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)
Liked This Beer
3.88 w/ 95 ratings
Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy 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 gregc on 09-10-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 95 |  Reviews: 65
Photo of sproser
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I received this beer, batch 1, from mikey711 in "The I have always wanted to start an LIF LIF." Shared with pochman and served in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

a: Holy head, Batman! This bottle is a gusher and we quickly poured the beer into the glass. After the five-finger high light tan head began to settle it left several rings of lace around the glass. It took awhile for it to settle but still looks great.

The color is dark brown and looks thin. You might think it was a glass of cola if it weren't for its head.

s: The smell is slightly boozy and is very fruity. This definitely does not smell like a porter. It has a nice yeast smell to it; maybe even a touch of Brett. All smokiness from the base is gone. I wouldn't even think it was a smoked porter if it weren't for the label.

t: Very, very tart. It hits you hard and I love it. I still don't get a taste of the smoke, which I don't mind at all. After a few sips I can finally taste the roastiness.

m: Carbonated and thin.

d: I love it and am savoring this bottle.

I'm glad I was able to share it with pochman. Overall, I think this is a great beer and I wish it was readily available in my area.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of seniorcleaver
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour brought on lots of fluffy tan head on top of a dark beer with glints of amber when held up to the light. the smell is first of sour cherries then caramel apples. the taste has a lot going on, first thing I tasted was sour and a small hint of smoke followed by a hint of caramel apple. there is also a nice roast malt character in this beer. For sure this is a tasty beer, but not something i could drink all night. overall this is a well crafted beer and something I would like to try in one of their other barrels as well.

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Photo of tpd975
3.64/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of WeaponTheyFear
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a big light brown bubbly head. Head quickly dissipates and leaves behind some adequate lacing.

S- Roasted malts/smokiness immediately come to mind followed but a wonderful sour apple aroma and candied sugar. Very inviting.

T- Not as impressive as the smell. The smoked malts are at the forefront which leads way to some roasted malt flavors and a slight sour apple undertone. The finish is much like CL regular smoked porter only there is a well perceived alcohol presence, especially considering it is only 7%.

D- Well carbonated, a little too much for my liking because of the style and the fact it is a barrel aged beer. The ABV makes it a sipper and I've had much more drinkable beers with bigger ABVs but I will chalk that up to the fact it has been in a barrel.

Overall- A good beer but not nearly as good as when I had it fresh. I wish I reviewed that one as it was my favorite in the SFtO series and just an amazing beer. I was actually hoping that the beer would become more sour but as with most BA beers the barrel flavors subsided and the true beer came out and while CL smoked porter is not a bad beer, it is not what I wanted to find in this beer. Recommended if/when batch 2 comes out and while not as bad as the last 2 reviews I wasn't overly impressed this time around.

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Photo of Onenote81
1.99/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Bottle received as awesome bonus from calise1122 in a trade awhile back. Thanks!

Popped the cap, and this beer foamed all over the counter. Because of this, it took me about 10 minutes to pour a standard pint glass'-worth. Dark ruby-tinted cola colored, with a frothy tan head on top. Retention was fair. Left little lace on the glass. Scents of old apples, vinegar, pineapple, and a weird chemical twang. No smoke, and nothing resembling a Porter by any means.

The body was full and creamy, but it had such a sour puckering taste that it gave the mouth a bit of a sharp bite on the end. Flavors of extremely tart, old apples. A bit of a stomach-acid flavor in there as well, which is not pleasant going down. Vinegar in the mouth in addition to the nose. I am getting no smokiness, no roasted malts from the original Porter, no hop bitterness. Nothing. As other BAs have noted, this beer is so far gone from a Porter, it's a shame it even claims that style. I had to pour the rest of this one out. What a shame, I had such high hopes for this hybrid. Can't win 'em all.

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Photo of almychristopher
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer pours a dark black with only slight brown highlights when held to the light. the aroma is really amazingly complex, the apple brandy catches you right away, with the smoke, and dark malt playing a nice counterpoint. the taste follows with a nice bit of sweet apple and malt up front finishing with a lip puckering dry tartness. the light mouthfeel and crisp carbonation make this a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

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Photo of Drazzamatazz
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed at the BA-themed SMBDC meeting. Batch 1. Review from notes.

A: Dark brown in color with a very respectable head for the amount I poured. Head also stayed around until the very end of my pour, something I really enjoy seeing. Laced nicely considering it was in a small Val Dieu glass.

S: Tart apples front and center. Nice roasted apples follows with caramel bitterness. Not really picking up much straight smoke, more subtle toasted tones.

