Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version) | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

very good
92 Ratings
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Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version)Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version)

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by aerozeppl on 12-19-2010

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Ratings: 92 |  Reviews: 38
Photo of stevefinny
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of thebouch01
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of MystikCelt
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of chicagobeerriot
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of HopStoopid120
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of Phoenix2443
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of Arenbeer
4.7/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a Captain Goblet that came in the special 3 pack

Served at fridge temperature

A- Pours jet black with a 2 finger light brown creamy looking head that slowly dissipates. Not much lacing but some really nice legs on the side of the glass.

S- Interesting to say the least. Smoke and leather notes up front that combine surprisingly well with the viscous aromas. Actually has a slight funk and sour smell to it as well. Slight oak but mostly that smoke.

T- Just like the aroma your immediately hit with smoke, bacon, fresh leather, slight coffee, creamy milk chocolate and burnt malts. But just when you thought that was enough the flavors from the wine emerge and give you an almost brett like funk and slight sourness as well as a grape fruitiness. Excellent.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a puzzling finish for the mouthfeel hah

Overall this is an absolutely amazing beer. All of the flavors are so well blended and compliment each other perfectly. I'm impressed and pumped to try the other two.


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Photo of mikesgroove
4.62/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark brown, nearly black emerged from the bottled and rattled around the inside of the glass producing a nice three inch high head f tan colored foam.

The first notes to hit you were the nice sour funk that was present from the barrels. hints of chocolate and coffee as well; a rich imperial porter, smoked, aged in sour wine barrels. smoky flavor starting to come through in here now, after being nearly absent in the aroma. Nice chocolate malts and hints of roasted coffee throughout as well. This was a nice sweet porter, and I even could pick up hints of vanilla way in the back. t sour note just really kicked in. These must have been one hell of a set of barrels this was aged in as they were all over the flavor as well. The finish even was dominated by a long drawn out sour flavor that really just was just the icing on the cake.

Mouthfeel - This was a nice robust porter with a medium Mouthfeel and as you could imagine, absolutely awesome carbonation. A nice velvet like smooth feel going down, the bubbles tingled your tongue and kept it active throughout. There was a nice dry feeling in the finish. I have to admit, I was again really surprised with how well this went down.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.62/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Super dark brown. No light gets through even when held up to the light. A surprising amount of brown head. Quite a bit of lacing as well.

S: The smoke notes are up front and powerful. A little bit of bandaid in the nose but not that bad. The wine comes through nicely and it had a nice heat to it. The nose really has so much going on. As it warms up the oak wine comes out more.

T: The smoke is up front but the wine really gives it something nice. The oak and wine combo really works well. It is a little bit hot still but it has a lot going on. Just keeps getting better as it warms up.

M: Not as thick bodied as the regular imperial porter. Quite smooth body. Low carbonation but it works well.

O: Really nice. Just a wonderfully complex beer. Tons going on without it all being overbearing.

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Photo of stimulus
4.58/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SFTO Gift Set.

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into tulip glass.

A: Pours a jet black with a light tan head with decent lacing.
S: Red wine, perhaps pinot noir, and medium smoke levels.
T: Tart wine balanced with smoke and chocolate flavors from the porter make this quite delectable.
M: Great carbonation, medium body, smooth, tangy finish.
D: Slightly less than the rum version, yet this is a bit closer to room temperature.

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Photo of bbeane
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... starts with a finger thick off white head that disappears leaving behind some nice spots of lacing. Beer is black in color with no light shining through when held up to the ceiling

S- Has a very nice smokey aroma with a hint of dry wine

T- Really is an amazing beer... alot going on. Has an upfront smokey bitterness followed by some chocolatey coffee taste with a hint of wine in the finish

M- Has a nice full body with light carbonation

D- Really glad I got this one. Very complex and interesting... I would love to get my hands on the other two to try


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Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large capped bottle, "Bottled in 10". Been sitting with its cousins in the snazzy gift box, since before spring evening with next to nothing to do, seems like a sensible time to crack this baby open and enjoy.

Pours near black, dark prune, moderate mocha head, leaves some thick sheeting, a thick collar and moderate slippery lacing.

Big and bold nose of smoke, cooking meat and red wine.

First stuff is rich, densely flavorful, and viscous, thick, luxurious and creamy on the tongue.

More smoke, red wine, sweet malts, dark fruits, and a hint of sweet melon in the finish.

Add it all up… I get complexity, intrigue, a world class sipper/dessert beer/night capper.
Well done Captain Scott. Drinking great now, likely only better with a year or two in a cool dark place…….

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When faced with an already great beer that has been aged in Wine Barrels that is now Imperialized, I took it upon myself as duty to see how the progression of the SFTO series has gone. CL did not disappoint and now you can feel safe for the time being of aging these without worrying about what it will taste like a few years down the road.

Pour is a dark brownish black with a healthy layer of light brown bubbles on top. Not a lot of lacing.

