Original Post: Sour Porter
Style: Robust/American Porter
Brew Date: August 20, 2013
Tasting Date: September 19, 2014
First of all, I’m breaking my own rule of doing tasting notes in the time it takes to drink a twelve ounce bottle of beer because I only have this beer in larger bottles. This is from a German half liter bottle (I believe it originally held Reissdorf Kölsch).
The carbonation is perfect. That still surprises me considering that this was pasteurized after less than twenty four hours in the bottle. Whatever got into the carboy was pretty voracious. It pours close to black with a spritzy tan head. This isn’t the thick foam you normally expect in darker beers, despite the color. It is smaller bubbles, almost soda like. The thin, dry nature of the beer is already evident from that.
Taking a sniff, I get the roasted malt and some candy-like sweetness. It is an odd aroma, not at all unpleasant, just unexpected. On the first sip, the initial flavor is just what I’d expect from a porter. It matches the color, dark and rich, although the mouth feel is decided thin. The flavor transitions very quickly.
Before the beer ever makes it to the throat, the tang becomes evident. It is not sour, but definitely tart. It gives the impression of sweetness, although, as I’ve mentioned, the beer is actually extremely dry. I haven’t had this in a while and I’ve learned a lot about sour beer since then (comparatively, I’m still very new to it). I was hoping I’d have a better idea of what type of wild yeast or bacteria got into this, but it doesn’t taste like anything I’m familiar with.
The flavor I’m thinking of is rum cake. Maybe not rum cake… fruit cake? I don’t know, some sort of dark, sweet, heavy, bread-like cake. It doesn’t taste like molasses, at least not compared to Portly Porter, but it is that sort of sweetness. Less refined.
This is the sort of beer I imagine being made during prohibition. Or in the early days of the original porter beer from eighteenth century England. Something is off, but it isn’t offensive. Just a bit jagged around the edges. It is actually extremely interesting.
I keep expecting to taste some coffee but it isn’t coming. There is definitely, some roast from the Chocolate Malt, but the tangy sweetness keeps it from going anywhere near the normal comparison to coffee.
As the glass gets lower, some red highlights are becoming apparent. It looked black at first, but there is some light coming through as the volume goes down. The actual head didn’t last long, but there is a constant stream of bubbles around the perimeter of the glass.
Now that I can see through it, the fact that it is very clear is more apparent. Considering the age, that may not be surprising, but with the infection, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The bottom of the bottle doesn’t have much yeast, either. I guess since it was pasteurized so quickly it makes sense, but with how quickly it carbonated, I thought there might be more.
This is not the beer I planned for and it’s probably not something I would purposely repeat, but I’m also very glad that I took the action that I did in bottling it despite the infection. It is fairly enjoyable and extremely interesting. I have no idea what got into the beer and couldn’t repeat this if I tried. It is good that this beer existed, even if there is only one bottle left.