Yazoo Brewing Company

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Smoked Beer
Ranked #3
Ranked #2,975
4.14 | pDev: 10.14%
Yazoo Brewing Company
Tennessee, United States
Notes: The south is famous for smoking everything. Why not beer? Sue is a big, rich, smoky malt bomb of a beer, with mellow smokiness coming from barley malts smoked with cherry wood, and assertive bitterness from Galena and Perle hops to cleanse the finish.

Original tap version was 7.5% ABV, bottled version is up to 9%.
Reviews: 264 | Ratings: 892 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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hman43 from North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: It pours very dark brown with a light brown head. Head retention is good.

Smell: There is some moderate smoke in the aroma with a low level of chocolate. There are hints of dark fruits in the background.

Taste: The smoke is strong in the flavor with some chocolate. There are some bacon like flavors with a hint of burnt in the background. The dark fruits are very low with some low roast.

Feel: It has a medium body with a bitter smoky aftertaste.

Overall, the smooth is the star of the show with the other elements in support.

Apr 24, 2021
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jkblr from Indiana

4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottled 07/10/20 ( about a month old) poured into a Spiegelau stout glass at fridge temp 9% ABV 93 IBU per label. The beer pours dense black with mocha brown head. The head recedes slowly to a quarter inch cap and leaves behind a partial lacing. The aroma is smokey up front with dark chocolate and coffee notes coming in behind. The taste is savory & smokey with notes of ham, coffee, very dark chocolate and tobacco before an earthy and fully bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium plus bodied with average carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, very good smoked beer. Less satisfying as an imperial or smoked porter as the smoke is first, without being totally dominant. I would purchase regularly if this were available locally.

Sep 04, 2020
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, no legible date, into Carpe Brew Em snifter.

Pours an inky black with some crispy brown edges and a tall khaki-beige head of 2 fingers. Very creamy, and leaves lots of lace on the glass. The beer is just a sight to behold.

Aroma brings wonderful rauch-like smoke notes with subtler hints of dark chocolate and sticky sweet figs.

Flavor is roasty, full, and heavy. Brings notes of roasted malt, smoke, salt, dark chocolate, cashew, and fig. Has a subtle herbal hop presence that balances things out nicely and builds on the palate. (Word of caution : if you do not like smoked beers, do not buy this one)

Feel is full and roasty, the heavy spiky carbonation makes it feel more like a medium bodied beer though. Has a lot of drying roastiness on the back end with lots of hop resin as well. Moderate heat, moderately warming.

Overall, this drinks like a world champion of 2010-2014 era beers where craft beer was just beginning to take hold in mass markets. Think Founders Breakfast Stout or Anchor Porter. Nowadays we've been so blessed with great beer that this is easily eclipsed by a lot of other great beers from other breweries - but make no mistake this still stands as a mile marker porter. Respectable. (Respect yo' elders!) Would definitely have again, this was enjoyable.

Price paid : $2.99 / bottle
Would buy again : yes

May 23, 2020
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75


We interrupt this brewery horizontal, already in progress, to bring you this recent find in the Bottle Backlog at Chez Woody! We would not be interrupting this all-important programming were it not for the match-up in styles. We appreciate the kind generosity of our local, in-person benefactor, @tone77 for providing us with this beer. Please stay tuned for all details, brought to you live & in real-time!

From the Bottle (!): "An Imperial Smoked Porter"; "The south is famous for smoking almost everything. Why not a beer? Yahoo Sue is a big, rich, smoky malt bomb of a beer, with mellow smokiness coming from barley malts smoked with cherry wood, and assertive bitterness from Galena and Perle hops to cleanse the finish."; "93 IBUs"; "Silver Medal, 2010 GABF - Smoked Beer"; "'Epic' - Beer Advocate Magazine".

I was so excited to be drinking this! My fave styles of beer are 1) hoppy AIPA; 2) ADIPA; 3) Czech Pils; 4) GER Pils & 5) Smoked Beers. I only learned of the last in the late-'90s, but once I realized that such a thing existed, I was off & (often) running!

I Pop!ped the cap & started a slow, gentle C-Line pour into the awaiting glass. I watched in rapt fascination as it foamed up to form two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, deep-brown head with excellent retention, taking forever to fall away. Color was Very Dark Brown to Black/Opaque (SRM = > 34, < 44) with cola highlights at the edges. Nose held a mild smokiness, but it was not as pungent as with the previous Thirsty Dog's Rail Dog. Fair dinkum, as the proof of this pudding will be in the tasting. Mouthfeel was medium, which would be okay for a "Smoked Beer", but this is an "American Imperial Porter".

