously vineous.

On the full side of medium bodied with an explosive amount of carbonation. Tacky, oily, and a bit prickly.

Dark roasted malts, green apples, and espresso beans start the palate. Warming, sweetish brandy continues with hints of tart cherries, burnt caramel, and winey undertones.

Finishes with lingering warmth, sweet apples, charred oak, and boozy lingerage.

Another infected SFTO which may turn out to be another gusher. Beware of any cellared bottles in the future, I would say drink them now unless you want to ramp up the tart character. The apple brandy barrels add a great take on the SFTO base, and is probably one of my favorite from the series.

Dec 06, 2009
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WesWes from New York

4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark brown/black color with a towering tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a nice porter scent; roasted/black malts, dry and earthy. The apple brandy aroma is outstanding! It quite boozy and warm to the nose. The taste is awesome! It has a really nice, warm brandy feel along with some chocolate and roasted malt character. It goes down smooth and finishes with a acidic/tart character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an outstanding beer. It's damn complex and full of flavor. Two thumbs up! Thanks again Arpit.

Jan 29, 2010
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a super huge dirty brown color head with great retention and super good lacing. Aroma of funky yeast ester with some rich apple brandy notes is quite interesting. Taste is also a very nice mix between some light funky notes with light Brett touch with some subtle tart notes that are mix with some rich sweet malt with light vinous apple brandy notes in the finish. Very complex and somewhat far from the original porter recipe. Body is quite full with limited filtration and great carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Nicely done and outside of the standard brewing norms with some great complexity which makes me say that I can't even pick-up all of the complexity.

Apr 24, 2010
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Gueuzedude from Arizona

3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprise, surprise (not) this beer pours with an excessive carbonation that produces a four finger thick, lightly browned head that lingers for a long time and leaves some light lacing as it slowly subsides. The beer is a deep brown color that shows some flashes of bright ruby color around the edges when held up to the light. The beer smells quite fruity, with a definite brandy note, there is a touch of spiciness that makes me think of cinnamon in some ways. There is also a touch of mustiness here, that almost leans towards a light funky cheesiness or a funky mushroom type note. If you really dig through the fruitiness there is a rich, toasted malt character in the finish; toasted whole grain bread notes, a touch of acidic roast malt, and maybe just a touch of smoke (but this is really hard to notice). The nose is actually pretty decent, it sort of reminds me of a really funky batch of crushed grapes that is in the middle of being fermented by a cheese and wine culture.

Tart tasting and quite dry, this is coupled with a toasted grain and a lingering light musty mushroom character. The excessive carbonation definitely contributes to an initial harshness, but luckily I can manually dissipate the excess carbonation. There is a light smokiness that also lingers in the finish along with a bitter / acrid roasted malt character. There is a touch more malt fullness than one might expect from a beer that is as dry as this is; the light acidity (which is definitely not just from the dark grain) tends to make this taste drier than it actually is. An at times biting roast character is noticeable here and can be a bit too jarring sometimes especially when you consider the light acidity. The fruitiness of the nose is not nearly as apparent in the flavor, unfortunately.

As the beer warms up it picks up a very light sweetness that lightly accentuates a dry chocolate note as well as boosting a very subtle smoked malt character. The middle and finish also begins to pick up some brandy like fruitiness, though just a touch.

This is definitely my second favorite of this series (behind the wine); it isn't nearly as funky, and in fact could actually work with a bit more funk if it had a more boosted fruit character like the Wine-Barrel one does. A bit more fruitiness would really help this be much more balanced, though this still achieves a balance that most of the other SFTO don't come close to achieving. Definitely an enjoyable beer, but it is showing hints of being great, but definitely isn't quite there yet.

Mar 07, 2010
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John_M from Oregon

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Generously provided and shared with Dyan the other night. I almost forgot I had written a review for this beer (we sampled rather a goodly number of beers on this particular evening).

The beer pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is just incredible, consisting of brandy, green apples, chocolate, bandaide, and a hint of sour. There's some underlying smokiness as well, but it's pretty well dialed down and/or dominated by all the other aromas in this beer. Given the impressive aroma in this beer, I have to say I was just a bit disappointed by how it tasted. At least at this stage in its life, it tasted more like a roasty brown ale, intermixed with some green apple flavor. It really doesn't taste much like a porter at all right now, though it's still pretty tasty. Mouthfeel is fairly full, and drinkability is OK. At this point, however, it was bit of a chore drinking down the entire glass.

