Released in late 2015, Brooklyn Brewery’s Intensified Coffee Porter comes with the promise of being a beer ready to take on super powers. How it’s able to do so, presumably, is the result of the beer having super powers of its own.
One super power is said to be gained after the beer spends a few months in Kentucky bourbon barrels, while another is brought about by the addition of beans from Finca El Manzano Single Origin Coffee in El Salvador. A third, and final super power, is the result of the aforementioned beans being roasted by a neighboring café called Blue Bottle Coffee.
Super powers or not, Intensified’s high ABV would seemingly make it an ideal candidate for aging, which seems a relevant point given that it’s being reviewed here roughly six months after its release. Right away, though, some might recall that coffee flavors tend to fade over time, so it seems a reasonable expectation that, in this case, at least one super power will be diminished.
Perhaps that’s why the brewery’s own tasting notes make no mention of the coffee. According to Brooklyn’s website, Intensified is a beer that should have you “bracing for complex notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, berries and dried fruit.” My own tasting notes mirror that statement, calling out hints of most everything mentioned except, of course, for the aforementioned coffee.
Now, that’s not to say the beer is barren of beans, but it’s definitely not “intensified” by their addition. There’s a hint of roast here and there, along with maybe a bit of an earthy element, but for the most part my impression of this beer centers around flavors of dark chocolate, dried fruit, oak, spice and bourbon. In other words, if you’re buying this beer because of a love of coffee, don’t expect to be met with a ground roast revelation.
As for how it drinks, Intensified is warm, but not really boozy, with a slight bitterness in the finish. The beer isn’t overly sweet, nor does it appear to be heavily influenced by tannins. In terms of body and feel, Intensified is medium-bodied with moderate carbonation and a slightly chewy palate.