Now, I was on the horns of a dilemma - Change Request or no? I'm going to submit one since it won a medal in the "Smoked Beer" category, so the brewery clearly thinks of it as such.

Once I had some on my mouth, I swirled it around on & with my tongue to allow it to warm. This one was subtle, slowly blossoming open like a flower! I understood why the GABF judges would have liked this - instead of being a roaring, in-your-face Smoke bomb, like the previous beer, this one had the low & slow kind of flavor that Southern BBQ is known for.

One of the best meals I had in my road trip of 2008 was at the now-closed ( 8=( ) Uncle Billy's Brew & Que in Austin, TX. From my review: "Food: I went with the BBQ Tray, choosing smoked ½ chicken, glazed carrots, and green beans. The meat was so tender as to be falling off of the bone and so smoky as to make me weep. The combos were endless, but this was a good fit."

This beer began to remind me of that meal & I was ready to begin weeping anew, both for their closing & for how good this beer tasted. Mmm. Its subtle smokiness was creeping northward with each sip, filling my mouth & sinuses with its flavor.

This was becoming VERY akin to the more smoky of the three Aecht Schlenkerla rauchbiers! Such is why "Smoke Beers" are a polarizing style - they run the gamut from lightly-smoky to forest fire-smoky & it is definitely NOT for everyone as evidenced by only a select few attending my Smoke 'em If You Got 'em soirees.

Finish was dry with a lingering smokiness that gave me pause. I am going to have to take a break & eat something neutral before my next review. No problem! It was a great way to start my day. YMMV.

We now rejoin the originally scheduled brewery horizontal, already in progress.

Apr 25, 2020
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WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Nashville airport Yazoo beer kiosk

Dark cola brown , thin taupe layer quickly recedes to a ring and a few bubbles few rings

Aroma is toasted malts

Taste is toasted malts , not harsh or bitter

Roasted malt taste nicely lingers , medium sudsing

Good beer

Mar 07, 2020
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Matte black with brown edges and a fuzzy light tan head settling to a thick collar.

The smooth medium-light body delivers flavors of cigar and tobacco, chocolate and cocoa powder, with a cola-esque dark fruit accent, finishing semi-dry.

Aug 21, 2019
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greenhousedrummer from Tennessee

4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It's more on the bready-smoky side than the meaty-smoky side if that makes sense. It's a deep black cocktail of fantastic malty, smoky, and woody flavors. This is one of the best beers to drink with good southern food, and damn good on it's own as well. Not an every day beer, but a great weekend or special occasion beer.

Dec 26, 2018
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring out a sturdier brown than just about anything from the South that isn't a Cigar City beer. Although that Lazy Magnolia brown was respectable too. Anyways, 1/3" lighter brown head on top of an assertive browner base.

Taste is surprisingly good, its got plenty of base malt, but the smoked malt is really in the proportion I like, not a giant rauchbier style, but not insignificant too, and with a variety of smoked malt and cherrywood and whatnot, you get a relatively complex but not muddled malty beer. The non conventional hop usage works to give a relatively generic bitterness to it that doesn't clash with the smoked malts, but further enhances the beer with a moderate bitter backbone. Carbonation done right.

This stands out as a phenomenal pairing with campfire and meat. While there is a little bit of sticker shock price wise with a non proprietary hopped beer topping $15/6 pack, I have to say its worth it. I could easily see multiple purchases of this, especially if I know I'm gonna do some camping or drinking around a fire.

Dec 25, 2018
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MattinHouston from Texas

4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Imperial smoked Porter. Excellent! I'm usually just a DIPA / Imperial Stout / Tripel drinker. Now there's a 9% Porter that tastes excellent. Why don't they sell this in Texas? Grabbed a 6 pack in Tennessee since it was local and was shocked it tasted so good. $16 for 6 but I'd say it's worth it. Try it if you can find it (and you like Porters)

Nov 17, 2018
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The_Mancannon_of_Slothrop from Wyoming

4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A HUGE body with a warmth that lingers long after the final drop. Makes me sleepy in the same way that a fireplace does. It’s too bad Tennessee’s winters are mild because this goes wonderfully with snowy evenings.

Also, I’m not big on beer/food pairings but this one absolutely must be paired with smoked meats.

Nov 12, 2018
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of smoke, roasted malts. Taste is of a campfire, smoked meats, some alcohol is present. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer, but I was expecting a bit more.

Oct 24, 2018
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm trying this at the brewery. It poured an opaque dark with thin white head that is not leaving much lace. The scent had smoke and roast presence. The taste was smoke base with roast/coffee accents. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it is a good beer.

