Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter – Deschutes/Great Lakes Collaboration (USA)

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  • My Rating: B-

Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter – Deschutes/Great Lakes Brewing Collaboration (Brewed by Deschutes), 9.1% ABV, 1 pint 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon)

on the front label:

“From the brewers of the celebrated BLACK BUTTE PORTER and EDMUND FITZGERALD PORTER comes this limited-run collaboration, brewed with ROASTED and SMOKED MALT for a rich chocolate aroma and subtle smoky flavor.”

on the front-side of the label:

“Class of ’88. A quarter century ago a passion for craft brewing ignited across the country. Today, the founding breweries of 1988 have united to commemorate that seminal year with a special selection of  beers. Every bottle is a portal to the renaissance of craft brewing. Each steeped in heritage and expert craftsmanship. Enjoy this tribute to the class of 88′.”

  • Style: (Smoked) Imperial Porter
  • Taste Profile: sweet malts -> thick caramel malts/chocolate/cola -> alcohol/sour coffee/smoked applewood malty finish
  • Where I got it : Firefly
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off), September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, if you already like porters

Visual: I was impressed by Deschutes’ Black Butte last year so I when I saw this bottle I knew I had to try it. Also, it’s a collab so it should be twice as good, right? Pours ultra dark brown with almost no head, very thin micro CO2 retention, slow stead streams along the perimeter.

Nose: Thick and thicker malts mixed with hints of roasted applewood

Attack: sweet(8/10) malts, fizzy, incoming dense malts

Mid-palate: thick mouthfeel, (MAIN) caramel malts, chocolate, (HINTS) cola

Finish: mild alcohol detection, sour bittersweet coffee, smoked applewood malty finish.

Summary: Fully bodied, medium-thick, and bold flavours though somewhat heavy on the palate. It needs to go with something sweet or cheesy to clean your palate, otherwise it gets heavy by itself.

Chainbreaker White IPA – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, USA)

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  • My Rating: C+

Chainbreaker White IPA – Deschutes Brewery, 5.6% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, OR, USA)

On the front side label:

“You pair wheat, hops and Belgian yeast and suddenly ‘bingo, a wheat like nobody else’s.’ With real depth, coriander and sweet orange peel, it’s citrus-packed and silky smooth going down.”

  • Style: (wheat & spiced) IPA
  • Taste Profile: banana malt -> sour citrus/grapefruit/barnyard -> coriander/pepper/dense malty bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $15/6pack, June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy light yellow with a smallish dissipating head, a soft layer of retention, lacing, and some barely visible activity. Wheaty banana and guava with a bit of barnyard on the nose.

Attack: tangy malted banana

Mid-palate: 6/10-citrus sourness, white grapefruit, hints of barnyard, 6/10-sweetness

Finish: cuts to off-dry, bitter coriander, mild pepperiness, lingering dense sugars with a wheat-malt background.

Lots of interesting flavours here balanced with fine drinkability. I’m not a huge fan of IPAs but this one is acceptable.

Jubelale Winter Ale (25th Anniversary) – Deschutes (Oregon, USA)

Jubelale Winter Ale (25th Anniversary) – Deschutes, 6.7% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

from ratebeer.com:

“Jubelale is classified as a “Strong Ale” or an “English Olde Ale,” and has ties to the traditional Celebration Ales of England. Characterized by a very large malt body and pronounced bitterness, Jubelale contains five different varieties of hops and a healthy amount of caramel. The perfect ale for surviving the long, cold nights of winter. Our tradition is having a different local artist design our Jubelale label & packaging each year. October – December – draft and bottles ”

  • Style: Strong Ale
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Creamy malted bittersweet caramel -> hoppy/burnt roast/cola -> long lingering heavy dry bitterness.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $16/6pack, April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not fully

Tasting notes: pours dark amaretto brown, decent foamy head, ringed retention, sticky lacing, some slow streams. Caramel malts on the nose. Drinks with a thick creaminess up front, quickly turning caramel hoppy bitter balanced by 4/10-sweetness, burnt roast, cocoa, finishing long lingering dry hopped bitter. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. The heavy bitterness is taxing on the palate.

Black Butte 23rd Birthday Reserve – Deschutes (Bend, Oregon, USA)

Black Butte 23rd Birthday Reserve – Deschutes, 10.8.% ABV, (Bend, Oregon)

On the front and back label:

“Black Butte XXIII: Porter brewed with cocoa nibs, orange and natural flavors added, with 25% aged in Bourbon Barrel. XXIII. So where to next? What’s 2011’s rich imperial take on Black Butte Porter? Just for kicks, you dream. Orange zest perhaps? From Spanish Oranges, Seville, to be exact. And Chocolate nibs. Pampered nibs from the artisanal alchemists at Theo’s. Maybe some chilies? Pasilla Negra only, please. That would be crazy wouldn’t it? Welcome to crazy. Get it while you can.”

My notes:

  • My Rating: A+
  • Why I like: wow amazing unique flavour
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: $30 , 1pt 6 fl.oz., 10/2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours jet black, minimal head, micro CO2, thin ringed retention. A lot of coffee, caramel and malts on the nose. This beer is an OMG beer. Bold flavours of malted caramel up front, smooth 6/10-sweetness level milk chocolate, orange oil in the background, orange peel near the finish along with a spicy peppery finish. Toffee from the bourbon barrel aging, and a bit of roast coffee as well. High complexity, high depth, excellent transitions, excellent carry, long length, excellent drinkability. The ABV is well hidden and this is a delight to drink. Try it before I buy all of the rest available.