Churchill's Finest Hour 2013
Port Brewing

Churchill's Finest Hour 2013Churchill's Finest Hour 2013
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Stout - American Imperial
4.44 | pDev: 8.11%
Port Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Churchill's Finest Hour 2013Churchill's Finest Hour 2013
Notes: Olive Green Wax
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 168 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes taken at Churchill's Pub's 2013 anniversary. Unfortunately, I was a bit towards the back of the line, so only bottles were left when I got to order this. Still, it couldn't have been a fresher bottle.

Bottle served into a goblet.

APPEARANCE: Has a floating ring but not a true head of khaki-tan colour. Decent creaminess and thickness.

Body colour is a solid black. No yeast/lees are visible within. Vibrant and appealing, albeit opaque.

AROMA: Roast, dark malts and accompanying sweetness, specialty chocolate malts, booze.

It's actually a bit timid - not something one usually expects in an imperial stout. Subsidiary hints of vinous aromatics and something in the licorice/fennel/anise family are present as well.

Mild in terms of aromatic intensity, and frankly too boozy.

TASTE: Buried roast. Dark malts and accompanying sweetness. Vinous flavour. A bit of licorice. Chocolate/chocolate malts.

Not real well-balanced on account of the overt booziness that plagues this otherwise approachable brew, but it's enjoyable if a bit simplistic for the style.

TEXTURE: Smooth and wet. A bit dry on the finish, accentuating the vinous flavour. Well-carbonated. Good thickness. Good weight on the palate.

Has a good overall presence on the palate.

OVERALL: Though its ABV is too noticeable, it's surprisingly drinkable nevertheless. A good expression of the style, but not one of the best imperial stouts out there. Tasty stuff and I'd get it again if it were easily accessible, but it's not worth waiting in line and I'm glad I didn't buy any bottle allotments. All things considered, I might prefer a plain ole Old Rasputin or Storm King.

High B (3.75) / GOOD

Jul 02, 2017
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YodersBeerEmporium from Iowa

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very nice BA Stout! Glad I tracked it down. Purchased this bottle along with many others of its caliber for a small group tasting and it was definitely one of the stars!

May 02, 2016
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Resuin from Massachusetts

4.52/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. Consumed on 10/23/14, review from notes. Bottle opened just under cellar temp (taken from cellar and put in fridge for 30 minutes).

Appearance: Pours black and leaves a finger of tan head, which fades relatively quickly. (4.75)

Smell: Mocha, char, plenty of bourbon, oak, big cocoa. Really well balanced - everything melds together nicely. (4.5)

Taste: Oak, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, dark fruits. Again, really well balanced big stout flavors. Such a nice balance between sweet and bitter. Really drinkable. (4.5)

Mouth-feel: Medium carbonation with a medium, creamy body. (4.5)

Overall: Just a really nice, balanced bourbon barrel aged stout. Rich and fudgy. Lots of nice oak and bourbon influence. (4.5)

Oct 27, 2014
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.02/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle with the olive green wax. Poured into a mini snifter 8/9/2014.

A- Dark black body, opaque with a nice thick brown head that lasts for quite a while. Looks like liquid chocolate.

S- Bourbon, chocolate, milk and brownies. No heat here at all.

F- Bourbon milk chocolate brownies. That is all.

M- A bit on the thinner side but quite mellow and easy to drink. Again, bourbon chocolate brownies.

O- Good stuff. I think I prefer 2014 to this, but I'm definitely glad to have had this one.

Aug 10, 2014
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JoEBoBpr from Missouri

4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter from 22oz bottle.

Pours a perfectly pitch black oily liquid with a nice half inch tan head that is dense and espresso like. Very dense and thick and viscous head that sticks to the sides. (4.0)

Aroma starts off with sweet fudgey barrel notes. Delicious notes of chocolate fudge, syrup and cake. GReat underlying honey and vanilla spice notes form the barrel. A good lively dark fruit sweetness is also present with some slight prune notes. Then a nice midl roast and dark malt note is present which yields a more robust and balancing roasteness. (4.25)