Aug 31, 2018
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Enjoying in draft. This beer is a pitch black brew with one finger worth of medium tan colored crown. Crown has great retention. The smell is some balanced smoke mixed with some oak notes and slight hop presence. The taste isn't too much on the smoke and more of just balanced roasty malts. Definitely wish there was more smoke in there for something that is a smoked beer. The mouthfeel and body is a little too light and thin as well on a beer this dark for me as well. Overall, I really like the balance of this drink but do wish for more smoke when grabbing this as an option.

Jun 23, 2018
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Stevedore from Oregon

3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Served in a snifter glass. Pours a dark black body, one finger offwhite head, short retention, plenty of lacing. Smell is the slightest smoke, roasted malt, milk chocolate, a slight bit of lactose, light espresso. Flavour follows- milk chocolate, more smoke than the nose suggests, a bit of earth, light espresso. Balanced. Not ashy or overly smoky. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, smooth and creamy, light earthy smoke on the finish. Very solid beer for sure, with the smoke adding a bit of nuance and character but not overwhelming it.

May 26, 2018
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singletary from Mississippi

4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a deep rich black with a tan head that leaves nice lacing to the glass. The smell is of malts then a sweet smokey smell. The taste is sweet malt then a smooth easy smoke flavor. Overall is was a pleasant experience, nice easy to drink with the smoke adding a difference to it.

May 12, 2018
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TNPhillips from Tennessee

4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very unique. Smokey quality lingers long after the beer but doesn’t overwhelm. Very smooth and low carbonation. Head doesn’t last long after drinking but was short and fairly firm after pouring.

Apr 25, 2018
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2beerdogs from California

3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Mystery Beer received in NBS BIF #7 Blind Taster
Aroma is Mmmmm. Do I detect smoke? Why yes, I do. But not heavy handed. Strong enough to make me think it may be a rauchbier, but somebody who knows what they're doing because although that was my initial noticing, I'm picking up some malt notes akin to sweet leaning brown bread, like squaw bread. Like the stuff I get when driving up 395 on the eastern side of the Sierras. Funny thing, I tried smelling it in the bottle right at the moment of opening, I got some of what I'm getting now, but some of the brown paper bag that John wrapped it in.

Taste time. Ok here I'm getting smoke again, but some dry stout notes as well. The malt is smooth, only hints of sweet to carry the smoke. Brown bread notes are still there if I search for them. A little bit of peat comes through as well. And so I sniff again, and now I'm getting some peat on the nose. A hint of prune comes through as well. Finishes a tad dry and a bitter smoky slick hangs out near the back of my tongue.
Mouthfeel is more porter than stout. Less viscous and medium to less on the feel. Carbonation was present during the first few minutes but tapered off completely at the end.
Overall, my guess is a smoked porter, or maybe a rauchbier, albeit one that's lighter on smoke than what I've experienced.

And the reveal is....Yazoo's Sue Imperial Smoked Porter.
The label mentions, "mellow smokiness coming from barley malts smoked with cherry wood..."
I would say mellow smokiness is an apt descriptor. This is quite good. I went through a smoke phase many years back and burned myself out for a few years. Now, when I get the craving, it seems that some are more pronounced in smoke than I prefer. This one really represents a firm but soft touch on the smoke. Thanks John.

Apr 16, 2018
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SaltofOH from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bomber dated 2/1/17. DFH Tulip.

A: pours an opaque black with 1 finger tan head and some carbonation mildly visible along the edges. When held to the light a little gets through at the rim, just barely. Not much lacing, but a little.

S: sweet, dark roasted malt and yes, a little wood smoke. Given the age of this bottle it's a miracle any is left. Nose really smells like an RIS.

T: initial arrival is sweet, but not as sweet as it smells. There is a weird savory note up front like soy sauce or meat umami, then transitions to sweet malt and a touch of woody smoke. Mild herbal hops and a lingering woody smoke and mild dark roasted malt on the finish. This tastes a year old; the malts are complex, the smoke present but subdued. More on the nose and finish than the palate. No alcohol on the taste. Sweet, but not too sweet.

M: lighter end of full bodied, well-carbonated and pretty clean, for a 9%-plus dark beer. This is actually kind of dangerous.

O: I saw this beer on the shelves of two local beer stores and thought, "I need to try that," for so long. Then it disappeared from one store, and I bought the next to last bottle at another. Glad I did. Really well-crafted high ABV dark beer, drinkable with a funky smoky twist. I've seen 4-packs online. I'd have been more inclined to buy that sooner.

Mar 09, 2018
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Zythophile from District of Columbia

3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Date: purchased a year ago
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Can't get any more black. Can't get any more opaque. The head does have a brown tinge.

First scent I get is olive oil. Most of the rest of it is charcoal. Odd combination, especially considering the style. As it warms up, there's more wood (of an undetermined type) than char.