T: Crisp young apples. Fortunately I'm one of those people who enjoys eating all the unripened apples when I go apple-picking. This is almost so tart and tangy that you want to pucker. That toasty caramel bitterness comes in at the end to stop you from looking like you just finished doing shots of tequila.

M: Lots of acid. Again, it almost feels like you are sucking on a Warhead (everyone remembers those right? Maybe I'm too young). You're left with that same dry palate at the end; great if you've got something to eat or drink, but not so pleasant to just hang around with.

D: I think I understand why certain foods stay foods and drinks stay drinks. While I definitely enjoyed this quite a bit while I drank it, looking back I'm left with the same kind of disdain I felt after trying one of those "milk & cereal bars" awhile back. I can definitely see how you could drink a few of these in a row, they almost force you too by how dry the finish is.

Note: Don't tell anyone...but this was my first Captain Lawrence experience. I wish I knew what the standard smoked porter tasted like before it got fertilized by the apple brandy barrel.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of KeefD
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with dark red highlights, nice t an foam, decent lacing. Aroma has a little bit of sourness going on, apple, some light smoke, but less than I was expecting. Taste was right on par. The apple brandy barrel flavor was an interesting twist on this style. Apple was in the forefront, lightly sour, some roasty notes coming through on the end. It was a bit overcarbonated for me, but a few swirls of the glass fixed that. Very interesting brew and was glad I had the chance to try it. Huge thanks to Knifestyles for throwing this one in as an extra in a trade.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 10/24/2009. Bottle. Pours a dark brown with a huge, gushing light tan head. Aroma of light tart apple, caramel malt, toffee, cinnamon (?). Flavor of oak, caramel malt, and faint tart, buttery apple notes in the finish. One of the better SftO barrels, IMO. The blend of smoked porter and apple brandy worked really well here. This is a nice beer.

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Photo of mykie73
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Shane (hophead84) for sending this one.

L) When I opened the bottle, it gushed just a bit. When poured, it took about 10 minutes for the head to go down. Once settled, it was quite beautiful.

S) chocolate, roast, coffee, vanilla, and yes....apples. nice snell.

T) The beer took a while to grow on me but it certainly did. The roastines of the smell really comes out in the taste. nice sweet apple notes with a nice malty backbone. not overly bitter or too sweet. quite enjoyable.

f) finishes dry which is nice. very full bodied for a porter which is enjoyable. great mouthful...quite thick for a porter...maybe a little too thick for style but i will not mark down for that. the score goes down just a bit for it being a little too carbonated.

d) took me two hours to finish. A nice sipper.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle into an Ommegang chalice--just because...

A--Black all the way to the bottom body, huge off-white eggshell 4 finger creamy head. Incredible lacing and retention.

S--Spicy, old apple--like an apple studded with cloves and left on the counter for a day. Maybe a little bit of bitter dark chocolate. Definite cloying sweet booziness.

T--Initial sweet apple sock, warms to boozy middle, then mainly tobacco smoke at the dead center. Apple skin finish. Bright and buoyant bitterness at the finish.

M&D--Quite bubbly, works well to lighten the beer, I think. Drinkability? Well, you're only gonna want one, and if you're me, you don't even want the whole bottle. It's too sweet for that. But as an after dinner treat or with a cigar? Man, this is money. Direct, big, and brassy, a nice cold weather drink for sitting in upholstered leather.

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Photo of gory4d
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with russet around the edges and a thick tan head. The smell is roasted malts, under-ripe papaya, coffee beans, alcohol burn. The taste is tart apple, funk, black coffee, sour vinegar: rather straight forwardly funky and sour, with any mellow, roasted qualities way down in the mix. It's mildly carbonated, medium-bodied. A slow drinker: too sour. Not mellow, though tasty enough. I really prefer the wine barrel version, as this is moving very far away from anything a porter ought to be and is becoming merely an infected beer whose decent qualities have been overwhelmed.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt. 9.4 fl. oz. bottle courtesy of Thirstybird (thanks Rian). Batch no. 1 served in my SA Sensory Pint at 50 degrees. Poured with a cascading, Guinness-like head. 3.5 inches, creamy, frothy and tan in color. Appearance of the brew itself was a shade or two darker than cola. Thick, yet delicate webs of lacing were revealed during the tasting, and did a pretty good job of sticking around during the course. Nose off the cap pop is tart and vinous in the foreground with a kiss of caramel and some dark malt hiding somewhere in the back. Not at all what I expected; was thinking there might be some malt and roast, but this is all but masked by the other qualities described. More sour/tartness in the flavor profile, definitely some green apple, as well as a bit of acidity. I get a little bit of the apple brandy booziness as I let the beer warm in my mouth; also a hint of dark, perhaps chocolate malt; however, the other flavors do a good job masking things - methinks this might be infected. Mouthfeel is light-medium, slightly creamy, with a consistent, light background carbonation and a slightly astringent finish with some lingering heat. This is not a bad brew by any means - fairly complex and interesting, but I don't think the end result was by design - more of a happy accident. Not bad, but I have to say that I'm a little disappointed as it is lacks some of the malty/roasty qualities characteristic of the style.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of weeare138
4.62/5  rDev +19.1%
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.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
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!

