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Category Archives: Bluegrass Brewing Co.

Review of Bluegrass Brewing Company Dark Star Porter

For today’s review I thought I would try another beer from my home state of Kentucky called the Bluegrass Brewing Company Dark Star Porter.  It’s brewed in downtown Louisville and is named after a Kentucky Derby winning horse (I think).

As you may have read in my “Introduction to Craft Beer” post, this brewery is the one that got me started on craft beer, so it holds a special place in my heart. 

I have been able to try several different styles that BBC produces and all seem to be decent interpretations, not to mention that I, like many other enthusiasts want to support local brewers.

Here’s the brewers description from bbcbrew.com:

A rich robust blend of light, caramel and dark malts set the stage for BBC Dark Star Porter’s robust presence on the palate.  This smooth but robust porter has complex notes of chocolate and roasted grains balanced by additions of traditional English hops, creating a delicious chocolaty and smooth ale.

Let’s get it in a glass, shall we?

This Porter came in a 12 oz. bottle and had a 5.6% ABV.

I apologize for the picture being of such poor quality, but you can sort of tell that it’s a very dark brownish/black color with some traditional ruby highlights showing through the middle, around the bottom and around the edges when held to the light.  It had a very meek and virtually non-existent tan colored head that left only the most diminutive amount of lacing.

The aroma was of some subdued coffee notes along with very meager hints of chocolate.  Some roasted grain and toastiness were presented, but both seemed to be rather light and insignificant.  Small traces of dark fruit (raisin, plum) made and appearance, which helped to bring about a little bit more sweetness.  Overall, this aroma was balanced ok, but it was very weak, undersized and negligible.

The taste was like the smell in a lot of ways.  Tones of coffee and chocolate malt with some toastiness, however they are, once more, rather tame and relaxed.  As it warmed, the dark fruits came through a bit more and it started to develop some of that “chalkiness”, of which I tend to like in my Porters and Stouts.  Don’t get me wrong, the aroma and taste are not bad at all.  They just don’t have enough “power” or “oomph” for me that’s all.

The mouthfeel was medium, smooth, somewhat crisp and slick.  It was mostly dry, although I thought it could have been a little bit dryer.  As the beer warmed it started to become a bit thin too.  Not a whole lot of flavor was left covering the palate.  Some was, however it was just not an overabundance.

I honestly think that this beer would be a great “introductory” Porter for someone interested in the style.  It has many of the proper characteristics, yet it’s just very restrained and laid back.  The Dark Star is very easy to drink, mostly enjoyable and not too filling.  I’m guessing it’s safe to say that since I now favor big, bold, rich Porters and Stouts that maybe my expectations have changed for a proper interpretation.  It was one of the first Porters I ever sampled and I haven’t had it in a very long time, so I may have mislead myself and expected too much from this one.   With that being said, I’m still going to visit the Bluegrass Brewing Company on occasion, have a Porter and enjoy myself, so it’s all good.

If you have never sampled a Porter and are interested in the style, give this one a shot for sure.

Thanks for reading guys.  Until next time.

Cheers.

Score:  3.3 out of 5
Grade:  B-    

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Review of Bluegrass Brewing Co. Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series)

For this review I would like to sample the Bourbon Barrel Stout (Clay Street Series) beer from the Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville, Kentucky.

Stouts are a favorite style of mine and I stumbled upon this while visiting Chuck’s Liquors in Bowling Green, KY.  I had never seen it before, so I thought I would pick up a bottle and see how it was.

Not a lot info was given on the website, bluegrassbrew.com, but I will provide a small statement from the brewery.

A silky American Stout delicately aged in 2005 Bourbon barrels for approximately 60 days.  The malt sweetness is perfectly balanced by the roasted barley and a nice hint of bourbon flavor and aroma.  The Bourbon Barrel Stout was first brewed on December 22, 2005.

Let’s get it poured and see if it’s any good.

The ABV on this 12 oz. bottle was 8.6 %.

The beer poured a very dark brownish almost black color with a light tan head that was of nice size, very creamy and very smooth looking.  As I sipped, some beautiful lacing was left on the glass.  The head retention was outstanding and after a few minutes it settled to a fine film across the top which lasted for the duration of the drink. 
The smell brought forth a smokey variety backed up by some “peat” notes.  Coffee aromas were present, but they are hidden a bit by the smoke.  Some chocolate came through, however it was mild and smelled more like a dried cocoa powder.  I didn’t really get any of the Bourbon or alcohol as I thought I might. 
The taste provided more of the aforementioned smoke, which I liked, but once again I did not receive any Bourbon flavoring.  The coffee notes were mild and the chocolate was hidden in the background.  Nary a hint of alcohol was found, which surprised me considering the high ABV content.  The taste nor the smell wasn’t extremely well balanced. 
The mouthfeel was medium and mostly dry.  It was smooth, but not as creamy as I thought it might be.  No real alcohol warmth was to be found and the flavor did not stick to the palate as much as I had hoped.  I thought the mouthfeel was a little bit lackadaisical considering the style.  Most big Bourbon beers that I have had thus far seem to really blanket the tongue and throat very well until the next sip.   

Well, this beer looked really good in the glass and I loved the smokey aspects, although I was expecting and hoping for a bit more of the Bourbon aroma and flavoring.  Oh well, It was still a rather enjoyable and an easy drink.  It went down very easy even with the high ABV.  The brew was not horrible by any means, but it was rather misleading.  I would be more than happy to have another.  Maybe even two.  I thought this would be a “sipper”, but I found myself taking big gulps.  I don’t want to confuse you and say that this example was horrible because it wasn’t.  It just didn’t provide the “kick” that I thought it might.  That being said, I always like to pick up a few Bluegrass Brewing Co. beers on occasion to support my home states local breweries. 

Score:  3.6 out of 5
Grade:  B

 
 
 
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