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State Pen Imperial Porter by Santa Fe Brewing Company
Baltic Porter
10.00 % ABV

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Review by SAP on 10/01/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
80 3 10 15 4 8 2008
Batch 2176, Bottle 3708; Sampled September 2008
An average pour easily produces a four finger thick, richly browned, concentrated tan colored head. The beer is quite dark, but doesn't quite get to black, it is more a dark chocolate color, though it is quite opaque and doesn't pass any light through its depths despite being held directly up to the light. The head is quite dense and creamy, though it seems to disappear a bit quicker than one would expect. The aroma is quite roasted, but not acridly so; it picks up a certain salty, smoky quality that reminds me a bit of peat smoked malt. A toasted, woody background aroma supports a savory roast character that is very well executed. The aroma is devoid of many of the problems that many dark malt beers have, this is quite smooth, with out any sharp-acidic burnt grain notes, little distracting burnt grain husk notes and instead comes off more as a mix of dark chocolate, smoke and maillard rich, concentrated malt character. Not overly complex, but I do like how smooth the aroma is.

Very thick bodied, it is sweet though not cloying as the malt character has so much dark grain character to it. The beer finishes with a burnt, slightly acidic roast grain character that adds some balancing sharpness that cuts through the thick, chewy, sweet up front flavors. Flavors of unsweetened cocoa mix with an almost salty / iodine-like, concentrated malt character, richly sweetened black coffee roast flavors, blackened toffee and a touch of caramelized butterscotch are all pretty noticeable. The finish has a mix of warm alcohol and some sharper spicy oak flavors to it.

This is definitely well carbonated as my second pour produces another four finger thick head. Interestingly enough the head has a lot of bitterness to it; the beer itself is thick and rich enough that the hop bitterness is barely noticed, but as evidenced by the head this actually has a lot of hops in it. Actually as the beer warms up the hop bitterness in the flavor starts to become much more noticeable than before.

This is quite a bit more enjoyable than I was expecting. I really like how well balanced it is, while it is super chewy and somewhat sweet, this serves as a great foil for the roast malt character. This can get a touch of burnt-vegetal notes towards the finish, but it is far smoother and well behaved than I was expecting. This is definitely quite an enjoyable beer; rich, velvety and smooth, just a great sipping beer and a good way to finish out the evening.

Purchased: Papago Brewing Co, Scottsdale Ca

Served In: Tulip

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