Isabel | Blue Mountain Brewery

14 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Blue Mountain Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by akorsak on 05-29-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 36
Photo of russwbeck
4.43/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: The cork comes out pretty easily and bottle relinquishes a nice brown liquid giving way to a few fingers of brown head. The retention of the head is great, and a thick cap forms on top of the beer. It laces nicely as I drink.

S: Really nicely balanced aroma, it's inviting. Bourbon and chocolate take the forefront. Vanilla, oak, booze, slight hints of fruit, and some roast hide underneath. The orange is a really interesting addition, and my nose picks it up in varying strengths with each whiff I take.

T: The chocolate and orange are yet again the focus here, but the bourbon and other barrel aging notes have taken a step back. The deep oak and booze provide the backdrop for the chocolate and orange, but the Bourbon has basically gone except for a slight boozy sweetness. The aftertaste is roasty with some more chocolate.

MF: The body is a little thin, but the carbonation is right where it should be. While I get some booze throughout the aroma and taste, the alcohol is not pervasive (as shown by the 6% ABV).

O: This beer was outstanding! One of the better bourbon barrel aged porters I've had. The orange was a nice addition and the bourbon wasn't too strong. Give this a shot!

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Photo of teromous
4.32/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: It has a very dark brown color to it, and it appears very murky when shining a light through it. There is a huge head coming out of the Belgian bottle, leaving a fluffy tan pillow on top of the beer.

S: I can smell some of the cocoa, which is pretty amazing. It's not a strong scent, but it is there. Sniffing the neck of the bottle gives the cocoa scent even more pronunciation. There is a light oak scent to it as well.

T: I get a rich roasted flavor, with some light dark hints of chocolate. The chocolate stays pretty strongly in the back of my mouth. I get more oak flavor than bourbon, but the beer still tastes fantastic.

M: The mouthfeel is perfect. It is just smooth enough, with just the right carbonation, just the right bitterness without it being overwhelming...everything just sits perfectly. This bottle was freshly purchased from one of the brewery reps, and it has sat for about a month or so in my refrigerator. It has fantastic they must age it very well at the brewery.

O: Overall it is not my favorite dark beer, but it is very good. I would buy it again, and I heartily recommend it.

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the brewpub. A bourbon barrel-aged robust porter with cocoa nibs and orange zest.

A: The porter is appropriately dark, a black color that has a cup of coffee look. Not much head comes along.

S: The bourbon aromas are deep, vanilla and coconut, mix with and generally overpower the chocolatey porter aspects. Cocoa nibs add some additional bitter chocolate aromas; the orange however is reticent to come through.

T: Rich bourbon and chocolate, a pretty damned good tasting ale. Sweet vanilla and oak drive most of the flavor, the cocoa nibs adding a semisweet bitterness that does well within the confines of the porter. The orange zest struggles at first - too cold to come through. Only as the porter warms and the roasted chocolate flavors ease up do the sweet zest flavors, a distinct citrus, come out. The entire package isn't too big, so the flavors never get out of hand.

M: A perfect ale to drink on the Blue Mountain patio with a slight breeze. Strong but not intoxicating - a well made porter.

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Photo of siege06nd
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A porter aged in bourbon barrels with cocoa nibs and orange peel? Yes, please.

A. Pours a dark ruby brown, not quite as black as most porters I have had but good looking nonetheless. About three fingers of tan colored head explode from a careful pour. Beautiful and consistent lacing leaves gobs of good stuff behind as I enjoy the glass. Very good head retention as foamy half finger cap sits atop the beer for the duration. I am digging what this porter is selling.

S. Creamy decadence wafts from the glass. Plenty of milk and baking chocolate, some brownie batter, traces of coffee beans, and vanilla. Picking up just a slight touch of coconut type notes which hint at the barrel aging. Orange peel isn't apparent to this nose. This is a near perfect bouquet for a porter. Wish I was picking up more orange, but that's okay.

T. Roasted malt, milk chocolate, a good dose of oak, and some crisp acidity from the orange peel. I also get some fairly bright hop notes that blend with the orange to provide just a subtle hint at a Black IPA.

