Sal Mortillaro II's picture

Judge's Review: 95 Rating - Pig Porter by Right Brain Brewery

November, 2019
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Pig Porter by Right Brain Brewery is being evaluated as a Specialty Smoked Beer (Category 32B) with with the addition of smoked pigs head and pigs bones with an American Porter (Category 20A) per the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines.

On the pour, a very dark brown with opaque clarity due to the color.  A sustained, rocky khaki-colored head of large bubbles sits on top of the beer.  A medium smoky note reminiscent of pecan wood is predominant on the initial smell.  Medium-low dark roasted malt and low chocolate and low coffee notes become apparent behind the initial smoke.  As this beer warms, notes of smoked pork become apparent.  There are no hops or esters apparent in the aroma.  The initial sip hits the drinker with a low malt sweetness quickly replaced by a complex layered very low salinity with medium-low smoked bacon and low smoked bitter chocolate which carries into the finish.  As the finish begins to dissipate, the drinker is left with a savory umami character that lingers on the palate no doubt due to the Mangalista pork additions.  This beer has a medium bitterness perpetuated by the roast though hop flavor is blended in with the evocative earthy character of the smoke and salinity.  Overall, this is a fun and interesting take on a smoked porter.  It is quite easy to overdo the smoke on these types of beers and I found the smoke to be present without over fatiguing the palate.  The enjoyable, savory note that persists in this beer really makes the drinker contemplate the beer.  Gimmick beers are in no short supply, but this is not one of them.  This is an exceptional beer which utilizes creative thinking to create an interesting interpretation of a frequent style.  I believe this beer would pair well with Rogue Creamery Smoky Blue cheese or a sweet gorgonzola.