Santa’s Butt Winter Porter

By on January 13, 2011 @ 8 PM (No Comments)

Today’s father and son beer review features the Santa’s Butt Winter Porter – one of the many Christmas/Winter beers that come from Ridgeway Brewing in the UK. You may know them best for their Bad Elf series of beers (Regular, Very, Seriously, Criminally and Insanely Bad Elf – in order of ascending ABV) that come in gift packs during the holiday season.

For those not in the know – the “butt” reference speaks to the style of porter you may not be familiar with – the Entire Butt Porter. We write more about it in our review of the Entire Butt English Porter but so you know in 18th century Britain the porter was a blend of three beers – a stale or soured old ale, a brown or pale new ale and a mild to weak ale – resulting in a beer commonly referred to as the “Entire Butt.”

Back to the Santa’s Butt – it’s not cheap, coming in around $5 to $6 a bottle depending on where you find it, but at least you get more than a normal bottle – it’s 1 pint 0.9 oz (500 ml). It sports a 6% ABV and for our review we got a starting temperature of 51.1 F.

Our initial pour into our English pint glass gave us an average 1 1/2″ foamy light brown head that left a good amount of head lacing as it dissipated quickly. It’s a dark beer, but clear, with the color coming in somewhere between brown and black. It has very little carbonation to speak of.

The aromas come in with light toasted malts, soap, alcohol, light brown sugar and some nondescript spices. Not the greatest nose, but a lot of the aromas are muted so it’s not too off-putting.

The initial flavors come in with a moderate sweet followed up in the finish by a light sweet, very light bitter and a very light salty. The tastes come in with a light chocolate, light coffee, light roasted malts, light butterscotch, light sherry and finally some vanilla. As with the aromas, the tastes run light on this one.

The finish length is short to average, the mouthful is full on creamy, almost buttery, and the tongue hit is in the middle. There was a fair amount of body lacing on the glass during our review and on the patented malt to hop scale it comes in 2 clicks to the left of balanced on the malty side. A good sweet malty edge on it.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable and balance. We got a no to harmony, memorable, wow factor and buy again (although to be honest the no to buy again is based purely on the price and not the taste).

Santa’s Butt is a good bittersweet beer. The tastes and aromas come in much lighter than a traditional porter so it shouldn’t scare anyone off. It could be a great conversion beer for someone wanting to get into porters. Yeah – a perfect conversion porter. It could be a good session beer as well for a seasoned beer drinker (though technically 6% doesn’t fit the definition of a session beer), if not for the stifling price tag.

The hops are very mild and it almost strikes us more like an American bock style of beer. It’s wildly clean and could be a good porter for the ladies (make that the ladies who don’t know good porters, so not The Beer Wench or The Beer Babe). It’s wildly clean and the mouthfeel is just superb – it hits the middle of the tongue and coats the inside of the cheeks. It’s kind of an anti-porter porter, if that makes sense. Maybe a Porter Bock. Either way it’s unlike most porters you’ve tried so it’s worth picking up.

Santa’s Butt Winter Porter Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

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