Uncapping / Pouring / Aesthetics:
Almost no hiss, very low carbonation---almost uncarb'd. I'm guessing that you're using a beer gun or something similar to bottle from the keg, and maybe that's hit or miss (I have no experience with it). No worries, though, I have another one to try. The color is very dark, opaque...a hint of red at the edges.
Wow, who needs bubbles when you have 80% smoked malt? I've made a smoked porter before, just using a tiny bit of peated malt, and the smoke was really subtle. This one, though...I would love to make one these...I'm told that the malt here is home-smoked, which is just badass. The aroma at first is all smoke, but not ashy or too over the top harsh. I like smoked food and drink, and this is right up my alley. There's some roasty character in the background as well, along with some dark fruit, like fig or plum, but without being estery at all.
Again, the smoke is really what shines. The mouthfeel is spot-on, perfect! Silky, but not heavy on the palate at all. There's a touch of sweetness towards the back, but it's not cloying. That little bit of fruit and roasted character comes through more and more as the beer warms up. The hop bitterness is balanced with the smoke and the body, and there's virtually no hop flavor. Now, I'm not sure if the smoke flavor just "blew off" as the beer warmed up in the glass, but by the end of it, I'd say the smoke flavors had dissipated by probably 60%, and things got much more balanced. What I can't figure out is whether they blew off, or whether it was habituation
of my palate. Either way, I love it when beers evolve as they warm up. And even without the carbonation, this is incredibly expressive.
Proximity to the Style:
The smoke is a little more aggressive than most smoked porters I've had, but then again, I have yet to try Left Hand's Smoke Jumper, so we'll see. I think this is pretty balanced all told, but at first, the smoke leans towards a milder rauchbier. It needs carbonation for the full package, as well.
Certainly not the most subtle of smoked beers, but as I've grown more and more attracted to smoked food and drink, I've gotten to the point where I want to use more rauchmalt, and I'd love to try this recipe. Not having seen the grain bill, I'd say that it could maybe use a bit more crystal malts to add some mid-palate complexity that I feel is lacking. But aside from that and the lack of carbonation (which might be different on the other bottle), I can find no fault. This beer kicks ass, especially if you're a fan of smoke.