eXile X-1: Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
DuClaw Brewing Company

eXile X-1:  Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter - Bourbon Barrel-AgedeXile X-1:  Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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Robust Porter
4.02 | pDev: 7.46%
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
eXile X-1:  Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter - Bourbon Barrel-AgedeXile X-1:  Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 54 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 2012, tasted side-by-side with regular version, poured into teku

A- pours jet black with a small creamy dark tan head that retains long after the pour, leaving some nice lacing behind and a layer of cream skimming the top.

S- dark chocolaty malt with big oaky vanilla and barrel juice aroma, caramel malt, toffee

T- sweet chocolaty malt up front with some smoky campfire notes and flavors of fig & raisin. The bourbon notes have mellowed out after a couple of years but meshes greatly with the chocolate malt. The oaky vanilla has turned sweet and incredibly drinkable

M- medium body with low carbonation, slightly oxidized, leads to a slightly creamy mouthfeel and a smooth slightly warming finish, alcohol has mellowed out nicely

O- the bourbon notes have mellowed out creating a nice sipper. The regular version of this beer was noticeable more smoky

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Bruce, thanks for the opportunity!
Solid black color with a smallish tan head that slowly dissipates. Aromas of oaky wood, roasted coffee, milk chocolate and caramel. The flavor is a complex mix of caramel, chocolate, a bit of spice, vanilla, and wood tannins with a hint of earth. Medium to thick body with a moderate level of carbonation and a creamy silky mouthfeel. Nice imperial stout. The rye adds a hint of spice that compliments the creamy sweetness well.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

And with my first introduction to DuClaw comes with this excessively bold Porter, brewed with rye and chocolate malt and then bourbon barrel aged. X-1 is one complex ride!

With a shade off of black, its matte appearance carries a medium cloudiness as garnet low lights penetrate its bark-brown body. A dainty coffee-like creme of foam emerges to cap the beer for a brief moment before its structure quickly succumbs to the barrel complexities within. With little lacing of which to speak, the beer looks still nearly half way though the snifter.

A depth of aromas circulate around the Porter style- heavy toast, chocolate, toffee and a sprinkle of brown sugar kick things off while the earthen char, partly (and presumably) from rye that gives a spicy whole-grain character to its scent. Woodish hops are somewhat British-like except with a hint of pine. But the subtleties of barrel are only known as the ale warms and its bourbon-sweetened notes come forth- caramel, vanilla and oak.

To taste, its the well-balanced flavors of malt that carry the beer. Toffee, toast, chocolate and that ever so spicy rye offer up the earthy sweetness that defines the beer's overall character. Even before the hoppy wood flavors set in, the huskiness of rye applies its sharpness to the early palate, just as the sweetness seeps in. Its toasty dry malt flavor tramps over the middle palate to arrive at a bourbon-soaked sweet booziness in the end. Its toasted base flavor links up perfectly with barrel char, and continues to balance with wood caramel, vanillans and spices.

Upon the strength of a mere 7+ percent, the beer seems lighter than is should. Its lush and velvety textures are creamy and smooth throughout- even as dry toast tries to apply its acrid astringency. But the ale wards those off easily as it ushers in a semi-dry finish with understated warmth and and extended bittersweet chocolatey lingering.

The beer's charm is in its impeccable balance and its humble complexities. Sure, I would prefer more influence from the barrel and a level of intensity that would accompany a 9% Porter, but to that reward I'm sure that their inherent detriments would rear their heads as well. I'm perfectly content with this hefty Porter with some nuances that are hard to place the finger upon- I just wish DuClaw wouldn't have clued us in on all their secrets before hand.

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Photo of philbe311
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - A slight finger's worth of moderately creamy and mostly lush light to medium brown colored head... Minimal retention gives way to a mostly full thin veil of lacing and thin to moderate collar... The color walks the fine line between deep dark brooding brown and a sleek flat black... There is a wee bit of light that leaks in around the edges... Very still with no noticeable carbonation...

S - A slight whiff of bourbon barrel to start... This gives way to a robust mix of milk chocolate and lightly roasted malts that is rather quite appealing and intoxicating... Some subtle wood and vanilla notes lie beneath the surface... Lots of depth with good balance and complexity... Very nice all the way around...

