You can throw just about anything into a barrel for aging, but people think of stouts most of the time when it comes to a barrel aged beer. Porters aren't very far behind as an option for barrel aging. The porter style is, in a sense, a weak stout. Around the 1700s, Porters were brewed in different levels. Single porters are the traditional porters you know today. Double and triple porters are now known as stouts and imperial stouts.

In the late 1700s, porters were brewed and matured in large vats, aged if you will. In the early 1800s it was found that porter didn't need to be aged at all, and the way the beer was brewed and blended could achieve the affect of being aged without the year it would have taken.

So aging a porter in a whiskey barrel only seems fitting. In this case, Flying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Porter is a fair, traditional porter right off the shelf, but the barrel aged version takes the beer to a completely different level. Give it another 3 years to do whatever it wants in the bottle and...

The nose is full of cocoa, molasses, and roasted grains. It smells rich and sweet. The whiskey soaked oak is still present and helps add foundation to the aroma. Some dark fruits, cinnamon, and fig come through a bit as the beer opens up.

The taste is smooth and not as overly rich as the nose predicts. Chocolate, roasted grains and coffee make up the body of the flavor. A slight bit of vanilla and a spice, maybe nutmeg or cinnamon, drift throughout and ends with a bit of licorice. The end of the taste is a bit earthy and slightly dry, but not to the point where you feel disappointed in such a big beer.

The grain bill and the addition of the oak helps build the medium to full body. It's not chewy or thick, but it's not soupy or thin either. As complex as this beer is when freshly bottled, it has retained a lot of its original character and the base beer can still be found. Even after three years, the subtle flavors still exist within the blending over time. Letting this one sit for any longer might start loosing some of the more finite characteristics, but up until this point, this beer has aged well.


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 November 21, 2014 .