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this from the release, batch 1. Had it on 10/23 and a couple times since then. From notes.

Pours a dark brown-black, ruby peeks at the edges. Huge two or three finger head. Great retention and spotty lacing.

Aromas are intoxicating. Mom's apple turnovers fresh out of the oven. Cinnamon and caramelized brown sugar. Semi-sweet chocolate and hints of smoke wafting into my nose. Lots going on here, very unique.

Taste has a nice base of the porter characteristics, smokiness is subtle but more apparent than in most of the other SFTO series which is nice. Granny smith apple acidity is present which adds another layer of complexity. The roasted malt and chocolate notes in the aroma are apparent as well. Great barrel flavors.

Carbonation is maybe a little bit high for what you would expect in a porter, but works for this beer. Drinkability is great because each sip lets you pick up on a different aspect, but the acidity of this beer lowers it a bit. I would want to split this one with a few friends. One of my favorite SFTOs!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 1. 11/22/2009 in a snifter. The beer is dark brown, near black. The head is a mountainous 2.5 fingers with impressive retention and beautiful thick sheets of lacing. Light brown head. The head flares back up when I swirl the glass. It never fully recedes.

The nose opens up with smoky malt, much smokier than the other iterations. Subtle apple brandy with soft oak. Great combo of smoke and apple. Light sweetness accompanied by vanilla. Touch of dark fruit character is with a hint of leather and brown sugar.

The flavor opens sweet and smoky with a touch of brown sugar and a little vanilla. The combo of smoked malt and apple is interesting. The finish is sweet smoked apple brandy.

The beer is medium bodied with an absurdly high level of carbonation. Unlike low carbonation, high carbonation can be remedied with rapid swirling so it's not detrimental.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brownish, cola-colored pour. A decent amount of foam sticks to the glass, and there's some nice lacing left behind.

Not surprisingly, the overpowering aroma is of green apples. Like a green apple Jolly Rancher. There's also a bit of roasty malt underneath, and some light almost chocolate-y sweetness.

It's really odd to drink a porter that tastes like green apples, but it's also really cool. The apple, chocolate, light roast, and vanilla play off each other nicely, but get devoured by the slightly drying boozy finish. I wouldn't have guessed that this was a 7% beer.

Would I be completely lame if I described this beer as "green?" Probably, but it's certainly a little rough around the edges. Would love to try this again with a little bit of age on it.

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Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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Photo of Overlord
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks beerloco!

Pours black with a gigantic cascading dark foamy head. Creamy and satisfying pour. Very nice.

Smells like apple alcohol (I don't detect much brandy, but the apples could be masking it), a bit of roasted malt, and a plum-y background. Interesting.

Whoa, it tastes like apples. Pretty interesting Porter actually. The apples are sweet, slightly dry finishing, and they mesh pretty well with the bit of chocolate and roasted malt that survive the alcohol assault. At first sip, feels a bit hot, but after a while my stomach settled down and it became quite drinkable.

While the apples get a bit overbearing after a while, a quite good, and quite unique, beer.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to SMason for sending a bottle of this my way. Served in a FoBAB taster.

A - Pours with a huge soapy tan head that eventually settles to a couple fingers and slowly dissolves to a solid cap with tons of glass coating lacing. Dark raisin brown color that's slightly lighter at the fringes.

S - Calvados, tart granny smith apples, some wet horsey funk, some roasty cocoa, a touch of hickory woodiness. This stuff is just terrific smelling.

T - The taste has a little more chocolate and smokiness, and the amazing apple and funkiness is a little more in the periphery. It's good, but downplays my favorite elements from the smell.

M - Medium body with very active carbonation, but it complements the funky wild element of this brew. Nice dry finish. There's a little bit of heat at the back end but the alcohol is pretty well hidden otherwise.

D - This stuff is super drinkable - I'd have no problem with drinking 750ml of this stuff. I'd love to try some of the other releases to see how the different barrels affect the base beer. The rum sounds like it'd be really successful.

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Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 68.4% out of 100 with 95 ratings
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