Wednesday, October 28, 2009

PorterPalooza #7 - O'So Nighttrain


Based on the lines at pretty much every recent beer festival I've been to, O'So is a strong, up-and-coming brewery. In business for the past two years out of the side/back of their brewing-supply store in Plover, WI, early batches tended to the spotty. But, a few years in now, most of the kinks worked out, Brewmaster Marc Buttera is starting to hit his stride.

O'So brews a number of styles: by my count off of their website is 15 just in the "current" styles, and an additional 4 that have been retired - almost 20 styles in less than 2 years of operation. While I wasn't personally a fan of the Picnic Ants Saison, the Jack O'Lantern smoked rye pumpkin belgian beer thing made me take notice, as did the Lupulin Maximus, Dominator, and Oktoberfest. I reviewed the Hopdinger as part of the IPA kick I was on this past summer and found myself really liking it despite some questionable reviews from RateBeer and BeerAdvocate.

Based on the notes on the outside of this bottle, I expect the Night Train to be a robust, as opposed to brown, porter:
This complex Porter is black as the coal that fueled locomotives for generations. Made with judicious amounts of crystal and chocolate malts for a rich, smooth, creamy experience. Go ahead and jump on the night train. Enjoy.

O'So Night Train Porter
BA (). RB (84).
Appearance: As the label promises, it is jet-black; a thick, tan head makes think there might a judicious use of hops as well
Aroma: the aroma jumps out of the bottle and up to the nose as soon as liquid hits the glass; chocolate and caramel with a hint of hops and roastiness lend it a dark espresso quality
Flavor: If this were on nitrogen, it would taste like chocolate milk; a lot of chocolate, with a hint of roastiness; the caramel comes through on the back but there isn't a big hoppiness that I wouldn't have been surprised to find
Body: Full to medium bodied with a bit of a lingering flavor of dark-roasted espresso
Drinkability: the body militates against sessionability, but I'd put this up with the Edmund Fitzgerald in terms of heavier-bodied porters that I would drink as much of as would fit in my belly.
Summary: Very nice for a cold winter-evening porter; my only real complaint is one that I have generally with "Porters" of this body - what's the difference between this and a stout? With this one in particular, without the strong roastiness typically associated with porters of this heft, I'm not sure I could make a logical argument for classifying this as a porter instead of a stout. Indeed, it's heavier and bigger than many stouts. So, nomenclature aside, it's really enjoyable.

1 comment:

  1. I had my first encounter with the Night Train over easter weekend and was taken back by the immensity of the first sip ,it sent my mind scrambling for words to describe it to my wife"a non beer drinker". It is a bit over whelming for a guy that does not tempt him self with this sort of dark side of the beer world. I began thinking I had made a mistake purchasing a beer I had never heard of at almost $10.00 per six pack. I rose to the challenge though and I began to sift through the dark hoppy and coffee bean mannerisms and soon began to sense the the utter joy of the under tones of this mammoth brew in a cleaver bottle. My hat is permanently tipped to the awesome command this beer has, and I will continue to darken the door of any establishment that is wise enough to carry it. Simply put "Man what a great Beer"!

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