This is still a very good beer, but based on previous experiences, I really hoped for so much more. It is very young, so maybe it just needs a bit more time to round off the edges.

Oct 22, 2009
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A porter a minority taken down in strength of taste by the apple brandy, with lends a mild but still significant secondary taste.This agrees with the tasting notes of the brewery. The acidity is high, making it difficult to finish a 750 ml. by myself,sharing recommended. Neither my favorite nor my least liked of the entire Smoke from The Oak series, and certainly very good porter.

Oct 12, 2009
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Billolick from New York

4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from the source last weekend. Pours pretty darn near black, under an all star head, huge, slow to shrink, turnig to a merainge cap, and finally to a very thick, stay forever film. Stringy and spotted lace. The nose reveals tart apple, burnt grains, wood, smoke, vanilla, brandy.
Flavorful, complex and bold. Notes of the expected tart apple, more wood/smoke, and I get brandy/rum in the finish. Intense stuff, that can only get better with some aging to perhaps let things gel together, mellow and soften out the edges a bit. World class sipper, night capper, after dinner brew. Note to self: would be great with apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner.

Sep 19, 2009
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drabmuh from Maryland

4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | 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.

Aroma is really strong with liquor. More smoke in this one as well.

The beer's body seems slightly thinner, slightly cleaner, finishes much nicer than the others. The liquor in the body seems to highlight the other flavors more than the wine or the rum had. A very nice, highly drinkable but ultimately slightly hot variant.

Jun 08, 2010
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RustyDiamond from Georgia

2.54/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Batch 1
Pretty carbonated pour into a snifter. Fizzy manilla folder creamy yellow head. Aromas of Brett, green apple, cinnamon, apple cider, nutmeg, fudge brownie. Fizzy on the tongue, spicy and stingy. Really carbonated...hits the tongue and bubbles.

Drain pour...infected. Tried really hard too.

Jun 29, 2010
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whartontallboy from New York

4/5  rDev +1.8%

Jul 16, 2012
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TurdFurgison from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to mikey711 for this bottle. The beer is kind of a gusher, it took a while to arrive at a point where my glass had mostly liquid in it with a little head. The head never quite dissipates altogether either, and leaves sheets of lacing on the walls of the glass.

Upon smelling the first things that hit me are sour apples and smoked malt. These are the main flavors too, and while it starts abrasively tart you do get used to it. Over time I grew to appreciate the apple-y twang, but throughout it all I really enjoyed the smoked malt in the base porter. I think the standard porter must be right down my alley, I hope to find it sometime. Good body and about average carbonation, maybe a little lighter than usual as would fit a barrel aged style. Very good, I'm looking forward to trying the wine barrel aged version.

Jan 17, 2010
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brandoman63 from Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -17.3%

Nov 29, 2011
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waltonc from California

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to a couple folks for trading bottles of this fantastic brew to me.

Pours opaque black with massive over-the-top tan head that settles nicely to a 2 mm froth like A&W root beer. Smells and tastes quite interesting - smoke, oak, tart apples, some underlying hints of chocolate, slightly sweet...even though I'm not providing many descriptors, this is a complex and layered beer. Perfect for a crisp autumn evening. Body is medium and carbonation is massive. Highly drinkable brew. Reminds me just a bit of HOTD Matt with the smoky apple brandy qualities. Very unique, and highly recommended.

Sep 23, 2009
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Hautacam from Connecticut

4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lives up to it's label.
Pours out pretty dense and super creamy. The head is pretty huge. A whiff of smoke and some fruity's a carnival in my nose.
First taste is a smack of green apple and oak, followed by a smokey , sweet and sour, acidic caramel..very much like the smell. There's a lot to this one, but as usual I'm at a loss for identfying the subtle layers of flavor. Now it's a mouth carnival.
Really nice, creamy mouthfeel.
I had my doubts about liking this one....loved the Golden Delicious....but didn't really think this combination would work. It does....and it is more drinkable than I expected.
Yet another complex masterpiece from Scott V.

Sep 13, 2009
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Dec 30, 2011
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GbVDave from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to Ineedabeerhere for nabbing this at the release and sending it in one of our trades!

batch no. 1

A: Pours a deep, dark, coffee brown/black. Residing on top is the most amazing three fingers of dark khaki brown head that I think I've ever seen. Retention was incredible in that it never completely recedes. Multiple gobs, splatters, and tendrils of lace were left to coat the glass.

