Port City Brewing opened a year ago in early February 2011, in Alexandria, Virginia, the first production brewery in that city in 95 years.
To celebrate, Jonathan Reeves, the original and lead brewer, brewed One —a 'Belgian-style' strong stout of 9.5% alcohol-by-volume. Here is how he described the beer at his blog:
ONE. This is a new mash up: Belgian Imperial Stout. Stout is the first beer I fell in love with and I like its many incarnations. When I worked for Nick Funnell, at Sweetwater, he made an incredible Imperial Stout. It is one part dark chocolate, and one part Christmas pudding with flavors of dried fruit and booze. Lovely beer and Nick has won a bunch of accolades for it.
I wanted to do a twist by taking this style out of British territory and making it more Belgian. I made the character malt bill much leaner and added 1/5 of the gravity with candy sugar. I still used 6 different malts but in smaller proportions. The OG is 22p.
The hops are both European (Fuggles and Magnum) and American (Columbus and Amarillo Chinook),with almost a pound per bbl of dry hop. At 65 IBUs it is on the low end of the style, because it was intended to finish very dry, about 3.5p.
Last, it was the yeast that made it Belgian. I used a Westmalle clone; it is the same yeast we use for the Optimal Wit. There are lots of fruity and spicy flavors imparted by this monastic yeast. I taste plums and cooked apples and also spices like allspice and nutmeg, though no spices were added.
This beer fermented vigorously and was done in ten days.
The meaning of the term 'Belgian-style' is nebulous, but the implication is that a beer tagged with the designation was brewed with a yeast strain more commonly used for ales from Belgium. These strains impart distinctive flavors and aromas: phenolics, fruity esters, higher alcohols.
And, Port City Brewing's celebratory One?
Dark auburn, creamy (without nitrogen dispense,) good head retention. Tastes of chocolate-covered raisins, with secondary flavors/aromas of figs, (fresh) nutmeg, and vanilla. Finishes off-dry, absent a roasty bite.
As tasted, on draft, at ...
Rustico Restaurant Ballston
10 February 2012.
- Only one batch of One was brewed. This past Thursday morning, the brewery tweeted that "One is done!"
- I manipulated the photo with Picnik, an on-line photo editing site. I removed some of the indoor orange-red tint, and finished with a Vignette effect. Even so, that is indeed the color of the beer: dark auburn, almost black. See the un-retouched original: here. Picnik is to be discontinued by Google on 19 April 2012.
- More beer reviews at Drinking, Again.
- Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as subject. Commercial use requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.