I never really know how to straddle these imperial porters. Regular porters are often so far away in scope and execution, but imperial stouts are completely different beasts altogether. Suffice it to say, I enjoy this style a ton when they are executed well, but if it’s too big, it eats shit like a Korean gymnast. Lucky for us, this one sticks the landing, sticks it so hard.
Deschutes xxiii Black Butte Imperial Porter 10.5% abv
A: This has a slippery BP black with mild wateriness and deep amber hues, great carbonation and a fantastic presentation. The legs do not show through that well and if this is an imperial porter, it’s a pretty fucking powerful empire because the maltiness toes the line into a stout-tranny, er, you know what I mean.
S: There is an orange rind smell with licorice light and smokiness. It smells amazing. This is one of the most aromatic porters that I have ever encountered and I still get jazzed every time someone busts one of these out. You get some nice vanilla, oak, and light waft of alcohol.
T; There is a great slickness with a little juniper herbal finish to it. The front is similar to dark chocolate notes but the mouthfeel is distinctly porter not stout. It has a finishing dryness with a lingering sweetness. Just fantastic all around on the tastey sesh. I really enjoy the interesting venn diagram that it creates between stouts and porters in that it is still distinctly huge and mildly watery, relative to an imperial stout, but still maintains its character very well. It’s the difference between a chocolate milkshake and some gourmet Yoohoo. Feel me?
M: The coating is huge, probably the thickest porter that I have encountered. This easily gives Victory at Sea a run for its money. I want more and alas, I cannot obtain it that easily after the run is done. I would stack this right next to Birth of Tragedy, albeit below it as a fine example of a beastly porter that delivers harder than a Ramen courier.
D: This is a split ticket decision. On one hand you have a big foamy, filling, high abv porter that imparts considerable dryness. On the other hand, it is so well balanced and delicious, you could drink this into a stupor. Ultimately I will side with the party that supports consuming delicious things at length. If you have soft little hands and a light stride, sure, have an 8oz taster and move on. The rest of us will engage in a bacchanalian festival of porters and rejoicing.
Narrative: Mocha stared knowingly at the horizon, sensing a storm was coming. Her penguin bretheren were too busy diving for squid in the shallows to pay attention. However, deep in Mocha’s soul she felt that insightful knowledge, that looming storm. They would chastise her, call her serious and forlorn and continue with their gallivanting. Day by day the temperatures were steadily rising and no one seemed to care. Sage old Mocha wiped her brow and pecked at the shallow pools. No one believed her when she predicated the great migration, no one trusted her when she foresaw the epic enclosure and flock partition, but now, here they were, in the Cleveland Zoo, and things were getting worse. Some Browns fans had showed up to the habitat and were throwing pork rinds into the water. Their jowls shook violently as they guffawed at the penguins splashing playfully. Mocha lowered her gaze at these overweight humans and noted, “mom’s gonna fix it all soon, mom’s gonna drown us set back to the way it oughta be.”