Taste is bitter chocolate, like the 90+% kind. Lots of smoked wood, and it's far more pleasant than the nose seems to suggest. Powdered coffee creamer, although it's not as dairy-ish as it should be. I'll concede that there's a little fig back there, but it's really concentrated, if ultimately weak. It does get better, even slightly sweet, as it warms up.

Carbonation is moderately coarse and slightly prickly. Aftertaste is smoky fruit, at least to me.

Nov 23, 2017
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larryi86 from Delaware

4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Blind tasting
Based off of the nose and looks I am thinking it is a porter over 8%, initial rating are based on that style in mind

A- Black with a two finger mocha head. 4.25

S- Bakers chocolate, some smoked malts, roasted coffee, touch of pale malts, some piney hops. 4.25

T- Smoked malts, hints of wood, an almost meat like quality to to the smokiness, touch of sweet malts and dark fruits, some dark chocolate, roasted coffee. 4.5

M- Smooth, full body, chewy. 4.5

O- A very well done smoked porter/stout. Big flavors without be overly smoky. Would definitely pick this up if I had the chance, seems like a good beer to age. 4.25

Oct 08, 2017
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, no apparent date:
Pours easily into the glass, the black body filling about 60% of the glass as the head strains to crest the lip. A nice light brown head that seems creamy but falls at a moderate pace. Thick tan collar doesn't provide any lacing, but does give a little show of froth on each sip.

Wondering if the bottle was originally clear before the fire struck the warehouse, turning the glass brown and the beer a nice, lingering smoked note - like the fire was out long ago, but the smoke was not let to escape quickly. I more coffee-leaning malt roastiness sneaks through this, but it does have a woody to maybe just slightly citrusy hop note.

A bit watery up front, while the flavors seem to sit back, figuring out how to hit my palate. The smoke starts walking towards me first, yelling across the field. As I really start to hear what he is yelling, a charge of all flavors comes - light brownie, weak coffee, cigar tobacco, and smokiness from a smoker in the backyard on the weekend. A little on the malty side in front behind the shroud of smoke, it becomes bitter in the back - citrus rind and lightly charred wood (no doubt smoke influenced).

I think I am a fan of cherry wood smoked beers. Made one with a friend once, and am getting a little bit of what I thought I had forgotten about that beer. If this beer had a little more feel - either heft or carbonation - to go with the nice flavor levels, it'd probably be get a tenth or more points from me.

Jun 07, 2017
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dcotom from Iowa

4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured cold from 22-ounce bottle into a small snifter. Deep brown coffee-colored pour, with a couple of fingers of tan head. Complex aromas and flavors of dark roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, and light smoke, plus a little fruity tartness. Medium bodied, with a mouthfeel that becomes slightly silky as the beer warms from fridge temperature. Finish is on the dry side, with a touch of tannic astringence and a little lingering burnt-coffee bitterness. There is a box on the label for the bottling date, which on my sample had been left blank. Very smooth after a year of cellaring, with almost no alcohol presence. Overall, an outstanding and flavorful Baltic porter.

May 23, 2017
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avalon07 from South Carolina

2.84/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick texture. There was an inch and a half of foamy, tan-colored, somewhat long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: An incredibly muted, underwhelming aroma of malt, a smoky quality and hops.

T: Tasted of a bit of the smokiness, light hops notes, the advertised cherry wood notes (not as much as I expected), a good amount of malt, a bit of chocolate, and coffee. A surprisingly bland, watery flavor with little character to recommend it. Not nearly as aggressive as other Baltic porters and quite tame.

F; A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: The overall ratings of this beer are perplexing, It's very forgettable. Wouldn't try it again.

Apr 07, 2017
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brunsojw from Tennessee

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely love the smokiness. Once they raised it to 9%, it was a game changer. Slightly bitter, which makes it not uqie a smooth, but this is an great beer.

Mar 22, 2017
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superspak from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours nearly opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger desne khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, nuttiness, caramel, toffee, molasses, and toasted dark bread; with lighter notes of raisin, plum, cherry, date, tobacco, leather, herbal, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready/smoked malt and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, nuttiness, caramel, toffee, molasses, and toasted dark bread; with lighter notes of raisin, plum, cherry, date, tobacco, leather, herbal, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/spicy hop and roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, nuttiness, caramel, toffee, molasses, toasted dark bread, light dark fruit/herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready/smoked malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from hop/roast bitterness, lightly increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready/grainy, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 9%. Overall this is a fantastic smoked Baltic porter! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready/smoked malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the ABV. A perfectly executed style representation with the addition of cherrywood smoked malts. A really amazing offering.

Feb 05, 2017
Sue from Yazoo Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 892 ratings