Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Imperial Version) | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

very good
38 Reviews
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Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Imperial Version)Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 128
Photo of metter98
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is very close to being jet black in color—slight traces of reddish brown are visible near the edge of the glass when it is held up to the light. It poured with a thin light tan head that died down and left a large patch of bubbles in the center and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of iodine and smoke are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark malts and smoke, the latter of which lingers through the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is deceptively drinkable for clocking in at 12% abv as little if any traces of alcohol are perceptible in the taste.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ark as night with a heavy tan head that was thick and gave the beer that thick and creamy look i had so wanted it to be. nice lacing down the sides of the glass as well..

aroma starts with warm vanilla and roasted malts, hints of light oak and coffee, some smoke peaking its head up at times, very interesting. nice touches of chocolate and a warm brown sugar as it hits room temperature. flavor follows suit perfectly as the warming from the roasted malts and rich barrel flavor are simply superb. rich vanilla and caramel, chocolate, roasted coffee and a nice smooth finish that was dotted with notes of light bitterness that were balanced against the malts with near perfection, creamy, full and just a delightfully wonderful beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 11/13/13 notes. This was a big want of mine as it is the only SftO version, imperial or otherwise, I hadn't had. Was very happy to see them re-brew this, and even happier to find it in NYC without having to head to the tasting room. Had a 12 oz pour in a tulip at The Jeffrey in NYC.

a - Pours a deep mahogany brown color with two inches of medium tan head and low carbonation evident. Leaves some light lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of roasted malts, sweet chocolate, light sour apples, oak, smoke bitter chocolate, and toasted malts. Nice sweet chocolate to it. Smoke is light, and little barrel.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, sweet chocolate, toasted malts, burnt malts, smoke, light brandy barrel, oak, light vanilla, and light coffee. Taste has a little bit more of the barrel to it and more smoke.

m - Thick, full bodies porter and low to moderate carbonation. No alcohol warmth and easy to drink, especially for 12% ABV.

o - Overall I was surprised to see some less than favorable reviews towards the top of the page, but then realized those are reviews form the 2010 bottling. Not sure if I just like this better than most people, or if they tweaked the recipe, but I think the new 2013 version is pretty good. I would rank them Wine > Apple Brandy > Rum. Not a ton of barrel to it, and not a ton of smoke, so maybe that disappoints people, but it is a really good imperial porter with light smoke and light brandy, especially in the taste. Would like to have it again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Nice khaki head with a thick collar and nice surface wisps.

Smell - Smoky, but not too intense. Sweet smelling. Chocolate. Lots of vanilla. Some oak. I get some brandy, but I don't think I'd peg it as apple.

Taste - Chocolate. Smoke. Sweet fudgy chocolate comes back after the smoke. Oak. Sweet brandy flavor. Woody finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Pretty sweet and kinda boozy. A little sluggish.

Overall - Nice all around. I appreciate that the smoke isn't overwrought.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at Smoke & Barrel. Batch 1, from notes.

Interesting hue here on the head. It's purple, with a light bit of tan, guess it's picking up that real nice hazy reddish brown body. Bit of a pour from the bottom of the bottle so it's got some yeast cloudy character, but it's still quite attractive on first glance.

For a barrel age, it doesn't come off particularly oaky for a bouquet. But the nose provides a mild bitter chocolate and sour berry tinge, almost crabapple sense, but it gets into under-ripe raspberry or some red berry, with some slight funk. Solid.

Palate is a strange mix of wet and creamy texture. A very light body for a barrel aged brew, with a mild sour bit of tart kick, and mellow milk bitter chocolate and sour cherries. The feel does provide even with the lightness a real good creamy texture surprisingly, the feel seems to be the best part. It's almost contradictory to how the flavors come out on the palate. I don't get much smoke off of this either.

Overall though, kind of mellow, simple, and alright. It's ok but I can't get a sense of style for what this is either.

