Firestarter Chipotle Porter | Right Brain Brewery

very good
16 Reviews
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Firestarter Chipotle PorterFirestarter Chipotle Porter

Brewed by:
Right Brain Brewery
Michigan, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A deep bodied and roasty porter with strong smoky notes and a mild spicy finish. Flavor profile very similar to that of traditional Mexican Mole' sauces.

Added by oline73 on 09-08-2011

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Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 71
Photo of Dactrius
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Strong chipotle on the nose but the flavor is unfortunately not as strong. It has pretty much just the right amount of heat though, a bit of burn but never too much.

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Photo of clager
4.93/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at Right Brain

L: Jet black, small tan head

S: Smoky, chocolate, coffee, vanilla

T: Up front creamy stout with coffee and sweet notes, remainder a sharp smoky chipotle flavor that is absolutely delicious

F: Low carbonation as expected for a porter

O: One of my favorite beers, great balance, flavor, and creatitivity. Maybe they'll brew it again someday!

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Photo of Bobsbigbeershow
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the few spices beers in Traverse City, and it's a good one. By no means is there a scorching burn, but be ready for a nice kick, and don't make the mistake of using the beer as a palette cleanser during a hot sauce competition.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Big off white head. Thick collar.

Smell - Dark chocolate. Meaty smoke. Light pepper.

Taste - Chocolate and roasted malt up front. Chipotle is much stronger. Nice smokey pepper flavor.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Kinda creamy.

Overall - Has a little bit of a sweet stout component that I don't love, but it's got a very nice smoked pepper flavor.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled December 21st and poured March 19th.

Appearance: Pitch black with a sort of.. frothy (awful word) head on it. No lacing though.

Smell: My immediate thought is Band Aids with the chipotle and malt working together in this one. Not a great smell, but still not awful for some reason.

Taste/feel: Has a bit of that Band Aid flavor one the front, but it turns into a woody/smoked flavor, and then it transforms into almost a nuttiness on the finish. Pretty nice depth of flavor here. The chipotle flavor is definitely there, but the heat? I get none of that at all. If I really think about it, I might the absolute slightest warmth from spice, but it's pretty much non-existent. That's a bummer, because I'd expect and enjoy a little bit of heat. Firestarter is an incredibly misleading name for this beer. The feel is really nice -- medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Very easy drinking. The Band Aid flavor and smell suddenly changes into more of a jerky aroma and flavor with the woodiness. The nuttiness on the aftertaste is still there as well. Again, slightest warmth ever from the chipotle, and it's more on my lips than anything else.

Overall, a good one from Right Brain. $6.99 is a bit high for the bomber I got ($5.99 would be what I'd probably pay for it), but it's still quite nice. The chipotle presence is nice with the flavor, but some more spice would be welcome. I wouldn't mind having this one again. Try this one out if you like woody/smokey porters or stouts. For those who have had Stone's Chipotle Smoked Porter, or are thinking about it, this beer is a couple bucks cheaper, but it also has less heat. The flavor is fairly similar (from memory), though. I'd like to have the two side-by-side to decide, but from memory, Firestarter may be a little bit better, though it's almost a tie.

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Photo of brutusmuktuk
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The initial taste reminds me of smoked sausage, then it’s finished with the spicy chipotle flavor. It’s not too spicy, but you can feel the beer in your throat and stomach long after each sip. Creative and enjoyable, but it does sit a little heavy on the stomach.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 12/21/2013. Pours nearly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, coffee, smoke, chili pepper, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and smoked pepper notes; with good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, toast, roasted malt, light coffee, smoke, chili pepper, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Light amount of roasted bitterness and pepper spice on the finish with light heat; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, light coffee, smoke, chili pepper, herbal, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and robustness of dark/roasted malt and smoked pepper flavors; with a great malt/pepper balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and fairly creamy mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming other than pepper heat on the finish. Overall this is a very nice pepper porter. All around well balanced dark/roasted malt and smoked pepper flavors; and very smooth to drink with the moderate pepper presence. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Right Brain's Firestarter Chipotle Porter last month for $6.99 at The Lager Mill. I had this beer a while ago when I visited the brewery and I thought it was a nice beer, but since bottles started showing up I thought I should get one to review, so lets see how it goes. Bottled on December 22 2013.. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it's got a nice simple design to it and it's a little eye catching. It poured a very dark brown color that was on the border of being black and it didn't really let any light come through with two fingers worth of brown head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice spotty lacing.behind. This is a pretty good looking Porter, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the roasted malts being the first to show up and they impart some some grainy, medium roasted, light coffee and some nice chocolate like aromas with some fruity yeast showing up in the background. Up next comes a noticeable smokey aroma followed by a light pepper like aroma. The aroma is pretty nice, I like how the Chipotle peppers aren't too overpowering and they add a nice lighter touch to this Porter.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the roasted malts still sticking out the most and they impart all of those roasted malt aspects that I got in the aroma with the chocolate still sticking out the most, but not by much. Up next comes the yeast which still has that somewhat fruity aspect and it reminds me a little of English ale yeast and it's followed by a pretty smokey flavor with a slight charred flavor in the background and maybe a slight pepper flavor but it's not that noticeable. On the finish there's a lower amount of bitterness with a grainy roasted malt aftertaste and a little bit of lingering heat from the peppers. This was a pretty nice tasting beer, but i wish some more pepper taste and little more heat showed up in the flavor.

