Evil Twin Ashtray Heart Smoked Porter

I can't say Evil Twin has knocked my socks off so far, but I love a good porter, and this one is right up my alley from the label alone. While New Belgium can't design a label for the life of them, Evil Twin is all about cool marketing. If they can hone their talent for making good beer, they can really make a go of it.

This is another beer that falls into the category of "so dark, it may as well be black." Technically, it is just really, really dark brown, but you're only kidding yourself if you don't call it black, which is the right color for a porter, in my opinion. The very brown head leaves a little lacing behind as a sign that it was once there and would be back if there was any trouble. The aroma is smokey malt, nuts, and metal.

First sip is smokey malt with wood and earth. The distinct coffee taste is blended right in there with everything, but the smoke takes the mood of the drink into itself and guards it jealously. Multiple sips aren't bad at all - a touch more bitter than I would expect from something so malty, but very good and smokey. A sip, though, is only a slight insight.

A full swig brings a tip-in of carbonation burn to go with the dark wood. The middle is light coffee aroma with earthen smoke and even a hint of licorice. It's smooth without being all that powerful, which was not expected after the rather strong sip. The finish is on the horizon when the bitterness cloud starts to form. The smoke never goes away as it separates to let the strong coffee bitterness through. It is not well managed, and it seems like it rushes in just to set off the mild middle. Then, it ends with bitterness and smoke trailing off into the sunset like some drunken version of a Western.

Bottom Line: A good porter. A good beer. Not a great beer.



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