Friday, December 4, 2015

A Whale A Week: Dark Horse Six Pairs of Legs

Dark Horse Brewing's 6 Pairs Of Legs

This week's A Whale A Week offering is a rare little gem from Dark Horse Brewing in Michigan.  Sj and I were able to visit the brewery two years ago when we were out there for NHC.  We had a great time and loved the cobbled-together-almost-ghetto vibe of the place.  I keep discovering random special beers from these guys and this week's beer one such find.

6 Pairs of Legs is described on the bottle in this bizarre fashion: "Imperial Porter made with Dark Horse Syrup Co. maple syrup, then aged in a bourbon barrel, and then aged in a bourbon barrel that had maple syrup aged in it."  Whew!  That was a mouthful.  So this is a big beer (ABV is not noted on the bottle) with lots of maple syrup involved.  Sounds good to me!  This is a 12 oz bottle dipped in very thick wax.  There were not enough ratings of this beer in RateBeer or Beer Advocate to get a number rating.  I've had the bottle for a couple of years but don't know the vintage on it.  I also have no idea where the name came from...For this tasting we had over Bryan Budahn (a brewer with Schram Vineyards and Brewery), Kristen Budahn (enjoys dark beers like a champ), Sarajo (my lovely wife who refuses to write up these reviews but will still drink the beer), and myself (BJCP judge, homebrewer for over 20 years, super beer geek.)

Aroma: (In which we find that Kristen has some judging chops...)
Eric: Strong maple syrup aroma.  Coffee.  Hint of soy sauce at first, but fades over a couple of seconds.  Bourbon and vanilla.  Cocoa.  Roasted grains.  No hop presence.
Bryan: Booze.  Oak.  Some sweetness.
Kristen: Hints of a very dark chocolate.  Maple.  Bourbon.  Harsh alcohol at first, but this is very pleasant after you smell it over time.  Toasty notes.

Eric: Slightly viscous.  Very small dark tan head with large bubbles.  Fades quickly.  Deep brown in color with ruby highlights against the light.  Good clarity for such a dark beer.
Bryan: Dark brown, hazelnut at the edges of the glass.  Fine bubbles on top with minimal head.
Kristen: Dark, chocolaty brown.  Tan head.  Clear.

Flavor: (In which Kristen again shows up the guys with her palate and descriptions.)
Eric: Sweet and boozy!  Strong bourbon, vanilla, marshmallow.  Finish is sweeter and maple comes out at the end.  Some alcohol warming but not hot.  Dark chocolate.  Hint of coffee.  No hop flavors.  Body is only medium but this is mouth coating.
Bryan: Booze mid-way through.  Nome sweetness.  Some chocolate and toastiness.
Kristen: Bourbon in the finish.  Smooth.  Mapley (new word).  Mild smoky notes.  Warm.  Doesn't finish too sweet--you want to take the next sip.

Overall: (Balance is the key!  And Bryan is a tough grader!)
Eric: This beer reminds me of The Bruery's Black Tuesday, but not as sweet and not as hot.  Well balanced but certainly to the sweet side of things.  Maple was not as strong as I expected but it does add complexity.  I'd pour this on pancakes! 4.5
Bryan: I would buy this again for up to $15 a bottle.  Full mouthfeel but with a dry enough finish to prompt you to take another sip.  Warming without being hot.  I wish there was more! 4
Kristen: Very balanced and easy to drink.  No overpowering flavors.  Good maple and bourbon notes. 4.25
Sarajo: This could get you in trouble! 4.5

Overall Score: 4.31

This was a cool little gem of a beer with almost no buzz behind it.  Well done again Dark Horse!

Photo info:  I took a shot of the bottle before opening, cut it out from background and superimposed it on a shot I took of fall maple leaves from last year.  Not entirely happy with the result, I added a pencil sketch filter and this made the colors pop a little more.

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