Review: Salcombe Barrel Aged Porters
Last month, Devon-based brewery Salcombe released two limited-edition beers aged in wooden barrels. Both beers are based on the recipe of the brewery’s Island Street Porter but clock in at 6.2% abv. Once brewed, the beer has been matured for six months in a Speyside whisky barrel and a Heaven Hill bourbon barrel and only 200 bottles of each have been released.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Island Street Porter (6.2%)
The beer pours fairly flat; there's a significant amount of sediment in the bottle and yeast on the bottleneck which slightly affects the appearance (mine was a 25cl sample).
Black olives, cherry and ground coffee are the leading aromas, with liquorice in the background. There's also vanilla, and some sweeter stone fruit notes, mostly apricot, that likely come from the Bourbon barrel.
It's fresh on the palate, a little tart yet fairly creamy in texture. While in the mouth the beer develops an interesting umami character. The finish is dry and long.
Speyside Whisky Barrel Aged Island Street Porter (6.2%)
Like the Bourbon barrel version, this pours fairly flat; the colour though is a lot brighter.
There's a marked coffee aroma, as well as notes of oyster shell, liquorice, vanilla and cherries.
The palate is round, velvety and shows great depth and complexity: vanilla, liquorice, wild herbs, and a hint of smokiness that well complements the beer's coffee character. There's almost a balsamic note to it, as well as the same umami personality found in the Bourbon barrel expression that here reminds of soy sauce. Coffee and mocha in the finish. Undoubtedly my favourite of the two, it would make for a good match with beef steak or with a mushroom risotto.
The beers are both available through the brewery’s website at an RRP of £19.99.