BREWERY: Heavy Seas Beer
LOCATION: Baltimore, Md.
STYLE: American Porter
ABV: 10 percent
RELEASE DATE: May-June 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
In 1980, Hugh Sisson thought he had his life all planned out for the next several years as he would endeavor to become a stage actor and director.
His goal was to move to New York City after completing his course work for a masters degree in theatre. The trajectory of his life was greatly altered when Hugh’s father, Albert, a Baltimore businessman, persuaded him to come and help out at the newly opened family business, a tavern called Sisson’s. When Hugh showed up for work for what he assumed would be only a temporary gig, it didn’t take very long for his father to toss him the keys to the pub, say “Don’t F*** it up,” and walk out the door.
Hugh eventually stayed with the business until 1994 when he decided to go into business himself, and he founded and opened Clipper City Brewing, now home to Heavy Seas beer. Years after, and many beers into the future, Heavy Seas is becoming more and more a recognizable name and player in the craft beer industry.
With nine year-round releases, a good amount of limited, one-time and collaborations under his belt, popularity and recognition has soared.
Today, I am reviewing a relatively newer release to the line-up, Blackbeard’s Breakfast, a 10 percent ABV imperial coffee porter aged in bourbon barrels. It is released from May to June and is part of the Unchartered Waters Series
A medium pour brings forth a near pitch black color with a solid finger of tan head, light to medium carbonation and spotty lacing as the head settles down. Aroma is present, but not too overwhelming with notes of oak, bourbon, chocolate malts, toffee and fresh cut wood, interesting.
Taste is sweet up front, and then opens up to reveal chocolate next, a raw earthiness, roasted coffee beans, bourbon and oak. There is a light spiciness on the palate and the booziness stays pretty calm until some warming occurs, and then it makes itself a little more known without completely overpowering your taste buds. Carbonation is light to medium and the mouth feel is slightly coating and a bit chalky yet glides across the tongue with relative ease.
The finish of Heavy Seas Blackbeard’s Breakfast is a bit tannic with notes of strong coffee and light bourbon and this beer produces a lot of good flavors but seems to jump around with them and that hinders the balance and deep complexity that just does not quite get there.