Review - Left Hand Brewing Company's SmokeJumper
"If you've been reading our newsletters, brewer Ro Guenzel gave you a flavor last month of what it took to brew this smoked Imperial Porter (singed hair, smoke in the eyes, sunburn, etc.) - all a labor of love. Available in beautiful 750mL bottles. The National Smokejumpers Association has made Smokejumper the Official Beer of their organization. So, here's the smoke in your glass, not in the woods.
Editor's note: this beer is described as 9.2% on the brewery website, but there are two sets of bottles on the market, labeled as both 9.2% and 10.5%. Left Hand has since had this beer lab-tested; the correct amount is actually 9.8%. " -- Left Hand Brewing
Pours a dark brown hue producing a very healthy light brown head with a foamy texture with good retention. Body has settled still with a very dark yet seemingly opaque body. Highly carbonated lacing has pretty weak grab on the glass. The nose initially perked up with a strong chimney smoke aroma. The smokiness smelled more like a charcoal piece of wood, rather than the smokiness that you would smell when putting out a match. The smokiness is also accompanied by a salty pork like presence. Initial taste is smokey and sweet with some significant alcohol warmth, with the smoke carrying all the way through to the finish as the malt sweetness fades off a bit and the alcohol becomes a bit more pronounced. Medium in bodied and very creamy, the Smoke jumper is softly carbonated and very smooth to drink. The smokey malts leave a slight burnt - dry feeling on our mouths. The alcohol presence is quite noticeable, not only warming our palates, but also rather hot to trot.
We tasted this one along side a smoked gouda, which was an excellent pairing. Surprisingly sweet for a smoked, the two flavors played well off of each other, but the finish with the alcohol and the smoke was a bit abrasive.
Reviewed on September 7th, 2009.