Re-posted from my blog: Malted Musings.
At my go-to beer place, Eli Cannon's Taproom in Middletown CT, I had two great winter beers: just in time to (hopefully) usher out this season of chilliness and way too much snow! As I posted before, Harpoon is rolling their Leviathan series back into the main Harpoon line. Because of that, Harpoon has since been putting out a variety of larger beers in efforts to bolster the Harpoon name and keep it as a brand that transcends beyond just their IPA.
First up is the Harpoon Czernobog, which is part of the Leviathan lineup. This beer pours out extremely dark brown, almost a rich black color. At first smell it's hard to get a nose off, but there are eventual hints of sweet, bitter malting. The taste is what you would expect from a densely colored beer with a hard-to-pronounce Eastern-European name: it starts of with a dark, smooth chocolate tone that then rides a malty burst into a medium bitterness. From here the beer slowly transitions to a smooth, dark chocolate taste that ends up being silky on the palate: causing the taste to cling heavily with rich, heavy chocolate overtones. This Imperial Stout is heavy, duh, but has a surprising amount of medium, bright hopping that helps to create a very silky-smooth body which sits with a sweet bitterness on the back of the throat. This is a very flavorful beer that benefits from well-balanced notes to become a very rich and palatable stout.
Next up is the El Triunfo Coffee Porter. This 100 Barrel Series beer's name (according to Harpoon) is taken from the Chiapas region of Mexico where the beans that were used to make the beer were harvested. When poured in the glass, this beer is a dark chestnut color, with a mild pale head that sits heavy and fluffy. At first smell there is a strong nose of sweet, mild coffee. Upon sipping this, the first taste I get is a sweet, highly malted note that immediately goes to a creamy-coffee consistency and balances out to a more subdued sweetness. The semi-sweet coffee flavor is throughout, but the taste profile gradually breaks down to a smooth, smoky semi-sweetness (as opposed to over-bearing coffee). This smoothness lingers with hints of smoke and light coffee playing on the palate. This beer is medium, and smoothly creamy. Stadning at around 6% abv, this porter is moderate (in terms of density), very drinkable, and not too overwhelmingly filled with coffee notes. Combining these elements make a beer that is flavorful, interesting, and altogether refreshing, even though it's a fairly rich porter.
Follow me on on Blogger, Twitter, and Facebook for a run down of Eli Cannon's Mardi Gras event that happened a few weeks ago, more upcoming beer events, and tasting notes for the last few winter beers out there!