The original shipwreck porter from Arcadia Ales smooth and rich in flavor as is. Stick that beer into a barrel and everything gets turned up to 10.

The first initial smell of the beer is booze. The bourbon and alcohol are very prominent and steer you toward thinking this is going to be something of a boozy mess. Once the liquor clears the space, bits of caramel, black licorice and some black cherry come through.

The taste follows the smell and then some. The bourbon and the oak from the barrel greet you first, but aren't hot and as alcoholic as the nose seemed to have promised. The cocoa flavor is two part. One part is the earthy, chalky sweetness and the other is a bit bitter from a darker roasted chocolate malt. Oddly enough the dark fruits found in the nose are more leaning toward a grape flavor than a cherry flavor. There is a slight bit of of licorice on the back end.

The mouthfeel is smooth and relatively thin. There isn't as much body as could be expected with a big porter such as this, but the drinkability is easy. This beer is rich, but not cloying and not a meal. It will warm you up but not fill you up. Given some time, this has shown to blend really well and tone down the alcohol, which is much bigger when first bottled.

I fully believe that more time won't hurt this beer, but am not confident that this will develop much more past what it already has. This brew might just have peaked at the 3 year mark.


Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.

Posted on December 19, 2014 .