Tuesday, 29 May 2012

#31: Porterhouse No.2

A while back I promised I'd work my through the entire Porterhouse range, starting with Hop Head and Plain Porter, and here I am staying true to that promise. The next two beers I tried were Wrasslers XXXX stout and the Porterhouse Red. I was very excited by the Wrasslers, which I found surprising - I usually approach stouts and porters with nothing more than curiosity and a touch of hope. This one, however, changed my mind.
Wrasslers XXXX is supposedly brewed from the same recipe as Michael Collins' favourite drink made by Deasy's of Cork, back in the day, and if that's true, it's easy to see why the Big Fella went for this. It's pitch black and pours with a dark tan, creamy 2-3 fingers of head that leaves a sticky lace behind. Stunning. This is matched by the smell with dark fruits, smoky sweet malts and coffee all hitting the nose first, with medicinal, dark chocolate and Christmas pudding aromas developing as the beer warms up and you give it a swirl. Complex and inviting, to say the least. Chocolate and toffee are on the tongue too, with a caramel and fruit finish, and slight medicinal or liquorice hints at the back. Overall, the taste isn't extremely complex, but it's still delicious and has just enough layers to keep you very interested. It's strong and fully flavoured, a powerful stout, and the best beer from the Porterhouse that I've had yet.
Next up was the Porterhouse Red. I can't say I was too thrilled at the prospect of trying this, but then again, I don't think I've ever truly been inspired to drink an Irish Red. Still though, I've been surprised by beers in the past, and they all deserve a chance at least. It poured a crystal clear ruby red with tame carbonation and a finger of white head. On the nose, it was mildly hoppy with spice and grass, lightly malty with caramel sweetness, and on the whole just muted. There's nothing off going on in here, just nothing spectacular either. Or maybe there is, but you practically have to get your nose wet to smell it. The taste is not much different - muted all round, with a malty start and a bitter finish, as you'd expect. Fruit and pine were the most discernible flavours in here. The feel is smooth and light though, which makes this an easy beer to drink.
That's four down in the Porterhouse bottled range, with about the same to go, and so far the Wrasslers XXXX is the winner.

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