Small Batch Series No. 4 | Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling

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71 Ratings

Brewed by:
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Texas, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by gtermi on 12-20-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 71 |  Reviews: 11
Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of kojevergas
2.64/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottled 11/27/12. Reviewed live, making this a month or so shy of a year old. 375ml brown glass bottle with waxed-over (black wax) pressure cap and nondescript label acquired at a local bottle shop for $6.99 USD and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery. There is no indication of the style on the label, but it's identified on Ranger Creek's website as an "Imperial Mesquite Smoked Porter Aged in Ranger Creek Bourbon Barrels." Reviewed as an imperial porter.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Whoa! We have a gusher! Severe overcarbonation! Liquid all over my desk...

No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a three finger wide head of khaki colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. Subpar frothiness. Messy "legs"/lacing cling(s) to the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes. Head retention is quite good for the high ABV - about 7 minutes - but I'd credit this to the rampant overcarbonation.

Body colour is a dull murky opaque dark brown-black. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's not looking great for an imperial porter. The body colour should be a jet black and the head could be fuller and more tan. Not unique or special.

Sm: Obvious mesquite wood, vanilla, bourbon, oak wood, dark malts, and chocolate malt. The aroma hit me as soon as I opened it. Unfortunately, the mesquite overwhelms the oak, depriving the aroma of nuance. Sea salt. I look for the marshmallow mentioned on the beer's description on Ranger Creek's website, but don't find it. Maybe some mesquite smoke. I also get some spiciness which I believe is from the mesquite, but it lends the beer more of a rye whiskey aroma than a bourbon aroma. If not for the vanilla, I wouldn't have found the bourbon.

An assertive aroma of high strength. It's not particularly appealing for the style; I want more cream and chocolate as well as less aggression - it's really in-your-face.

No yeast character, hop character, or imbalanced alcohol is detectable.

T: Heavy mesquite wood and spice. Smoked meat. A kiss of peat. Boozy rye whiskey. Quite woody, but it's all mesquite and no oak. The bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate notes from the aroma are nowhere to be found, to its detriment. Even the dark malt base gets overwhelmed by the aggressive mesquite. Not finding any marshmallow. That's one hell of an overbearing flavour profile, bereft of any nuance or subtlety at all. Perhaps the least intricate barrel aged imperial porter I've ever had. For all the effort that clearly went into this - aging in their own barrels, using mesquite wood (and maybe smoke) - it comes off shockingly one note. Huge flavour intensity, but no depth of flavour. Duration of flavour is average.

The barrel notes are sorely lacking, leaving this feeling like a smoked imperial porter - not a barrel aged one. I suspect the base beer is pretty underwhelming; it seems it was easily taken over by the mesquite.

I wouldn't call it balanced, but there's some general cohesion. It's not gestalt. A bit musty; the flavours don't ring clean or distinct but feel tainted - maybe this is why some reviewers are suspecting infection.

Do I like it? Not really, no.

No hop character or yeast character comes through. I do pick up on some light alcohol warmth.

Mf: Lightly coarse. Wet. A bit rough; has a slight cardboard feel. Overcarbonated. Unrefreshing. Has some heat to it. Not at all soft; indeed, it's a bit rough. Has an aggressive heavy presence on the palate that doesn't suit the style particularly well; smooth sleek bourbony textures are ideal, not a harsh spicy whiskey feel. It doesn't suit the flavour profile well. Not very carefully handled; disappointing execution.

Not oily, buttery, or astringent.

Dr: Difficult to drink given the sheer aggression of the beer coupled with its noticeable alcohol presence. If it drinks this rough with nearly a year of age, I can't imagine how abrasive it was fresh. I've had some good brews from Ranger Creek, but this isn't one of them. I do love the idea of a mesquite aged bourbon porter, but the execution of that concept here is very lacking. Quite overpriced. I wouldn't recommend this to friends or trade partners. Very disappointed.

Not to be aged; it isn't worth the cellar space and I doubt it'd develop or mellow with age.


