Jan 7, 2011

Long Trail Imperial Porter

Long Trail Ales Imperial Porter label

I first ran across this Imperial Porter at Total Wine some time back (I have since returned to pick up more of it). It is the first product I’ve ever encountered from Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing Company — and is it ever one hell of an introduction!

The story behind the beer is that it was originally a “homebrew secret” that was further developed by ther brewers for a larger scale release. Weighing in at 8.3% ABV, this limited, seasonal brew from the company’s Brewmaster Series is not only a well crafted Baltic porter, but it’s also one of the hoppiest (if not the hoppiest) examples of the style I’ve ever had. It’s made with four hop varieties: Nugget, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo — which gives the beer a great bite and counter balance to roasted malts, chocolate sweetness and coffee component.


Pouring a reddish brown in color this brew sits in the glass with a mocha head that faded slowly to patchy lace.


The basic Baltic porter scents are in there: roasted malt, light chocolates and a touch of coffee. But what’s really a nice surprise is the hefty level of earthy, spicy hops. To say I was excited after the first couple of sniffs would be an understatement. There’s a hint of alcohol coming through, as well.


This is definitely one of the more unique Baltic porters I’ve every enjoyed. The amount of hops is both surprising and welcome, but for as hoppy as the brew is, it never becomes a burden on the palate. The hope bite balances well with roasted coffee and subtle chocolates, leaving a lingering bitterness in the sharp/crisp finish. The mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but doesn’t detract from the drinking experience. There’s a good level of sweetness to go along with the hop bitterness and a good bit of booze comes through as the beer warms in the glass.


I really liked this porter. It’s a unique take on one of my favorite styles of beer. I love the upfront hops and the overall earthy tone of the brew. I’d personally want it a touch fuller on the palate, but it’s still an incredible brew.

Rating: 4.5/5

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