M- Smooth, lingering warmth,slightly creamy, a little rich, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice and it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a pretty nice beer and a nice example of a Porter, the Porter base was fine and pretty true to style and the chipotle added a good amount of smoke that made this beer pretty similar to a smoked porter. This beer had ok drinkability, it was smooth, a little creamy, a little rich, not too filing and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, but the lingering warmth might start to wear on me after a while so I think one glass is the perfect amount for me. What I liked the most about this beer was that it wasn't overly spicy, I got some pepper spice, but it wasn't overwhelming. What I liked the least about this beer was that there wasn't more chipotle like flavors, it seems like the smoke was the main thing the peppers imparted. I would buy this again when I'm in the mood for a spicy Porter, but it's not something that I would buy on a regular basis. I would recommend this to anyone who likes dark beers brewed with peppers. All in all I thought this was a pretty solid beer, it wasn't my favorite beer brewed with peppers, but it's still a nice beer and the balance between peppers and porter was nice, I just wish more pepper flavors came through. Nice job guys, keep up the good work.

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Photo of rudzud
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a nice too dark to see through brown almost black with a good fat one finger mocha head that slowly faded to leave light lacing and a thinnish blanket.

S - Aromas of light roast malts, faint chocolate, light metallic notes, very faint smoke notes. Pretty average and unspectacular.

T - Taste nice light roast malts, dark chocolate, faint coffee notes. Lots of roast in the middle. The chipotle comes in in the end with a nice low heat fairly smokey finish. Very pleasant and tasty though some more chocolate would be nice.

M - Mouthfeel is slightly thin and not quite as smooth/creamy as I'd like from the style.

O - Overall the beer is fairly tasty, however, the nose really lacks in chipotle. Nice flavour though.

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Photo of TCmichigan
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Appearance was more black than brown. I was definitely not expecting that. Head was a nice tan froth.

Smell had a bit of a smokiness or a maltiness to it. Nothing to say "Hey, I'm chipotle".

Taste started as the smooth, roasty porter, but moved into a smokey spicy/peppery finish. (If you chugged this, you'd only get the spice once you finished... Also, don't chug this. Enjoy it.)

Mouthfeel: Heavy and nutty, but not full... if that makes sense. (It does to me).

Overall appeal was the novelty of the Chipotle. I've had a few peppery, spicy beers and this one is a great example to compare to so far. Lets finish with this; if you gave it to someone and told them it was a porter, they'd think it was great, then get a kick in the pants.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap, Michigan Summer Beerfest 2013. Firestarter pours out black. There's no other way to say it, really. This bad boy is black as hell, with a luscious and foamy, creamy tan head. Micro-bubbled and well carbed, the head perches softly on top of the void and shows good retention. Not much lacing to speak of, but it could be due to my taster glass. Very bold and assertive looking porter... with a name like Firestarter, I expect nothing less.

The aroma is fairly simple, yet still pretty enjoyable. I'm getting a contemporary mix of roasted malts, light cocoa powder and chocolate-y notes, and just a touch of back-end peppery spice. It doesn't smell like it's going to burn a hole in my ass, rather the apparent sweetness of the malts helps to tame and keep balance, at least in my nostrils. Refined quite well for a beer loaded with chili peppers, I'd say.

Each sip starts off with a dose of chocolate-y goodness with the added dimension of a heavy, nutty flavor. The peppers waste no time creeping their way into the mix, and begin their ascent to the top of the food chain right from the start. Halfway through the gulp and they're beaming at nearly full strength, getting ready to wreak havoc on the corners of your mouth. The creamy chocolate and faintly roasted malts are doing everything they can to maintain balance in the cosmos.