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Photo of Billolick
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bottled in '10, this one has been in my "cellar"/closet for about 10 months.

Pours black, dark tan head, staying and staying at about the 1/4 inch level. Going quite slowly to a well developed thicker blotchy film, thick collar and nice amounts of strands and bits of sticky lacing.

A sniff reveals brandy, wood, vanilla, honey.

Super complex and tasty brew, with notes of the aformentioned brandy, wood, vanilla, honey, plus fruity jam...

I truly enjoyed every ounce if this offering from the good Captain.

Fine creation in brewing.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mike (AgentZero) for sharing this set with us. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - Pours with a quick-dissolving tan foam that settles to a thin ring and hazy wisps, but minimal lace. Near-black body with some brownish notes at the fringes.

S - Smokes, apple, chocolate, dark roasted malts, some eau-de-vie spirit character. Light oak and barrel notes.

T - Less apple brandy and more smoked porter in the flavor. There's still some mild apple sweetness, but this is a lot like the base beer plus some oak and vanilla mingling with the smoked meats, chocolate, and, roastiness. Alcohol is very well-hidden.

M - Smooth full body, medium carbonation, gritty tannic texture, and light alcohol warming.

D - This is really good. I loved the base beer, and I liked the lower ABV Apple Brandy Smoke from the Oak as well. Would gladly have this one again. While it doesn't necessarily improve the base beer, it's a nearly as good variant.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

32 oz growler procured from Nathaniel Square Corner Store. Imperial smoked porter aged in apple brandy barrels- sounds tasty! Let's go.

Pours very dark. Foamy, mocha-colored head forms, then dissipates into a very oily film on top of the beer. Very good, sticky lacing.

Smells like apple brandy, chocolate, and vanilla.

The taste is similar, with added oak, mild smokiness and char, roasted malts, caramel, and boozy fusels. The alcohol presence keeps the taste from achieving perfection, but it's pretty damn close, really.

Slighlty thinner body and mouthfeel than I would've expected. The thin mouthfeel allows the alcohol to make a stronger presence that I'd ultimately want. Still, for a porter, pretty thick mouthfeel nonetheless.

Probably the best brew I've had from Captain Lawrence. Would love to try the rum version.

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Photo of dar482
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a dark brown/black color with some reddish brown.

The aroma has tons of smoke, but also that apple brandy barrel coming through. Oak coming and sweetness coming through.

The flavor has this extremely aggressive smoke flavor. There's some roasted malt, but it's dominated by the smoke and there's some barrel character as well with some vanilla coming through.

A huge beer and a bit aggressive for my tastes.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Thanks to Michael for sharing this.

A: Dark brown with a subtle crimson tinge.

S: Huge beechwood and applewood bacon smoke nose. The smoke is really strong. Chocolate lingers beneath, and there's a light apple brandy note. Malt is moderately roasted.

T: Milk and dark chocolate blend with a pervasive smoke element that's reminiscent of charred beechwood. Roasted malt is at a moderate level. The flavor doesn't quite match the quality of the aroma, but it's still nice. There's a low earthy bitterness.

M: Medium in body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and smooth.

Overall: A good beer with a great aroma. I haven't had the regular version for a while so it's hard to compare, but the aroma on this seems a lot smokier and more complex.

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Photo of corby112
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

The aroma of this beer is dominated by a heavy smoked malt presence that overpowers the brandy barrel character. I don't know if it's because they made this imperial, but the smoke presence is really strong and the apple brandy notes that are so pleasant in the regular version are almost undetectable. I'm a huge smoke head so I'm not going to complain too much but it would be nice to pick up some of the brandy. There is some toasted oak but the nose is overwhelmingly smokey with hints of campfire, charcoal, smoked meat, ash and burnt toast. Really nice but could use something else for balance, especially in a BA beer.