 4,533 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of beernads
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%

Photo of greenspointexas
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of BGsWo22
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of champ103
3.38/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A huge tan head instantly rises that makes this almost impossible to poor. After the tan foam settles, the color is dark brown, nearly black. Not quite opaque. Thick globs of lace are left in patches.
S: Huge meaty, smokey aromas up front. Almost full on cured salmon like in the nose. At first that is very interesting, and enjoyable. Though it soon becomes over barring. Not much else to balances the smoke.
T: The smoked meat flavor is again, up front and center. Though more comes out this time. Kind of salty/sweet/savory flavors. Some vanilla and chocolate. Buttery notes as well. Burnt toast and crackers. Unlike the nose, lots going on here. Though it is a bit convoluted and messy.
M/D: A medium body with very high carbonation. A bit on the thin side though. This is interesting to drink. I am making it through the bottle without a problem. Though I can't say this is something I care to come back to all that often.

Ranger Creek is doing something with this Small Batch series. I am not sure what, but it is not boring. Still, I only seem to pick these up out of curiosity, never a second purchase of any one batch yet.

 1,136 characters

Photo of drummermattie02
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of THECPJ
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Treyliff
3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade, Bottled 11/27/12, poured into a snifter

A- Pours nearly all foam in the glass, then quickly settles to a small sudsy layer on top, short lasting legs when agitated, beer is nearly pitch black in color

S- lots of smoky aromas from the mesquite, some hints of chocolate, oak and vanilla, not really picking up and bourbon aromas. Any of the aromas that result from the barrel aging seem to be overpowered by the mesquite smokiness, which I believe is the base beer itself

T- The base porter is simple with some light chocolatey notes, the mesquite smoking actually compliments the base beer quite well, without being overbearing. The mesquite gives some woodsy and herbal flavors. I'm not really picking up any barrel flavors, maybe if I try really hard I can pick up a hint of bourbon on the finish. But like, the aroma, the flavor is dominated by the smoke of the mesquite

M- medium body with high carbonation leads to a pure foam mouthfeel all the way to the finish, a bit over-carbonated. ABV is pretty well hidden though, with just a little bit of heat at the end

O- This was a nice concept, but I don't think that they got enough influence from the barrel to match up with the smoke of the base beer. Regardless, its a good beer, but doesn't hold it's own in the barrel aging category

I noticed previous reviews mentioning infection issues, I didn't experience anything sour or that would suggest infection

 1,438 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.38/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle pours a hazed, dark brown color (almost black) with a small ring of tan head. Not much for retention but does leave a few snakes of lace.

Nose has wood and bourbon for sure with a slight sour twinge that has me thinking infection. As it warms there is some nice sweet malt aromas with a little bit of smokiness.

Taste has a great sweet/alcohol/wood balance with the malt able to hold its ground vs the whiskey and barrel. Many porters that get the barrel treatment seem to be overpowered by the wood. I am unsure if this is starting to suffer from infection as there is some definite tartness, bordering on slightly sour. This could be the relatively fresh wood though, so I dont want to jump the gun and cry wolf. As it is the beer is a pleasant drinking experience right now with just enough sweetness and body. Its a decent beer...and if its not infected, would make a great one to age I should really mellow nicely with age.

 956 characters

Photo of gtermi
4.2/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours a dark brown body with a thin tan head that quickly fades away to nothing.

S: There is a good amount of bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet dark malts and a little bit of booze.

T: Like the smell, I really pick up on the bourbon at first, but it mixes really well with the sweetness and creates a nice delicious beer. As the beer lingers, I start to get a tobacco and earthy type flavor.

M: The beer is super smooth and goes down with ease. There is a tiny bit of crispness on the back of the throat and the tip of the tonuge. It also has a very thin body, which makes it easy to drink.

O: This is a very tasty beer that really is enjoyable. I also feel this is the right step for Ranger Creek to introduce their barrel aged beers and I cant wait to see what they think up in the future.

 810 characters

Photo of zonker17
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of JohnBender
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of jheezee
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ilikebeer03
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Abe_Froman
3.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Magery
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of wagenvolks
4.25/5  rDev +26.1%

Photo of RedneckBeerz
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of duff247
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of cultclassic89
3.65/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of inlimbo77
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

375ml, Riedel tulip

A: Pours pretty darn black colored. Four full fingers of light tan head. It's a fluffy head too. Lots of carbonation.

S: Smells of bacon smoked meats and roasted campfire. Even through the head. Getting some coffee and dark chocolate.

T: Not infected. Very carbonated. Lots of smoked meats. Campfire. Roasted malt. Wishing there was more barrel. I know they ramped the malts and hops, but missing barrel here. Dry finish.

M: Highly carbonated. Big medium.

 488 characters

Photo of kingjohnh
2.73/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

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Small Batch Series No. 4 from Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Beer rating: 3.37 out of 5 with 71 ratings
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