T - The bourbon barrel notes are at the forefront and linger throughout and also varies in its intensity throughout... The lightly roasted malt is also quite present on the palate... The chocolate notes take a distant backseat... The rye aspects of this beer are very subtle and linger way beneath the surface... Solid, but not quite as nuanced as the base version of this brew...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Moderately chewy... Sleek and smooth... A touch of lushness... Limited carbonation... The finishes turns a bit dry and quite chalky... There is a slight bit of alcohol induced heat...

D - A very nice brew from DuClaw here... Very enjoyable, but not quite as good as the standard version of this brew... While the bourbon barrel aging has only a subtle to moderate impact on the overall flavor profile it detracts slightly from the base brew.. Still quite tasty and enjoyable... This is something I would recommend to fans of barrel aged brews and it is also something that I would gladly drink again in the future...

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Photo of maximum12
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Captain, oh my CaptCleveland, for this bottle, along with the non-barrel version. That was so good, that expectations for this bottle have reached epidemic proportions. A good epidemic. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Pour is a quiet black. Aroma mirrors the non-barrel verison: big roast, chocolate, & a rounded edge of bitterness. No barrel, at this stage. Coming? Let's hope.

Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter X-1 doesn't reach the heights of the non-barrel version: there's been a downtick in the intervening treatment. The tastes of the original are all there, but muted: nice chocolate, solid roast, some bitterness. The barrel is like a ghost of a dream you can't quite remember upon waking, & the taste is only visible if you squint. Hard. Not bad to drink.

A great beer that's suffered from the barrel. The original was bright & aggressive & gorgeous, this one is quieter & not as forward. Still good, but I'd take the original in a half-heartbeat.

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Photo of stakem
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a matching DuClaw standard pint glass. The brew pours black in color with some lighter brown indications around the edges when held to the light. A stead pour directly down the middle of the glass yields 2.5 fingers of brown head that fades fairly quick down to a half finger leaving some spotty lacing effect sticking to the glass. A hearty swirl revives less than a finger back to the surface.

The aroma is tangy with the bourbon component of the barrel aging process coming right out in the open. Notes of chocolate, caramel, toffee, vanilla and coconut are also present blending into a bit of raw woody character. The more I smell this brew, the more it warms up to me and I really enjoy it. Only once it goes beyond ideal temperature does it start to get a bit fruity and perhaps have too much focus on the alcohol.

The taste includes the previously mentioned notes of tangy alcohol. Some roasted grain flavors impart flavors of coffee and chocolate, earth and then the barrel presence of soft raw oak and a whiskey tang aspect that accents the base alcohol notes. Whereas the aroma hinted towards having a deeply complex set of notes revolving around the barrel, the flavor comes up just a bit short. It seems to be a 1-2 punch of roast and tangy alcohol.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. I had this brew shortly after the release and was not impressed with how raw and dry feeling the barrel presence was. Perhaps time has rounded this brew our more or maybe the difference between draft and bottle is quite different. Regardless, this was a pretty marginal brew. Not bad, but also not that great either. This is a rare miss where I enjoy the base version significantly more than the barrel aged version.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out as a nice looking black color with a light brown head on top. The retention is decent and the lacing is a bit scattered. The smell of the beer is chocolaty and roasted with some other aromas that I think is actually coming from the rye. The taste of the beer has a very nice spicy rye flavor that cuts the sweetness of the chocolate really well. The mouthfeel is smooth and silky. Not overly heavy or filling but very drinkable. Overall I thought it was a really good beer.

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Photo of teromous
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Very small light-brown colored head that fades away. The porter is pitch black. Spotted lacing.

S: Right off the bat I get that woody oak scent, then chocolate comes through. Notes of roasted grains and burnt popcorn.

T: The oak flavor comes through very strongly, and it is slammed with cocoa flavor. I get a very light hint of bourbon in the rear of my mouth after drinking, but it isn't that strong. The rye doesn't come through at all for me.

M: The mouthfeel on this beer is perfect. It is amazingly easy to drink, has just enough carbonation to entice the mouth. The chocolate doesn't make it slick.