S: I've never had the opportunity to try the Smoked Porter base for this series (hint, hint, Joe!) but I think I can detect it in there. Green apple tartness, smoked porter, bakers chocolate, caramel apples, and fresh baked apple pie from Cherry Point Market (south of Silver Lake, MI).

T: Continues along the same delicious lines as the Smell. Everything in the aroma is present but in different quantities. The tangy, tart, and unripened apple flavor is front and center while the smoke, chocolate, and baked goods of the smell are in the background...yet all still there.

M: Tangy and acidic to a certain extent. Tart and pretty dry. Our mouths kept waiting for a sweetness that never arrived.

D: Excellent! Maybe for batch two, Scott could dial up the sweetness and dial back the tartness and deliver a different version of this fantastic beer!

Nov 29, 2009
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Murchmac from California

1.76/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I hear stories about this being infected about it not being infected. Im reviewing this with the mindset the brewery wanted this beer to be a sour. If i'm wrong then i'm wrong.

smells of apples, tastes of a sour porter, like the New Glarus Unplugged English Porter but way more sour. You can taste the dark malts coming through this beer, but the sourness is not pleasureable.

Would not recommend.

May 30, 2010
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Photekut from Tennessee

3/5  rDev -23.7%

Nov 18, 2011
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Pencible from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Feb 11, 2012
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Beerzebub from California

4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Says batch 1 on the bottle. I think I got this from corby112 back in 2009 or so - thanks man!

It's a bit of a gusher. Opaque dark brown with massive tan head that subsides to a sticky matt. Plenty of lace.

Smells like sour, moderately smoky fresh apples and brandy barrels.Nothing too suprising apart from an unexpectedly fresh appleiness. Some oxidization, but not in a bad way. A sweet malty element ties everything together, and it smells pretty nice overall.

Tastes like dark malt and apples, with an underlying, restrained, smooth smokiness, some well integrated barrel, and some moderate acidity. Good complexity an depth, augmented by some graceful oxidization. Fairly long, tart finish. Nice richness to the texture, and still refreshingly juicy from the tartness and fresh apple. A very nice and tasty interesting aged beer.

May 30, 2013
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tpd975 from Florida

3.64/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jdubfl for this one.

A: Pours a chestnut brown with a small brownish white head. No retention or lace.

S: Sour aroma. Lots of oak, booze, vanilla, and hints of dark fruit.

T: Light chocolate with hints of dark fruit. Lightly soured with the wood from the barrel standing out. Subtle vanilla, and booze.

M: Medium in body sort of biting carbonation that turns sort of dry.

D: Just Okay. Not a great beer, but my favorite of the series.

Feb 13, 2010
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largadeer from California

3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from Dyan last week. Thanks!

Black in the glass with slight translucency. A gentle pour left me with a head three fingers high - this one's a bit overcarbonated. The head ultimately settles to a crown, leaving webs of lace in its wake.

Apples come through strongly in the aroma, tart green apples in particular. There's some roastiness, some chocolate and a hint of smoke. There's a bit of heat from the barrel as well. This has a slight bacterial sourness and funk to it, which was unexpected but adds an interesting dimension to the beer.

The taste is semi-sweet, apple-infused and slightly hot. Roastiness and lactic sourness are about even on the palate. The body is medium-light, carbonation quite high - a bit too high for this style of beer. It gets better with a bit of swirling. The finish is tart, fruity, dry and vinous with some lingering heat from the barrel. Pretty interesting stuff, I'm liking this trend of aging beers in apple brandy barrels. This could turn into something very interesting if the bacterial character develops.

Nov 16, 2009
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aerozeppl from New York

4.68/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The usual 4 finger head pur from a smoke from the Oak release. The head was brownish in color. The beer appeared black with some brown showing through when held up to light.

S: There is something going on that I can only describe but the smoke from the oak smell. It is the smell from the smoked porter being exposed to the barrel. It is a nice smell. Fresh apple smell and the barrel and this beer combine nicely together. Reminds me of a light golden delicious.

T: The porter and barrel work really well together. I have had all of the SFTO and this was a really nice combo.

M: Very smooth. Almost velvety.

D: This is the best SFTO fresh I have ever had by far. It is a singular and excellent beer. Hopefully time will make this even better. Another winner from the captain.

Sep 27, 2009
Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 95 ratings