When I was a young lad, my brother and I shared a room. Whenever we
cleaned were forced to clean our room, it was like WWI… long, pointless, and took a lot of propaganda (aka our mother yelling at us) to finish. My brother always started off strong, but would get so easily distracted less than 15 10 5 minutes into our task. The source of the distraction? Anything “newly” discovered really. “Oh my God!… this is where my stash of Now & Laters went!” “I was looking for this Goosebumps book!” “Jeeze, I didn’t know I had all these Pogs…” The phrases were endless as we cleaned our room a lot… and my brother always left me taking grenades. Forced to do all the work myself, I had to find creative ways to finish the job: stuffing toys into our dresser, backpacks, and (the classic) underneath the futon trick. My persistence to finish a task coupled with my brother’s curiosity reached its culminating achievement recently when hunting down my latest beer, a Swedish Porter sitting on the shelf of my local bottle shop.
The hidden gem was timidly hiding behind many monotonous import brews, and when found, 4 numbers instantly clued me off that this brew was left for dead: 2006. Brewed 8 years ago, Carnegie Stark-Porter (brewed by Carlsberg Sverige) needed to come home with me that instant. (I heard my brother’s voice in my head, “Jeepers! I didn’t know they sold beers that old!”) Would it age like George Clooney or Mick Jagger? Time for them numbers…
Appearance: Very dark, but you can tell it has a burgundy/brownish hue to it. The head was a light tan and didn’t last all that much, kind of like Sisqó in the late 90s.
Smell: Holy molasses… If I had a stack of pancakes, I’m reaching for this to pour on it. I cannot oversell how much this smells like the thick black syrup. I also get wafts of prunes and dates. Smells like a Belgian Quad without the yeast.
Taste: Just plain weird. Like, really, really weird. Prunes were the first thing to strike my palate as I took my first sip of this beer – it was like I was 5 years old again and my mom wanted to ensure digestive heath… not the most pleasant taste from a beer. Then I was hit with lightly roasted grain that opened up a chocolate milk taste. I really liked this brew at just this point, but then came the finish of the beer. The 2006 funk certainly comes through at the end as the chocolate milk flavor transitioned to a bitter dark olive vegetal taste. Some souring is also going on towards the finish, which does not at all work with this style… in any capacity. The alcohol (5.5% ABV) can’t break through the unorthodox taste, and the mouthfeel was rather enjoyable and what you would expect from a beer this old… perhaps the only saving grace.
Overall: I’m just going to cut to the chase here. I couldn’t even finish this beer. While It had some positive elements (the thicker mouthfeel, the chocolate milk taste) the rest of the brew was rather wretched. And in case you are thinking I’m a bit too harsh on an 8 year old beer that had likely expired, I actually drank this before “best by” date (which was January of 2016). All said and done, this brew scores a D- and narrowly avoids an F because of the coolness factor a random 8 year old brew has. This is one discovery I wish I hadn’t found.