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Judge's Review: 91 Rating - Kujo by Flying Dog Brewery

September, 2020


United States
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
38 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

The beer is billed as an American Porter with locally sourced cold brewed coffee. Kujo by Flying Dog Brewery was judged as a Spice/Herb/Vegetable beer with American Porter (BJCP Category 20A) as the base style. What we should expect in this beer based on description is a “substantial, malty dark beer with a complex and flavorful dark malt character.” With the addition of coffee, I am expecting it to be anywhere from subtle to substantial, but I still feel like I’m drinking a beer and not a cold, carbonated cup of coffee.

The beer pours a black with deep garnet highlights. It’s fairly clear when held up to the light, but sitting in the glass it does appear black at first sight. The head is light tan, loose and fizzy and dissipates quickly. The aroma is quite nice with the coffee being the dominant aroma. But there are hints of burnt grains, and chocolate from the malt following behind. Hop presence is quite low, with a faint piney quality. The hops don’t really start to show themselves until the beer warms. The flavor is classically American Porter. I get a lot of dark roasted grains, dark chocolate and coffee, with a subtle burnt tone. The coffee addition ramps up the coffee perception in the beer obviously. The beer finishes quite dry with a long, dark, bittersweet chocolate finish. The coffee for me was certainly more noticeable in the aroma than the flavor. Not that it wasn’t there in the flavor, it was just the dominant player in the aroma while in the flavor it blended pretty well with malts. The bitterness from the hops is moderate and accentuated by the bitterness from the roast and may be too bitter for some. Hop flavor is similar to what I got in the aroma: there is a piney note as well as a little herbal tone to the hop side. The body is medium-light and a shade too thin for an American Porter in my opinion, but it’s well carbonated and does have a low creamy texture to the beer. There is a touch of light astringency, which is not a surprise with the coffee and dark roasted grains. I do not get a lot in terms of alcohol warmth in this beer so I suspect it’s below 7%, ABV as a standard American Porter should be. All in all, this is a solid coffee porter, and I actually feel the base beer is most likely outstanding. It’s not sweet like so many American porters are and the baseline for beer seemed to all be within style. The only thing is I wish there was a bit more hops in there, but the range falls in the lower end of the scale for this beer style, but it does allow for low-to-high hop presence. The coffee addition was very well done in my opinion, and I wouldn't want any more overshadowing that base beer.