Aroma of smokechips, oak barrel and sweet malt mixed with a cabernet wine. Oak seems to be more prominent in here from what I remember of the non imperial SFTO wine, however the wine has really gotten more noticeable from what I remember of the original.

Taste of a heavily roasted malt with smoky overtones. The smoke I believe to be Hickory but I am not sure. It really comes through, leaving you with the sweet flavors of a high abv porter. Sweet flavors mixing with some ash and caramelization. Dark plum and candy coating your mouth, this will not disappoint with its full mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 1,061 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black with a hint of brown and a finger of frothy chocolate-khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, coffee, vanilla, smoke, oak, red wine, black licorice, dark fruits, and some booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts with some vanilla, dark fruits, and black licorice. Through the middle, oak and red wine come through with some good smoke and some coffee. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, red wine, smoke, vanilla, oak, coffee, black licorice, and dark fruits with some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a smokey, sweet, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. The red wine really adds some nice complex flavors on top of the big base porter and balances it out.

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Photo of scootny
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The SFTO wine was always my fave in the series. It was kind of a smokey "half sour" that was wonderfully complex and surprisingly drinkable. This imperial is a great progression of the brew. A real winner in my book as this hits on all cylinders in progressing from the original version. The rum and brandy versions benefitted the most but to be honest they all do and the SFTO Imperial Series is an unqualified success in my opinion. Truly great beers.

Dark brow fluid with a brown head that leaves lots of lace and stays for quite a while. Light covering remains. Not as sticky as the others as I guess the rum and brandy added a sugar component that thickened things up. Aromas of smoke, cherries and oak with a whiff of alcohol. Dark roasted malts at the core and notes of char and chocolate. Taste follows the smokey half sour paradigm of the original and builds on it. The bigger beer backbone adds a burnt caramel and molasses center and and chewy brown bread malt foundation. Dry cab and oak facets really blossom and make that at times like a thick rich carbonated molasses wine. The finish is earthy and super dry with a silky feel and spot on carbonation. A sipper for sure as the oak and vinous flavors are quite strong but I quite enjoyed large sips as the feel and big sweet malts we just wonderful to hold in the mouth while the smoke and oak filter through the nose. This a kick but super complex brew that I really wish I had a plate of cheeses and smoked foods to enjoy with. Will have to get more/

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Photo of Klym
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Tasting-size portion poured into a snifter.

Dark pour with a thin head. Appleskins smoke and pine in the nose-- hard to believe that this is a porter, seems sourish. Taste is amazing with a feta cheese dominated flavor and apple, smoke, and tree bark dancing in the background. Stunningly complex and original. Would love to try all the variations.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Second from the SFTO Imperial series drank side-by-side with the rest.

A - They all relatively of look the same. Black beer, brown on the edges. This one had a little bit more of a head than the brandy version, but I'd say they're comparable in look on the grading scale.

T - Holy balls, this is one of the best things I've ever smelled. Smoke, roasted malt, a little vanilla, some wood, and a great rich wine smell that mixes perfectly with everything else. Fantastic.

T - Taste is not quite as good as the nose, but its still quite nice. It's a little more disjointed, as the wine and roast/smoke seem a bit more separated, but it's still great. Some nice sweetness added from being in the barrel.

M - Medium bodied with soft carbonation.

O - This was my favorite one, just due to the amazing aroma. Would love to drink this again. Once again, not sure how this is an F beer, but to each there own.

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Photo of foogerd
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch opaque black, some brown/reddish highlights at the edges. Coffee colored head, looks like an impressive brew.

S- Smoke is a bit more subdued in this version, vinous sour tangy aroma, red grapes, a touch of vanilla.

T- This version really suprised me, to me the wine integrated with the smoke in a more balanced way than the other two version. Nothing screams at you to grab your attention but its amazingly balanced. You have your smoke, thick roasty chocolatey porter character, and then the sour tangy red wine, but this all melds together in a way I didnt think was possible with wine barrel aging. The vinous character really works well here, thats what will blow you away, the balance. Everything is perfectly smooth, theres a dry tannin like finish.

M- Not viciously thick but pretty thick nice and smooth on the palette.

D- Very tasty, takes your taste buds for a trip theyre sure to remember.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a-Poured a stunning silky black with a frothy cream colored head that built as I poured into the tasting glass that came with the set. Lacing is milkshake like and the brew looks exactly as did the Imperial Smoked Porter (from my notes).

s-Soft peaty notes from the wood. Milk chocolatey malts. The smoke from the base beer is not nearly as in the front as it was in the regular Imperial Smoked Porter. The wine definitely chills it out and that was something I really loved about the original, none-the-less the mix still gives the feel of a barrel (reminds me a bit of some of the scotch barrel beers I've had, but much more subtle). as it warms the wine really takes hold in the smell and it works. creamy chocolatey milk shake. The smokiness is there, but again, the wine barrel aging really just mellows it out. There is a bit of a red wine feel to it (comes out a lot more as it warms), but no dryness what-so-ever.