M. Moderately carbonated with a nice creamy mouthfeel. A little thin for a porter, but flavors are nicely balanced.

O. A nice porter here. The barrel aging is subtle and at 6% this shouldn't be a surprise. It's not anywhere near the revelation that, say, Alewerks Bourbon Barrel Porter is, but for a relatively easy drinking robust porter, this fits the bill nicely. Orange peel becomes more apparent as this warms up, but it tends to clash with the lighter bodied base beer as opposed to complimenting it. Overall, though, it's a solid, if unmemorable, porter.

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Photo of Pencible
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly opaque black garnet with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like rich dark chocolate and orange peel, with some roasted coffee and toasted oats and cinnamon.
T: It tasted like dark chocolate and dry roasted coffee and cinnamon, with some orange peel and toasted oats. It had a clean and earthy bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Light body.
D: There wasn't much bourbon barrel, but this was still a good orange peel porter. It had an enjoyable scent and taste, and appropriate body. The finish was smooth too, so it was easy to drink. Nice to try once, but not really worth the price.

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Photo of obywan59
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very dark brown in color with a tan 3 1/2 finger head that recedes rather quickly leaving moderate lacing.

The aroma is of bourbon and spicy orange peel. A bit light but nice.

Taste of sweet malt, tart orange peel, and in the back of the mouth a hint of bitter dark chocolate. The bourbon appears in the aftertaste.

Thick and creamy on the tongue. Call it medium-thick. The first glass also had the bite of hard cider. There is a definite warmth in the throat.

This seems a bit raw yet. The flavors perhaps don't quite mesh. A little more time in the bottle might serve it well

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA.

A: Pours an opaque very dark brown (almost black) in color with some dark amber highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall sudsy tan head that quickly fades to a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of roasted malts with intense notes of chocolate, coffee beans, vanilla, and bourbon barrel/oak.

T: Moderate flavors of roasted malts with some milk chocolate, coffee, and vanilla notes. There are some notes of oak and bourbon with just a touch of orange rind acidity.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin and over carbonated but still creamy.

O: This beer is good and interesting but seems like it might be a little immature - there is a lot of potential with this beer but it seems like it might need to age a bit more...

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Photo of rudolphjacksonm
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at the Brewpub on 6/23/12.

A - Deep brown, almost black color. Barely any head except for a residual tan layer. Rich color that almost begs you to drink it. 4.0

S - Moreso dark fruit (figs, black cherry) than bourbon, cacao nibs or orange zest. I was a bit confused by this, as most bourbon barrel porters/stouts I've had usually come out swinging with bourbon aroma. 3.5

T - Hmmm. So the bourbon and cacao flavors come out first, very muddy and mixed together. I could only really taste the bourbon on its own by the very end of the sip. The cacao seemed to overwhelm the entire tasting. As for the orange zest the menu referred to, I never tasted it, not even once. I was a bit bummed out by this, as orange zest, chocolate, and bourbon would go extremely well together. But as a whole, the cacao nibs overpower the rest of the flavors and steal the show, even from the porter itself. 3.5

M - Rich, but medium bodied. Little carbonation tingle. 4.5

O - This beer depends on the batch you get (or at least from other reviews I've read) and has the real potential to be great. Blue Mountain just needs to get its recipe right and then this beer will be a game changer. Tone down the cacao nibs, bring in more bourbon flavor (but only a little!) and dump in a ton more orange zest. Then you'll have my attention. 3.5

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.24/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Vanilla and milk chocolate on the nose with a slight roast. It's round and robust (to borrow a term from the style), and very inviting.

Quite black in color with a light tan head that dissipates pretty quickly back into the beer. Lacing is absent at best.

Light chocolate and somewhat heavy roast on the palate. Very drying, moderately heavy carbonation with a light-medium body. Not too special, but not bad either. I probably wouldn't seek out this beer again, but I wouldn't turn it down if given to me.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.21/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, not quite black, with reddish tints. There is zero head.

S: Not much of an aroma. Some sweet molasses notes, and dark chocolate, but that's about all.

T: The orange peel comes through on the palate, as well as some dark chocolate, and a nice malt bitterness comes through with woody notes. Like the aroma, the flavor is far from overwhelming, but it is pleasant.

M: Moderate body, zero carbonation. The beer is much more watery than the color would lead you to believe.