O: Overall I thought that they could have done without the rye, because I couldn't even pick it up. I didn't get a lot of vanilla flavor from the oak, but the wood has more of a toasty flavor instead (or appears to). The bourbon wasn't as pronounced as i would have liked either. However, the beer was amazingly easy on the palate. I had the beer around 55-57F and the flavors came out perfectly, so I would recommend something around that. It's worth trying the beer, but it's not something to out of the way to find.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a Victory nonic

A- pours black with a darker brown head that fades quick...head doesn't stick around for anywhere near as long as the non-bal aged version, and is much darker

S- the majority of the aroma coming through is the heavy bourbon scent, along with some chocolate. Yeah, much different from the regular version...but good

T- a bit of heat from the bourbon, but some chocolate seeps through too. A little one dimensional IMO

M- velvety thick

O- I prefer the standard version....the bourbon barrels just added a little too much heat to this, and the rest of the beer is hidden too far down

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Photo of oline73
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours black, but it doesn't look particularly thick. There is a finger of tan head that fades to a thick head on top of the pour.

Smell: Some roasted malt along with dark chocolate notes. I'm getting a mild bourbon note with a malt sweetness and some dark fruit. Some heat from the alcohol.

Taste: The flavor of this beer isn't as full and sweet as I would have expected. Some roast and dark chocolate. There is some heat from the alcohol, I'm definitely getting some bourbon, but not too much. The finish is roasty with some alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side with fairly smooth carbonation and a slick finish.

Overall: I remember the base beer being better than this one. I don't know that I would buy another bottle, but it wasn't bad by any means.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-black with a nice brown head

S-smells like a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie fresh out of the oven. Good strong scent. Dark grains. 

T-Mmm this tastes amazing! It tastes like a really good chocolate chip oatmeal cookie but maybe with most the flavor coming from the chocolate. This is awesome, in and out. Getting a hint of the bourbon barrel in the after-taste along with some bitterness. Good flavors. 

M-medium creamy carbonation with a creamy finish

O-well this is an awesome porter. I was nervous with the name that it would have way too much going on, but it doesn't. It tastes awesome and goes down fairly easy. I recommend this!

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Photo of ao125
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle poured into a World Market snifter glass

Appearance - Black with hints of really dark mocha brown. No light passes through.

Smell - Vanilla, chocolate, some coffee.

Taste - Keeps changing depending on temperature. Colder, the rye really comes through, giving it some sour undertones. As it warms the vanilla from the bourbon and the chocolate come through even more.

Mouthfeel - Coats the mouth nicely. A little chewy.

Overall - Yet another barrel aged beer that DuClaw has hit completely out of the park. A close second to Retribution, which is quite possibly one of my favorite barrel-aged beers. The rye plays nicely off the chocolate, making this a wonderfully complex sipper. I haven't tried the non-barrel aged version, but I can't honestly imagine it being as good as this. I have 3 more bottles that I'm laying down until next year.

If you can find it, get it. I'm planning on doing a side-by-side with this and Retribution in 2013, after it's had some age.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter

Hardly any head produced, what does make it, is a nice brown mocha coffee, but it doesn't last. It does however seem to manage a decent collar, on a body that is a very dark brown walnut, almost black color. Some slight see through character when looking at the head from above.

Nose is classic barrel aged goodness. Caramel, a little salt, some brown sugar, some interesting sensations of dry peanuts! Cream as well. There's also some lingering sweet vanilla, very good smelling brew. Strangely no chocolate really.. who cares.

Palate hits, with an incredibly wet body. Strange fizzy character to this also without bringing the richness on the nose out at all. Salt seems to come forward with that dry roasting peanut action also, but no cream or sweetness or malt. Strange finish on this one as well with weird sort pf carbonation that comes off as flat birch beer soda?

Overall even just as an ordinary porter it feels lacking. It's by no means terrible, but I was really hoping for something better after that wonderful nose, and it's taste is just odd.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Black with some amber highlights at the bottom. Very thin tan head.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate malt, chocolate, sugary booze from the bourbon.

T- Some roasted malts, some sweetness from the bourbon barrel and some chocolate. Nothing really dominates or stands out.

M- Surprisingly thin and a little over carbonated.

O- This beer smells great, but the flavors do not work that great together. The original X-1 is very good, the bourbon barrel did not help.

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eXile X-1: Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from DuClaw Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 54 ratings