Thursday, January 3, 2013

Leinenkugel


Vanilla Porter Review


Leinenkugel Promotion Picture

Beer Reviewed: Snowdrift Vanilla Porter
Style: Porter
Brewery: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Discovery


This one I had to look up. The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company is located in Chippewa Falls, WI, which you may know is a bit west of my current location. It may be as much as 100 miles away from here, as such I’ve never been there and I’m a little suspicious if it’s a real place.



Also, when I see such an obviously Irish name for a brewery, I look forward to pairing that beer with the traditional Irish foods, like colcannon, soda bread, and cottage pie. Yummy!

See what I did there? Yes, I know it’s not Irish, but my first thought after I learned the name and location of the brewery is to think of the pairing with cheeses, sausages and breads. When I think Wisconsin and German heritage, my heart starts to palpitate in anticipation of heavy, fatty foods, and that’s just breakfast!



German Breakfast

I certainly don’t mean this part of the review to be interpreted as a negative. Although this isn’t a food blog, I love heavy foods and I think they generally go very well with certain types of beers. Having a nice flavorful beer with some aged cheeses and other charcuterie is a great way to spend an afternoon in front of a fire.

One other thing. Their website says:

The beer pairs well with marshmallow sweet potato casserole, glazed ham with cherries, long roasted meats with mole, bananas foster and almost any combination of chocolate and cherry.

That’s quite a light pairing, and probably a little sweeter than I would typically have with beer, but to each his/her own.

Enough about the food, let’s get on to...

The Beer



Leinenkugel Snowdrift Vanilla Porter Bottle

Beer characteristics

Quantitative parameters of beer character

  1. I have mentioned previously that I wanted to compare the global phenomenon know as The Hitchens Taste Scale against the IBU rating, but their website has a different measure. They put the hoppiness at a 3, and the maltiness at a 7. These are out of ten. On the Hitchens scale, I would put this at a -2. To compare the two scores, my opinion is less sweet than theirs, but not too far off.
  2. This has a respectable alcohol content of 6% alc/vol.
  3. The color is a predictable dark brown that you should expect from a porter.

Qualitative parameters of beer character

  1. Considering the name, you might imagine the aroma has a slight vanilla tone, and you’d be right. The odd thing to me is that’s the only aroma my nose is picking up.
  2. The vanilla flavor is more noticeable than the aroma, and it’s quite enjoyable. I’m a fan of real vanilla and this is hitting me just right.
  3. The vanilla aftertaste lingers for a while, and it stays in the back of the throat. If I take a breath through my nose, I can pick up the faint flavor long after I drank the beer.
  4. The mouthfeel is not what I would call bright, but the toasted flavor coats your mouth and tingles on the tongue for a 5 count.
  5. These darker beers seem to have less carbonation, and the head leaves quickly.
  6. The temperature can be a bit warmer than other winter brews, and by giving it a few minutes to open up, the vanilla gets brighter and brighter.


Leinenkugel Vanilla Porter Bottle and Glass

Recommendation


This beer is fantastic, and although I’m not drinking it with food, I am curious how it would marry with sweet potato casserole, but I probably wouldn’t wait until the dessert cart came around.

- Enthusiast

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