Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review of Holy City Brewing Barrel Aged Pluff Mud Porter

Holy City is one of the most engaging breweries in Charleston. They are one of the very few places around that help foster our burgeoning homebrewing community by offering ingredients, and they host the biggest homebrew competition in Charleston (possibly in the state). Their brewers and staff are also some of the friendliest and totally cool people you’ll ever meet. It stands to reason, then, that their most ambitious beer to date would be released at a class they co-led with Westbrook to teach us Charlestonians about the ins and outs of barrel aging beer.  I unfortunately didn’t have the time to attend the class, but I went and picked up a growler of the bourbon barrel aged Pluff Mud Porter. Pluff Mud was one of HC’s first and one of their best, and throwing it into bourbon barrels seems like a natural leap.

The beer pours black, but if you hold it up to the light, you see a deep ruby color. The barrel aged version is a little cloudier than the original. The beer poured out of my growler with little to no head. The nose is very boozy, oak and caramel notes present as well. There is a slight chocolatey undertone that is reminiscent of the original Pluff Mud. The mouthfeel is medium, which is expected of a beer of this style. The lighter body really complemented the big, complex, barrel aged flavors well compared to, say, a stout. Booze is again prominent on the front end, accompanied by an alcoholic burn that permeates throughout. The middle of the palate was my favorite part of this beer – strong chocolate notes and very roasty - this is where the original Pluff Mud really shines through. The beer finishes dry and bitter with the alcohol burn lingering.

Overall, I think this beer held up very well to the barrel aging process. Many of the popular barrel aged stouts we’re seeing nowadays are really cranked up, making it hard to get through a whole bottle. Holy City’s Pluff Mud is a more balanced offering, showcasing the complex, boozy trademarks of barrel aging without making it a chore to drink. I would recommend it to someone who is just getting into the barrel aged craze, if they release it again (what do you say, guys??).

Review By Reece LeMay

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