Porter + Chipotle + Whiskey = Heaven in a bottle. Enough said. Yea, Mikkeller went there and brewed up a beer that is certainly not going to disappoint. Chili beers are becoming more and more mainstream with each passing second these days. Many chili beers have a very pronounced heat factor that creates a slight tingle on the tongue. This is because most chili beers produced today are brewed or fermented with plain chili peppers (e.g., jalapeño, anaheim, ghost, etc.). However, Mikkeller went a bit off coarse and brewed up this porter with chipotle chilis. What this does is not only bring a bit of heat to the forefront, but a smokey richness that you can get from your plain old jalapeño. For those of you who are not familiar with chipotle peppers, they are nothing more than a smoked jalapeno that is often preserved in adobo sauce. While common in many Mexican dishes, chipotles are just now entering the craft brewing industry.
Mikkeller’s Barrel-Aged Chipotle Porter is brewed with a pretty standard porter base. Nothing special here. But, they kick this up a few notches by adding chipotle chilis to the brew. Now we have something very special. They intense malt characteristics combined with the smokey heat from the chipotles is superb. Honestly, the beer would be fantastic if it were just a chipotle porter. But, Mikkeller went one step further and aged the beer in Speyside whiskey barrels. This is not your usual barrel-aged ale in which the alcohol content supersedes 10%. No. By going with a standard porter base, Mikkeller keeps the alcohol content down to just 6.6%. However, your nose will tell you otherwise!
The barrel-aged chipotle porter has an aroma akin to pouring a glass of fine whiskey. In fact, if you held the beer to your nose with a blind fold on you would most likely just assume that it is whiskey. The whiskey aroma masks all other notes that you might expect to find in a chipotle porter. But, the overpowering whiskey aroma does not prevail in the taste. You will be pleasantly surprised by that first sip since the smokey heat of the chipotles comes through nicely at first and then the warmth of the whiskey soothes your throat shortly thereafter. The beer is very rich and malty as you would expect from any quality porter and the chipotle chilis just accentuate the porter and bring it to a new level.
Chances are that if your local beer mart sells Mikkeller products, they will only have a small handfull of these to go around. You might want to make it a point to get there ASAP or else you may never get the chance to sample the combination of chipotle chili, porter, and whiskey.