m-Cooling with a soft tingle (the only sign of the alc in this beer). Smoky after effects in my mouth. Very full bodied. Meal in a glass.

d-I consider the original Captain Lawrence Imperial Smoked Porter to be one of the better beers I've ever had. This beer is heavy and rich, like the original, but the wine barrel really mellows out the smokiness and gives it more of a peaty feel. This gift set is great for any beer lover. Comes with a great looking glass and 3 varieties of one of the better smoked beers out there. Can't wait to see what the others in the set are like.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of JayAre46
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 10/13/12 notes. Big thanks to Wherethewildbeersare for sharing this one at the Top Hops tasting; thanks Joey!

a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and low to moderate carbonation evident. Looks exactly like the Rum version.

s - Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, sweet dark fruits, raisins, vanilla smoke, peat, wood, toasted malts, and light coffee. Sweeter than the Rum version and more going on; I like this nose better.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, sticky sweet dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla, smoke, wood/oak, peat, burnt malts, coffee. rum. Again, sweeter and more vanilla, chocolate, and fruit than the rum version for me; definitely prefer this one.

m - Thick, full bodied porter with moderate carbonation. Considering the ABV it is pretty easy to drink, but I felt more alcohol in the rum version than the wine version.

o - Overall a good smoked porter, and I definitely preferred this version to the Rum. I felt this one had more going on, and the rum barrel hid some things I really enjoyed about this one. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of Pahn
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into an oversized wine glass (left the awesome Captain Lawrence tulip with my friend in NYC). '10 handwritten under the "bottled in" section.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and half inch tan head that dissipates slowly leaving a solid wall of lacing. Pours a reddish black (the red could be a trick of the light) and leaves large swatches of lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: smoke. In the glass: smoke and molasses. Maybe some prune-y dark fruit notes. Roasted malt and some cola aromas. Boozy. As it warms, the alcohol shows through in a big way, but somehow brings all the other aromas with it instead of overshadowing them. Gets a bit more cookie-like with warmth as well. Maybe a little abrasive from the alcohol, but I like it.

Taste: Smooth, smokey porter flavors up front, some faint woody notes, then a savory finish. Burnt aftertaste (I like). There's a little bit of vanilla, and the barrel aging has definitely imparted some smoothness, but I'm not sure that it made a difference that red wine was once in the barrels in which this beer was aged (I think I placebo smelled Cabernet grapes).

Even if the oaky vanilla and wine did show through more in the beer, the subtler notes are generally stomped on by the smoke and malt. This would be a bad thing if these bold flavors weren't so good. It tastes like a great oak aged imperial porter, what's not to like?

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Very carbonated. Silky smooth.

Drinkability: The aggressive carbonation and strong flavors seem like they would get trying, but they only seemed to grow on me. It took me a few hours to finish the bottle, and they were a good few hours.

I think this is a case of "Great beer goes in the barrel, great beer comes out of the barrel." I had the chance to try Captain Lawrence's Imperial Porter on tap a few times at Willibrew, and loved it. I almost balked at the $60~ price tag for 3 different versions of this beer + a tulip glass, but drinking this first bottle leaves me with no regrets.

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Photo of Gmann
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black color with a big light brown fluffy head that slowly settled into a light cap.

The aroma is big on smoke, burnt wood, and charred meat. Exactly what I expected from a smoked porter and then-some. Some nice caramel undertones and a bite of red wine from the barrel.

Again big on the smoke, with some peat, burnt wet wood and charred beef. Noticable sour presence from the wine barrels. Doesn't add much flavor but adds a strong offset to the smoke. I actually think the sour from the red wine takes too much away from the smoke.

Full bodied with prickly carbonation. Sweet and smokey on the palate but is nicely offset by the sour from the wine barrel. Very balanced for a smoked beer.

A very well made and surprisingly balanced beer. Bold flavors. The wine adds a bit too much balance for my liking as I like my smoked porters quite smokey. Still very excellent.

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Photo of deapokid
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on 5/21. Picked up the boxed set at Bierkraft in Brooklyn in January. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a shade darker than the other two in the collection, but with a reddish hue that's nicely capped off with a brown lump of head and a sticky, soapy lacing.

The usual nose of smoke and roasted notes are met with a red wine acidic bite. It's strikingly pronounced, a touch sour and very appealing.

Mmm! The roastiness and earthy wood in the porter mingle well with the wine, making for a dry, nutty and subtly tart flavor. A certain milkiness peaks out as well that I didn't catch in the rum or brandy-barreled versions, as does a pipe tobacco floralness. The amount of wine character found in this porter is pretty stunning and it pairs best with the porter of any of these brews.

The mouth is smooth with tart and dry notes in the conclusion. It's quite remarkable that the fruit, chocolate and boozy nuances keep showing up in new and interesting ways when accompanied by such a strong, tannic backbone. Top notch!

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Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Imperial Version) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
3.94 out of 5 based on 92 ratings.
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