On the fuller end of medium bodied with a subtle brandy barrel character that is faintly integrated into the flavor of intensely smoked malts. There is a sweet calvados character that gives of vinous and green apple flavor but that is quickly countered by toasted oak and almost burnt malt. Pretty dry but never becomes acrid with luscious smoked malt and subtle chocolate cake sweetness. Hints of charcoal, barbecued bacon, burnt toast, liquid smoke and ash followed by oatmeal and dark chocolate sweetness. There is some nice brandy flavor but the high ABV is very well masked, and although this beer is pretty intense, I'm loving the peated, smokey flavor and find it very easy to drink.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The final bottle from the set that I received from joefuzz. Thank you, Joe.

The cap comes off without a whisper, catching me by surprise. The beer, however, is carbonated, as evinced by the dark brown head that sits atop this black beer. With the poorest retention of the 3, the head falls off to a thin disk leaving minimal lace. The nose is rather excellent. With a blend of apple brandy, smoke and some vanilla sweetness, this is intoxicating. Couple the barrel character with the mild cocoa and caramel, you get this beer which almost seems sweeter than the other two. The pairing of vanilla, caramel and apple brandy makes this almost smell like an apple candy (I'm blanking on the name at the moment). The freshness and vibrancy of the liquor calls to mind a fine eau-de-vie. Excellent.

The palate bears to fruition the promise that the nose holds. While brasher and bolder in its booziness than the other beers in the series (I can't help but compare them), the apple brandy character does lend itself to bold flavors. The smoke character also does seem a little bit more intense here, with smoked mead and a handful of smoldering wet leaves thrown in for good measure. The mid-palate brings into focus the sweeter flavors, with the vanilla from the barrel and the creamy chocolate from the porter enhancing each other. The finish reveals that this is the most tannic of the series, drying out my palate and lessening the enjoyment from the wonderful flavors up until this point. With a lingering smoke and caramel apple character, I feel a little less tannin character would greatly enhance this beer. Still, and excellent beer and probably my 2nd favorite of the bunch.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cuzco for the trade. 750ml bottle served at 53 degrees in my Darkness tulip. Pours one shade shy of black with a dense, half inch mocha-colored head that is refreshed with a gentle swirl. Delicate strands of lacing are exposed during the tasting. Nose is rich, sweet and malty with pleasant smokey aromas and a slightly medicinal quality. Taste consistent with nose - the smokey quality pleasantly infiltrates the rich malty backbone. Apple brandy becomes evident as the brew warms. Mouthfeel on this is exquisite - medium bodied with a light, almost still, carbonation and a creamy/velvety texture. I have to say that I found this beer much better than the previous version and more on par with my expectations. The base porter on this beer is really quite good and my interest is definitely piqued by the rum and wine barrel variations.

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Photo of maximum12
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Third & final of the Oak series, once again thanks to Sender for toting this one along.

Looks just like the others, mostly black. Nose is gentler still than the other two varieties, smoke, but with significant sweetness, green apples.

Smoke from the Oak Apple Brandy is balanced like a cute gymnast, barrel much more integrated with the beer than the other two. Smoke, of ccurse, but the barrel rolls in almost immediately, bring warm apples, a faint tang, more evident booze. Faint chocolate that didn't rise to the top of the other varieties. This is one that I could happily swill.

Very good beer, & easily my favorite among the three Oaks.

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Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Corey – thanks! Side-by-side with the wine and rum versions.

