Devil Bird Holiday Ale | Lavery Brewing Company

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Devil Bird Holiday AleDevil Bird Holiday Ale

Brewed by:
Lavery Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A festive name for a holiday beer, right? Based on the Irish tradition of carrying a dead wren through the streets on the day after Christmas. Will be available usually the week after Thanksgiving and will be very (very) limited release. Packaged in 1 liter flip top amber bottles & our recipe and style changes from year to year.

2011 - Imperial Porter aged in Bourbon Barrels

Added by Morey on 12-25-2010

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Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 84
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lavery Devil Bird (2011)

Pours a dark brown with a light tan wisp of head. Aromas are full and complex, vanilla, cocoa, roasted malt, white chocolate espresso. In the taste, a rich flavorful brew featuring more barrel aged vanilla elements, dry oak, roasted malts, coffee, very light bourbon, and a pinch of hop bitterness. Still on the sweet side, as there is a ton of residual sugars from the barrel. Really really nice and not a hint of the ABV. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy and goes down smoothly. An expertly crafted brew that would be worthy to cellar, but is drinking just fine right now. I want more.

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Photo of templar316
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From the liter bottle into brandy snifter. Pours thick and black with khaki head. Definately vanilla on the nose, giving way to coca, roast almonds and caramel. Hop presence is minimal, excellent malt character rolled smoothly through the full compliment of dark malts. Vanilla, coco and caramel. Rich and creamy, easy to drink several...My girlfriend says, "I almost came in my pants...

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Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: As the brewery had warned, this one has turned into a gusher and I had to have three pint glasses handy before it finally settled down in the bottle; once poured, it produced a prodigious head atop the fudge colored liquid; great retention and gobs of foam sticking to the glass

Smell: Chocolate fudge and roast, with hints of nutmeg, vanilla and Bourbon; smells somewhat reminiscent of egg nog

Taste: Chocolate fudge and roasty flavors, up front, with vanilla and nutmeg flavors and a hint of the Bourbon barrel building by mid-palate; a bit more Bourbon, after the swallow, that brings along a hint of booziness, but the finish is very much like the opening

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; somewhat creamy, with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: Tremendous flavor in this beer, and I like the way the Bourbon plays a complementary rather than overwhelming role; the carbonation issues got away from Jason on this one but it is still a fine beer; I really appreciate the subtle flavors I have found in this and the other beers I have tasted from this brewery

Thanks, Axic10, for the opportunity

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Photo of beergod1
4.01/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask/hand pump at UPick6 in Erie PA. Poured an awesome, Hazy/creamy Brown Body, with different layers of foam, all through the glass. Nice Christmas spice flavor, cinnamon , clove. Body is a little thin, but the taste overall makes up for it. A nice balanced Hop/Malt finish...with the spice hanging around too. Wish I could take some home. (Forgot my growler)

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Photo of Telcocoffeedad
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bourbon on the nose. Pours dark with a head that dissipates quickly. Bourbon up front. Milk chocolate in the middle. Coffee on the finish. The flavor lingers on the palette. There is a lot of carbonation. This beer has a very syrupy mouthfeel.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a light tan head. In the aroma, dry caramel and roasty oatmeal. In the taste, nice roasted malts and a small sweet oatmeal for a very nice balance. Quite smooth and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry chocolate and coffee like aftertaste. Big roast, big flavors, and quite tasty.

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Photo of CFHMagnet
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I received this one as a gift (Thanks Output01x). Poured a finger of tan head over a deeply brown body. Nothing to see here folks. Head sticks around quite a bit, which is nice, but no lacing.

Deep chocolate, malt and coffee.

Up front is all malt...and the back end is all chocolate and dark coffee.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Coats the tongue pretty well.

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Photo of FlandersNed
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

25.4 oz bottle. Opaque dark brown tone with way too much foam. Sugary bourbon & porter nose. Taste was not as sweet: Baker's chocolate, oak ashes, leafy/grassy/fried floral notes and a mix of char/roast/dark malts. Full body and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-12-29 in Columbia, PA

A - Deep dark brown with a 1.5-finger tan head and good lacing.

S - Rich roasted grain, light bourbon, vanilla, sweet cherry, chocolate malt. Nice but not over the top.

T - Roasted grain, char, semi-sweet chocolate, oak, light bourbon, not very sweet. Finishes with some sour dough bread, oak and roasted and hop bitterness. The bourbon isn't the defining element.

M - Medium body and light-medium carbonation. A bit watery but still silky.

O - Comparing it with a recently-tasted Duclax Exile X-1 Imperial Porter, this is less sweet and has more of a sour finish. I liked the Exile better but my wife quite-preferred this one and would rate it higher than I have done so here.

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Photo of akorsak
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 1 L swingtop growler from the HopShop in State College. My first run-in with Lavery.

A: The porter is appropriately dark, midnight on a new moon. A white head, thin and wispy, is the only color provided. It stands out nicely.

S: Dark roasted malts, chocolate and char, have a sweet caramel edge. The bourbon is present but not overwhelming, making me think that this is a blend of regular and barrel porters. Vaniilla is mild but it is there.

T: The bourbon warms in the first sip, a sweet tantalizing hint. The porter itself is dark and roasted, chocolate and coffee along with burnt toast. The vanilla is faint but evident, a nice accompaniment that softens up the dark porter elements. The vanilla is augmented by rich wooden strength after the boldness of the porter fades away. This is, though, a porter through and through, the big dark flavors present with or without the bourbon. A good porter but I wouldn't mind a little more from the bourbon.

