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Beer Reviews

Snake Pit Porter

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Oaken Barrel Brewing Co.
Greenwood, IN

Style: Porter
ABV: 6.0%

Eddie’s Rating:
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So my ground-level basement window faces east, and tonight I got a good look at the moon right when it was coming up, nearly full, looking just frickin’ huge against the horizon. And it was orange. Wild, man. Not that this has anything to do with beer (directly, at least). I just thought it was pretty damn cool.

Tonight’s beer is Snake Pit Porter from Oaken Barrel Brewing, a little outfit out of Greenwood, Indiana, just south of Indianapolis. Jill brought it back as a gift for Baby-boy—the man likes his dark beer—and I promptly stole it from their beer fridge (which they also stash food in, the weirdos) the last time I was visiting their domicile. I’m not expecting another invite.

Snake Pit Porter slides into the glass a dark, dark amber, underneath a big frothy tawny head. The nose is big for a porter, with roasted malt notes detectable from a good foot away. For the most part the roastiness dominates, but a healthy dose of plum-like fruitiness sits large in the background. At the edges of a deep sniff sit a sawdust-like huskiness, normally considered an off aroma. We’ll see how that plays out.

The sip starts with a soft, inviting body. Immediately, deep roasty notes rush up front. The fruity esters break through during the middle, then dive under and let the roasted malt take over for a medium-long finish. That grain-husk off flavor I detected in the nose also pokes around from sip to sip, but it is mostly hidden behind the roast. As the brew warms, the estery plum notes get a boost while those off flavors pretty much disappear.

Since porters are historically ales, I welcome some fruit notes like Snake Pit exhibits. But what I really look for in a solid porter is some robustiness, which Snake Pit has in spades, with that strong, roasty-toasty backbone in both the sippin’ and the sniffin’. The husky off flavors are my only complaints, but if you serve it closer to cellar temperature you may not notice them at all. Hell, a thing like that can vary from six pack to six pack, so I’d suggest grabbing one the next time you run across some Snake Pit and find out for yourself. A nice brew from Oaken Barrel.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on September 18, 2008.
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