[Sampled in 2012]
In the depths of the Beer Loves Company cold storage units (which are guarded by a Black Unicorn) we happened to have an aged bottle of Southampton Imperial Porter. Imperial (Baltic) porters are perfect for this lull between fall and winter, so into our glasses it went.
This 2011 brew is a deep, opaque black with ruby hues that appear when the light hits it. There is a small tan head that quickly settles down, leaving what looks like an oil slick on top of the liquid and a tiny bit of lacing. Dark fruits (figs, raisins, dates), sweet malt and alcohol all come through in the scent, which is a bit on the strong side although it balances nicely. The sip is a bit more complex. It begins with a touch of a bitterness but before you can adjust to that, sweet dark fruits come rushing in. These flavors are then quickly whisked away with a dry finish and the bitterness from earlier returns in the aftertaste. A faint coffee taste is left in your mouth which is odd since there is not a coffee/cocoa presence throughout. It does seem like aging this for a year allowed the flavors to develop and intensify while bringing an overall lighter presence to the brew. We will buy a fresh bottle this year to compare. All in the name of science, of course.
What Alicia Thinks:
Dark brown and opaque with a tan head that really only appears if you pour aggressively. It settles to what looks like soap on top of the beer. This is good and reminds me of a cross between a dark Belgian beer (like a dubbel) and a stout. This aged porter has elements of both with its fruitiness and coffee/roasted notes. A bit much to drink a lot of, but it has a warming thing going on which makes sense for this time of year. This is a nice change if you aren’t super into coffee/cocoa heavy beers but still want something dark and flavorful.
What Kevin Thinks:
That’s what she said. All joking aside we agree here on most aspects of this aged brew. The aroma balances molasses sweetness and dark fruits with roasted bits and flourishes of alcohol. The overall aroma shows some nice restraint and rewards contemplation as does the flavor where many of these same components are also present. The dark fruits and caramel/molasses twinged malts, are carried on fine and prickly carbonation. The sudden appearance of coffee and roasted flavors in the finish and through the aftertaste brings a pleasant balance to this beer while the appearance of a background note of chocolate is intriguing. I’d say aging this beer turned it into a distant cousin of a dubbel and stout while rounding it into a smooth treat. For me this is a 7.5/10.
ABV: 7.2% IBU: ? Color: Black with Ruby Accents Year: 2011 Brewery: Southampton Publick House
The Brewery Says:
This is Southampton Publick House’s authentic interpretation of what an Imperial Porter would have tasted like back in the 18th century. Southampton Imperial Porter uses a unique blend of seven malts to give it a deep brown, almost black color and a smooth, full-bodied flavor that bursts alive with a pleasing, warming effect and notes of chocolate, toffee and caramel in every sip. Southampton Imperial Porter is perfect with smoked foods, earthy cheeses, desserts or simply by itself.