Evil Twin Lil' B
BREWERY: Two Roads Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Stratford, Conn.
STYLE: Imperial porter
ABV: 11.5 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $3.99
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce bottles
Ultimately, Lil' B is one of my all time favorite porters even though it is likely pushing the envelope for the style. To me, the defining line between a stout and a porter has less to do with overall gravity and more to do with the flavor profile, with stouts leaning towards the bitter side—barrel-aged variants notwithstanding—and porters leaning towards the sweeter side. This beer flirts with being overly sweet, but the complexity and combination of flavors present result in an incredibly enjoyable beverage. If you enjoy big, complex, malt-heavy beer I would highly recommend picking up a few of these if you happen to come across them.
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Evil Twin Brewing is a gypsy brewery1 originating from Copenhagen, Denmark with headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y. In order to fully understand the origins of Evil Twin, one would need some knowledge of the relationship between founder Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso and his identical twin brother Mikkel Borg Bjergso, founder of Mikkeler Brewing. The intent of this article is not to go into detail about the brothers and their somewhat tumultuous relationship, but if you were particularly interested, I would suggest looking at this piece from The New York Times.

Evil Twin Lil' B bottle

Needless to say, the two could not be more different. Jeppe tends to not take himself too seriously and that shows through both in the over-the-top2 flavor profiles in some of his creations as well as the sometimes obscure, often punny names he gives them.

Now, on to the beer at hand.

Evil Twin has an impressive and vast array of beers in their portfolio, some of which have been incredibly sought after while many have fallen a little flat. In the case of Lil’ B, I think it is one of the better beers in its line-up that often gets overshadowed by the likes of Even More Jesus and its myriad iterations or Imperial Biscotti Break and its respective variations.

An imperial porter in name, Lil’ B clocks in at a hefty 11.5 percent ABV and a gravity that will blur the lines even more between porter and stout. Brewed by Two Roads Brewing Co. in Connecticut, it is a year round offering that should be fairly readily available in most markets where Evil Twin is distributed.

Upon pouring into a tulip glass, the beer is viscous and black with a quarter inch of caramel head that slowly begins to form after I empty the bottle a little more vigorously than usual. Before I can even finish shooting a few images of the beer, the head recedes to leave a perfect eighth of an inch ring of tan bubbles around the rim and a few streams rising along the walls of the glass. The initial aroma is simply delightful; a complex combination of coffee, sweet caramel, prunes, soy sauce3 and an underlying hint of alcohol greet me.

Evil Twin Lil' B

The first sip of Lil’ B is luscious, with the beer coating my mouth with flavor driven primarily by sweet caramel and coffee notes. The carbonation is ideal and does not detract from the substance of the beer or artificially add to its presence. The weight of the beer stands on its own and the carbonation is secondary, which is exactly how I prefer it. The finish is long and sweet, almost sticky, and does nothing to hide the high alcohol content in this beer although it is not harsh by any means.

Like many heavier stouts and porters, the flavors present in Lil’ B really open up after the beer has had some time in the glass. I pick up notes of dark fruit and cherries along with some smooth cocoa, with an ever present sweetness that might be a bit much for some.