Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Zero Gravity Aztec Porter

After taking a break from beer writing, I decided to stop back into American Flatbread today to see what they had on cask. They typically have a cask version of the same beer served on draught but unfortunately that wasn't the case today. Otherwise it is a great way to seek out nuances in two serving mediums from the same batch of beer. The Aztec Porter was on cask today, brewed with cocoa nibs and Chipotle peppers for an intense porter character with a little kick! Sampled side by side with their Black Cat Porter.

Alcohol Content:

Price: $3/ half; $5/ full
Medium: Small cylinder glass or juice glass

Aroma: No defined hop character. Malty, a little sweet, and definitely signs of roast, cocoa, and peppers. It actually feels warm on the nose, but not in the same way you may find in high alcohol beverages. Some dried fruity ester reminiscent of cranberries. I wonder if an english ale yeast was used for this beer or a similar strain - I find English strains of yeast to have this fruity note, which may differ from other peoples palates.
Appearance: In comparison to the Black Cat porter, it is slightly lighter with a more translucent display of dark reds approaching an overall black appearance. Carbonation falls out of solution more quickly with cask servings. I was able to watch the bartender pour a dense, creamy head of which she let settle out before topping me off with a little more beer (but still leaving a pleasant head). Retention is low.
Flavor: A rich, toasty malt complexity is strong in the beginning and taken over by a light, smooth bitterness and finally the roast, cocoa, and Chipotle peppers. Reminds me of Aztec dark chocolate but in beer form. Some roast lingers more towards a pleasant "burnt" taste (if there is such a thing). Coffee, chocolate, and a bit of roast in the finish but the peppers prevails long into the aftertaste. Some yeast character I describe as a light cranberry note or similar fruity ester, although I am starting to realize my palate as confusing this with roasted barley or possibly a combination of roast and yeast character. No defined hop character.
Mouthfeel: Slick texture and very smooth. Some people describe it as being a little watery or flat when served from a cask but the warmer temperature and lower carbonation really brings out the smoothness in this porter. There is considerable heat from the Chipotle peppers and only gets stronger in the aftertaste. No sign of alcohol.
Overall Impression: Nicely balanced and easy drinking if you like a little heat in your cooking. Intensity increases with each sip despite a little malt sweetness in the front to give you a short break from the heat of the peppers. Simply delicious with chocolate chip cookies!

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