O: The beer is quite "meh." It's not especially good or bad, it's just there. The orange peel adds a nice element, I just wish that there was more of everything. More aroma, more head, more flavor.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.75/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

From 750mL C&C bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 6/22/12
*From notes

-- NOTE: I lost more then half the damn bottle to a geyser-like gushfest, as it exploded when I pulled the cork. Please be careful when opening! --

A: The beer's a reasonably dark brown, though the head is much too bubbly. It fades to a creamy, bubbly collar.

S: Some brash wood and cherry pie filling. I'm not getting a lot of bourbon or orange zest.

T: Very earthy. It's got a sawdust-on-the-floor quality to it. I get some of the fruit, but I also get a big dose of heat and spice. If I didn't know better, I'd think they used a new barrel, chips or staves, as I get zero bourbon. Not the beer I was hoping for. It all comes across like a rough draft, not a finished product.

M: Extremely overcarbonated. It drinks like a soda. It's also thin and it's lacking complexity and proper texture.

O: I'm gonna knock this hard for gushing. I know that this is a brand new line, and the first from the "Barrel House". But the bottom line is that I lost over half the bottle, or in other words, over $5 to the counter and drain. Unacceptable.

The beer itself is decent, if not a bit underwhelming. I'd really been looking forward to this, and was rather disappointed not just by the geyser of a bottle, but by the beer itself. I still love Blue Mountain's beers, but this is one I won't reach for again.

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Photo of bpgpitt10
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Below average all across the board. It doesn't have really any essence of the kicked up qualities it says it has... barrel aging, cocoa nibs, and orange peel. The main flavor I get is roasty (like a normal porter) with the second big flavor being a burnt, overly bitter flavor. I almost want to say I get some oxidation to it as well. This tastes like burnt chocolate with the smell having almost a soapy-ness to it.

It certainly isn't horrible, but it's not something I would recommend at all.

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Photo of 7ate9
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I've had this on tap twice. The first time was impressive and the second time it was quite unpleasant.
I'm reviewing the bottled version.

Looks the part: Very black with a nice ring of lace.

The nose is med-minus intensity. A raw, freshly-hewn-tree woodiness comes out first followed closely by hot tar. The orange is very faint and comes off as hand-soap citrus smell. A dusty, ashy, burnt chocolate aroma. Chalkboard. Day-old coffee. The only pleasant notes of bourbon and chocolate are pushed very far back.

The palate offers less than the nose. The front and mid palate have only faint malt flavors. The finish kicks in very big with intense, acrid roastiness and raw wood. After the harsh primary burnt flavors subside, you are left with pleasant coffee, very faint bourbon notes, and dark chocolate retronasal aromas. The finish lasts for a considerable amount of time.

A touch high on the carbonation with somewhat lean frame.

I understand the difficulty of barrel ageing beers, but this brewery needs to practice their consistency. The first time I had this it was very good: Very bourbony, roasty, and chocolatey...although still didn't have much of an orange quality.
The second time it was undrinkable: over attenuated, overly bitter and burnt.
This bottle is somewhere between those, unfortunately dropping more towards the bad version.
I appreciate that this brewery is starting to brew outside of the box. However, most of their beers from their Barrel House Series haven't lived up to their descriptions. I hope they are able to hit their stride.

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Photo of billab914
2.17/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

750ml bottle poured into my Deschutes glass. It poured dark brown in color with a foamy tan head filling the top inch of the glass. The head took a while to settle down, but when it did it left some pretty good lacing.

The orange peel is immediately noticeable in the aroma and definitely overpowering. It actually smells pretty much like orange juice with a hint of chocolate to it. The orange flavor is way overdone, it's tough to get much else past it.

The orange juice flavors are again overpowering in the taste. Strong orange citrus presence with just a hint of chocolate peeking through in the finish. If I was blindfolded I could definitely be convinced I'm drinking carbonated orange juice.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of the style with carbonation being above average. Overall, it was a very disappointing beer. It was all orange citrus and no barrel, chocolate or porter. The orange was just way overdone and dominates everything else. I feel very misled that this even had the word "barrel" in the label. I may save the rest for breakfast tomorrow morning.

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Isabel from Blue Mountain Brewery
3.46 out of 5 based on 36 ratings.
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