Friday, November 15, 2013

Zero Gravity Black Cat Porter

Part two of my side-by-side comparison of beers at American Flatbread last weekend consisted of the Black Cat Porter and the Aztec Porter (cask). My original thought was to try the same beer both on cask and on draught, which they frequently showcase. Unfortunately they did not have the Aztec porter on draught also so I went with a similar beer (at least in base style) for this taste test.

Alcohol Content: 5.1%

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

Aroma: Rich, smooth, malty with some dried fruit character attributable to yeast. Similar to that of a traditional english ale yeast (if that is what was used here). Light roast on the nose that is complimented by chocolate, coffee, and a touch of smoke. Perhaps the smoked character playing in with the roasted malts. Black patent? A rich, toasty malt supports the roasted grain characteristics.
Appearance: Dark/ jet black but good clarity under direct lighting. Large bubbles quickly form at the surface and form a rocky brownish head. Great retention. Some dark ruby colors in bright light but not as much as the Aztec porter, which was a little lighter in comparison.
Flavor: Dark malts dominate the flavor profile with notes of chocolate, coffee, and a good amount of roast - more roast than the aroma suggests. The driving force behind these specialty grain flavors is a nice toasted malt quality that provides sweetness. Finish is met with a touch of smoke or burnt toast flavor. Moderate amount of yeast character I believe derived from an English strain but I could be mistaken. I'm also wondering if any brown malt was used to help provide sweetness like a traditional English-style porter. Hops contribute to low bitterness but no considerable flavors.
Mouthfeel: An assertive, edgy, or lightly burnt (but not acrid) malt quality shines in the finish and aftertaste. May also be described as a light astringency but appropriate. Bitterness from hops is light, although the perceived bitterness is moderately high from the roasted grain finish. Fairly light on the palate for a beer with big character. Carbonation is moderately low. 
Overall Impression: When switching between beers, I was very fond of this beers ability to match up to the Aztec porter and vice versa. They really complemented each other and could have perhaps been blended to reduce some of the heat in the aftertaste. The Chipotle pepper notes from the Aztec porter were not fully quelled by taking a taste of the Black Cat porter and ended up being a delicious combination of flavors.

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