Pours black with a tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with large amounts of boozy green apple aromas. Also present are slight amounts of smokiness.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though note as robust. Moderately roasted malts up front are joined quickly by sweet and boozy green apples. Midway through the apple flavors fade a bit, allowing some smokiness to shine through and carry on to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall I enjoyed this beer, as I have with most beers aged on apple brandy. My second favorite, slightly edged out by the rum barrel version. A nice combination and a beer that is well worth a shot.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a-Just like the wine aged version and the unaged imperial smoked porter, this brew poured a silky black with a frothy creamy head that built as the beer was poured. Drank this one out of the tasting glass that came with the set which is a bit tulip shaped so it lends to pulling that nice head. Lacing is milkshake like and the brew is gorgeous. A quick swirl of the glass rebuilds the head on command.

s-Like the wine version, there is a peatiness to the smell and it really tames the campfire smoke of the base beer.

t-This brew seems even more tamed back on the smoke than the wine version. Heavy on the dark chocolate...the apple brandy adds a tingle to the taste, but nothing like I had expected, but it does give the beer a sort of sangria touch to it.

m-Very rich and creamy. Leaves a wonderful tingle in my mouth, but not much of the smokiness that I love about the original. Alcohol comes through most in the mouth. As it warmed the smokiness came out more in the mouth.

d-Dangerously drinkable, but awfully heavy and filling. The original imperial smoked porter is a phenomenal brew and I really wish that this set had a bottle of the original for comparison sake since I seem to be chasing that original beer in this set. Very enjoyable beer, but not quite as tasty as the wine version (IMO).

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Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The regular version of this beer is one of my favorite beers. Let's see what putting it into a barrel did.

A - Black beer that gets a little bit lighter around the edges. Not really much left in the way of lacing, just some minor wisps.

S - Apple brandy adds an underlying mellow sweetness to the roasted and smoked porter. It is a nice mix, although I think I prefer the smell of the regular just slightly. Some barrel smell.

T - Taste is along the lines of the nose, although the smoke and roast is a little bit more pronounced. The base beer had a certain buttery characteristic that is not as evident here. Apple brandy adds touches of apples, and a mellowing sweetness that contrasts the smokey properties of the beer in a good way.

M - Full bodied beer with some fairly active carbonation.

O - Liked this a lot, although it would be pretty hard to mess this up given how big and good the base beer is. Not sure how someone gave this an F.

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Photo of Gmann
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a big dense tan head that settled into a solid cap.

The aroma primarily is of smoke. Nice charred wood, peat, and meaty aromas. Just beautiful smoke aromas. There is also a hint of sweetness, though you can't really tell what it is. I imagine it is from the apple brandy, its a bit vinous. Also a hint of sour oak.

The smoke is definitely not as strong as the aroma but is still there. The taste starts off with a solid roasted malt and caramel base. This is followed by the sweet brandy flavor with hints of red delious apples. The smoke follows through in the end bring some charred wood, soy, and peat flavors. Just a real nice transition of flavors.

Moderate body with tingly carbonation. Great balance on the palate between the sweet and the smoke. A hint of ABV belly burn but really not much and it finishes slightly sticky.

Great smoked porter. Perhaps not as smokey on the flavor as I expected but such great balance between the barrel aging and the smoke.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got all of these variants from STEG a while back. Thanks man!

From a 750ml into a snifter
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: All the variants basically look the same. Pours our transparent brown and yields a small, medium looking, tan head with god retention. Head fades to a wisp and ring. Black, relatively transparent looking body with no carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end and leaves lots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Milder nose with some definite smoke, dark chocolate, oak notes, and booze. Definitely more enticing than the wine variant.

TASTE: Smoked malts up front with some dark chocolate and nice vanilla notes through the middle and a bit of booze at the swallow. A milder aftertaste lingers nicely with some smoked dark malts, oak flavors and vanilla as well. Brandy notes are there as well, but not overpowering.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. Alright here.

OVERALL: A decent beer for sure, but nothing worth writing home about. Not one you’ll remember I don’t think. Enjoyed the flavor here much more than the wine variant, though the rum treatment is the only one I’d actively ask for again. Thanks again for the trade STEG. This set was good times!

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Photo of Florida9
3.18/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 1

A: dark brown color. Fuzzy, frothy light tan colored head. No lacing.

S: apple brandy is the predominate aroma. Apple, tart green apple. Some dark malts, but not much.

