Double Down. Two Brews. One Review. Southern Tier Raspberry Porter & Shiner Fröst.
It’s Wednesday, I’ve been a big lazy blogging bum lately, and I’m getting behind. What’s the solution? A double review of course! I’ll be unable to blog next week, so I’m trying to get a few extra in before my short hiatus. Although, with all the not blogging I’ve been doing I’m not sure anyone but my most die-hard of fans would call 5 days of no posts a “hiatus.” More like typical Beer Epiphany fare. So, I’ve chosen to do shorter reviews of two brews that I enjoyed (of course I enjoyed them, they’re beer!), but didn’t blow me away. The winners of this oh-so-prestigious designation are Southern Tier Raspberry Porter and Shiner Fröst.
Oddly enough, of the 30 beers listed on Southern Tier’s website Raspberry Porter is not one of them. They have a “Porter” and a “Raspberry Wheat Beer,” so perhaps these two year-rounders decided to get jiggy with it and Raspberry Porter was a drunken mistake of a forlorn beer affair. Well, according to Beeradvocate.com this brew weighs in at 4.8% ABV and is classified as an “American Porter.” Having had quite a few impressive Southern Tier brews already I can tell you that they lean towards “hoppy” beers, and they do them well, so I was surprised to find hardly a trace of hops in their fruit porter. Perhaps better judgement told them that raspberries, porter notes, and hops may not be such a good recipe.
Raspberry Porter pours a dark orange-red color with a small dissipating off-white head. Lots of bubbles are seen streaming through it. The aroma is reminiscent of chocolate covered raspberries with a hint of bluebery too. The aroma is pleasant and missing the common extract/fruit/soda aroma found in many fruit beers. Points for not smelling like raspberry soda. The flavor consists of strong bitter dark chocolate,raspberry, and lots of coffee. It reminds me of a raspberry chocolate square pulled from a Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box. The mouthfeel is very light, surprisingly light and watery with high amounts of carbonation. The finish is long with bitter chocolate notes remaining.
The more I drank this beer the more I enjoyed it, but I was never wowed. The fruit notes are far from artificial, which is a plus, but the body is too light for my liking. A bit more body would have done this one some good.
Score: 60/100 Chance of Craft Beer Epiphany: 55%
One look at this beer’s label art with it’s white and blue color scheme to the word “Frost” plastered across the front and “winter warmer” or “spiced christmas ale” come immediately to mind. However, this is a Dortmunder style beer, it’s only 5.5% ABV, and it’s a lager. So, we were all wrong. Anyway, dortmunder’s are named after the city of Dortmund, Germany and are a pale lager with a medium body, well-balanced, and IBU no greater than 30 (BJCP). Fröst weighs in at 5.5% ABV, 25 IBU, and an 8 on the SRM which is 2 points higher than the recommended color. According to Shiner, Fröst has the malt profile of a Helles, but the hop character of a pilsner.
Shiner Fröst pours a gorgeous light amber that balances between orange and amber. The head is fizzy, tall, and off-white with lots of visible carbonation. The aroma is a wonderful balance of sweet malt and noble hops. The flavor consists of sweetness and toasty malt in the beginning that fades into a faint hop bitterness. The finish is short and the tiniest bit drying, Overall this beer is lacking in flavor and is just too watery in body. Carbonation is medium and drinkability is average. A beer with such a great nose loses all those points in flavor. It’s not a bad beer just a letdown.
Score: 45/100 Chance of Craft Beer Epiphany: 52%