Flavor is exquisite. So balanced and yet decadent. Amazing notes of barrel start things of with mild 11% heat and notes of honey, molasses and some char. Notes of sweet fudgey chocolate follow with some nice vanilla notes in the finish along with some slight woody spice. then there is a robust deep dark fruit note that rounds everything out and keeps you coming back for more. Mouthfeel is exceptional. Full, rich, thick and did I say full? The chocolate notes interplay perfectly with the sweetness and with the barrel heat as well as with the roasted dark malts. (4.75)(4.75)

OVerall this is a decadent and amazing experience. It's pretty well crafted as a whole especially because the flavor profiles work so well together. (4.25)

Jun 19, 2014
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jaasen64 from Massachusetts

4.31/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a HF fest glass. Thanks Tom (airfoil) for sending this to me. Tried alongside '12 Churchill's. Consumed at my birthday tasting awhile ago, finally reviewing from notes taken during the tasting.

A- Pours a jet black with a creamy mocha brown head that has decent retention leaving behind spotty lacing.

S- Creamy chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate fudge, toffee, light vanilla, slight oak. A little bit more booze present and not quite as sweet smelling as '12 Churchill but still fantastic.

T- Creamy chocolate, fudge, bitter chocolate, finishes with sweet bourbon that provides a little bit of booziness, vanilla, slight oak. Again a little bit boozier then '12 Churchill's and not quite as fudgy, still a fantastic beer though.

M- Smooth, medium bodied to a little bit on the thicker side, nice carbonation for style, a little bit more heat then I would like but some cellaring time would probably take care of that.

O- Churchill's '13 was another fantastic blended stout however I think it fails a little bit short of meeting the same level as '12 Churchill's. '13 was a little bit more boozy, not quite as balanced, and didn't quite have the same fudginess that I loved in the '12. Overall it was still a world-class beer that I greatly enjoyed being able to consume and wish I had a beer like this accessible to me on a regular basis. Definitely worth seeking out and trying, although I would go with the '12 if I had to pick.

Dec 04, 2013
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homebrew311 from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brownish black with a thin layer of dark brown head. Nose starts with complex bourbon notes which brings some wood and coconut to the table. Bourbon soaked raisins come through along worth some nice rich fudgy notes. Taste features more of the fudgy notes which is smoothed out by creamy bourbon notes. Coconut comes through along with dark fruits. Mouthfeel is heavy and smooth with moderate carbonation. Overall, a very nice and smooth barreled stout.

Dec 01, 2013
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inlimbo77 from Delaware

4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz, no bottle date but 2013 vintage (brown wax)
Lost Abbey TEKU

A: Pours pitch black. No light getting through. Deep tan head. Some lacing bits. More head than I was expecting.

S: Vanilla. Caramel. Roast. Fudge. Booze hidden behind it all.

T: Dark chocolate. Dark fruit. Getting some vanilla and molasses. Roast notes as well.

M: Full bodied. Creamy.

Oct 15, 2013
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corby112 from Pennsylvania

4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Churchill's, March 2013.

Pitch black and opaque with a 1.5 finger dark mocha head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring.  The head on this beer is as dark as that of Dark Lord which I haven't seen on any other beer.  Good retention for the ABV and style, slowly settling into a thin ring.  Spotty lace left behind.

Boozy bourbon barrel aroma that's nicely integrated into the notes of the base beer.  Lots of sweet, spicy bourbon along with toasted oak, silky vanilla bean and toasted coconut.  The barrel presence really stands out but doesn't overpower everything else.  Oak character is perfect with subtle toothpick along with great vanilla, coconut, marshmallow and bourbon notes but still has noticeable silky and roasted dark malt notes.  Hints of fudge-y cake, baker's chocolate, lactose, coffee bean, toffee and caramel.  Very complex, inviting aroma. I spent several minutes just smelling this beer.

Full bodied and slightly viscous wih a blast of boozy bourbon barrel that's countered by sweet and roasted malt flavor.  Dry burnt wood with spicy bourbon sweetness, vanilla bean and coconut along with burnt sugar, toast, oatmeal, gourmet coffee bean, toffee, caramel sweetness, flourless chocolate cake, baker's chocolate and spicy booze.  Really complex yet easy to drink.  Dangerously so considering the high ABV.  Subtle heat but the alcohol is very well masked with some warmth in the chest.  I was a little skeptical going in but this is an excellent beer that lives up to, and possibly exceeds the hype.  