T: More apple,light dark malts. And really nothing else.

M: over carbonated. Lighter medium body. No bitterness.

O: not very good and possibly infected. No smoke and no malts. The worst of the three.

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Photo of deapokid
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on 5/17. Picked up the boxed set at Bierkraft in Brooklyn in January. Reviewed from notes.

Liquid has a dark purple body with a brown head of foam and the lightest swirl of lacing. Looks sweet, like an imperial stout, but without the deep black visage.

Smoke and wood are the most prevalent aromas, making my nose strain for that apple acidity. Luckily, the warming alcoholic scent in the conclusion brings brandy to mind.

Taste is smoky (dare I say rauchbier-esque) with the apple brandy peaking out in the acidic and boozy conclusion. Anise, irish cream liqueur, coffee and a woody earthiness are also present. It's nice to sip, if a bit on the strong side.

The mouth is quite smooth with a roasty bite that's not as abrasive as something with so many strong elements can be.

Overall, the flavors are interesting and original, but I feel like this is a step or two behind the rum-barreled version. Also, the apple brandy isn't forthright enough, allowing elements of the base beer to take over.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes to Mike (AgentZero) for this one. Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours dark brown, thin ring, spotty lacing, thin filmy cap.

S - Apples, booze, smoke, dark fruits. Really enjoy the apple and booze on the nose. The alcohol is pretty smooth for 12%.

T - Smoke, char, dark fruits, apple, oak. I wanted more apples here, but still, not bad overall. The smoke and char show up a lot more here then compared to the nose.

M - Full body, rich, smooth, creamy finish.

O - I preferred the nose to the palate. The apples really stood out on the nose but then weren't as pronounced when it came time to taste this one. Still, enjoyable but I'll take the regular version of over any of the variants.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2010, I think?)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, whartontallboy!

(Aged for 1+ year)

A big, thick, black stout. This pours without a lot of visible carbonation even after a fairly aggressive pour. It leaves the glass coated with an oily sheen.

The aroma is certainly smoke-forward with almost a pork-like character to it. There's a good amount of barrel character and a touch of vanilla once you can find something other than smoke. Per the style, it's very nice, though I'm not the biggest fan of smoked beers.

A very well integrated smoked/barreled beer. There's roasted malt character to be found underneath the smoke, wood, and slight boozy sweetness. Well rounded, moderately bitter, and very drinkable.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

This beer is so big, expressive, and flavorful on its own, I think it would hold up nicely against some big assertive foods: funky cheeses, barbeque, or sweet chocolates.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate and dark caramel malts with lots of smoke, some vanilla, apple brandy, oak, coffee, dark fruit, black licorice, and some booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of chocolate and dark caramel malts, vanilla, apple brandy, and some black licorice. Through the middle, lots of smoke and some oak come through with some dark fruits and coffee. The finish is a mix of apple brandy, chocolate, oak, smoke, vanilla, black licorice, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, warming, and smokey finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice barrel aged imperial porter. The smoke is nice and the apple brandy is a nice addition.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Last of the 2010 batch to try.

A: Jet black. A decent amount of brown head. Quite a bit of lacing as well. The black controls all.

S: The nose on this beer is great. I found the nose on the base a little bit over the top. Very earthy and almost meat like. You get more brandy in the nose than apple brandy. The smoke is there for sure but it has mellowed out nicely and is super enjoyable right now.

T: The brandy comes across nicely in the taste. The smoke has mellowed out as well. This just really integrates all it's parts nicely together. The brandy and smoke are just delightful together. The apple part does not come through until about 30 min after poured but it really makes this beer for me. Chocolate more as it warmed as well.

M: A tad on the thin side but so smooth. Carbonation is just about perfect.

D: What a great beer. Super drinkable while at the same time being complex. Really have not had a beer quite like this before but hope to again.

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Smoke From The Oak (Apple Brandy Imperial Version) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 128 ratings.
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