Based off a “stronger, more intense version” of their core Pecan Porter recipe, Austin’s (512) Brewing Company first bottled its Whiskey Barrel Double Pecan Porter in 2010.1 The initial run was limited to a single 200-liter barrel, an amount that increased to five times that number a year later. For the 2013 vintage, a total of ten 200-liter barrels were bottled, providing Texans an even greater supply of what has become one of the state’s more highly sought-after brews.
Brewed with locally-grown pecans supplied by austiNuts, the bumped-up base beer—the reason for the word “double” appearing in the name—was stowed away in oak whiskey barrels for two months. While that may not seem like a lot of time compared to some barrel treatments, keep in mind that the underlying brew is a porter and not a stout. Porters are generally lighter-bodied and not as intense, and this one is no exception, meaning a less-is-more approach is prudent when considering how much barrel character you want to impart to the beer.
The goal here is likely to mirror the profile of the original Pecan Porter,2 which (512) describes on their website as “balanced with a subtle pecan aroma.” Judging by the results, this is something that holds true in the Whiskey Barrel brew as well. While it is arguably slightly whiskey-forward, it isn’t so much so that it detracts from other elements. There’s a mix of chocolate, coffee and liquor which extends to a warm, woody finish, with the pecans, some vanilla and light roast filling the aftertaste. Considering the date on the label, it should be noted that each of these flavor components maintains a discernible presence, even though it’s been over a year since the beer’s original release.
Although it’s referred to as a robust porter, in a strict technical sense that’s the one thing about this beer that doesn’t really fit. Understand that this is a good thing, since the presence of that style’s typical burnt, black malt character would do nothing but upset the apple cart in this case. As it stands, outside of a wish for slightly softer carbonation, the beer is as smooth and drinkable as you’ll find in a barrel-aged variety.