Oct 05, 2013
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DovaliHops from California

4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

So happy to find available for on-site purchase at Churchill's during DDG/Labor Day weekend. Me and the fiance shared a bottle. Pours dark black with a medium sized, mocha-colored head. Scent is packed with dark chocolate and roasted malt. I good amount of bourbon and booze. A good amount of coffee as well. Taste is not as boozy as it smells. The bourbon is very present, but not overly boozy. It may have settled a bit from most early reviews. The dark chocolate is still alive and kicking. Lots of dark chocolate and roasted character. Some burnt malt flavors. Paired very well with the dessert we had at Churchill's. Mouthfeel is full-bodied, and slightly syrupy. Drinkability is high. Overall, this was a fantastic beer. I do feel there are a lot out there that have a way better "availability factor" and taste just as good, if not better. However, this was definitely a treat and I am fortunate to have gotten to try it.

Sep 14, 2013
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jvillefan from New York

4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A: Jet black with a two finger deep mocha head that hangs out for a while.

S: Intense rich dark chocolate is in the front and throughout the whole nose. There are well blended notes of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. There are notes of dark fruit and toffee that come and go.

T: The dominate flavor is a heavily roasted chocolate. There is a very strong bourbon that increases throughout the taste. Dark fruits, vanilla, oak, black English malt, and toffee linger in the back of this beer.

M: The carbonation is much greater then expected and the body is much lighter the expected. All in all though it is good on both counts.

O: Is this beer worth the 2 hour drive to get to Churchill's at 4:30 in the morning? Yes. This is one of the best stouts out there. The complexity and perfect balance is achieved by very few beers, and CFH is one of them.

Aug 04, 2013
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black. Nice lacing. Good surface wisps.

Smell - Very boozy, but a great barrel character. Oaky, bourbon, vanilla. Dark chocolate. Delicious but boozy.

Taste - Dark chocolate and tons of bourbon booze. Vanilla. Chewy chocolate and a wonderful barrel character.

Mouthfeel - Nice body, but it's boozy as hell. Chewy body. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Just as good as 2012. No infection. Delicious.

Jun 09, 2013
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jeonseh from Indiana

3.69/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark brown and chocolate with a mocha colored head to it

S - Coffee, vanilla and slight caramel to it; This is also a light spiciness

T - Lots of roasted and dark chocolate with strong bourbon presence on the back end that gives it a strong whiskey kick. Light vanilla presence. Really a lot of booze to it and I'd say it's a bit too boozy overall

M - Medium body with lots of boozy astringency to it. Leaves a spice and oak presence to the back end

O - Overall the beer is hot and still really boozy. I'll be curious to see what this is like after some time and it has a chance to settle down.

Jun 02, 2013
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iadler from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Geoff for opening this at a recent tasting. Have been wanting to try this series for quite a while.

A- Pours a dark black with a thin mocha head. No lacing is left behind.

S- Subtle bourbon, oak, dark chocolate, coffee beans, vanilla and roasted malt. A nice aroma, but not very pungent.

T- Much more coffee in the taste followed by bourbon, dark chocolate bars, roasted malt, hint of vanilla and oak.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a good amount of heat at the finish.

O- While this beer was good, I was pretty underwhelmed. Nothing really stood out and it's pretty damn hot at the moment. Maybe a year or two will do this beer some good and bring out more complexity.

May 26, 2013
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Treebs from Illinois

4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review #750. Thanks to stxSS07 for the share.

A: Pours a dark black color with some dark ruby edges. A dark tan head forms on the pour and recedes slowly to a thin cap. Some splotches of lace are left down the glass.

S: Very smooth barrel treatment on the one. Nice bourbon notes, toasted malts with a robust chocolate scent. Light caramel and minimal oak.

T: The taste blows the smell away. Some toasted coconut and marshmallow with a smooth bourbon note. Roasted malts and dark chocolate with some light oak. Sweet caramel and light vanilla.

M: Medium carbonation with a medium heavy bodied. Very smooth and sweet finish.

O: Delicious. Not nearly as good as last year's, but this is still a rock solid beer that I would hesitate to have again. Thanks again for the share Matt!

