Friday, February 17, 2012

Tommyknocker Cocoa Porter Winter Warmer

Cocoa Porter Winter Warmer

Brewed by:
Tommyknocker Brewery
Idaho Springs, Colorado

American Porter

5.70% ABV

Commercial Description:
Cocoa Porter Winter Warmer has been specially brewed in celebration of the old world tradition of porters and European Winter warmers. The addition of pure cocoa powder and honey to each barrel of this unique offering, enhances a winter season filled with warm friendships and good times.

General Pricing:
12 oz bottles: ~$11.00 6 pack, ~$40.00 case

This beer was in this years Christmas Beer Variety case at State Line Liquors. This will be a first for me and I have heard nothing about this beer. So let’s see what this Winter Warmer from Tommyknocker has in store for us.

The beer pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of ruby hues peeking through the bottom of the class. The pour produce an extremely modest almost none existent tan head.

The nose is nice with dark roasted malt aromas with just a hint of hops and an underlining sweetness.

Interesting malt flavors but other than that a pretty bad first sip. Actually I’m note sure if I should continue or not. It’s not clear yet whether this is suppose to be like this. Well let’s see how it goes.

It starts out with dark malt sweetness upfront on the tip of the tongue. There is not much of anything to note in the middle of the sip. The back end starts to get a little funky and I don’t mean a Belgian Funk either. The hesitation on top of the swallow is so strong it is really hard to overcome. It is also hard to control during the swallow. There is a natural reaction that keeps saying “don’t swallow this”. The finish is just not right. There is a quiver that starts in the jaws and carries down to the stomach. The flavors on the finish are not bad but every instinct is telling me not to drink this. The final aftertaste has a odd sourness. That combined with all the rest just does not want me to continue this review.

I have two of these beers. I’m going to pour the second one and see if it is any better.

The second beer poured a little better. Let’s see how it tastes.

That is a little better. At least I can continue. There just seems to be a odd robustness to the malts now not that extreme experience that I had with the first one.

So let’s get back to reviewing.

We start out with a dark malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. There is a nice smooth almost creamy mouthfeel to the middle of the sip. A malt robustness also builds towards the back-end. The top of the swallow a hesitation that is moderately overcome then the swallow is quite enjoyable, well, at least nothing eventful. The malt flavors on the finish are nice, really nice with dark roasted malts accompanied by dark fruit esters and some smoky roasted notes along with just a hint of that old world porter. The final aftertaste has some of those lingering dark roasted malts.

Back Note
Porters started out being a blend of “Old Ale” and “Young Ale” that became popular with the shipyard workers in Old-World Britain and I assume Ireland. The Old-Ale would develop sourness due to additional bacterial contamination. So the Old-World Porter reverence was to this hint of sourness that was noticed in this beer. The blending would smooth this out and leave you with a nice drinking dark ale.

All and all this has not been a bad experience. I’m still not sure what happened to the first bottle and there is a hint of that in the second so I’m really not sure this whole batch was infected or if this was just a fluke.

I’m not done yet I’m just letting this warm up a little to see what develops.

We are now at 60 degrees.

The dark roasted malt flavors seem to be more robust at this temperature.

Now at 66 degrees it is definitely picking up some off flavors.

All and all this was not a bad tasting beer. I’m going to end up with a C maybe a C+.

Tommyknocker’s Cocoa Porter is a slightly above average Winter Warmer with nice tasting dark roasted malt flavors but leaves you flat with off flavors and sour notes. Will review again next year just in case this was a bad batch.

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