M: Nicely carbonated with plenty of porter darkness. The alcohol is well hidden too.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a deep brown color with a really creamy looking head on top. The head retention was pretty good on this the lacing was hardly there. The smell of the beer was oaky, it was a little sweet too. The taste of the beer was also oaky tasting upfront with a subtle chocolate flavor in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel had a good body to it. Overall the beer was pretty smooth and tasted good. I would have liked to get more bourbon flavors though.

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Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color - faint hints of red are visible near the edge of the glass. It poured with a thin head that quickly died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of chocolate malts are present in the nose along with some faint hints of bourbon from the barrel aging process.
T: The taste has flavors of chocolate malts along with hints of roasted malts and bourbon along with a slight amount of bitterness. Hints of oak also become noticeable in the finish as the beer warms up.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied and a little thin on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a rather easy drinking porter, especially for a bourbon barrel aged beer, but has some complexities so it is one that is still interesting to sip.

Note: 2011 vintage

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cool to see an experimental brewery pop up in Erie PA.

A- Body is a dark, nearly opaque cola brown hue. Pours with virtually no head but does retain a thin collar pretty well. Little to no lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- The main component of the nose is the bourbon barrel. Lots of wood soaked oak come through and some alcohol astringency. Behind this is a faint hint of roasted malt.

T- The porter comes through a lot more in the flavor. Mild roasted malt and bourbony sweetness come through initially. The finish is a hint sweeter as some chocolate comes through with bourbon sweetness. A good does of nutmeg is in there too-which adds to the festive "winter porter" title I guess. A hint of roasted malt evens it out with a hint of alcohol warmth and astringency lingering.

M- Somewhat thin with low carbonation.

O- Overall this is a decent brew. I cracked this open last night and was not as impressed with it as I am now. It has all the characteristics one would expect in the profile for a bourbon barrel porter. Another year in the cellar and this will be a very good brew.

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Photo of Morey
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap @ Six Pack House of Beer (West) in Erie, Pa.

Poured very dark brown in color, almost black, but when you hold it near light, it's dark brown with brownish hues. Head stood about 1 finger tall and is beige in color. Moderate amount of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is relatively mild for a BA beer brewed with chocolate. I'm getting some roasted malts, some chocolate, and maybe a touch of wood, but Bourbon? Not really.

Roasted and chocolate flavors up front. I'm also getting a bit of a cola taste about midway. Again, not too much oak or bourbon, maybe just a touch. I'm guessing that either these barrels were previously used for aging beer, or this beer was just simply removed from the barrels too soon.

Nice medium bodied mouthfeel. It's actually a bit on the full side for a porter. It almost has a creaminess to it.

A nice Porter overall, but the bourbon just isn't prominent enough.

Morey's Bottom Line: When you call this a BA beer, it just takes away from the score a bit. I drink a good amount of BA beers, and this just falls a bit short. It's still a tasty beer, and I love that Lavery is getting this creative and daring this early in the game.


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Photo of Ozzylizard
3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2013 Bomber at 42 degrees into goblet
Aroma – bourbon
Head average (3 cm), creamy, light brown, fully diminishing
Virtually no lacing
Body dark brown, cloudy – bottle conditioned
Flavor begins lightly sweet with hint of vanilla; no hops, no diacetyl, no alcohol, not very malty
Ends slightly sweet
Medium to full palate, oily, lively carbonation

Overall OK, nothing spectacular. Very low on maltiness for an imperial porter

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Photo of kiddynamite920
2.91/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Tan head sits atop a dark brown beer. Fairly standard for a porter.

S: Booze is strong, how? A lot of roast, but the alcohol is just overpowering. Has some sweetness of vanilla and some sweet chocolate. Aroma isn't a winner here.

T: Taste falls a bit flat as well. Bitter with bittersweet chocolate, heady hops. No sign of bourbon barrel aging, barely a sign of this being a porter. The roast is there, but everything else just falls off.

M: Thin and ends with an unpleasant taste. No warmth from the bourbon, no porter body.

O: Glad I have another growler, but not so glad I bought the beer inside of it. Not sure what makes this a "holiday" beer, or where the bourbon is, or why it's called an imperial porter.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.2/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pretty sure my parents got this one for me while in Erie a couple years back. Cheers guys!

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter
Imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels

APPEARANCE: Slow foamer upon opening. A clear brown pour yields a 2+ finger, medium looking, foamy, light tan head with great retention. Really foamy head here. Clear bistre brown body with piles of carbonation evident. Lots and lots of it. Carbonation keeps propping up the head making it last forever. At some point the next day it finally recedes to a huge foamy froth and sticks to the sides of the glass. A foamy, splotchy wisp remains until the end and leaves some decent lacing down the glass. Really overcarbonated and the head is a mess.

SMELL: Oak, vanilla, notes of bourbon and alcohol. Somewhat perfume-like and piercing. Oak tannin gets in the way as well. Not all that great.

TASTE: Oak, light vanilla and piercing alcohol up front. More spirit at the swallow with a big and lingering finish of perfume-like bourbon, oak, sweet cream, some dark fruits and booze. This all comes off a little bit "cheap," for lack of a better word. Too much perfume and oak tannin.

PALATE: Thinner body and lots of carbonation. Foamy and airy on the palate, goes down airy and finishes a touch mouth-coating. Foamy and light.

OVERALL: Not that great. It's obviously too carbonated and foamy, while the barrel aging comes across as cheap and poorly executed. It gets a little bit better as it sits in the glass, but it never quite makes it to enjoyable. Not something I'd want to revisit. Thanks again for picking me up some fun Christmas presents guys!

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Devil Bird Holiday Ale from Lavery Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 84 ratings.
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