Sean Coughlin's picture

Judge's Review: 94 Rating - Barrel Aged Brownie Batter Blend #2 S'mores by Pontoon Brewing

December, 2020
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
3 / 6
39 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Barrel Aged Brownie Batter Blend #2 S'mores by Pontoon Brewing is being evaluated as as Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines Category 33B) with considerations of being an imperial stout aged in multiple barrel types with cacao nibs, graham cracker crumbs, marshmallow cream, dark muscovado sugar and vanilla.

This beer pours like viscous oil into the glass, struggling to build a head even with an aggressive pour. Some very fine light khaki-colored particulate floats atop the beer where the head of foam is absent. The beer is aptly named as the aroma is extremely reminiscent of brownie batter with hints of vanilla (marshmallow) but no oak barrel. Some light graham cracker emerges as the beer warms, but the aroma remains predominantly chocolate. The flavor offers more complexity with a well-integrated barrel character – there isn't any oak presence but a kiss of bourbon makes this decadent beer even more indulgent. Along with chocolate and vanilla there are also molasses and maple flavors that add richness and depth. There is enough hop bitterness to keep this from drinking like a liquefied candy bar but it is in the ballpark of syrupy-sweet. The mouthfeel of this beer is no joke – a very thick body approaching brownie batter level viscosity and a pleasant warming alcohol that never becomes harsh. Pastry stout lovers, rejoice! This beer delivers a wallop of chocolate and marshmallow to the palate and offers enough complexity of flavor to give it authenticity as a crafted beverage.