The peppers tingle the back of the throat and the intensity grows with each and every successive sip. Halfway through the glass, your palate is really feeling the heat - a lively tingle and excess warmth of the chili peppers, which also have a spicy flavor to them. Chocolate is still a mainstay for the aftertaste, but it's not long before the chilies assert their dominance and punish your palate to oblivion in the finale. Medium bodied, bordering on thick, with a smooth and creamy mouth feel, carbonated well.

Well, Firestarter is no joke. That's for sure. A heat that starts off little and just complies upon itself exponentially. Quite tasty, actually, although I could understand why people might not enjoy this as much as I did. In all honesty, it would be tough to get through a pint, but a 4-6 oz serving seems like a perfectly sized portion. I do love the unabashed, fiery heat, though. Shows that Right Brain isn't afraid to push the boundaries of what's considered "acceptable".

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Photo of GRPunk
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, poured into a nonic pint.

A- A normal pour created a 1-finger brown head that sustained nicely at 1/4-finger and left good rings on the glass. The body was a very dark brown, near black through the middle.

S- Almost a smoked porter at first. Chocolate and coffee with a strong dose of smoke. It reminds me of this funky, beef jerky chocolate bar my brother-in-law sent me. I don't know if it's just me, but the chipotle seems to get lost in all the smoke.

T- Chocolate up front with a smoky middle/finish. Just when I think they forgot to add the peppers to this batch, there's a rush of spicy peppers through the late finish. It's a really light, pleasant burn. Really nice, not overdone, not lost either.

M- Moderate-full body. Medium carbonation. Slightly chalky. Nice burn, tingle from the chipotles.

O- Interesting little beer. Not little at all, really. Quite bold, actually, especially in the flavor department. Up front it wants to be a smoked porter until this rush of smooth heat comes through well into the finish. I love it when a beer becomes multi-dimensional like this, especially when it's an herbed/spiced/pepper beer. A decent price tag makes this a possible go-to for BBQ or slightly spicy/Southwest/Mexican fare.

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Photo of kylelenk
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap over the weekend at the taproom

A-Traditional looking porter. Average in that there is nothing unexpected, traditional tan head about a finger wide that leaves minimal lacing behind.

S-Here's where we start. Very subtle spice but mostly malt/smoke forward. Not something like Arbor Chips n Salsa or Founders Spite which let you know on the whiff it will be something spicy.

T-Blown away by the subtleness. It was a porter and a pepper beer, not just a pepper beer. The pepper was almost nonexistent up front but comes through on the tongue after the swallow.

M-Easy drinking and left wanting more. One of the better brews coming out of RIght Brain that's for sure.

O-It's too often that smaller breweries don't push something bold. Right Brain is definitely doing some interesting things. They had a "pig porter" as well which added a pigs head to the boil...

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Photo of Knapp85
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a brownish black color with a thin brown head on top. The smell of the beer had a little bit of pepper on the nose but not too much. The smell had a roasted aroma for the most part. The taste of the beer was much like a typical porter, the heat of the peppers comes in finish. The mouthfeel was dry and thin, again pretty standard feeling porter. Overall this wasn't bad but couldn't see myself going out to buy more.

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Photo of MikeyRx
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From my notes on 9/5/11.

A- Pours black with tan head, recedes leaving some very nice lacing.

S- Aromas of roasted malt, coffee and rich pepper heat. Lets you know what you're in for!

T- Smooth, rich, roasty malt with pepper flavor. Finishes with coffee and great spiciness develops at the back of the palate and stays with you.

M- Light body with minimal carbonation. Finishes bitter with no tackiness, and leaves you with a lasting burn.

Loved this spicy beer! RBB did a great job balancing the smooth roast and spicy peppers on this one.

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Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at the brewpub.

Appearance: Pours almost black with some light coming through at the edges. There is a layer of tan head some a nice amount of lacing.

Smell: Smooth and roasty with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and some smoke.

Taste: A lot of roast up front. Then I'm picking up some dark chocolate and smoke. The heat from the peppers shows up about half way through the sip and sticks around through the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth, prickly carbonation with a mildly dry finish.

Overall: I thought this was a great use of the chipotle peppers. There was some burn, but it didn't cover up the other flavors. This would have been a really good porter without the peppers in it too.

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Firestarter Chipotle Porter from Right Brain Brewery
3.86 out of 5 based on 71 ratings.
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