May 23, 2013
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.64/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Shared by Richard. Huge want of mine. Thank you so much.

The beer is dark brown with a beige head. Aroma of oak, roast, brandy, bourbon, booze. Beautiful balance. Alcohol is present but unobtrusive. A delightful sipper. Wonderful, complex, intriguing. A touch of mild heat in the finish. Overall, this was outstanding and definitely lived up to my lofty expectations.

Apr 06, 2013
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AlexFields from Tennessee

4.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Brandon for bringing this to the TN whales tasting. He got in the mail just the day before. Opened 3/16/2013.

Smells of awesome woody caramel, vanilla, milk chocolate.

Taste is sweet hot vanilla, wood, some chocolate, definitely on the sweet vanilla side of the big stout spectrum.

Mouthfeel is creamy, nicely carbonated, hot from the alcohol but that doesn't bother me and this is pretty damn drinkable.

Wonderful imperial stout.


Mar 18, 2013
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pmarlowe from Virginia

4.61/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage. From a 22oz bottle at Churchill's Pub the week after Renaissance.

A: Pours brownish black with a half inch of espresso-like, light brown foam. Excellent retention and a few streaks of lacing. A ring and surface sticks around for the whole bottle--impressive.

S: A beautiful meld of dark roasted malt and bourbon soaked oak--the barrel is sublime--with a touch of supporting coffee, and vanilla bean ice cream. Smells hot, somehow.

T: Rich oak and bourbon, a little roastiness and mocha coffee, generous vanilla and some sweetness. A little hot on the finish.

M: Medium-full body and light carbonation. The (relatively speaking) lighter ABV and body improve the sessionability of this beer, relative to comparable BA stouts.

O: An extremely well crafted BA stout. The balance in the flavors really propels this beer. Joke about CFH. Very drinkable, and a little age will hopefully mellow out the heat which is not very noticeable anyway. As good as this is, though, the premium of this over something like Older Viscosity is too large to justify for me.

Mar 11, 2013
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UCLABrewN84 from California

4.16/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour for Churchill's Renaissance 2013 at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and cookie dough aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and coffee flavors and an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is tasty but pretty hot right now. I think the 2012 blend was better fresh, but I can see this one aging well in the long term.

Mar 05, 2013
Photo of ehammond1

4.52/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2013)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Black, thick, heavy looking body with a very small light brown cap atop. This leaves some small dots of lace down the glass.

As with last year's version of this beer, the best aroma is present at room temperature. The nose is a wonderful combination of rich chocolates, earthy sweetness, whiskey, a bit of vanilla, and wood. A big chocolate and bourbon bomb. Some definite alcohol heat in the nose as well.

Layers of flavor develop throughout the sip. Big notes of rich chocolates and bourbon coat and warm the mouth. Initially, the bourbon flavors are strong and stinging, mellowing out to reveal vanilla, oak, and tons of chocolate. Very, very nice, though this is definitely the hottest of the series, at least upon release. Lots of potential for a bit of aging, as this is the highest in ABV to date.

Medium to full bodied and ample carbonation. Rich, coating, full, and decadent. The richest, thickest yet of the Finest Hours.

Wonderfully flavorful, rich, thick, and decadent. This may just be peaking about the time of next year's Renaissance party. I, for one, can't wait!

Mar 04, 2013
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DarthKostrizer from California

4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Churchill's renaissance 2013

Look: pours a very dark brown nearly black and completely opaque with a 1/4 dark khaki very good retention with copious amounts left behind

Smell: Bourbon is upfront and in your face lots of oak and more bourbon. There is come chocolate fudge brownie mixed in and a touch of vanilla

Taste: Again you are greeted by the bourbon(this is definitely the hottest CFH to date) once the bourbon passes your palate there is some dark chocolate that actually seems to mellow the beer out followed by some fudge figs and vanilla

Mouthfeel: There is a bit of alcohol burn upfront which should mellow out nicely. Almost full body a bit creamy and mild on the carbonation

Overall. Great beer once again and up there with some of the best BA stouts. Personally fresh I think the 12' is better but I cannot wait to see how this mellows and develops with some time. I look forward to have my fair share of pours this year

Mar 04, 2013
Churchill's Finest Hour 2013 from Port Brewing
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 168 ratings