Brewery: Strange Land Brewery
Style: English Porter (13C)
Package: 12oz Can
Packaged Date: N/A
Purchased: Whichcraft Mueller, March 2018
Details from the Brewer
Step into 18th century London with an Entire, the original Porter. Unlike weaker table beers, the Entire was historically brewed with the full runnings of the mash, providing a deep, rich flavor. Our re-creation honors this tradition by combining dark malts with British hops and yeast. Delicate chocolate notes accent its full body and spicy hop character.
Aroma – 3/12
Caramel and some dark chocolate notes hit first, showcasing darker malts. This is quickly overcome by a plastic phenol. It’s pretty distracting and is probably hinting at things to come. There are some notes of earthy hop character. Maybe a hint of fruity fermentation esters.
Appearance – 3/3
Pours a deep dark brown, almost black liquid. Although close to opaque, clarity is decent until it hits the bottom fourth of the can, where noticeable yeast pours out. Pours with a surprisingly high head of fine and medium bubbles. Retention is great and it lasts for a few minutes before reverting to a thin coating.
Flavor – 4/20
The aroma follows suit here, a bit of caramel up front and a touch of chocolate at a low-med intensity. This is quickly accompanied by a medium intensity phenolic plastic note. Toward the end of the taste, the flavors fall away to a low bitterness and a slight acrid harshness. Finish is dry, with balance words the malt, but dominated by the phenols. Light pear esters are noticeable as it warms.
Mouthfeel – 3/5
On opening the can, the carbonation is close to medium-high, much higher than the style dictates. Medium light body with a very light astringency noticeable on the tongue. Low-moderate alcohol warmth. Low creaminess.
Overall Impression – 2/10
This may have been a tasty English Porter the day it was packaged into its can. It’s apparent that a wild yeast or brett contamination has since taken over an produced a phenolic mess. The contamination seems to have muted the British yeast expression, and toned down the malt character. Better sanitation practices are needed, as this is something that should have been caught by their QA.
Rating – 15/50
“Naturally Can Conditioned” didn’t work out as planned in this case. The phenolic note was pretty off-putting. I drank maybe 4oz of this can before pouring the rest. I’ll admit, after being burned by other offerings over the years from Strange Land, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. My intuition was right, and they are still having QC issues. Although there was no packaging date, I wonder how quickly the phenolic character starts expressing in these cans. I’d hold off on buying any of these until they sort out their issues.
On a different note of contention, I’m always surprised to find as much yeast and trub in their beers. While they taught can, bottle and keg conditioning, I’ve had examples from plenty of other breweries and homebrewers which don’t result in the bottom fourth being an opaque slurry.